1 Friday, 22 June 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, everybody. Madam Registrar, could you
6 call the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, 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.
10 All the accused are here. From the Defence teams I only notice
11 the absence of Mr. Meek, who I suppose has spent a sleepless night
12 pondering on my -- and is now taking a well-earned rest. Yes,
13 Mr. Ostojic?
14 MR. OSTOJIC: Morning, Mr. President, Your Honours. Mr. Meek will
15 not be with us today and at the beginning of next week. He's expected to
16 arrive on Thursday next week.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. I must have complicated his
18 mind. It needs a rest.
19 Mr. McCloskey and Mr. Nicholls for the Prosecution. I can't see
20 anyone else behind the column.
21 All right. I understand there is a preliminary, Mr. Bourgon?
22 MR. BOURGON: Good morning, Mr. President. It's a very short
23 matter I wish to raise before the witness begins, and I continue with my
25 This is an issue that arose over the weekend when I spoke with the
1 Prosecution and I asked them a question arising from the second interview
2 which was provided by the witness on 17th of March 2002.
3 On that occasion, the witness provided a lot of new information
4 that was not provided before, and this happened or was triggered by a
5 question which was put to him and the following question is the -- this
6 one. It says that: "Further to that, we learned that a request had been
7 made to your battalion to provide people to participate in this execution.
8 Can you tell me about that?"
9 And then at that moment, the witness started to speak and to
10 provide new information. The question I posed to my friends from the
11 Prosecution was where did they get that information in order to help us do
12 our own investigation? So far I have not been able to -- my colleague has
13 not replied to this query. They told me that they are looking for the
14 information as to where -- who provided this information to the
15 Prosecution so that they could put this question to the witness. But so
16 far, I haven't got any answer. And I'll pursue my cross-examination but I
17 thought it was important to inform the Trial Chamber that that's a piece
18 of information that was missing when preparing for this witness. Thank
19 you, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. I don't know if you wish to comment.
21 Mr. McCloskey?
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President. We do endeavour, when we get
23 the occasional question like this, to see if we can answer it simply. I
24 was able to answer a similar question and provide an ancient secret source
25 document for the counsel to find out which rumour led to another rumour
1 which led to a question. This one, we are looking for to help him out and
2 we'll continue to look. I don't think the law obligates us to do this but
3 there is no problem us looking and we'll continue to look. The problem is
4 the -- Mr. Bursik's been asked and doesn't recall but we'll continue to
5 look to see if we can sort it out.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Let's bring the witness -- I suppose
7 there are no further matters to be raised? Okay. How much time do you
8 think you will require, Mr. Bourgon? You gave us an indication yesterday
9 but I don't know whether you've --
10 MR. BOURGON: I do have quite a substantial amount of questions
11 and I will try to do my best to finish in two hours.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I've just asked you, not curtail your time, but to
13 be able to plan the rest of the day.
14 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. And Mr. Ostojic?
16 MR. OSTOJIC: Mr. President, at this point we have probably less
17 than a half hour, if any at all, but we are still waiting to see.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
19 [The witness entered court]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. --
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Your Honours, I would like also to ask the Chamber
22 to put to the witness some additional questions regarding yesterday
23 disclosed documents from the Prosecution. This is a vehicle work log,
24 just -- I need not more than ten minutes for it.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. We'll consider that later on. Thank you.
1 Yes, good morning to you, Mr. Acimovic. Welcome back.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I am very confident that we will finish today.
4 But please try to keep your answers short as possible, provided
5 they are pertinent to the question, they answer the question, the whole
6 question and nothing but the question. Because otherwise you will be here
7 again next week.
8 Yes, Mr. Bourgon?
9 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 WITNESS: SRECKO ACIMOVIC [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Cross-examination by Mr. Bourgon: [Continued]
13 Q. Good morning, Mr. Acimovic.
14 A. Good morning.
15 Q. Before I begin with my questions that I had planned to ask you
16 today, I have a couple of clarifications from testimony you gave either
17 yesterday or the day before. Firstly I'd like you to confirm that you
18 would agree with me that you are able to recognise or that you were able
19 to recognise the voice of Drago Nikolic. Is that a fair statement?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And yesterday, I asked you a question concerning the position of
22 Drago Nikolic, and I suggested to you that he was the assistant commander
23 for security and not the assistant commander for intelligence and
24 security. You -- your response was that you weren't aware of that. Now,
25 I'd just like to recall that in your first statement, the first interview,
1 and that was on page 4, and also in English and in B/C/S, you stated that
2 Drago was only chief of security. Do you recall saying that in your first
4 A. Probably said it.
5 Q. Now, a quick clarification also, something you mentioned in your
6 testimony on the 20th of June, so that's two days ago, you mentioned, and
7 that was on the transcript page 23, lines 16 to 17 of that transcript, you
8 mentioned that Trbic was a reserve lieutenant. Now, I suggest to you that
9 in fact Trbic was not a reserve lieutenant but that he was a captain. Are
10 you aware of this?
11 A. I don't remember when he was promoted, when he became captain.
12 Q. Thank you. Now, you also mentioned concerning Trbic that he was a
13 foot soldier in your battalion. Would I be correct in saying that in
14 fact, just before leaving or just before being reassigned to the brigade
15 command, he was your deputy commander? Is that correct?
16 A. Yes, but let me clarify, if I may. When I first met Trbic, it was
17 while I was still the company commander. He was a foot soldier then.
18 When I was appointed pursuant to an order of the brigade commander, the
19 commander of the 3rd Infantry Battalion, and since I had known Trbic from
20 before, in agreement with the brigade commander, I appointed Trbic my
21 deputy. This was in 1992, I think. In November 1992.
22 Q. Thank you for this information and clarification. So would I be
23 right in saying that he was your -- or maybe I should put it this way:
24 How long was he your deputy commander, approximately?
25 A. I can't give you a precise answer, but I would say that maybe a
1 year and a half.
2 Q. Thank you. And would I be right in saying that, of course,
3 because he was a your deputy commander and that you even knew him before
4 that, that you were quite close to Trbic? Would that be a fair statement?
5 A. In any case, we knew each other well.
6 Q. I'll move on, Mr. Acimovic, to my first area of questions for
7 today. And the first thing I'd like to do is simply confirm the sequence
8 of events as you described them and then we'll go into each of those
9 events one by one. But the first thing that took place, I'm talking just
10 in general terms, is when you went to the school with the priest and the
11 president of the local community. Would that be correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And after spending some time at the school, you were on your way
14 back to your battalion command when you stopped in Kozluk to make a phone
15 call; is that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Following which, according to your testimony, you returned to the
18 school and you spoke to both the priest and the president of the local
20 A. I didn't say I had spoken to the priest. I'm not sure about that.
21 But I did speak to the president of the local commune.
22 Q. And the next thing that took place is you returned to your --
23 after speaking to the president of the local community, you returned to
24 battalion command from where you made another phone call to the brigade;
25 is that correct?
1 A. Yes, that's correct.
2 Q. And in the sequence of events, then came the first telegram and
3 the first response which you sent back?
4 A. Could you please put your question in a more precise way? Because
5 I'm not sure that I have understood you correctly.
6 Q. Will do, Mr. Acimovic.
7 When you are in -- back at the battalion command, the next event
8 which took place that really -- that you testified about is when you say
9 that you -- that the battalion received a telegram from the brigade and
10 that you forwarded a response back to the brigade. So that's the next
11 major event.
12 A. Yes, after midnight.
13 Q. And following which there was a second telegram and a second
14 response; would you agree with that?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And at some point, because I don't want to be too precise, we'll
17 get to the precise details in a minute, but at some point in this telegram
18 business, you consulted with the company commanders?
19 A. I could get in touch with company commanders. I was able to do
21 Q. Okay. And then the next major event is phone calls that you say
22 were made to you by Drago Nikolic. That would be the next major event?
23 A. I apologise. Let me just clarify my previous answer, please. I
24 said before that I had been in touch with company commanders or their
25 deputies. I know that I spoke to the commander of the 1st Company and as
1 for the 2nd and the 3rd Companies, I don't know whether I spoke to the
2 commanders or their deputies. I'm not sure of that.
3 Q. Thank you for that clarification. It is indeed important. But
4 the purpose of my question was there was some consultation at that point
5 with the companies. Would that be a fair statement?
6 A. No consultations took place. The company commanders were informed
7 about the telegram that we had received. I asked my company commanders
8 whether they were familiar with the telegram, and I suppose that they
9 answered affirmatively, and as I have already stated in my previous
10 statements, I informed them about our reply to these telegrams, and I also
11 informed them on that occasion that if anybody should check, that they
12 should say that they were familiar with the content of the telegram.
13 Q. Thank you. We'll get to the details of what happened with the
14 company commanders or their deputies, as you mentioned. I was just trying
15 to set up the sequence of events. And the next thing that happened was
16 the alleged conversation with Drago Nikolic, and then you went after that
17 in the morning you went to Rocevic where you met with Popovic. Is that in
18 the sequence of events what happened according to your testimony?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And then there was several days later a meeting for battalion
21 commanders at brigade command. That would be the next event you testified
22 about, both in examination-in-chief and when you answered questions from
23 my colleague Mr. Zivanovic.
24 A. Whether that was a few days later, I don't know. I can't be sure
25 of that. But I suppose that some time did pass after all of these events
1 that I've -- that we've been talking about.
2 Q. Thank you. Just a quick clarification before I move on to my next
3 topic. And that is concerning the priest. I take it from your testimony
4 that when you initially went to the school, you met the priest and the
5 president of the local community, we know that, but I'd like to know, is
6 it your -- what is your testimony in terms of how long did the priest stay
7 there with you? Was he there during the consultation process when you
8 tried to get access to the school?
9 A. I really can't say. I can't remember.
10 Q. Now, we were given some information by the Prosecution. They
11 managed I guess to meet this priest and according to the information we
12 have, he said that he stayed five minutes and went back to his church.
13 Does that sound familiar to you?
14 A. Quite possible.
15 Q. So I take it, then, that when -- if he only stayed five minutes
16 that means that when you approach those unknown and uncontrolled soldiers
17 who were guarding the school, the priest was not witness of these events;
18 is that correct?
19 A. Quite possible.
20 Q. I'll move on to my next topic which is simply I'd like to cover
21 with you some information I think is necessary regarding the communication
22 which your battalion had, both to the companies and to the brigade. So
23 let's begin with between the battalion and the brigade command. Would you
24 agree with me that there was a line -- a land line, meaning telephone
25 hooked from wire -- by wire from telephone to telephone?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And that's a military telephone where you basically have to turn
3 the telephone and then you get the person at the other end? And would you
4 agree with me that this is --
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. -- that this is a secure line, meaning that conversations on such
7 a telephone cannot be intercepted unless you plug yourself in the wire?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And both at the brigade command and at the company command -- and
10 at the battalion command, sorry, there is a switchboard. You are aware of
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. So if you called to the brigade, you will first get the
14 switchboard and the switchboard will connect you to any office in the
15 brigade command?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, if I move to communications between the battalion command and
18 your own companies, there is also a land line, wire from phone to phone,
19 so basically there is a secure telephone connection between the battalion
20 command and all of your companies?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. So these conversations cannot be intercepted, once again, unless
23 someone plugs right into the wire?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And as mentioned, there was, in your battalion, a switchboard, and
1 that was a TLC 10. Familiar with that, Mr. Acimovic?
2 A. No.
3 Q. But you're familiar with the fact that there was a switchboard and
4 that the switchboard was located in the communication section, 40 metres
5 away from the battalion command, is that the case?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. So anyone who wants to have access to the battalion must first
8 ring the switchboard and then is connected either to a company or to the
9 battalion command; is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, as for communications between the battalion and the brigade
12 forward command post, the IKM, would I be correct in saying that you did
13 not have a direct line to the IKM, that you must first call brigade
14 command who would then connect you to the brigade IKM?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And the line which exists between the brigade command and the
17 brigade forward command post or IKM is also a military secure line, a wire
18 between two phones?
19 A. I suppose so.
20 Q. And would I be right in saying that in addition to this military
21 phone, there was also a radio network on which there was a number of
22 stations which would link the brigade command and all the battalions as
23 well as the brigade IKM?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And if the commander of the brigade or the Chief of Staff goes
1 away for -- from the brigade command while remaining in the brigade area,
2 it would be the norm or the normal procedure for the Chief of Staff to
3 bring along a radio?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And the Chief of Staff would also carry along or not carry along
6 but usually will be accompanied by a radio operator who would be with the
7 Chief of Staff at all times or very close to him?
8 A. Probably.
9 Q. Now, my question is not whether it did take place but that's the
10 procedure that should take place; is that correct?
11 A. In any case, yes.
12 Q. Now, of course, this radio network which would link the brigade
13 command to the brigade battalions, the radio network, that's -- those
14 conversations can be intercepted if you have a radio device and you can
15 switch on to the right frequency; is that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Unless, of course, you use the device which is the RUP 12, I
18 believe, which would code the communication?
19 A. I'm not competent to answer your question. I don't know enough to
20 be able to talk about the communication system, if we are talking about
22 Q. Okay. Then I'll move on in my questions and simply to add that
23 some battalion commanders had also a Motorola radio?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did you yourself have a Motorola radio?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And the Motorola radio, can you get from this radio -- can you get
3 on the brigade network?
4 A. Well, you see, I never had occasion to speak on the Motorola radio
5 with the commander or the Chief of Staff, because we always had more
6 secure communications, the telephones that we discussed earlier. So it
7 was not necessary to talk on the Motorola. And since the units concerned
8 were static, they were infantry battalions, including mine, that were
9 linked to their own area of defence.
10 Q. So you yourself I take it, then, made very little use of your
11 Motorola, if any?
12 A. We probably used it, but very little.
13 Q. And I take it that in addition to the military secure line and the
14 radio network, there were in some places civilian phones; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And the civilian phones is what you call an open line or an
17 unsecure line?
18 A. I said already that I'm not competent to discuss communications.
19 Q. Then my question would be -- I'll move on. Thank you,
20 Mr. Acimovic. I have enough for in terms of what I wanted to know to
21 clarify concerning communications and I move to my next topic, which deals
22 with the procedure within the battalion command. And my first question
23 is: There would always be an operative duty officer at the battalion
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And the operative duty officer is the one who receives and sends
2 all information on behalf of the battalion; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And the duty officer has an operational logbook in which he writes
5 all important information that takes place during his shift?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. So, for example, if you have -- as the battalion commander, are
8 away from your battalion, and someone calls and tries to get ahold of you,
9 the duty officer would write this in the book and say, "Mr. X tried to
10 call the commander at such a time"? Would that be a normal procedure?
11 A. Well, I don't believe the duty officer kept that kind of record.
12 Q. So what kind of record did he keep? What did you insist that your
13 duty officer keep as record?
14 A. The duty officer at the battalion command usually received
15 telegrams and he was the communication link with the brigade.
16 Q. Now, we'll get to telegrams later but what if it's not a telegram?
17 What if it's simply someone who wants to speak to the commander of the
18 battalion and you're not there? Where will the duty officer note down the
19 message? In the operational duty book or just on a piece of paper that he
20 will give you when you come back?
21 A. I really don't know. I don't know whether that's the kind of
22 message he would note down or he would just tell me, pass it on to me,
23 relying on his memory, or he would perhaps call me by some means of
24 communication, telling me that somebody was trying to get in touch.
25 Q. Thank you. Now, if I try to make a comparison between the
1 battalion command duty officer and the brigade command duty officer, would
2 I be right in saying that they have somehow the same duties at different
3 levels, of course?
4 A. I told you a moment ago, all my assistants were soldiers, so that
5 every shift on duty anybody did, boiled down to receiving information,
6 passing it on to me and things like that.
7 Q. Maybe you didn't understand my question correctly. I'm just
8 looking now at the brigade command duty officer. Would I be right in
9 saying that he would also be the link, he's the one who is the
10 communications link, passing the information to all the battalions? Is
11 that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And the brigade duty officer, you know because either you saw it
14 or you know it from experience, that he also has a duty officer logbook?
15 A. I don't know. I'm not sure there is a logbook.
16 Q. So you never saw it yourself, the logbook?
17 A. I don't remember.
18 Q. Now, we've heard quite a bit of testimony in this case concerning
19 the fact that if there was communication addressed to the brigade duty
20 officer, he did have a book and he did write this down. Would that be a
21 normal procedure, according to you?
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
23 MR. NICHOLLS: No objection. Sorry to interrupt. It's just about
24 the terminology. Earlier my friend was referring to a logbook and now
25 it's a book and I think we are all talking about the notebook but I just
1 want to make that -- we have been trying to work out the terminology
2 exactly but I think just for the record that's what we are talking about.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I understood that. Do you agree, Mr. Bourgon?
4 MR. BOURGON: I would agree with the Prosecution, like I always
5 do, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead and try to speed up this part, if you can.
7 I think it's been overlaboured.
8 MR. BOURGON: Will do.
9 Q. Just Mr. Acimovic, the -- if at the battalion command a telegram
10 was received, and you referred to that earlier, it would be noted in the
11 notebook; is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, some information has been provided to us by the Prosecution
14 concerning the person you say was on duty that night, Mitar Lazarevic, and
15 in the information we received, it says that there was a separate logbook
16 for telegrams that was beside the phone and that telegrams were
17 immediately registered. Is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Thank you. I move on to another section of the cross-examination.
20 Yesterday, in response to a question by my colleague Mr. Zivanovic, you
21 confirmed that you met the Prosecution three times before coming to
22 The Hague for your testimony. That was on page 24, lines 22 to 25. Is
23 that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And at page 25, lines 17 to 20 you also confirm that whenever you
1 remembered something new, then in your subsequent statement you would add
2 this to the previous statement; is that correct?
3 A. Through my interviews with the Prosecution, I kept recalling
4 certain things as we went along.
5 Q. Now, I'd like to confirm with you that during your first
6 interview, there are issues that you did not mention to the Prosecution.
7 The first such issue was the first telegram you received asking you to
8 provide a platoon to participate in executions. In the first interview
9 you did not mention that.
10 A. I said that on that occasion I had not been asked such questions.
11 I had not been asked things like that during the first interview, and I
12 did not recall them then. At that time, I was trying to answer the
13 questions that I was asked, and since the events in question took place a
14 long time ago, I hope you will agree with me that seven years on, one
15 cannot recall every detail. Do you perhaps agree with me? Did it ever
16 happen to you that you were going shopping for three things and arriving
17 at the shop you no longer had any idea of what they were? Now, imagine
18 events of a different kind and a time interval of seven years.
19 Q. Even though I should be the one asking the questions I'll answer
20 to yours and I agree with you.
21 Now, let's just go to what was not mentioned in your first
22 interview and then we can try and address why it was not mentioned. But
23 right now, I think it is important for the Trial Chamber to know exactly
24 what was not in your first interview. So if you can please just answer by
25 yes or no, if you want to elaborate I will never stop you but I think we
1 can move quicker if we just keep to yes or no.
2 The second telegram asking you to provide a platoon to participate
3 in executions, that was not mentioned in the first interview.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. The phone calls that you say you received from Drago Nikolic that
6 night and at 7.00 in the morning, that was not mentioned either?
7 A. Nothing was mentioned concerning the telegrams, nothing that fell
8 under that context.
9 Q. So going to the school the following morning and having a meeting
10 with the accused Popovic in Rocevic, that was also not mentioned?
11 A. I don't remember.
12 Q. Well, I can show you your statement but I'm telling you that it's
13 not in the first interview but I don't want -- if you don't agree we can
14 look at the interview if you want but do you agree that it's not there?
15 A. If you say it's not there, I suppose it's not. But I really can't
17 Q. Okay. Well, then we'll have to look at the interview because it's
18 not my word that counts. It's yours. So unless -- if I may have on
19 e-court -- and I think to make it easier, Mr. President, I can give a copy
20 to the witness in his language, a paper copy. He can just flip through
21 it. It's going to go quicker and save time.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. It has -- you need to show it first to
23 Mr. Nicholls to -- not that I don't trust you but it's for formality's
24 sake and do you agree with that -- with this procedure, Mr. Nicholls?
25 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes. And I don't need to see it. I'm sure it's
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Do you agree with the proposition that
3 Mr. Bourgon is putting to the witness in any case, Mr. Nicholls? Because
4 if you do, there is no need.
5 MR. BOURGON: There is no need absolutely if my colleague
6 stipulates it's not there.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, Your Honour, I don't want to interfere with
8 his cross but I think the witness has already basically answered when he
9 said that he didn't discuss the telegrams or the phone calls in the first
10 interview and that topic.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Fine.
12 MR. BOURGON: Well, if my colleague says that he agrees that those
13 events are not there because I think I it's important to get precise
14 information. He did not say that he went to the school that day, he did
15 not say that he met the accused Popovic that day. I think it's important
16 to be precise about those details.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: If you are prepared to stipulate that, we can move
18 much faster.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you, so we can proceed. You can
22 MR. BOURGON: Thank you. And I appreciate the assistance of my
24 Q. Now, Mr. Acimovic, I take it you had the time but we solved the
25 matter now and those events are not mentioned in your first interview.
1 Now, you mentioned earlier, when I asked you, you said that you did not
2 remember these things or that you were not asked. I would just like to
3 refer to you, if you can -- maybe if the witness can keep it and I'll
4 refer him to some questions he was asked on that occasion, I'd like you to
5 look on page 30, Mr. Acimovic, and that's 3D153, and if we can call this
6 up on e-court. In English, the reference is page 31, lines 20 to 25.
7 Now, all I want to refer to you is the three questions that were
8 posed to you during that interview. The first one on page 30 was: Do you
9 know anything about the execution of prisoners in the zone of
10 responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade? Do you see this question in your
11 language on page 30, Mr. Acimovic?
12 A. Just a minute.
13 Q. Did you find it?
14 A. No.
15 Q. I don't have the exact line unfortunately. In English, it's 23 to
16 25 but in your language, it's line 18. If you look at line 18 you will
17 find this question -- 14? Just where it says, "Do you know anything about
18 the execution of prisoners in the zone of responsibility of the
19 Zvornik Brigade?" Do you see that?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. If you can move, Mr. Acimovic, to page 23? In English, page 24,
22 lines 23 to 25. Do you see the question, Mr. Acimovic, "Did you ever
23 found out what happened to these people?"
24 A. Which number?
25 Q. Page 23, and line is close to 21, 22, 23. Question is, "Did you
1 ever found out what happened to these people?" Page 23. Did you find it?
2 A. Just a minute.
3 Q. Line 22.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, if you can move now, Mr. Acimovic, to page 28? In English
6 the reference is page 19, lines 19 to 25. Now, the question you were
7 asked then was, "Did you get any feedback from either your brigade
8 commander or Popovic about what happened to those people?"
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, if I look at these three questions, and I compare this to
11 your answer that -- or I simply suggest to you that you really did not
12 remember anything about those telegrams and those phone -- and those
13 telephone conversations because with those questions, you would have
14 remembered, right?
15 A. I cannot recall what exactly I remembered at that moment, how much
16 I remembered.
17 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Bourgon, if you could give me the English page
18 number again of the last part? Is it --
19 MR. BOURGON: What I have in my notes here is page 19, lines 19 to
20 25 but it would seem strange because the 28 in B/C/S so maybe I have--
21 it's 29, sorry. Maybe that's the problem. Page 29, lines 19 to 25.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: That explains because I was trying to follow on page
23 19 and I couldn't.
24 MR. BOURGON: I apologise. It's page 29, lines 19 to 25.
25 Q. Now, Mr. Acimovic, when you were cross-examined by my colleague,
1 you stated something, and that was on page 31, talking about yesterday,
2 lines 15 to 25. So I'll just read your answer that you provided then and
3 then I'll ask you a question: "My first statement that I provided in
4 Banja Luka was accessible to many people in Zvornik. I did not consider
5 that to be right."
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls, one moment, Mr. Bourgon.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Could we go into private session?
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, let's go into private session.
9 [Private session]
25 [Open session]
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Incidentally, I forgot to mention in the beginning
2 of the sitting but I am saying it now, with retroactive effect, that we
3 are sitting pursuant to Rule 15 bis today due to Judge Stole being unable
4 to be with us. Thank you.
5 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. Mr. Acimovic, I move now to your second interview, and during that
7 second interview, and I think to make that easier I can give you a paper
8 copy also, if my colleague agrees, and I can refer to you some lines that
9 you can see for yourself, that you read I believe, with the Prosecution on
10 Sunday, so it won't be any surprise to you. And for the sake of e-court,
11 this is 3D154. And if we can call the English copy on e-court and I refer
12 you, Mr. Acimovic, to page 7. Now, I just put to you this question -- not
13 put to you, I just ask you to look at this question where it
14 says, "Further to that, we learned that a request had been made to your
15 battalion to provide people to participate in this execution. Can you
16 tell me about that?"
17 Immediately after being asked this question, you provided
18 information concerning the-- what you referred to as the telegrams and the
19 telephone conversations. Now, I suggest to you, Mr. Acimovic, that if you
20 had not been asked this question, you would not have mentioned this
21 information. Do you agree with this?
22 A. As you can see from this question -- just a minute. As you can
23 see from the way the question was worded, it gave me a basis for recalling
24 certain events. It helped me remember them. You can see that for
1 Q. And that was exactly my point. I just wanted to know whether you
2 had decided before the interview to provide this information or you
3 suddenly remembered when this question was put to you. Which of the two
4 is it?
5 A. I really can't remember. I think that I remembered at that moment
6 because of the question.
7 Q. Now, if I look at your third interview -- so we can do away with
8 this -- with the second one for now, do you recall that in your third
9 interview your status was changed to that of a suspect?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And do you recall that after your status had been changed to that
12 of a suspect, you provided a lot of information concerning Obrenovic which
13 you appear to have refused to provide before you were made into a suspect?
14 A. I don't see what I have disclosed to Obrenovic. I just said that
15 I thought he must have known. That's why I thought and said that he was
16 aware of that, but I also said that I couldn't be sure. I just suppose
17 that if he was in the area of defence of the Zvornik Brigade, he should at
18 least have known about those events.
19 Q. This is indeed one of the things you said when your status was
20 changed to that of a suspect. So what you're telling me is even if you
21 had not been made a suspect you would have provided this information, the
22 same information?
23 A. Of course.
24 Q. Let's just take three quick examples and maybe we can avoid having
25 you look at the material. I'll just quote from the statement where you
1 said at one point if the duty officer --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
3 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, this is two pages. I would like the
4 witness to be able to look at the material.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, fair enough.
6 MR. NICHOLLS: I do not agree, without going into it in front of
7 the witness, with all of my friend's assertions he's just made.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's give him the opportunity to go through these
9 two pages first.
10 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President. Can we have a paper copy
11 given to the witness? We do have a copy on e-court but it's not the right
12 version so we cannot use e-court at this point in time.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you want to see it, Mr. Nicholls?
14 MR. NICHOLLS: No.
15 MR. BOURGON: I believe my colleague has a copy of it.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Have a look at that document -- what's happening,
17 Mr. Bourgon?
18 MR. BOURGON: I gave the wrong paper, I'm sorry, I apologise.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Oh, I see.
20 MR. BOURGON: Well, I will have to quote from it because it's not
21 available in the language of the accused. Sorry, of the witness.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you agree with that, Mr. Nicholls?
23 MR. NICHOLLS: No. I think it's in e-court in B/C/S. I think we
24 were looking at it yesterday in B/C/S in e-court and we -- I don't have a
25 hard copy in his language but --
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Registrar, Madam Registrar, if we locate it --
2 MR. BOURGON: I do have it on paper to give to the witness. I
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
5 MR. NICHOLLS: I did as well.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: So, witness, you are going to be handed a two-page
7 document which I kindly ask you to go through, please. Can we have the
8 exact number of that document. Is it the right document, Madam Registrar?
9 You don't know?
10 MR. NICHOLLS: It's actually three pages, Your Honour, but I think
11 the area at issue is two pages. That's what I meant.
12 MR. BOURGON: I think it's better, Mr. President, if I can just
13 read the three little parts I want to read to the witness.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. We still have to --
15 JUDGE KWON: What's the date of the document?
16 MR. BOURGON: Date of the document is 11 November 2002.
17 JUDGE KWON: 1D202.
18 THE REGISTRAR: 002.
19 MR. BOURGON: Can I speak.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Just to have it correct in the record it's 1D002;
22 THE REGISTRAR: 1D00202.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: So it's 1D202. Thank you.
24 MR. BOURGON: Mr. President, may I approach my colleague for one
25 quick minute?
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, definitely.
2 [Prosecution and Defence counsel confer]
3 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President, we can proceed.
4 Q. Mr. Acimovic, if I can refer you to the document you have in your
5 hands in your language, and right at the beginning, if we can go to the
6 first page, or sorry, the second page, where you ask -- the paragraph
7 begins by:
8 "Asked again if he thought Obrenovic was trying to avoid him,
9 Acimovic said that it was not logical that Obrenovic would not have known
10 what was happening as there were military phones, civilian telephones,
11 radios and if all else failed, communication could have been made by means
12 of a courier and that it should have been impossible for him not to know
13 what was happening."
14 Do you have this paragraph, Mr. Acimovic?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Okay. I refer you now to the next paragraph. That's when you
17 were made a suspect.
18 MR. NICHOLLS: Sorry, but that's not accurate. There is a
19 paragraph in between.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Bourgon?
21 MR. BOURGON: It's the paragraph in between I want to read to him
22 now. I said next paragraph. I was getting to that.
23 Q. The paragraph, Mr. Acimovic, reads as follows:
24 "When asked about the identity of the soldiers at the Rocevic
25 school, Acimovic said that he did not know who they were and that they
1 definitely were not from Zvornik Brigade." And then he talks about "... a
2 rumour that Jasikovac and his MPs were at the school but that he had not
3 seen them himself."
4 And that's when you were made into a suspect. Now, after that,
5 after having been made a suspect at that time, you did not provide any
6 other information concerning what happened at the Rocevic school or in
7 terms of the identity of the soldiers at the Rocevic school, did you?
8 A. As you can see here, I have stated that I did not see Jasikovac in
9 the Rocevic school. I suppose that he arrived once I had already left.
10 When I said that I had heard that he had been there, that means that he
11 probably came after I had already left to rejoin my unit. This is what I
12 was referring to.
13 Q. You can do away with this document, Mr. Acimovic. My question is
14 simply that everything you said to the Prosecution this Sunday, you did
15 not say on that occasion, despite the fact that you were made a witness
16 [sic]; is that correct?
17 A. Would you please repeat the question.
18 MR. BOURGON: [Microphone not activated]
19 Q. We just saw, you and I, that you were made a suspect on that
20 occasion, you agree with that?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And you were made a suspect because Mr. McCloskey, my colleague,
23 thought that you were not being honest concerning the identity of the
24 people in Rocevic; is that correct?
25 A. Probably.
1 Q. And despite being made a suspect, you did not provide any of the
2 information at that time which you provided this Sunday?
3 A. As I've already told you, at that moment I failed to remember
4 quite a number of things. During each subsequent interview, my memory was
5 additionally jogged about the events that I could not remember previously.
6 I've also said that some details, especially names, I did not mention for
7 the reasons of safety.
8 Q. For safety or out of memory? Which of the two? The names. I
9 thought you just mentioned that you did not remember but then you just
10 added that you did not mention the names for reasons of safety. So at
11 that time, you remembered those names or you did not remember these names
12 at that time?
13 A. I can't give you a precise answer to that question.
14 Q. Okay. We'll try to finish with this topic simply by what I need
15 to cover with you is what you told the Prosecution for the first time this
16 Sunday when you met for your proofing session. Now, in this case, I think
17 my colleague will agree we do not have a document in the language of the
18 accused. All we have is an English copy, so I'll just put to you what you
19 mentioned to the Prosecution, and I'd just like you to confirm that you
20 did not mention these things or, sorry, that you mentioned these things
21 for the first time this Sunday.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
23 MR. NICHOLLS: No objection, sorry to interrupt, I just ask my
24 colleague to remember what should be in private and what should not.
25 MR. BOURGON: Will do, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
2 MR. BOURGON:
3 Q. So, Mr. Acimovic, this Sunday, or -- you mentioned for the first
4 time that the accused Popovic had instructed you to go outside and to find
5 a person in the crowd to take part in the execution; is that correct?
6 A. Not to find a person. Are you referring to a specific person, to
7 somebody concrete?
8 Q. I'm referring to the information which was given to me by the
9 Prosecution, which is a list of what you told them. And I will quote from
10 this document. I will use the exact words so that there is no confusion.
11 And I will read exactly what I've been told by the Prosecution. Then you
12 can confirm yes or no. We are not talking about names yet and whenever
13 there is a name we will go into private session to protect these names.
14 Is that okay? The first one is, "Popovic said that someone must be
15 willing to do it and instructed the witness" - you - "to go outside and
16 find persons in the crowd to take part in the execution." That was the
17 first time you mentioned this, this Sunday; is that correct?
18 A. That was within that context, yes.
19 Q. The second part is: "One of the soldiers who were guarding the
20 prisoners showed up and said he had found a person who volunteered to take
21 part in the execution."
22 You mentioned this for the first time this Sunday; is that
24 A. Nobody showed up. I said one of the soldiers who guarded the
25 prisoners arrived together with that person.
1 Q. But my question is you mentioned this for the first time this
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And a little later, you -- the information you provided is that a
5 soldier came in the office and told Popovic that one truck had arrived
6 from the brigade.
7 This is the first time you mentioned this information to the
8 Prosecution, on Sunday; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Maybe we can move in private session just to be sure?
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly, Mr. Bourgon. Let's move into private
12 session, please.
13 [Private session]
11 Pages 13095-13096 redacted. Private session
2 [Open session]
3 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session.
4 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. I'll say the question again, Mr. Acimovic. Do you remember that
6 during your proofing session with the Prosecution, you were asked the
7 following question: If you had any knowledge that a boy or young man from
8 Rocevic volunteered to take part in the killings of prisoners? Do you
9 remember this question was asked of you on Sunday?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, what I suggest to you, Mr. Acimovic, is that it is this
12 question, and because you were asked this question, that you decided to
13 provide the rest of the information; is that correct?
14 A. I remembered that answer in my conversation with the Prosecutor.
15 I've already said that.
16 Q. So all this information you did not remember until you had the
17 conversation with the Prosecution on Sunday, is that your statement or
18 your testimony today?
19 A. I've told you that I only remembered some information in my
20 conversation with the Prosecutor. They were prompted by his questions.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MR. BOURGON: If we can go back, Mr. President, back in private
23 session, please?
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, let's do that. Let's go back to open session
25 because now it's important -- private session. Thank you.
1 [Private session]
17 [Open session]
18 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session. We will continue with your
19 cross-examination after the break, which will be of 25 minutes' duration.
20 ---. Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 10.58 a.m.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Bourgon.
23 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Q. Mr. Acimovic, we'll move on to a different area now. I'd like to
25 come back on your testimony during --
1 A. Sorry, before we move on to the next subject may I ask for some
2 clarification? On the last two questions, the counsel was putting
3 pressure on me and I gave one hasty answer and I want to be given an
4 occasion to explain what exactly I was trying to say.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: By all means, go ahead, Mr. Acimovic.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Concerning names --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: One, one moment. Should we be in open or in private
9 MR. BOURGON: If he mentions.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you going to mention Mitar Lazarevic or are you
11 going to mention other names?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Some more people.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So let's go into private session.
14 [Private session]
11 Page 13101 redacted. Private session
4 [Open session]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: And you may proceed with your questions. We are in
6 open session, Mr. Bourgon.
7 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 Q. Mr. Acimovic, before I proceed with my next question, I just want
9 to make it clear that it is not my intention to mislead you in any way or
10 to play with words, and if at any point you want me to repeat a question,
11 I will repeat this question and give you the time to give your answer.
12 That being said --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I could also add, Mr. Bourgon, because this is how I
14 have been educated in conducting trials, that if at any moment any counsel
15 here, be it from the Prosecution or from the Defence, is playing games, we
16 usually intervene to protect the witness. So unless we intervene, you can
17 take it that we do not consider the questions, either specifically or in
18 general, to be an abuse of the process. Okay, so you can rely on us that
19 we will intervene when it's the case of intervening. I can understand
20 that some witnesses feel somewhat irritated with some questions but that
21 doesn't necessarily mean what you say.
22 So, please, rely on us to intervene when it is necessary.
23 I don't think it was the case of intervening at any moment so far.
24 Yes, Mr. Bourgon.
25 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Q. Mr. Acimovic, my first question, which arises from what you just
2 mentioned, and the opportunity you had to address the Trial Chamber, is
3 that is it your testimony today that you have been withholding this
4 information from both the Prosecution and the Defence investigators that
5 you've met over the past number of years, and that you've had this
6 information from the beginning, or you just remember lately?
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I think he's answered the question. I think he's
8 answered the question. About names, he had the information all the time.
9 But he took a decision to withhold that information.
10 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Q. My next question, Mr. Acimovic, is you say that this was a
12 decision you made after giving your first statement which became known. I
13 don't understand why in the first statement you did not give this
15 A. I was also aware, and let me say first that this was not the case
16 solely with my statements. Rumour had it that all the witnesses who give
17 statements are not sufficiently protected in that sense. Information
18 leaks through.
19 Q. My next question, Mr. Acimovic, is that you mentioned that this
20 withholding of names for safety reason, of course it applies to names.
21 And then you mentioned a little earlier on that there was and I quote from
22 page 39, line 8, you say that "It is true that I failed to remember some
23 small details that I consider them minor."
24 My question is the following: Is receiving a telegram asking you
25 to provide a platoon of soldiers to participate in execution, is this
1 something you consider to be a small detail and minor?
2 A. No. I think that is extremely important.
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Acimovic. I move on to my next topic and I will
4 deal now with the events which took place in Rocevic. And my first
5 question is the following: In addition to the information you provided to
6 the Prosecution on Sunday, the new information, it was the first time in
7 your testimony two days ago that you mentioned being asked for a list of
8 trucks and your exact answer at page 12969, lines 10 to 12, was you said
9 there were six or seven trucks. All this was never mentioned to you even
10 in your Sunday interview with the Prosecution; is that correct?
11 A. That was the conversation involving those names that I've just
13 Q. And the fact, Mr. Acimovic, that on the same page at lines 12 to
14 14, you mentioned for the first time that Popovic had asked you to call
15 the drivers to come to the school, that was the first time that you
16 mentioned this also, two days ago; is that correct?
17 A. I think I was quite clear. If that question had been asked
18 before, I would have mentioned those people's names.
19 Q. And in your testimony on the same page, at lines 16 and 19, you
20 mentioned for the first time that you pretended to make those phone calls
21 but that you did not; is that correct?
22 A. It's possible that I made them but I can't remember what I did at
23 that moment. I was alone at the office because Popovic had left the room,
24 but I know that I did not contact with those soldiers. I cannot recall
25 the exact course of my actions.
1 Q. Well, Mr. Acimovic, I will recall you the exact words you used two
2 days ago and I will read those to you. Lines 16 to 19. Or 15 to 19.
3 And you said, "I picked up the phone. He left the office again,
4 and I dialed the numbers. Now, I can't remember the details why I wasn't
5 able to get in touch with those persons."
6 And then you said, "I know that I played some tricks in order not
7 to be able to get in touch with those drivers, not to be able to call
8 them, and in the end I did not call any of the drivers." It appears to
9 me, Mr. Acimovic, that what you were saying there is that you don't recall
10 why you were not able to reach the drivers. Is that the case?
11 A. Because I never had the intention to contact with them.
12 Q. So you're changing your testimony now and saying that if had you
13 wanted to call them you would have been able to do so? Is that your
14 testimony today?
15 A. Whether I made that call or not, I don't remember, but I
16 pretended, made believe, that those people were not there, so I answered
17 Popovic that there were no drivers around, but I cannot exactly remember
18 in which sequence events unfolded and what specifically I did at that
19 moment. I don't remember if I said the drivers were on home leave or were
20 temporarily absent. I can't tell you that. I don't remember.
21 Q. So it is your testimony, and you maintain the fact that maybe you
22 made the call as you just said but you did not reach anyone. Is that your
23 testimony today?
24 A. I did not get in touch with any of the drivers, because I never
25 meant to.
1 Q. Now, one quick question concerning something you said yesterday
2 for the first time. You said that you had -- and I will quote. It's on
3 pages 16, lines 1 to 5, yesterday, and you said the following: "I shouted
4 after him, 'I'm not going to wait. I'm going to leave before.'" You also
5 said, "However he went down the corridor. Whether he left the school or
6 whether he stayed on I'm not sure. A few moments later or maybe a few
7 minutes later, I decided to leave that place where I was."
8 Now, I put it to you, Mr. Acimovic, that it's the first time that
9 you indicate having the courage to say anything to Popovic during all the
10 time that you were in the Rocevic school; is that correct?
11 A. Could you repeat that question again?
12 Q. Yes. Did you ever mention before, Mr. Acimovic, shouting after
13 Popovic and saying, "I'm not going to wait. I'm going to leave before"?
14 Did you ever mention this before yesterday?
15 A. I told him specifically more than ten times that day that I was
16 not going to wait for that person who was supposed to be coming to
17 Rocevic, that I would go back to my unit instead without waiting for that
18 person. I don't know exactly how many times but I told Popovic more than
19 once, several times certainly, that I'm going back to my unit and that I'm
20 not going to wait for that person.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
22 MR. NICHOLLS: Could we have the witness take his headphones off?
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls? In private session or in open
25 MR. NICHOLLS: Open session.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
2 MR. NICHOLLS: I would just refer my friend to the second
3 interview, page 31, in case he wants to make any corrections to his
4 assertion that the witness had never discussed leaving before and had
5 never said anything to Popovic about it. At lines 16-23.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Bourgon?
7 MR. BOURGON: I don't want to interrupt my colleague but that's a
8 matter for re-examination.
9 MR. NICHOLLS: Well, it's not a matter for re-examination, excuse
10 me, if the transcript is misstated.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: It's being suggested to you that you are putting
12 something which is -- putting to the witness a statement that is not
14 MR. BOURGON: The gist of what I'm saying Mr. President is that
15 the witness never said before that he shouted at Popovic, "I'm not going
16 to wait, I'm going to leave." He never said he shouted that.
17 MR. NICHOLLS: Well, that was not very clear as the point. What I
18 saw as the point was that he has never said that he was going to leave and
19 that's exactly what he says in the transcript. Just without the word
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. All right. But now it's clear I think that
22 the point is that he shouted rather than just stated. Yes. And I suggest
23 that you rephrase your question and specify to the witness that what
24 you're referring to is the characteristic of shouting rather than just
25 stating or uttering something. So that we make sure that the witness is
1 fine-tuned together with the two of you.
2 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. Mr. Acimovic, just to make my question clear, I'll ask my question
4 again. What I was saying a little earlier is that yesterday you mentioned
5 for the first time that you shouted at Popovic, and that you had never
6 mentioned this before. Do you agree with me?
7 A. As far as I know, I mentioned several times that I had told him
8 that I was not going to wait for whoever was coming, that instead I was
9 going back to my unit. And as far as I know, I said that in my previous
11 Q. Let me move on, Mr. Acimovic. I was referring to the
12 word "shouted", but let's move on to something else. I refer now to the
13 transcript of 20th of June two days ago, page 58, lines 7 to 8, as well as
14 page 54, lines 14 to 16. And on those two places, you stated that Popovic
15 had been coming in and leaving the office.
16 Now, it appears to me, Mr. Acimovic, that you had quite a few
17 opportunities to leave the school in Rocevic and to extract yourself from
18 the situation but you chose to stay for a period of well over one hour; is
19 that correct?
20 A. He was coming and going. He left the room briefly in order to
21 come back again, and he never left very far. He was in the corridor, in
22 the hallway. It's not like he was gone for a long time.
23 MR. BOURGON: Can we go in private session, Mr. President, please.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, certainly, let's go into private session,
1 [Private session]
11 Pages 13110-13120 redacted. Private session
22 [Open session]
23 MR. BOURGON:
24 Q. Now, it is your testimony --
25 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session, just for the record.
1 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Q. It is your testimony today that Vujo Lazarevic and Mitar Lazarevic
3 were present in the battalion command during the events; is that correct?
4 A. Yes, yes.
5 Q. And it's also your testimony that you briefed them at all times
6 concerning what was going on? For example, when you came back to the
7 command the first time, after meeting with the president and the priest,
8 you briefed them of the situation; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And with regards to what you spoke about concerning the telegram
11 and the response, that they would be aware of this because they were
12 there; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And that they would also be aware of any and how you consulted
15 with the company commanders during that night; is that correct?
16 A. I suppose they should have known.
17 Q. And they would also know, because they were there, about the
18 second telegram that you received or you say that you say you receive and
19 the response, the second response, you sent to the brigade; is that
21 A. Could you say that again?
22 Q. Yes. Is it your testimony that the two individuals I'm talking
23 about would be aware of the second telegram that was received and the
24 second response which was sent?
25 A. I suppose they should know.
1 Q. And you would also have informed them and discussed with them the
2 alleged phone calls from Drago Nikolic?
3 A. Yes. I believe they were present when that discussion took place.
4 Q. And coming back after your alleged meeting at the Rocevic school,
5 you would also have briefed them as to what was going on there and the
6 preparations for the execution; is that correct?
7 A. I informed them partially. I cannot be sure now but I described
8 in an outline what was going on at Rocevic and then when I came back,
9 trying to get in touch with the brigade command, I explained what was
10 going on there.
11 Q. And when you -- at that point, you mention in your testimony that
12 you made some phone calls to the brigade. So they would also be aware of
13 those phone calls that you made to the brigade; is that correct?
14 A. I don't remember, but I believe they should know.
15 Q. Now --
16 A. Just a minute. I mentioned Vujo Lazarevic and Mitar Lazarevic
17 because I remember them. But it's possible that there were some more
18 members of the command or those who were at the command were there all the
19 time but I can't remember them now. The investigation will establish
21 Q. Now, Mr. Acimovic, we have lots of information, both in this trial
22 and that was given to us by the Prosecution, that the prisoners would have
23 arrived in Rocevic on the 14th of June -- 14th of July, sorry. Would you
24 agree with this date? Because you told me -- you said that you did not
25 remember the date but would you agree that this is the date that you met
1 with the priest and the local president?
2 A. That's an approximate time. I cannot be quite certain that it was
3 the 14th. In one of my statements, I did not give the date because I said
4 I didn't remember, but it was in mid-July.
5 Q. Let me make that easier for you. If it is established that the
6 prisoners did arrive on the 14th, that's the same day that you saw them or
7 that you saw the school with the president and the priest; is that
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. I'd like to move to a different topic, and that is concerning the
11 sending of telegrams. And I would like you to explain -- first of all,
12 confirm that there are no machines of any type at the battalion command
13 where you can receive a telegram in writing; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In fact, the telegram is an oral communication by telephone or by
16 radio; is that correct?
17 A. Certainly.
18 Q. And a telegram has an official character, either because it's an
19 order or it carries some information that is important to the battalion;
20 is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And usually the persons who have authority to issue orders will
23 send a telegram, or the duty officer on their behalf; is that correct?
24 A. Probably.
25 Q. Now, what is the procedure at the battalion level when a telegram
1 is received? Because we discussed communications earlier. When the call
2 is received by the radio operator, is he the one to write down the
3 telegram or will he connect the call to the battalion command so that the
4 duty officer can write it down? Which one is it?
5 A. I think he passes it on.
6 Q. So using the switchboard, he plugs it to the battalion command and
7 it is the duty officer who will write down the contents of the telegram;
8 is that correct?
9 A. I cannot answer that question with certainty because sometimes
10 it's possible for a soldier to note down the whole telegram and then
11 forward it to the battalion command, the person who is in the signals
13 Q. Now, I don't know. I wasn't there. So are you saying that it's
14 possible that the radio operator wrote down the telegram that night?
15 A. It's possible that he wrote it down or passed it on. I'm not
16 sure. I cannot answer that question.
17 Q. What was normal procedure for telegrams? The radio operator would
18 note it or the duty officer? Because they are not sitting in the same
19 room so I'd like to know which one of the two is noting down the telegram.
20 A. If it's forwarded, then the duty officer notes it down. If it's a
21 short telegram, the person notes it down on their own paper and then
22 passes it on to the duty officer at the battalion command. I suppose that
23 is the way they did it. I'm not sure.
24 Q. Now, when you receive a telegram that contains instructions or an
25 order, there is a format when a telegram is sent or communicated in an
1 oral conversation, and would you agree with me that it begins by who the
2 telegram is from, the sending unit, there is a "to" section which is the
3 addressee. There is a title which says order or report, there is the
4 contents of telegram and there is the signing authority or on whose behalf
5 the telegram is issued. Would you agree with that?
6 A. Probably. That's probably the way it is.
7 Q. And if you are sending a telegram from the battalion, the reverse
8 procedure applies, so who drafts the telegram?
9 A. The telegram is noted by the duty officer at the battalion
10 command. In fact, he transmits what I told him, if I am the person
12 Q. And then, does he take the paper over to the radio operator or
13 does he simply get connected and he himself passes on the telegram over
14 the military secure line?
15 A. I think he personally transmits the telegram over the telephone.
16 Q. And is this what happened that night?
17 A. I don't remember. I think the duty officer passed the telegram on
18 to the signals unit, and the signals unit on to the brigade. I assume.
19 Q. Now, what about the coding of telegrams? How does that work? Can
20 you explain to us how does it work when you want to code a telegram?
21 A. I already said there was a table for encryption of telegrams, and
22 this table was at the battalion command.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: He gave this information yesterday.
24 MR. BOURGON: Mr. President, I have lots of questions on
25 telegrams, lots of questions on coding so --
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Try not to ask him questions that he has already
2 answered. I mean, move to your question but avoid repetitions, please,
3 because you put a question that has already been put, he gives you an
4 answer that he has already given and we go on and on and on.
5 MR. BOURGON: Mr. President, he has not explained how you code a
6 telegram and I would like to know how he uses that book that he's talking
7 about, what's in that book. I would like him to explain exactly what is
8 in the book.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Then ask him that question.
10 MR. BOURGON:
11 Q. What is in that book, Mr. Acimovic?
12 A. It's a table that is in the possession of every unit and it is
13 used when the brigade commander, or somebody else who is in authority,
14 deems it necessary that the telegram should be encrypted, encoded. So if
15 it's an encrypted telegram, it means that it's strictly confidential, that
16 a minimal number of people is aware of the telegram. I suppose that's
17 what you want to hear.
18 Q. And how does the coded telegram look like? If I look at it do I
19 see words? Do I see numbers? Do I see sentences or do I see symbols?
20 A. I think a combination of all of those, numbers, words, depends on
21 the case.
22 Q. And who is able to decode a telegram? Let me be more precise.
23 Who will decode a telegram at the battalion command? Is it the radio
24 operator in the signals section or is it the duty officer in the battalion
1 A. I told you last time I cannot tell you with any certainty who
2 decoded those telegrams. They were already decoded by the time I was
3 woken up.
4 Q. And there are, I put it to you, Mr. Acimovic, there is more than
5 one book that can be used for coding a telegram. There is actually a book
6 with sentences and a book with numbers. Do you agree with that?
7 A. That's a question you should ask of a qualified person, a
8 technical person who is qualified about communications. I told you I'm
9 not qualified to give you such information.
10 Q. Are you telling today, Mr. Acimovic, that you could not decode a
11 telegram in 1995?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Are you saying no, you cannot or no, you could? Could you in
15 A. Yes. I believe that every officer on duty should be able to
16 decode a telegram. Should.
17 Q. And how many books do they use, two books like I say, or one book
18 like you say?
19 A. I'm not sure.
20 Q. And do you ever recall coding yourself a telegram where every
21 letter was replaced by a number?
22 A. I've already said that I had no occasion to send or receive
23 encoded telegrams because the communications we had were such that we did
24 not mean -- need to send such telegrams, because we were static, we stayed
25 within our unit. In my opinion, encoded telegrams were used to
1 communicate with units somewhere out in the field where they did not have
2 such means of communication.
3 Q. So you would agree with me that the purpose of coding a telegram
4 is to avoid interception; is that correct?
5 A. Certainly.
6 Q. And if you have a secure line, which cannot be intercepted, there
7 is no need to use codes; is that correct?
8 A. That's a question I cannot answer because I am not the one who
9 decided how that telegram would be sent to my unit.
10 Q. And why would anyone in your opinion, as someone who was there at
11 the time, why would anyone use an unsecure line to communicate sensitive
12 information without using codes, if you have a secure line to do so?
13 A. I really cannot answer your question because it's not clear to me
14 at all. You're asking me as if I had been the one sending the telegram.
15 I cannot guess what was in that person's mind. But I would advise you to
16 consult with your client, the person you are representing, and he will
17 give you precise information about all this.
18 Q. Mr. Acimovic, that's not the issue right now that we are dealing
19 with. We are simply dealing with -- I'm asking you if you have a choice
20 between a secure line and a line that is unsecure, and you have sensitive
21 information to convey, you will use the secure line; is that correct?
22 A. I think it was emphasised that we should respond to the telegram
23 in the same way the telegram was sent to us. I assume.
24 Q. And that's another new information that comes out today for the
25 first time; is that so?
1 A. Which information?
2 Q. The fact that there was a mention on that telegram that you were
3 to reply by the same means. I've never heard that before, unless you can
4 correct me.
5 A. I've never heard that before either.
6 Q. I suggest to you, Mr. Acimovic, that coding was never used to
7 transmit telegrams between the brigade and the battalions using a secured
8 line. Would you agree with me?
9 A. I really don't know what you are suggesting. Could you repeat
11 Q. Yes, I will repeat, Mr. Acimovic. I suggest to you that telegrams
12 sent between the brigade and the battalions were never coded because they
13 were transmitted using a secure line.
14 A. I think in my previous answer I told you the same thing that you
15 are telling me now. It was not the practice to send coded telegrams if we
16 were in our own area of defence and if we had the means of communication I
17 described. In all likelihood, but this is my assumption, in all
18 likelihood the person who sent this wanted to protect some information.
19 Q. Mr. Acimovic, I made reference earlier on to coding a message
20 where each letter is replaced by a number. Do you recall and can you
21 confirm that these numbers were changed at regular intervals?
22 A. Those tables must have been changed for security reasons from time
23 to time. I believe every 15 days.
24 Q. And that opens up the possibility for mistakes if the duty officer
25 does not use the right table; is that correct?
1 A. I really don't know. I'll try to answer your questions as briefly
2 as possible because I believe they have no relevance at all. From all I
3 can see, I think you're trying to keep me here in the courtroom as long as
4 possible asking me senseless questions, and I'm sorry for taking this
5 liberty to say this.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I was thinking a few minutes ago that you were
7 showing signs of tiredness. I think after having been a Judge and a
8 lawyer for so long, I can have a good feeling of this. So I'm taking that
9 into consideration. Yesterday I told you, please, not to use language
10 that shouldn't be used. I mean, telling Mr. Bourgon, "You're asking me
11 senseless questions," is not something that we can tolerate. So you will
12 soon be out of here. We'll have a break soon. I think perhaps we can
13 anticipate the break and have it now, Mr. Bourgon.
14 MR. BOURGON: If that pleases the Court, Mr. President, yes.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: With your indulgence, but please do consider you too
16 what I have just been saying. I can see signs of tiredness in the
17 witness, and it doesn't benefit anyone. I know that you also have all
18 this thrown on you and that's no fun for you either and that it must be
19 tiring for you too but the thing is I just want to make sure that everyone
20 is feeling at ease as much as possible. So we'll have a 25-minute break.
21 And if the witness needs more, then we'll give him some more time. Please
22 try to not to get overexcited. Calm down. As I said yesterday, there
23 will be questions; you need to answer them. If you can answer them, you
24 answer them. If you can't, don't answer them.
25 How much longer do you have?
1 MR. BOURGON: I have four more areas to go into, Mr. President.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you.
3 --- Recess taken at 12.22 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 12.51 p.m.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Are we ready to go? Mr. Acimovic?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I'm concerned, I didn't
9 even need a break.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Mr. Bourgon?
11 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Q. Mr. Acimovic, let's get back into quickly in the telegram
13 business, and you trying to call the brigade that night. You mentioned
14 that that evening you contacted the brigade duty officer twice; is that
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. That's once from Kozluk and once when you arrive at the battalion
18 command; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And I take it that when you did call the brigade, which connection
21 did you ask for? I take it you asked for the duty officer connection.
22 A. Didn't I answer this question a thousand times?
23 Q. No. It was never put to you, Mr. Acimovic, which connection you
24 asked for when you picked up the phone to call the brigade.
25 A. I see that you like me a lot, you want to keep me in this
1 courtroom and look at me for another week.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's move. There is a difference between which
3 connections you spoke to and which connection you asked for. And the
4 question is which connection you asked for, if you asked for one.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I spoke to the duty officer and
6 asked for the Chief of Staff or the commander, if the commander had shown
7 up in the meantime. Or anyone else with whom I could talk at that moment
8 about the events that we are talking about. I insisted on that. I asked
9 if by any chance any of the other officers were present so I could talk to
11 MR. BOURGON:
12 Q. Maybe it's my question that was not clear enough. We established
13 today when I asked you questions that there is a switchboard at the
14 brigade command and when you called the switchboard, you asked which
15 office you want. I'd like you to confirm that you did ask for the office
16 of the duty officer; is that correct?
17 A. That's why we have signalsmen, so that all these formalities can
18 be done beforehand.
19 Q. And once you were with the office of the duty officer, you
20 mentioned during your testimony that you did not remember who was the duty
21 officer but that you might have known at the time; is that correct?
22 A. I probably knew at the time when I was talking to him.
23 Q. So you forgot since then?
24 A. Yes. But that's the least of our problems. I think it's very
25 easy to find out who was on duty that night or to establish the identity
1 of the duty officer's deputy or assistant.
2 MR. BOURGON: May we go into private session, Mr. President,
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, by all means, let's go into private session.
5 [Private session]
11 Pages 13135-13136 redacted. Private session
4 [Open session]
5 MR. BOURGON:
6 Q. Do you want me to repeat the question again? The morning that you
7 say you went to Rocevic, the day you went in the school, you said that you
8 called the brigade to try and get ahold of the commander or the Chief of
9 Staff and you were told they were not available; is that correct?
10 A. Yes, yes.
11 Q. Now, we have information, Mr. Acimovic, that on that day, both the
12 commander and the Chief of Staff were present in the headquarters. On
13 this basis I suggest to you that because there's no message in the logbook
14 and because that those persons were in the headquarters, again you did not
15 call that day to speak to the duty officer.
16 A. That's what you say. What you're saying is not correct.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Sorry for that. Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
18 MR. NICHOLLS: I just think it might be helpful if my friend would
19 say what he means by "the commander and the Chief of Staff were there that
20 day." Does he mean the whole day or what part of the day? I don't know
21 what he's putting to the witness exactly.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: M'hm. Yes. I think that's a pertinent remark.
23 JUDGE KWON: If I can make my the next addition to that but I
24 remember the witness mentioned he tried to get in touch with commander
25 possibly when he returned to the -- his battalion but he didn't mention
1 about the commander in the morning time but I would leave it to the
2 Defence of Mr. Pandurevic so I will not pursue this one further.
3 MR. BOURGON: Judge and Mr. President, I'm trying to cut down as
4 much as I can on my cross-examination, and I thought I could join those
5 two events in the morning, the phone call before he went to Rocevic and
6 the phone call when he came back from Rocevic from his battalion command
7 but those are two different instances. Now what I'm saying is that he did
8 call on those two occasions and I'm suggesting to him that he did not call
9 on the basis that either on one or two of these occasions those people
10 were present and they would have taken the call.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Nicholls?
12 MR. NICHOLLS: There is no way that can be clear to the witness
13 from the way he's just put it unless he gives the timeframes he's talking
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I think you have to give precise times. Divide it
16 into two parts.
17 MR. BOURGON: Will do, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I think it will be easier. Judge Kwon? It's okay.
19 Go ahead.
20 MR. BOURGON:
21 Q. Mr. Acimovic, when you say that you called the brigade command in
22 the morning, I suggest to you that either the commander or the Chief of
23 Staff were present and that either of them would have taken your call and
24 that shows that you did not call in the morning. Is that correct?
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
1 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm sorry, I still think this is kind an important.
2 It's a bit vague. When in the morning is he talking about and suggesting?
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Bourgon?
4 MR. BOURGON: I think now we are really wasting time because my
5 colleague knows exactly that this is just before he left to go to Rocevic
6 and I think everybody knows that and that now we are really wasting time
7 and I think the witness knows that too.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: I think it's clear. Let's get the witness to answer
9 the question.
10 MR. BOURGON:
11 Q. Before you left for Rocevic in the morning, you said you made a
12 phone call to the brigade. I'm saying there was no phone call on the
13 basis that there was one of the two individuals you were looking for to
14 take your call. Is that correct?
15 A. What you're saying is not true. I called the brigade and asked
16 for these persons and I was told that they were not there. I don't know
17 how many times I've said it.
18 Q. And when you returned from Rocevic, from your battalion command,
19 you called again and you requested to speak to either the commander or the
20 Chief of Staff and again I'm saying that this call was never placed,
21 because one of these two individuals, as a minimum, was there and they
22 would have taken your call. And I'm suggesting to you that you did not
23 call on that occasion. Is that correct or incorrect?
24 A. Incorrect.
25 Q. Now, you did say both in your testimony and in your interviews
1 that when you called the second time, that is after you returned from
2 Rocevic, you would agree with me that this was around 12.00 on that second
3 day; is that correct?
4 A. I said it was between 11.30 and 12.15. It was sometime in that
6 Q. And you did say, did you not, Mr. Acimovic, that you spoke to the
7 duty officer who was -- who by that time had changed; is that correct?
8 A. The duty officer had probably changed by that time, but I cannot
9 say with any certainty. I don't know.
10 Q. Now, I'm putting it to you, Mr. Acimovic, because there is no
11 trace in the operative duty officer's notebook of any phone call made by
12 you, that you did not make that second call that day; is that correct?
13 A. Incorrect.
14 Q. And I further suggest to you that when you called, you did not
15 speak to Drago Nikolic when you came back from Rocevic; is that correct?
16 A. Which day you mean?
17 Q. When you came back from Rocevic the second day, we are talking
18 about the same phone call that you say you made, between 11.30 and 12.15,
19 that you did not speak to Drago Nikolic on that occasion; is that correct?
20 A. I didn't even say that I had spoken to Drago Nikolic that day. I
21 spoke to him the previous night.
22 Q. And that's what I'm saying, Mr. Acimovic.
23 A. And in the morning hours.
24 Q. And Mr. Acimovic, I'm telling you that Drago Nikolic was the duty
25 officer during the time frame that you say you called, that you did not
1 speak to him, and that in fact you never called the brigade and never made
2 that second call. Is that correct?
3 A. Not correct.
4 Q. I'll move on to -- just to go back quickly to the consultation
5 which took place with the company commanders. That is what you say when
6 you received that first telegram. First, let me confirm that you -- it is
7 your testimony that the first telegram was sent to the company commanders;
8 is that correct?
9 A. I think that telegram was passed on to company commanders as well
10 or maybe it was the second telegram, but I believe that company commanders
11 found out about the orders only after the second telegram, because it
12 seems to me, and I've said so last time, that the telegram said, among
13 other things, "Notify company commanders."
14 Q. And the second telegram, pursuant to your testimony, required you
15 to get in touch personally with the company commanders and that's what you
16 did; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, this consultation took place by phone, and your main purpose
19 was to ensure that if somebody would ask them if you had consulted with
20 them, they were in a position to say yes; is that correct?
21 A. Not only that, but to consult with them about the contents of the
22 telegram, to explain to them what it was all about. And having done that,
23 we jointly came to the conclusion that it was somebody's lunatic idea and
24 that we have no men to give for that purpose, and I never looked for any.
25 Q. And in the sense of those -- that consultation with the company
1 commanders -- strike that, Mr. President. I'll move on to another topic.
2 Yes. Just one question in relation to this.
3 That communication was also made using the military phone or the
4 secure line; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. I move on to a different topic, and --
7 MR. BOURGON: Are we in private session? I think we need to go
8 into private session.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session but we'll go into private
10 session now.
11 [Private session]
20 [Open session]
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
22 MR. NICHOLLS: And I'll just ask, I take it that my friend is not
23 willing and doesn't wish to share any of these reports with us which he's
24 received. And that we rely then just on his interpretation of them and
25 that he's getting them as accurately as he has Dragan Jokic's testimony
1 and other references he's made to the transcript and to prior testimony.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Bourgon?
3 MR. BOURGON: I can go one by one and I can get -- provide further
4 details but then I'm trying to cut down.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I suggest you deal.
6 MR. BOURGON: This is information I'll bring forward in the
7 Defence case, or it will be led before in the Prosecution's case.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: I suggest you deal with it directly with
9 Mr. Nicholls after the sitting.
10 Just --
11 MR. BOURGON:
12 Q. Mr. Acimovic, I will repeat my question.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't think you need to repeat your question
14 because we will have to go back to private session.
15 MR. BOURGON: Without the names, Mr. President.
16 Q. On the basis, Mr. Acimovic, of all the information I told you we
17 have collected --
18 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Witness, you had -- this is what we have in our
21 transcript anyway. To the question put to you by Mr. Bourgon you said, "I
22 can't be burdened by your claims and I tell you once again that this is
23 simply not correct." Was that your full answer or before we interrupted
24 you or at the time we interrupted or did you mean to give more
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't think this is the truth.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Your next question, Mr. Bourgon?
3 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Q. Mr. Acimovic, I -- on the basis of the information or the names of
5 the people we collected information from, I suggest to you that there was
6 never an order or a request sent to your battalion to put together a
7 platoon of soldiers to participate in the -- in any executions. Do you
9 A. I don't. What I'm saying is that you are not telling the truth.
10 That's the least I can tell you. And the same applies to your previous
12 Q. Now, just so that we make things clear. It's not me that's not
13 telling the truth. I'm referring to information that I have obtained.
14 I'm just an advocate representing his clients in this case and I put it to
15 you that there were never a coded message that made its way to your
16 battalion concerning the execution of prisoners in Rocevic. Is that
18 A. This is your claim. I'm absolutely not interested in your claims
19 or your assumptions. So much from me.
20 Q. Mr. Acimovic, all I need from you is to either deny or say that
21 you agree with my suggestion. That's all I'm asking of you and that
22 information will make its way into this trial. And then the Judges will
23 decide. There was nobody trained in your communications section, in your
24 battalion, to code or decode telegrams; is that correct?
25 A. Can you repeat the question, please?
1 Q. Yes. In your battalion, the 2nd Battalion, there was, amongst
2 your communication staff, your signalman or your radio operator - with
3 translation it can sometimes be difficult - there was nobody who was
4 trained who could code and decode messages and there was no book of codes
5 in the communications section. Would you agree with that?
6 A. Every signalsman has been trained to decipher any message that
7 arrives in the unit. They were trained to decipher every order, every
8 task, every message. That was their duty.
9 Q. Mr. Acimovic, I suggest to you that the information that you
10 obtained concerning persons being detained in Rocevic school was provided
11 to you by someone who travelled to your battalion and provided you with
12 this information and it is not something that you found out yourself on
13 the 14th of July with the priest and the president, as you say. Can you
14 confirm this?
15 A. This is not correct.
16 Q. Mr. Acimovic, I suggest to you that there are three other
17 battalions who received information and instructions concerning prisoners
18 being held in schools, the 4th Battalion, the 1st Battalion, and the
19 6th Battalion. In every case, there was never any request to provide
20 anyone to participate in executions, and I put it to you that if you
21 receive any information from the brigade, it did not include any request
22 to send people to participate in executions.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: That's a compound question. Let's divide it into
24 two parts, please.
25 MR. BOURGON: Will do, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: And why are you standing up, Mr. Nicholls?
2 MR. NICHOLLS: Because I don't think that what has been put to the
3 witness is accurate and if we want to go into it, he'll have to take his
4 headphones off.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, exactly. Mr. Acimovic, can I ask to you remove
6 your headphones again, please?
7 The question was premised on Mr. Bourgon's stating that he has
9 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes. I believe it would be accurate to say that
10 the 4th Battalion, Lazar Ristic's men, did receive requests and
11 instructions to participate in executions. So it's not fair to say that
12 no other battalion received any of this type of information or
13 instructions concerning prisoners held in schools.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Yes, Mr. Bourgon?
15 MR. BOURGON: I'm doing my best to finish as quickly as possible
16 so my colleague can do his re-exam and we can send the witness home. I
17 was talking about battalion and I'm talking, of course, battalion
18 commands, battalion commands and my colleague understood that question.
19 I'm simply suggesting that the 4th, the 1st and the 6th Battalion, if
20 those command they never received any instructions to provide people to
21 participate in execution, and I'm suggesting to the witness that any
22 information his battalion received was also not related to any executions.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
24 MR. NICHOLLS: I don't think that's clear from the question. It's
25 not just that he's talking about just the command. It's broader than that
1 which is why I made my objection.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I think you need to clear that up with the witness
3 first and then we can proceed. But it wasn't clear in my mind either. So
4 I think it needs to be cleared up with the witness first and foremost.
6 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 Q. Mr. Acimovic, I'm suggesting to you, and I have to take my
8 question over again, the 4th Battalion command, the 1st Battalion command,
9 and the 6th Battalion command, the three of them received information in
10 relation to prisoners being held in schools but that none of them received
11 information asking them to take part in executions. On this basis --
12 MR. BOURGON: My colleague all he wants to do is make sure the
13 witness stays for Monday, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's try to avoid such comments, Mr. Bourgon. I
15 mean, we would like the witness to go home too. Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
16 MR. NICHOLLS: That's --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Again do you want him to remove the --
18 MR. NICHOLLS: I think so, Your Honour, please.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Again, Mr. Acimovic, if you can remove your
20 headphones again, please.
21 MR. NICHOLLS: I don't wish to interrupt or slow things down but
22 our position is that the 4th Battalion commander Lazar Ristic received
23 information from his men that they had been requested to participate in
24 executions. So the way he's phrased the question is that none of these
25 commands received information of these requests and that's just not
2 JUDGE AGIUS: There seems to be a disagreement on you on whether
3 the command had received so I think that can become a matter for
4 re-examination -- for re-examination.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I see you both standing still. Yes
7 Mr. Nicholls?
8 MR. NICHOLLS: I don't intend to re-examine on it and I wouldn't
9 be surprised if the witness wasn't able to answer about what
10 information -- I just want the questions to be accurate.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: That's what we were talking about, too.
12 Mr. Bourgon, it's being put to you that the proposition to the witness
13 that the 4th command -- Battalion command never received such instructions
14 is not a correct one. What your position on that? Before we put it to
15 the witness.
16 MR. BOURGON: My position is that the 4th Battalion did not
17 receive a request to send anyone to participate in executions and there is
18 a disagreement.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Then put the question, let him answer, and
20 we'll see where it takes us.
21 MR. BOURGON:
22 Q. Mr. Acimovic, I'm doing my best to finish with you today so that
23 we can send you back home. Your battalion, I'm putting, I'm suggesting to
24 you, and that's what I'm suggesting, that your battalion did not receive
25 any instructions -- strike that.
1 Do you know, Mr. Acimovic, that there is a 1st Battalion, a
2 6th Battalion and a 4th Battalion in the Zvornik Brigade?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. I'm telling you -- I'm suggesting to you that these battalions did
5 not receive any request to send soldiers to participate in the execution
6 of any prisoners. And I'm suggesting to you that the same goes for your
7 battalion. Is that correct?
8 A. I don't want to talk about any other units. I don't want to enter
9 into that debate. Please ask me questions about my units only. As for
10 the other infantry battalions, I have no information that I could share
11 with you.
12 MR. BOURGON: Can we go into private session, Mr. President,
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, let's do that.
15 [Private session]
15 [Open session]
16 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session, Mr. Bourgon.
17 MR. BOURGON: I have no more questions for you, Mr. Acimovic.
18 Thank you very much.
19 Thank you, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Haynes? Let's -- Mr. Ostojic?
21 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Mr. President, no, no questions.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Haynes?
23 MR. HAYNES: I have specific instructions that I'm not to be the
24 cause of this witness remaining here over the weekend but there is just --
25 there are just one or two questions I would like to ask.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
2 Cross-examination by Mr. Haynes:
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Sorry to interrupt I'm not sure -- I think my
8 friend might have done that in private session and he may have reasons for
10 MR. HAYNES: I'm really sorry.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: And I think Mr. Nicholls is right. We did have it
12 in private session so let's redact and move to private session.
13 [Private session]
22 [Open session]
23 MR. HAYNES:
24 Q. The presence of these prisoners in the school at Rocevic was a
25 complete surprise to you, wasn't it?
1 A. Yes, yes.
2 Q. And when you first saw these prisoners, they were already in the
3 school at Rocevic, in the gym of the school at Rocevic?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And you had nothing to do with opening up the gym of the school
6 for those prisoners to be put inside, did you?
7 A. I didn't have anything whatsoever to do with the bringing of these
8 prisoners of war in the gym, and I had no contact with them at all, none
10 Q. Thank you. I simply wanted to clarify that because in answer to
11 Mr. Bourgon's question you admitted the possibility that you might have
12 got the keys to the offices of the school. That presumably, if it was
13 possible, was it sometime later, after the prisoners were already in
15 A. Are you asking me? I apologise. I'm afraid I didn't understand
16 the question.
17 Q. That's all right. I'm not going to ask it again. I have no
18 further questions.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Zivanovic, you had indicated you had a few
20 questions. Do you think you can finish in seven minutes?
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, but Mr. Nicholls?
23 MR. NICHOLLS: I don't want to waste time. I object to the
24 questions being asked again. I think the only basis is the log I used.
25 That was nothing new. That had been disclosed a long time ago. It wasn't
1 on our list but I think he had ample time to prepare to ask questions on
2 that vehicle log which was used during my direct examination.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's hear what your question is and we'll decide
5 whether to allow to you go ahead or not.
6 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you with your leave,
7 Your Honours, yesterday we received information that the document would be
8 used by the Prosecution in their examination-in-chief. This was done
9 after your suggestion during the examination-in-chief of this witness when
10 he could not remember the family name of a person of whom he was talking,
11 and it was only then that we received the document from the Prosecution.
12 Further cross-examination by Mr. Zivanovic:
13 Q. Mr. Acimovic, I'll try and be very brief. I'm putting again in
14 the context that I laid for you yesterday, I'm contesting the fact that my
15 client was ever in contact with the people of whom you spoke, that he was
16 ever in contact with you. Could you please look at this document, this is
17 225, and I believe that we should move into private session. This is
18 Prosecution Exhibit number 295.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session.
20 [Private session]
11 Pages 13155-13157 redacted. Private session
4 [Open session]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: So I can confirm that the Prosecution doesn't have
6 any re-examination. Yes, we'll do the tendering next time.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: No, Your Honour, sorry I said no re-examination. I
8 did want to just ask the witness he said look here, he wanted to point at
9 something. I think he might have gotten cut off. If he wanted to mention
10 something else about the document, I'd like him to have the chance to do
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Is there anything else you wish to add before we
13 send you home, Mr. Acimovic?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Nothing in particular. I just
15 wanted to ask whether the car was the Mercedes or the TAM 2000. I believe
16 that the vehicle in question was the TAM 2000.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: We'll look into that anyway.
18 Mr. Acimovic, I wish to thank you for having come over on behalf
19 of the Trial Chamber and I also wish you a safe journey back home.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 [The witness withdrew]
22 JUDGE AGIUS: We stand adjourned until Monday -- do you wish to
23 ask something?
24 MR. BOURGON: Yes, Mr. President, very quickly. Our deadline to
25 submit our papers on the intercepts is this Monday.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
2 MR. BOURGON: And I must say, Mr. President, that I am running
3 late and I did not have time to finish and I'm not sure I'll be able to
4 finish by Monday. And I would like to have an extension. I don't know if
5 that applies to my other colleagues or not but I would like to have an
6 extension, Mr. President, a short extension, please.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have a guillotine in Quebec?
8 MR. NICHOLLS: No objection.
9 MR. JOSSE: My only comment, which I had mentioned to
10 Mr. Bourgon: Is there any point any of us submitting anything until this
11 joinder matter is decided upon? If General Tolimir joins this case, I
12 imagine he might have something to say about the matter. Perhaps
13 Your Honours will ponder that over the weekend.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: I suppose --
15 MR. JOSSE: I ask rhetorically, of course.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: We have to know first what Mr. Tolimir thinks all
17 about this. Let's adjourn, and we'll deal with this later on Monday. But
18 for the time being take it that there will be an extension in any case.
19 Thank you.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.51 p.m.,
21 to be reconvened on Monday, the 25th day of June
22 2007, at 9.00 a.m.