1 Thursday, 21 June 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.25 p.m.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, good afternoon, everybody.
6 Madam Registrar, could you call the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-05-88-T, the Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, ma'am. For the record all the accused
10 are here. I do not notice any absences on the -- amongst the Defence
11 teams. Prosecution is Mr. McCloskey and Mr. Nicholls.
12 Yes. I understand there are some preliminaries? Yes,
13 Mr. McCloskey?
14 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President, good afternoon. Good
15 afternoon, everyone.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: At this time I would like to make a request, Mr.
18 President, that we take the first three weeks of July as a break. I know
19 that you have issued the -- your decision that we put on witnesses up
20 until the end of June and we've all been planning on what to do with July
21 and hoping to -- that there would be some -- a lawyer appointed for or
22 chosen by General Tolimir and that we would have a better idea. There is
23 nothing that's actually clarified itself on this issue and we are having a
24 very difficult time finding adequate witnesses to fill that time that
25 might not affect the concerns that I think Mr. Bourgon mentioned and that
1 I share with him, that I had mentioned, that we would be getting into
2 issues that may relate to Tolimir.
3 I think most of the Defence counsel have felt the same way, that
4 we need some clarity, if possible, on those three weeks. I can bring in
5 some witnesses but it has been difficult and I think if we are also -- I
6 can tell you we are all very tired as well. This has been ten months of a
7 good pace and as you know, a rigorous case and subject matter but we are
8 ready -- we can put on witnesses in July. We are having trouble but I
9 think it would be a good for all if we took this break. I know that there
10 are efforts to resolve the Tolimir issue. I think OLAD is working hard on
11 that so I hope that will happen soon. But that is just the request I
12 wanted to put forward to you and of course answer any questions you have.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Are there any comments from the Defence
14 teams? Mr. Josse?
15 MR. JOSSE: Well, I only rise, Your Honour, because we were the
16 one team who opposed that suggestion originally. On reflection and on
17 balance, we now support what my learned friend says. So I think the
18 Defence are unanimous in this regard. Of course, it's a matter for the
19 Trial Chamber but I think I would just make that clear.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: We will be issuing -- thank you, Mr. Josse. We will
21 be issuing a ruling later on today.
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 JUDGE AGIUS: We've taken note of what you said, Mr. McCloskey.
24 We will not of course pronounce ourselves on your request which seems to
25 have the endorsement of all the Defence teams. We'll need to think about
1 it. In the meantime later on today, we will be handing down a ruling or
2 an order asking you to give -- work on some estimates that would be
3 applicable if there is a joinder, and if not. At the same time, I hope
4 you all understand that the question of joinder as such doesn't hinge
5 necessarily only at the moment -- or the timing of the decision on joinder
6 doesn't hinge necessarily or only on assignment of counsel to Mr. Tolimir.
7 There are various legal issues involved, particularly what has
8 happened in the last ten months or 11 months in his absence, including the
9 hearing of evidence and the tendering of documents. So there are problems
10 ahead, and of course we are - like I would assume you all are - fully
11 aware of. We'll think about your request, Mr. McCloskey, and we'll try to
12 come back to you as soon as we can with a view to making it possible for
13 both sides, if we decide to proceed, to be able to know exactly on what
14 terms and for how long and to what extent. So please allow us to ponder
15 on these issues, and hopefully we'll come back to you very soon. Thank
16 you. Are there any further preliminaries? Yes, Mr. Bourgon?
17 MR. BOURGON: Good afternoon, Mr. President. At this point in
18 time I would like to make an oral application further to information which
19 was provided to us by the Prosecution today. We've received a proofing
20 notes which were drafted by the Prosecution further to their proofing
21 session with Witness 129. Witness 129 is -- will be testifying, not the
22 next witness but the second following witness, and based on the proofing
23 notes that we've received, it appears that there have been some
24 substantial modifications to his -- the information this witness has
25 provided previously to the Prosecution, and this information or the
1 changes, whether new or modified information, goes in the direction of
2 supporting the testimony of the witness who is presently on the stand.
3 And both witnesses are presently in The Hague. The Prosecution has had an
4 opportunity to proof the witness, and the application at this time is to
5 bar any further contact between the Prosecution and the witness. They had
6 the chance to proof him. Now it's better if the witness does not have any
7 contact so that he may testify and not be privy to any further information
8 that this witness presently on the stand might provide to him or not.
9 Of course, on cross-examination, I will raise that issue with the
10 present witness, whether they spoke together, because they are quite
11 close, and this second witness happens to be, as the Chamber will see, the
12 only witness who can corroborate the story put forward by the present
13 witness. Thank you, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Actually, this person is one of the two associates
15 that the witness referred to, I take it. What about the second one? Is
16 he also scheduled listed as a witness or not, or isn't he available?
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: No. He is not currently scheduled and I don't
18 know if we have a statement from him off the top of my head.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. What's your comment on
20 Mr. Bourgon's request?
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: I would object. I think this is the subject
22 matter of a previous motion. It seems similar to what they are talking
23 about with Obrenovic so I think some of the law and the facts have been
24 stated there. I don't see any grounds that -- to prevent us from talking
25 to someone unless there is some sort of underlying belief or argument that
1 there is something crooked going on and there is absolutely not. And so I
2 don't, as he has -- as Mr. Bourgon has said, he will be able to
3 cross-examine the witness fully, and I don't see any reason that we
4 wouldn't be speaking to the witness. It would be normal that we would
5 continue to speak.
6 It's Mr. Vanderpuye's witness. I think Mr. Vanderpuye, at this
7 point, is probably finished with most of his proofing so this may not be a
8 big issue but like the Obrenovic issue wasn't, since I never saw
9 Mr. Obrenovic any way but I can find that out, if that would be
10 interesting, maybe we can avoid the whole issue but my guess is
11 Mr. Vanderpuye would have planned to see him today or perhaps tomorrow,
12 but I don't know. I can find that out but I see no grounds for it. I
13 don't see the point.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Zivanovic, because Mr. Bourgon was
15 standing before. Already standing before. Yes go ahead, Mr. Bourgon.
16 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President, just briefly in reply
17 first I would like to confirm that the second associate is a Defence
18 witness and the Prosecution has taken a statement from him. Of course,
19 they won't call him because he's not giving the same information. But we
20 will be calling the other -- this other associate. As for the one that is
21 presently scheduled to testify, the Prosecution has met him, so they've
22 had an opportunity to discuss everything they wanted to, and we are not
23 suggesting any impropriety on the part of the Prosecution, although it is
24 a fact that we are seeing from the proofing notes that we've received that
25 this witness is modifying what he previously said in statements, so
1 whether he was prompted to do so in questions by the Prosecution, whether
2 he was -- simply spoke with this witness or whether it is truthful or
3 refreshed -- new recollection on his behalf, whatever the situation, I
4 think it is in the interests of justice to have a witness that is not
5 influenced in any way before he testifies here a couple of days from now.
6 Thank you, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: But you all know -- I mean, and of course, you
8 amongst the -- foremost amongst others because of where you come from,
9 which jurisdiction you come from, that in a system like we have, where you
10 have proofing, that's why we also have a cross-examination system, and
11 that's what it's all about basically. I mean the control is in the
12 cross-examination. Anyway, we've taken note of your submission,
13 Mr. Bourgon. Mr. McCloskey, if you could kindly verify, as you suggested
14 you could do, and then come back to us, that would help us immensely come
15 to a pristine conclusion on this. Thank you.
16 Mr. Zivanovic?
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honours. I just like to add that
18 the information report with the conversation of the Prosecution
19 investigators with the second assistant of this witness was disclosed to
20 us under Rule 68.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Which one, the one who is witness 129 or the other
22 one that Mr. Bourgon --
23 MR. ZIVANOVIC: No, the other assistant.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. So that's it. That's for your
25 information. So I think we can proceed with admitting the witness in the
1 courtroom, unless there are further preliminaries. There seem to be none.
2 Yes, Madam Usher, please.
3 While we are waiting, it occurred to my mind yesterday that you
4 haven't come back to us in a final fashion, manner, on the question of the
5 aerial images. You had told us that there had been some consultations and
6 exchange of correspondence and that you would be coming back to us
7 shortly. Shortly, is of course a relative term in this environment. But
8 if perhaps you could at some point in time come back to us and pinpoint
9 the exact position of where you stand, it would be very helpful.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Acimovic, good afternoon to you and welcome
15 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
16 JUDGE AGIUS: We are going to proceed with your testimony and then
17 we see where we get at the end of today.
18 Mr. Nicholls -- I was going to call you Nikolic.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Once a day is enough. Could we please start in
20 private session. I will try to very quickly wrap up all the parts that
21 need to be there. There is not much more.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Let's go into private session, please.
23 [Private session]
11 Pages 12981-12984 redacted. Private session
9 [Open session]
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Make sure that this document is not broadcast as we
11 go into open session, please.
14 MR. NICHOLLS: Could we go to private session, please and redact
15 that line.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: We will have to redact and go into private session.
17 [Private session]
3 [Open session]
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I still need to sign the redaction.
5 MR. NICHOLLS:
6 Q. Okay, sir, I'm nearly done with the questions I have for you. I
7 just want to wrap up about how events finished at the school and how you
8 came to leave the school and then we'll be almost done.
9 First of all, during the time at the school, were you able to see
10 whether or not Mr. Popovic was armed, whether he had a weapon?
11 A. He had a pistol.
12 Q. Thank you. You spoke about how Popovic called the brigade and
13 requested trucks. Did he ask for anything else from the brigade, for
14 anything else to be sent or anybody to come from the brigade, anything
16 A. Yes. He said, "Urgently send me one of the two men who were or
17 who were located either in Petkovci or in Orahovac," one of these two
18 locations but I'm not sure which one he actually mentioned.
19 Q. All right. Now, at the time did you know who he was referring to?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Did you ever learn who these people were who had been requested to
22 be sent to the Rocevic school?
23 A. In a subsequent conversation with Milorad Trbic, when I explained
24 to him --
25 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, one moment. Yes, Mr. Meek?
1 MR. MEEK: I would ask that the witness take his ear phones off
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls? There is a request for
4 submission to be made. Yes go ahead, Mr. Meek.
5 MR. NICHOLLS: Can I approach my friend for a minute?
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
7 [Prosecution and Defence counsel confer]
8 MR. MEEK: I'll withdraw the objection at this point, Judge.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. Yes. I'll repeat the question
10 myself to you, Mr. Acimovic, and then you start answering it. Did you
11 ever learn who these people were who had been requested to be sent to the
12 Rocevic school? And you had just started telling us, "In a subsequent
13 conversation with Milorad Trbic, when I explained to him --"
14 Will you go on, take it up from there, please?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I explained to him what this
16 was all about, when I told him that Popovic had uttered that sentence, he
17 told me that he had probably meant either him or Jasikovac. That Popovic
18 most probably had referred to either him or Jasikovac.
19 MR. NICHOLLS:
20 Q. And which Jasikovac is that? Who is Jasikovac? Do you know his
21 first name or his position?
22 A. The commander of the military police company.
23 Q. Of the Zvornik Brigade?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And did Mr. Trbic tell you whether he or Mr. Jasikovac had gone to
1 the Rocevic school?
2 A. Later on, I learned, and I heard, that Jasikovac had gone down
4 Q. All right. Thank you. And just to be clear, did you learn that
5 from Mr. Trbic or from somebody else?
6 A. I believe that Trbic told me.
7 Q. All right. Thank you. Now, can you tell the Court please how you
8 came to leave the school that morning after all this had gone on? How
9 did -- what happened? How did you end up leaving the school and when did
10 you leave?
11 A. I told Popovic, as I have already explained in my previous
12 statements, that I had to go back to my unit, given the situation that my
13 unit was in. I told him that I had to go. At that moment he called the
14 brigade and told them exactly what I have just mentioned. He called the
15 brigade, I don't know who he spoke to, and he asked that person to
16 urgently send one of these two men to Rocevic. At that moment he told me
17 to wait until one of the two turned up at the school and only then to go
18 back to my unit. I told him that I wouldn't wait, that I had to leave
19 immediately. He was in a haste. The whole conversation that I conducted
20 with Popovic was carried out in a haste. He rushed me. He came to the
21 door and he ordered me to wait for one of the two to get to the school and
22 only then to leave to go to my unit. And then he went down the corridor
23 swearing and cursing. I shouted after him, "I'm not going to wait. I'm
24 going to leave before." However, he went down the corridor. Whether he
25 left the school or whether he stayed on I'm not sure. A few moments
1 later, or maybe a few minutes later, I decided to leave that place where I
2 was. I went through the school door and I started walking to my car,
3 where my car was parked. I thought that maybe somebody would stop me but
4 nobody did. As nobody stopped me, I got into my car and I returned to my
5 unit, and this would be the long and the short of that.
6 Q. Okay. And approximately what time did you get back to your
7 2nd Battalion headquarters?
8 A. I cannot say with any degree of certainty, but I believe that it
9 was in the period between 11.30 and 12.15.
10 Q. Just to be very clear, that's in the afternoon?
11 A. That's when I left. That's when I left the school, in that
13 Q. Before you left the school, or when you were leaving the school,
14 did you see whether any prisoners were being transported? Were any
15 prisoners being put on trucks? Any movement of the prisoners going on in
16 any way?
17 A. I cannot say for sure whether there were any of them or not. I
18 was in a severe nightmare at the time, so I cannot be 100 per cent sure
19 whether the boarding or the loading of prisoners had already started to
20 one of the trucks. I cannot confirm that.
21 Q. And briefly, what did you do when you got back to the battalion
23 A. Very briefly, I explained to my colleagues that I mentioned in my
24 previous statement, and informed them about what was going on in the
25 Rocevic school, and what the intentions were, what was going to happen
1 with those prisoners. I explained to them briefly, and I believe that at
2 that point I called them fools or some such-like names. Once again, I
3 called the duty officer in the Zvornik Brigade and while I was calling him
4 I was explaining to them what was happening. I wanted to get in touch
5 again with the chief or possibly with the commander. However, the duty
6 officer told me again what he told me on the previous day, that is to say
7 that neither of the two were at the brigade headquarters. I also
8 explained to the duty officer what was going on in the school, what
9 actions I had taken, and what potentially could happen to those prisoners.
10 In response, he said that he couldn't do anything about it, that he was
11 helpless. That was the context.
12 Q. Now, in the answer you just gave you said you explained to my
13 colleagues that I mentioned in my previous statement. Could you tell us
14 who those two colleagues were when you came back and explained what was
15 happening at the Rocevic school?
16 A. I remember those were Vujo Lazarevic and Mitar Lazarevic. I asked
17 them to tell me if there was any news or any new developments in the
18 defence area of the battalion, and we were mainly focused on our duties
19 and obligations relating to the unit.
20 Q. All right. Were you ever disciplined in any way or was your
21 failure to follow this order ever discussed? Did you have problems with
22 that refusal to follow this order after these events had finished? And I
23 mean problems from the brigade.
24 A. No, no.
25 Q. Do you recall whether you ever discussed it with any -- with
1 either the Chief of Staff Obrenovic or with any or with the commander or
2 with anybody else what had happened at the Rocevic school?
3 A. I didn't have an opportunity to discuss it with the commander and
4 as for the Chief of Staff, on one occasion I raised this subject with him
5 while he was visiting my unit. He said -- actually I tried to ask him
6 whether he had been informed that I tried to call him on numerous times
7 and that I had tried to get in touch with him. He cut short my statement,
8 that conversation, and said that he hadn't been available, that he had
9 been in the field and that he was inaccessible and that he also knew
10 nothing about the events that I was talking about, and that is where he
11 cut the conversation short.
12 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I have one moment?
13 [Prosecution counsel confer]
14 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, I have no further questions at this
16 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Nicholls. Now, before we start
17 with the cross-examinations, can I ask you one by one the estimated time
18 you require? Mr. Zivanovic, you had indicated two hours.
19 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Meek? You had indicated one hour.
21 MR. MEEK: Your Honours, I think we had put down 45 minutes and I
22 believe that will be reduced substantially.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Ms. Nikolic or Mr. Bourgon? You indicated
24 two hours.
25 MR. BOURGON: No change to what we indicated, Mr. President, but
1 that will be, of course, adjusted depending on what happens and the way
2 the cross-examination, Mr. Zivanovic does. Thank you, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Bourgon. Mr. Lazarevic?
4 MR. LAZAREVIC: Well, as things stand now we don't have any
5 cross-examination but I cannot exclude the possibility that something
6 might raise. But now we don't have any cross-examination.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you, Madam Fauveau? You had indicated
8 30 minutes.
9 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, for the moment, we
10 don't expect to have any questions.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Mr. Krgovic or Mr. Josse?
12 MR. JOSSE: Exactly the same, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. And Mr. Haynes? You had
14 indicated one hour.
15 MR. HAYNES: That's very pessimistic. I think 20 or 30 minutes.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Who wishes to start? Mr. Zivanovic?
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
19 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you.
20 Cross-examination by Mr. Zivanovic: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Acimovic.
22 A. Good afternoon.
23 Q. Mr. Acimovic, from your answers, one may conclude, and also on the
24 basis on the information that I have, that as a soldier and as a company
25 commander, and a battalion commander, you were a very brave and courageous
2 A. That is your assessment.
3 Q. You don't agree?
4 A. I wouldn't like to speak about myself.
5 Q. Thank you. I also have information that you were promoted from a
6 private to a company commander and eventually battalion commander
7 particularly due to what I just mentioned before. Do you not also wish to
8 speak about this?
9 A. I would tell you that it is true that I don't have any formal
10 military training and I acquired my rank during the war.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Zivanovic and Mr. Acimovic, you're racing. And
13 that's no good for the interpreters. Please slow down. You speak the
14 same language, Mr. Acimovic, and Mr. Zivanovic, and there is a tendency
15 when that is the case for overlapping and one doesn't leave -- allow
16 enough time for the interpreters to catch up with you. So please allow a
17 short pause between question and answer. Thank you.
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 Q. From your yesterday's and today's evidence, one may conclude that
20 throughout your military service, you always observed military rules and
21 regulations. Is that correct?
22 A. Mainly speaking, yes.
23 Q. When you say mainly speaking, yes, does that imply that you did
24 not take part in the commission of any crimes, nor did you allow this to
25 be done by men under your command?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. That also means that you didn't try to conceal these crimes and
3 their perpetrators; is that correct?
4 A. Can you please repeat the question. Or make it more clear.
5 Q. Does that also mean that you did not conceal this kind of crimes
6 and their perpetrators?
7 A. No, I didn't conceal them.
8 Q. Can you tell me, please, when were you demobilised?
9 A. I believe that it was in 1995 or 1996. I'm not 100 per cent sure.
10 Q. You were living in Rocevici with your family, correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And as you told us yesterday, two companies of your soldiers were
13 also natives of Rocevici?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. At the time, you were certainly very keen for your family and the
16 families of your soldiers to be safe; is that correct?
17 A. At any rate, yes, that was the case.
18 Q. Let us just please clarify one thing. As a battalion commander,
19 you were directly subordinate to the brigade commander, correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. In July 1995, or more precisely these two days that we are
22 discussing here, when the prisoners were in the school in Rocevici,
23 Dragan Obrenovic was the commander; is that correct?
24 A. I believe it is so because the commander himself was not present
25 at the time.
1 Q. In your evidence yesterday, you mentioned that at the time, you
2 didn't have a deputy in your battalion, that also one of your officers was
3 away, I think he was a security officer, and that practically you had two
4 assistants, one was Mitar Lazarevic and the other one was Vujo Lazarevic;
5 is that correct?
6 A. I didn't say that I had only two assistants.
7 Q. I'm sorry, I didn't -- I misunderstood you.
8 A. I said that I remember that they were there at the time.
9 Q. Can you tell me, what was precisely the duty of Mitar Lazarevic?
10 A. He was a desk officer for general affairs.
11 Q. Can you tell us more precisely what does that involve, a desk
12 officer for general affairs, in a battalion?
13 A. Mostly he kept records, paid salaries and things like that.
14 Q. Was he also in charge of keeping the records and the archive?
15 A. I think that the general affairs desk officer kept the archives
16 pending their return to the brigade.
17 Q. Do you know whether these archives were handed over to the
19 A. I don't know.
20 Q. You did not attend the handover?
21 A. What kind of handover?
22 Q. The handover of the archives.
23 A. That was not one of my duties.
24 Q. Did he perhaps keep the attendance lists or the presence lists of
25 men in the battalion?
1 A. Can you please be more precise? What do you mean by keeping the
2 attendance records in the battalion?
3 Q. We had an opportunity to see certain forms, not only coming from
4 your battalion but from other battalions as well, which contain
5 information when personnel were in the unit, when personnel were away on
6 leave, et cetera. I'm asking you whether this was kept by
7 Mitar Lazarevic.
8 A. I believe that a general affairs officer was not in charge of
9 keeping attendance records. This was mainly within the purview of unit
11 Q. When you say unit commanders, do you refer to company commanders?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And what was the situation in the battalion command? Who kept
14 those records of attendance?
15 A. We had certain assignments and rotas that probably we adhered to.
16 We knew who was on duty, who was supposed to carry out certain activities
17 and things like that.
18 Q. Perhaps it will be helpful if I showed you these records just to
19 refresh your memory of how they look like. But I'll do it a little bit
20 later. However I'm under the impression that we are not speaking about
21 the same thing since apparently you cannot remember this form so I'm going
22 to show it to you later on.
23 Can you tell me, please, one more thing? Your battalion had a
24 facility in Kozluk, as you said yesterday?
25 A. Yes. No. Actually we didn't have it. We just spent time on
1 those premises. This is where our kitchen was for a certain period of
3 Q. Can you tell me how far is Kozluk from Rocevici?
4 A. Seven kilometres.
5 Q. And this facility where you sometimes spent time, is it close to
6 the factory Vitinka?
7 A. You said temporarily located.
8 Q. No. I asked you whether it's in the facility of Vitinka factory?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. In July 1995, when you went there as you explained, this facility
11 had been abandoned --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I apologise to you, Mr. Nicholls.
13 MR. NICHOLLS: I might be wrong. I think the interpreter is
14 struggling a bit again is my feeling.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Yes, Mr. Zivanovic and Mr. Acimovic.
16 You are both to blame.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Acimovic, before you came here you provided three statements
19 to the Office of the Prosecutor; is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Those statements were recorded, weren't they?
22 A. They were recorded -- actually, the first two were. I'm not sure
23 about the third one.
24 Q. At the time when you provided those statements, and again now, you
25 did not feel threatened, you did not ask for any protective measures, in
1 order to come and testify here or in order to provide your statements to
2 the Tribunal; is that correct?
3 A. Yes, that is correct.
4 Q. After that, did you have an occasion to look at the transcripts of
5 those statements or to hear the recordings played back to you?
6 A. Yes. I had such an occasion.
7 Q. Is it correct if I told you that every time you gave a statement,
8 each of those statements, new statements, contained something that you
9 hadn't said in your previous statement?
10 A. This is your view of the things.
11 Q. And you don't agree with that?
12 A. I provided my statement based on what I remembered.
13 Q. In other words, whenever you remembered something new, then in
14 your subsequent statement you added that to your previous statement, is
15 that what you're saying?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. In your first statement, provided in 2001, you never mentioned
18 that you had met with Vujadin Popovic one day after the prisoners had been
19 brought to Rocevic, and that he had asked you to assign people to execute
20 these prisoners, that he had put pressure on you and so on and so forth,
21 that he had threatened you, cursed you, sweared, am I right in thinking
22 and saying that?
23 A. I was never put a question to be able to answer in that particular
24 way, as far as I can remember.
25 Q. Tell me, please, at the time you did not talk about that because a
1 question was not put to you and you believe that the investigators were
2 not interested in that?
3 A. No, not that they were not interested, but they simply did not jog
4 my memory in that sense. They didn't mention anything to entice me to
5 provide such an answer.
6 Q. Are you saying that it simply didn't cross your mind when you were
7 providing that statement and they never reminded you of such a detail?
8 A. Yes, exactly.
9 Q. In the second interview, they did ask you this, and they also
10 asked you how come you had not mentioned the thing that you were
11 mentioning then in your first statement, that is that you had come across
12 Popovic in the school or around the school, that he had put pressure on
13 you, that he ordered you to allocate people to execute the prisoners, that
14 he cursed you and swore, and your answer was more or less the same, in
15 that second interview. However, the question that the investigators put
16 to you at the time is something that is really striking and if you want me
17 to, I can read the question that was put to you at the time back to you or
18 I can give it to you to read it yourself. They first asked you whether
19 you knew anything about a large number of prisoners that had been brought
20 to the area of responsibility of the brigade, and then they explained to
21 you and they asked you whether you could provide some more detail about
22 those prisoners?
23 A. And that is exactly what I did.
24 Q. But you never mentioned Popovic, the pressures put to you, the
25 alleged request that you should assign people to execute these people and
1 so on and so forth?
2 A. We spoke about the prisoners.
3 Q. In other words, that conversation with Popovic did not have
4 anything to do with the prisoners?
5 A. I did not have the impression that I was supposed to talk about
6 that, and it never occurred to me. I just did not think about that. I
7 just focused on the questions that were put to me and I just made sure
8 that I answered them. Given the fact that this had happened in 1995 and
9 my first statement was provided maybe six or seven years later, I had to
10 focus very hard on the questions and the answers that I was going to give.
11 Q. In other words, this encounter with Popovic, his request to give
12 you people to execute the prisoners and the rest of the things, those
13 things just slipped your mind at that moment?
14 A. Precisely.
15 Q. Mr. Acimovic, now, when you're here, you've had interviews with
16 the Prosecutor and you have provided them with some new information that
17 was not known before, i.e., that you never mentioned in any of the three
18 statements that you provided previously. Just, for example, let me
19 mention a few things that you never mentioned in your second statement,
20 even after your memory had been jogged. For example, you never stated in
21 your statement that under the alleged Popovic's pressure you went to the
22 school courtyard and asked for the volunteers to execute the prisoners.
23 Is that another thing that simply slipped your mind?
24 A. I did not say anything to that effect. This is how I explained
25 things: One of those individuals asked me what was going on, and then I
1 said to them what I had been asked to do, what I had been requested to do,
2 and that was all I said.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
4 MR. NICHOLLS: And the question has been asked and answered but
5 just for the record I would object to that misstatement in the last
6 question and what the witness has just said is precisely what he said on
7 his direct examination, not what was put to him that he said.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, what's your comment on that, Mr. Zivanovic?
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the gist of my
10 question is not the exact wording of what the witness said. The gist of
11 my question is that the witness never said it before. This is the essence
12 of my question. The witness never mentioned this detail before. That's
13 why I'm putting this question to him and my question to him is precisely
15 Q. How come you never mentioned this before?
16 A. I really can't answer your question. Not that I don't want to. I
17 simply can't remember.
18 Q. You don't remember why you didn't mention it in any of your three
20 A. Yes, precisely. You can't remember every detail, every tiny
21 detail of every situation. I've already told you how long ago this
23 Q. Yes. On that occasion, you also didn't say that you had asked
24 from Popovic for people to be evacuated from Rocevic and then he called
25 the brigade and asked for some vehicles?
1 A. Could you please repeat that question?
2 MR. NICHOLLS: On what occasion is the question that I have.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Yes, Mr. Zivanovic.
4 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] First of all, the witness said it
5 on page 55, line 17 of the LiveNote.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: In other words, it's still not clear in my mind
7 either. If I understood Mr. Nicholls correctly, he was referring
8 specifically to your question which was: "You don't remember why you
9 didn't mention it in any of your three interviews?" "Yes, precisely. You
10 can't remember every detail," et cetera. And then you said, "Yes. On
11 that occasion you also didn't say that you had asked from Popovic for
12 people to be evacuated ..." Which occasion? Because even from what you
13 repeated, it's still not clear in my mind and the witness seems to have
14 understood, and you seem to have understood his testimony here basically
15 which I don't think is the case. I may be wrong but I --
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Very well.
17 Q. In none of your three statements did you mention that you asked
18 from Popovic to evacuate these people and that after that Popovic called
19 the brigade and asked for the lorries to be sent.
20 A. You should read my statements more carefully and you will find the
21 answer to that question, my answer to what you're asking me now. I said,
22 I believe I did, that I asked for these people to be evacuated, to be
23 returned to wherever they had come from, because a disaster would take
24 place, that some of the units might be tempted to leave their positions
25 and so on and so forth.
1 Q. Very well, then. Would you agree with me when I say that on any
2 of the -- in any of the statements did you mention any of the names that
3 you mentioned here in the courtroom?
4 A. I would agree.
5 Q. You also forgot them?
6 A. No, I didn't.
7 Q. But you did not want to mention their names to the Prosecutor's
9 A. If I hadn't wanted to, I would not have mentioned them now.
10 Q. But in your three interviews, you didn't want to mention them, you
11 remembered them but you didn't want to mention their names?
12 A. That's not correct. You're not right.
13 Q. Did you mention them in your first three interviews?
14 A. No, I didn't.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Line 7, 8 and 9 on page 30 are not clear. In any
16 case, I think one could understand them. Let's proceed.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Acimovic, tell me, please, can you actually give me the
19 reasons why you never mentioned the names of these people before?
20 A. I've explained the reasons to the Prosecutor.
21 Q. You're not going to do the same for us, are you?
22 A. Not that I don't want to. I can do that. I told the Prosecutor--
23 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honours, maybe we should go into private
24 session. I don't know exactly what's coming.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you agree, Mr. Zivanovic?
1 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes. I agree.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session.
3 [Private session]
19 [Open session]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: At the request of Mr. Zivanovic, we are having a
21 break now, and it will be of 25 minutes duration. That covers the
22 redaction sufficiently? Okay? 25 minutes starting from now. Thank you.
23 --- Recess taken at 3.40 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 4.11 p.m.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Zivanovic?
1 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
2 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Acimovic, let us begin with your first
3 statement and your other previous statements, about your arrival in
4 Rocevici, in those days when the prisoners were there. Can you please
5 first tell me how did you arrive at Rocevici?
6 A. In a car.
7 Q. Was that a passenger car?
8 A. Yes, it was.
9 Q. After your arrival in Rocevici and until the president of the
10 local commune and the priest came to see you, how long was it?
11 A. I suppose about 30 minutes.
12 Q. You and the president of the local commune and the priest went to
13 the school?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. How long did it take you to get there?
16 A. We drove in a car and it took a couple of minutes.
17 Q. How far is your house from the school?
18 A. About 400 to 500 to 600 metres.
19 Q. Were you in the same car?
20 A. I don't think we were.
21 Q. Mr. Acimovic, I have information that at that time, you talked to
22 the men who were guarding the prisoners and that on that occasion you were
23 alone. In other words, that you alone approached these soldiers without
24 the priest and without the president of the local commune.
25 A. That is the information you have.
1 Q. Yes. That is precisely what I said. Only tell me if that is
3 A. No.
4 Q. I have another information that after you talked to these soldiers
5 and this conversation lasted only a couple of minutes, you said that
6 jerrycans with water will be provided and that these soldiers would be
7 exchanged. In other words, this is what the soldiers told you, that these
8 POWs were going to be exchanged; is that correct?
9 A. No.
10 Q. After that, as you said, you went to Kozluk?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. To make a telephone call?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. I put it to you that this is not true because in the log of the
15 duty officer, which is an unofficial document, there is no entry with
16 relation to any of the calls that you made. Do you know anything about
18 A. This is what you claim. This is what you are saying.
19 Q. Yes. Exactly.
20 A. So what do you want me to tell you?
21 Q. Whether it's true or not.
22 A. You said that I was not telling the truth.
23 Q. Absolutely.
24 A. So you have finished.
25 Q. You claim that you called the duty officer from Kozluk?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Can you tell me why didn't you do that from Rocevici?
3 A. Because at the time I didn't have a telephone available, an
4 induction telephone available, not a civilian one but an induction
5 telephone. There was one induction telephone in Kozluk on those premises
6 that I mentioned before.
7 Q. Does that mean that it was impossible to call the brigade from
8 Rocevici via a regular phone?
9 A. No.
10 Q. But you nevertheless decided to go to Kozluk?
11 A. I think I was headed for my unit and on the way there, I made this
12 call, because I didn't want to wait because this telephone was handy
13 before I got to Malesic.
14 Q. In other words, your original idea was first to go to Malesici?
15 A. No, my first idea was to call the brigade.
16 Q. From Malesici?
17 A. From Kozluk.
18 Q. I understood you that you were on your way to Malesici, you just
19 dropped by in Kozluk?
20 A. My intention was to call the brigade as soon as possible, and that
21 is what I did, and I did that from Kozluk for your information.
22 Q. You are saying that then you talked to Vujadin Popovic?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You said that you told him on that occasion that the men guarding
25 the prisoners were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that they were
1 behaving erratically?
2 A. Yes.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Acimovic, this applies more to you now than to
4 Mr. Zivanovic. Please allow Mr. Zivanovic to finish his question and
5 allow also a short pause after that so that we receive interpretation
6 before you start giving your answer. You're trying to answer his
7 questions before he has even finished them. So please calm down and take
8 my advice, allow this short pause before you give your answer. Thank you.
9 Yes, go ahead, Mr. Zivanovic.
10 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. You were then given an explanation that these prisoners would be
12 exchanged on the following day?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. As I understand, this calmed you down to a certain extent and for
15 that reason you went back to Kozluk -- no, I apologise -- to Rocevic, in
16 order to convey this again to the president of the local commune and the
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And they accepted that, that kind of explanation?
20 A. I just relayed information to them.
21 Q. After that, you went to Malesic?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Tell me, please, in what way did you, the president of the local
24 commune and the priest were calmed down after receiving this information
25 that on the following day the prisoners were going to be exchanged, since
1 you knew that these men allegedly guarding the prisoners were to remain in
2 the village and these people were behaving erratically, doing all sorts of
3 things, they wounded a woman according to you? How could that possibly
4 have calmed you, the priest, the president of the local commune and the
5 whole village?
6 A. Didn't I tell you that we tried to convince the soldiers guarding
7 the prisoners to give them water or to give permission for water to be
8 given to the prisoners and everything else that they had asked for in
9 order to calm those people down? They were in the gym. After these
10 lengthy process of persuasion which lasted for about half an hour, I said
11 that they accepted that, and I explained how they accepted for water to be
12 given to them, and this I suppose had some effect on people getting calm.
13 I also believed that this information was important and crucial, saying
14 that those men were going to be exchanged the following day and that the
15 killing would not -- the killing of the prisoners would not continue, and
16 the things of that nature, and I believe that to be crucial information
17 for the residents of that village.
18 Q. That was crucial information, as far as prisoners were concerned.
19 What about the local residents? They had to stay there overnight. Your
20 family, the families of your soldiers, had to spend the night with people
21 who were armed, who were shooting, who wounded this woman. How could you
22 become calm in view of that and leave that area?
23 A. Yes. I became calm.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Nicholls?
25 MR. NICHOLLS: I may be wrong but I think it's exactly the same
1 question pretty much that he answered about how after they had this
2 discussion about the water everybody calmed down a little bit.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I think so too but Mr. Zivanovic might not agree
4 with that. Let's proceed, Mr. Zivanovic. Let's proceed.
5 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 Q. I've noticed in the transcript that it hasn't been recorded about
7 the -- your facility of your battalion in Kozluk. Was it close to the
8 Vitinka factory?
9 A. Yes, it was.
10 Q. Thank you. You assert that you informed your two colleagues,
11 Mitar Lazarevic and Vujo Lazarevic, about all this?
12 A. Yes. There may have been someone else, but -- from among my
13 colleagues but I don't remember. That is why I mentioned their names
15 Q. You also mentioned a telegram that you received that night.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You cannot recall who signed the telegram, as you said?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You sent a reply, didn't you?
20 A. I beg your pardon?
21 Q. You did send a reply to this telegram?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. You also don't know who it was addressed to?
24 A. We sent it back to the one who sent it to us, or to the duty
25 operations officer.
1 Q. Mr. Acimovic, I admit that I find it a little bit strange that you
2 cannot remember who wrote and sent this telegram to you, in which you were
3 requested to do something that probably nobody asked you to do the same
4 thing during the war. Am I right?
5 A. I think I explained that in my previous statements quite
7 Q. I am under the impression, and correct me if I'm wrong, that by
8 giving that reply, you were trying to protect someone.
9 A. Absolutely not.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Again, Mr. Acimovic, please allow Mr. Zivanovic to
11 finish his question and then also a brief pause so that we get the
12 interpretation before you start giving your answer. Otherwise, it can
13 happen that you will be answering in your own language and the
14 interpreter -- while the interpreters are still translating to us what
15 Mr. Zivanovic is saying.
16 Yes, Mr. Zivanovic.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. At the time when you gave this statement, you were aware that
19 there were proceedings being conducted against Dragan Obrenovic?
20 A. I'm not sure.
21 Q. You were in contact with his Defence team?
22 A. Yes, yes. I had contacts with all Defence teams.
23 Q. Yes, yes. I'm talking about that particular period when you made
24 those statements, that was in 2001 and 2002. Were you in touch with the
25 Defence of Dragan Obrenovic at the time?
1 A. Yes. I said yes, I did, at their initiative.
2 Q. Did you tell that to the investigators? Did they ask you about
4 A. Yes. Yes, I told them.
5 Q. Do you remember when did you tell them that, on the first or the
6 second or the third occasion?
7 A. I honestly cannot remember.
8 Q. I'll try to remind you. Did you say that when you were informed
9 that you had been given a status of suspect? That was your last interview
10 with the Prosecution.
11 A. I don't remember.
12 Q. I have information that prior to Dragan Obrenovic's arrest, he had
13 meetings with various people from the Zvornik Brigade, at which it was
14 agreed what to say should they be asked questions by the Prosecution. Did
15 you attend any of those meetings?
16 A. I didn't attend a single of those meetings with Obrenovic.
17 Neither did I have any contact with him regarding this matter, at any
19 Q. Did you have meetings with someone else?
20 A. I told you.
21 Q. You assert that on that night, when you received the telegram, and
22 generally during that day, you were unable to communicate with
23 Dragan Obrenovic via the duty officer?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. At the time, Dragan Obrenovic was in command of the brigade and he
1 was your immediate superior and I put it to you that you had direct
2 communication line with him; am I right?
3 A. No, not at the time. In that period, but I don't know which
4 period we are talking about. Earlier on, I had a line of communication
5 with him but I could not communicate to him about the events that we are
6 talking about.
7 Q. When was your line of communication between you and Obrenovic
9 A. Can you specify what you mean? Can you be more specific when you
10 say this direct line of communication? What do you mean?
11 Q. I would like to you clarify your previous answer. In your
12 previous answer you stated, "Not at that time, at that time I did not have
13 a direct line of communication."
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. "In that period, but I don't know what period you are talking
16 about. Earlier on, I did have a line of communication with him but I
17 could not communicate to him about the events that we are talking about."
18 A. All this time you are trying to play games of words with me. Let
19 me try to explain some things to you. Every brigade commander and every
20 Chief of Staff have very clear lines with the subordinate units, and I
21 really don't understand what you are not clear about in that.
22 Q. I'm absolutely very clear on everything, and this is what I am
23 saying, that you had a direct line of communication with Obrenovic?
24 A. When?
25 Q. All the time.
1 A. This is what you claim. This is your opinion and your view.
2 Q. And you're saying that you could not establish communication
3 through the duty operations officer, through the radio?
4 A. You're right.
5 Q. And what about courier?
6 A. No. That was not available to me because I didn't know where the
7 courier was at the time. If I had known where he was, I would have
8 probably sent him there.
9 Q. Are you saying that the brigade didn't know either where the
10 courier was either?
11 A. I'm not saying that. I can't say that. This is the answer I was
12 given, and I have related it to you.
13 Q. Did you send a courier to the brigade for the duty operations
14 officer to tell him where the courier was?
15 A. Why would I send a courier to the brigade? I could communicate
16 with the brigade. I was in communication with the brigade.
17 Q. For the duty operations officer to tell me -- to tell him where
18 Obrenovic was. Maybe he could have conveyed your message.
19 A. Why would the duty operations officer have told my courier where
20 Obrenovic was and he would not have told me on several occasions that I
21 tried to elicit that information from him?
22 Q. It arises from that, that the duty operations officer did not know
23 where Obrenovic was.
24 A. I can't confirm that. He told me that he didn't know where he
25 was, that he wasn't available, that he was in the field, and that he
1 wasn't available. This is what the duty operations officer told me.
2 Q. But you don't know who the duty operations officer was?
3 JUDGE AGIUS: The interpreters are really doing a wonderful job
4 with the difficulties that you are creating for them. I would hate to be
5 in their position.
6 Please slow down, please.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise.
8 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Acimovic, I'm putting it to you that you did not receive any
10 telegrams from the brigade at the time and especially not a telegram with
11 such content, requesting you to allocate people for the execution, and I
12 am basing this on the fact that such a telegram was not registered
14 A. You can put anything to -- you want to me, and I'm not interested
15 the least bit in what you are putting to me because I'm telling the truth.
16 Q. You don't know where the telegram that you received can be found?
17 A. No.
18 Q. I'm also putting to you that you never received an order either
19 from the duty operations officer or in a telegram or from Vujadin Popovic
20 to allocate men for the execution.
21 A. I've already told you: You can put anything you want to me. I'm
22 not interested in that at all.
23 Q. If you had received an order of that sort, and you knew that it
24 was illegal, why didn't you report that to your commander then?
25 A. Did I not tell you that I could not get in touch with either the
1 commander or the Chief of Staff?
2 Q. Until when?
3 A. During that night and during the following day, I'm sure I
4 couldn't. And I don't know exactly when after that the Chief of Staff
5 returned to the brigade. I can't tell you when he returned to the
7 Q. But I'm sure that you had an opportunity after that to report that
8 to your commander?
9 A. I did not have an opportunity to discuss that matter at all. I
10 reported that to the duty operations officer, and that was more than
11 enough. The duty officer in the brigade got my report.
12 Q. And you believed that the commander should not have been informed
13 about such an order that was against the law and that's why you didn't
14 inform him?
15 A. Not that he should not have been informed. He was not there, and
16 it was more than enough for the duty operations officer in the brigade to
17 be briefed about such an order, and I believe that it was his duty to
18 inform the commander or the Chief of Staff at their first opportunity.
19 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we go to private session,
20 please, Your Honours, just for a brief moment.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly, Mr. Zivanovic. Let's go into private
22 session, please.
23 [Private session]
11 Pages 13018-13019 redacted. Private session
10 [Open session]
11 JUDGE AGIUS: And if either of you are at the point of mentioning
12 any names that we haven't been mentioning in public session, then alert us
13 immediately so that we go into private session.
14 Yes, Mr. Zivanovic. We are in open session now.
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Mr. Acimovic, you also couldn't remember who received that
18 A. That's true.
19 Q. You can't remember --
20 A. Just a moment, please. Who received the telegram you're saying?
21 I said in my previous statements that I believe that in the course of that
22 night, the duty officer in the battalion command was Mitar Lazarevic.
23 Q. Do you remember who decoded the telegram?
24 A. I was not there at the moment when the telegram was decoded
25 actually, I was asleep. They only woke me up once the telegram had been
1 decoded and it arrived at my desk already decoded, when I came downstairs.
2 Q. Do you remember who sent your reply?
3 A. I believe it was the duty operations officer as well.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment before you proceed. In your system at
5 the time, was decoding a privileged matter? In other words, was there a
6 specific person assigned to decoding messages or could anyone present
7 there do it?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that every battalion command
9 had a table for decoding of telegrams that were sent within that context
10 and I believe that this could be found in the duty operations officer's
12 JUDGE AGIUS: My question is: Would the duty officer on duty at
13 any time a message comes in be able or be able to decode that message or
14 does he -- would he have to hand it over to a person tasked with the
15 decoding procedure?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't answer your question because
17 in practice we received very few coded telegrams. I'm not sure whether
18 the duty officer decoded the telegram himself or maybe he did it together
19 with somebody else. It is possible that somebody assisted him, but I'm
20 not sure.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Back to you, Mr. Zivanovic.
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 Q. In your previous statements and again here, you have stated that
24 upon the receipt of this telegram you didn't call the duty officer in the
25 brigade in order to check the accuracy of the telegram; is that correct?
1 A. I can't remember.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
3 MR. NICHOLLS: Again, just to be clear for the record. There were
4 two telegrams. I don't know exactly -- maybe he said the first one, I'm
5 not sure though, it's not clear on the record which telegram my friend is
6 asking questions about.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: That's a legitimate observation. Perhaps you can
8 address this, Mr. Zivanovic.
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I'll try and be more precise.
10 Q. In your previous statements you have stated that you didn't call
11 the duty officer either after the first or the second telegram in order to
12 check their accuracy; is that correct?
13 A. I really can't remember. I don't remember at all.
14 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we please move into private
15 session again, Your Honours?
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Let's do that, please.
17 [Private session]
11 Page 13023 redacted. Private session
8 [Open session]
9 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session now.
10 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Microphone not activated]
11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
12 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. In your previous statements, you mentioned that in front of you
14 Popovic requested two men to be sent to him from the brigade. This time,
15 you said that he only asked for one of the two.
16 A. Maybe it was not interpreted properly, if that is what you heard.
17 I always maintained that he wanted one of the two. That is literally what
18 he said.
19 Q. In your previous statements, the Prosecutor asked you, inter alia,
20 if you had seen any trucks arriving at Rocevici.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment before you answer. Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
22 MR. NICHOLLS: I'd like a page reference from my friend please
23 about the previous statement because I'm looking at page 30 of the 2002
24 interview and his answer on this issue is, "He said send me one of the --
25 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. You shouldn't be saying this in the
1 witness's presence.
2 MR. NICHOLLS: I apologise. Then I just ask for a page reference.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Just ask for a page reference and you would be able
4 to follow.
5 MR. ZIVANOVIC: It is page 30 of his interview from -- no, no, no,
6 no, just a moment. It is second interview, his second interview, page 30.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: So that's the same one you had in mind,
8 Mr. Nicholls? Or is it a different one?
9 MR. NICHOLLS: It may be. I haven't had time but what I have on
10 page 30 in English does not reflect what was put to the witness.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Right. Let's make sure we are talking of the same
12 section first. Okay? Mr. Zivanovic is suggesting that this comes from
13 page 30 of the second interview, and you had referred to page 30 of the
14 2002 interview.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: That's the same interview and I'm looking at lines
16 5 to 6. It's ERN L0069717 that I'm referring to. And that should be at
17 about page 29, lines 19 to 21 of the B/C/S version.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: There seems to be disagreement between you as to the
19 way that you are putting your question.
20 MR. ZIVANOVIC: No, I'll withdraw my question.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, both of you. Go ahead, please.
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Acimovic, I'm going to show you the records of attendance of
24 personnel that I mentioned before. I'm going to ask you just to tell me
25 if you remember that. Do you remember this document? It's a document --
1 maybe we can use an ELMO because I can't give you the precise number.
2 Maybe it will be easier for you if you look to the right. I think
3 you can see it there better.
4 Now you also have it on your monitor. What I wanted to ask you is
5 this regarding this -- these records: Can you tell me, please, do you
6 remember seeing this record?
7 A. Partly.
8 Q. I think this shouldn't be broadcast. That would be advisable.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Is there a reason why you wouldn't like it to be
10 broadcast? Okay. I can understand the reason. All right. So we block
11 the broadcasting for the same reasons as before. And we go into private
13 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Very well. The reason for it not
14 to be broadcast is because some of potential witnesses may be on this
15 list. That's the only reason.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you going to refer to names specifically?
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, I'm not, no. I'm not going to
18 mention any names. That is -- but I just ask for it not to be broadcast
20 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. Then we can proceed in open
21 session but we'll block that part where it was broadcast in any case.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead, Mr. Zivanovic.
23 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Do you remember these records?
25 A. No. I didn't keep these records.
1 Q. Do you know who did?
2 A. Probably the general affairs desk officer.
3 Q. Was that the aforementioned Mr. Mitar Lazarevic?
4 A. I suppose so.
5 Q. Then you don't know if these records were forwarded to the brigade
6 command. Was it sent to someone, to the brigade command?
7 A. I'm not sure but I think this is just a formality. I didn't pay
8 any attention at all to these matters at the time.
9 Q. It says here that this is the record of the presence of personnel
10 in the command involved in combat operations. You were not interested in
12 A. Not that I wasn't interested in that, but we had our assignments
13 and our tasks given to each individual listed here, and this is where
14 particular attention was paid, and I think that this was done by the
15 general affairs desk officer. It even says here that there is a man
16 called Stevo Savic and some other names, but I noticed Stevo Savic who at
17 the time was demobilised, which means that this is not a valid document.
18 So actually you can see here -- yes, these boxes are empty, blank.
19 Q. At any rate, you maintain that you never saw this, never checked
21 A. No, I never checked this kind of documents.
22 Q. You would recall -- I apologise. Just give me a second to find
23 it -- your statement -- your third statement given to the Prosecution, or
24 not -- rather, not the statement but the interview that you had with the
25 Prosecutor, that was your last interview before your coming here and it
1 took place on the 29th of October 2002?
2 A. Did you say the second one?
3 Q. 29th of October 2002?
4 A. And what kind of statement are you referring to, the first or
5 second one?
6 Q. This was just an information report. We are not talking about the
7 interviews that you had and which were audio recorded.
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Again, please slow down. Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
10 MR. NICHOLLS: I don't know if my friend is done with the document
11 but I don't think it's anywhere in the record what the 65 ter number was
12 or what we were looking at.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Correct.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: It's on the list, it was put in e-court.
16 THE REGISTRAR: The document was 65 ter number 312, Prosecution
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. We are talking about this information report compiled on the 29th
20 of October 2002. In this report, you said, among other things, that you
21 accepted the fact that you will have to testify and that you wouldn't be
22 very happy to do that because the accused in that case were your former
23 war comrades.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And by that, you meant Mr. Obrenovic as well?
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat his answer?
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Acimovic, the interpreters couldn't hear
3 your answer because you gave it while they were still translating to us.
4 Can you repeat it, please?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can you please repeat the question?
6 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. On that occasion, you told the Prosecution that you accepted the
8 fact that you would have to testify but that you weren't too happy about
9 that because the accused in that case were your former war comrades.
10 A. Yes, yes.
11 Q. And after that, I asked you whether by that you also meant
12 Obrenovic, and you said, "Don't know."
13 A. I really don't know, at the time I had information and I still
14 don't know whether Obrenovic was -- what was his status at the time,
15 whether any proceedings had been instituted against him.
16 Q. I'm going to try and refresh your memory now. You were also asked
17 a question -- I can even show you a document, 1D202, and maybe it will be
18 easier for you if you can read it.
19 It's on page 2, paragraph 3. And in the English version, it's
20 page 1, last paragraph. This is where it begins. Can you see it?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. The third paragraph reads, "Acimovic was asked whether he thought
23 that Obrenovic tried to avoid him when he tried to contact him ..."
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. "... on the night in July 1995 when Acimovic received an order to
1 take a firing squad to the school in Rocevici."
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Then you said that you didn't know what Obrenovic had in mind.
4 A. This is a wrong translation. I said on that occasion -- I
5 apologise. Can you please repeat your question once again?
6 Q. Well, you can read it for yourself but, okay. "Acimovic was asked
7 whether he thought that Obrenovic was trying to avoid him when he tried to
8 get in touch with him (on the night in July 1995 when Acimovic received an
9 order to take a firing squad to the school Rocevic). Acimovic said that
10 he didn't know what Obrenovic had in mind at the time."
11 A. As far as I can remember, I was asked the following question:
12 Whether Obrenovic knew, and I said that I supposed that he did know.
13 That's what I said.
14 Q. In other words, this is a mistake, probably a wrong translation or
15 the understanding of your words.
16 A. Probably wrong translation. I said that I supposed that Obrenovic
17 had known. I cannot confirm whether he did or didn't, that I assume that
18 he did.
19 Q. Look at the following -- at the next paragraph. "Asked again
20 whether he thought that Obrenovic was trying to avoid him, Acimovic said
21 it wasn't logical for Obrenovic not to have known what was going on since
22 there were army telephones, civilian telephones, radio communications, and
23 if all this was -- all this failed, it was possible to communicate through
24 a courier."
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And it was impossible for him not to know what was going on?
2 A. That is what my supposition was.
3 Q. Can you go on reading? Can you see that a similar question was
4 put to you again?
5 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, before you answer the question. Before
6 you start.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm not clear where the questions are here. He's
8 having him read parts of the statement and then just having him read more
9 parts. So, so far there hasn't been a question about what this means or
10 he's just reading, having the witness read parts of the information report
11 and then not asking questions so I don't understand.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: The previous question, basically, I think you have
13 it clear there, what was meant. The proposition was put to the witness
14 relating to part of his interview. He was asked whether he stands by that
15 or whether it's -- and he's even suggested that there could be a case of
16 wrong translation. So I think we can proceed. Go ahead. I do understand
17 what you said. I don't minimise it but I think it's better if we proceed.
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. As we read on, you will see that a question was put to you again
20 whether you were under the impression that Obrenovic wanted to avoid you
21 because he didn't answer your question. "And it was said to Acimovic that
22 he didn't have an opinion of that question, that he should have stated
23 that," and then you stated that you didn't know what Obrenovic thought at
24 the time.
25 A. This is very ambiguous. You will agree with me, won't you? And I
1 believe that this is just a matter of mistranslation or bad translation.
2 As far as I can remember, I was asked, as you have just said it, and I
3 said that I assumed that Obrenovic had known and I provided similar
4 answers to all of these questions, and here this is represented within
5 another context.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I think it's a case of moving to your next
7 area of questions because this has been beaten enough, I think. He's
8 answered you.
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 Q. At that time, your status was changed and you were told that you
11 were no longer a witness but a suspect; is that correct?
12 A. Yes, it is.
13 Q. You were talking about a debriefing in the brigade, in the Zvornik
15 A. This is a word that I don't understand.
16 Q. You're right. This is a meeting. This -- our word for debriefing
17 would be meeting or -- back or reporting back?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Wasn't that an occasion to convey to your commander what had
21 A. I don't think I had an opportunity to talk to the commander about
22 that topic at the time. This was post festum, after all the developments
23 that had taken place in our area of responsibility relative to the passage
24 of enemy soldiers, you know that there were a lot of displaced soldiers
25 and wounded and I believe that this meeting was focused around that,
1 around those developments.
2 Q. When you say these meetings, these debriefings, would that be an
3 opportunity for you to say what had happened in your unit? Would that be
4 an opportunity for you to inform the commander about what had happened in
5 your unit?
6 A. It largely depended on the type of meeting. In any case,
7 reporting back is an occasion to report about the tasks that had been put
8 by the commander. We have to report back about the tasks that the
9 commander had given to his subordinate officers.
10 Q. You are very categorical when you said that the prisoners in the
11 school in Rocevic were not guarded by the Zvornik Brigade members and I
12 have the same information.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. But you also said that they were guarded by some guards from
15 Bratunac and Visegrad.
16 A. I did not say that they were guarded by guards from Bratunac and
18 Q. That you heard that?
19 A. Yes. I heard, rumour had it, that that was the case but I also
20 told you that that information was not reliable, that it was not from a
21 reliable source.
22 Q. I believe that you told that it was the first time when you had
23 gotten in touch with the Obrenovic Defence team?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And after that, your status of witness had been reinstated. If
1 you wish, you can look at the end of your statement, that's page 3, the
2 last two or three paragraphs on that page. Very brief paragraphs.
3 A. Yes. What's the question?
4 Q. Is that true? I have not been quoting from the statement, I have
5 put to you a question and I am asking whether what I put to you is
7 A. Yes, but here, this is not very clearly described.
8 Q. Can you clarify for us?
9 A. I said to the Obrenovic Defence team, to his lawyers, the same
10 thing I said to the Prosecutor's Office. I answered some questions in the
11 exact same way. They were interested in some details.
12 Q. They were interested in the details that had to do with him?
13 A. I really can't remember at this moment.
14 Q. That will be all.
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions for
16 this witness, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Zivanovic. Who wishes to go next?
18 Mr. Bourgon? We'll have to break at quarter to 6.00.
19 MR. BOURGON: With your leave, Mr. President, maybe we could take
20 the break now and go right up till the end instead of doing it in two
21 parts. It's already 20 after 5.00, with the break, and then we can do one
22 session until the end, which would be better for me, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we are all in agreement with that. The
24 break will be of 25 minutes.
25 --- Recess taken at 5.22 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 5.53 p.m.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's proceed, Mr. Bourgon. I'm
3 informed that Mr. Ostojic would like to address the Chamber on some issue
4 at the end of the sitting so please allow five minutes for that purpose.
5 Would five minutes be enough, Mr. Ostojic?
6 MR. OSTOJIC: Should be more than enough. Thank you.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. So five minutes before the end. Go
9 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: If you don't finish today, you continue tomorrow.
11 There is no problem.
12 Cross-examination by Mr. Bourgon:
13 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Acimovic.
14 A. Good afternoon.
15 Q. My name is Stephane Bourgon and I represent the accused
16 Drago Nikolic in this case. But I take it that's not something that you
17 were not aware of, right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. As I've already mentioned to you when we met, I have a bit of a
20 different angle of approach to the cross-examination, which will be
21 divided into two parts. The first part I'd like to discuss with you
22 basically your knowledge of Drago Nikolic and in the second part to go
23 into some of the operating procedures within your battalion.
24 Before I do so, I just have a few questions and I'll simply begin
25 by saying or asking you to confirm that you are a battalion commander
1 since November of 1992; is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. So by July of 1995, you had been a battalion commander for more
4 than three years; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. So I take it, and it is my understanding, that by 1995, you knew
7 your job pretty well; is that correct?
8 A. I wouldn't like to speak about myself.
9 Q. Then let me just ask you very straightforward: Did you know your
10 job as a battalion commander in July 1995?
11 A. I did my best.
12 Q. Would I be right in saying that many soldiers in your battalion,
13 that the same cannot be said of them because many of these soldiers had
14 little, and in any event, less military experience than you had? Would
15 that be correct?
16 A. In what respect?
17 Q. General military knowledge and maybe I can use the expression that
18 in many respects some of the soldiers within the Zvornik Brigade were
19 either civilians in uniform or weekend warriors. Would that be a
20 description of the quality of soldiers in general within Zvornik Brigade?
21 A. Are you talking generally about the whole period or --
22 Q. In general. I'm just saying, let's say in 1995, the war is about
23 to end, I'm just saying that the soldiers within Zvornik Brigade, we
24 cannot speak, even by 1995, of a professional army; would that be correct?
25 A. They were not a professional army. That's true. But they knew
1 what they were doing and what they were supposed to do.
2 Q. And if they knew what they were supposed to do, that was because
3 they had, indeed, some good officers, and I'm -- refer to you despite your
4 relatively few years of service, within three years you had managed to
5 build an effective battalion. Would that be a fair statement?
6 A. I did my best to carry out my duties to the best of my ability,
7 throughout the whole period that we are talking about. I said earlier
8 that I had absolutely no military training.
9 Q. So it was a steep learning curve for you to reach the level at
10 which you were in July of 1995?
11 A. I don't see any steep curve.
12 Q. Well, I am just trying here to establish your manner of commanding
13 in July of 1995, and all I'm trying to refer to is the fact that within
14 the period of three years or a little more, you went from a private to a
15 battalion commander, and you exercised command over a large number of
16 individuals, and that is an accomplishment in itself. Would you agree
17 with that?
18 A. I would not talk about any successes as such.
19 Q. Okay. Let's take it from another point of view. Despite the fact
20 that war is something that nobody likes, your position as battalion
21 commander is something that suited you well; is that correct? You felt
22 comfortable in that position; is that so?
23 A. I'm afraid I didn't understand your question. What are you trying
24 to get from me? Can you be more specific, please? I must tell you,
25 though, I have to answer you by saying that I don't think that any single
1 soldier can feel comfortable during the war. I really don't understand
2 where you got that notion from. A war is the worst thing that can happen
3 to any one people and it's therefore very hard to talk about comfort or
4 people being suited to a role or feeling comfortable in a role.
5 Q. Let's -- Mr. Acimovic, let's take a practical example so that we
6 try to establish contact together. You remember The Untouchables, do you?
7 A. I really don't know what you're talking about.
8 Q. The intervention unit, The Untouchables, do you know who that is?
9 A. No.
10 Q. That's not an intervention unit that you put together within
11 2nd Battalion, The Untouchables?
12 A. No, no.
13 Q. Well, tomorrow I'll show you -- I'm just mentioning where I took
14 this from and then tomorrow I'll show you the source because I just wanted
15 to share that with you. It wasn't my intent to contradict you with that
16 but we have a Drinski magazine article that talks about you and the
17 accomplishments of the Untouchables. Are you saying you have no idea who
18 that is?
19 A. I'm afraid you did not read the article properly. It was not The
20 Untouchables but The Unbreakables. That was the name of the unit.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Precisely, I was going to suggest, because in the
22 back of my mind I had the suspicion that the word was being translated
23 into something which you wouldn't understand. So if we can make sure
24 you're using both of you the same word in Serbo-Croat or whatever language
25 it is. If you can read it out.
1 MR. BOURGON: Indeed, Mr. President. Maybe I'll cite it for
2 tomorrow not to waste any time because I have in the English translation
3 The Untouchables, but I guess we are talking about The Unbreakables. So
4 you know The Unbreakables?
5 A. Well, these are two different words, aren't they? The
6 Untouchables, The Unbreakables, two different things, do not belong to the
7 same context.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: What is the original word used in the article, if
9 you have it in the original language?
10 MR. BOURGON: I don't presently, Mr. President. I just have the
11 English translation, but I'm told that the original word is
12 "unbreakable". It should read,"unbreakable" but what I have says
14 Q. Now, did you set up that unit, Mr. Acimovic, The Unbreakables?
15 A. Yes. An intervention platoon. That was an intervention platoon.
16 Every infantry battalion, on the order of the brigade commander, had to
17 establish such a platoon within the unit.
18 Q. And would I be correct in saying that in March of 1995, maybe you
19 don't remember March, but that you were visited at some point by the
20 Drinski magazine reporter and they went to visit The Unbreakables and that
21 they made a reporting on you about this unit? You remember that?
22 A. To a certain extent.
23 Q. So can you share with us what this unit was about and what it did
24 and what made it special?
25 A. It was not a special unit at all. It was a unit which was a
1 platoon, a platoon of troops, and in the true sense of the word, that
2 platoon was some sort of a reserve unit that was behind the forward lines
3 of the defence. If a need arose to engage them in combat in the defence
4 sector of the battalion, and the defence sector of the Zvornik Brigade,
5 they would have been used to that purpose.
6 Q. So these were the young guys, the healthy guys, and those that
7 would be used with the tough combat missions; would that be correct?
8 A. At a given moment.
9 Q. Tomorrow, I'll give you the copy in your language and we can share
10 that because this is only to establish that it's something that you,
11 according to this paper that I have, that you took some great pride in,
12 the creation of this unit and the fact that it was involved in difficult
13 situations. Would that be a fair statement?
14 A. That unit assisted everywhere. It was used if one of our
15 positions came under attack. This platoon and platoons similar to this
16 one were used for that purpose.
17 Q. Thank you. A few more personal questions and then we move on to
18 my questions relating to Drago Nikolic. Just to confirm that your house
19 was in the Rocevic area, that has been established already, but it was
20 some 300 metres from the school in Rocevic; is that correct?
21 A. 300 to 500 metres.
22 Q. And most of the soldiers --
23 A. As the crow flies, I apologise.
24 Q. And I was going to say most of the soldiers but a fair amount of
25 soldiers in the 2nd Battalion, they were from Rocevic, even though Rocevic
1 was not in your battalion defence area; is that correct?
2 A. There was no single company that would be composed exclusively of
3 natives of Rocevic but in any case, the 1st Infantry Brigade --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Company , interpreter's correction.
5 A. -- was mostly composed of troops from Rocevic but there were other
6 troops from other villages. In the 2nd Infantry Company, we also had an
7 infantry platoon from Rocevic, and that would be that.
8 Q. Thank you. Let's move on to the -- your knowledge of
9 Drago Nikolic in 1995, which is the first part of my cross-examination
10 today. Yesterday you said, and I quote from page 21, lines 22 and 23, you
11 stated yesterday that the question was, "Did you know an officer named
12 Drago Nikolic?"
13 And your answer was: "Yes."
14 "What was his position at the time?"
15 And he was: "... assistant brigade commander for intelligence and
17 Do you recall that giving that answer yesterday?
18 A. Yes, I do.
19 Q. I think just as a matter of just as a small correction, you would
20 agree with me that he wasn't assistant commander for both intelligence and
21 security, but just for security. Do you recall that?
22 A. I'm not sure.
23 Q. Is it something you're not aware of or maybe you don't remember?
24 A. I'm not sure that I know that.
25 Q. Okay. Now, when you were asked to describe the relationship, you
1 described it as being "... a fair relationship, the relationship between
2 me and Drago Nikolic, when it came to our cooperation and our duties, we
3 never had any disagreements so it was a fair relationship and a correct
5 So that's what you said yesterday, and I guess this is also your
6 testimony today?
7 A. Yes, that's correct.
8 Q. And you also said that you at times socialised and you gave that
9 information also to my colleague from the Prosecution, that at times you
10 went out and you had drinks with Drago Nikolic.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, you remember meeting with the investigator assigned to the
13 Nikolic team? And that was quite recently, and that was, I believe,
14 earlier in June? Do you remember meeting with our investigator?
15 A. Yes. At their request, though.
16 Q. Yes. And I just want to -- because when you met him, the
17 information he provided me with is that, in fact, the relationship between
18 Drago and yourself was more something like and I'll quote his words - you
19 can correct me, if that is correct or not - the witness says that he had
20 an extraordinary relationship with Drago Nikolic, both military and
21 personal. Sorry for my pronunciation.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Do you agree with that?
24 A. Yes, one might say so.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
1 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, my friend is clearly cross-examining
2 with a report of some kind from his investigator. I think we are entitled
3 to see that and have a copy of that.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
5 MR. BOURGON: I have information and notes, I'm not going to share
6 my notes with my colleague. Those are notes that I got from my
7 investigator, like we don't have access to their notes, we don't give
8 access to our notes. It's not a statement, it's just a -- and the witness
9 is perfectly free to confirm or not to confirm.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: But he's reading from a document. I'm entitled to
11 see what he's reading from and clearly --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: He's telling you they are his notes.
13 MR. NICHOLLS: They are not his notes. He's said that they are
14 what his investigator wrote down from an interview with a witness.
15 MR. BOURGON: I don't see where my colleague is going with this.
16 This is just information that I have. Someone is pointing to me at
17 Rule 97 here. And that's information that I have received that is
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's stop it therefore.
20 MR. BOURGON: I don't see what the problem is. At least he should
21 wait until it's something that's contentious.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's stop it there, and we will have some
23 consultations on this. It will only take us a couple of seconds.
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE AGIUS: We consider such a document as privileged provided--
1 and we take your word for it -- that it is not a statement by the witness
2 when he was interviewed.
3 MR. BOURGON: It is not a statement, Mr. President.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
5 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, I don't see where the privilege is
6 when it's a witness -- where the witness is discussing something with an
7 investigator. Once it's written down -- of course, our investigators,
8 when they write something down, we turn that into a report and give it to
9 them. If we used investigator's notes in cross-examination, of course
10 they would say, "I'd like to see what" -- if I picked up and said, "All
11 right I'm reading from my investigator's notes," is there any way that
12 wouldn't be shared with them during cross? Would they accept that?
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I am not going to delve into the rights and
14 practices of the Prosecution. I'm just dealing -- we are just dealing at
15 the moment with the issue that you raised, and Rule 70(A) specifically
16 provides that:
17 "Notwithstanding the provisions of Rules 66 and 67, reports,
18 memoranda, or other internal documents prepared by a party, its assistants
19 or representatives in connection with the investigation or preparation of
20 the case, are not subject to disclosure or notification under those
22 MR. NICHOLLS: I agree with that but when it is read out in court,
23 to be used in cross-examination, I think that changes things. It's no
24 longer anything internal because he's reading it to the entire world.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: It still remains his notes. It still remains his
1 notes. So -- let's not waste more time on this. We are taking your word
2 that this is not a statement but it's just notes that were prepared for
3 you by your assistant and please proceed.
4 MR. NICHOLLS: Just to be clear I would not want Mr. Bourgon's
5 notes. And maybe we'll file something on this but if the investigator
6 writes down something which a witness has told him and then that is read
7 back to the witness, I think I have a right to see what has been written
8 down by that investigator for completeness. When you use something in
9 cross-examination normally the other side, whatever it is, gets to see it.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Let's proceed.
11 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: We have handed down our decision.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's proceed and our ruling is to be understood to
16 refer specifically to the document that you have and the part that you
17 read from it, or that you referred to.
18 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Q. Let's proceed, Mr. Acimovic. As I've mentioned to you when we
20 met, this is the game and they do this regularly so it's -- don't take it
21 personally, please.
22 I just asked you to qualify the idea of the relationship, both
23 military and personal, between yourself and Drago Nikolic. I would like
24 you to confirm that it is your opinion, and at least it was until that
25 time, that Drago Nikolic was a highly professional military officer who
1 was very strict on military rules and that he was not a big talker, he
2 didn't speak much. Is that correct?
3 A. I wouldn't say that he was strict. It is not my call to be the
4 judge of Drago's abilities. I only said that my relationship with him was
6 Q. And would you agree that he was a professional military officer
7 that, he behaved in a professional manner, are you able to qualify that?
8 A. At any rate, I believe that he did his best to perform his duties
9 in a proper manner.
10 Q. Now, just to move immediately into those conversations that you
11 testified you say you had with Drago Nikolic on that night and that
12 morning, well, to begin with, you can confirm that these -- and I believe
13 you said that already, you said it in your statement, that that
14 conversation took place on an open line and that no codes were used for
15 that conversation; is that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And would I be right in saying that at the time you believed
18 Drago Nikolic was transmitting an order which came from somebody else?
19 A. I believe that at any rate, this was not an order that he
20 personally issued, that he did not order that himself but, rather, that he
21 conveyed somebody else's order, but I repeat I only assumed that that was
22 the case.
23 Q. And that's exactly what I'm simply asking you. And would I be
24 correct in saying that when you -- when you tried to remember back the
25 content of the conversation, you told to the Prosecution on a number of
1 occasions that it is difficult to remember the exact word or details in
2 which this conversation took place? Would you agree with this statement?
3 A. Please can you remind me of that statement of mine? I don't know
4 which one are you referring to. What do you mean?
5 Q. Will do. Let's take, for example, the -- your second interview
6 and we can call this up on e-court, and that is at 3D154, and I'd like to
7 have page 17 to 19 in English and in -- sorry, page 19 in English and page
8 20 in B/C/S. So you can look at this in your language, just to remind you
9 what you told the Prosecution at that time.
10 Okay. I'd like to, if we can just -- we will have the -- here.
11 Now, I'll ask you to look, Mr. Acimovic, at page 20, lines 1 to 3 up
12 there, where it says, "He was not pleased" -- "He was not protesting ...
13 He was not pleased, he raised his voice at me and things like that. But I
14 cannot remember the exact words or details in which this conversation took
16 Do you remember saying that to the Prosecution in your second
17 interview? At the top, lines 1 to 3. Were these the words that you used
18 with the Prosecution?
19 A. There is no need for me to consult this document at all. Could
20 you please repeat your question and please be more precise? Tell me what
21 you want me to answer.
22 Q. I'm just saying, Mr. Acimovic, that what you told the Prosecution
23 is simply that it is difficult, looking back, to remember precisely the
24 exact words or details in which this conversation took place.
25 A. This is how the interview evolved. When --
1 Q. I have very limited time and I'm simply asking, is it difficult
2 today to remember the details or do you remember every single detail?
3 Because you said on three different occasions, and I can refer to those,
4 but I'm just trying here to establish something that -- remember things
5 that you said, "I cannot remember the exact words or details in which this
6 conversation took place." Do you remember ever saying that to the
7 Prosecution? Because you've already described that conversation in your
8 examination-in-chief. All I want to know is did you tell the Prosecution?
9 A. Yes, yes, but I've told you that I can't remember every single
10 word, every single comma. These are some details that I don't think are
11 that important.
12 Q. Okay. Let's move on. I'll just say that -- I'll just suggest to
13 you that it was your impression at the time that Drago Nikolic was under
14 pressure and that he had no choice but to pass the order or whatever
15 message he passed to you. Would that be a fair statement?
16 A. At the moment when I talked to Drago, I did not feel that.
17 However, on reflection, since I know what Drago is like, I really gave it
18 a long and hard thought, to try and guess what could have made him put
19 such a pressure on me, especially in light of the fact that my
20 relationship with him had been good, as I've already told you. Also, I
21 would like to emphasise that again I assume, but I only assume, that he
22 did it on somebody else's orders. But I can't be sure of that. This is
23 merely my assumption.
24 Q. And that he was under pressure when relaying those words to you,
25 was he?
1 A. I cannot claim for a fact that he was under pressure. This is
2 just my assumption.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: He's answered the question. Let's proceed.
4 MR. BOURGON: I'll proceed, Mr. President.
5 Q. In any event, Mr. Acimovic, would I be correct in saying that you
6 were very surprised to see Drago Nikolic involved into any of this?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And do you think, Mr. Acimovic, that Drago Nikolic was able to
9 issue such an order or would you agree that he had no authority or
10 competence to be able to organise in his own any such action? Would you
11 agree with that?
12 A. I suppose that the operation was not his own initiative, that he
13 did it -- did not do it of his own accord.
14 Q. And we discussed this when we met. Based on your knowledge of
15 what happened, would you agree that Drago Nikolic was a small player and
16 no more than a pawn in those events?
17 A. I suppose that he wasn't in a position to plan all that on his
18 own. I only assume that he acted on somebody's orders.
19 Q. And you mentioned to me when we met, Mr. Acimovic, that it was
20 your impression that Drago Nikolic had been misused at the time. Can you
21 comment on that?
22 A. I think that whoever participated in all of this was misused.
23 Q. Can you elaborate with respect to Drago Nikolic? I'm just
24 referring to our conversation. I don't want to put it to you. I just
25 want you to repeat what you told me.
1 A. This conversation took place in this context.
2 Q. Okay. We'll move on. After the phone call that you say you had
3 with Drago Nikolic on that morning, and you said it was something around
4 7.00, would I be right in saying that after that you had no more dealings
5 with Drago Nikolic concerning those events?
6 A. You said at 7.00 a.m.?
7 Q. After 7.00 a.m.
8 A. After that morning's conversation, I wasn't in touch with Drago in
9 any way whatsoever.
10 Q. And in -- at any time when you went in -- when were you in
11 Rocevic, you never saw Drago Nikolic there; would that be a fair
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, you mentioned in response to a question from my colleague
15 that you discussed these events with Trbic at some point. And my question
16 is that you never discussed these events with Drago Nikolic, did you?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And the meeting which was referred to by my colleague, Mr.
19 Zivanovic, later on in the month, you can confirm that Drago Nikolic was
20 present; is that correct?
21 A. I cannot confirm, but I suppose he was there.
22 Q. But you did not discuss these events at that time with him?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Let me move on to a different area of my cross-examination, and
25 again, this is all material that we've discussed and I took it from your
1 statements. And I would first suggest to you that keeping prisoners in
2 the school in the village of Rocevic was a dangerous thing to do because
3 there were no soldiers in the village and no one was armed to defend the
4 population there. Would that be correct?
5 A. In any case, a school is not a facility where one should keep
7 Q. Well, I beg to disagree with you on this but that's not the issue
8 of my question. So let's get to my question. My question is simply in
9 that context, and you've testified at length about the context, in the
10 military situation, and at that particular moment, to put prisoners in the
11 school in Rocevic, in the context at the time, that was a dangerous thing
12 to do. Would you agree?
13 A. With the soldiers that were there, yes.
14 Q. And I believe you may have mentioned this -- I don't have the
15 exact reference in your testimony but I have the reference in your first
16 interview -- where you mentioned that soldiers in the trenches, your
17 soldiers on the front line, they learned about Rocevic and they were ready
18 to leave the front line, which would have been a disaster. Do you agree
19 with that?
20 A. They heard about this woman being wounded, and about the behaviour
21 of the soldiers who were down there.
22 Q. And it would have been a disaster had they decided to leave the
23 front line?
24 A. Of course. But I don't think that that could have happened
25 without my knowledge.
1 Q. Now, the -- would you agree with me that anyone in the -- in
2 Zvornik Brigade at that time was fully aware of the difficulty of the
3 situation on the front line at that particular moment?
4 A. Could you please repeat your question?
5 Q. I'll try and make it more precise. You yourself knew that a
6 column was approaching and that there was a risk of attack. Did you know
8 A. We received telegrams to that effect.
9 Q. And would you agree with me that anybody on the front line, all of
10 the battalions, would be aware of that?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And such information was disseminated to the battalion by the
13 brigade command. Would that be a fair statement?
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. So would you agree with me that the Zvornik Brigade itself, in
16 those circumstances, would never have instigated, planned or ordered such
17 a risky and dangerous move of putting prisoners in the schools?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. I'll move to another segment of my cross-examination. And I just
20 want at this time to go over with you some members of your battalion and
21 to see where they were in July of 1995 during those events that you
22 testified about.
23 So if we begin by Vujo Lazarevic, he was your assistant commander
24 for morale and religious affairs; is that correct?
25 A. Yes, yes.
1 Q. And on that night, he was the duty officer?
2 A. No. I think it was Mitar Lazarevic. That's another person.
3 Q. You're right to point this out because yesterday you said
4 Vujo Lazarevic was the duty officer and today you said Mitar Lazarevic was
5 the duty officer. I know two different persons but which one was the
6 officer between the two?
7 A. I said that I think that Mitar Lazarevic was the duty officer but
8 I'm not sure.
9 Q. So the two were present, and they were on duty that night?
10 A. No. One of them was on duty, and I said that I think that it was
11 Mitar Lazarevic.
12 Q. And the other person, Vujo, was present. What was he doing there
13 during the night, if he wasn't on duty?
14 A. We in the battalion command were billeted there as well, only one
15 floor above. That means that the room where the duty officer was had two
16 or three beds, where officers from the battalion command would sleep.
17 Q. And that's exactly the reason why I asked these questions, to
18 allow the Trial Chamber to understand exactly how the battalion command,
19 where it was, how it worked, and I have a couple of questions for that.
20 But just to go back to Mitar Lazarevic, which is the second one on my
21 list, you've already said that he was the person responsible for general
22 affairs; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, yes.
24 Q. Now, Mitar was not an officer, was he?
25 A. None of my assistants were officers.
1 Q. Now, the post of clerk for general affairs or person responsible
2 for general affairs, is that a post normally held by an officer? Is that
3 an officer post? Or is that a clerk position?
4 A. An officer should hold this position, but since this was a desk
5 officer in charge of general affairs, as you can see for yourself, we had
6 privates discharging these duties.
7 Q. Okay. And Vujo, what rank was he? Vujo Lazarevic.
8 A. He had no rank.
9 Q. No rank. So they were both ordinary soldiers?
10 A. Privates.
11 Q. But in occupying the roles of assistant commander with your
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Okay. I move on quickly to Stevan Savic. He was your deputy
15 commander and he was absent from your battalion at the time; is that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And Milorad Sakotic he was your assistant commander for security
19 and he was also absent in Trnovo at that time; is that correct?
20 A. I suppose that he was in Trnovo.
21 Q. Do you have any other information that he was anywhere else?
22 A. No. A group of soldiers was at the time involved in carrying out
23 combat missions in that area but I'm not sure whether it was Trnovo or
24 some other location.
25 Q. So he was away. You had sent him on some kind of mission away
1 from the command at that time; is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. That's all I'm trying to get it.
4 A. [No interpretation]
5 Q. Zivojin Pisic, he was your quartermaster; is that correct?
6 A. Assistant commander for logistics, Zivan Pisic.
7 Q. That's just a mistake with my language because I happened to be a
8 quartermaster and assistant commander for logistics before myself. So
9 there are moving on to this man, you changed the first name, I thought it
10 was Zivojin but you gave me a different name, Zivan Pisic. He worked in
11 the command with you; is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And would I be correct in saying that you had a number of radio
14 operators working in the command also?
15 A. I wouldn't agree that there was a large number.
16 Q. Well, we'll go through the list just to confirm whether these
17 people are your radio operator or communications people. Miodrag Pisic,
18 he was one of them?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And Dragan Stevanovic?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And Goran Ilic?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And Milisav Cvijetinovic?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, can you just at this point -- maybe we can for the benefit of
2 the Trial Chamber, where did these people work physically?
3 A. You mean where they were deployed or situated? Not far from the
4 battalion command, some 40 metres.
5 Q. Now, I move on to -- you had a cook with the battalion command,
6 that was Milan Jovic; is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And were there any other persons that you may remember that I may
9 have missed that were working in the battalion command?
10 A. There were probably more people there, but I'm not claiming that
11 all that you have named here were present. Also, from those
12 communications officers that you mentioned, I also cannot say that whether
13 all of them were present or only some of them were present. The same also
14 applies to the cooks.
15 Q. That wasn't my question. My question was those are persons
16 working in the command, they are assigned to the command of the
17 2nd Battalion, that was the only purpose of my question.
18 A. Yes. They were members of the battalion, of course.
19 Q. Did you have -- were there any persons for the security of the
21 A. In what way? Are you referring to the military police and things
22 like that?
23 Q. Anybody who would ensure the physical protection of the battalion
24 command, other than the people we spoke about.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, I just -- may we go into private session, Mr. President?
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Let's go into private session for a short
3 while, please.
4 [Private session]
17 [Open session]
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Go ahead.
19 MR. BOURGON:
20 Q. Now, I'm just curious. You mentioned Goran Radic. Was he present
21 in July 1995 or during these events, was he present?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And did he -- but I take it he did not drive you when you went to
24 Rocevic school or --
25 A. No, he didn't.
1 Q. And why is this so?
2 A. Most definitely not. It is possible that he was among the
3 soldiers who were outside the defence area of the battalion but I'm not
4 sure. But in many other cases, and other situations, I drove the car
5 myself, when I went home and things like that.
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Acimovic. My next section is that I would just
7 like to discuss a bit of well, the company commanders, you've mentioned
8 all the company commanders already but let's just confirm that and then
9 I'll be -- I think that will be it for me for today. First company was
10 Dragan Stjepanovic, you said that already; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Who was his deputy?
13 A. Mico Savic.
14 Q. And 2nd Company was Miroslav Stankovic?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And who was his deputy?
17 A. Risto Milosevic.
18 Q. And the 3rd Company was Milan Radic?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And I take it that his deputy was Petko Tomic?
21 A. Yes.
22 MR. BOURGON: Mr. President, I'm moving to a different area. I
23 think the Trial Chamber requested five minutes. I would prefer to stop
24 here, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: It's okay. It's fine with us.
1 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. Acimovic, and we'll see you in the
3 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. I think the witness can
4 leave the courtroom. Mr. Acimovic, same advisory as yesterday. Please no
5 communication with anyone on the subject matter of your testimony.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well.
7 [The witness stands down]
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ostojic?
9 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours. There's two
10 points I'd like to raise. One, today in the transcript of this witness,
11 on page 40, line 2, and I had a discussion with my learned friend - I'm
12 not sure if it was a translation problem or not, the witness specifically
13 testified that he spoke to all Defence teams. And I think my learned
14 friend will agree that, even during our discussion yesterday, the Beara
15 Defence team did not at any time meet with this witness. And I believe my
16 friend agrees with that, because he has inquired with this witness prior
17 to him taking the oath with whom he met, so I just wanted that to be
18 clarified, not to waste time. I guess he's standing and I'll just stop.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: That's correct. I took that as the witness saying,
20 "I met with everybody who wanted to meet with me," and the Beara team was
21 not amongst those.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Point taken, and it goes on record. The second
24 MR. OSTOJIC: The second point was the Court's request on the
25 progress on the aerial images. We have discussed that at length and on
1 multiple occasions and we are coming closer. We are waiting to get some
2 other verification from the actual source of those images, and we think we
3 can get it to the Court, a final determination on whether we need to
4 continue to discuss that in the next week to 10 days. But we are actually
5 meeting on that issue and we have met on numerous occasions on that, and
6 we seem to be getting closer on the information that we feel is required
7 and necessary. So I just wanted to advise the Court on that.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. The important thing is that
9 something is being done and you haven't put it in deep freeze, in other
10 words. Yes, Mr. McCloskey? Thank you, Mr. Ostojic. Mr. McCloskey?
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. That's correct, Mr. President, and also on
12 the issue of -- Mr. Vanderpuye has informed me that he has finished his
13 proofing and is not planning on seeing the person again, though he would
14 like to have the ability to do that, of course. And so we really,
15 hopefully, we don't have an issue and I would like to avoid controversy if
16 possible. However, this is an issue we feel strongly about, that these
17 sorts of orders that are being requested are inappropriate so, perhaps
18 some time we need to deal with it but at this point, it doesn't look like
19 it's a problem.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. I suppose you also -- it's the case of
21 waiting for our Obrenovic decision as well, because it might give you an
22 indication of where we stand on such issues.
23 All right. Perhaps we will have a second verification of that
24 tomorrow, Mr. McCloskey, and then we will ask Mr. Bourgon what position he
25 will be taking. We'll deal with it tomorrow. Yes, Mr. Bourgon?
1 MR. BOURGON: Mr. President, just to inform the Trial Chamber, I
2 had estimated two hours for this witness. I've already taken one hour. I
3 will require more time tomorrow in light of the testimony. I would say
4 probably two hours, maybe a little more but I'll try to cut it down. My
5 aim is to finish in one session. Not sure I'll be able to.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: No problem. We will use our discretion, of course,
7 Mr. Bourgon, but we believe that we use it right.
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: Any more estimates while we've got everybody so I
9 can --
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, I had asked -- you were here, no? The Beara
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Sometimes things change.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: The Beara team asked for 45 minutes, probably will
14 be less. And then we have the Pandurevic team 30 minutes at the most,
15 between 20 and 30. The others, I don't think there is a change in
16 position, unless I hear statements to the contrary. I see Madam Fauveau
17 is not requiring, Mr. Lazarevic, Mr. Josse the same.
18 So basically we have another two hours from Mr. Bourgon, roughly,
19 and then Mr. Meek will kindly break the news to us tomorrow morning after
20 a whole night of deep thinking on the subject. Thank you. We stand
21 adjourned until tomorrow.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.57 p.m.,
23 to be reconvened on Friday, the 22nd day of June,
24 2007, at 9.00 a.m.