1 Tuesday, 1 May 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning.
7 Madam Registrar, could you 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, madam.
11 All the accused are here. From the Defence teams, I note only the
12 absence of Mr. Krgovic.
13 The Prosecution, Mr. McCloskey.
14 The witness is already present in the courtroom.
15 I take it that there are no preliminaries. All right.
16 So we may proceed.
17 Good morning to you, sir.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: And on behalf of my colleagues on the Trial Chamber,
20 I should like to welcome you back. I hope you had a restful weekend and
21 that you are fresh to resume and finish your testimony.
22 Mr. McCloskey had finished his examination-in-chief, and we had
23 agreed that we'll start with the cross-examinations today.
24 Who is going first? Madam Fauveau. Please introduce yourself to
25 the witness.
1 WITNESS: DANKO GOJKOVIC [Resumed]
2 [The witness answers through interpreter]
3 Cross-examination by Ms. Fauveau:
4 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] My name is Natasha Fauveau-Ivanovic,
5 and I represent Mr. Miletic.
6 Q. During your interview with the investigators of the Prosecution on
7 the 16th of May, 1993 -- 2003, in fact, on page 4 in B/C/S you said that
8 you were sending document to the corps. You meant the Drina Corps?
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: He answered, but it may have been over --
10 A. [No interpretation]
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I heard him say "yes."
12 THE INTERPRETER: The witness answered "yes."
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
14 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Is it the case that all the documents that you sent, whatever the
16 addressee, were ultimately transmitted to the Drina Corps so that the
17 Drina Corps could forward them to their final addressee?
18 A. Well, mostly to the Drina Corps.
19 Q. Is it the case that, in fact, you were not able to address
20 documents directly to a brigade, for instance the Bratunac Brigade, the
21 Main Staff of the Army?
22 A. No. No, I was not.
23 Q. When you would receive confirmation that a document was indeed
24 received, would that confirmation come from the Drina Corps or from the
25 final addressee?
1 A. Well, we get it from the teleprinter operator from the other side.
2 Q. And when you say "from the other side," you mean the operator who
3 was at the Drina Corps or the one who was, for instance, with the Bratunac
5 A. I meant the telephone -- the teleprinter operator of the Drina
7 Q. When you would receive a document that you were to send, is it the
8 case that you always had to type it on the teleprinter?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. So even if you received a document that was typewritten, you had
11 to retype it on the teleprinter?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. After sending a document, would -- you put your signature and the
14 date and time of sending on the document that you had just sent; is that
16 A. The date, signature, and the time when the other party confirms
18 Q. And this signature, the date and time, you would place it on the
19 document that you had typed on the teleprinter; is that correct?
20 A. Either that or the document that had been brought to me
21 originally, if it was typewritten.
22 Q. Could we show the witness P5D283? It is a copy of a telegram that
23 had been shown to him during an interview with the Prosecution.
24 Could we go to page 12, please.
25 Is it, here, an example of one of the documents that you sent?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And this is a document that was typewritten on a teleprinter?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Can we show the next page, please. Can we show -- can we display
5 the top part -- yes, this is good.
6 Is this also one of the documents you sent?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Is it one that was typed on a teleprinter?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Could we show the witness the next page.
11 Is this also a document that you sent?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Again, typed on a teleprinter?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Is it correct that this document shows the name of the unit
16 sending the document, the number and the date?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Is it correct that the document that you had to send, the
19 documents that you received and then sent on, always bore the name of the
20 unit, a number, and a date?
21 A. In most cases.
22 Q. Was it a rule that such documents always had to bear a number and
23 a date?
24 A. It was.
25 Q. The original document, for instance, the one that you have before
1 you, did the original document have to bear a signature?
2 A. I can't remember.
3 Q. Can we show the witness 527, 116. That's his interview with the
4 OTP, page 5 in English and page 4 in B/C/S.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Would counsel repeat the exhibit number?
6 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] P2776. It's the witness's
7 statement, and it is pages -- in fact 11, and page 4 in B/C/S.
8 Q. Sir, can you see lines 8 and 9? When the Prosecutors asked you --
9 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Your Honours, with your leave, I
10 would like to read this in B/C/S because I believe the English version, in
11 fact the English translation, is not precise enough.
12 Q. So the Prosecutor asked you: "This is just an example. A courier
13 would bring it to you, something on a piece of paper, and that would be
14 signed by the commander?"
15 And your answer: "Yes, it has to be signed like this one, for
17 Do you now remember having said that documents had to be signed?
18 A. I thought what I meant was that there had to be a name and
20 Q. Isn't it correct that you were, in fact, not authorised to send
21 documents written in longhand that were not signed?
22 A. I cannot remember.
23 Q. Could we show the document P192.
24 Is it correct that this document bears neither the date nor a
1 A. Correct, yes.
2 Q. And you don't know when this document was written?
3 A. I don't know.
4 Q. Nor do you know when you received it? Could we show the bottom of
5 the document, please?
6 A. Most probably, on the 13th of July, 1995, maybe half an hour
7 before the time is indicated as transmission time, maybe. Maybe 14.10.
8 Q. This is a typewritten document, not one typed on a teleprinter?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Isn't it strange that this document that should be an original one
11 that you received has neither a number nor a date nor a signature?
12 A. It is odd, but --
13 Q. Is it correct that you have no proof that Lieutenant-Colonel
14 Milomir Savcic wrote that document, indeed?
15 A. No, I have no proof.
16 Q. And you don't recall who brought this document to you?
17 A. I don't. I really don't.
18 Q. During an interview of the 26th April 2006, on the 17th page of
19 the transcript, the Prosecutor said you typed and sent this document. Can
20 you confirm that you indeed sent it?
21 A. Yes. It's my signature here, but I would be even more certain if
22 I had that part that went to the corps. If I could compare the two, I
23 believe I was the one who did it.
24 Q. In fact, that's what I want to know. How come that in the
25 documents I just showed you, we have your signature on the documents typed
1 on the teleprinter, and only on this document do we have your signature on
2 the document that had been brought to you?
3 A. Well, the question was always asked whether it was necessary to
4 make a copy of the transmitted document, and in this case they must have
5 said it was enough to sign this one. I can't remember why another copy of
6 this text was not made on the teleprinter and then signed.
7 Q. Since you have no recollection of this particular document, I
8 suppose you don't know whether it was sent encrypted or through an open
10 A. Encrypted, for sure.
11 Q. And how do you know that it was sent in encrypted for?
12 A. For the most part, all documents would be encrypted, with the
13 exception of some ordinary telegrams speaking of the passage of UNPROFOR
14 convoys and such.
15 Q. Isn't it correct that for a document to be sent in encrypted form,
16 it had to include a reference such as "Confidential," "Urgent," or a
17 reference of that kind?
18 A. If the original document was marked as "Urgent," that would also
19 have to be written when it was sent.
20 Q. Can we show the witness the top of the document, the upper part.
21 Is it correct that this document is not marked in any special way?
22 A. You mean such as "Urgent"? No.
23 Q. Why, in this case, would you have sent it in encrypted form?
24 A. I have just told you. All telegrams were encrypted, and they were
25 sent in encrypted form.
1 Q. And who decided, because you did tell me that some telegrams were
2 sent through an open line, who decided whether telegrams would be sent in
3 encrypted form or through an open line?
4 A. I can't remember.
5 Q. Could we see again the bottom of the page.
6 Sir, you said a moment ago that, in fact, documents had to bear a
7 date, number and a signature?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And we already established that this document does not have these
10 things. Is it possible that what you wrote here, "Transmitted at 15.10,"
11 and that you marked on this copy, not on the teleprinter copy, is it
12 possible that you sent this to Lieutenant-Colonel Milomir Savcic for his
14 A. No. This came in to me and I sent it.
15 Q. How can you be sure, since you have no recollection of this
17 A. Because it's written that I transmitted it at 15.10.
18 Q. But it's not marked to whom.
19 A. You see, the addressee is in the upper part of the telegram. If
20 you scroll it back, I'll show you.
21 Q. Can we show the top of the page, please.
22 This document is addressed to three persons, Commander of the Main
23 Staff, to the Assistant Commander for Morale, Religious and Legal Affairs,
24 and to the Commander of the Military Police Battalion of the 65th
25 Detachment. Since in fact you would receive confirmation from the Drina
1 Corps that the document was well transmitted, you cannot confirm that this
2 document was received at any of these three destinations; isn't that
4 A. I cannot confirm that it reached the final addressees.
5 Q. We discussed the signature, the date and the time you put on
6 documents. Isn't it true that you had to put a stamp, a rectangular
7 stamp, on all documents sent and received?
8 A. We did not have that stamp in the brigade, so we just wrote it
9 like this.
10 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, with your leave.
11 Mr. President, I have no further questions for this witness.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam Fauveau.
13 I have on my list the Popovic Defence team, but I think last time
14 you indicated that you were not going to cross-examine this witness. I
15 thank you, Mr. Zivanovic --
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: That's correct.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: -- for confirming that. I have the Beara --
18 MR. MEEK: Excuse me, Your Honour. We have no questions for this
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, I thank you. And I have the Drago Nikolic
21 Defence team.
22 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] We have no questions for this
23 witness. Thank you.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
25 In the meantime, I also notice the absence of Mr. Bourgon today.
1 All right. Is there re-examination, Mr. McCloskey?
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: No, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Judge Kwon? Judge Prost? Judge stole?
4 Mr. Gojkovic, there are no further questions for you, which means
5 that you are finished with your testimony. You are free to go.
6 On behalf of my colleagues, Judge Kwon, Judge Prost, Judge Stole
7 and on behalf of the Tribunal, I want to thank you for coming over to give
8 testimony, and we also wish you a safe journey back home.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Exhibits.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President.
13 I have the list of -- it's all the documents in the packet,
14 because he made reference to them briefly in the interview, and of course
15 included in that is the 13 July document that is the most significant.
16 And of course the transcript of the interview.
17 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Since we are not talking of one or two documents,
19 but quite a list, I want to make sure that, first, that the list has been
20 circulated, that we're talking of the same list, and that therefore you
21 are all aware of which documents we are referring to.
22 I have a list in my hands which has four pages, the last page
23 being just one document. That is not being tendered. I don't think -- it
24 is being tendered, yes, okay.
25 All right, so I correct myself. I have now been given an updated
1 list, which is a three-page list.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: I don't know if the Court wants to see the
3 original typewritten document. You may not have seen a document on a
4 typewriter for a while, But we have it here if you're interested.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Does any one of the Defence teams wish to see it?
7 All right. So we should be talking of the same list. Are there
8 any objections on the part of any of the Defence teams to the admission of
9 any of these documents?
10 Yes, Madam Fauveau.
11 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, yes, I think that
12 this is a document that the Prosecutor showed to the witness, and it was
13 clearly stated, so I oppose it being tendered. And some of these
14 documents are not on the 65 ter list. That's another ground. And they
15 were disclosed to us a few days ago. And that is another ground for my
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Which document, which specific document are you
18 referring to in the first part of your objection? I'm asking you because
19 it doesn't follow from the rest of the transcript, at least the transcript
20 of what has been said in the last few minutes.
21 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] It seems that the translation was
22 not quite correct. I do not oppose the admission of this document which
23 was shown to the witness, because when the document was announced, then it
24 was clearly stated that one and only one document would be used, and this
25 is P192. I do not object to that document, but I do object to the
1 admission of all the other documents because the Prosecutor said that only
2 one document would be used.
3 Of course, my cross-examination would probably have been quite
4 different had it been announced that all these other documents would be
5 used as well.
6 As for the second part of my objection, there are documents on
7 this list that were never disclosed to us and that are not on the 65 ter
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam Fauveau.
10 Madam Fauveau, I have in my possession, at least, and all the
11 other Judges have it, too, the first Prosecution list of exhibits intended
12 to be used with this witness, which is dated 26th of April. I assume that
13 that was circulated to all of you, in which case I don't understand your
14 statement that had you known about these documents, your cross-examination
15 would have been different.
16 I mean, as I understood, Mr. McCloskey, these documents are
17 inherently involved in the witness interview of the 16th May of 2006.
18 Isn't that correct, Mr. McCloskey?
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: That's correct, Mr. President, so this issue was
20 dealt with at the 92 ter motion, as we know the policy and the practice
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Madam Fauveau.
23 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I completely agree
24 the documents were mentioned during the interview, but we never received
25 the B/C/S versions of the documents, except those that are on the 65 ter
1 list and which were clearly identified. As for the list, it was given to
2 us on the 26th of April, and it says on the list, if I recall correctly,
3 that only one document would be used.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: In the meantime, do you wish to question further --
5 cross-examine further the witness, because he would still be here, and
6 we'll keep him here and make him available for you.
7 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I cannot
8 cross-examine him now, because in order to do that I would need to look
9 through all the documents one by one.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: You have had ample time to look through all these
11 documents, Madam Fauveau.
12 Yes, Mr. Josse.
13 MR. JOSSE: So far as P192 is concerned, we accept that bearing in
14 mind the evidential threshold that this Chamber demands and requires, it
15 now passes muster to be admitted into evidence; however, let me make it
16 clear, its authenticity is still very much in dispute.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, but that is clear also from the line of
18 interrogation -- line of questions by Madam Fauveau in that area.
19 MR. JOSSE: Precisely, which we adopt.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: But that is fully understood. I mean ...
21 Yes. Any further objections?
22 One moment.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's deal with P192 first. That seems
25 to have been kept separately from the rest.
1 This document is being admitted, and of course that is without
2 prejudice to any submissions on the authenticity of same, which seems to
3 have been indicated by at least two of the cross-examining counsel.
4 As regards P2776, again that is admitted in conformity with our
5 previous decision to admit this witness as a 92 ter witness.
6 The other documents that appear on this list that have been
7 contested by Madam Fauveau need to be admitted if we are to read
8 intelligently and understand fully the interview of the witness to the
9 Office of the Prosecution, which is at the basis of the 92 ter business,
10 and they are being admitted for that purpose.
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I think Madam Registrar will look into the numbering
13 process, because it will take us half a day to do that here.
14 Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. Mr. President, given that there's a
16 challenge to the authenticity of this document, we will be providing you
17 evidence on the Drina Corps collection, how it was obtained. It's an
18 interesting story. And this particular packet of materials that I've used
19 and how it was found in that collection and -- so that will be something
20 -- given this challenge, we will get one of our investigators along the
21 line to testify about.
22 And I'm informed that there -- that Victim Witness doesn't quite
23 have the witness ready. He should -- the next one, he should be here any
24 moment. It's just a transportation issue, if we want to take a little
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Right. In the meantime, let's deal with exhibits --
2 Defence exhibits.
3 Madam Fauveau.
4 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I am not going to
5 tender any documents, but I would like to have the list of the Prosecution
6 of the 26th of April, as it was provided to us, be placed on the list.
7 I'm thinking of the list of the 26th of April, where it was clearly stated
8 that only document P192 would be used.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So that list will be incorporated as a
10 separate exhibit, and it will be your exhibit, Madam Fauveau.
11 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Yes, and that would be 5D296.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
13 Now, can we be updated -- do you wish to object?
14 MR. McCLOSKEY: Well, Mr. President, that's an internal document
15 for the convenience. It's a working document. I don't see why this --
16 what relevance it is. It also puts a hampering on our business to -- our
17 ability to do business, if documents are going to get turned into -- I
18 mean, I don't know what it's there for. It's the document I used, but I
19 just don't -- I mean, she's made her point. I don't see what putting our
20 business document into the evidence helps with.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I think it can be very much simplified,
22 Mr. McCloskey. Basically, it is to support or provide this as a basis for
23 her contention that since they were put on notice only -- that one
24 document only will be used, the rest cannot be admitted because they were
25 not used by you. So I would leave it at that.
1 We can safely admit it; agreed? We can safely admit it, because
2 it goes to support her contention, but let's hope that this will be the
3 exception rather than the rule.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, just to -- as you know, because
5 you've made the ruling, this is a 92 ter witness.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, exactly. Our ruling is based on that.
7 MR. McCLOSKEY: Right. So this whole other point should be moot,
8 but I have no objection.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. McCloskey, you know what our position is. The
10 fact that we might not agree with the submission from anyone, it could be
11 you or any of the Defence team, does not mean that we should eliminate
12 from the records anything pertaining to that submission or to remove from
13 the records or deny the party from inserting in the records what could
14 provide a basis.
15 Yes. Can we be updated, Madam Registrar or Madam Usher, on what's
16 happening? Has the witness arrived or not?
17 Please bear with us for a short while until we establish what the
18 problem was and if it has been solved.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: And, Mr. President, if I could be excused for a
20 moment, maybe I can help with the problem, but I also was just going to
21 see the witness off.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, thank you.
23 In the meantime, for the record, we notice the presence of Mr.
24 Thayer in the courtroom.
25 The witness is not here. He is going to arrive in ten minutes.
1 Yes, we will resume at 10.00. Thank you.
2 --- Recess taken at 9.47 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 10.01 a.m.
4 [The witness entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you, Mr. Bircakovic.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Fauveau.
8 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I just wanted to
9 correct a mistake that I've made. I tendered a document, 5D300, not 296.
10 What I am interested in, in that document, is on page 15, line 12.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, thank you.
12 So good morning to you once more, and welcome to this Tribunal.
13 You're about to start giving evidence.
14 Before you do so, you are required to make a solemn declaration
15 that you will be testifying the truth. Please stand up. Madam Usher will
16 give you the text of the solemn declaration. Read it out aloud and that
17 will be your solemn declaration with us.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
19 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
20 WITNESS: STANOJE BIRCAKOVIC
21 [The witness answers through interpreter]
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Please take a seat.
23 All right. Mr. Thayer will go first and he will be followed by
24 some of the members of the Defence teams.
25 Mr. Thayer, he's all yours.
1 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning, everyone.
3 Examination by Mr. Thayer:
4 Q. Good morning, sir. Would you state and spell your name for the
5 record, please?
6 A. Stanoje Bircakovic.
7 Q. And would you just kindly spell your last name, please?
8 A. B-i-r-c-a-k-o-v-i-c.
9 Q. And how old are you, sir?
10 A. Thirty-five.
11 Q. And where were you born and raised?
12 A. I was born in Gornji Grbavci near Zvornik. My hometown is seven
13 to eight kilometres away from Zvornik. That's where I grew up.
14 Q. And you identify yourself as a Bosnian Serb by ethnicity; is that
16 A. Yes, Bosnian Serb.
17 Q. And just briefly, what is your educational background, please?
18 A. Secondary school of electrical engineering.
19 Q. Now, when the war broke out, what were you doing, sir?
20 A. I had just started to study at the university in Tuzla. I had
21 just enrolled in the university in 1992, when the war began, and I
23 Q. And what were your studies in at that time, sir?
24 A. It was the Chemical Engineering Faculty at the university in
1 Q. And without going into any real specifics, sir, what kind of work
2 do you do now?
3 A. I run a private business for civil engineering, and we specialise
4 in finishing works in construction.
5 Q. Sir, I'd just like to take a couple of moments and review with you
6 your military service history. And I'll just recite to you my
7 understanding of it, and when I'm done, if there are any corrections or
8 additions you would like to make, please do so. Okay?
9 A. Right.
10 Q. After you received the mobilisation call from the TO in April or
11 May of 1992, you served in a local unit which was deployed to the
12 frontline at Baljkovica; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You stayed there until the summer of 1993, at which time you were
15 sent to the Military Police Company of the Zvornik Brigade; is that
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. You served in that company as a military police officer from the
19 summer of 1993 through the end of the war; is that correct?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. Now, sir, I want to ask you some questions about when you were
22 sent to two schools in July of 1995.
23 Without asking you to recall a specific date, sir, do you recall
24 learning that the Srebrenica enclave had fallen?
25 A. Yes. People were saying Srebrenica had fallen.
1 Q. And sometime soon after that, do you recall receiving an order to
2 go to a school?
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. Now, sir, to the best of your recollection, what assignment were
5 you performing when you received that order?
6 A. Securing prisoners of war.
7 Q. Okay. Let me just back up for a second. Prior to receiving that
8 order, sir, to go to the school, what is your best recollection as to the
9 specific task that you were performing at the time that you received the
10 order, as best as you can recall? What were you actually doing at the time
11 you received the order?
12 A. When we were leaving to do that assignment, we were lined up first
13 and then we were told that we were going to guard prisoners of war, and an
14 assignment of the military policemen in that job, whether the prisoner of
15 war is Muslim or a Serb or any other ethnicities, is always the same, to
16 guard the person and prevent that person from being lost.
17 Q. Okay. Let me just stop you right there. You just referred to
18 being lined up and receiving the order. Prior to being lined up and prior
19 to receiving that order, do you recall what your specific duty was at or
20 about the time just prior to receiving the order to go guard prisoners?
21 Do you remember what you were doing, where you were assigned, to the best
22 of your recollection?
23 A. I think I had been given guard duty at the gate to the barracks.
24 Q. Okay. And when you refer to "barracks," what barracks are you
25 referring to, sir?
1 A. Standard. It was our military barracks. There was only one.
2 Q. Okay. And let me just ask you one or two questions about your
3 duty at the gate, and then we'll move on to this order that you received
4 to go to the school.
5 While you were on duty at the gate during this period of time
6 shortly after the fall of Srebrenica, did you see any vehicles pass which
7 you didn't recognise?
8 A. Yes, a PUH vehicle was passing, one that did not belong to our
10 Q. And when you say "PUH," are you referring to a particular
12 A. It's a military vehicle of local manufacture, I believe. Its name
13 is "PUH." It's an all-terrain military vehicle that was usually used to
14 transport officers and some other purposes.
15 Q. And is there some significance which you attach to the fact that
16 it was these vehicles of this particular manufacture that were passing
17 through the gate?
18 A. No, I did not attach any significance to it.
19 Q. Okay. Now, I want to take you to this order that you began
20 telling us about, to guard prisoners. Do you recall who gave you the
21 order, sir?
22 A. I believe it was company commander Miomir Jasikovac who lined us
23 up, familiarised us with the mission, and told us that we were going to
24 guard prisoners of war in Orahovac.
25 Q. And were you told to bring any equipment with you, sir?
1 A. Yes, of course. We were under full military gear when we were
2 lined up, and that's when the order was given, after which we were put on
3 a vehicle, a minivan, and driven to Orahovac.
4 Q. And this minivan, sir, to which unit did this minivan belong?
5 A. To the Military Police Company.
6 Q. And can you estimate approximately how many of your colleagues in
7 the Military Police Company were with you on this minivan?
8 A. Between 10 and 15, I believe. I'm not sure.
9 Q. Do you remember the names of any of those MPs or anything in
10 particular about those colleagues that were with you?
11 A. I remember one surname, because I later socialised with that man.
12 It was my colleague, Ivanovic. And I believe the two lawyers were there,
13 too, Bogdanovic and Jovic. I don't remember the others.
14 Q. And do you remember approximately what time of the day it was when
15 you received this order and set out?
16 A. Late afternoon. I'm not sure, but it could have been 6.00 or 7.00
18 Q. And, sir, would you please describe for the Trial Chamber what you
19 saw when you arrived at the school and what you were told was going to
20 happen, if anything?
21 A. When we arrived in that minivan in Orahovac, the hall where they
22 were supposed to be put up, those prisoners of war, was empty. Whether
23 some troops still remained around the school, I'm not sure. Too many
24 years have passed.
25 When we got there, we did not do anything in particular. We
1 waited around for the prisoners of war to start coming in.
2 Q. And did they arrive at some point, sir? And if so, approximately
3 what time of day did prisoners begin arriving?
4 A. Yes, they started arriving towards nightfall. I don't know
5 exactly what the time was.
6 Q. And can you describe how these prisoners began arriving at the
7 school, and how were they being transported?
8 A. They arrived in buses.
9 Q. And can you describe in what formation, if any, these buses
10 arrived at the school?
11 A. They arrived in a convoy, and at the head of that column, and
12 that's what I remember and I explained why I remembered it, was an APC, a
13 UN APC. I probably wouldn't remember even that bit if that detail hadn't
14 stuck in my mind.
15 Q. And how did you know it was a UN APC, sir?
16 A. It was a transportation vehicle of the UN, visibly marked, and at
17 that time such vehicles circulated frequently on our roads and they were
18 easy to recognise.
19 Q. Did you see any UN soldiers on this UN APC at this time, sir?
20 A. No, I did not.
21 Q. Did you ever hear anyone talking later about who was actually
22 driving that APC?
23 A. The stories later circulated that it was one of our soldiers.
24 Q. Now, can you estimate for the Trial Chamber approximately how many
25 buses you saw arrive that evening?
1 A. Around 15, 20 perhaps. You have to believe me if I say that I
2 don't know anymore. Between 15 and 20.
3 Q. Okay. Please describe what happened after the buses arrived to
4 the school.
5 A. The buses stopped one by one up there on the road, which is 150 to
6 200 metres from that hall. The prisoners started disembarking, and they
7 were directed to the hall. And the procedure repeated itself until the
8 last bus was empty.
9 Q. Do you recall whether or not these prisoners were being escorted
10 by any VRS soldiers, sir?
11 A. I don't remember. I suppose there were soldiers.
12 Q. Did you see any Zvornik Brigade officers at the school during this
13 time when you were there?
14 A. Apart from our company commander, Jasikovac, I cannot say with any
15 certainty that I saw anyone else.
16 Q. And can you just briefly describe these prisoners that you saw?
17 For example, were they men, women, how were they dressed, what their age
18 range was, please.
19 A. There were only men aged between 20 and 60, dressed in a variety
20 of clothing, some wearing military uniform, others wore parts of military
21 uniform combined with civilian clothes, and a lot of them were wearing
22 only civilian clothes.
23 Q. And, sir, what did you do after the prisoners, all the prisoners,
24 had been taken off the buses and placed inside the school?
25 A. A plan for securing the building was made. Some were stationed at
1 the door, some in the corners, others at the back of the hall, and we had
2 a rota throughout -- through the night.
3 Q. Did you ever go inside the school that evening, sir?
4 A. At one point, yes, I did. I brought some water to the prisoners,
5 I believe in a plastic canister.
6 Q. Did you sleep that night, sir?
7 A. No, not for a minute.
8 Q. So please tell the Trial Chamber what happened the next morning.
9 A. The next morning, sometime around 8.00, our replacements arrived,
10 20, 30, perhaps 40 soldiers. I don't know the exact number. So we were
11 free to go, but it was not possible for us to go to the barracks. We were
12 told instead to stay around and to be at the ready.
13 Q. Sir, these replacements, do you recall whether they were VRS
14 soldiers, MUP, civilian police; do? Do you remember at all where they
15 were from?
16 A. I only know that they were in uniform, but in my eyes they were
17 all soldiers. At the time, everybody wore camouflage fatigues. At the
18 time, they wore all sorts of military clothing, and to me it was just
19 military uniform.
20 Q. So you were told to stay around and to be at the ready. What did
21 you actually do during that day?
22 A. My colleagues and I took the road towards the main road between
23 Zvornik and Tuzla. Some people slept. Others called on friends or
24 family, if they had any around, to have a cup of coffee. But mostly we
25 just milled around the yard.
1 Q. And when you refer to milling around the yard, what yard are you
2 referring to, sir?
3 A. I mean the yards of the surrounding houses. There are some houses
4 perhaps 100 metres before the gym, and you have houses on both sides of
5 the road. That's a settlement called Orahovac.
6 Q. Now, sir, did you see any Zvornik Brigade officers at the school
7 in Orahovac that day?
8 A. Yes, I did. My commander, Jasikovac, and at one point
9 Mr. Nikolic.
10 Q. And when you say "Mr. Nikolic," to whom are you referring, sir?
11 A. I mean Mr. Drago Nikolic, who at the time was the security
12 officer. I believe that was his title.
13 Q. And do you recall where you saw, first of all, Mr. Jasikovac?
14 A. I really couldn't tell you the exact location. Somewhere in the
15 yard outside the gym.
16 Q. And do you recall where you saw Mr. Nikolic that day at the
18 A. The same yard, perhaps a bit further up closer to the road. He
19 was standing together with someone else. I can't remember if the other
20 person was a soldier or ...
21 Q. May we have 65 ter number 1691 displayed on e-court, please. And
22 I will be asking for the assistance of Madam Usher to help you mark this
23 exhibit when it comes up, please.
24 Sir, do you see an image before you on the screen?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber what this photograph is of?
2 A. You can see the Orahovac gym and the school and the playground in
4 Q. Okay. I'm just going to ask you to mark a couple of things on
5 this photograph, please.
6 Would you first, please, circle the area where you saw Drago
7 Nikolic at the school that day?
8 A. I think it's somewhere here.
10 Q. Okay. And would you just write the word "gym" above the building
11 that you identify as the gym?
12 A. [Marks]
13 Q. And if you would just write "school" above the building that you
14 identified as the school, please.
15 A. [Marks]
16 Q. And if you would, just in the upper left-hand corner, if you would
17 just place your initials and today's date, please. Today is the 1st of
19 A. [Marks]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: And could he put, near the spot which he marked
21 after your question, to identify the spot where he had allegedly saw
22 Nikolic, could he mark -- could he write the name "Nikolic," please, on
23 the same document.
24 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
25 MR. THAYER: I thank you, sir. I think we can save it. And I see
1 we're also at the break.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, we'll have a break.
3 We'll try to gain a little bit of time. Twenty minutes instead of
4 twenty-five minutes. Thank you.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's continue.
8 MR. THAYER: Good morning again, sir.
9 Q. You just finished marking a photograph of the location at the
10 Orahovac School, where you say you saw Drago Nikolic. Do you recall
11 approximately what time of the day it was when you saw him at that
12 location at the school?
13 A. I cannot really say what time it was, but it was between 12.00 and
14 2.00 p.m.
15 Q. Do you recall whether you saw Mr. Jasikovac or Mr. Nikolic
16 anywhere else in or around the school on that day?
17 A. I don't recall.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Meek.
19 MR. MEEK: Your Honour, I don't have a transcript here. I don't
20 know if anybody else does but I don't have one. We have the middle one,
21 but not on either end.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Any of the other Defence teams in the same position?
23 Yes, all right. We need to attend to that as quickly as we could, please.
24 We don't have the problem, at least I don't have the problem. And the
25 accused would probably not be following the transcript in English, in any
1 case. But you have the same problem?
2 UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: No problem.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: No problem. All right. Let's wait until -- in the
4 meantime, I'm talking in the hope the transcript will scroll up for you.
5 I'm informed that at least you can follow the transcript on one
6 monitor. Are we agreed that we can proceed, and in the meantime the
7 technicians are looking into the matter. Yes.
8 I see Mr. Bourgon doesn't agree.
9 MR. BOURGON: Mr. President, we need to make markings for the
10 cross-examination as it goes along, and we can't do that.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I understand that, I understand. So let's wait,
12 because, I mean, this is especially a part which is relevant for the
13 Nikolic Defence team. We have to wait. There is no point in ...
14 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
15 MR. MEEK: Madam Registrar asked me to close mine, and now mine's
16 locked up, so I have nothing.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: That can be easily solved. I mean, do you know how
18 to log in again, Mr. Meek?
19 MR. MEEK: My computer is frozen. I can't get out of it to get
20 back in.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I see. But you have to log out and log in again.
22 Mr. Bourgon, you are okay? You're the one who was most interested
23 at this point in time. Do I take it that, Mr. Meek, Mr. Ostojic, that we
24 can proceed now? All right. Okay, in the meantime, the technicians will
25 still need to attend to Mr. Meek's computer.
1 All right. Yes, go ahead. Repeat your question, please.
2 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, just to make sure the record is
3 correct, it sounded like we may have lost the transcription from my
4 learned friends basically from the time I resumed my direct, if -- or I
5 suggest the most recent question.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know -- the question was: "Do you recall
7 whether you saw Mr. Jasikovac or Mr. Nikolic anywhere else in or around
8 the school on that day?"
9 And he had started answering, "I don't recall," when we had
10 Mr. Meek's intervention. But I want to make sure that at least you have
11 in your record his previous answer. His answer: "I cannot really say
12 what time it was, but it was between 12 and 2.00 p.m.," and that refers to
13 when he saw Nikolic.
14 MR. OSTOJIC: We have it, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: So it's easy. Let's go ahead. Thank you for all
16 your cooperation, all of you.
17 MR. THAYER:
18 Q. Sir, I apologise for the technical difficulties we're having. It's
19 completely unrelated to yourself.
20 MR. THAYER: And I'll just go ahead and repeat, Mr. President, my
21 prior question.
22 Q. Sir, do you recall whether you saw Mr. Jasikovac or Mr. Nikolic
23 anywhere else in or around the school on that day?
24 A. I don't recall that.
25 Q. And, sir, at the Orahovac School that day, did you see any other
1 VRS officers arrive, whether or not you knew their names or faces?
2 A. I didn't see any other officers.
3 Q. Did you see any vehicles which you didn't recognise arrive at the
4 school that day, sir?
5 A. I saw a Puch passing earlier. Earlier I explained that this is a
6 military vehicle used to transport senior officers. I don't know who
7 could have been inside. I didn't see that, but I did see the vehicle pass
9 Q. And in your experience, sir, at the Zvornik Brigade, did any of
10 the Zvornik Brigade senior officers use the Puch vehicles?
11 A. The vehicle that passed was not a vehicle of the Zvornik Brigade.
12 It was from the outside.
13 Q. Sir, did you see any civilians in the area of the school that day?
14 And if so, what were they doing?
15 A. I didn't see any in the school area, but I saw them passing
16 towards the school, because I said that I did see them just before the
17 school. They were just passing. I didn't see them doing anything in
19 Q. Now, during that day, did you see what happened to the prisoners
20 who were being held inside the gym?
21 A. At one point, I assume that this was after I slept - I slept a
22 couple of hours, so that's why I'm saying that I'm not sure about the time
23 periods - I saw in the schoolyard a truck and I saw prisoners of war being
24 brought and boarded onto the truck.
25 Q. If I'm understanding that from what you're saying you may have
1 been asleep when the truck first arrived, do you recall approximately what
2 time of the day it was when you first noticed that prisoners were being
3 loaded onto the truck?
4 A. I cannot remember exactly, but perhaps it was 10.00, 11.00, 11.30.
5 I don't recall the exact time.
6 Q. And do you recall approximately where you were located, sir, when
7 you saw the prisoners being loaded onto the truck?
8 A. One of the yards that was about 100 metres or so away; could have
9 been a little more or a little less than 100 metres away. It was from
10 the -- it was at the top or upper part of the road.
11 Q. Now, you've referred to a truck, sir. Was there more than one
12 truck that arrived and took the prisoners away?
13 A. Several trucks.
14 Q. And from the time that you first saw the prisoners being taken
15 away, can you estimate for the Court approximately how long the removal of
16 the prisoners from the school lasted that day?
17 A. I think that they were driven away throughout the day until it was
18 almost dark, and then I don't know if they continued after we left. We
19 left in the evening, so I'm not sure whether the operation of taking them
20 away or driving them away was completed until then or if it continued
21 after we left.
22 Q. Now, sir, during this period of time when the prisoners were being
23 loaded onto the trucks and taken away, did you hear anything that stays in
24 your memory today?
25 A. You're probably thinking of the shooting. I assume that the
1 question refers to that. Later, it was heard, and I mentioned this in my
2 statement, at the time there was shooting all over, so perhaps these first
3 shots were something that you didn't give any meaning to or connect to
4 anything, but then later there were constant bursts of fire heard.
5 Q. Sir, can you describe the shooting that you were just referring to
6 in any more detail, in terms of the duration of the fire, the nature of
7 the fire, how long you heard that particular type of shooting last that
9 A. I will repeat it once more. Besides the shooting that would stand
10 out occasionally, there was firing all over the place, so it's a little
11 bit hard to determine how long that particular shooting lasted. It was
12 repeated throughout the day at certain time intervals. I really couldn't
13 say what intervals, but it's something that went on for 15 to 20 minutes
14 and then would stop. But there was also shooting all over, other than
15 this particular shooting.
16 Q. Understood, sir. With respect to this particular shooting that
17 you were just referring to that occurred at intervals, can you tell the
18 Trial Chamber how long that particular type of shooting lasted that day?
19 A. I said that at intervals you would hear this, accentuated bursts
20 of fire, and this would happen, but I really couldn't tell you how many
21 times this recurred throughout the day.
22 Q. Okay. Well, let me ask you this, sir: Do you recall
23 approximately what time of the day it was when this particular type of
24 accentuated bursts of fire stopped?
25 A. In the evening, at dusk we got into the minibus and went to
1 Standard. I don't know if it stopped after that. Perhaps it stopped
2 before that, but from this point in time it's hard to determine exactly
3 what that was, especially if you keep in mind that there was shooting all
4 over at the time.
5 Q. To the best of your recollection, sir, at the time you left the
6 school, was that particular accentuated firing still going on?
7 A. I cannot answer this question with a degree of certainty. Perhaps
8 it was and perhaps it wasn't.
9 Q. Sir, based upon the shooting you were hearing, what did you
10 conclude was happening?
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have a problem again?
12 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours. The transcript
13 stopped again for the past couple of minutes.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Then you should have alerted me straightaway when it
15 stopped. Can you generally tell us where it stopped?
16 MR. OSTOJIC: Page 34, line 5.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Then it's not --
18 MR. MEEK: My stopped at page 33, line 25, the answer: "In the
20 MR. OSTOJIC: That's page 34, line 5.
21 MR. MEEK: Oh, they're different; okay.
22 MR. BOURGON: It's not working again, Mr. President. We started
23 up again and it's not working.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: I want to make sure if you have anything missing.
1 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm told that what's happening is not unique to our
3 Chamber, but it's happening in other Chambers and other courtrooms as well
4 today. So let's try to -- Mr. Meek, the last words you had on your --
5 could you read me the last two lines, please, of what you had in your
7 MR. MEEK: Yes, Your Honour.
8 "Question: Okay. Let me ask you this, sir. Do you recall
9 approximately what time of the day it was when this particular type
10 of accentuated bursts of fire stopped?
11 "Answer: In the evening."
12 And mine stopped right there.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. All right.
14 And other Defence teams, do you all have up to here, at least? It
15 seems to me. So I'm going to read for the record, because it will go
16 straight into the transcript -- it's still not working? I thought someone
17 said it's working now.
18 JUDGE KWON: No, it's only Mr. Bourgon.
19 MR. OSTOJIC: Ours is not working, either. We tried to reboot it,
20 I think he said, and it wouldn't accept any more transcript.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. I think we have to wait again for a
22 solution. I won't proceed, especially since this is worrying one of the
23 accused, in particular, if not two.
24 Yes, I know that Mr. Bourgon has got his back, but unless I -- I
25 see the green light from the other Defence teams, I would not order the
1 proceedings to continue, which I don't hear.
2 I'll say something just to confirm whether you -- it's okay now?
3 MR. MEEK: Yes, it's working now, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Is there anyone else who's got the problem, or the
5 same problem? Basically, that's what I'm interested in. I think we can
7 So for the record, I'm going to read out -- did you recover the
8 part which was lost? Okay, all right. So you have it there.
9 You too, Mr. Bourgon? Thank you.
10 You may proceed, Mr. Thayer, and sorry, everyone, for the
11 interruption, but when these things happen, there is nothing you can do
12 except wait.
13 MR. THAYER:
14 Q. Again, Witness, my apologies for the interruption.
15 My question was: Based upon the shooting that you were hearing,
16 what did you conclude was happening?
17 A. There was no specific conclusion. There was an assumption,
18 though, when this repeated itself a few times, that there was the
19 possibility that the prisoners were not being exchanged but that there was
20 an execution being carried out somewhere. The assumption was there in my
21 head, but it's something that I did not want to or wish to believe in,
23 Q. Sir, where did you go after you left the school?
24 A. To the barracks.
25 Q. And on your way to the barracks, do you recall whether anyone
1 mentioned an incident that had occurred on the school grounds itself that
3 A. Someone mentioned, I don't know who, that there was an incident
4 during the day when one of the prisoners of war, probably very disturbed
5 or upset, that's at least what was said, tried to take or grab a rifle
6 from one of the soldiers, that they struggled for it, and that I think
7 ultimately the prisoner was killed.
8 Q. And just to be clear, sir, you have no personal knowledge with
9 respect to that incident; is that correct?
10 A. No, I don't.
11 Q. Now, the next day, sir, after this duty at the Orahovac School,
12 did you hear people talking about what had happened to the prisoners who
13 had been taken away in the trucks from the school?
14 A. There was talk that the prisoners were executed. It's true that
15 it's not something that was talked about a lot. It was just maybe
16 somebody would bring up the topic, and then it wouldn't be pursued. But
17 there was talk that they were probably executed.
18 Q. And during this talk, sir, did you ever hear who did the shooting?
19 A. It was just a general story. At least in my presence, nobody
20 mentioned any names of people or names of units.
21 Q. So did you spend the night at the Standard barracks when you
22 returned from the school, sir?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Now, at some point after your duty at the Orahovac School, did you
25 receive an order to go to another school?
1 A. We didn't receive any direct orders.
2 Q. Okay. Can you describe for the Trial Chamber, then, how it came
3 to be that you were at another school?
4 A. I don't know if it was the next day or the day after. I'm not
5 sure. Sometime around noon we were told to take our equipment and to get
6 into the minivan and to wait. There were five or six soldiers there,
7 perhaps. Commander Jasikovac then came, and he got into the minibus and
8 told the driver to drive to Rocevic.
9 Q. Now, sir, who told you to get your equipment and go to the
11 A. One of the soldiers. I don't recall who.
12 Q. So what did you do then, sir?
13 A. Nothing. The minivan set off. We arrived at Rocevic, in front of
14 the school. The minibus stopped -- the minivan stopped at the beginning
15 of the playing field, and then Jasikovac and perhaps one of the other
16 soldiers - I'm not sure - told us to wait there, and then he went in the
17 direction of the school, and he stayed there for an hour, perhaps. He
18 came back later, got into the minivan. I don't know if we went to the
19 barracks after that or went to some regular assignment of bringing in
20 Serbian fighters who had left the lines, frontlines, without
21 authorisation. I'm not sure.
22 Q. Okay. Let me just ask you a couple more questions about the time
23 that you spent at the school in Rocevic.
24 When you arrived there, were there VRS soldiers already at the
1 A. I don't know if there were any at the school, but what could be
2 seen in front was that there was a certain number of soldiers in front of
3 the school, maybe 20 or so, 30. I don't know exactly.
4 Q. And what brigade were these soldiers from, sir?
5 A. I assume that they were from the Zvornik Brigade, because I didn't
6 see any vehicles from elsewhere. So let's assume that it was logical to
7 think that.
8 Q. And based on your experience and the events of that day, can you
9 tell the Court why you were at the school, if you know?
10 A. I can just make an assumption that we were taken there probably
11 with a similar task, to guard the facility and, I assume, the prisoners of
12 war, because probably there was no need for that. We were pulled back
13 from that place.
14 Q. And, sir, during this period of time, were you aware that Muslims
15 there Srebrenica had been placed at locations in and around Zvornik?
16 A. I had heard there was talk of that.
17 Q. Now, during this period of time when you were at the Rocevic
18 school, physically, where were you?
19 A. There is the approach to the school, access road, and I think we
20 went to the little shop to buy cigarettes or something just to pass the
21 time that we were waiting for the commander to come back.
22 Q. And did you ever actually go up to the school, sir?
23 A. No.
24 Q. If we may have P02494 displayed on e-court, please.
25 Sir, do you have an image on your screen?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And I just ask you to take a couple of moments to orient yourself
3 to it.
4 Do you recognise what this image is, sir?
5 A. I recognise this. This is the main road from Zvornik to
6 Bijeljina, and this is a by-road that passes by that school in Rocevic.
7 Q. Okay. I would just ask you to take the stylus that Madam Usher is
8 handing to you, and if you would just mark with arrows and the
9 words "Zvornik" and "Bijeljina" on that road to indicate which direction
10 is towards Zvornik and which direction is towards Bijeljina.
11 A. If I orient myself well, I believe this is Bijeljina [marks] and
12 this is Zvornik [marks]. I'm not sure, because generally speaking I never
13 worked with maps.
14 Q. Okay. Well, that's your recollection. Can you mark where you
15 remained during the time when you were at the school in Rocevic with
16 an "X," please?
17 A. Here, I think [marks].
18 Q. And if you can just turn that into an "X" somehow, or if we need
19 to erase it, that would be fine.
20 A. [Marks]
21 Q. Okay. And if you would just again put your initials perhaps at
22 the upper left-hand corner, and today's date of May 1st.
23 A. [Marks]
24 MR. THAYER: And I thank you, sir. And we can save this now,
1 Q. Sir, did you ever hear what happened to the prisoners who were
2 being held at the school in Rocevic?
3 A. People were saying that they had been executed.
4 Q. Did you ever hear what happened to the bodies of the executed
5 prisoners from the Orahovac School?
6 A. The stories that went around was that they were buried where they
7 had been executed, and several months later somebody said that someone had
8 come to relocate them.
9 Q. Sir, I thank you.
10 MR. THAYER: I have no further questions at this time.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Thayer.
12 Who is going first? Mr. Bourgon.
13 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Cross-examination by Mr. Bourgon:
15 Q. Good morning, Mr. Bircakovic.
16 A. Good morning.
17 Q. My name is Stefan Bourgon, and I represent the Accused Drago
18 Nikolic in this case.
19 Before I begin, I would simply like to express my gratitude to you
20 for accepting to meet us briefly before you began to testify this morning.
21 And as I mentioned to you then, I intend to ask you some questions which
22 relate specifically to your interview with the Prosecution.
23 Do you recall me saying that to you?
24 A. I don't remember.
25 Q. Now, I had many questions to ask you, but further to your
1 testimony now in chief with the Prosecution, I think I will be able to cut
2 down on the number of questions and move along more quickly.
3 Firstly, I'd like to confirm that you did have an interview with the
4 Prosecution, and that was in April of 2006. Can you confirm that?
5 A. I think it was in April.
6 Q. And you are aware that this interview was recorded?
7 A. Yes, I was aware of that.
8 Q. And do you recall that at the beginning of the interview, you were
9 informed that you were a suspect?
10 A. I remember.
11 Q. And you were also informed that you had the right to be assisted
12 by a lawyer of your choice?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And your response was quite clear, "There's no need for me to have
15 a lawyer"?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. Now, let's move straight to the events concerning the -- Orahovac,
18 which you testified about earlier in response to questions by the
20 Now, it is my understanding that the reason you went to Orahovac
21 was to provide security for the prisoners, meaning that you were there to
22 ensure that they would not escape. Is that correct?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. Now, it's my understanding, based on the information that is
25 available to me, that the military policemen from the Zvornik Brigade who
1 went to Orahovac with you to provide security, they were not involved in
2 the killing of prisoners. Would you agree with this statement?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. And would I be right in saying that at the time you travelled to
5 Orahovac initially, you had no idea that any prisoners would be killed
7 A. Correct.
8 Q. My colleague referred to your travelling in a minibus, and in your
9 response you said the minibus belonged to the Military Police Company.
10 Can you just describe this minibus for the Trial Chamber and whether you
11 see a difference between a minivan and minibus, and how many passengers
12 could fit in the one that you travelled on?
13 A. There is a difference between a van and what we call
14 "minibus," "minivan." Minibus, as we call it, is a miniature bus. I
15 don't know the exact number of seats, but perhaps 20 people can be seated,
16 whereas a van, you know yourself, can take eight to ten passengers.
17 Q. And the one that you used that night was the minibus that is
18 normally used by the Military Police Company to gather the Serb soldiers
19 who are away without permission; is that correct?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. Now, you've already mentioned who was in the minibus that night
22 that you recognise, and I just have one quick question. Would you agree
23 with me that - and that comes from your interview - that Bogdanovic and
24 Jovic who were there, they were lawyers within the Zvornik Brigade?
25 A. Correct.
1 Q. And would I be right in saying that the reason they were in
2 that -- in that minibus that night is because there was almost nobody left
3 in the headquarters, and that's why they were asked to go? Would you
4 agree with that?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. Now, this might seem obvious to you, but to me it's very
7 important. Drago Nikolic was not in that bus that night, was he?
8 A. No.
9 Q. And when you arrived at Orahovac, would I be right in saying that
10 it is Jasikovac who informed you that prisoners would be arriving and that
11 they would stay there overnight?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. And you've already mentioned that the prisoners were not there
14 when you arrived, and you also described that they arrived a little later
15 by bus. Now, what I would like to ask of you is: Did the prisoners,
16 throughout the time you were in Orahovac, was there two arrivals of
17 prisoners or only one arrival of prisoners that you were witness of or
18 that you are aware of?
19 A. Only once, I think.
20 Q. Now, my colleague asked you a question as to how many buses were
21 there in that bringing the prisoners over, and you said that it could be
22 up to 20; somewhere between 15 to 20, if I recall correctly, was your
23 answer. Now, I understand there were a number of buses. Could that
24 number be smaller, like maybe ten, per se? Is that a possibility?
25 A. It's a possibility.
1 Q. And by the time -- during the time you were in Orahovac, I'd just
2 like to confirm that you only saw Drago Nikolic once, and that was where
3 he was where you showed on that sketch; is that correct?
4 A. Yes, correct.
5 Q. Now, you also responded to a question from my colleague that you
6 spent some time sleeping that morning, and that of course this happened a
7 long time ago. I'm just curious to know whether you can say for sure
8 whether Drago Nikolic, when you saw him, those trucks had arrived or not.
9 A. I couldn't say that with any certainty.
10 Q. And before your replacements arrive in the morning, the ones that
11 you described earlier, it is Jasikovac who informed you that you would be
13 A. I'm not sure whether it was Jasikovac or one of the soldiers.
14 Q. Now, in terms of these soldiers, you described how they were
15 dressed, and to you they were all wearing military uniforms. Now, is it
16 possible that these soldiers were not from the Zvornik Brigade?
17 A. It's possible.
18 Q. With respect to the presence of senior officers at Orahovac, you
19 responded to questions from my colleague, but you also stated in your
20 interview you heard that superior officers were there, but you did not see
21 them yourself; is that correct?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. But you did see that -- sorry for my pronunciation -- that Puch
24 vehicle there?
25 A. Correct, I saw a vehicle pass by.
1 Q. Now, according to information provided by prisoners who were held
2 in the school --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, one moment. Yes, Mr. Thayer.
4 MR. THAYER: Just for a point of clarification, with respect to
5 the prior question regarding senior officers at Orahovac, just so the
6 context is clear, that we're speaking about non-Zvornik Brigade member
7 officers in the context of the questions during the interview. I just
8 wanted to make sure that that's clear for the record, that that's who
9 we're talking about.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you agree with that, Mr. Bourgon?
11 MR. BOURGON: I do agree, but it's really for the witness to say.
12 So I can --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. You can put the question, basically, and I
14 think if it's clarified, it's better.
15 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 Q. I would just like, for the sake of clarification, that when you
17 heard that senior or superior officers had been there in Orahovac, you did
18 not -- we're talking about senior or superior officers who are not from
19 Zvornik Brigade. Is that your understanding?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. Now, I'll say again my last question. According to information
22 which was provided by prisoners who were held in Orahovac, information
23 which was disclosed to us by the Prosecution, it appears that Mladic would
24 have visited the prisoners in the school. And my question is: Is it a
25 possibility that the Puch vehicle that you saw was the vehicle in which
1 Mladic was driving?
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Or being driven in. It's more likely.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wouldn't rule it out. It's a
5 MR. BOURGON:
6 Q. And, of course, you know who Mladic is?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, one of the things you said in your interview is that if other
9 senior officers from Zvornik Brigade had been there, you would have
10 recognised them, and you did not see any; is that correct?
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. Now, until you heard those shots or this firing that you describe,
13 and you described this in detail so there's no need to get back to the
14 firing, but until you reach a conclusion based on that firing, for you,
15 you remain under the impression that this was an exchange; is that
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. And I would take it that you were shocked by the conclusion that
19 you did not want to believe yourself. Would that be a fair statement?
20 A. Yes, it could be.
21 Q. And in response to a question by my colleague, you said that there
22 was some discussion, back in the barracks at Standard, concerning the
23 possibility that those prisoners were executed. But my question is: I
24 would like you to confirm that at no point in time anyone came to you
25 while you were in Orahovac to say, "Hey, the prisoners are being
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. Now, at one point in your interview, and this was not covered by
4 my colleague, the issue of escorts for those trucks on which the prisoners
5 were loaded was raised, and you stated that you were not aware whether any
6 of these trucks were escorted, but that it would have been a normal
7 practice to escort a truck on which prisoners were placed. Would you
8 agree with that?
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. And you, yourself, confirm in your interview, and I would like you
11 to confirm again, that you never escorted any of these trucks?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. And at one point during your interview, the investigators ask you
14 whether you saw Drago Nikolic accompanying trucks, and your answer was:
15 "No." Do you stand by this answer today?
16 A. I stand by it.
17 Q. Now, in the morning, when those replacements arrive, you did ask
18 for permission to return to the command, but that permission was refused,
19 and that's why you had to stay; is that correct?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. And although this is not clear from your statement, I assume that
22 this permission was denied by Jasikovac, who is the same one who told you
23 that you would be replaced.
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. According to your interview and your response earlier, you left
1 Orahovac around evening time, before sunset. Now, did you return in the
2 same minibus that you had arrived in?
3 A. I believe so.
4 Q. Now, when you arrive at the barracks, and I'd like to know if that
5 night or in any following days you heard that there was a dinner organised
6 that night for some officers and others, other people, the night after the
7 events in Orahovac. Did you ever hear any rumours about that, that night
8 or later?
9 A. I hear that now for the first time.
10 Q. A few more questions on Orahovac, and then we can move to Rocevic
12 In your interview, you said something that I'd like you to
13 confirm, which is that when you are in Orahovac, not only you but also the
14 others were there with you, your main preoccupation at the time was
15 thinking about the security of your own family. Would that be a fair
17 A. Right.
18 Q. And, in fact, would I be right in saying that you were afraid of
19 those prisoners that were in the gym because of what they could do?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. When you were in Orahovac, I would just like to confirm that no
22 one brought any food to you during the time you are there.
23 A. Nobody brought food.
24 Q. And I take it you recall in your interview talking about a coffee
25 shop. Can you explain whereabouts is that coffee shop?
1 A. I don't understand the question. I don't remember mentioning a
2 coffee shop.
3 Q. I will ask you: During the day, when you were asked to stay at
4 Orahovac and being kind of on standby, did you attend any place which
5 looks or is a coffee shop along with other people? Or shop, maybe not
6 coffee shop, maybe just shop.
7 A. There is a little shop there, and our minivan was parked outside
8 it. But there was no coffee shop that I went to during the day. I went
9 to have a cup of coffee in the neighbourhood. Yes, that much is true.
10 Q. I'm sorry, that was my mistake. I was just trying to get where
11 the minibus was parked during the day. Can you describe for us
12 whereabouts is this shop?
13 A. 100, maybe 150 metres before you reach the yard. It is closer to
14 the main road, Zvornik-Tuzla.
15 Q. A little later, I will show you a sketch and ask you also to make
16 some markings, but for now I'd like to move to the time where you describe
17 or you responded to my colleague that you believe you were on duty at the
18 gate when the order to go to Orahovac initially came. Do you recall
19 answering this to my colleague?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Now, you said that you were lined up to go to Orahovac around 7.00
22 p.m. at night. Would that be approximately the right time?
23 A. Towards nightfall is all I can say. I didn't wear a watch then,
24 and I still don't wear one today. Don't hold me to that word. I cannot
25 give you an exact time.
1 Q. Now, at that time you, in response to a question by my colleague,
2 you stated that there was a vehicle, Puch, that drove by, and I would just
3 like you to confirm that those vehicles, that this type of vehicle,
4 they're only used by very senior officers like, I suggest to you, colonels
5 and above. Would that be right?
6 A. For the most part, yes, but it wasn't always the case.
7 Q. And just to -- for the sake of using an example, your commander --
8 do you know who the commander of the brigade was at the time?
9 A. You mean at the Zvornik Brigade?
10 Q. The Zvornik Brigade commander.
11 A. Mr. Pandurevic.
12 Q. Now, he was a lieutenant-colonel, and I take it he did not drive
13 around in a Puch.
14 A. No, he had his own vehicle.
15 Q. Do you know, Mr. Bircakovic, who is Momir Nikolic? Is that a name
16 that rings a bell to you?
17 A. The name I heard only later from the newspapers, perhaps, during
18 the past two or three years. I didn't know of it before.
19 Q. Thank you. Then I'll move on to my next question, and then we can
20 now address the issue in Rocevic.
21 And, again, you did respond already to many of my questions, so I
22 will move straight to the point that you did not see Drago Nikolic in
23 Rocevic, did you?
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. In response to a question by my colleague, you stated that you
1 assume, or the exact words were "let's assume that those soldiers
2 providing security were from Zvornik Brigade," but you can't tell that for
3 sure, can you?
4 A. I can't be sure.
5 Q. And you've already stated that you, yourself, did not approach the
6 school, and I'd just like to get to the point where in your interview, you
7 say that you think that there were prisoners inside the school, but you
8 did not see that for yourself, and there were no prisoners outside of the
9 school. Would you agree with that?
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. And then in your interview, you were also asked whether you saw
12 any bodies lying close to the school. Is not -- the word "dead" is not
13 there, but I just suggest to you that you did not see any dead bodies
14 lying close to the school in Rocevic.
15 A. No, I didn't.
16 Q. And another thing that comes up in your interview, and I'd like
17 you to confirm, that you never asked Jasikovac about the fate of these
18 prisoners, whether before or after. You never put the question to
19 him, "What happened to these prisoners," did you?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. Let's now move to another topic, which is a question that was
22 asked of you during your interview as to whether you had seen any buses
23 parked in front of the barracks in Standard the evening that you were
24 asked to go to Orahovac. Your answer in your interview was you did not
25 see any buses parked in front of the barracks. Do you stand by this
1 statement today?
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. And would I be right in saying that to this day, have you have no
4 idea who committed killings in Orahovac and Rocevic?
5 A. You would be right, yes.
6 Q. Now, are you aware, Mr. Bircakovic, that members from the military
7 police from the Bratunac Brigade were recently charged for the Sarajevo
8 War Crimes Chamber in relation to the events in Orahovac?
9 There is a mistake. It's the Bratunac Brigade and not Zvornik
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Exactly. It -- it doesn't show up in the
12 transcript, anyway.
13 MR. BOURGON: Let me take the question again.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: You don't need to. I mean, it's clear now.
15 MR. BOURGON: Because the question is: Are you aware that some
16 members of the military police from Bratunac Brigade have been charged
17 before the Sarajevo War Crimes Chamber for events in Orahovac?
18 A. I don't know about that.
19 MR. BOURGON: Mr. President, although the witness cannot -- is not
20 aware of this fact, this is a document I intend to ask to be admitted in
21 evidence, and it's a document where simply the indictment from the War
22 Crimes Chamber in Sarajevo, whereas four members of the military police
23 from the Bratunac Brigade have been indicted in relation to events which
24 took place in the school for both killing and mistreating prisoners.
25 Q. Just to end, Mr. Bircakovic, I would like to show you a sketch.
1 And if I can have 3D84 on the e-court, please.
2 If you can take a look at the sketch that will appear. First, do
3 you recognise the area that is depicted on this sketch?
4 A. I do.
5 Q. And you've already indicated on a picture where Drago Nikolic was,
6 where you saw him that one time on that day, but I would like you to again
7 put an "X," with the assistance of Madam Usher, where you saw Drago
8 Nikolic that day, so that we have an idea of the distances involved.
9 A. [Marks]
10 Q. And can you write beside that or under, "Nikolic"?
11 A. [Marks]
12 Q. And the shop that you were talking about, can we see this shop on
13 this sketch? I'm talking about the shop where the minibus was parked that
15 A. Shall I mark it?
16 Q. If you see it, I would like you to mark it, yes.
17 A. [Marks]
18 Q. And if you can write beside "shop," or just put an "S," please,
19 the letter "S" beside this "X."
20 A. [Marks]
21 Q. And if you can put a slash and then also put the letters "M"
22 for "Mike" and "B" for "Bravo" to indicate minibus?
23 A. [Marks]
24 Q. And if you can just sign in the bottom corner, indicate the date,
25 and put your initials, "S.B."
1 A. [Marks]
2 MR. BOURGON: And I would ask if we can save this sketch as it is
3 marked by the witness.
4 If I may just have ten seconds, Mr. President, to verify if I have
5 forgotten anything.
6 Q. I just have one last question, and this is because we have
7 information coming from various sources that the prisoners actually
8 arrived in Orahovac sometime during the day on the 14th of July. Now, I'm
9 not talking the date, I'm talking the day, because we have not mentioned
10 dates so far, but that they would arrive during the day and not previously
11 during the night. And along with the information that we have, just so
12 that you know, we have information that comes from prisoners who were held
13 there, information provided to the Prosecution. We have information by
14 other military policemen, and we have a duty roster which indicates that
15 the people you saw there along with you, Bogdanovic and Jovic, were only
16 absent on the day.
17 Q. So I'm just asking you: Since this happened a long time ago and
18 you could not recall the exact dates, is it a possibility that this all
19 happened like in the day and not over two days? Just if it's a
20 possibility, based on your memory, to the best of your recollection?
21 A. It's correct that a lot of time has passed since then, and what I
22 said is what I managed to remember. That's it.
23 Q. We'll leave it at that. I thank you very much, Mr. Bircakovic,
24 and again thank you for meeting us before your testimony, and I have no
25 further questions.
1 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Bourgon.
3 I have on my list the -- Mr. Zivanovic, you requested 20 minutes?
4 MR. ZIVANOVIC: We have no questions for this witness,
5 Your Honour.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
7 Then I have the Beara Defence team that initially asked for 30
8 minutes and then asked for 45.
9 Yes, Mr. Meek.
10 MR. MEEK: Your Honours, we have no questions of this witness.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
12 Nikolic is ready.
13 I have -- Madam Fauveau requested ten minutes.
14 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] No questions for this witness,
15 Mr. President.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam Fauveau.
17 And then I have Mr. Haynes requested 30 minutes.
18 MR. HAYNES: I have quite literally three questions for this
20 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Go ahead. Thank you.
21 Cross-examination by Mr. Haynes:
22 Q. Mr. Bircakovic, I appear for Vinko Pandurevic, so that you know,
23 and I literally have three questions for you.
24 Would it be right that in July of 1995, you would have been able
25 to recognise any of the assistant commanders of the Zvornik Brigade by
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Including the assistant commander for logistics, Sreten Milosevic?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. So can we take it from your evidence that you did not see Sreten
6 Milosevic at Orahovac?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Thank you very much. Can we move on now to Rocevic? When you
9 first arrived at Rocevic, were there already other personnel in military
10 uniforms there?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you estimate how many?
13 A. I think that I already answered this question, put to me by the
14 Prosecutor, so it's about 20 or 30. I don't know the exact number.
15 Q. So the sort of number that might have got there in, say, one
17 A. As I said, I don't know the exact number. And from this time
18 distance, it's hard to make an estimate about how many people could fit
19 into a minibus.
20 Q. Well, just one more thing. In your experience of being bussed to
21 assignments as a military policeman, is it always the case that the bus
22 remains while you are there or does the bus sometimes drop you off and
23 come back and pick you up?
24 A. It depends on the assignment in question and what the assessment
25 of the commander is when he sends us out on an assignment. Sometimes the
1 minibus would drop us off and pick us up, because sometimes there are
2 assignments in the field that take two or three days, so then it was
3 normal for the minibus not to wait for us. Sometimes it would wait for us
4 and sometimes it would come back for us. There was no rule. It depended
5 on the assessment of the commander when he was sending out the vehicle.
6 Q. Thank you very much. And just one last thing. When you referred
7 to conversations that took place after the event about the possibility
8 that the prisoners had been executed, were they conversations that you had
9 with fellow military policemen?
10 A. Not just the military police officers, but other soldiers too. It
11 depends when you sat with whom. There would be talk.
12 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Bircakovic.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Haynes.
14 Could I have confirmation from the Borovcanin and Gvero Defence
15 teams, respectively, that you don't have any cross-examination?
16 MR. LAZAREVIC: By all means, Your Honour, we stand by our
17 position. We will not cross-examine this witness.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. And Mr. Josse?
19 MR. JOSSE: Confirmed.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
21 Do you have a re-examination, Mr. Thayer?
22 MR. THAYER: No, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Judge Kwon?
24 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, go ahead.
1 Questioned by the Court:
2 JUDGE KWON: I have some questions, Mr. Bircakovic.
3 I refrain from asking questions, but I'm tempted and I'll do it.
4 I'll ask some questions, in particular in relation to the question: Who
5 did the killing?
6 To the question put by Mr. Thayer from the Prosecution, I'm at
7 page 37, line 20: "During the talk you had with your colleagues, did you
8 ever hear who did the shooting?"
9 Your answer: "It was just a general story."
10 Can you tell me what general story it was that you heard at the
12 A. I can tell you there was talk. It wasn't really much talk, that
13 there was an execution there, that this happened, and no one, and I assume
14 the people who talked about it also didn't know who were the protagonists
15 in that, so there were no names of those responsible or the units. I can
16 say that in my presence, I never heard from anyone anyone's name or the
17 name of any unit.
18 JUDGE KWON: During the examination-in-chief, at one time you said
19 that, referring to the killings, or the assumption, you said that it was
20 something you did not want or wish to believe in, yourself. Do you
21 remember that?
22 A. Yes.
23 JUDGE KWON: Moreover, there might have been a danger on your part
24 that you may have been viewed to be part of those who did the killing, so
25 if I were you, I had ample reason to find out who had done that killing;
1 would you agree with that?
2 A. Well, look, the events happened in the way that they happened;
3 what anyone can say, they will go ahead and say it. Anyway, a person,
4 particularly at that time, to try to inquire about those matters at that
5 time was something that was not a recommended course of action.
6 JUDGE KWON: Some people may have difficulty following your
7 answer, that you cannot -- you are not in the position to tell who did
8 that. One may view that you are not telling everything you know. What
9 would you say to that?
10 A. I said all I know. It's a little bit difficult to understand, I
11 assume, not going into a deeper analysis. It's a little bit difficult to
12 understand those times without having gone through those times.
13 JUDGE KWON: At one time during the course of cross-examination,
14 that you said that you asked for permission to return to the barracks.
15 Can I ask what the reason was why you wanted to return to the barracks?
16 A. There was a request to return to the barracks because rest was
17 essential after a sleepless night, so that was the reason we requested to
18 go back and to rest.
19 JUDGE KWON: So the request was not made by only you; the request
20 was made by you and your colleagues?
21 A. That is correct.
22 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Bircakovic.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
24 Judge Prost?
25 Judge Stole?
1 I just have one question. You were asked on cross-examination by
2 Mr. Bourgon about the Puch and also about Mladic. Did you hear any
3 rumours, at least, that Mladic was present at Orahovac at any time during
4 the relevant period? Did anyone mention to you, "Mladic came here, was
6 A. Nobody ever told me. I heard this information perhaps two or
7 three years later after the war was over, in passing from a man, something
8 to the effect that Mladic was in Orahovac. That's all I know.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
10 So that means that your testimony has come to an end, which also
11 means that you are free to go. Our staff will assist you and help you
12 return home at the earliest.
13 On behalf of the Trial Chamber, I wish to thank you for having
14 come over, and I also, on behalf of everyone here, wish you a safe
15 journey back home.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 [The witness withdrew]
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Exhibits. Mr. Thayer.
19 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, we have four exhibits we wish to
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, go ahead.
22 MR. THAYER: I stand corrected. We have two. The PIC 0095, which
23 is the marked version of P061691 marked by the witness today. The second
24 one is PIC 00096, which is a marked version of P02494 marked by the
25 witness today.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Any objections? No objections. These two
2 documents are being admitted as exhibits, and the Prosecution exhibits
3 will be marked accordingly.
4 Defence? Mr. Bourgon?
5 MR. BOURGON: Two exhibits, Mr. President. The first one is
6 3DIC97, which is the marked version of 3D84. And the second one is the
7 indictment from the Sarajevo War Crimes Chamber which will soon be in
8 court. The number will be 3D133, and as soon as it's in e-court, we have
9 it in both B/C/S and in English.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
12 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, this is one of those rare times that I
13 will object to a Defence exhibit, namely the indictment that has been
14 offered here. This witness testified he had no knowledge as to the
15 information that was contained in my learned friend's question, and at
16 this point I don't see any relevance to this charging document from the
17 Sarajevo Court. If there is another witness who has a better basis of
18 knowledge or if there can be some further relevance shown, then at that
19 point certainly I may not have the objection I have now. But given the
20 circumstances, I would object to this document.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Bourgon?
22 Thank you, Mr. Thayer.
23 MR. BOURGON: I would say, of course, this document is highly
24 relevant. The fact that we have members from the military police from a
25 different brigade who are charged for events that took place the same day
1 in Orahovac is highly relevant. Now, whether we introduce this document
2 through this witness or through another witness, that's a different
3 question. The idea, this is an official document, it exists in the
4 records of the Sarajevo War Crimes Chamber, and I don't really necessarily
5 want to introduce it through this witness. However, it is an official
6 document that needs to be on the record to assist the Trial Chamber in
7 this case.
8 Thank you, Mr. President.
9 MR. HAYNES: I'm going to add to this debate.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Haynes.
11 MR. HAYNES: In every book on criminal evidence I've ever read,
12 the section under "exhibits" has, as its first section, public documents.
13 An indictment is a public document. It proves itself. There can't be any
14 sensible objection to this being an exhibit in this case.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Meek.
16 MR. MEEK: Mr. President, Your Honours, I agree with both
17 Mr. Haynes and Mr. Bourgon, and further I believe that the court in
18 Sarajevo is a court of competent jurisdiction and you can take judicial
19 notice of the indictment that's been filed publicly there.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
21 MR. MEEK: I also want to know exactly what the OTP's position is,
22 why they're objecting to this.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Just one question, Mr. Bourgon. Is the document
24 that you wish to tender a certified document or is it --
25 MR. BOURGON: Well, the copy I have is not certified, but it is a
1 certified document, and it's a document that recently came into our
2 possession. And we have all the stamps on the photocopies that it comes
3 from Sarajevo. If need be, we will get a certified copy, but I believe
4 that this is something that this Tribunal has done away for a long time,
5 asking for certified copies. But if that be the wish of the Court, we
6 will do so, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
8 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, it's just a time-honoured issue of
9 relevance which we find in every book on criminal evidence I've ever read.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you, Mr. Thayer.
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE AGIUS: We certainly don't agree with you, Mr. Thayer, that
13 this document would lack relevance, for the same reason that Mr. Bourgon
14 pointed out. We acknowledge relevance there, too.
15 The other thing is this: This witness's testimony has complete
16 ignorance as to the existence of this indictment, so I don't know whether
17 you will have other witnesses that will testify to the existence of this
18 case or not, but if you do have -- of this indictment or not. If you do
19 have, then that will solve the problem. If you don't have, I think the
20 document would need some kind of attestation, some kind of certification.
21 So for the time being, we are admitting it, but marking it for
22 identification purposes until either of these two events occur or
23 conditions occur. Okay?
24 Yes, Mr. Thayer.
25 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, just for the record, we'll stipulate as
1 to the authenticity of the document. It's simply a question of whether
2 it's relevant to this witness or not. That's our position. We'll make it
3 easy for everybody in that regard.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, if they stipulate, then we can admit it
5 straightaway, yes? Okay.
6 Then in that case, once there is this stipulation, we are
7 admitting it, not just marking it for identification. Thank you.
8 We'll have a break now, 25 minutes.
9 Mr. McCloskey, is the next witness here? Mr. Thayer.
10 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, the Witness Unit is working on making
11 sure he will be here for his testimony after the break. He is in town.
12 He's ready to go.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
14 --- Recess taken at 12.32 p.m
15 [The witness entered court]
16 --- On resuming at 1.10 p.m.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: So for the record, we are starting later than
18 scheduled because, in the meantime, we were aware that there were some
19 difficulties in tracing -- in finding the witness, who was not expected to
20 testify today.
21 So good morning -- or good afternoon to you, Mr. Djuric, and
22 welcome to this Tribunal. I'm sorry we had to give you a sort of a
23 surprise, to find you and bring you here when you were not expecting it,
24 but we were finished with the previous witness before we had expected his
25 testimony to end, to come to an end.
1 You're about to start giving evidence, and our rules require that
2 before you do so, you make a solemn declaration that you will be
3 testifying the truth. Madam Usher is going to hand you the text of the
4 solemn declaration. Read it out aloud, please, and that will be your
5 solemn undertake with us.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
7 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
8 WITNESS: MENDELJEV DJURIC
9 [The witness answers through interpreter]
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, sir. Please make yourself comfortable,
11 and Mr. Thayer will go first. He has a few questions for you. I don't
12 know that we will finish today, because you asked for two hours, so I
13 don't know that we will finish today.
14 Certainly, we need to continue with your testimony tomorrow, for
15 sure, if not even beyond that.
16 Mr. Thayer.
17 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Mr. President, I've advised the witness of this. Given his
19 position and the circumstances in July of 1995, I think a caution would be
20 in order.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you for that information, Mr. Thayer.
22 Mr. Djuric, you've just heard what Mr. Thayer has said, and I
23 would take it -- I would assume that you have already been briefed on
25 There is a principle in law that a witness should not be made to
1 answer questions which could possibly incriminate him. This is a
2 principle that is recognised worldwide, and we usually refer to it as the
3 right or privilege against self-incrimination. We have the same principle
4 here, but we don't have an absolute -- you do not have an absolute right
5 in this context. I'll try to explain to you briefly what our Rules says,
6 and this is supposed to be a caution, an eye-opener for you, in case you
7 are asked questions the answer to which could possibly incriminate you.
8 So in such cases, if you are asked to make a statement, to answer
9 a question which might tend to incriminate you, then you may object to
10 answering that question. You need to address yourself to us, the four
11 Judges up here. We have two options. We can either agree to exempt you
12 from answering such questions, or we can decide not to grant you such
13 exemption and to force you, to compel you, to answer the question or
14 questions that are put to you. In such a case, evidence or testimony on
15 your part which is forced, which is compelled in this way, shall not be
16 used as evidence in any subsequent prosecution that might be taken against
17 you for any offence, of course unless we're talking of false testimony.
18 So did I make myself clear to you? Did you understand your legal
19 rights? Okay, thank you.
20 Yes, Mr. Thayer.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
22 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Examination by Mr. Thayer:
24 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
25 A. Good afternoon.
1 Q. And, again, thank you for coming in on such short notice. Would
2 you please state and spell your name for the record?
3 A. Mendeljev, M-e-n-d-e-l-j-e-v, surname Djuric, D-j-u-r-i-c.
4 Q. And how old are you, sir?
5 A. Forty-six years. I'll be 47 soon.
6 Q. Where were you born and raised?
7 A. I was born in Olovo, 56 kilometres from Sarajevo, and I grew up in
8 Modrica, also in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
9 Q. And you identify yourself as a Bosnian Serb; is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Sir, I want to review with you your employment and service history
12 and just ask you to confirm some of that history. If I make any errors or
13 if you have any clarifications, please let me know.
14 You attended the High School for Police in Sarajevo from 1975 to
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You served as a uniformed police officer from 1979 through 1982 in
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. When the Special Police Unit was created at the national level in
21 1982, you joined as a regular member and served with the Special Police
22 until you retired in 1999?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. In 1988, you became a group leader?
25 A. I became a commander of one group in the Special Platoon within
1 the -- what was then a detachment.
2 Q. And just briefly, sir, would you tell the Trial Chamber what your
3 particular skills or areas of expertise were in your role with the Special
4 Police at that time?
5 A. The tasks of the Special Unit at the time were variegated. We
6 were working on drills preventing disturbances of peace in any form,
7 dealing with hostage situations on aircraft, on land, on water, et cetera.
8 We had also the traditional fitness training. That would be it.
9 Q. Okay. And in connection with your service, some examples would
10 include performing public security at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics; is that
12 A. Yes. One of our major assignments in that period was to prepare
13 to perform security duties during the Olympic games in 1984 in Sarajevo.
14 Q. You also provided security for the Sarajevo airport?
15 A. Maybe not security in the real sense of the word, but since I had
16 undergone special training for anti-sabotage, I personally had occasion to
17 assist my colleagues from the Ministry of the Interior, dealing with
18 entries and exits of VIPs, et cetera.
19 Q. And just briefly, what were some of the specialised skills
20 which -- which you had, in terms of your training and expertise?
21 A. Since every individual in that unit was the more valuable, the
22 more skills he had, naturally we strove to acquire as many skills as
23 possible. In addition to my specialist training from before, I became a
24 scuba diver, a mountain guard and rescuer, I was a sharpshooter, and of
25 course all of us exercised in martial arts. That was one of our main
1 skills and main jobs. It was useful in many areas.
2 Q. And, sir, in 1994 you were assigned to serve as a training
3 instructor within the brigade; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And it's also the case that you completed the Higher Police School
6 in Belgrade from 1994 through 1997?
7 A. Yes. I was just taking exams in the first year of that higher
8 school when I received a summons from the unit, saying that I should
9 report to the unit, and the brief explanation was that we were going to
10 Mount Jahorina.
11 Q. Okay. And we'll talk about that in just a second. I just have
12 one last question about your background.
13 Can you just tell the Trial Chamber, generally speaking, without
14 any specifics, what kind of work have you been doing since your retirement
15 in 1999?
16 A. From the moment I retired, I was forced to go into business of
17 some kind because retirement pensions are very low. My attempts at
18 commerce were not particularly successful, after which I became a coach in
19 a volleyball club and a secretary of that club, and that's where I still
20 work today.
21 Q. Now, you mentioned a moment ago that you were taking your exams
22 when you received a summons from your unit. Do you recall approximately
23 when it was that you received this summons from your unit?
24 A. The exam that I passed on the -- 22nd June was followed by another
25 exam on the 26th, which I missed because I was already gone then, so it
1 must have been the end of June, between the 22nd and the 26th. I cannot
2 tell you exactly which day.
3 Q. So what did you do in response to the summons, sir?
4 A. It was the duty service that passed on to me the summons from
5 Bijeljina, saying that I should report there. I went, and the duty
6 service explained to me that I was to go to Mount Jahorina, to the
7 newly-established training centre.
8 Q. And, sir, just to be clear, did you actually report to Bijeljina,
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And was that the location of the command of the Special Police
12 Brigade in June of 1995?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. When you reported to Bijeljina, were you told what your actual
15 duties were going to be at the newly-established training centre in Mount
17 A. No, nobody explained anything then, but I was told that Mr. Dusko
18 Jevic was the director of that centre and that he will brief me.
19 Q. And I take it you travelled to the centre, and if you would tell
20 the Trial Chamber what happened when you arrived there.
21 A. Upon my arrival at the centre, I noticed that it was based in
22 Hotel Jahorina, which was a top-class hotel in that ski resort at Mount
23 Jahorina, and refugee Serbs from Sarajevo had been put up there for a
24 while, after which the hotel was in a rather bad condition, and then the
25 training centre was placed there. When I met with Jevic, he explained
1 briefly what was going on, that he had received orders to set up that
2 centre. A number of recruits were already there. He told me what we were
3 going to do with them, how we were going to train them, et cetera.
4 Q. Did you know Mr. Jevic prior to this, sir?
5 A. Yes, I did. I've known him since elementary school. He was a few
6 years ahead of me. And I know him also from my first days on the police
7 force. I worked together with him then.
8 Q. And did you also work together in the Special Police Brigade,
9 performing these specialised tasks that you described for the Trial
10 Chamber a few moments ago?
11 A. Yes. We were together in this special brigade from the moment
12 when it was established.
13 MR. LAZAREVIC: If we could have some more identification, whether
14 it is related to the period during war or before the war.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer, you can address that.
16 MR. THAYER: Yes, Your Honour. I'm just getting to that.
17 Q. Sir, can you put a date on when it first was that you and
18 Mr. Jevic began working together in the Special Police Brigade?
19 A. At that time, it was not a special brigade; it was a detachment
20 for special assignments and missions, and it was from January 1982
21 [Realtime transcript read in error "1992"] until the conflict broke out in
22 Bosnia, until the division and all other events that followed.
23 Q. A few moments ago, sir, you referred to some recruits that had
24 been brought to the centre. Can you describe a little bit more who these
25 recruits were?
1 A. The information I received at the time indicated that these were
2 people who had left the territory of Republika Srpska in different time
3 periods, some right at the beginning of the war, some practically at the
4 end, perhaps a couple of months before they were brought to the centre,
5 and mostly these were people who left without the approval of Republika
6 Srpska and happened to be able-bodied men.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Lazarevic.
8 MR. LAZAREVIC: Just one small correction for the transcript. I
9 believe I heard the witness saying that it was from January 1982. It's on
10 page 73, line 4.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I think the witness can address that himself.
12 Do you agree with what has just been stated by Mr. Lazarevic?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could the gentleman please repeat
14 his question?
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Lazarevic wanted to know if it was 1982 or 1992,
16 January 1982 or 1992.
17 MR. THAYER:
18 Q. When you first began to work with Mr. Jevic, sir?
19 A. I started to work with Mr. Jevic before all of these events and
20 before the formation of the Special Purpose Unit in January 1982.
21 Q. Okay. Thank you for that clarification.
22 Now, when you were told by Mr. Jevic what was going on with the
23 recruits, what were you told your specific assignment was going to be?
24 A. The assignments were not given out specifically in terms of, "You
25 will do this," or, "You will do that." We were simply a group of
1 instructors who happened to be there, and our assignment was to train
2 these people in basic military and police skills so that they can move in
3 the field, how to move, how to find shelter, how to protect themselves, so
4 that they would be in the position of coming into a combat zone and to be
5 able to protect themselves and save themselves. It was just basic
6 military training that was being conducted.
7 Q. And were you assigned any command position?
8 A. Yes, probably as one of the oldest and a person with the most
9 experience, as I was appointed commander of the 1st Company.
10 Q. And how many companies were there, sir?
11 A. There were two companies.
12 Q. And who was the commander of the 2nd Company?
13 A. The commander of the 2nd company was Mr. Nedjo Ikonic.
14 Q. And was Mr. Ikonic also an instructor at the training centre?
15 A. Yes. I think so, yes.
16 Q. And did you know Mr. Ikonic prior to your assignment to the
17 training centre?
18 A. Yes, I knew all the instructors who were at the centre from
19 before, because most of them, except for two of them, were members of this
20 Special Purposes Unit before these events, before 1992.
21 Q. And do you recall the names of any of the other instructors who
22 were serving with you at the centre?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Would you please share those names with the Trial Chamber?
25 A. Ljuban Poprzen, Jevto Doder, Tomo Krstovic, Nedeljko Milidragovic.
1 These are the names that I can recall of people who were there. There
2 were two other persons from the police there whom I didn't know.
3 Q. Now, sir, you're known by a nickname, is that correct, and if so,
4 can you just tell the Trial Chamber what it is?
5 A. From birth, my nickname has been "Mane" because of the length of
6 my first name and because it's quite characteristic in our area, I was
7 given the nickname "Mane."
8 Q. So at this training centre, when you reported in July of 1995, who
9 was your immediate superior?
10 A. My immediate superior at the training centre was Mr. Dusko Jevic.
11 Q. And to whom did Mr. Jevic report at that time?
12 A. Mr. Jevic at that time frequently mentioned the assistant -- the
13 assistant minister, Mr. Kovac, and since Mr. Jevic was a member of the
14 Special Police Brigade, I really couldn't say which orders he received
15 from the brigade and which orders he received from the assistant minister.
16 Q. And at this time, do you recall who was the commander of the
17 Special Police Brigade?
18 A. Yes, Mr. Goran Saric.
19 Q. And did Mr. Saric have a deputy?
20 A. Yes, his deputy was Mr. Ljubomir Borovcanin.
21 Q. And by July of 1995, the Special Police Brigade had been organised
22 into several detachments; is that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And do you recall just some of the names or areas from which these
25 detachments operated or were based?
1 A. Yes. There was a detachment in Sarajevo at the Ilidza. There was
2 a detachment in Herzegovina. There was a detachment in Bijeljina. There
3 was a detachment in Doboj. And later, two more detachments were formed in
4 Prijedor, and after moving out from Sarajevo by the Serbian forces and the
5 civilians, the detachment moved to Jahorina.
6 Q. And, sir, in 1995, generally speaking, what types of assignments
7 did these detachments carry out?
8 A. The detachments were like independent units. That's where the
9 name "detachment" comes from. They would cover a specific territory, but
10 their activities were not limited to that territory, but depending on
11 need, unit from the nearest area or several units would be engaged,
12 depending on the assignment. We didn't have any kind of area of
13 responsibility, but we worked as needed from task to task.
14 Q. And did some of those tasks actually include combat, sir?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, I want to focus your attention to July of 1995 and to the VRS
17 attack on the Srebrenica enclave.
18 At some point in that period of time, sir, did you receive an
19 order to take your company somewhere?
20 A. Yes, I did receive an order to go to Bratunac.
21 Q. And do you recall the date on which you received that order?
22 A. I think the day before arriving. I got there on the 11th, so it
23 was the day before I arrived. I'm not 100 per cent sure.
24 Q. Okay. And how was that order transmitted to you, sir? How was it
25 communicated to you?
1 A. The order was issued to me by Mr. Jevic, who told me that we had a
2 police assignment in Bratunac and that we were going to Bratunac.
3 Q. And have you ever seen a written copy of that order, sir?
4 A. No.
5 Q. So please tell the Trial Chamber what you did in response to
6 receiving that order from Mr. Jevic.
7 A. On the 11th, I prepared the group of people, this company of mine.
8 We went to Bratunac, and we arrived sometime in the afternoon. Mr. Jevic
9 went to the Bratunac police station. After that, he came with one of the
10 local policemen and explained that he would take us to the place where we
11 would be billeted.
12 Q. And do you recall what your accommodations were, sir, and
13 generally where they were located?
14 A. My unit, the one that I led?
15 Q. Correct.
16 A. Yes. The local policemen took us up river along the Drina to a
17 populated place. I don't remember the name of the village. I think it
18 was a village. There was a school there. When we got there, there were
19 many beds piled up there. I assume that somebody had stayed there before,
20 and there was a kind of -- we made a kind of makeshift camp there using
21 the beds in that school. It was five or six kilometres away from
22 Bratunac, from what I can recall now.
23 Q. Just the last question before the break, sir. Can you tell the
24 Trial Chamber approximately how many men you had with you from the
25 Jahorina Training Centre at this time?
1 A. I don't remember the exact number of men. I didn't have any kind
2 of diary or any documents that would help to refresh my memory. I think it
3 was around 70, 70 men.
4 MR. THAYER: Thank you, sir, and I think that will do it for
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. We are adjourning now because our time is up.
7 I need to advise you that between today and until when you finish your
8 testimony, you're not to communicate with anyone or allow anyone to
9 communicate with you to discuss or even mention the subject matter of your
10 testimony. Is that clear?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: We'll adjourn until tomorrow morning at 9.00. Thank
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1:45 p.m., to
15 be reconvened on Wednesday, the 2nd day of May, 2007,
16 at 9.00 a.m.