1 Tuesday, 8 May 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon, everybody.
7 Madam Registrar, could you kindly call the case, please?
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number
9 IT-05-88-T, the Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Merci. All the accused are here. Defence teams are
11 all here. No exceptions. Prosecution is Mr. McCloskey and Mr. Nicholls.
12 The witness is here too. I take it that there are no preliminaries.
13 Good afternoon to you, Mr. Bircakovic. Welcome and we are going
14 to proceed with your cross-examination. And I hope that you've had enough
15 time to compare the two texts that you are in a position to proceed. I'll
16 revert back to you, Mr. Zivanovic. Are new a position to proceed? Are
17 new a position to proceed now?
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
20 WITNESS: MILORAD BIRCAKOVIC [Resumed]
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Zivanovic: [Continued]
23 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Bircakovic.
24 A. Good afternoon.
25 Q. I have now had the opportunity to compare the texts I received
1 from the Prosecution and the one I showed you yesterday, and I didn't find
2 any significant differences that would affect what I want to ask you. I
3 suppose you too had occasion to see these texts. I don't know how focused
4 you were and how willing you were to read it, because you probably have
5 other concerns.
6 Let me remind you where I left off yesterday. I'd quoted a part
7 of your interview that you gave to the investigators of this Tribunal on
8 the 13th of March, 2002. It was on page 15, if you want to follow.
9 In English, it is 24, and it continues on 25.
10 I will read to you your answer that you gave to the question
11 whether Popovic was at school on the 14th. You said, "I'm not sure about
12 Popovic, whether he was there or not. Yes and no. I know from other
13 people that they were there, I didn't see them. There was a Lieutenant of
14 the military police and two policemen and they were from the corps
15 command. Now, what they were doing there, I'm not aware."
16 And then you on to say, "Vaguely I remember Popovic was there and
17 he wasn't there. I cannot be 100 per cent sure because, look, it was a
18 long time ago. Those were times long past. Sometimes I can't even
19 remember what I was doing earlier today. I know as they say, you know,"
21 Were you able to see that?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Is that what you answered then?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. If you look at the same page, last paragraph, you continue your
1 explanation and you say, "I can't tell you about something I didn't see
2 because, look, I cannot say that you were there doing any killing because
3 I didn't see you. That is a major accusation. It's not like car theft.
4 I can't say something if I didn't see it."
5 So do you remember saying that?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You see, Mr. Bircakovic, this event is -- was something quite
8 impressive in your life, everybody of your -- in your home time knew about
9 it, talked about it, it must have been the talk of the town for years
10 now. You've heard a lot of things from many people, second-hand,
11 third-hand information, and I'm certain that you've read a lot about it in
12 the newspapers, maybe if you even followed earlier trials concerning
13 Srebrenica. A lot has been reported on television and other media. Now,
14 my question is --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
16 MR. NICHOLLS: Sorry, just two points. I want to point out for
17 the record that what is being said is in the transcript is not verbatim.
18 What we have in the transcript of the interview, of course, because my
19 friend is asking his questions in Serbian which are then being translated
20 into English. I just want to make it clear for the record that what we
21 see there is not exactly verbatim what we have in the English version of
22 the transcript.
23 And the second point I have is that when my friend said,"And you
24 continue your explanation," and then read out a second quote from the
25 paragraph, starting at page 3, line 1, it's not absolutely clear and my
1 objection would be that it's exactly the same topic of whether the witness
2 saw Mr. Popovic at the school, because the question before that, which was
3 not read out was, "You don't want -- I understand you don't want to tell
4 me who was at the killing point but I'll urge you to tell me that." So
5 it's moved on to a different topic, and the way it was presented, it
6 sounded a bit as though it was all following the same question.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. I think we need to address both these.
8 I don't think it's of any interest to the witness to follow the debate but
9 I think what you need to clarify in the first place is whether the
10 difference there is between the transcript that we have of Mr. Zivanovic's
11 question and the translation of the interview is a substantial one or if
12 it's just minimal. If it's a substantial one, perhaps you can address the
13 Chamber and explain to us how it is substantially different.
14 Witness, do you understand English?
15 THE WITNESS: No.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Can I ask you to remove your headphones while
17 we discuss this, please?
18 Yes. Is there substantial difference between the two versions,
19 the English translation of the interview and the transcript in English of
20 Mr. Zivanovic's quotation?
21 MR. NICHOLLS: No, Your Honour. The thrust is the same. I just
22 wanted to, as I said, make it clear for the record that what was being
23 read was not necessarily verbatim word for word what we have here because
24 it might turn out to be important later.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: It has no bearing, no relevance as such on the
1 substance of the question and the elicited answer.
2 MR. NICHOLLS: The substance and the answer are basically very --
3 are close.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Just wanted to make sure of that, because as you
5 know, we don't have a copy of the statement in either of the two
6 languages. The other -- the second point you raised, again, could you
7 explain it better? Because it's not that I am not understanding but
8 perhaps a more comprehensive explanation is called for.
9 MR. NICHOLLS: Okay. Thank you.
10 And perhaps you should have the English version for you while
11 part -- just the parts that are being read out to the witness. I don't
12 think there can be any objection to that.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: If it's important to avoid
14 any differences, maybe we could be given a copy.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: That's a good idea as well.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: It's a good idea and not sometimes. It depends.
17 What's the opinion of the Defence benches, Defence teams on this? Would
18 you agree that we are shown a copy of the English version of the
19 interview, the relevant parts, anyway?
20 MR. ZIVANOVIC: It's 4D105.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I think it's much better and the interpreters can
22 follow better, we can follow better, because otherwise, we can only rely
23 on what you are saying without really understanding the import of --
24 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes. It's just because otherwise, we have that
25 extra layer, and this way Your Honours can see if there is anything that
1 you feel important.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Let's concentrate on the second point you
3 raised rather than on the first because if the difference in substance
4 does not exist.
5 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes. My second point is as follows, and this is on
6 page 24 of the English transcript. The question from Mr. Manning is was
7 Beara --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.
9 MR. NICHOLLS: Excuse me.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
11 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, we see the question here,"Was Beara or Popovic
12 at the school," and then the answer which was read back. And if we can
13 now go to the next page, the witness has finished saying,"As for Popovic,
14 I'm not sure," we see at the top of page 25 and if we scroll down, scroll
15 down, please, and then we see, "I also understand that you don't want to
16 tell me who was at the killing points at Orahovac." That's now being
17 asked by Mr. Manning. And the answer is, "I cannot tell you something
18 that I haven't seen. I cannot say that you were there killing people."
19 So we've now moved on to a different topic, and the way the
20 question was read out, it may have been -- I'm not suggesting any bad
21 faith, but it sounded as though this answer and the other part that was
22 read out were both in response to the same question, was Popovic at the
23 school, whereas this one has now moved on to, can you tell me who, if
24 anyone, was at the killing site. So I just wanted to point that out
25 because I think it's important.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Nicholls. I'm just going through the
2 transcript of what Mr. Zivanovic stated. The only thing is this, and
3 again I would prefer to air this out and discuss it with you while the
4 witness is not able to follow.
5 Yours was a pretty long question, and I'm referring you to page 2,
6 lines 10 basically right through line 22, and you are referring him to the
7 first part of -- that was read out, namely, what is contained on page 24,
8 and this is obviously in relation and exclusively in relation to your
9 client, Popovic. You asked the witness to tell you whether he has seen it
10 and he confirms that he can see it, has seen it, and the transcript of his
11 interview. You ask him whether this is indeed what he told the
12 investigator, and he tells you yes.
13 And then, as if you are still dealing with the same subject
14 matter, namely whether he had seen your client, Popovic, or not, you
15 continue as follows, if you look at the same page, last paragraph, you
16 continue your explanation. This is a completely different explanation
17 that he has embarked upon now in his interview. And you say, "I can't
18 tell you about something I didn't see because, look, I cannot say that you
19 were there doing any killings because I didn't see you. That is a major
20 accusation. It's not like car theft. I can't say anything if I didn't
21 see it."
22 He said this in the context of a specific question that was put to
23 him, namely that the investigator, Mr. Manning, was suggesting to him that
24 he was reluctant to tell him, Mr. Manning, that is, who was at the killing
25 point at Orahovac. But I'll urge you to tell me that. So if you could
1 adjust your question basically and explain it better, put it better to the
3 Mr. Bircakovic.
4 Have you understood me?
5 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, of course. Your Honour, I
6 would just like to give you a brief clarification. These questions that
7 have to do with the presence of my client and some others --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
9 MR. NICHOLLS: I suspect possibly, based on the Court's earlier
10 asking the witness to take the headphones off, we might be going there
11 again, if he's going to explain the questions and why it's important.
12 He's going back to the same topic.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Go straight to your question. You don't need to
14 explain to the witness.
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Correct, you're right.
16 Q. I'm sorry, we left off at this last page, this last question of
17 mine, when you said, "I can't tell you about something I didn't see." Did
18 you mean that? Did you mean only something that you didn't see on the
19 execution site or did you mean something that you didn't see outside the
20 school in general?
21 A. Well, I was speaking generally, something that I didn't see.
22 Q. In other words, you wouldn't speak about anything that you didn't
23 see that happened outside the school, possibly, if you didn't see it?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. I'm sorry, you said -- in fact, during your interview, Mr. Manning
1 came back to that issue once again, and let me quote, that's page 39 of
2 that text in B/C/S that you have in front of you, right at the beginning,
3 and in English it's 62.
4 The investigator, Dean Manning, asks you,"At that moment, were
5 there any other people who were in charge of security, people from the
6 corps, like Popovic?"
7 Answer, your answer: "I'm not 100 per cent sure. It seems to me
8 he was there and he wasn't. I can't say anything. I know that I heard
9 it, I didn't see it, I saw there was some Lieutenant from the corps and
10 two military policemen."
11 After that, another question follows: "What is Popovic's rank?"
12 And you answer: "I think he's Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel."
13 Do you remember saying that?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now I will continue where I left off before. I've already said
16 that this event must stand out in your life, it's very well known in the
17 town in which you live, and I'm certain it was the subject of a lot of
18 talk and many stories that you must have heard and listened to; is that
20 A. Rarely.
21 Q. You must have had a lot of opportunity to follow reports on TV, in
23 A. Not much.
24 Q. Will you explain what does it mean, "not much"? Do you mean to
25 say you didn't talk to anybody about it or you spoke to a limited circle
1 of people?
2 A. I didn't discuss that subject at all, for the most part.
3 Q. When you say you didn't discuss it, you mean you did not talk to
4 anyone about it?
5 A. Something like that.
6 Q. But you had occasion to hear all sorts of talk from others?
7 A. Well, not really.
8 Q. Thank you. Let me explain why I'm asking this. Obviously, in
9 this interview as well, you emphasised that it was very difficult to
10 remember details you may have heard or seen after eight years. I suppose
11 it's even harder after 12 years. Do you agree?
12 A. Partly.
13 Q. We have a major difference here, a discrepancy, between your
14 testimony yesterday and what you said in the interview that I just quoted
15 back at you. You said yesterday you were 99 per cent sure that you had
16 seen Popovic outside the school. You didn't say that in the interview.
17 You said something different.
18 Could you tell me whether perhaps all sorts of talk you heard or
19 media reports you may have followed, something you read or heard may have
20 caused you to confuse these things, to confuse these events, to create in
21 your mind a false image that you had seen something like that?
22 A. I don't know.
23 Q. When you say, "I don't know," is it possible?
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
25 MR. NICHOLLS: Just objecting to the extent that his question
1 misrepresents the testimony. The witness said that there weren't all
2 sorts of media that he followed. I heard he hadn't followed it much, he
3 hadn't talked much, and the question put to the witness is as though the
4 witness said, Yes I've been following this, I've been looking at
5 newspapers, TV, talking about it constantly. That's the way the question
6 is phrased. It's the opposite of what the witness answered.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. What did you -- what is your comment to that,
8 Mr. Zivanovic? If you look at a previous question of yours, and then we
9 go to page --
10 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I didn't say that he had long
11 conversations or that there was a media following but that there was
12 something -- he said it himself, he said that that was a rare occasion.
13 However, rare those things may be, those conversations and media
14 following, he might have still arrived at the wrong conclusions. This is
15 what I wanted to ask the witness. Is it possible that the conversations,
16 that what he saw and listened to, might have influenced his opinion and
17 his testimony that he provided yesterday.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Previously, if you look at page 3, lines 8 to 15,
19 you put the following question to the witness, which was not answered
20 because of Mr. Nicholls's interjecting with his objection.
21 You told the witness, "You see, Mr. Bircakovic, this event is --
22 was something quite impressive in your life, everybody of your -- in your
23 home town knew about it, talked about it, it must have been the talk of
24 the town for years," whatever that word is, "you've heard a lot of things
25 from many people second-hand, third-hand information and I'm certain that
1 you have read a lot about it in the newspapers, maybe if you even followed
2 earlier trials concerning Srebrenica, a lot has been reported on
3 television and other media."
4 This is the prelude to your question, which never arrived at that
5 point in time. You said, "Now my question is" and you were interrupted.
6 He never agreed with you that he's been interested in second, third-hand
7 information or TV broadcasts of proceedings or newspaper articles. He's
8 never -- he's never answered or reacted to that.
9 And now, if you look to -- at your last question, you say, "Could
10 you tell me whether perhaps all sorts of talks you heard or media reports
11 you may have followed, something you read or heard, may have caused you to
12 confuse these things, to confuse these events, to create in your mind a
13 false image that you had seen something like that."
14 I think you have to take it in steps, one by one. First you need
15 to ask him whether he confirms his statements; and secondly, you may
16 proceed to ask him for an explanation why in your opinion there is a
17 discrepancy, and if he could attribute this discrepancy or some possible
18 confusion in his mind to anything. But I would suggest that you do not
19 suggest to him things that he hasn't accepted as yet.
20 Go ahead.
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. I have put this
22 question to the witness on page 9. I had repeated it, and then he said
23 that he did follow everything but rarely. This is on page 9, line 14, and
24 it goes on -- in lines 14 to 22, I believe. He said he did follow the
25 reports but not a lot, he did it only rarely. Within that context, I put
1 my question to him because I was of the opinion that even the rare
2 occasions when he followed reports might still have influenced his opinion
3 and his testimony, however rare those occasions might have been.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Rarely was to talk and stories that he may have
5 heard or listened to. As regards reports on TV, newspapers, he told you
6 specifically not much, left it in that vague manner. So just go straight
7 to the point. You're suggesting to him that there is a discrepancy
8 between his two versions. Ask him if --
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [In English] Yes, yes.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: -- if he has an explanation for that and whether it
11 could be attributed to third --
12 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Witness, I'm going to put my question to you in this sense. The
14 difference between what you said in the interview that I've just quoted to
15 you and what you said yesterday can be ascribed by the lapse of time on
16 the one hand, and on the other hand, by some influences that you might
17 have experienced through conversations or following media reports, reading
18 newspapers and watching TV and so on and so forth. Your answer was, I
19 don't know, and I asked you whether this was possible.
20 A. I said that at the time that it was both possible and impossible.
21 A lot of time did lapse.
22 Q. Is this your position still today, as you sit here today?
23 A. Yes, it is possible and it is not possible.
24 Q. Thank you very much. I'd like to ask you something else and draw
25 your attention to another part of your interview. I've noticed another
1 difference relative to the time period when you received an order from
2 Milorad Trbic on the 14th of July to take your car and go somewhere from
3 the barracks. You said that that was between 7.00 and 8.00?
4 A. Between half past 7.00 and 8.00.
5 Q. I apologise. It might have been that. In your interview, you
6 said that this was between 9.00 and 10.00. I'm very interested in that
7 particular time, and if you want to consult your statement, this is on
8 page 23 of your interview and in the English version, it is on page 37.
9 Did you find it?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Tell me, please, which of the two versions would you say is more
12 correct, if you can remember at all, because, again, it was a long time
13 ago. Would you accept the version provided to the investigators earlier
14 on or would you accept the version that you provided us with yesterday,
15 the new version of that time?
16 A. It was in the morning. I couldn't exactly follow the time. It
17 might have been an hour earlier or an hour later. I said 9.00 or 10.00.
18 Q. Do you adhere by that now?
19 A. Well, I don't know. Well, I can't be sure of either, whether it
20 was half past 8.00 or 9.00 or -- in any case, that was the case. That's
21 how it was.
22 Q. I won't insist. I assume that you did not pay too much attention
23 to the time. I would like to point another difference to you, also
24 relative to the time, the time when the buses arrived in Ilidza
25 [as interpreted], in Vidikovac, in your interview, this is on page 10 and
1 continues on page 11. You say that that was between 10.00 and 11.00. In
2 the English version, this is on page 41. Did you find it?
3 A. Can you repeat the page numbers?
4 Q. 10 and 11, starts at 10 and goes on to 11, if I have noted this
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Nicholls?
7 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, it's on page 25. I
8 apologise, I've given you the wrong page number. It's on page 25, and in
9 the English version, it's on page 41.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
11 MR. NICHOLLS: No objection. I just have a question about the
12 transcript. The question was about buses arriving in Ilidza. I'm not
13 sure if that's right, because the part we are talking about, I think, is
14 the buses arriving at the Hotel Vidikovac if -- unless -- that's what
15 we're talking about on page 41, I believe, and that's in a different town
16 that's in -- I can say the name or not.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: I think you need to figure this out amongst
18 yourself, because we don't have it on the screen so it not get --
19 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation], I said Divic -- actually
20 Vidikovac, because that's that, as a matter of fact. My learned friend is
21 absolutely right. I did mention Vidikovac.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Nicholls, and thank you,
23 Mr. Zivanovic.
24 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Did you see the difference?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Would your explanation be similar to the explanation about the
3 previous time period, or do you have another explanation about this
4 difference in times? Yesterday you stated that this was between 8.00 and
5 9.00, this is on page 21 of yesterday's transcript.
6 A. Well, now, I really don't know. I don't know the exact time. It
7 says 10.00 and 11.00 here. That was the case actually, but now --
8 Q. Can we then conclude that this is a possible time but you did not
9 pay attention to the time of all these events?
10 A. Yes. It is possible. I just gave approximations and it could
11 have been one hour later or one hour earlier. Nobody really --
12 Q. Thank you very much. Yesterday, you also stated that you had
13 gotten on the first bus and in your interview you stated that there were
14 security guards on the bus.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. The Prosecutor did not ask you anything about the security guards
17 but in your interview you did speak about them, and you said that those
18 were civilian policemen in blue uniforms; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. One more thing I wanted to ask you. Yesterday, you stated that
21 when you arrived in Orahovac, in front of the school with the convoy of
22 buses, you saw some locals there and you go on to say, "Whether the
23 military policemen arrived at the moment, whether they were among the
24 security guards that provided security for the location, I can't remember
25 at this moment."
1 In your interview, you were asked a very specific question. The
2 investigator asked you this: When you arrived in front of the school,
3 whether there were any prisoners there. Do you remember that?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Let me repeat the question to avoid any misunderstandings. When
6 you arrived in front of the school, the investigator asked you whether
7 there were any prisoners there already. Do you remember that?
8 A. There were no prisoners.
9 Q. There were no prisoners?
10 A. No.
11 Q. This is what you stated in the interview, and moreover, when the
12 investigator asked you whether you entered the hall to convince yourself
13 of that, you said, no, but if there had been prisoners you would have seen
14 some guards around the school because somebody would have to guard the
15 prisoners had they been in the school but there were no prisoners in the
16 school. Is that what you answered? Do you remember?
17 A. Yes, that's what I said.
18 Q. And you also said at that moment that the security guards that
19 were on the buses, the policemen that were on the buses took the prisoners
20 into the school?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Is that the case?
23 A. Yes, it is.
24 Q. And finally, you also stated that the military police arrived only
25 about 20 minutes to half an hour later. If you can't remember, I will --
1 I can jog your memory by telling you on what pages of the transcript you
2 can find this that I'm asking you about. This is on page 31 of your
3 interview in the Serbian language, and page 50 in the English version.
4 This is next to the fourth time your name was mentioned in the transcript
5 of your interview in Serbian. Did you read it?
6 A. Yes, I did.
7 Q. Is this correct?
8 A. Yes, it is correct.
9 Q. Thank you. And let me ask you one more thing. At the time you
10 stated that the buses that were in the convoy were not fully loaded, that
11 the capacity was some 70 to 80 per cent full and that there were some four
12 or five policemen on every bus providing security.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And one more question I would like to ask you. You've also
15 mentioned the presence of a policeman from Bijeljina. Can you please tell
16 me whether he was a military policeman or a civilian policeman?
17 A. A civilian policeman.
18 Q. Thank you. I have no further questions.
19 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Zivanovic. Who is going next?
21 Mr. Meek? You asked for 45 minutes.
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Meek:
23 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Bircakovic. How are you?
24 A. Well.
25 Q. I represent Mr. Ljubisa Beara and I'm going to ask you a few
1 questions today which relate to your prior statement to the Office of the
2 Prosecutor and your previous testimony here. Okay?
3 A. Okay.
4 Q. And if you don't understand the question, would you just tell me
5 that you don't understand it and I'll try to rephrase it. Did you get my
6 question, sir?
7 A. I did.
8 Q. Okay. And is that -- will you do that for me, sir?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Okay. Now, on the 14th of July, 1995, do you recall what time you
11 went to work that morning?
12 A. Well, maybe 7.00, approximately. That's when I used to come to
14 Q. And just tell us, please, the location, exact location, of where
15 you went to work that morning.
16 A. The Standard barracks, some three kilometres away from Zvornik.
17 Q. And did you have a routine when you went to work in the morning,
18 and if so, was this a normal morning for you when you arrived?
19 A. Well, I would come from home, I would go home and then I would
20 drive to the barracks in my own car.
21 Q. Once you arrived at the barracks, what was the first thing that
22 you would normally do in the morning, sir?
23 A. I would take the car keys, I would check the car, the oil level,
24 nothing else, nothing particular in any case.
25 Q. And then would you then stay by the car until you were called to
1 go to some location or told to go to some location?
2 A. No.
3 Q. What would you do then, if you didn't stay with the car?
4 A. I don't remember whether I was in the cafe where us drivers used
5 to hang around in and have coffee. I don't know.
6 Q. Can you give me a more specific location of the cafe where you
7 drivers used to hang around and have coffee within the Standard building?
8 A. It was on the first floor, to the left from the entrance to the
9 building. Maybe the second office to the left.
10 Q. And did it face the street?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Where was the office of Drago Nikolic in regards to -- in relation
13 to your coffee shop?
14 A. The second office to the right, the coffee shop was to the left.
15 Q. And you've testified that sometime that morning, you received an
16 order from Trbic; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And approximately what time did you receive this order?
19 A. Maybe around half past 7.00, or 8.00.
20 Q. How was the order communicated to you, sir?
21 A. I was told to go to the forward command post to fetch Drago
23 Q. Okay. Were you told that -- who told you that, sir?
24 A. Trbic.
25 Q. By telephone?
1 A. No, in person.
2 Q. Okay. You left immediately?
3 A. Well, yes.
4 Q. And how long had you been a driver with the Zvornik Brigade prior
5 to July 14th, 1995?
6 A. Maybe a year or a year and a half.
7 Q. As a driver, you would agree with me, sir, that you were -- you
8 were not in a position to have discussions with the superiors that you
9 were driving around; is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. So after Mr. Trbic told you, simply told you go fetch Drago, you
12 left immediately, I take it; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And how long did it take you to go to the forward command post,
15 fetch Drago, and return to the Standard building, approximately?
16 A. Half an hour at the most, maybe even less.
17 Q. So would it be a fair statement that you were back by 8.00 to
18 8.30, or earlier?
19 A. Maybe 8.00 or a bit after 8.00.
20 Q. Okay. Now, when you got back to the Standard building, was there
21 a gate that you had to drive through?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And were there guards there to open the gate for you?
24 A. I don't remember, but I suppose so. Most probably.
25 Q. Then did you drive close to the building and drop off Drago and
1 then go park the car? Would that be normal?
2 A. Well, maybe ten metres or so. This is where I double-parked. I
3 did not always take the car into the garage during the day.
4 Q. Do you have any specific recollection, as we speak today, what was
5 the procedure on the 14th of July, 1995, after Mr. Trbic had told you just
6 to go fetch Drago from the forward command post, upon your return?
7 A. Well, yes. To a very large extent.
8 Q. Okay. And again, since you seem to have a memory of what occurred
9 when you went through the gate with Drago Nikolic, could you just go ahead
10 and tell me what you did?
11 A. Well, nothing. I left the car. Drago got out of the car, went to
12 the command. I followed him and went upstairs, where coffee is served.
13 That's where I was.
14 Q. I want to be clear about this. Are you -- is it your testimony
15 under oath that you did not drop off Drago in front of the building and
16 then move the car either ten metres or 20 metres up and park it and then
17 go in? Is that your testimony under oath?
18 A. Well, I came by car and stopped maybe ten metres from the
19 entrance. I stopped the car, Drago got out, started walking towards the
20 command. I followed him and entered the building and went upstairs where
21 this cafe was.
22 Q. Okay. And then I take it that once you stopped the car, Drago got
23 out, you -- he got out first, correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You then made sure the car was locked up, turned off, in park, and
1 locked, and then you thereafter followed, correct?
2 A. I didn't lock. It wasn't necessary to lock while you were within
3 the perimeter of the barracks. I just got out of the car.
4 Q. Do you recall during the interview with the OTP investigator, Dean
5 Manning, on the 13th of day of March, 2002, you do recall that interview,
6 do you not?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And what I want to know, sir, is when was the first time you and
9 Dean Manning had discussed the events which occurred around the 14th, 15th
10 of July, 1995, prior to giving this tape recorded statement?
11 A. You mean did I talk to him?
12 Q. Yeah. When did you talk to him prior to the 13th of March at 9.14
13 a.m. when the button to the tape recorder got pushed? Was it the night
14 before? Was it the day before? Was it earlier in the morning?
15 A. No. That same day.
16 Q. Okay. Did you have discussions with Dean Manning before 9.14 in
17 the morning, when he told you on the tape recorded conversation you were
18 summonsed here as a suspect?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Now, you were asked during that interview whether or not Trbic was
21 involved in the meeting, the alleged meeting, which you've discussed,
22 which occurred, to your testimony, on the 14th at the command centre. Do
23 you recall that question?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And do you recall the answer?
1 A. Well, I said probably the same thing as now, that I don't
2 remember, that I wasn't present and I don't remember whether he did or
4 Q. You also indicated to Mr. Manning that you noticed Mr. Nikolic
5 walking into an office and closing the door, correct?
6 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I have a page reference, please, excuse me?
7 It might be page 38.
8 MR. MEEK: I didn't think it was that far along but you may be
9 right. It is page 38, in the English.
10 Q. Dean Manning just asked you simply where they met and you
11 said, "In his office," meaning Drago's office?
12 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I just ask Mr. Meek to point out to me where
13 it says "walking into office and closing the door"?
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Meek?
15 MR. MEEK: Well, let me rephrase the question, then.
16 Q. You were asked whether Trbic was present, very simply Dean Manning
17 said, "Was Trbic also present?" Do you remember that question, very
18 simple question?
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Which page are we on?
20 MR. MEEK: It's page 38 in English. I don't know what in B/C/S.
21 MR. NICHOLLS: Page 23 in the B/C/S.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Nicholls, and thank you, Mr. Meek.
23 MR. MEEK: For the record, Your Honours, that would be 4105.
24 Q. Mr. Bircakovic, have you read that yet? Have you found that?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Okay. Have you had a chance to review it briefly?
2 A. I said I didn't know whether Trbic attended.
3 Q. That's correct. You did. And you went ahead to tell him because
4 were you in the place, the room where coffee was being made with other
5 drivers to await further orders, correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Then you said, "So when I came up to that place there is a
8 corridor and I saw Drago going into his office." Do you recall that, sir?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You went on to say, "But since it was said that these two people
11 came looking for him, I suppose that they have got in and they were
12 waiting for him and they spoke with him." Isn't that true, sir?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Okay. Now, afterwards, the meeting lasted 15 to 20 minutes, and
15 you left, correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And were you -- were you completely truthful with Dean Manning on
18 13th of March, 2002, when you gave this statement?
19 A. I don't know.
20 Q. You don't know if you told him the truth or lied to him? Is that
21 what you're saying?
22 A. I don't know what kind of truth you mean.
23 Q. Well, were you truthful in your answers that you gave to Dean
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Okay. Now --
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Thank you. You also indicated that those days -- and I think you
4 indicated those days, starting from then, the 14th and the 15th, that you
5 remembered it like through a fog. Do you remember that?
6 A. Not through a fog. Some things are vague. Some things I remember
7 less well, other better.
8 Q. Okay. So -- once again, if --
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Nicholls. One moment, Mr. Meek.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm sorry to interrupt, but again I would like a
11 page reference to the fog question.
12 MR. MEEK: It's at 25 in English. Mine is on 24 in English, the
13 very bottom of the page. It's probably 25 in English on everybody else's,
14 at the top of the page. I'm not really sure the B/C/S, but if you just
15 scroll to the very top of that page, here we go. There we go, right
16 there. Third line down, and I can read it and maybe they can translate it
17 for him.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, please proceed, Mr. Meek. I can see it.
19 MR. MEEK:
20 Q. And again this is being questioned about later on that day, the
21 14th, you say,"As for Popovic, I'm not sure I remember like through the
22 fog, that he might have been or, indiscernible, I'm not sure about this,
23 it was a very long time ago and a lot of time has gone by. Sometimes I
24 don't even know what has happened today or yesterday." End of quote.
25 Now, do you recall making that statement, sir?
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, one moment before you answer, yes,
2 Mr. Nicholls.
3 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, I just wonder how that question and
4 answer got turned into, You remember the 14th and 15th globally as though
5 through a fog when this again, question was specifically about him
6 remembering Mr. Popovic being at the school.
7 MR. MEEK: Well, I can rephrase the question, Judge.
8 MR. NICHOLLS: I would like him to rephrase them accurately to
9 reflect what the transcript says.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I think it's the case of rephrasing it.
11 MR. MEEK: I'll rephrase it, Judge.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
13 MR. MEEK: I'm not going to rephrase it the way he wants me to,
14 probably, but I will rephrase it.
15 Q. Witness, I'm just asking you in this one, two-day period, 14th,
16 15th of July, isn't it a fair statement that when you gave the interview
17 to Dean Manning back in 2002, five years ago, and seven years after the
18 events, that a lot of what happened in those days were like being in a fog
19 as concerned your memory? Is that true or not?
20 A. Well, I said -- you understand, some things I know, I do know.
21 Some things I am straining to remember. Some things I'm not sure about,
22 and that's what I call through a fog. That's the way it is.
23 Q. Now, in the years that you were a driver for superior officers,
24 would you agree with me, sir, as a common soldier and driver, that it is
25 not common that a person in your position, as such a driver and common
1 soldier, would be told the reason that you were going to fetch somebody or
2 pick someone up or bring another superior officer somewhere, what the
3 purpose of what they were going to do would be?
4 A. Well, it was not an order back then. When Popovic and Beara
5 arrived at the barracks, everybody saw it. It wasn't concealed. It
6 wasn't being hidden. I was told. Of course, when there are meetings
7 held, then there is no such talk.
8 Q. Well, was it common or uncommon to be told as a driver that you
9 were to pick up such and such officer for such and such reason or was it
10 just pick up such and such officer?
11 A. Well, I don't know. I was told.
12 Q. Okay. And I just want to confirm one thing with you now after
13 your last answer, the one before this, there is nowhere in the, at least
14 in English, 119-page statement you gave to Dean Manning, that you ever
15 mentioned seeing Mr. Popovic and Mr. Beara together at the Standard
16 building that morning?
17 A. Maybe he didn't ask me.
18 Q. He asked you 119 pages of questions and answers, and is it your
19 testimony that because he didn't ask you perhaps, you failed to tell him?
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls? Wait one moment,
21 Mr. Bircakovic. Yes, Mr. Nicholls? I don't think this should be
22 discussed in the presence of the witness.
23 Witness, can I ask you to remove your headphones again, please?
24 Well, I am just -- I've taken this measure in anticipation of what
25 I think you could be saying. If he is not going to say what is in my
1 mind, then obviously we'll get the witness to put his headphones back.
2 Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
3 MR. NICHOLLS: It's just again not a particularly accurate
4 characterisation of the interview as a whole, because on page 115 there is
5 a question, Manning: "Do you recall after the meeting on the 14th July in
6 the morning, when is the last time you saw -- the next time you saw
7 Beara?" And then there is an answer after that, he didn't come, I didn't
8 see him, so --
9 JUDGE AGIUS: But the question that Mr. Meek put to the witness is
10 whether throughout the entire interview, he ever affirmed seeing Popovic
11 and Beara together, and the suggestion is that he never did, so much so
12 that the witness has understood that and tried to give an explanation by
13 way of, Maybe I was never asked.
14 MR. NICHOLLS: I understand that, but the question or if you say
15 to somebody, When was the next time you saw X after you saw him on the
16 14th and he says, Well, not again, and doesn't correct that, it's -- I
17 think it's not fair to say that the witness never mentioned it.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: But it's not being suggested to the witness that he
19 never said that he saw Beara. What is being suggested is that he never
20 said that he saw Popovic and Beara together. Correct me if I'm wrong,
21 Mr. Meek, because I don't want to interpret your question any differently
22 from the way you put it.
23 MR. MEEK: Both, Your Honour, that he never saw my client, nor did
24 he see my client with Mr. Zivanovic's client.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: So your remark holds good insofar as that. So why
1 don't you break the two questions, the question into two questions,
3 MR. MEEK: I could do that, Judge, but since Mr. Nicholls has been
4 so helpful for us, maybe he could point out to us where in the transcript
5 prior to page 115 that this witness told Dean Manning that he saw
6 Mr. Beara that morning, because the question says, on Manning's part, Do
7 you recall after the meeting in the morning when was the last time you
8 saw -- or the next time you saw Beara? So that's a leading suggestive
9 question. Maybe Mr. Nicholls, helpful as he is, can point out where this
10 witness ever said he saw, laid his eyes on, Mr. Beara. It would be very
11 simple. We could move on, because it didn't happen, Judge.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Do you wish to comment on that, Mr. Nicholls?
13 MR. NICHOLLS: Yeah. He can do his own cross and read the
14 statement himself, but the witness here was asked when was the next time
15 you saw him as though the understanding from Mr. Manning from the previous
16 114 pages of text was, You've talked about Mr. Beara being there, you saw
17 that -- and took it as you saw him there, and the witness then says, Well
18 the next time was X.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Perhaps I can leave it in your hands,
20 Mr. Meek.
21 MR. MEEK: I think he ought to be fair with the Court, Judge.
22 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, all --
23 MR. MEEK: I think he ought to be fair with the Court.
24 MR. NICHOLLS: My objection and all I'm asking is that he be
25 accurate when he tells the witness what is in the transcript and he hasn't
1 been now, this is number 3, I think.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Let's not make an issue out of it. I think
3 let's keep the calm, all of us. I suggest that you break the question
4 into parts and put it to the witness. We've got -- I know that according
5 to the schedule, we've got seven minutes left, but we need to break at
6 15.40 in two minutes' time, so if you prefer to leave this till after the
7 break, Mr. Meek?
8 MR. MEEK: Judge, I -- I'd prefer if we have 2 minutes, anyway,
9 till break to leave it, and I have one other suggestion.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah.
11 MR. MEEK: This witness, he has the B/C/S version.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Version in front of him.
13 MR. MEEK: I would ask you -- or him, and maybe you need to order
14 it, to look through there and read it and see if there is at any time he
15 ever mentioned any time seeing, laying eyes on Mr. Beara that morning,
16 that's all.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Exactly. I think that can be addressed now
18 before we break, by yourself. Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
19 MR. NICHOLLS: I object to that, Your Honour, because we gave the
20 witness a transcript yesterday to read. He's had an opportunity to read
21 it, and I think the witness may need a break.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, but on --
23 MR. NICHOLLS: It's a long transcript. It's 115 pages.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: On the strength of that, he should be in a position
25 to answer the question. So --
1 MR. MEEK: May I just ask one question before --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, just ask one question and we'll have a break.
3 Wait until the witness has got his earphones back, headphones back. Yes,
4 go ahead, Mr. Meek.
5 MR. MEEK:
6 Q. Witness, when you were describing to Dean Manning in March of 2002
7 the events of the morning of July 14th, 1995, you never one time told him
8 that you had seen him with your own eyes at the Standard. Isn't that
9 correct? Him being Mr. Beara.
10 A. I stated that Popovic and Beara attended the meeting, and it's
11 written there, Who was present at the meeting? Popovic and Beara. Was
12 Trbic there as well? Answer: I don't know about that.
13 MR. MEEK: One more question --
14 JUDGE AGIUS: We have to stop --
15 MR. MEEK: -- before the break.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: We have to stop here.
17 MR. MEEK: One more question before -- if you don't mind.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
19 MR. MEEK:
20 Q. You also said, didn't you, Mr. Bircakovic, that again to the
21 question as to who was ordering this operation to kill people, and you say
22 you know that well -- "You know that well." I'm on page 24
23 English. "There was a command, the may command. You understand since
24 Beara and Popovic there, you understand that they probably came here to
25 order this, because I don't know for certain since Drago was subordinate
1 to Popovic and I can only make assumptions."
2 You also stated after that, when again talking about whether Trbic
3 was in the meeting, you said you didn't know who was in that room because
4 you weren't there. Isn't that correct?
5 A. I didn't go in, but in the morning, when I arrived, Popovic and
6 Beara arrived as well, so they went into the barracks and I saw them go
7 in. After sometime, Trbic approached me and told me, "Go tell Drago at
8 the forward command post that he's being summoned to a meeting." And I
9 was asked was it possible that the command didn't know.
10 MR. MEEK: We have to take a break, but I'm going to ask the
11 witness to take the statement back and to review it, so he can show me
12 where he ever told Dean Manning what he just testified to, please.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. We'll need to have a 30-minute break because
14 one of us has a meeting.
15 Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
16 MR. NICHOLLS: Very minor point. It says "may command" in the
17 transcript, in the --
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's come to it later --
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Okay. Sorry.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: -- because there is a meeting at very short notice.
21 Thank you.
22 --- Recess taken at 3.43 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 4.20 p.m.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: I notice -- I note both Mr. Meek and Mr. Nicholls
1 MR. NICHOLLS: I just have a small point. Mr. Meek read back a
2 portion of the transcript, page 32, line 5, and it states -- transcript of
3 the interview and it states in the trial transcript may command, m-a-y.
4 That is what it states in the interview transcript. It's actually a typo,
5 it's actually main, m-a-i-n, command. That's correct in the other
6 transcript that was provided to the Defence in English, but I just wanted
7 to make that point.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Point taken by you, as well, Mr. Meek?
9 MR. MEEK: Yes, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. You may proceed.
11 MR. MEEK:
12 Q. Mr. Bircakovic, have you had a chance to review the statement that
13 you gave to Dean Manning?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And you'll agree with me that you never told Dean Manning that you
16 visually observed Mr. Beara at the command post there in Zvornik command,
17 on the 14th of July in the morning, did you, sir?
18 A. There was no such a question, and therefore I couldn't answer.
19 Q. Well, sir, I'd like to draw your attention to page 19 of that
20 interview, and in B/C/S -- I'm not sure what page in B/C/S it is.
21 MR. NICHOLLS: I think it's probably pages, I don't know exactly
22 where on 19 or 20, but it's probably page 12 to 13, thereabouts, in the
24 MR. MEEK: Okay.
25 Q. Sir, could you look at page 12 to 13 with me, in the B/C/S? Now,
1 Witness, I'd like to just draw your attention to the very long statement
2 by Dean Manning that starts,"I'm going to ask you questions about the
3 killings and about organisation for killings of many thousands of men."
4 Do you see that?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Mr. Manning then goes on and he tells you, "Firstly, I want you to
7 understand some things. We have part of witnesses to the killings. We
8 have survivors who were put -- or who were part of the execution, who were
9 shot at. We have aerial images of the executions taking place. We have
10 seized records from the Zvornik Brigade and the Bratunac Brigade and we've
11 had many people from those brigades and the Drina Corps interviewed. We
12 have your MP logs.
13 "I want you to understand that it's very important for you to tell
14 the truth. If you try and hide what happened or hide your part in what
15 happened, or your knowledge of what happened, I can prove that you're
16 lying. And I want you to understand that this is your chance to tell the
17 truth here now.
18 "I personally exhumed the bodies of thousands and thousands of men
19 and boys from Kozluk, from Branjevo military farm, from the dom above the
20 factory in Karakaj, from the Pilici dom, from the Kravica warehouse and
21 from Orahovac.
22 "And as I said, I want to ask you questions about that, but
23 before -- or before I ask you specific questions, I'd like to give you the
24 opportunity of telling me what happened, remembering that I have all those
25 things, all that knowledge. We even have your vehicle logs."
1 Then Mr. Manning goes on and he says to you, "Now, can you tell me
2 what you know to have happened?" And your answer, sir, was, what? The
3 very first sentence is all I'd like you to say.
4 A. "I'll tell you what I know."
5 Q. Okay. And wouldn't you agree with me, sir, that after
6 investigator Manning put forth the entire theory of the OTP's case to you
7 and then allowed you to tell him what you know happened, that that was a
8 very broad statement, wasn't it, sir, very broad question?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And you even tell him, "I can tell you what I know." When you
11 told him that, sir, were you telling him the truth or not?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. But thereafter, thereafter, for the next, I don't know, 160 pages,
14 you never told him that you physically with your own eyes saw my client,
15 Mr. Beara, at the Standard building that morning, did you, sir?
16 A. I repeat: There was no such a question. Where can you see a
17 question put to this effect, Did you see this or the other person there?
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honours, I can either do it on redirect, but I
20 think it would make more sense now, I think given that the question has
21 just happened, the witness's whole answer to that broad question ought to
22 be read into the record. I can do it later, but I think it makes sense.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE AGIUS: We think that we can proceed, Mr. Nicholls, okay,
25 and you can deal with it directly on redirect.
1 MR. MEEK:
2 Q. Later on, Mr. Manning asked you a specific question and that was,
3 again on the same page, "Was Beara at the school on the 14th?" Do you
4 recall that question?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And you basically said, "I think he was, I'm not sure, I don't
7 think he was."
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. So did it ever occur to you when you earlier told this
10 investigator, "I'll tell you all I know," and then he later asked you
11 specifically if Mr. Beara was at the school on the 14th, it never dawned
12 on you to tell him that you had seen him earlier in the morning at the
13 Standard building?
14 A. Those are two different things. The school is one thing and the
15 other place is another thing. He asked me about the school, whether I saw
16 him in front of the school. I said no.
17 Q. And when was it, sir, that it dawned on you that you had seen,
18 back on the 14th of July, 1995, Mr. Beara in the morning at the Standard
19 building? When did that occur to you, sir?
20 A. When did it occur to me? Hmm. What do you mean? What do you
21 mean by that, when it occurred to me?
22 Q. What I mean, sir, is apparently it didn't occur to you to tell
23 Dean Manning that you had visually observed Mr. Beara there that morning
24 at the Standard, even though you had told him you would truthfully tell
25 him everything you knew, and it didn't dawn on you to tell him that you
1 had seen Mr. Beara at the Standard building earlier in the morning on the
2 14th, when he specifically asked you had you seen him later in the day at
3 the school, correct so far?
4 A. The question was whether he was seen by the school. I said no.
5 He did not ask me anything else.
6 Q. Okay. So again, if it didn't dawn on you then and it didn't dawn
7 on you five years later in 2002, or five years after the events --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
9 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm objecting to the way these questions are being
10 put that it dawned on him. The witness has explained that he wasn't asked
11 before or during the interview and he's answered it as best he can.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Beside the issue of the language used, whether it
14 should be the -- whether it's the right choice of words or not, but we are
15 here convinced that you've laboured this point enough, we've heard enough,
16 and that you should move to something different.
17 MR. MEEK: Thank you, Judge. I'd like to put on e-court, if I
18 could, 65 ter 296 and if they could do the English and B/C/S side by
20 It appears that we have the original B/C/S of that document on the
21 right but we still have some transcript on the left. Is there a
22 possibility -- okay. Thank you.
23 Q. Witness, do you see in front of you a document that was spoken
24 about yesterday, that you talked about yesterday?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. That's the vehicle log, work logbook from 1 July until 31 July
2 1995, correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And that was for the Opel Rekord, R-e-k-o-r-d, that you drove and
5 you testified about yesterday, correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Okay. Now, the page following that, could we see that, please?
8 Now, the Prosecutor took some pains with you yesterday to have you justify
9 why it was that on the 14th day - and we'll get to that in a moment - on
10 the 14th of July, that the route under column 4, being the forward command
11 post, the IKM, was never placed on that date as a location that you drove,
12 correct? Do you recall that testimony?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, we see on this document that's on the screen that on 4th day
15 of July, 1995, you put down that you were at Standard, IKM, Bratunac,
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And on the 5th of July, you have Standard, IKM, Zvornik, correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Then on the 12th of July, you have Zvornik, Osmace, Standard, IKM,
21 and Baljkovica, correct?
22 A. Possible.
23 Q. And also on the 13th of July, you noted that you drove Standard,
24 IKM, Zvornik and local, didn't you, sir?
25 A. Possible.
1 Q. Well, what do you mean it's possible? It's on there, isn't it?
2 A. What I mean is yes.
3 Q. Is that also what you meant when I asked you about the 12th of
4 July, where it shows that the car you had gone to Zvornik, Osmace,
5 Standard, IKM and Baljkovica? Because your answer on the transcript
6 says "possible" again.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Okay. Before we get off this document, I notice that you have the
9 24th July 1995, after the 13th July 1995. Do you see that, sir?
10 A. Yes, I can see that.
11 Q. Can we just go to page 4 or 5, I think it would be, same
12 document. That would be ERN number 03075156. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
13 The --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: It would be ERN 03075154. That's the English. The
16 B/C/S would be ERN 00694701.
17 MR. NICHOLLS: And that's page 3 in the B/C/S.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Nicholls.
19 MR. MEEK: All right.
20 Q. Mr. Bircakovic, will you take a look at that, please, and at the
21 B/C/S, that's again vehicle work log from 14 July until 31 July 1995 for
22 the same car, correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Okay. Then if we go to page 5, and perhaps 6 -- 5 would be in
25 English, I think, at ERN number 03075155, and the -- try the next page.
1 That's good. Now if we could find the corresponding in B/C/S, 00694702.
2 You see it, sir?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. On the 22nd of July you also have noted that you were at Standard,
5 IKM, Boskovici, correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. But it jumps from the 22nd of July to the 23rd of July, and as we
8 saw from the other document, you have the 24th day of July on the document
9 we just looked at. Do you remember that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Can you explain this, sir?
12 A. What is there to explain? There is nothing but a date. There is
13 no route, no signature, nothing. This is a mistake.
14 Q. But it wasn't a mistake on the document you're looking at for 14
15 July 1995 on the route you took, is there?
16 A. What is missing is the route. For example, there is no forward
17 command post recorded for the 14th of July.
18 Q. And also, real quickly while we are on that, July -- 14 July,
19 apparently you carried five people that day, according to you, correct?
20 Can you name them?
21 You understand my question? You drove five people that day, on
22 the 14th. Can you tell me the names of them, sir?
23 A. Where to? What five people? What are you talking about?
24 Q. I'm talking about if you look at the B/C/S version, it would be --
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. -- where it says, total carried, tonnes and people, it would be --
2 8 would be the line you're under, column 8.
3 A. Well, that's why -- it's just a figure of writing, to put it that
4 way. Because, for the following day there is nothing, and still the car
5 went places on those two days. I don't know why this was recorded in this
6 particular way. I don't know.
7 Q. You also have under number of journeys for the 14th, just one
8 journey, correct?
9 JUDGE AGIUS: If you can call it so.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I spoke about these travel
11 orders. These travel orders, you can't really rely on them because they
12 were not kept very accurately. They would -- records would be made on two
13 or three days, then nothing, then there would be a certain mileage on the
14 milometer and then destinations were sought that would fit into a certain
15 mileage, and they were filled out as if the car went there.
16 Q. Well, are you saying, then, that this is just a falsified record?
17 A. Well, things were as they were. That's how things were done at
18 the time.
19 Q. Okay. So things were done at the time, falsifying records was no
20 big deal to you, correct?
21 A. It is not falsifying. That's how things were done. People were
22 aware of that. That's what I think. I don't know. That's how things
23 were entered.
24 Q. Well, sir, if they're not true, they're false. Would you agree
25 with me on that, sir?
1 A. Well, what do I know? I don't know. I don't know about that.
2 Q. Well, you know the difference between the truth and a lie?
3 A. I know.
4 Q. Okay. And you don't know the difference between something being
5 correct and something being false? Is that what you're telling the Trial
7 A. I just want to say that that's the way it was done. It's written
8 in that order. And that's just the way it is.
9 Q. Let me just ask you this, then, sir: How difficult would it have
10 been for you to just put down that you went to -- from Standard to the IKM
11 and then back to Standard, if that's what you did?
12 A. No, but maybe two or three days passed before it was entered, but
13 why? It wasn't a problem. It wasn't being hidden. It was known that
14 Drago was at the forward command post, that a car came to fetch him.
15 There is the duty officer's logbook. These are all known things.
16 Q. Sir, you can say all those things, but it certainly isn't known
17 from your vehicle logbook, is it?
18 A. I'm telling you again, that's the way it was done then. It can't
19 be changed.
20 Q. I understand that what you're telling me that it was a common
21 practice for you to falsify these records, but my question to you, sir, is
22 this vehicle logbook, work and vehicle, machine and generator logbook,
23 showing the 14th, would not indicate that you drove to the forward command
24 post. Is that -- would you agree with me, on the 14th?
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I think he has already stated, he answered that
1 several times, both yesterday and today.
2 MR. MEEK:
3 Q. And I'm going to ask you to go over to number 8 again and tell me
4 why it was, if you can remember, you would put five people being in that
5 car with you that day, when under your testimony, it was only Drago
7 A. I don't know.
8 Q. Would that just be another example of falsifying things, the way
9 things were done back then?
10 A. It's not falsified. That's how it was written at the time.
11 Q. Well, sir, I'm going to suggest to you that you never saw Ljubisa
12 Beara on the 14th in the morning at the Standard building, as you first
13 testified about today because he was not there, he was at Black River on
14 the 13th and the 14th. And I put it to you, sir, that you are not
15 speaking the truth here, just like you didn't speak the truth on these
16 exhibits, on the logbooks, because it means nothing to you to tell the
17 truth or to tell a lie. Isn't that correct, sir?
18 A. No.
19 MR. MEEK: I don't have any further questions for this witness,
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you so much, Mr. Meek.
22 I have next the Nikolic Defence team. You asked for an hour and a
23 half. Do you still require an hour and a half? Mr. Bourgon?
24 MR. BOURGON: Good afternoon, Mr. President. I hope to be shorter
25 than an hour and a half. I will try to do -- finish that within an hour.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead. We'll have the next break as usual, at
2 quarter to 6.00. Thank you.
3 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Cross-examination by Mr. Bourgon:
5 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Bircakovic. I do have a series of questions
6 for you and I understand that this can be -- you probably are quite tired
7 by now. I will try to move as swiftly as possible, and you'll be glad to
8 hear that most of my questions is simply to get you to confirm things that
9 you stated in your statement. And I will leave it at that other than a
10 few -- for a few questions.
11 My first question doesn't come from your statement. I'd just like
12 to know whether you know Major Galic, who was working at the Zvornik
13 Brigade command.
14 A. Yes.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead, because we can follow -- but we've lost
16 one monitor, computer, completely. It says "no connection, check signal
17 cable." At least on mine, that's the message I'm having. I see that my
18 colleagues have got the same problem but in the meantime, if you proceed,
19 we can follow the transcript on the other -- on LiveNote. What we won't
20 be able to do for the time being, unless this is adjusted, is to watch any
21 documents, see any documents, that you may ask to be shown to the witness,
22 but not as they are being shown. So go ahead.
23 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President. I do not intend to show
24 documents at least for the first part of the cross-examination.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
1 MR. BOURGON:
2 Q. Getting back to where we were, Mr. Bircakovic, your response to my
3 first question was that you did know Major Galic, and I'd like to know
4 if -- whether it is correct that you drove him many times to visit
5 battalions and that, indeed, you knew him quite well. Is that a fair
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And would it also be a fair statement that Major Galic would know
9 you pretty well because you drove him to visit battalions?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, can you think of a reason, Mr. Bircakovic, why Mr. Galic
12 would say that he does not recall who you are by name and that he doesn't
13 know what you were a driver assigned to Drago Nikolic?
14 A. No.
15 Q. For the sake of the record, I was referring to the transcript on
16 page 10648, lines 16 to 25, on the 27th of April.
17 My questions now, Mr. Bircakovic, will be focusing on your
18 interview with the Prosecution, and I think you said that already, but you
19 recall that this interview took place more than five years ago. Can you
20 confirm this?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And during your interview, you stated that in response -- well,
23 there was a question asked by my colleague from the Prosecution and
24 something you stated in the interview, and you were asked questions about
25 Jasikovac, who was the commander of the military police; is that correct?
1 A. He was the commander of the military police company.
2 Q. And when you responded to my colleague, you stated that
3 Mr. Jasikovac was reporting to Drago Nikolic, who was the head of
4 security. Now, I'd also like to simply read you a part of your interview
5 and ask you whether you can tell me if that is correct. Now, that was
6 from page 14 in English. If there is a need, we can show it to you, but I
7 don't believe it will be necessary. It's a short part of your interview.
8 And it reads like this: "And who did he report to? Who was above
9 him in the chain of command?" Your response was the following: "I think
10 he was reporting to Drago Nikolic, who was head of the security, and he
11 was also subordinate to the commander of the brigade because the brigade
12 commander could give any orders that could not be revoked by anybody
14 Do you agree with this statement today?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And you also said in your interview that the person who was really
17 giving us, military policemen, orders was indeed Jasikovac; is that
19 A. Well, yes.
20 Q. Now, if I go to your statement -- your statement or your
21 interview, you stated something about being the driver for Drago Nikolic,
22 and I will quote exactly what you stated and ask you to confirm. And that
23 was on page 17 in the English version, when you were talking about your
24 duties as driver. I quote - it's from line 7 down on page 17 in English,
25 and then you said, "Then it was decided that this car could not be
1 assigned exclusively to the chief of security, and then this car was used
2 to drive around operatives and those who were in charge of going and
3 checking on the battalions and go in the field."
4 Can you confirm that this was correct, that this car was not
5 exclusively assigned to Drago Nikolic?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And would it be a fair statement to say that no permission was
8 required either from yourself or from Drago Nikolic for another operations
9 officer to use this car?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And the keys to this car --
12 MR. NICHOLLS: No objection. Sorry to interrupt. I'm just having
13 trouble finding an earlier reference in the interview transcript when my
14 colleague said, You also said in your interview that the person who was
15 really giving us military policemen orders was indeed Jasikovac. If I
16 could have a reference when possible I would appreciate it.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, if you could help us there.
18 MR. BOURGON: I'm doing my best, Mr. President, and I'm really
19 sorry that -- I had the reference on page 16 in the English version and I
20 will quote so this way, it will go on the record.
21 The question was: "I'm not sure because they had the meetings up
22 there regarding the matters and we were not given any direct orders from
23 above. It was our company commander who was giving us orders."
24 Mr. Manning: "Okay. Who was your company commander?"
25 Your answer was: "Jasikovac, Mijo."
1 Is that sufficient for my colleague?
2 MR. NICHOLLS: Yeah. I just wanted the page. Thank you.
3 MR. BOURGON:
4 Q. Let us proceed, Mr. Bircakovic, so that we can finish as quickly
5 as we can.
6 I believe my last questions I wanted to ask you was that the keys
7 to this car, the car that you were driving, as well as the keys to all of
8 the cars that belonged to the Zvornik Brigade, you could find those keys
9 in the office of the duty officer right up on the wall; is that correct?
10 A. Partly.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Why partly? Could you explain?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, maybe sometimes keys would be
13 forgotten or something like that. Something like that.
14 MR. BOURGON:
15 Q. But the proper procedure would be for the keys to be there and
16 whoever would use the car, that's where they would pick up the keys; is
17 that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Moving on to the 14th of July, in the morning, it is my
20 understanding from your testimony over the past two days that the reason
21 you went to fetch Drago Nikolic at the forward command post, the IKM, was
22 because you were told that Popovic and Beara were looking for him. Is
23 that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And I'd like to know when you went to get Drago Nikolic at the
1 forward command post to take him to Standard, in response to a question by
2 my colleague, you said that it was about a 30 minutes drive. I'd like to
3 know, did you drive by the Orahovac school or did you use that other road
4 that you were talking about during your testimony? If you recall, of
6 A. Well, I think I went through Orahovac.
7 Q. And do you recall if you saw any activity going on in Orahovac at
8 that time?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Should I take this that there was no activity or you did not -- or
11 you're not sure?
12 A. I don't remember anything happening. It was normal.
13 Q. I move on now to what happened following the meeting at the
14 Zvornik Brigade command, and you've mentioned in response to my colleague
15 in the first day, that of course you did not attend that meeting and you
16 don't know what went on in that meeting; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, coming out of the meeting, there is something you said in
19 your interview, and I will quote exactly what you said, and that is on
20 page 20 in the English version, I will just read it, it's quite short. It
21 goes like this: "After that, Drago Nikolic" -- well, maybe I should read
22 a bit up.
23 It goes like this: "I went to fetch Drago, brought him to the
24 command centre, and he was there in the command but I do not know what
25 they were talking about there."
1 Now, the part I'm interested in is the following one: "After that,
2 Drago Nikolic then told me that there would be some people coming in for
3 exchange and these people were just sent to him, and he did not know
4 anything about that beforehand, so they were just shipped over to him."
5 Can you confirm what you said during your interview?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And then you went on to say, and again I will quote from the
8 interview, "At the beginning, he was very angry when he came out of the
9 meeting that was held in the command centre, because he was not consulted
10 beforehand but was only ordered to find some accommodation for these
12 Can you also confirm that this is what you said and that you still
13 agree with this statement today?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, it's also my understanding from reading your interview that
16 what Drago Nikolic told you about finding or being ordered to find some
17 accommodation for these people, he never mentioned anything about killings
18 at that time, did he?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. I take this as being that he did not mention anything about
21 killings. Is that correct?
22 A. He did not, right.
23 Q. Now, in fact, this is something that you confirmed in your
24 interview, because it was suggested to you by Mr. Manning, and I quote now
25 from page 35 of the English transcript, towards the end, where Mr. Manning
1 said, "That was an order to kill." And your response was, "I don't know.
2 I wasn't there. But if I had been there, and if that was the case, I
3 would have told you."
4 Do you recall saying this to Mr. Manning during your interview?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And from your testimony, I take it that shortly after this
7 meeting, you went to motel Vidikovac and that was because Drago Nikolic
8 had been ordered to go there to wait for the buses; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. But you did not go into the hotel, you just waited for the buses;
11 is that correct?
12 A. Yes, we waited outside.
13 Q. And that's when you were told to sit in one of those buses and
14 then Drago left with the car; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, in your interview, you were asked by Mr. Manning what you
17 thought you were doing when you left in that bus, and I will read what
18 your answer was, and that was from page 46 of the interview, towards the
19 middle of the page. The question by Mr. Manning was the following: "What
20 did you think you were doing when you left on the bus to Orahovac?" And
21 your answer was: "I wasn't thinking anything. I was just supposing, as I
22 supposed the others were assuming, that these people are being taken to be
23 located in the school, accommodated in the school, and then there would be
24 some kind of an exchange as we used to do before, or something like that."
25 Do you recall this answer and confirm the same today?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Would I be right in saying that at that moment, you were told that
3 you were going to Orahovac but you knew nothing about any other prisoners
4 or detainees that were to be taken to other schools? Is that correct?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. Now, once you're on that bus, there is something that wasn't
7 covered at all during your interview -- or your examination-in-chief, or
8 maybe I missed it, but you stated that on those buses were people in
9 uniform, civilian police wearing blue uniforms, and that these people were
10 escorting the buses. Can you confirm this?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And would I be right in saying that you did not know from which
13 unit these civilian policemen were from, and that you did not speak to
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. A further question was put to you by Mr. Manning, whether you saw
17 anything in front of the column that approached Vidikovac motel. I'll be
18 very precise and I'll simply ask you, did you by any chance see a carrier,
19 an armed carrier, which is white with the letters "UN" on it? Did you see
20 anything like that in front of those buses on that day?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Now, these people, and you responded to a question from my
23 colleague that they are the ones who let the prisoners out and escorted
24 them in the gym, I'd simply like to confirm what you stated, that these
25 were people wearing uniforms of the civilian police, that they had
1 camouflage uniforms, and that there may have been as many as 10 or 15 but
2 you were not able to say exactly how many because of all the mass of
3 people that gathered around the gym. Would that be a fair illustration of
4 your words?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, you yourself, I'm not sure if you did say this, but I think
7 that it is important, you yourself never went into that gym, did you?
8 A. No.
9 Q. And you were further asked during your interview whether, in the
10 few days before the 14th, whether you drove to that school or other
11 schools in the Zvornik area, and your response was that before the
12 prisoners were brought, we did not drive to Orahovac school. Is that
14 A. It is.
15 Q. Now, to make it clear for the transcript, I take it that there
16 were no preparations that were made of any schools in the Zvornik area
17 before what you were privy to on the 14th of July. Is that correct?
18 A. Well, yes.
19 Q. Now, you testified earlier today that when you arrived in Orahovac
20 with that bus that you were on, there were no prisoners in the gym. What
21 I'd like to know from you is, the persons you saw positioned around this
22 area, that's where you saw some of your fellow military policemen from the
23 Zvornik Brigade who were doing the security around the school; is that
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, according to the information which is in our possession, it
2 is our understanding that the military police from the Zvornik Brigade,
3 what they were doing that day was to provide security around the school
4 and that none of the military policemen were involved into the killings
5 which took place on that day.
6 My question to you is: Do you have any information that would
7 suggest otherwise?
8 A. No.
9 Q. When Trbic arrived with some others, they were also providing
10 security around the school; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, I take it that at some point in time, shortly after, Drago
13 Nikolic arrived at the school, and it's my understanding from your
14 interview that by the time he arrived, the prisoners had just been brought
15 into the gym and they were not yet being loaded on any trucks. Is that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And would it be a fair statement to say that at that time there
19 were quite a few people around the school, women, children and locals, and
20 that everybody was very curious as to what was happening in that school?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And Drago Nikolic, when he arrived, he was coming from the
23 direction of Zvornik, he parked the car, you've already said that before,
24 and he gave you the keys. What I'd like to confirm is at that point he
25 met with Jasikovac, according to your interview. Is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And again, according to your interview, you were not aware what
3 Drago Nikolic and Jasikovac discussed at that time?
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. And whether -- neither Jasikovac, nor Drago Nikolic, to your
6 knowledge, went into the school or the gym; is that correct?
7 A. Correct.
8 Q. And according to your interview, Drago Nikolic stayed in Orahovac
9 not very long, and in fact, one hour or less, maybe 45 minutes. Now,
10 this, for the sake of my colleague, comes from page 59 in the English
11 version of your interview. Is that correct?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. And when he arrived, he was driving the car he usually uses,
14 that's the Opel Rekord, and according to your interview, he did not bring
15 anything with him; is that correct?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. And no one was with Drago Nikolic, and it was suggested to you, or
18 it was asked of you, whether the situation changed at the school when he
19 arrived, and your response on page 60 of the English version was that, no,
20 nothing changed. Is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And then on page 64 of your interview, in the English version,
23 Mr. Manning asked you the following question: "Okay. Let's go back; he
24 first arrives." Now we are talking about Drago Nikolic. "He goes away,
25 he comes back a second time."
1 Question: "Was he present when the prisoners were being loaded on
2 to the trucks? You were present. Was he?" Your answer was: "I think he
3 was not."
4 Can you confirm that this is so, that Drago Nikolic was not there
5 when the prisoners were being loaded on the trucks?
6 A. No. He wasn't there.
7 Q. Now, moving on to the first time you saw Drago Nikolic, you've
8 already testified to the fact that you did not see him for the entire day,
9 and you don't know where he was during that time. Is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, talking about those trucks, I'd just like you to confirm that
12 any truck you saw being loaded with prisoners, they were approaching all
13 the way to the door, they would back up and then some of the prisoners
14 would be taken on board these trucks. Is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And to make it clear, none of the prisoners were taken out of the
17 gym and then loaded into a truck that would have stayed on the street; is
18 that correct?
19 A. Yes, that's correct.
20 Q. Now, you yourself, you testified that you went behind those trucks
21 as some kind of an escort. I'd like you to confirm that it took some time
22 before you were asked to follow any of these trucks. Is that correct?
23 A. Well, yes, maybe after an hour or so.
24 Q. And the area where you turned around, you did not see anything
25 which was going on on the other side of the railway; is that correct?
1 A. No.
2 Q. So in fact you never drove to that area where the killings you
3 learned later took place; is that correct?
4 A. Well, not on that day. Maybe two or three months later, or maybe
5 a month later.
6 Q. And you never took Drago Nikolic to that area on that day either,
7 did you?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Now, a question was put to you as to who was responsible for the
10 military policemen from the Zvornik Brigade once Drago Nikolic left after
11 being there for about 45 minutes, and your response on page 27 and 28 was
12 that you don't know exactly who was in charge but that Jasikovac was
13 there. Is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, moving on to later on that night, you testified that you
16 drove by the water point when it was dark, along with Drago Nikolic, and
17 that you saw bodies in the meadow as you were driving to Kitonjice. I'd
18 like you to confirm that at that time there was nobody present at that
19 location and no activity going on whatsoever. Is that so?
20 A. [No interpretation]
21 Q. Now, when you were escorting these -- your previous answer,
22 Mr. Bircakovic, was missed in the transcript. I can either repeat the
23 question or you can just -- that there was nobody present at that location
24 and no activity whatsoever when you drove by later that night. Is that
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. Now, when you -- when you were following those trucks on a few
3 occasions, you did this and other than for the occasion about this
4 policeman from Bijeljina, you were alone in that vehicle; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. In response to a question by my colleague representing
7 Mr. Popovic, you stated that there was at one point a policeman from
8 Bijeljina who accompanied you once or twice on following those trucks; is
9 that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And you stated that this man was not from your territory because,
12 indeed, he was from Bijeljina?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, I'm not sure I understood from your interview, and I will
15 quote the words that is on page 67 and 68, of the interview, where you
16 stated that, "He was down there and then he was with me for a while. So
17 whether he did that or not, I would not know."
18 The best thing, I believe, is just in your own words, can you say
19 what you know about this civilian policeman from Bijeljina? Where was he
20 and where did he go, from what you recall?
21 A. Allegedly, his brother was imprisoned in Srebrenica and he had
22 arrived to ask these people whether they knew anything about it. That
23 would be that.
24 Q. So just for the sake of to be clear, did he always stay at the
25 school and was with you or did he go to that area where you later learned
1 that killings were taking place?
2 A. Yes. On one or two occasions, he went with me, and then he got
3 out by the school there.
4 Q. And I'm not sure I understand. I'm sorry. I'd just like you
5 confirm, did he go to the area where killings took place at any point in
6 time, to your knowledge?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Now, in terms of following those trucks, which you said you did on
9 a few occasions, would I be right in saying that you did not see any other
10 Zvornik Brigade military policemen do the same as you did? Is that
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And sometimes the trucks were escorted where at other times there
14 was no escort with these trucks; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And Cedo Jovic, for example, did not escort any trucks and you
17 only saw him in front of the school at one point; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, yesterday in response to a question by my colleague from the
20 Prosecution, the question was about the number of prisoners which could
21 fit on one truck, your response, and I quote from page 11026, lines 11 to
22 15, on the basis of the size of the trucks, you said "perhaps 20 or 30, I
23 don't know exactly."
24 I'd just like you to confirm that indeed you cannot establish with
25 any degree of precision how many people could fit in one of those trucks;
1 is that correct?
2 A. Well, yes.
3 Q. I have one more question and then we can actually -- actually, we
4 can break now, Mr. President. I think it's the time. Someone has
5 indicated to me that --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: We still have another 15 minutes.
7 MR. BOURGON: Sorry. I was --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: If you --
9 MR. BOURGON: No, no, no. I'm pretty -- I'm on a roll.
10 Everything's okay.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Then go ahead.
12 MR. BOURGON: I apologise.
13 Q. Mr. Bircakovic, just a few more minutes and then we will go for
14 the break. I take it from your -- from what you could see when you
15 followed those trucks on a few occasions, that everything was peaceful and
16 that the prisoners themselves -- I mean, they didn't offer any resistance
17 or anything. There was no obstruction from the prisoners; is that
19 A. That's true, there was no resistance.
20 Q. Now, of course, you can't put yourself in the shoes of the
21 prisoners, but would it be a fair statement to say that they believed that
22 they were going to be exchanged? In your view?
23 MR. NICHOLLS: I object to that. How could he possibly answer
24 what was in the mind of any individual prisoner on that truck.
25 MR. BOURGON: From what he saw, Mr. President, he can draw his own
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 MR. NICHOLLS: I'll withdraw the objection. It's just --
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead. Are you in a position to answer that
5 question, Mr. Bircakovic?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I believe that they were being
7 taken for an exchange. What they thought, I don't know.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. All right. So there was --
9 MR. BOURGON:
10 Q. Thank you for your candour, Mr. Bircakovic, and we'll move on.
11 You were asked during your interview, and I quote from page 72,
12 whether you knew who was at the execution point, and your answer was, no.
13 Is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, in line to a previous answer from one of my questions, I take
16 it that you have no knowledge whatsoever about any military policemen from
17 the Zvornik Brigade going to the execution point on that day. Is that
19 A. Well, no.
20 Q. Now, you testified yesterday that before driving to the forward
21 command post with Drago Nikolic that night, that you spent about 30
22 minutes at the school or that Drago Nikolic spent about 30 minutes at the
23 school, while in your interview - that was on page 64 - you stated that
24 this took place after the prisoners were taken to the execution point. So
25 let me try and make that more precise as a question.
1 When you went with Drago Nikolic, there were no more prisoners
2 being taken to the execution point; is that correct?
3 A. Well, yes. When Drago arrived in the evening, when he returned.
4 Q. So when he returned, there were no more executions going on; is
5 that correct?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Now --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Again, let's clarify. "No" what? Do you agree that
9 when Drago Nikolic returned in the evening, there were no more executions
10 going on? If you agree you say, "Yes, I agree."
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I agree.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
13 MR. BOURGON:
14 Q. The next part I'd like to cover, Mr. Bircakovic, is concerning the
15 machinery that you saw that night, and I would simply like you to confirm
16 that when you saw that machinery stopped at the school and move towards
17 the execution point, or whatever you saw about that machinery, this also
18 took place before you drove with Drago Nikolic to the forward command post
19 on that night. Is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And driving beside the water point, you did not stop, those bodies
22 were visible from the road, is that so?
23 A. Well, yes. That was a reflection from the car.
24 Q. And at that point in time, and from -- based on your interview,
25 you yourself did not say anything to Drago Nikolic driving by the water
1 point, is that so?
2 JUDGE AGIUS: He answered that question yesterday, neither of
3 them, neither he nor Nikolic said anything, but if you want to push it
4 further, go ahead.
5 MR. BOURGON: It's a lead-up to my following question,
6 Mr. President. I'd like the witness to --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
8 MR. BOURGON: -- even say it again, even though it was -- I realise
9 it was asked before. There's not too many of those questions that were
10 asked before, so I'd like your -- your indulgence, Mr. President.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, go ahead.
12 MR. BOURGON:
13 Q. Mr. Bircakovic, can you confirm that, driving which that water
14 point at that time in the evening, that you did not say anything to Drago
15 Nikolic and that Drago Nikolic was also quiet and he did not say anything?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, I wanted to confirm this because I'd like to just quote your
18 interview and I quote now from page 82 of your interview because you were
19 kind of asked why it was so that nobody was saying a word. And on page
20 82, and I quote what you said here, "We never discussed of his orders or
21 what had been his orders from the higher instances. Anyway, it was
22 visible that he was very angry. He was constantly silent. He was not
23 saying anything, and it was not my thing to do - or to - to do that. He
24 is my superior officer."
25 Is that a fair illustration of how sinister the atmosphere was
1 that night?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And that's when you return and you drop Drago Nikolic at the gate,
4 you went to park the car, and you went home. Is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, based on your previous answers, because at some point you
7 said that it could have been around 8.00, 8.30 at night, is it possible
8 that it was indeed much later than 8.00, 8.30, that the time is not really
9 what is important, it's the sequence of events? Is that correct?
10 A. Well, it was dark. It was already night. Whether it was 9.00 or
11 what, in any case, it was dark. The lights had to be turned on.
12 Q. Now, in your interview, and I quote from page 78, not quote, I
13 just say what happened there on page 78. You stated that during the time
14 you were in Orahovac, what was happening was a shock for all the people
15 who were there and that this were no discussions either during or
16 afterwards. Is that a fair statement of what happened?
17 A. Well, yes.
18 Q. The next area with my questions will move on to Pilica. I think,
19 Mr. President, if -- with your --
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Before you move that, but about the time, we're
21 talking of July, summer, halfway through summer, basically, and to my
22 knowledge, at 8.30 in the evening, it's still light during the month of
23 July. Isn't that correct?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes, but I said 9.00 or even
25 after 9.00. In any case, it was dark. I don't know how late it was. But
1 it was dark.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. That's important to establish.
3 Yes. What were you about to say, Mr. Bourgon?
4 MR. BOURGON: Well, I suggest to break now because I'm moving into
5 another area which is Pilica, another area, from now on.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. So we'll have a 25-minute break starting
7 from now. Thank you.
8 --- Recess taken at 5.39 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 6.10 p.m.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Bourgon?
11 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Q. Welcome back, Mr. Bircakovic. I hope you had a chance to rest and
13 we'll try to finish as quickly as I can.
14 As I mentioned just before the break, I'd like to move to a
15 different area and that is Pilica, and you testified already that you went
16 to Pilica with Jasikovac and that was later than the events in Orahovac;
17 is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And you also said in your interview that you in fact dropped
20 Jasikovac at Pilica a short while and that you were able to confirm that
21 there were prisoners held in the school; is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Now, something that did not come out yet is the people that were
24 guarding those prisoners, you stated in your interview that the people
25 guarding them "were not our people, I think security was different."
1 Now I quote from page 84 of the English transcript for my
3 I'd like you to confirm that indeed you were not sure whether
4 these people were from Zvornik Brigade or not. Is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And once again, I'd like you to confirm that you yourself did not
7 go into the school and that even Jasikovac remained outside discussing
8 some things with the people there. Is that true?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, with respect to what happened to the people who were held in
11 Pilica, would I be correct in saying that you only learned later, when you
12 were listening to the radio or TV, and you heard about what was done, and
13 you mention in your interview that it is when Erdemovic confessed that you
14 really learned what happened there? Is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And again to confirm that Drago Nikolic was not in Pilica with
17 you, is that so?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Now, with respect to Rocevic, a different area, you stated that to
20 the best of your recollection, when you took Jasikovac there, you don't
21 think there was anybody else there. There was only the security or the
22 army that was there, to use your words from page 89 of the interview. Is
23 that correct?
24 A. Well, I don't know how you mean.
25 Q. Mr. Bircakovic, let's just go back, because there is one answer
1 that I'd like to make clear, just to avoid any uncertainty. A little
2 earlier I said and again to confirm that Drago Nikolic was not in Pilica
3 with you, is that so? Can you please answer yes, he was not there, if
4 that is your answer?
5 A. Right. He wasn't there.
6 Q. Now, let me take that last question over again, concerning the
7 people in Rocevic. Now, I will quote from page 89 of the interview, and
8 this will make things easier. The question at the end of page 88
9 was, "Was anyone else with you, Jasikovac and yourself, anyone else?"
10 Your response was, "I don't think there was anybody else. There was only
11 the security, the army that was there."
12 Now then the question was asked of you, "Who was guarding the
13 prisoners, which part of the army?" And your response was, "I'm not sure
14 from which battalion they came directly, but they were also officers.
15 "Were they from Zvornik Brigade's officers?" Answer: "It is
16 possible that they were. They might not have been. I'm not sure that I
17 know that for certain."
18 Do you recall these were your answers and confirm that you stand
19 by your answers today?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And in Rocevic, Jasikovac did get out of the car to go and speak
22 to the people but you did not see with whom he spoke, is that so?
23 A. I didn't know those people.
24 Q. And there was the issue of those prisoners and something that
25 would have happened to them in Kozluk. Would I be right in saying that
1 you only heard about this later, after a while? Is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now, I need to go back to the issue of the vehicle logs, and I
4 hate to labour the point. Now, of course I can't speak for the accused
5 but if other people in the courtroom had been in the army they could
6 understand much better your answers but let me just try to make it clear
7 for everyone, in terms of how these vehicle logs are filled in.
8 First I'd like to confirm with you that what you stated is that
9 the vehicle logs themselves, because of the way they were filled, they are
10 not fully accurate as to the places where the cars went on a particular
11 day. Is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And you also stated that it was a common practice, that wasn't
14 only you, that was a common practice for all drivers to fill in the logs
15 not on the exact day but a few days later, sometimes many days later. Is
16 that a fair statement?
17 A. Well, yes.
18 Q. And the reason the drivers fill in these vehicle logs at different
19 points in time is because it is important to justify the number of
20 kilometres and also the fuel that is used, is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And would I be right in saying that this is particularly important
23 at the end of the month, and that's when, if there is anything missing in
24 those logs, it is then filled in so that the record is complete for the
25 month? Is that correct?
1 A. Well, yes, with the number of kilometres crossed.
2 Q. Now, let's look at the P296, the vehicle log, just to ask you a
3 few questions so that you can confirm. Is your screen working,
4 Mr. President?
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, now it is.
6 MR. BOURGON: Mine is not.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Just press one of the buttons, except the off, of
9 MR. BOURGON: I didn't press the off, but I don't have anything.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: You don't have it either? We didn't have it for
11 some time but I was patient waiting for it to be solved.
12 MR. BOURGON: Ah, here we go.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Is it okay now?
14 MR. BOURGON: I pressed e-court on mine and it worked, so.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, okay. Is it working now? All right.
16 Mr. Nikolic? Go ahead, Mr. Bourgon.
17 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Q. Mr. Bircakovic, can you just confirm the last column on the
19 document that is before you, I believe it says "manager's signature." Who
20 is it that would sign there?
21 A. For the most part, Drago Nikolic would sign.
22 Q. Even if this column called "manager's signature"? Maybe I
23 misunderstood your testimony from yesterday. Do you recognise the
24 signature that is there before you now in that last column?
25 A. Well, maybe turn the page. I don't know whether this is the
1 Nikolic, because there was one Nikolic in the logistics. Can we turn to
2 the next page?
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Actually, the one he testified upon yesterday was
4 another page.
5 MR. BOURGON:
6 Q. My question, Mr. Bircakovic, is on that page where it
7 says "manager's signature," are you aware that this would be signed not by
8 the user but by someone in the transport section? Because this is about
9 the fuel and the oil use. Are you aware of this or you're not familiar
10 with this first page?
11 A. Yes. Right. That's the person who issued the fuel for vehicles
12 for that day.
13 Q. Now, while we are on this page, in the top part just above this
14 section, where your name is written, where it says Bircakovic, Milorad,
15 there are also two other names there. Can you confirm what these two --
16 whose names these are and why these names appear in that section?
17 A. Well, those are the names of my colleagues who stood in for me
18 while I was absent, while I took my days off from driving.
19 Q. And would I be right in saying that even on some days when these
20 people were driving, you would be the one filling out the other page with
21 the locations that the vehicle travelled to? Is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Can we move to the next page, please? Now, if we look at this
24 page, first I'd like you to go towards, to the last column, where it says
25 the user, and can you confirm that usually, or according to the book, it
1 would have been the responsibility of the user to sign in this column? Is
2 that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. But it was a regular practice that the users did not sign in that
5 column, which then was empty at the end of the month; is that correct?
6 A. Yes, for the most part.
7 Q. And when that was the case at the end of the month, if there was
8 empty spaces in the user column, it would be a regular practice for Drago
9 Nikolic, because he was the main user, to sign in every box, to ensure
10 that the record was complete; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And would I be right in saying that even though a particular
13 column might have the signature of Drago Nikolic, it doesn't necessarily
14 mean that he was the one who used that vehicle on that day? Is that
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. I'd like to go just to page 4, which is an identical page but for
18 the second part of the month. I'd like to draw your attention,
19 Mr. Bircakovic, to the 17th of July. And if we can zoom in to that date,
20 I see in that column Kravica. Now, what I'd like to know is whether it
21 was you that drove to Kravica on that day and whether you recall driving
22 to Kravica on that day.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And can you explain where you went on that day and why?
25 A. Well, on that day, we went to attend a colleague's funeral. That
1 colleague was killed during the breakout from Srebrenica towards Nezuk at
3 Q. And would I be right saying that this colleague is Dusan Nikolic,
4 who was the first cousin of Drago Nikolic; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And Drago Nikolic was with you when you travelled to Kravica?
7 A. Well, yes. I think the entire military police detail was there.
8 We went there in a van.
9 Q. Now, you yourself, Mr. Bircakovic, are not aware -- you're not
10 aware of any killings or any crimes that were committed in Kravica or the
11 Kravica warehouse, are you?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Now, do you know today that something happened in Kravica
15 A. Well, I do. The stories started after a while.
16 Q. But at the time, you did not know; is that correct?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Now, I'd like to move to a different area. Can you confirm that
19 Drago Nikolic did not have either a call sign or a VHF radio in the
20 vehicle that you were using with him?
21 A. No. He did not have a Motorola. I don't think he ever had a
22 Motorola in his car.
23 Q. So if somebody wanted to convey a message to Drago Nikolic, one
24 would have to go and see him personally; is that correct?
25 A. Well, either that or they could call him on the phone at his
1 place, or if he was at one single location.
2 Q. So let's take, for example, for the few minutes or the little time
3 he was in Orahovac, one would have to go there to see him, right, to speak
4 to him?
5 A. Well, yes.
6 Q. I move to a different area, and that is an individual, a question
7 was asked of you yesterday by the Prosecution, called Gojko Simic. You
8 said that you know Gojko Simic and that you saw him in Orahovac. What I'd
9 like to know is, because in this interview, you said that you heard that
10 he was there but that you did not see him. What is it today? Did you see
11 him or did you hear that he was in Orahovac?
12 A. Well, I saw him. I was standing on the road, and I saw him
13 walking towards the front line. He was on his way back from the holiday
14 that he had had, and he went towards the line, using the same road to
15 Parlog and Baljkovica where they had their line.
16 Q. Now, with respect to Gojko Simic, would I be right in saying that
17 you heard that his son was going to the army and also that he was killed a
18 few days after the events in Orahovac? Is that correct?
19 A. Well, yes. His son had a sendoff before that, and when there was
20 this break through towards Baljkovica, he got killed in the Baljkovica
22 Q. Now, I'd like to move to a different area, and I have a few
23 miscellaneous questions to end my cross-examination, the first one being:
24 Something was asked of you during your interview concerning the removal of
25 bodies later on in time, far after the events in Orahovac. Can you
1 confirm what you stated in the interview, that you know nothing about
2 these events or what happened concerning the removal of bodies later on?
3 A. Well, I don't know about that. I only know that I took Trbic to
4 Petkovci, that he got out of the car, he looked around, he stayed there
5 maybe a minute or so, and then we returned. At the time, nothing was done
6 with regard to the removal. I don't know anything about that. And that's
7 what I stated.
8 Q. And do you know whether this visit of Trbic had any relationship
9 with the removal of bodies or it's just a place that you went and you
10 recall the time and the place and nothing more?
11 A. It was just that time and that place. We just went there.
12 Nothing else. Just went to that place at that time.
13 Q. So you don't know whether this is related in fact to the removal
14 of bodies; is that correct?
15 A. It did not have anything to do with the removal of bodies. I'm
16 sure of that.
17 Q. Now, one question I just forgot concerning your driving of Drago
18 Nikolic. Can you confirm that on the 16th of July, you drove Drago
19 Nikolic to meet the family of Dusan Nikolic and then to the hospital, and
20 that was on the 16th of July? Do you recall this?
21 A. I do. We all went, not only Drago. Maybe 10 or so people were
22 involved in the burial and the preparations. We went to his family up
23 there. We went to their apartment. This is what we did. I believe that
24 we spent the entire day in that way.
25 Q. My next question has to do with something you mentioned to the
1 investigator assigned to a Defence team of Drago Nikolic, and
2 Mr. President, if I can move in private session, just --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly. Let's move into private session for a
4 short while.
5 [Private session]
11 [Open session]
12 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session.
13 MR. BOURGON:
14 Q. I was going to ask you more questions, but I will leave it just
15 one last question. You met with the Prosecution this weekend, and there
16 was one of your answer that really drew our curiosity. And I'd like to
17 read you this answer and then maybe ask you a question with respect to
18 this answer. In the notes that we've been -- now, these are the notes
19 that were prepared by the Prosecution when you met with them, and one of
20 the things you mentioned is, and I quote, "He recalled driving away from
21 the Orahovac school area in the course of 14 July 1995, to Zvornik and to
22 Karakaj. He stated that he could have left the area if there had been an
23 order but cannot recall who ordered this or why he went to Zvornik and
25 My first question is: This -- well, do you recall that you
1 mentioned this to the Prosecution?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. So my understanding of this paragraph is that this happened during
4 the day which you spent in Orahovac. Is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And is it possible that it is Drago Nikolic that you took to
7 Zvornik and Karakaj on the 14th of July?
8 A. Well, no.
9 Q. But you don't recall who it is that you took away from Orahovac,
10 if you took somebody away from Orahovac on that day?
11 A. Maybe one of the people who were there. I don't know. I can't
12 remember. In any case, I did go there.
13 Q. And I'd like to know if you -- just a few questions concerning the
14 13th of July. I'd like you to try to remember whether you recall on the
15 13th of July following a UNHCR convoy that drove to Bratunac along with
16 Trbic. Is that something that you recall happening on the 13th of July?
17 A. Yes. There is something there, but I can't remember exactly what
18 it was. Those convoys carrying humanitarian aid were escorted. That's
19 true. I personally escorted such convoys on many occasions, up to
20 Bratunac and back.
21 Q. And my last question, Mr. Bircakovic, is: Can you confirm that
22 the Zvornik Brigade did not have, in its fleet of vehicles, an Opel Kadet
23 Suza, the coupe type, can you confirm this?
24 A. I don't know. I don't think so. There were Peugeot vehicles,
25 there was an Opel Rekord, the Opel Rekord that we were talking about. It
1 had a Volkswagen Passat. I can't confirm that there was a Suza, no.
2 MR. BOURGON: With your leave, Mr. President, I just want to
3 verify that I didn't forget any questions.
4 [Defence counsel confer]
5 MR. BOURGON:
6 Q. One last question, Mr. Bircakovic, and I'm done. Do you recall
7 whether anyone brought you some food while you were in Orahovac on the
8 14th of July? And I say you. It could have been you and the other people
9 who were there on that day.
10 A. I don't know about other men. I believe that on the way to
11 Zvornik and Karakaj, I had lunch on the way there or something to that
13 Q. And do you recall anyone taking food to the -- to those who were
14 in Orahovac on the 14th of July?
15 A. I don't know about that. I know that there was water and that
16 they got water.
17 MR. BOURGON: Thank you very much, Mr. Bircakovic. I have no
18 further questions. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Bourgon. It's the Borovcanin
20 Defence team's turn now. Mr. Stojanovic, how much time do you think you
22 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, up to half an hour.
23 If you recall, yesterday we said that we might not have any questions,
24 bearing in mind that the civilian police was not mentioned during the
25 examination-in-chief. But in paragraph 30, count 30, Ljubomir Borovcanin
1 is not charged with the events in Orahovac. We would kindly allow Your
2 Honour's permission to clarify some things with this regard.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Go ahead. And may I ask -- get a
4 confirmation from the Gvero and the Miletic Defence teams that they are
5 not cross-examining this witness? Madam Fauveau?
6 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] No, Mr. President, we won't have any
8 JUDGE AGIUS: And Mr. Haynes?
9 MR. JOSSE: Correct on behalf of Gvero, Your Honour.
10 MR. HAYNES: 15 to 20 minutes.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: So this witness has to return tomorrow. Go ahead,
12 Mr. Stojanovic, you may start now.
13 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 Cross-examination by Mr. Stojanovic:
15 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Bircakovic. Today, to my colleague's
16 questions, you mentioned your contacts which you had with the civilian
17 police when you escorted the convoy. Do you remember that?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You say that on the bus where you were, on the road from Divic to
20 Orahovac, there were four policemen, do you remember that?
21 A. Four or five maybe.
22 Q. I would like to read to you one part of your interview with the
23 investigators. For identification, this is in the version that contains
24 both B/C/S and English, page 47 and part of page 48. It says here,
25 Mr. Bircakovic, to the investigator's question, "Tell me once again who
1 escorted these men, can you describe the escorts?" Your answer was
2 this: "They wore civilian -- I mean civilian police. I mean civilian
3 clothes. They didn't wear camouflage uniforms. They wore uniforms of the
4 civilian police. There were four or five of them on the bus, four or five
5 policemen." Do you remember that?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And you can still confirm that as you sit here today?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Allow me then to ask for another clarification. What did you mean
10 by civilian police uniforms that were not camouflage uniforms? Were those
11 blue overalls or blue two-piece uniforms?
12 A. They were blue uniforms, such as were worn by the then-police that
13 moved around the town.
14 Q. They didn't wear overalls?
15 A. Their -- they might have been overalls. In any case, they were
16 civilian police, as far as that is concerned. Maybe they were blue
17 uniforms of the civilian police, that the civilian policemen wore.
18 Q. Did they consist of two pieces or just one piece?
19 A. I think just one piece. Those were overalls. I'm not sure. I'm
20 not sure. But I know that --
21 Q. The bus that you got on, it was the first to arrive at Vidikovac;
22 is that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Today, you have told us that you did not see any other vehicle in
25 front of you.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You've also told us that you did not see an APC, a UN APC in front
3 of you?
4 A. No, I don't remember having seen it.
5 Q. I would like to show you another statement provided by a witness
6 that we heard, who was protected. He was one of the survivors from
8 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Stojanovic. Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
9 MR. NICHOLLS: Again, Your Honours, there is no reason for this
10 background to load up the question with, This is of a witness who
11 testified here, et cetera. He can easily read the passage or give the
12 proposition and say, do you agree with that, do you not agree with that,
13 is that true, is that not true, or what do you have to say about that
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Stojanovic? Now you've said it in any
16 case, but I would suggest that you proceed along the lines indicated by
17 Mr. Nicholls.
18 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. This is
19 what I will do.
20 Q. This is what I want to ask you. It says in this statement, "When
21 we arrived at the road towards Josanica, there is a stone quarry there.
22 From there we took off for Divic. As we left the tunnel, somebody saw an
23 APC by the hotel Vidikovac. It was some 800 metres away from us. We
24 continued our journey. We passed through Divic. And we arrived in
1 "When we arrived at Karakaj, the lorries and the buses turned off
2 to the left, in the direction of Tuzla," and later on it says,"When we
3 arrived in front of the school, we realised that this was really a UN APC,
4 but it had been captured by the Serbs."
5 My question is this: Does this jog your memory? Can you remember
6 that there was an APC with UN markings on it?
7 A. As far as I remember, this wasn't the case. I can't remember
8 that. I don't know.
9 Q. We had an occasion to hear another testimony by the man who
10 conducted that UN vehicle and who was leading the convoy. He drove that
11 UN vehicle.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I am at a loss. We have just agreed that this is
13 not the procedure that you should be following barely two minutes ago and
14 now you resort to the same procedure that I had suggested you should
15 abandon. You don't need to tell the witness who may have said this or
16 that. I mean, just put the proposition to the witness and ask him whether
17 he agrees with it or not, without referring to any particular witness or
18 to any particular evidence. He doesn't even need to know whether this has
19 been testified or not. I'm sorry if I'm abrupt but --
20 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Thank
21 you for your assistance.
22 Q. Witness, my question is this: Would you agree, faced with the
23 things that I'm telling you, that there was an APC in front of you?
24 A. If there was, I don't remember. That may well have been the
25 case. I cannot guarantee that it wasn't. But I don't remember. If I
1 remembered, why wouldn't I say that there was? There is nothing for me to
2 gain by not saying that I remember. I don't remember.
3 Q. Thank you. On that day, do you remember having seen, in front of
4 your bus, on the bus where you were, a Golf with civilian police markings?
5 A. No. I don't know.
6 Q. Would you agree with me if I told you that when this convoy was
7 being organised, and according to some information it left Bratunac on the
8 14th of July, in every bus there was a soldier of the VRS providing
9 security for the convoy and the bus of the convoy that was moving in the
10 direction of Zvornik?
11 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, before you answer, Mr. Bircakovic. Yes,
12 Mr. Zivanovic?
13 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. It arises from this
14 question that the witness is supposed to talk about the organisation of
15 this convoy in Bratunac, and I don't think that the witness ever mentioned
16 having been in Bratunac when the convoy was being organised, so I don't
17 think this is an appropriate question for this witness put in this way.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: According to the logbook, he did go to Bratunac on
19 one or two occasions but that may be beside the point.
20 Yes, Mr. Stojanovic, after having heard Mr. Zivanovic, do you wish
21 to proceed with your question or do you wish to pass to the next one?
22 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I will rephrase the
23 question. I don't have any problem with that. I'm trying to avoid
24 quoting any more statements and testimonies by various witnesses.
25 Q. My question, therefore, is this: Would it jog your memory if I
1 told you that there is a possibility that on every one of those buses, and
2 you were on the first one of them, that there was a VRS soldier providing
3 security for the buses?
4 A. I don't know whether there was or whether there wasn't. I know
5 that there were four or five civilian policemen who escorted those buses.
6 Whether the soldiers were there or not, I don't know. I only know that
7 not only in my bus but in every other bus, there were four or five men who
8 had arrived on the buses, which means that every bus had its security.
9 Those men were on the buses.
10 Q. Allow me to face you with P00220. This is a Prosecutor's
11 exhibit. This is the logbook of the duty officer of the Bratunac
12 Brigade. Let us look at the ERN 0663926, page 17 in e-court, the English
13 version. Page 14 in e-court, of the English version.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
15 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, just for clarity of the record, the
16 transcript has down duty officer log, and what this exhibit is titled, and
17 it's entitled on the list given to us by my friends is that this is the
18 Bratunac Brigade military police daily log, so for the record, that's what
19 we've got here is an MP log, not a duty officer notebook.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you for pointing that out. We've got -- we
21 haven't got more time. It's just a few seconds before 7.00. So I suggest
22 that you -- we adjourn now and we proceed tomorrow. The sitting tomorrow
23 starts at 2.15 in the afternoon. Thank you.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,
25 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 9th day of May,
1 2007, at 2.15 p.m.