1 Thursday, 23 August 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.08 a.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, everybody.
7 Madam Registrar, good morning to you. Could you call the case,
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number,
10 IT-05-88-T, the Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam, I see all the accused are here.
12 From the Defence teams, I notice the absence of Mr. Bourgon, and I
13 think that's about it.
14 From the Prosecution, I see Mr. McCloskey, Mr. Thayer. Anybody
15 else within the column? No.
16 I take it, since the witness, Mr. Joseph, is already in the
17 courtroom and Mr. Thayer is already standing, that there are no
18 preliminaries that you wish to raise. Perfect.
19 Good morning, Mr. Joseph.
20 THE WITNESS: Good morning, sir.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Welcome back.
22 THE WITNESS: Thank you, sir.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I hope you had time to rest.
24 THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: We'll make an effort to finish with your testimony
2 THE WITNESS: Thank you, sir.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer, he's all yours.
4 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours, good morning
5 to everyone.
6 WITNESS: EDWARD JOSEPH [Resumed]
7 Examination by Mr. Thayer: [Continued]
8 Q. Good morning, sir.
9 A. Good morning.
10 Q. We left off yesterday with your arrival at this OP2 or Observation
11 Point 2. You were there together with your colleague, Mr. Bezruchenko. I
12 believe the last -- the last point of your testimony was that you had been
13 asked to wait. Can you just pick up what happened from there, please?
14 A. Yes. We were told to wait in rather determined language, sort of
15 forcibly told, "You will wait here." And then we were summoned, I recall,
16 to go through this perimeter to a back area there, me and Mr. Bezruchenko,
17 and then we were surprised to see General Mladic there, standing there in
18 front of a table, and there were two other members, I recall, of the
19 International Community, a representative of UNHCR and ICRC, plus some
20 other Serb soldiers around.
21 Q. Okay. I've already shared the caution with you, but if you can,
22 without naming any of the members of any of these NGOs, whether it's the
23 ICRC or the UNHCR, can you please continue your description of what
24 happened after that?
25 A. Yes. We were summoned there, as I recall, and told then to sit
1 down. And from what I can recall, we had some brief discussion, but the
2 general situation was one of waiting. We were told to sit down there, and
3 then General Mladic sat at the head of the table and we had some -- some
4 kind of lunch was served, and then I recall a Serb soldier was then
5 filming the event.
6 Q. And do you recall anything in particular that General Mladic told
7 you during this -- during this meeting?
8 A. We discussed some of the preliminaries about how we would conduct
9 evacuations, something like that, and there was some discussion about the
10 actual state of affairs of whether or not the Zepa pocket had fallen.
11 That was the gist of it, but it was clear to me, from my experience there,
12 that of course being filmed, that the purpose of this was not necessarily
13 the -- to get into operational details or nail everything down but for
14 some other purposes, and I recall whispering to the other members around
15 there not to smile during the filming, and General Mladic became
16 suspicious of what I had said to the others.
17 Q. And why did you give the other members that instruction, sir?
18 A. Because I felt that the filming was for propaganda purposes; and I
19 thought it was inappropriate that, in this type of situation, that we
20 should be filmed smiling when we're about to evacuate people and it's a
21 rather serious situation, and didn't feel it would be appropriate to be
23 Q. Can you describe General Mladic's demeanour during this meeting?
24 A. He was sort of jocular and relaxed, and he had -- he recognised me
25 from our earlier meetings at the airport in 1993 and was rather jovial.
1 We had -- occasionally, as I recall it, we might have broken for a moment
2 and he might have asked me some questions about political attitudes of the
3 United States and so forth, but in general it was sort of a positive,
4 friendly demeanour.
5 Q. And how long did this meeting last, how long were you there?
6 A. It would be hard for me to say now exactly, but it was over a
7 period of some hours that we were there.
8 Q. Yesterday, I believe you mentioned seeing some loudspeakers. Did
9 you hear those loudspeakers in use during this meeting at any time?
10 A. Yes, I did. The speakers were frequently, if not constantly, in
11 play. They had speakers -- these speakers set up, and as I mentioned,
12 this was at the top of what was a narrow gorge in which the village was
13 below of Zepa, and there was this booming voice that would echo into this
14 cavern, voicing basically what you would call -- the military would call
15 psychological operations, psyops messages, essentially conveying the
16 message that there was no chance for the population and, "You're now in
17 control of an area that's controlled by General Mladic," and I can recall
18 the echoing sound when they would say, "General Ratko Mladic," and there
19 was an echo in there, and it was a psychological, psyops, operation.
20 Q. Did General Mladic's demeanour change at all during the course of
21 this meeting?
22 A. Yeah, I recall towards the -- towards the latter part there, after
23 we'd been there for some time and nothing had transpired, we then heard
24 the onset of cannon fire, outgoing, from nearby us, and munitions firing,
25 and General Mladic and others -- he had gotten up and was talking to some
1 of his guys, but I recall him all of a sudden becoming very serious and
2 then the demeanour from friendly changed to rather dismissive and we were
3 told to get out, "Get out," and this was as this firing had commenced.
4 Q. Can you be any more precise about, first of all, the source of
5 this firing and its location?
6 A. It was coming from near our -- where we were there, positions
7 there. This was outgoing from nearby us, the Serb positions nearby us.
8 Q. And where was it directed, sir?
9 A. I couldn't visibly see the direction, but it was rather clear to
10 us that it was -- this was outgoing fire towards the target below of Zepa.
11 Q. And how would you characterise the size of the weaponry that was
12 being fired?
13 A. Well, we had seen -- we couldn't see all the munitions, I have to
14 say. It wasn't that we had -- because they were dispersed around, and as
15 I mentioned, it was heavily forested, but we saw some heavy weaponry but I
16 couldn't tell you precisely the calibre of what was going. But the sounds
17 were quite pronounced and consistent with something more than mortar, but
18 it was -- it was loud volleys, and we were told, "Go away," and we
20 Q. And can you describe the intensity of this fire that you heard?
21 A. It was frequent, it was consistent fire, what you would -- it was
22 chronic, it was not -- it was not intermittent, it was chronic.
23 Q. So what did you do?
24 A. We were told to leave, and we left.
25 Q. And where did you go?
1 A. We returned -- we had overnighted -- we had either overnighted
2 prior to in Pale, and I think we might have returned to Pale instead of
3 Sarajevo. It's possible that we returned there, initially to Pale, and
4 then ultimately then back to Sarajevo.
5 Q. Now, during this day-long assignment in Zepa, did you report back
6 to anyone in Sarajevo?
7 A. We reported once we returned. We didn't have means at that
8 point -- we did not have communication means, as I recall, during this
9 initial encounter with General Mladic at that point.
10 Q. So when you returned, to whom did you report?
11 A. Back to our Civil Affairs and to, as I would recall, General Smith
12 and Colonel Baxter and others there.
13 Q. And who in Civil Affairs did you report to?
14 A. David Harland, I would have reported to, and John Ryan as well.
15 Q. And would you just describe what their positions were, sir?
16 A. Well, David Harland was at Sector Sarajevo, and John Ryan was the
17 acting or, in any event, the senior Civil Affairs officer there for
19 Q. Now, you stated yesterday that your recollection was that this
20 trip to Zepa, this day you spent in Zepa, occurred on or about the 19th or
21 the 20th. Is there anything I can show you that would help clarify your
22 recollection as to the date, any report or any other document that you
23 think you could be shown that would help you nail down whether it was, in
24 fact, the 19th or, in fact, the 20th?
25 A. Yeah. David Harland was quite methodical in reporting, so if he
1 had done reports at that time, those would be a good, useful record to fix
2 the dates.
3 Q. Okay. I want to show you a document that you were shown in
4 proofing a couple of days ago, and this is a document that we -- it's been
5 disclosed to Defence counsel and noted in the proofing note. We don't
6 have it in e-court. It's not something we intend to offer, but I want to
7 show it to you to see if it refreshes your recollection, with the
8 assistance of Madam Usher.
9 For the record, this is ERN R0123-3421 to 3422, disclosed 30
10 January 2006.
11 As you can see, it's a memo from David Harland to John Ryan, dated
12 20 July 1995. The subject is: "Negotiations on Zepa."
13 Do you recall being shown this during our meeting a couple days
14 ago, sir?
15 A. Yes, I do.
16 Q. Okay. If you would just -- just continue to read, and if we could
17 just slowly scroll it to the bottom of the page. It refers, "Later in the
18 day, Bezruchenko and Joseph met with Mladic, who repeated his conditions
19 for the evacuation of the enclave."
20 And then if we turn to the second page, there's a passage:
21 "Mladic stated that his forces would resume the attack on the
22 pocket at 7.00 p.m. this evening if the Bosnians had not agreed his
24 And then skipping a paragraph:
25 "Just after 7.00 p.m., I received a message from Zepa that the
1 Serbs had resumed a heavy bombardment of the enclave and that the UN team
2 on the spot had been told by the Serbs to return to Sarajevo."
3 My question to you is simple, sir. Having read this memo and
4 seeing the date on it of the 20th of July, the events described herein,
5 are those, as best you can recall, what you had reported to Mr. Harland
6 upon your return on the 20th?
7 A. Correct, correct, and obviously having been conveyed then, were a
8 lot more fresh and detailed in terms of what we discussed than now.
9 MR. THAYER: Okay. Now, I think we're done with this document,
10 Madam Usher, thank you, for now.
11 Q. Can you describe for the Trial Chamber, please, what subsequently
12 was going on in Sarajevo upon your return with respect to activities or
13 efforts being undertaken regarding the Zepa enclave?
14 A. Well, as this document refers to, the issue of prisoner exchange
15 was active, and as well there was the overall concern with what was
16 actually happening militarily in Zepa and trying to determine the actual
17 state of -- of what was happening there and what would be the fate of
18 Zepa. Would there be a capitulation, would there be a final assault, what
19 would happen? I mean, this was our main preoccupation, along with
20 this prisoner exchange issue.
21 Q. And, in fact, were there a series of meetings held, sir?
22 A. There were meetings, yes, exactly. There were these prisoner
23 exchange -- there was a regular commission, more or less, that would
24 discuss these issues at the Sarajevo Airport.
25 Q. And can you estimate how many such meetings there were following
1 your return, just to give the Court an idea of what we're talking about?
2 A. There were -- there was at least one that I can recall where I was
3 present. Whether or not there were more in that interregnum until I
4 returned to Zepa, it's hard for me to say at this point, but this was --
5 there may have been more than one.
6 Q. Now, as you understood it, what were the primary stated objectives
7 or concerns of each side during at least the meeting you attended or any
8 other meetings that you're aware of at the airport?
9 A. Well, what became clear was from the Bosniak or Muslim
10 perspective, it was this "all for all" demand, which included, of course,
11 the missing from Srebrenica.
12 From the Serb perspective, there was this concern that those from
13 Zepa be somehow screened or in Serb custody before being released, and so
14 this became an issue as to what would actually be the status of the men in
15 Zepa. Would they be simply evacuated out, would they be kept as POWs,
16 what would be their -- that was another issue that was of constant concern
17 and discussion.
18 Q. And during the course of these discussions, can you be more
19 specific about what some of the obstacles were that may have existed to
20 coming to an agreement?
21 A. Well, there was resistance, there was not agreement on that. There
22 was -- those fundamental points about the missing from Srebrenica and the
23 exact dynamics of the transfer of the men from Zepa. There was no
24 agreement on that, nor -- an additional factor was the exact status of the
25 Zepa pocket itself, whether or not it had fallen or not fallen. This was
1 another sort of open -- open issue.
2 Q. Okay. Well, you referred to one of those fundamental points being
3 the missing from Srebrenica, and can you elaborate for the Court, what was
4 it about the missing men from Srebrenica that became an obstacle in these
6 A. It would have been the fact -- the demand of the Bosniak side that
7 they be included and the fact that evidently this was not accepted by the
8 Serb side.
9 Q. Well, to your knowledge, was there ever a request or a demand from
10 the Muslim side for an accounting, or a list, or a number of the missing
11 men from Srebrenica?
12 A. That, whether or not there was a specific demand, I can't recall.
13 JUDGE KWON: Included means being included in the agenda?
14 THE WITNESS: Yeah, but I can't recall, sir, whether or not there
15 was specific about the list. There may well have been. It's just at this
16 point, 12 years later, I can't recall whether that was specific to the
17 meeting that I was in. It would have been logical for them to have
18 demanded that, but if you're asking me now can I recall specifically
19 demand for this list, I can't specifically recall that.
20 MR. THAYER: Let me just ask one follow-up question, if I may, on
21 Judge Kwon's question.
22 Q. Sir, when you first mentioned that the topic for an all-for-all
23 prisoner exchange was raised, to your understanding were those prisoners
24 in an all-for-all exchange to include the men from Srebrenica?
25 A. Yes, absolutely. This was a fundamental position from the Bosniak
1 side, correct.
2 Q. And with respect to the men particularly of military age from
3 Zepa, what do you recall, if anything, was the obstacle to their fate
4 being agreed to during these discussions? What, if anything, became an
5 obstacle with respect to the military-aged men of Zepa?
6 A. One of the main obstacles was whether or not they would be simply
7 moved from the pocket to Central Bosnia the way the women and children
8 were or whether there would be this -- they would be taken as prisoners of
9 war or somehow screened by the Serb army. This was a key concern, and
10 although I'd be jumping ahead in the chronology here, this was expressed
11 to me later on my next visit to Zepa by General Mladic.
12 Q. And as you understood it, what were the concerns of the Muslims
13 were the military-age men or any of the men of Zepa to fall into the hands
14 of the VRS?
15 A. That they would -- that they would not emerge either -- that their
16 fate would be considerably worse than if they were simply sent on. Whether
17 or not they felt that they would be killed immediately, I think that was
18 probably on their minds, but I don't recall that being expressed to me at
19 the airport meetings, but they knew their fate would be much better if
20 they were able to be evacuated directly from Zepa with UNPROFOR to Central
21 Bosnia. That was -- that was the main -- and there was very deep concern
22 that there not be this -- any kind of interim screening or holding as
24 In fact, we have to recall that the whole purpose of this was an
25 all-for-all exchange, and so the idea of them being detained either as
1 POWs or ultimately just being killed, this -- whatever, it was not
2 consistent with the idea of an all-for-all exchange, and the fear was any
3 kind of interim detention, screening, or whatever, these guys would not be
4 exchanged, they would be detained or worse. That was the -- that was
5 their concern.
6 Q. Now, while these airport meetings were going on, what information
7 were you receiving from the Ukrainian Battalion? And when I say "you," I
8 mean yourself or others in your unit in Sarajevo and UNPROFOR. What
9 information were you receiving about the VRS attack on Zepa at the time?
10 A. We had various military reports about a continued attack on there,
11 a continued attack on the enclave, and there was also reports about firing
12 at and threats to the UNPROFOR soldiers, the Ukrainians themselves as
13 well, and this is what we were trying to follow from Sarajevo there. So
14 we were aware of the continuing military activity against the pocket.
15 Q. And do you recall whether those threats to the UNPROFOR forces
16 were coming from the VRS, from the Muslim army, or from both?
17 A. We had a report of, in fact, both. We had a report that there
18 were threats from the armija, that is, the Bosniak side, that they would
19 suffer the same fate as the rest of the enclave, and which we took to mean
20 as some kind of human shield-type thing. And then this was presented to
21 the Bosniak authorities, who denied it, and there are also other
22 allegations that there was firing, that it was from the Serb side, or
23 counter-allegations, but there were in fact -- we were aware of these dual
24 reports of threats to the UNPROFOR contingent that was there.
25 Q. And, sir, did you actually ever see any of the individual sit-reps
1 or situation reports that were coming from the Ukrainian Battalion in
2 Zepa? Did you ever actually see those individual reports or is your
3 testimony based on what you were hearing from other people coming up
4 through that chain through UNPROFOR to Civil Affairs?
5 A. At this point, it's hard for me to say. I may well -- I may well
6 have at that point seen some sit-reps. I can't now, at this point, 2007,
7 say specifically I remember seeing them. I may well have seen a sit-rep,
8 I may well have had it simply conveyed to me by somebody in the military
9 chain. Either one would have been perfectly normal.
10 Q. Okay. Well, let's move on.
11 JUDGE KWON: Sorry to interrupt you, Mr. Thayer.
12 As for the airport meeting, did we hear who attended the meeting?
13 MR. THAYER: No, we didn't, Judge Kwon. I'll clarify that.
14 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
15 MR. THAYER:
16 Q. Sir, based on the meeting you attended, and from your
17 understanding of any other meetings that occurred, who was were in
19 A. There were the general -- the usual negotiators in these meetings,
20 and it was Masovic from the Bosniak side. The Serb representative,
21 Blajevic [sic] or something. I can't recall his name.
22 Q. Something along the lines of Boljevic?
23 A. Boljevic, yeah. Because I was not attending -- I was not in
24 general attending these meetings. Masovic's name, I had heard
25 frequently. That was not my area, I was not based in Sarajevo and so I
1 was not regularly attending these prisoner meetings at that time. But
2 those were the -- they had sort of regular negotiators. There was a
3 Croat, when Croats were involved, named Pusic, and those were the three
4 sort of usual prisoner exchange representatives.
5 Q. Anyone from the military side attending these airport meetings,
7 A. Yes, there would have been from -- oh, I don't know whether --
8 from UNPROFOR military or --
9 Q. Either from the UNPROFOR military or from the Serb or Muslim side.
10 A. Hard for me to say. The lead negotiators were these gentlemen.
11 It's quite possible that there were not. I'm not sure, I'm not sure at
12 this point.
13 JUDGE PROST: Mr. Thayer,, sorry, before you move on. Mr. Joseph,
14 could you give an indication of what kind of information was available at
15 that time to you regarding the situation in Srebrenica with respect to the
16 Muslim men? What kind of information did you have on the status of them
17 at that time?
18 THE WITNESS: You know, it's a quite interesting question, and the
19 answer is: Rather little, rather little information. And I can remember
20 asking specifically with senior UNPROFOR military about that, and saying,
21 you know, "What's happened to these guys," you know, "Where are they," and
22 the answer I got was that General Mladic had told General Smith that they
23 were -- had been released and were on their way back, were walking back
24 slowly through the woods there towards the -- you know, the Bosniak side.
25 This is what I was told, and I can remember at the time being completely
1 skeptical about that and expressing my skepticism as to why Mladic would
2 release these guys. But we had, in terms of specific information at the
3 time, rather little. And I was asking about it. I was in Sarajevo and I
4 remember asking about it, and we did not have.
5 JUDGE PROST: Thank you.
6 THE WITNESS: You're welcome.
7 MR. THAYER:
8 Q. Just one final question before we move on, sir. Was there a
9 military -- a VRS liaison officer that you recall being based in Sarajevo
10 with whom you or other members of Civil Affairs dealt with primarily?
11 A. Well, if you say "Sarajevo," in Lukavica, across the front line,
12 yes, that would have been -- his rank that we knew him at, as I recall
13 him, and that was Major Indjic, he may have been later promoted, but Major
14 Indjic was liaison officer. And I can't recall whether he would present
15 in those prisoner exchange meetings or not, that detail I can't recall.
16 But we had frequent contact and it was rather normal and civil contact we
17 had with Major Indjic
18 Q. And he was based in what was known as the Lukavica Barracks?
19 A. That is correct, Lukavica Barracks which was across the line
20 there. That was in Republika Srpska.
21 Q. Now, at some point, did you return to Zepa? You've already
22 alluded to a second trip?
23 A. Yes, I did. We ultimately then were told that the military
24 situation had changed and that there had been a surrender and that,
25 therefore, we -- UNPROFOR could and would return to effect the evacuation.
1 And so we were summoned a second time.
2 Q. And at that time, sir, were you aware of, number one, where that
3 surrender had been effected or agreed to either as a result of the
4 meetings in Sarajevo or by locals in Zepa? At the time, did you know one
5 way or the other?
6 A. Now, we had no definitive information about whether or not there
7 had formally been a surrender. There might have been reports at the time
8 of -- that there had been a surrender, but we had nothing definitive about
9 that. We only knew that we were summoned again, we were given the green
10 light again, to go back and make this evacuation. And as I said before,
11 the movement into Republika Srpska was inordinately difficult, only
12 obtained with permission, and even with permission, in great difficulty,
13 so that was -- the actual status of it was almost secondary to the fact
14 that we had the green light to go back and try to get the people out.
15 That was the -- that was our focus and that was our main mission.
16 Q. Do you recall the date that you departed for Zepa?
17 A. It would have been on or about the 23rd, something like that, but
18 it's hard -- again, it's hard for me, without reference to memoranda, it's
19 hard for me to now recall the specific dates.
20 Q. Okay. Well, we'll see how we do, and maybe we'll have to pull one
22 Now, do you remember approximately what time of the day you left
23 Sarajevo, and were you alone?
24 A. It's -- it's hard to recall what time of day. I was not alone, it
25 was the same complement. It was me and Mr. Bezruchenko again in our same
1 vehicle. We may have -- it was either the first time or maybe it was this
2 time, we went again via Pale and we stopped in at UNHCR. I made it a
3 point for us to stop in at UNHCR because -- in fact, it probably would
4 have been Pale, because UNHCR had been at the earlier meeting, and then we
5 got information that, in fact, UNHCR would not be participating in the
6 evacuation. And so Viktor and I made it a point to meet with the UNHCR
7 people and try to understand what their reasons were for not going and
8 also to get from them direction as to how to proceed, because ordinarily
9 they would be in the lead on -- on the key aspects of moving displaced
10 persons around, and so we would have to assume that role, and so we needed
11 -- we needed to consult them.
12 Q. Okay. Without divulging any individuals' names, please describe
13 for the Trial Chamber what they told you.
14 A. What I recall is that we were told that there had been a decision
15 made by UNHCR that they would not participate in this because they don't
16 -- they don't want to be accused in assisting in ethnic cleansing. That
17 is what we were told by this officer. And then we said, "Okay, so we are
18 going to have -- we in Civil Affairs, we'll have to assume your role,"
19 basically, because we'll be the ones advising and guiding the UNPROFOR
20 military and watching what the Serbs are doing, so, "What should we do?"
21 And the main point we were told is that under international humanitarian
22 law, that you have to -- you have to determine that the person is leaving
23 of their own volition. This is the main point that we were told, that you
24 should -- you should make that determination of their own volition. And
25 so we had that in our minds, and plus I had other concerns of my
1 experience in Tuzla when we had seen the state of mind and emotion of the
2 women who had arrived from Srebrenica and the fact that there had been
3 women missing. So I had accountability in my mind as well from my own
4 experience, but this is what the UNHCR had stressed to us.
5 Q. Now, this instruction to you from UNHCR that a determination
6 needed to be made that -- let me just make sure I'm getting your words
7 right -- that they were leaving of their own volition, what were the
8 concerns of UNHCR in conveying that specific information to you, that you
9 had to make sure that these individuals were "leaving on their own
10 volition"? Why were they telling you that that needed to be done?
11 A. Well, presumably drawing from their understanding of the law of,
12 of international humanitarian law, that you only move people, you do not
13 deport and forcibly uproot people, that that's contrary; that the
14 movements have to be voluntary, that otherwise it's in contravention to
15 international humanitarian law. That presumably -- we didn't go into
16 great detail as to the legal underpinnings. This was -- we had an
17 operational mindset, and this is what -- how they instructed us what you
18 should do. "You should attempt to make that determination of volition."
19 Q. And is that tied to why they did not want to, as you recounted, be
20 part of ethnic cleansing themselves?
21 A. Quite possibly. Again, this -- the individual we spoke to was at
22 a lower level. He wasn't the decision-maker on that. But it was clear
23 from what I recall him saying, that -- the individual, that they did not
24 want to be accused of ethnic cleansing and that quite possibly they might
25 have inferred and known that this would not be purely voluntary movement.
1 So it's quite possible, but that's not something that I could have
2 obtained the full reasoning from this individual who is not a
4 Q. Do you recall approximately what time you reached Zepa that day?
5 A. Again, we had -- we could only leave from Pale, so it still took
6 quite some time to go through Rogatica and down there, although if you
7 look on a map, the distances are not that long these days. In those days,
8 it seemed like an eternity with countless check-points and check-point
9 searches and questioning as to what we were doing, why we were there, what
10 was our nationality, et cetera. So the movements took quite some time,
11 and I don't think we arrived back there, I think, until probably late in
12 the afternoon.
13 Q. And where did you arrive, specifically?
14 A. Back at that same OP2, Observation Point 2, the same point from
15 where we had met General Mladic the first time.
16 Q. And why was it OP2? Why was that your destination?
17 A. That was as far as we were permitted to go. That was -- that was
18 the staging area. That was the point where -- that was where we were once
19 again told to stop there and to meet and discuss, and again we saw General
20 Mladic there; and it was a different atmosphere, though, I should say,
21 from the last time, where there was one of waiting. This time, there was
22 movement. You could see there was movement up and down before, and I
23 don't think the speakers -- I don't remember, but I don't think the
24 speakers, they weren't doing that anymore. So it was much more of an
25 operational atmosphere in terms of movement than the last time, which was
1 static, and then this volley of artillery.
2 Q. When you say "movement," to are you referring to, movement of
4 A. The vehicles. There were certain military vehicles that were
5 moving about, up and down.
6 Q. And you said you saw General Mladic there. Did you have any
7 discussions with him at that time?
8 A. Yeah, I can't recall the full nature of any discussions. I know I
9 can picture him there and then telling us at one point to -- to go down,
10 and obviously we would have discussed with him something about the
11 dynamics of the evacuation, when it would commence, you know, who would do
12 what. We would have had some kind of conversation with him about that,
13 and then we would have proceeded. When he gave us the okay, then we -- we
14 drove down. But I believe it was nightfall by the time we actually
15 entered down the steep road into Zepa, I believe it was nightfall.
16 Q. And what did you do once you reached the town centre?
17 A. It was -- as I recall, it was dark, completely dark, and we went
18 to the UNPROFOR compound there, which was in the schoolhouse, schoolyard;
19 and that's where we billeted there. This is where the Ukrainian
20 contingent was, and we billeted there. And I can recall, over candlelight
21 and some MREs or some kind of meager dinner that we had with some of the
22 Bosniak leadership there, civilian leadership there. I can recall a
23 conversation with them just in general terms about what the situation was
24 and what the situation had been.
25 Q. And do you recall the names of any of these Muslim leaders with
1 whom you met?
2 A. One of them was Torlak, Hamdija Torlak.
3 Q. And did Mr. Torlak hold any position or office that you're aware
5 A. I forget his exact title. I don't recall now his exact position,
6 but he had a position of leadership there, and we were there and had this
7 conversation with him about what was going on and obviously telling him
8 what we were going to do and try to do and prevent, et cetera, this kind
9 of thing, what our approach was. And I can also remember just a wider
10 conversation with him about what their existence had been like in that
11 isolated area.
12 Q. Do you recall with any specificity anything that Mr. Torlak told
13 you during this dinner over candlelight?
14 A. Right now, no, it's hard for me to recall anything more specific.
15 Q. Okay. Now, do you know why you had to sit there by candlelight,
16 as opposed to electric lights or any other power?
17 A. Well, as I recall, there wasn't power there; and if UNPROFOR had a
18 generator, if they had one, I don't recall that it was functioning. I
19 just recall that it was dark and we were there and had this sort of eerie
20 thing, because -- not that dark is any surprise in wartime Bosnia, but it
21 was a place where we had never been before; and so we were entering this
22 place where we had never been before at night and not having any even
23 visual awareness of really what it looked like or what the condition was,
24 so that part I recall.
25 Q. We'll discuss some of these individuals perhaps a little later,
1 but do you remember meeting, either this evening or later on, a man
2 named -- by the name of Hajric?
3 A. I don't believe I met him that evening. It's possible, but I
4 don't believe I met Hajric, who was both hodza and mayor, as we were
5 introduced to him, and rather young, until later. It might not have been
6 that night.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: To make it clear, by "hodza," you mean a cleric?
8 THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
10 MR. THAYER:
11 Q. Now, on the evening of this night when you arrived, did you see
12 any civilians being transported out of the enclave at any time either from
13 the time you arrived to this evening meeting in the centre of town?
14 A. I have a recollection of when we first went down there at night,
15 of some vehicles moving by us. My memory is there were more military
16 vehicles and I may have seen some -- may or may not have seen some
17 civilians on them. I have a memory that there were some vehicles that
18 were leaving at that point.
19 Q. And when you say "military vehicles," are you referring to VRS
20 vehicles or --
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. -- UNPROFOR vehicles?
23 A. VRS, yes, but I do not recall -- I do not recall any mass movement
24 of, you know, buses, or trucks, or something like that with civilians. I
25 do not recall that at all, and I think I would probably have remembered
1 that. I don't -- and I did not see that.
2 Q. And to your knowledge, at the time you were in the centre of town
3 that evening, what other international organisations were present in Zepa?
4 A. None, only UNPROFOR. I should mention UNHCR declined, as did
5 ICRC, whose participation was limited in this evacuation to the part of
6 evacuating the wounded. That was it. And I do not recall them
7 overnighting there at that point. I think we -- UNPROFOR was the only
8 international presence.
9 Q. Do you recall a French contingent arriving at some point?
10 A. I do -- I don't recall them being there that night. That's my --
11 my recollection is that we got there before they did and we were there
12 with the Ukrainians and that was it. That's my recollection at that
14 Q. Okay. Again, sir, you testified that your recollection was that
15 this second trip to Zepa occurred perhaps on the 23rd of July. I want to
16 show you another document and see if this refreshes your recollection
17 about the date on which you actually arrived in Zepa that second time.
18 And with Madam Usher's assistance, we'll just throw this up on the
19 ELMO quickly. For the record, it's R0433795 to 3797, and if we could just
20 go to the second page of that document first, the ERN ending in 3796.
21 Again sir, it's: "Subject: Negotiations on Zepa number 6", and
22 it's dated the 25th of July, from David Harland to John Ryan. If we could
23 just scroll up a tad, please. Great, thank you.
24 If you would just read those first three paragraphs. It notes:
25 "Following last night's message from the Ukrainians indicating
1 that the local Bosnian had accepted terms that amounted to a surrender and
2 evacuation of the Zepa pocket, I asked Viktor Bezruchenko and Ed Joseph to
3 travel immediately to Zepa ..."
4 In the second paragraph, there's a reference to Amor Masovic. Is
5 that the Masovic to whom you referred to earlier, sir?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. And then the third paragraph begins:
8 "At about 11.00 a.m., Viktor Bezruchenko called me from Lukavica,
9 and told me that he had seen the elements of an agreement signed by Rajko
10 Kusic and Torlak Hamdija ..."
11 Do you recall ever actually seeing a copy of this agreement?
12 A. I believe I did. It's hard for me to recall the exact nature of
13 the document, but I now vaguely recall that we went through -- as I said,
14 we overnighted in Pale and we would have commenced by going via Lukavica
15 Barracks there, and very likely saw this document.
16 Q. Okay. Having looked at this memo, do the events in it -- are they
17 consistent with your recollection of the events as they occurred?
18 A. They are.
19 Q. And does this date of the 25th of July appear to you to be the
20 correct date of these events?
21 A. I -- I believe it is.
22 MR. THAYER: Okay. All right, thank you, Madam Usher. I think
23 we're done with that for the time being.
24 Q. So having spent the night at this school, that brings us, it would
25 be, then, to the next day, the 26th of July. Can you tell the Trial
1 Chamber what you did that day?
2 A. Yeah. What I can recall is we got up there from this -- this
3 school compound, which is on a slight incline, and walked down -- this is
4 again our first exposure to Zepa. We've only been there at night and seen
5 it at night. And then we sort of took in the actual state of the place,
6 which was, you know, rather -- there was buildings pockmarked with
7 shelling, et cetera. And the main -- that wasn't the main thing that
8 would take in -- surprise someone who'd served in Bosnia for that long.
9 The main thing, the image that's most memorable, is seeing already early
10 in the morning this concentration of women in the town centre. There was
11 a small kind of a centre, and women -- we didn't know what we were going
12 to have to do. We thought we were going to have to go around and sort of
13 pull people from their houses, but they had already concentrated
14 themselves, many of them, in this -- in this town centre. So that was the
15 first image that I recall.
16 Q. Can you describe their appearance and their demeanour?
17 A. They -- they were very quiet. They were sort of huddled with
18 their kids, but generally they were quiet, very, very quiet. You know,
19 the sort of gaunt look of people in isolated places in a war that I'd seen
20 before, so there was nothing of that that was particularly surprising.
21 But it was relatively calm and quiet in that initial encounter there with
22 them, and we sort of introduced ourselves and began our procedures.
23 Q. Okay. Can you describe those procedures, please?
24 A. Right. As I had said, we'd been -- the two main things in my
25 mind, there was one that was this instruction from UNHCR, and the second
1 was of course from my experience in Tuzla with the Srebrenica women and
2 the accountability. So I had accountability and this volition issue in my
3 mind, and we had paper and pen and then went and tried to fastidiously get
4 names of people down. And we also commenced, Viktor and I, this volition
5 query, and basically going person by person, with their kids next to them,
6 "Are you leaving of your own free will, are you leaving of your own
7 volition," this kind of question, and the women would answer,"Yes." And
8 then we would go to the next one, and she would say, "Yes." And then we
9 went to another one, "Yes." And this continued until we got to, I don't
10 know, maybe 15 or 19 down, and then this woman said to us, "No, I'm not
11 leaving of my own free will. I want to stay," she said, "But who will
12 protect me?" And then she began to cry, and then they all began to cry,
13 and we realised that this was a useless task about asking. We were just
14 simply aggravating them and that they were clearly, you know, upset even
15 though they had been calm, their demeanour had been calm, that this was
16 just a fruitless inquiry that's just simply aggravating and adding pain
17 where it didn't need to be, so we stopped asking that question.
18 Q. Well, based on what you saw, what was the impression that you then
19 gathered about whether these women wanted to stay or whether they wanted
20 to leave?
21 A. The impression was clear, that they were -- this was their home,
22 but that they were absolutely petrified to stay. And I should add,
23 periodically -- not very often, but periodically you would see a Serb
24 vehicle would drive by, a jeep that had the Serb flag on it, that would
25 drive by, sort of speed by fast, and then go back. Mostly you didn't see
1 that, but occasionally the Serb vehicle would come in and back with a
2 flag. And as soon as they saw that, there would be shrieks of terror,
3 shrieks of terror, when they would see this vehicle with the flag that was
4 there. So it was clear to us that despite this initial calm demeanour
5 that greeted us in the morning, that there was real fear very close to the
6 surface and these people wanted to stay but, look, this was -- they were
7 terrified as to their fate if they would stay.
8 Q. During the course of these initial encounters with these women,
9 sir, or later on during the course of that day or the next day, did you
10 learn whether or not the residents of Zepa had, in fact, received any
11 information about the fate of the men from Srebrenica?
12 A. You know, it's hard for me to recall, but it's possible that I had
13 some conversations with people about that. It wasn't readily apparent to
14 me that there was a certain fact that they knew, but they were aware of
15 Srebrenica and they were in quite an agitated state, but I don't know that
16 I had a -- you know, I might have met someone who said they were from
17 Srebrenica, but I don't recall a specific conversation where someone
18 conveyed to me, "I was in Srebrenica and this is what I saw and what
20 Q. Okay. Can you please continue describing the events of that day,
21 the 26th of July?
22 A. Okay. As best as I can recall, we then commenced with the
23 evacuation as soon as the vehicles came, and this was -- basically, this
24 was sort of the Serb part of operation. They would come down and bring
25 these buses down there. And at some point in the day, the French military
1 arrived, and so we were working with them. And I recall -- I mean,
2 logistically, it was rather difficult, because it's a one-lane dirt road
3 into Zepa down this steep gorge, and it took quite some -- you had to wait
4 until all the vehicles were down and then to turn around before you could
5 send vehicles back up, and so it was a little bit of a logistical
6 operation. It required communication with the top and so forth. And what
7 I can recall is we -- we had these -- these buses come, and we would try,
8 in as orderly a way as possible, to get the women on the bus, trying to
9 keep names, lists of names, and with a certain bus. And when UNPROFOR
10 came, when the French were there, trying to convey -- get them to convey
11 the information back of such-and-such a bus with so many people on board,
12 and that was -- that was generally our task, and it was quite stressful,
13 it was quite an operation, and there was quite a bit of tension.
14 And if I can continue, I might add that then there was a separate
15 operation with respect to the seriously wounded men. There were seriously
16 wounded men, soldiers who had been wounded in the fighting that had
17 preceded and, you know, the shelling, et cetera, and they -- there had
18 been an agreement that these men would be evacuated separately. And there
19 was, I recall, a Serb military doctor along with a French UNPROFOR doctor
20 who did a screening, and the two of them together, these two doctors,
21 would go down and screen to see that these wounded were seriously enough
22 wounded that they required evacuation, because some were deemed to have
23 been too lightly wounded to be evacuated and these others were deemed to
24 be seriously wounded, and so the French, in a separate evacuation,
25 separate from these buses that went, evacuated out this -- these wounded
1 men, and this is the part where there was an ICRC representative who
2 participated in that.
3 Q. And based on your experience there, was ICRC's participation any
4 greater than assisting with the evacuation of those seriously wounded,
5 along with the French contingent? Did they do anything else, other than
6 assist in the evacuation of the seriously wounded?
7 A. No, I don't believe that they did. I think that that was -- their
8 role was limited to that.
9 If I may add, the -- when they moved the convoy out with the
10 wounded, this precipitated a near riot in the town because you have to
11 recall some buses had already left and taken some civilians out. Then
12 there was this military movement that was taking the wounded out. And the
13 women who were left, which was even probably the majority, several
14 thousand, thought that this was the last -- it, that this was it, and then
15 proceeded to stream out in -- and block the convoy and were absolutely
16 panic-stricken that this was the last and they were going to be left
17 behind. And this is something I had dealt with in a couple of other
18 places in Bosnia, this absolute mass panic, and they -- it took us quite
19 some time to try to convince them that this was not the case, that they
20 were not going to be left behind, and that we were -- more buses would be
21 coming later, et cetera. But, you know, we have to let them come out
22 because it's one lane and you can't get all the buses in, et cetera. It
23 took quite some time to calm them down, but eventually we did.
24 Q. And you referred, sir, to some French vehicles. Do you remember
25 what kind of French contingent vehicles these were that were --
1 A. It would have been that Sector Sarajevo vehicles, and they would
2 have had what the French call "VAB," which is an APC, a French acronym for
3 an APC.
4 Q. You referred to buses arriving?
5 A. Buses and -- there were also, I should say, tractor with --
6 drawing -- with open trailer-type things as well. It wasn't just all
7 buses. It was any type of vehicle that would -- you could put people in,
8 that's what people got put in.
9 Q. And do you recall who was driving these buses and if anyone
10 accompanied the drivers?
11 A. As I recall, there were -- occasionally a Ukrainian would drive a
12 bus, a Ukrainian UNPROFOR, occasionally a Serb soldier would drive the bus
13 or some other local person who we presumed to be, you know, a local Serb
14 driver, would drive the bus, either military or not, and we did not have
15 enough -- there were not enough UNPROFOR French present to be -- to be
16 just simply escorts on the vehicle, there were not enough, so not every --
17 as I recall, not every bus was escorted with a French UNPROFOR military.
18 And I don't recall any of the Ukrainians doing that, because these buses
19 would continue on and the Ukrainians had to stay there in Zepa. So it was
20 only the French, and they did not have enough to put one on every bus, as
21 I recall.
22 Q. Do you know how these buses and trucks were requisitioned, how
23 they, in fact, were brought to this?
24 A. No. That was a Serb BSA logistics operation, and we're not privy
25 to how they managed to get these vehicles.
1 Q. Did you see General Tolimir that day?
2 A. I saw General Tolimir the second -- there were, as I recall, two
3 days of this operation, and I saw General Mladic on one day, for sure, and
4 I saw General Tolimir probably on both days, but definitely I recall a
5 conversation with him on the second day, which is when, I should add, that
6 thing with the wounded was probably -- I can't remember if it was the
7 first or second day, but during this time, yes, I saw General Tolimir.
8 Q. And what was he doing, sir?
9 A. General Tolimir was supervising and aware of -- taking his
10 reconnoitering of what was going on there. There was -- there were other
11 Serb officers involved who were in contact there with the armija
12 commander, who was Avdo Palic. There was contact between Palic and some
13 other Serb officers, and as well Mladic and Tolimir were around and
14 present and actively gauging what was going on and supervising.
15 Q. You referred to Commander Palic. Can you describe your contact
16 with him and any activities you observed him engaged in?
17 A. Yes. We saw Colonel Palic not the first day we got there but the
18 next day when we were evacuating the women and children, and his demeanour
19 first, he was cold, he was rather cold to us. He felt that UNPROFOR had
20 let them down, and, you know, anyway, we just explained, "Look, we're
21 trying to effect this as we understand, but our job is to make this happen
22 as safely as we can." So we just -- we at first didn't have a long
23 discussion with him, but then later, probably in the evening, we would
24 talk to him about the situation, about prisoner exchange status, where
25 that stood, and various other matters, and I observed him and sat with him
1 when he had a sort of impromptu lunch meeting with these Serb officers
2 there, that I recall it was in the UNPROFOR compound, and where Palic was
3 there, and they were having the usual discussion about who was responsible
4 for what in the war, and the Serb officers were telling Palic, you
5 know, "Avdo, Avdo, Avdo," you know, and he was explaining back his
6 version. But -- and then separately we would have our own conversation
7 with him about the prisoner exchange situation and sharing what we knew
8 from Sarajevo, our information, et cetera.
9 Q. Based on your contacts with him and your observations of him, sir,
10 what were your impressions of Colonel Palic as a commander?
11 A. Could you be more specific, please?
12 Q. Okay. Would you describe how he conducted himself during the
13 course of these events on the 26th and 27th?
14 A. My impression was, given the situation where he was alone, you
15 wouldn't even say outnumbered, you would say alone, he was alone, there
16 was no other member of his military there, he was alone and dealing with
17 the entire Serb military apparatus with the highest-level leadership, I
18 was reasonably impressed. He seemed to not be intimidated and he seemed
19 to be focused on -- with us on trying to see that the things were done as
20 safely and properly as possible. He never asked us for any special
21 benefit. He never said, "Hey," you know, "can you get me out of here," or
22 something like that. There was never any conversation like that, and he
23 had a fair amount of dignity. He just stuck around and stayed there alone
24 and, you know, dealt with the situation, even though it was exceedingly to
25 his disadvantage.
1 Q. Do you recall seeing General Smith actually in town at any time
2 during these transportations?
3 A. General Smith, I recall seeing up at OP2. We had meetings up at
4 OP2. He came back there, and there was a meeting with General Mladic, but
5 I believe that meeting would have been -- that was held at OP2, not in the
7 Q. Do you recall anything else that sticks out in your mind occurring
8 on this day, the 26th of July, sir?
9 A. This -- the first day or --
10 Q. The first full day that you were in Zepa.
11 A. Well, the first -- not necessarily -- there was some things that
12 occurred the second day, but as far as the first day, I think that's all I
13 can recall at this point.
14 Q. Okay. And did you remain billeted in the Ukrainian base in the
15 school in the town?
16 A. Yes, we did.
17 Q. So that brings us to the 27th of July, sir. What happened that
19 A. Well, I should -- the only thing I should mention is that while we
20 were working this operation there, primary focus on that, the French had a
21 vehicle there that permitted us some radio or telephone contact with
22 Sarajevo and with Zagreb, with the UN operations in both places, so we had
23 intermittent reports about what was going on in terms of these prisoner
24 negotiations, but not very complete. It was rather sporadic, our
25 information, but we were -- on the 27th, we continued the operation, as I
1 recall, we continued the operation. And there was -- as I mentioned,
2 there was a review of the wounded, and there was a screening done, and
3 those deemed by the doctors to be seriously wounded were taken away.
4 Those deemed to be not so seriously wounded were then left in the
5 town, and they stayed there, and frequently one of them, who was sort of
6 their spokesperson, he kept -- would repeatedly, repeatedly approach me
7 and Viktor and seeking to be evacuated with these other buses that were
8 going out with the women and children, saying, "Look, we're wounded too."
9 He had his arm in a sling, as I recall, and frequently, even sort of
10 interrupting us as we were trying to get the women out, repeatedly,
11 repeatedly asking us to put him on a bus. And so eventually -- I saw
12 General Tolimir there, and I sat down with General Tolimir in the town, I
13 recall not in the schoolyard, but actually done in the town on some bench,
14 and we sat down and I asked General Tolimir, "Can we put these lightly
15 wounded on the bus and evacuate them with the others?" And I believe this
16 was the last bus, as I recall, this was the last bus that was going out,
17 and General Tolimir told me, "Yes, you can." And so I told this
18 individual, who was quite relieved, and he and the others boarded the bus.
19 There was a French major, I believe that was his rank there, and I
20 was concerned because these were military-aged men, and I told -- warned
21 the French major about this. I said, "You've got to put a French soldier
22 on there and you've got to put a French APC behind this bus," because I --
23 even though we had the permission, which is what they had asked for, I had
24 my concerns. He understood, and he agreed, and he put a French soldier on
25 the bus, and as I recall they had the APC following the vehicle, too, when
1 it left the area.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Joseph.
3 THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: You just stated to us that for the purpose of
5 getting these wounded persons on the bus, you needed to and you actually
6 sought the permission of General Tolimir. For the purpose of having a
7 French soldier or officer on the bus and a French-manned vehicle to
8 follow, did you seek the authorisation of General Tolimir or not?
9 THE WITNESS: No, sir, no. No, sir. Shall I explain, sir?
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Please.
11 THE WITNESS: Because the -- our understanding is this evacuation,
12 at this point, was limited to the women and that the men were the subject
13 of this deal, whatever terms might or might not be agreed to among the
14 parties, so that it was limited to the women. The presence -- the presence
15 of UNPROFOR was always part of any -- we were permitted -- that was an
16 understanding we had. We were permitted there. The French -- the
17 Ukrainians were even driving some of these buses, so there was no need on
18 our part to ask permission to put in an UNPROFOR soldier, when that was
19 already part of the dynamics, and there were also women on the bus as
20 well. So that part was simply part of the ordinary operating agreement,
21 and I didn't feel any need to get any additional permission on that.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Joseph.
23 Shall we have the break now, 25 minutes? Thank you.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
2 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. Good morning again, sir.
4 A. Good morning.
5 Q. We left off with the group of lightly-wounded men and women on the
6 bus. Did you hear what happened to those lightly-wounded men after they
7 left the town?
8 A. I had been told -- sometime afterward I was told that they -- the
9 bus had been stopped a few kilometres outside of Zepa by a Serb military
10 check-point or patrol, something, and Serb army officers had boarded the
11 bus -- or Serb military, I don't know rank, officers or enlisted, but I'm
12 told that they were stopped and the men were pulled off the bus.
13 Q. Approximately what time did the transportations end on the 27th?
14 A. They ended sometime in the -- sometime in the mid-afternoon. That
15 was when that last convoy went out.
16 Q. Now, during this period --
17 A. If I could just add one thing. You asked what did I know about
18 what happened to the lightly-wounded men, and I said that when the bus --
19 that I had heard later that the bus was stopped by a Serb army patrol and
20 they were pulled off. I should add that I was told later they went
21 missing, all or most of them went missing.
22 Q. Now, during this period from the 25th of July onward, on the
23 occasions when you were at the Ukrainian base at the school in the town
24 centre, can you describe for the Trial Chamber the freedom of movement the
25 Serb soldiers had inside that UN base?
1 A. It was near -- near complete. I can recall frequent movement in
2 and out of the compound. That's my recollection.
3 Q. Now, you mentioned one lunch, I believe it was, where there were
4 some VRS officers or soldiers around Colonel Palic. Did you see any
5 high-level VRS officers at the school from the 25th on?
6 A. I recall -- I recall General Mladic coming in there at some point;
7 not at that specific lunch. I don't think he was there at that specific
8 lunch, but I recall General Mladic being in there. I can picture General
9 Tolimir in the town area, but he might have wandered in there as well, but
10 I sort of have a specific memory of General Mladic being in there.
11 Q. And would you describe what you observed General Mladic doing when
12 he was down in the town centre? How would you characterise what he was
14 A. Well, his demeanour was triumphant. He was surveying the success
15 of the operation and was observing what was going on there. He wasn't --
16 General Tolimir was more involved on sort of operational things, but he
17 was touring around. That's what I can recall.
18 Q. And, sir, who ultimately was in control of this operation to move
19 out the population?
20 A. Well, we always understood General Mladic was the senior
22 Q. And on the ground, as you saw it, who was in charge in town on the
23 days that the population was being moved out?
24 A. There was no -- I don't know that there was any, you know,
25 individual who was present there all the time to be operationally met, it
1 wasn't someone who we had to constantly run. Sometimes Tolimir was there,
2 sometimes he wasn't. There was some other Serb officials who would come
3 and go, but basically the -- I can't really recall our main means, but we
4 were in communication with them and the vehicles came, and we were
5 boarding the women, doing the procedure without, as I can remember, a
6 defined point of contact.
7 Q. But based on your observations and your contacts with the various
8 VRS officers during this period of time, did it appear to you that any one
9 of them or one among them had been delegated the primary responsibility of
10 overseeing this operation in the town?
11 A. No. I knew, when General Tolimir was there, that he had senior
12 authority. That's why I went to him about the lightly wounded. But I
13 can't say that he was constantly overseeing the operation, no, I can't.
14 Q. Now, on the 19th of July, going -- or, I'm sorry, on the 20th of
15 July, when you first went to Zepa, and then again when you returned on the
16 25th onward, can you tell the Trial Chamber who appeared to you to be in
17 control of the UN Observation Post 2?
18 A. It was the Serb military. It was not the Ukrainians.
19 Q. And on the 27th, the last day on which the population was moved
20 out, do you recall seeing Avdo Palic?
21 A. Yes, I do.
22 Q. Can you describe, please, the last time you saw Avdo Palic?
23 A. Yes. As I mentioned, we had had frequent contact and conversation
24 with him over that period, especially in the evening, and -- and at times
25 during the operations, and then on the last day I was in the compound
1 there after the last bus had left, the last convoys -- or convoy had left,
2 and we moved back from the town centre back up the incline to the school
3 area, which was the UNPROFOR compound there, and Palic was there inside
4 the compound. And I was on the phone with Zagreb, by our UN -- my contact
5 in Zagreb at the UN headquarters when -- actually, just prior to that
6 Palic had said, "Look, look," and seemingly out of nowhere there was an
7 advance of Serb infantry who were overtaking the town and proceeding up
8 into the hills. He said, "Look, look, look," and we turned around and
9 could see -- this was after -- just after this bus had left. There was an
10 advance of Serb infantry presumably in pursuit of the men who were in the
12 And then, subsequent to that, I got on the phone to report to this
13 official at the UN headquarters in Zagreb; and while I was on the phone,
14 perhaps the distance to that door over there, maybe slightly more, to the
15 gate, two Serb soldiers came who appeared to be more heavily armed than
16 typical, as I recall; and a quite aggressive demeanour, approached and
17 demanded Palic, and Viktor Bezruchenko went to the gate there. There was
18 still this nominal gate there, and spoke to them. And Palic approached,
19 and they took Palic. And I happened to be on the line witnessing this and
20 passed this along realtime to our colleagues up in -- at the UN
22 Q. Let me just clarify one thing for the record. You pointed to a
23 door in the courtroom. If you could just roughly estimate the distance
24 between yourself and Commander Palic.
25 A. I would say, going from memory, not more than 30 metres or so,
1 approximately. I'm going from memory, but, I mean, this was visible --
2 readily visible in front -- in front of me.
3 Q. And so what happened next, sir?
4 A. Well, they -- they went away with them, and I asked Viktor what
5 they had said, and he said -- as I recall, Viktor told me they said
6 something about, "Oh, he's going to meet with Palic -- with Mladic." They
7 want Palic to meet with Mladic, so -- and I was -- especially their
8 demeanour and the fact they seized him and the overall context, I was
9 quite concerned, as was Viktor. And shortly thereafter, we got into our
10 vehicle and we gave pursuit. Of course, they had already taken him and
11 had a lead, but we gave pursuit, didn't see their vehicle, but made our
12 way back up through the gorge up to the top to OP2 and to whomever we
13 could find there - Mladic wasn't there - and to make it known that we're
14 asking, you know, "Where's Palic, where is this guy," and we want to know
15 what's going on.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Thayer.
17 These two soldiers that appeared, you described them as more
18 heavily armed than typical, and who demanded Palic, did they have any
19 insignia that --
20 THE WITNESS: Not that I can recall, and I was at a distance that
21 I probably couldn't detect the insignia. But I didn't recall that, and
22 that wasn't where my focus was. What was readily apparent to me, what I
23 remember was an aggressive demeanour, they were determined, and they were
24 going to take him. And this was not this jovial, "Oh, we're just
25 cooperating in an operation here." This was a manifest determination and
1 insistence, and they grabbed him. But, no, sir, I can't tell you about
2 their insignia.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
4 MR. THAYER:
5 Q. Did these two soldiers say anything that you were able to
7 A. No, I was too far away to overhear. Viktor was in conversation,
8 and from what I can recall, what he conveyed was that they said they were
9 taking him to Mladic, some negotiations. That was what I understood was
10 the gist, that I can recall.
11 Q. And based on your experience, sir, did the demeanour, the
12 uniforms, the equipment that these two soldiers had and projected, had you
13 seen that anywhere before? Did you associate that with anyone previously?
14 A. Well, they were -- in my view, they were Serb soldiers. That was
15 clear. There wasn't any doubt about that in my mind. We had seen, when
16 we first arrived at OP2, that there had been -- when General Mladic was
17 there, there had been some contingent there, a small contingent there, who
18 also had weapons; not AK-47s, they had other weapons, and their demeanour
19 was more aggressive and they were at OP2. But whether or not they were
20 the same contingent, I can't say.
21 Q. With respect to Colonel Palic, what happened next when you were up
22 at OP2?
23 A. We were given no information, as I recall. They -- no one told us
24 anything, but we tried to make it abundantly clear that we, as
25 representatives of the UN, wanted to know what happened. This is a guy
1 who had been negotiating as part of this evacuation, and we tried to let
2 it be known, "Look, we want to know his whereabouts." And as I recall, we
3 were given, at that point, no information about him. And I had -- as I
4 said, I had already reported it, as it was happening, before.
5 Q. What did you do next, sir?
6 A. I believe we returned back down to the main UNPROFOR compound
7 there, and I can't really recall. We had -- there were still Serb
8 presence there, and we then -- I don't know, it's possible it was that
9 same day, it's possible it was the day after, we had an encounter at that
10 compound with Colonel Kusic of that Rogatica unit, and who was in quite
11 serious demeanour, and we asked him about what was going on. He wouldn't
12 speak very much to us about that, but I recall a meeting with Kusic there
13 in the compound.
14 And I recall another separate event with some Serb soldiers just
15 milling around, and talking to them as well separately.
16 Q. Now, to your recollection, did Kusic take any part in moving out
17 the civilian population in the centre of Zepa while you were there on the
18 26th and the 27th?
19 A. I don't recall him being part of that. I don't -- that's not my
20 memory, of Kusic being part of that.
21 Q. So who was the highest-ranking VRS officer that you saw that was
22 actually engaged in the operation to move out the population from Zepa on
23 those two days while you were there?
24 A. Mladic and Tolimir.
25 Q. Now, on this last day, on the 27th, were local leaders still
1 involved in trying to affect a surrender of the enclave or to resolve the
2 fate of the men of Zepa?
3 A. As I recall, in terms of the fate of the men, this was Palic's
4 determination and decision. There were conversations, I know, that
5 Hodja/Mayor Hajric was having conversations, and there were still these
6 attempts and some negotiations, discussions, between him and the Serb
7 military, which I believe it was with Mladic at the top at OP2, when I was
8 there and General Smith was there. But it was clear to me that it was
9 Palic who was going to make the real determination about the fate of the
10 men, and it was clear to me as well that was in addition to seeing the --
11 that we were affecting, as safely as possible, the evacuation of the
12 women, that that was his primary preoccupation and reason why he would
13 stay alone in the town, was to continue to work and ensure that his men
14 would get out safely. That was, to me, his -- the reason he was still
15 present there as opposed to hiding up in the woods.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, one moment, Mr. Thayer, so that we try to
17 clear this up.
18 We're still on the 27th?
19 THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: That's the date. Who, amongst the local leaders,
21 apart from Palic, were still around on that day?
22 THE WITNESS: I believe this Hajric, who was there, was still
23 there. I can't be sure -- Torlak may have been there as well. I have
24 a distinct memory of Hajric still being around, and possibly Torlak.
25 That's, sir, to answer to the best of my recollection.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.
3 MR. THAYER:
4 Q. Sir, you --
5 JUDGE KWON: I'm sorry to interrupt.
6 Mr. Joseph, you just now said - let me find it - Mr. Palic
7 continued to work and ensure that his men would get out safely. Where
8 were his men?
9 THE WITNESS: His men -- my understanding -- I didn't see them. My
10 understanding was they were hiding --
11 JUDGE KWON: Up in the hills?
12 THE WITNESS: -- Up in the hills, yes, sir. That was my
13 understanding, and I might have even asked him.
14 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
15 THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Which would be together with those men or was he in
18 THE WITNESS: You know, where he actually spent the night, whether
19 he stayed in town or not, I don't know. He may well have been up there,
20 because the -- I don't know whether -- how he perceived himself, but in
21 general terms, if you were a male of military age, you were perceived to
22 be military by the then governing perceptions of things. Whether he
23 actually was up there at night or not, I don't really know.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, thank you.
25 MR. THAYER:
1 Q. Sir, you referred a few moments ago to being present with General
2 Smith, and I believe, Mr. Hajric for some meeting. Do you recall whether
3 that was on the 27th?
4 A. I'm very bad with recalling specific dates. It may well have been
5 on the 27th.
6 Q. Can you describe that meeting for the Trial Chamber, please?
7 A. To the best of my recollection -- again, I have only some specific
8 memories about it, but to the best of my recollection, it was a meeting
9 between General Smith and General Mladic, and there may well have been
10 this civilian leadership there. It's possible, quite possible, that
11 Hajric was there. And it was a conversation still about the status of the
12 pocket and whether it -- whether there had been a capitulation and whether
13 this -- whether the civilian leadership had surrendered and whether this
14 was valid or not. And I can remember having a conversation with General
15 Smith, a side-bar conversation with him, as to whether or not if, in fact,
16 there were a civilian surrender, whether or not it would be effective,
17 whether it had validity.
18 Q. Okay, sir. What I'd like to do is again show you another
19 document, with Madam Usher's assistance. For the record, this
20 is R012-3909 to 3910. This has been previously disclosed to my learned
21 friends on 30 January 2006, and it's been referenced in the various
22 statements and proofing notes. It's titled "Negotiations on Zepa 10", the
23 date is the 27 of July from David Harland to John Ryan. If we could
24 scroll up, please.
25 As you can see, if you just take your time and scan through the
1 first three paragraphs that are there, it refers to talks at Sarajevo
2 Airport resuming at noon that day. And do you see the second paragraph,
3 where it says that:
4 "At approximately 2.00 p.m., Joseph phoned to Zepa and explained
5 that most of the civilian population had been evacuated already."
6 And there's a reference to local leaders meeting with Mladic just
7 outside the pocket.
8 Sir, your recollection that you shared with us a few moments ago
9 about this meeting that may have been on the 27th, where did that meeting
10 that you recall occur?
11 A. That was again at OP2, up above.
12 Q. And it goes on further to say it was your understanding that the
13 local leaders were going to negotiate a surrender agreement on their own,
14 without reference to Sarajevo.
15 If we turn to the second page, sir, and we'll see if this
16 refreshes your recollection about the date of this meeting, it says:
17 "At about 4.30 p.m., General Smith called from Zepa, where he was
18 meeting with General Mladic, to say two things. First, the Serbs had
19 given the Bosnians a deadline of 6.00 p.m. this evening, after which men
20 who had not surrendered would be attacked. Second, three local Bosnian
21 civilian leaders had been negotiating with the Serbs and had signed or
22 were about to sign a capitulation agreement of their own."
23 Based on reviewing this memorandum, does that appear to you to
24 describe the events that you had testified a few moments ago about?
25 A. Yes, it does. Yes, it does, hopefully consistent with what I've
1 just said.
2 Q. Well, is it? Is it consistent?
3 A. Yes. In my view, it is consistent, yes.
4 Q. Maybe I misread, you said "hopefully"?
5 A. I did, I meant to say that, that hopefully those others reading
6 the two will see that it is consistent, as it appears to me to be
8 Q. Okay. Now, during this meeting, did you counsel General Smith at
9 all about any topic?
10 A. Yes. We had this conversation with him. I had -- because I had
11 had legal training and had been a lawyer, there's a book that I carried
12 with me called "Documents on the Laws of War" which has Geneva Conventions
13 and other documents in there, and checked it for -- to see whether there
14 was something that spoke to this issue, because there was really quite
15 some confusion, and I think General Smith also was somewhat unsure about
16 this. It was rather unnatural that civilians would be surrendering when
17 they're not heads of state and don't command those forces, so -- and we're
18 talking about a surrender of military forces, after all. So the question
19 arose in my mind, and I think others, about their competence to effect a
20 surrender when they're not the commander. And I recall somewhere, I don't
21 know whether it was Geneva or some other document, there was something
22 that spoke to this and indicated that it's military leaders. If you're
23 not the head of the state, in other words, you're commander-in-chief, it's
24 military leaders who effect surrenders, not civilian, and pointed this out
25 to General Smith, who took note of it and, you know, appreciated it, was
1 grateful for me showing him that, and Colonel Baxter was there as well in
2 that conversation.
3 Q. Do you recall anything else that sticks out in your mind about the
4 27th? And if not, we'll just move on to the next day, the 28th of July.
5 A. No, nothing at this point about that. I know at some point, it
6 might have been subsequent to that, that Hajric -- and probably it was
7 subsequent to that, I believe it was Hajric and one or two others were
8 taken as well, but it might well have been subsequent to that day.
9 Q. Whatever day it was, and if you're unsure about the date, was it
10 the 27th -- would it have been the 27th or 28th or sometime after the
11 28th? Can you be certain as to at least whether it was the 27th, 28th, or
12 a subsequent day?
13 A. I can't be certain whether -- it's unlikely that it was the 27th
14 because it would have been unlikely that it would have happened in front
15 of General Smith. I don't think that would have -- I don't think they
16 would have done that, but -- and I don't think they did, but -- so it's
17 based on the fact that we know that this meeting took place on the 27th, I
18 believe it could have been the 28th. Could it have been the 29th?
19 Equally possible.
20 Q. Okay. Let's talk about the 28th. Do you recall following up with
21 anyone or having any conversations with anyone concerning the fate of
22 Colonel Palic?
23 A. Yes, I did. That morning, the first thing I can remember doing
24 that morning, we had had radio contact from -- because this was the
25 Ukrainian means, these were, as I recall, Ukrainian means, their own radio
1 means, between their compound in the town and OP2, and so they had --
2 there was an UNPROFOR radio, and I -- which the Serbs were on, so I
3 believe it to still be the UNPROFOR means at the other end, and I
4 attempted and I managed to raise General Mladic by these radio means the
5 next morning to again follow up the issue of Colonel Palic and to ask and
6 say, "Where is he, where is Colonel Palic?"
7 Q. And what response did you get?
8 A. Well, this -- again, over a crackly radio, what I thought I
9 understood him to say is something that he got away and was killed, but
10 it's possible, because of the scratchiness and I knew at the time that I
11 wasn't sure, possibly, because the words were similar for escape -- to
12 kill, "poginuti", and to escape, "pobjeci", they are similar, and
13 especially on a scratchy means, I wasn't sure. And later that day, we,
14 Viktor and I -- I told this to Viktor, and the two of us went to see
15 Mladic's interpreter to try to see if she was present and could confirm
16 this. And I confirmed with her that she recalled that we had had this
17 conversation, and I attempted to get her to confirm which -- what was the
18 meaning. And as I recall, that she had said that he was -- confirmed that
19 he had said that he was killed. That was my recollection of it, but the
20 possibility exists that there was miscommunication on this. I will say
22 Q. Now, at this point or previously, did you report to anyone in your
23 chain of command at the time -- you testified you had a realtime call with
24 Zagreb when the abduction or he was taken away occurred. Did you report
25 to anyone else either about Abdic [sic] being taken from the UNPROFOR base
1 or the conversation that you had with General Mladic or the interpreter?
2 A. I did, indeed. I reported this to our people in Sarajevo,
4 JUDGE AGIUS: For the record, the name "Abdic" in line 25,
5 shouldn't it be "Palic"?
6 THE WITNESS: That's correct, sir, yes.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
8 THE WITNESS: "Abdic" is from another drama that I was in,
9 different era, different location.
10 MR. THAYER:
11 Q. Now, did you -- you've referred to seeing Mr. Hajric also being
12 taken. Can you describe what you saw to the Trial Chamber?
13 A. This -- yes. It's hard for me to recollect the date or the exact
14 circumstances, but I recall a subsequent meeting at OP2 where Hajric was
15 there and at least one other, plus one lone male, middle-aged male,
16 Bosniak, as he identified himself, who had somehow been separated from the
17 rest of the folks in Zepa, be they military or civilian, and who had
18 insisted to us that he was over military age. That was what he kept
19 saying, and again requesting to be evacuated. And I believe the
20 evacuation had -- this was after they had finished. And I recall Hajric,
21 possibly one other individual and this gentleman, and we were there
22 meeting with VRS officials. I can't be sure if it was Tolimir or others.
23 And they were taken, that was it, they were taken, and that's what I
25 Q. Do you recall any further details about anything that was said or
1 any indications given about where they were being taken to or for what
3 A. No, although there was no -- nothing -- we were not told anything
4 benign. We were not told, "Oh, they're just being taken to a meeting and
5 then --" we weren't told anything benign, I don't believe. They were
6 taken, and that's as far as I can say. And when we left, when we
7 ultimately left Zepa, we reported that to ICRC to let them know about
8 that, and the others, the lightly wounded, et cetera.
9 Q. In fact, can you recall the date that you left Zepa?
10 A. Again, I cannot recall without reference to some document. I
11 can't, on my own, recall the exact date. I know we were not permitted to
12 leave right away. We were -- we -- once we had gotten word from Sarajevo
13 that the prisoner exchange was not going to happen, ultimately when we
14 received that word and were then -- and were told to come back and try to
15 leave, we were not permitted to leave. The Serb military would not give
16 us permission to leave, so we were stuck there an additional period. I'm
17 not sure how long that was.
18 Q. And were you stuck up at the OP2 or down in town at the Ukrainian
19 base in the school?
20 A. It might have been both. I have a memory of Viktor and I being
21 stuck at OP2, and I also know we had dead time down in the town once --
22 after Palic had been taken and these negotiations were then -- there was,
23 no more interlocutor for us on their side there, and it's possible we were
24 in both locations.
25 Q. And at the time that you left Zepa, to your knowledge, other than
1 the men of Zepa who you had heard were up in the hills, were there any
2 Muslims left in the enclave?
3 A. No, not to our knowledge.
4 Q. Sir, I want to briefly show you some video footage. We're just
5 going to play a few seconds from a couple of clips. I've advised my
6 friends of the times.
7 May we first play P02489? That's ERN V000-1355. I think we're
8 going to begin at 11.29.82.
9 Do you have an image on your screen, sir?
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. THAYER: If we may proceed, please.
12 [Videotape played]
13 MR. THAYER:
14 Q. Sir, we've paused at --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Prosecution, please.
16 MR. THAYER:
17 Q. Sir, we've paused at 12.31.01. Do you recognise anyone in this
18 video still?
19 A. I recognise all four of the individuals and can name three of
21 Q. Okay. Please do, sir.
22 A. Facing us to the left is Torlak. To his left, our right, another
23 Bosniak leader who I recognise and met with, but whose name I can't
24 recall. And with their backs to us, to his left there on the right would
25 be General Mladic, and I believe, although I'm recognising him from the
1 back, but I believe to his left there is General Tolimir.
2 Q. And having viewed this clip, sir, can you identify what this
3 location is?
4 A. This would be OP2.
5 MR. THAYER: All right. Please continue.
6 [Videotape played]
7 MR. THAYER: We're going to fast-forward to save a minute or two.
8 [Videotape played]
9 MR. THAYER:
10 Q. Sir, we've paused at 15.20.06. Can you recognise anyone in this
11 clip, in this still?
12 A. Well, I can confirm that that's General Tolimir there to the left
13 of General Mladic. The other three, I'm not sure. It's possible that
14 that's Kusic at the end, but I'm not sure, with the mustache at the end;
15 but I can't be 100 per cent sure about that.
16 MR. THAYER: All right.
17 [Videotape played]
18 MR. THAYER:
19 Q. What I'd like to do now, sir, is play a short excerpt from another
20 clip. This is P02491, ERN V000-3142. We will begin at 45.29.68.
21 [Videotape played]
22 MR. THAYER:
23 Q. Sir, we've paused at 45.30.04. Do you recognise anybody in this
25 A. The individual, the male in uniform in the center is Avdo Palic.
1 MR. THAYER: And if we could continue playing the clip for a few
2 seconds, please.
3 [Videotape played]
4 MR. THAYER:
5 Q. Having seen the portion of the clip prior to your identification
6 of Colonel Palic and the few seconds afterwards, can you identify that
7 location, sir?
8 A. That was in the center of Zepa. That would have been on or near
9 our staging area for the evacuation.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, because we did not get the exact
11 location of that still. If we could go back to it, please.
12 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, the still of Colonel Palic or --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, no, that we have. The still where there's
14 this group of people standing by the bus, and you asked the witness where
15 that would be. I just wanted to -- yes, that's it. It's at 45.36.00.
16 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. We're going to begin
17 playing a clip at 45.56.
18 [Videotape played]
19 MR. THAYER:
20 Q. Sir, we've paused at 46.14. Do you recognise anyone in this
22 A. Yes. That would be -- the male in the light blue jacket there is
23 the Mayor Hodza Hajric.
24 Q. Do you have any information concerning the fate of Mr. Hajric,
1 A. No, although I understand he was missing. That's-- he was on the
2 list of missing, and that's as far as I know unaccounted for, as far as I
4 Q. And have you ever met any of his relatives, sir?
5 A. I did. I met --
6 THE REPORTER: I'm sorry, Your Honour, can I just have a moment?
7 My electrical plug just came out, and I need to ...
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly, certainly. In the meantime, what happened
9 to Mr. Meek?
10 MR. OSTOJIC: Your Honour, he's working out of the office this
11 morning for the remainder of the morning.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: We can proceed, and for the record I asked Mr. Ostojic to
13 account for Mr. Meek's absence from the courtroom, and we were informed
14 that Mr. Meek has left to seek with some work in the office -- in his
16 So, Mr. Thayer.
17 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Q. Sir, I'll just repeat my last question before we had the technical
20 Do you have any information concerning the fate of Mr. Hajric?
21 A. I don't. I understand he was on the list of missing from Zepa and
22 has not been accounted for. That's my information.
23 Q. And have you ever met with any of Mr. Hajric's relatives?
24 A. In Sarajevo, I believe it was in 1997, I met his -- his father,
25 who asked about him and -- you know, to try to get energy about -- and
1 information about what had happened to him. That was in Sarajevo. That
2 was, I believe, 1997.
3 Q. What did he say to you, sir?
4 A. He was quite upset and feared the worst, and just wanted him not
5 forgotten and wanted information about him. That was -- and that the
6 International Community become engaged to get information about what had
8 MR. THAYER: Thank you, sir.
9 I have no further questions at this time.
10 I see you --
11 THE WITNESS: I'm motioning if the -- with the permission of the
12 Court, just the image of General Mladic sparked one memory that I think
13 could be of information or could be of interest to the Court, if I'm
14 permitted to say that, even though it's not in reply to a direct question.
15 I don't know.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, okay. Go ahead.
17 THE WITNESS: Seeing the image of General Mladic, I remember
18 having a conversation with him at at least one point during these events
19 about the -- at least one, possibly more, about the fate of the men and
20 about what would happen to the men and how we would effect some transfer,
21 if in fact there were an agreement made in Sarajevo, how we would actually
22 effect this transfer, because that was quite some concern to me, to see
23 how this thing was actually going to get pulled off safely. And I recall
24 that General Mladic said to me -- I said to him, "Are you -- are you going
25 to let these guys go? They'll just come down from the hills --" pardon
1 me. "They'll just come down from the hills, and UNPROFOR will be here,
2 and you're just going to let them go?" And I recall he said to me, "Yes,
3 I'll let them go, except for the war criminals." And I said, "What, in
4 other words, you'll screen?" And he said, "Yes, yes, we will not let the
5 war criminals leave." And that was -- I have a distinct memory of that
7 MR. THAYER:
8 Q. And of what significance to you were those comments or that
9 statement of General Mladic? Did that mean anything to you? Did you come
10 away with any particular feeling or impression after he told you that?
11 A. Yes. I took that to mean that this was going to be highly
12 problematic and that these guys would be imperilled and that this would --
13 it would mean that they would have access to them, and I took it to mean
14 most of them would be seized. That was my impression. I did not see this
15 -- that was my impression. I didn't see this as any terms of some very
16 selective thing. I thought that it -- I took it to mean this entire
17 operation would be in jeopardy, and their security would be in jeopardy,
19 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. Joseph.
20 I have no further questions at this time.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Thayer.
22 Let's have a revised estimate of cross-examinations.
23 Mr. Zivanovic?
24 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Approximately 20 minutes, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: So you are where you stood before.
1 Mr. Ostojic?
2 MR. OSTOJIC: 45 minutes, Mr. President, to an hour.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
4 Ms. Nikolic, you had not indicated any cross-examination?
5 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours, we will not
6 cross-examine the witness.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Lazarevic?
8 MR. LAZAREVIC: We will have no cross-examination for this
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, thank you.
11 Ms. Fauveau.
12 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] No, Mr. President.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. And Mr. Josse.
14 THE INTERPRETER: One hour, Mr. President.
15 MR. JOSSE: I'll stick to the 75 minutes I previously estimated.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: And Mr. Haynes, no cross-examination?
17 MR. HAYNES: No, thank you.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Have you come to any agreement as to who will go
20 Mr. Josse.
21 MR. JOSSE: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Josse:
23 Q. Mr. Joseph, we, this part of the Court represent General Gvero,
24 and I'm going to ask you a few questions. You used the word, twice, I
25 think, in your final answer there, "impression." Would you say the
1 evidence you have just given is impressionistic rather than a factual
2 recollection of events, particularly bearing in mind the passage of time?
3 A. Sir, are you asking -- just to clarify so I can answer your
4 question in the best possible way, are you asking me to characterise my
5 entire testimony or just this last conversation?
6 Q. Your entire testimony is what I'm referring to.
7 A. No, sir, I would not characterise my entire testimony as
9 Q. It's beyond dispute that you are recalling events that took place
10 over 12 years ago. You haven't used a note. Is that deliberate, or have
11 you been instructed not to use a note, or did you not make any notes?
12 Help us in that regard, please.
13 A. I made no -- as best I can remember, I didn't keep a journal at
14 the time, and I'm relying on my memory and from the proofing that I've
15 done and these UN memoranda.
16 Q. And it's right to say that there are several other memoranda
17 written primarily by Mr. Harland. They make reference, in part, to things
18 that you told him, but they are, by no means, detailed documents so far as
19 what you told him is concerned. Would you agree with that?
20 A. They're not detailed?
21 Q. They don't detail -- they don't --
22 A. They -- the documents stand on their own, and I don't -- in some
23 respects, one might consider them detailed, and in other, you might not.
24 It would depend on the reader. I would say they are accurate. They are
25 accurate, contemporaneous recollections of communication that we had.
1 Q. When you arrived in Zepa for the first time, did you regard
2 yourself as an objective player in the events that you were about to
3 become involved in?
4 A. Yes, sir.
5 Q. Completely?
6 A. Yes, sir.
7 Q. And you, presumably, had picked up certain preconceptions and,
8 dare I say it, baggage over the three years that you had previously spent
9 in Bosnia, or is that an unfair comment?
10 A. What you would call baggage, I would call experience, and I'm
11 happy to discuss and provide more detail, as much as you wish. But in
12 terms of the dynamics, in terms of modus operandi, I would call it
14 Q. And, for example, did you think, yourself, "Well, here we go
15 again, I've experienced events like this in," for example, "Bihac"?
16 A. In terms of evacuations, I wouldn't have drawn Bihac. I had done
17 evacuations and been part of evacuations of Syrian students from Sarajevo
18 in 1992 and Croats from Krajina, in a Serb part of Croatia, in 1993. So
19 that was -- this mission was about an evacuation, and so that was my most
20 relevant comparison.
21 Q. And 12 years later, do you still regard yourself as an objective
22 observer of the events that you have described for the last few hours?
23 A. Of -- yes, I would -- this is how I would put it: I am objective
24 as I can be with respect to these events, and I would say as well that I'm
25 a human being. We have emotions and feelings as well. And I would say in
1 addition that I have had the rare -- possibly unique, but the rare
2 ability, as I mentioned at the outset when I was asked about my
3 background, to have worked in every single facet of a conflict of the
4 former Yugoslavia, except for the Slovenian-Serb conflict, which was only
5 ten days, but every single conflict, so I would see similarities and
6 differences from the Croat-Serb theatre, the internal conflict between
7 Muslims in Bihac, and the Croat-Bosniak fighting in Mostar, and I drew
8 tremendous experience. And through this, though, whatever my feelings and
9 impressions and experience, I think I was, and am able, to have analytical
11 Q. Turning specifically to your role in Zepa, you have just told us
12 that your primary role was to organise an evacuation; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, sir.
14 Q. And what, if anything, had Mr. Harland, who as I understand it was
15 your boss, told you to achieve in that regard?
16 A. David was, in fact, not our boss. We were -- David was at the
17 sector level, as I recall then, in Sarajevo, so he had sector-area
18 responsibilities, as I recall. And the direct boss was John Ryan, who was
19 at the head. We were -- I was not part of -- under David's team there,
20 although David was doing the main reporting on the issue, especially
21 because the Sector Sarajevo Detachment of the French was involved as well,
22 and David was a primary person to do reporting there. So that's internal
23 chain of command. I'm not sure if I've answered your question, sir.
24 Q. The real question, in fact, was: What, if anything, had you been
25 told by your superiors to achieve?
1 A. As I recall, we were told to -- there were very few instructions,
2 specific ones, that I can recall at this point. What we understood our
3 role was to establish ourselves there. In fact, one of the reasons we
4 were sent, Viktor and I, was because of our experience, and I think the
5 presumption was we knew what we would have to do; establish our liaison,
6 first of all, with the Serb military, do likewise with the armija and
7 civilian representatives, establish and liaise with the UNPROFOR military
8 assets that were there and that would come, likewise with any other
9 international organisations. I don't recall specific instructions other
10 than there would be this evacuation and we were meant to coordinate it.
11 There may have been something specific, but nothing that I can recall at
12 this time.
13 Q. Was it a coincidence that Viktor was a Ukrainian and presumably
14 could communicate easily with the Ukrainian troops that were there?
15 A. I'm not sure that that was deliberate or not. In any event, it
16 was useful to have him there in that capacity, I think. But whether he
17 was specifically sent, it's quite possible that that might have figured in
18 the reasoning. But Viktor, like myself, had been there since 1992 and had
19 tremendous experience.
20 Q. To what extent were you aware of the specific problems that had
21 been occurring over quite a long period of time in the enclave? And by
22 that, I mean that it was not properly, and arguably at all, demilitarised.
23 A. To what extent were we aware it was not demilitarised?
24 Q. Yes.
25 A. We knew that there was fighting, and, yes, we knew that the armija
1 had weapons. We were aware of that because at one point we even proposed
2 demilitarisation, so, yes, I think that that was clear to us, that the
3 armija had weapons.
4 Q. And that there had been ongoing attacks from within the enclave to
5 outside Serb targets; were you aware of that?
6 A. No, sir. What do you mean by "ongoing attacks," do you mean prior
7 to --
8 Q. Yes, I mean prior.
9 A. Well, that, I don't know. That, I can't speak to that, that part
10 of the history, I can't speak to. You have to understand, my involvement,
11 and in fact much of the UNPROFOR involvement began after the events in
12 Srebrenica just prior, the 11th of July, et cetera, so this is when Zepa
13 became of -- a focus. So what had transpired prior to that, I can't
14 really provide much -- shed much light on that, sir.
15 Q. Let me put it slightly differently, and I hope I can be excused
16 for using a slight shorthand. Were you aware, in the first six to seven
17 months of 1995, of why Srebrenica was such a sore to the VRS?
18 A. Srebrenica, yes, because -- but not Zepa. Srebrenica, yes,
19 because I was first deployed back -- I had been in Sarajevo in 1992, then
20 to Knin, and then moved back to Sarajevo and Kiseljak back in the spring
21 of 1993, right after General Morillon's famous visit, et cetera, when it
22 first became -- when the safe area resolutions, et cetera, became first
23 involved, and I was aware of sort of the issue of demilitarisation, yes,
24 sir, in Srebrenica.
25 Q. But you had no similar knowledge in relation to Zepa?
1 A. No, I did not. No, sir, I'm afraid --
2 Q. I don't want to spend too long on this, but in terms of briefings
3 to learn about the area that you were about to become involved in, what
4 were the United Nations able to offer you, if anything?
5 A. You know, I think we had sit-reps and had some briefings, but, you
6 know, we had very little presence there, other than this Ukrainian
7 contingent that was there. We had no Civil Affairs presence there,
8 although, as I recall, we had requested for the Serbs to let us have Civil
9 Affairs presence throughout these areas and had only managed -- I think
10 there had been agreement in Gorazde, there had been intermittent Civil
11 Affairs presence in Gorazde. So I think we had relatively limited
12 briefing about the actual situation there.
13 Q. Now, you have been at pains to point out that as far as you could
14 judge, OP2 had been taken over by the Serbs; that's right, isn't it?
15 That's your evidence, anyway?
16 A. I don't know if I've been at pains, but it was my clear
17 impression. That was our clear impression.
18 Q. Prior to your arrival at or in the enclave, were you aware of
19 difficulties that the Ukrainian Battalion had faced at the hands of the
20 Bosniak soldiers?
21 A. Sir, as I mentioned in my testimony, we had reports that they had
22 had threats and possibly even been shot at from the Bosniak side, as I
23 make clear in my testimony. This was denied by the Bosniak side, but, to
24 answer your question, the answer is, yes, and I so testified.
25 Q. Well, I'm going to suggest that it really goes rather further than
2 Could we bring up on the screen 6D132, please.
3 I'm going to ask you to categorise -- characterise this document.
4 I'm not sure if one would call it a sit-rep. It's clearly
5 says, "UNPROFOR" at the top. It's dated the 17th of July, it's from
6 Ukrainian Battalion 1/Sarajevo to another Sarajevo group.
7 Would you call this a sit-rep?
8 A. Yes, they're using sync-rep, but I take that to mean the same.
9 Q. Let's have a look at the body of it, please. We see it's at 2100
10 hours of that day. It says:
11 "According to the information received from Brit-Bat through VSAT
12 phone call in the night from 15 to 16 of July 1995, the Bosnians took us
13 hostage, UKRCOY, Lieutenant-Colonel Batalin, and demanded to give them up
14 all weapons, equipment and ammunition, otherwise threatening to kill
15 UKRCOY company. In an hour when negotiations failed, 60 men from special
16 forces and 100 from regular troops penetrated to UKRCOY enclose and
17 confiscated all weapons, military equipment, vehicles, ammo and medicine.
18 BiH side supported their actions with fire at UKRCOY compound. Only four
19 vehicles left." It then describes what those vehicles are. " Due to the
20 low quality of water and absence of food broke out dysentry. Three men
21 are sick. BiH side threatened displacing Ukrainians as a human shield
22 against BSA attack on their positions."
23 And if we turn to the next page, please, it says, "The List of
24 Captured Vehicles." I'm not going to read it out, but it speaks for
1 And if we turn two pages on, it says, "The List of Captured
2 Weapons" and is very specific as to exactly what was captured.
3 Did you know anything about this?
4 A. Sir, I can't recall this specific sit-rep. I recall that there
5 had been, as I said -- testified earlier, that there had been this
6 allegation that they had been threatened and had possibly been attacked.
7 But, no, the answer is, no, I don't recall this specific sit-rep and
9 Q. When you arrived there on the 20th of July, you didn't, in fact,
10 have any dealings with Ukrainian soldiers on that day; is that correct?
11 A. Sorry, you're referring to the first time or the second time?
12 Q. The first time, deliberately.
13 A. The first time, yeah, there were probably Ukrainian soldiers at
14 that OP2 compound, but they were not terribly relevant to our purpose. We
15 might have said hello to them, so the answer is we might have well had
16 some contact with them, but we didn't -- and they didn't seek us out
17 especially, and obviously Viktor was there as a former Ukrainian military
18 and could speak to them in Ukrainian and assess their situation, but that
19 was neither Viktor's preoccupation nor, seemingly, their preoccupation,
20 nor mine.
21 Q. And this didn't get back to you -- let me ask you another question
22 first. You had not been briefed to ask them, the Ukrainian troops, about
23 what's contained within this rather startling report?
24 A. This wasn't the focus, but I think that it may well have been --
25 this issue, we were certainly aware of, and as I said, I had a former
1 Ukrainian colonel who had served there with me who can easily detect far
2 better than I -- can communicate with his former comrades and assess their
3 determination. But I can tell you, I recall no sense of desperation on
4 their part upon seeing us.
5 Q. Well, that was really my second question. I'll come to that in a
6 moment. My first question is: This is presumably a genuine report. This
7 genuine report, presumably, had got through to the people who had sent you
8 on this mission. Am I right to find it remarkable that the information
9 contained within this report hadn't gone to you, the man who was about to
10 go into the enclave, so that you knew exactly what was going on?
11 A. I think you're quite right to focus on this, and I think it's
12 entirely fair to ask this. To put it into context, let's remember my
13 title, "Civil Affairs Officer," so I'm not there to specifically look
14 after the needs of the military side. It wasn't my role, nor Viktor's,
15 although he happened to be Ukrainian and a former officer, former colonel
16 in the Ukrainian army, it was not our role as such, it was not our primary
17 mission. But I take your point, and it's quite significant information
18 and worthy of attention.
19 Q. And my second question, which to some extent you've answered, is:
20 You have no recollection, at any time whilst you were in the enclave, of
21 the Ukrainians complaining about the matters contained within this report?
22 A. To the best of my recollection, I can recall no such -- I'm
23 struggling here to my memory, but we were billeted with them down there.
24 Obviously, I would have deferred all of this to Viktor because he's the
25 Ukrainian in the former military, but I can recall neither Viktor or them
1 conveying this to us, to the absolute best of my recollection.
2 Q. And your recollection, when you were billeted with the Ukrainian
3 troops, is that they did have fire-arms, presumably.
4 A. As far as I recall, they -- they had -- I think they had their
5 weapons, as I recall. I can't remember that specifically, but they were
6 not -- it's hard for me to recall their state of military equipment,
7 but -- at that time.
8 Q. I'll just play you a little bit of the video that we have just
9 seen, which was the very first point in which we saw OP2 and its entrance.
10 It's at approximately -- excuse me. It's at approximately 11.35
11 of the video.
12 [Videotape played]
13 MR. JOSSE: It may be that I'm looking at a different video. I'm
14 going to leave this, I'm going to leave this. It is not of sufficient
15 importance. I'm going to move on to another subject and perhaps come back
16 to that.
17 Q. I want to ask you about the negotiations that were being carried
18 out locally and which you were, to some extent, party to.
19 You have explained that those negotiations were primarily
20 conducted by the civilian representatives of the Bosniak population, and
21 indeed we can see that in the video clip we saw earlier. We saw
22 Mr. Torlak there and a man who I think is called -- a man you couldn't
23 recognise. I think he's called Mr. Kudovac [phoen], a local doctor. And
24 you've explained that you found it slightly problematical that these local
25 civilian leaders were involved in the negotiations and not the military
1 leaders; is that right?
2 A. Let me clarify. Colonel Palic was involved in discussions with
3 the Serbs, and so it was not exclusively that there were only civilians
4 who were in contact with the Serb military. Colonel Palic also had his
6 Q. The issue was this question of surrender and whether these
7 individuals were competent to effect a surrender. That's what was the --
8 that one aspect of it that came up.
9 Q. And did you have an opportunity to discuss matters in a private
10 setting with Mr. Torlak as to what he was trying to achieve?
11 A. I probably had an opportunity, but I'm not sure that we had that
12 conversation, to be honest with you. We were -- by the time I saw Torlak
13 and had that dinner where I think he was, that wasn't the issue. We were
14 all simply focused on getting these women out safely. That was our
15 primary preoccupation. After that, I don't recall many separate
16 conversations, if any, with him.
17 Q. Now, I am going to accept that that was Torlak's initial concern,
18 to get the civilian population evacuated, but thereafter he engaged in a
19 deliberate tactic of trying to stall the Serbs so as to enable the
20 military men to make good an escape, didn't he?
21 A. On what basis am I supposed to know that?
22 Q. Well, he may have told you. You may have gathered that from the
24 A. I'm telling you here, speaking under oath, I don't recall any
25 conversation with a man that I can remember about his tactics, his
1 motives. That, I honestly, genuinely don't recall that thing. Whatever --
2 whatever he had in his mind and whatever his motives were for whatever he
3 said, I'm at pains here -- at quite some difficulty to convey that to you.
4 Q. Let me ask you one other related subject.
5 You, as you've told us, went to Zepa basically for a day on the
6 20th of July. You then left and went back to Sarajevo. You then returned
7 on about the 26th of July. In those six days, were you party to any
8 discussions with high-level Bosniak leadership in Sarajevo?
9 A. I believe that I had a meeting with Muratovic.
10 Q. And documents would indicate, I think I can put it like this, that
11 Muratovic was heavily involved in this particular sequence of events. Did
12 you discuss with Muratovic what you had seen in Zepa?
13 A. I tell you, the -- I don't really recall what the discussion is. I
14 know I saw it on some of the documents about the proofing. But I think
15 the general aspect of the conversation was more about the prisoner
16 exchange position. But whether I said something about what I'd seen at
17 OP2, I hadn't gotten into Zepa. I don't know if I conveyed something to
18 him or not about what I'd seen at OP2.
19 Q. And did you discuss with him this concern about the local Bosniak
20 leadership trying to negotiate a deal which, apart from anything else,
21 they probably couldn't deliver on?
22 A. No, no, and I don't recall and don't believe that I would have
23 raised that. I don't know that I was even aware of that at that time. It
24 didn't come up, and it didn't really impress me as an issue until that
25 meeting where General Smith was there, and then I became more involved and
1 aware of what the essence of these conversations were. I don't believe
2 that I discussed that with Muratovic then.
3 Q. The next thing I want to ask you about is your knowledge and
4 awareness of the fighting that was going on in and around Zepa. I want to
5 suggest to you that at various times there was a fierce battle going on
6 between Serb troops, on the one hand, and Colonel Palic's troops, on the
7 other. Were you aware of that?
8 A. I was not aware of the extent of the fighting, but the fact that
9 there would be engagements is -- I think we understood that there might
10 well have been engagements.
11 Q. You became aware that the men had fled to the hills?
12 A. Yes, sir.
13 Q. And on the 20th of July, you've described hearing some military
14 activity or seeing some military activity on the part of the Serbs. Do
15 you have any idea, at that point in time, where Colonel Palic's brigade
17 A. No, I do not, and nor do I know what they were doing.
18 Q. When you returned on the 26th and 27th, a similar question?
19 A. When I returned, yes, we saw Colonel Palic there. We saw him in
20 the town. His unit, his soldiers, we did not see, except for the wounded,
21 the ones both seriously and lightly. No, I had no meetings and never went
22 up for any meeting with them in the hills or to see their condition, no, I
24 Q. It's a subject I'll return to in a few moments with the aid of
25 some documents. But before I do that, you were asked by Mr. Thayer about
1 Colonel Palic and your assessment of him and how he handled the situation.
2 You were there when he was seized. Did you at that time feel guilty
3 about witnessing those events and allowing him to be seized?
4 A. No, I don't -- I don't know, I wouldn't use the word "guilty," but
5 I think we felt a sense of responsibility that here, look, this is
6 UNPROFOR compound, this is -- the UN is participating in this evacuation,
7 here's a guy who is an interlocutor in these events and then he's being
8 seized, and so, yes, I think I would say I felt a sense of responsibility,
9 and I would add I still do.
10 Q. And is that personal responsibility or responsibility on behalf of
11 the United Nations?
12 A. I would say both.
13 Q. And how does that responsibility manifest itself, if at all?
14 A. What do you mean?
15 Q. Well, you say you feel a sense of responsibility. Have you done
16 anything about it?
17 A. Yes. I have -- since that time, I have tried to engage officials
18 in the international community to make themselves aware that there is
19 inherent UN responsibility in this, that this guy was seized from a UN
20 compound, in a UN-declared safe area during a UN-effected or cooperated
21 operation, and I have met with Palic's wife, Esma, and I have worked to
22 get her meetings with senior officials in the international community,
23 including the High Representative.
24 Q. You have described to the Trial Chamber your conversations with a
25 number of the Bosniak women prior to their evacuation, and your attempts
1 to find out if they -- to gauge whether they actually wanted to depart or
3 To what extent had you sought permission from the Serbs to have
4 those conversations?
5 A. Why would I need permission from the Serbs to have such a
7 Q. That's not -- the question is: To what extent did you seek a
8 permission? I'm expressing no view as to whether you should or shouldn't
9 have done so. It's a question.
10 A. The answer is negative, and I would infer no objection on the part
11 of the Serbs to -- to such a thing whatsoever. We were -- our role, we
12 were liaising with them, we were talking to them, from Mladic on down,
13 about how we were going to effect all this. I don't recall why I would
14 need to consult with them on that issue.
15 Q. A small related point. The video clip that we saw of the women as
16 they get into the buses, there are a number of men intermingled with the
17 women. That's older men, is it?
18 A. Negative, negative. What I would recall, that those would have
19 been the lightly-wounded -- it's possible -- I can't exclude the
20 possibility that there might have been an older -- well over military-aged
21 men in there, but that's less likely. What's more likely is in that
22 footage you have, these lightly wounded, who were themselves desperate to
23 get out and wanted out with this -- with this bus which they presumed to
24 be safe and a safer destiny than to stay with their comrades in the hills.
25 MR. JOSSE: Is that a convenient moment, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly, Mr. Josse.
2 We'll have a 25-minute break.
3 --- Recess taken at 12.28 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 1.02 p.m.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Fauveau.
6 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I would just like to
7 correct a mistake in the transcript. When you asked me how much time I
8 would need for my cross-examination, I said, "An hour," not that I would
9 not be cross-examining at all. So just to repeat, I will need an hour.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you, Madam Fauveau. I followed you in
11 French, so I never bothered to check the transcript. So I did distinctly
12 hear that you had cut down your request to one hour.
14 MR. JOSSE: My estimate was mistranscribed as well, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: You said 75 minutes.
16 MR. JOSSE: Precisely.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Please go ahead.
18 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
19 Q. Mr. Joseph, let me just ask you about your conversation with Mr.
20 Muratovic. Did he make it clear that he was running the Zepa negotiation?
21 A. It was clear he had a significant role in -- in how -- in terms of
22 determining their position, the Muslim position, absolutely. But whether
23 that was confined to the prisoner issue only, I'm not sure, but it was
24 clear to me he had, yeah, quite a significant position in determining what
25 their position would be.
1 Q. And were you aware of his line of contact with even Mr. Torlak or
2 with Mr. Palic?
3 A. No.
4 MR. JOSSE: I want to show you a video clip, if we may, please.
5 This, we think, is on the 27th of July. The clip I'm about to show you
6 has some -- have you got anything on your screen?
7 [Videotape played]
8 MR. JOSSE: Stop it there, please.
9 Q. That's a Red Cross vehicle, isn't it?
10 A. Yes, sir. If you could tell me the date you said.
11 Q. We think this is the 27th of July. We base that on the fact that
12 this is part of a news clip. Give me one moment.
13 I understand that -- do you read this Cyrillic?
14 A. Okay, "isti dan".
15 Q. Am I right in saying that what that is saying is that on the same
16 day at about "5.00 p.m."?
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. This is part of a news clip, and the news reader has above her the
19 date the 27th of July. That's why we're assuming it's that day, but I
20 can't promise you that.
21 A. I understand.
22 Q. Can you help us about that vehicle? Perhaps you'd like it in a
23 bit more context, the clip.
24 A. If you can show me more of the clip, that might be helpful.
25 [Videotape played]
1 MR. JOSSE: Yes, please stop it.
2 Q. You've also got the advantage of, presumably, understanding what's
3 being said there.
4 A. I couldn't hear, sort of muffled, but he's talking about the
5 evacuation of the wounded. If I understood, he said "ucerk" [phoen], so it
6 would have been the day prior, if I'm correct.
7 Q. So what was the Red Cross vehicle doing there, as far as you're
9 A. As far as I know, they were there as part of that evacuation of
10 the wounded. However, that was at OP2, and we might have been down at --
11 in the town, so perhaps they had come back to OP2 and we were not aware of
13 Q. Explain that, sir. I don't follow.
14 A. It's not necessary that ICRC would report to us all of their
15 movements. My clear recollection was that their role in this evacuation
16 was confined to the evacuation of the wounded, and they were present when
17 this selection was made with a Serb military doctor and an UNPROFOR
18 doctor. And I understood it -- my recollection is that there was ICRC
19 present during that.
20 Remember, most of our time was spent in that center of town. OP2,
21 where that appears to be, and there's an ICRC vehicle. Maybe they came
22 back, maybe they were present. I can't exclude the possibility that they
23 may have been present. My recollection was that their role was confined
24 to that wounded evacuation, but they might have been around because
25 possibly they were anticipating that there might be a movement of the
1 military men, which of course they would be very likely engaged with.
2 Q. Okay, yes, that's enough on that clip. Thank you very much.
3 What I'd like to ask you now is: on the 20th of July, what time
4 did you leave Zepa?
5 A. Again, it's very hard to ask for precision about dates, let alone
6 times, so far after the fact. My -- we would have arrived late in the
7 afternoon, because we had gone through all these check-points, Rogatica,
8 et cetera, so we would have arrived late -- in the -- already in the
9 afternoon sometime, and we would have spent this time with General Mladic
10 and -- et cetera. So it would have been rather late in the day, but it
11 was certainly not nightfall when we left on the 20th.
12 Q. And, again, can you help us, in July, when it gets -- when
13 nightfall -- dusk, what time is dusk in Bosnia in July?
14 A. It would be -- it's hard for me to say, but I don't know if it's
15 8.00 or later. It could be even later. I think it might well even be
16 8.30 or so at night, something like that.
17 MR. JOSSE: Could we have a look at 6D133, please. This is a
18 similar UNPROFOR document to the one we looked at before. It's dated the
19 20th of July. The time might be important on some of these.
20 If we look at the bottom left-hand corner of the box there, it
21 says: "ACC CLK:1930". Can you help with that abbreviation?
22 A. Say again, sir, where do you want me to help?
23 Q. Bottom left of the box. The large box, that we see, it's got
24 handwritten: "Time, 1930".
25 A. Honestly, I don't know what that means, but it might well be a
1 received time. I don't know. This was -- this was their military -- we
2 didn't use this same abbreviations.
3 Q. And then we see: "Alpha" --
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. "20."
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. That's 1900B July '95, so that refers --
8 A. Sure.
9 Q. -- the message being sent at 1900 hours, correct?
10 A. That's the standard date time: 20, 1900 hours, bravo July '95.
11 Q. "DMZ Zepa," can you help us with that?
12 A. The presumed -- what was meant to have been, demilitarised zone,
13 Zepa, presumed, I guess location where this thing, this message was
15 Q. And the message is, "the fighting between BSA and ABIH with using
16 SA and mortars begun."
17 A. Yes, "SA" being small arms.
18 Q. Thank you. Could this be the military action that you saw on that
20 A. That is -- it could well be.
21 Q. Let's go straight to 6D91, please. This appears to be 50 minutes
22 later. We go down, I'll read this slowly. I've been told I was reading a
23 bit too fast before. I apologise:
24 "Three mortar rounds directly targeted the barrack of UKRCOY.
25 Numerous explosions registered in the UKRCOY enclose. Also UKRCOY camp
1 has been hit with SA and HMG, origin of fire is ABiH."
2 So, again, it appears that the fighting is really getting going at
3 that particular point in time?
4 A. Yes, sir. If you want me to help you with any of the initials, I
5 can. "COY" is "Company" and "HMG" is "heavy machine-gun."
6 Q. Thank you. And do you have any recollection of having any
7 discussion, either that day or six days later, with the Ukrainians about
8 the fact that their enclosure was coming under attack from Bosniak
10 A. The answer to that is, no, I do not recall any such conversation,
11 and nor do I recall any communication from Viktor Bezruchenko, who was
12 Ukrainian and former military, about that. That's my best recollection. I
13 simply don't recall any communication with respect to that.
14 Q. Well, let's see how it develops. 6D92, this appears to be at 2026
15 the same day, and again I'll read it:
16 "ABiH is firing at UKRCOY camp with HMGs. Bosnian soldiers had
17 thrown several grenades into the UKRCOY enclose. Ukrainian personnel took
18 its defensive positions, but didn't respond yet. Situation is extremely
20 And, again, you've no recollection of the fact that this happened
21 filtering back to you either that day or subsequently?
22 A. No, sir.
23 Q. And, help us, failure on the part of the United Nations? Or it
24 wasn't important to you, or time lapse, memory gone? Help us as to what
25 you think the reason you can't remember this is.
1 A. It's an entirely fair question, and all I can tell you is I don't
2 recall, and I don't -- I just simply don't recall this, this aspect of it.
3 And I should add it doesn't mean we didn't have some conversation about
4 this. It's 2007. These events were in 1995. There's certain events that
5 stand out vividly and there are others that are muddled.
6 Q. Do you recall meeting Colonel Palic on the 20th of July?
7 A. No. I recall not meeting him on the 20th.
8 Q. That's of some relevance to the next document, which is 6D87.
9 This is 2000 hours, same day.
10 "The commander of Bosnian 'BD'" - presumably "brigade" - "in Zepa,
11 Avdo Palic, announced that if the helicopter with representatives of BHC
12 FWD --" could the document be made more legible? Thank you very
13 much. "UKRBAT-1, UNHCR, UNMOs doesn't arrive to Zepa by 210800B95,
14 Bosnians will kill Ukrainians."
15 First of all, the abbreviations, "BHC forward"?
16 A. Bosnia-Herzegovina Command Forward, that's the UNPROFOR
17 headquarters at Kiseljak.
18 Q. The next question: Were you at any stage aware that Colonel Palic
19 had made a threat of this sort?
20 A. We were aware because -- of this threat because it had been in
21 discussions, and we had raised this with -- I don't know whether it was
22 myself, but it had been raised, and as I saw in these memoranda that had
23 been written, these reports, it had been raised with Silajdzic, who then
24 denied it, said it wasn't so. But, yeah, I was generally aware that there
25 was this threat. At some point, this was made aware to me. Whether the
1 actual -- I don't recall actually the sit-reps of the specificity of what
2 the Ukrainians were reporting at that time. I don't recall that.
3 Q. Tell me if this is unfair. In your evidence-in-chief, you gave
4 the impression that you took the view that this allegation about Palic's
5 behaviour was a counter-allegation made by the Serbs in order to try and
6 hide allegations being made against them. What this illustrates is that
7 this allegation was actually coming from the Ukrainian Battalion,
8 themselves. Quite different, isn't it?
9 A. I don't know if I -- I wasn't trying to characterise one way or
10 another the allegations, simply to say that we were aware of it and that
11 the fact was we were told from the Bosnian side that they denied this
12 having happened. What the truth was, I don't know, and I don't know
13 necessarily that these documents are the final word on that, sir.
14 Q. Help us as to why these documents are not the final word.
15 A. I don't know that -- necessarily that they -- that these reports
16 convey with 100 per cent accuracy what was going on.
17 Q. But so we're all clear, there is no question these reports are
18 coming from UNPROFOR troops?
19 A. That part is correct.
20 Q. These reports are not coming from Serb propagandists, are they?
21 A. And nor Serb military, correct, that notwithstanding.
22 Q. I, of course, accept, because it's written on this piece of paper,
23 it doesn't prove, peradventure, that it's true. Is that what you're
24 saying or are you saying more than that?
25 A. I'm saying even at the time, the absolute accuracy of the origin
1 of the fire and of these reports, I don't know. That's what I'm saying.
2 That's all I can say. I don't know that it is 100 per cent dispositive.
3 If that was actually the event, I think one would have to delve into it
4 further, and I'm certainly not in a position to, with my own awareness, to
5 say it happened that way or it didn't happen that way.
6 Q. When you went back to organise the evacuation, did it matter at
7 all the way the Ukrainians -- the UNPROFOR troops had been treated by
8 either of the warring parties? Did it matter to your job, in your role?
9 A. As remarkable as it may seem to you, sir, it was not our primary
10 preoccupation, nor was it made so by anything that I can recall, myself,
11 in encounters with Ukrainian soldiers with whom we were billeted. I just
12 don't recall that. One might well expect, after being engaged, I think
13 one of their reports said, by heavy machine-gun fire, if you've ever been
14 under heavy machine-gun fire, it gets your attention and you don't forget
15 about it, I simply do not recall that aspect being part of our discussion,
16 nor do I -- obviously, again I would have depended on Viktor to be the
17 primary source for me to pull this from them, but I just don't recall that
18 that was a mission focus of ours, and nor did the Ukrainian soldiers there
19 make it one of ours, as far as I can recall. I cannot exclude the
20 possibility that there was some conversation about this, but it's
21 simply -- it's not to my recollection.
22 Q. One other question on this document. And, by all means, have a
23 look at it again. What do you understand this document is purportedly
24 saying that Avdo Palic wants?
25 A. It's purporting to say -- it's rather clear. He's making a mortal
1 threat against these UNPROFOR troops. That's what it's conveying.
2 Q. But what does he want? What is it that he's asking to happen in
3 order for him not to go around murdering Ukrainian soldiers?
4 A. He's -- according to this document, it's conveying that he wants
5 this arrival of these representatives by a certain time, by the 21st, as
6 it says on its face.
7 Q. And were you aware that there was an issue as to whether these
8 representatives were going to go, they were being called for, that sort of
9 thing, because it might help us verify the truth of the document if we can
10 establish that you're aware that Palic wanted this to happen. Of course,
11 it goes some way to proving the truth of the contents.
12 A. My short answer to you is, no, I'm not aware of this. At the
13 time, though, it appears the document was generated on the 20th, we had
14 already been there. The representatives that he's seeking, most of us had
15 been there. We -- you had had a representative of UNHCR, you had had an
16 ICRC representative, and you had had us as UNPROFOR forward.
17 Q. In fairness, though, as you've already explained to us, a number
18 of these organisations were very, very reluctant to get involved, weren't
20 A. That, you'd have to speak to them as to their reluctance. The
21 fact of the matter is at that initial meeting, you had an UNHCR
22 representative and you had an ICRC representative there at that initial
23 encounter on the 20th. That is my best and clear recollection is they
24 were there the first time, but UNHCR did not come back the second time.
25 Q. But you've told us Palic, himself, wasn't there?
1 A. Yes, sir, that is correct.
2 Q. I'll move on. 6D135, please. This is a different type of
3 document. It's an UNPROFOR document, but it's a report from Mr. Harland
4 to Mr. Ryan. It's dated the 23rd of July, and I would like, if we may, to
5 turn to the second page, middle paragraph, because it deals with your
7 A. Sorry, the date of the document is ...
8 Q. The 23rd of July.
9 A. Thank you, sir.
10 Q. It reads as follows:
11 "Civil Affairs sent a team to Zepa on Thursday (20 July) meeting
12 with Generals Mladic and Tolimir, and speaking to the Bosnian commander,
13 Avdo Palic."
14 So stopping there, that is incorrect, isn't it?
15 A. I can tell you I do not recall meeting Palic on the 20th. That's
16 what I can tell you today, August 2007. I do not recall meeting Palic on
17 that day.
18 Q. Moving on:
19 "The team confirmed that Zepa was still in Bosnian hands and still
20 intent on resisting, at least until terms acceptable to Sarajevo were
22 Who told you that the Bosniaks were still intent on resisting if
23 you didn't speak to Mr. Palic?
24 A. It's possible that we inferred that from what the Serbs had told
25 us. It's possible that was also our own assessment. It's possible that
1 we inferred that from what the Serbs had told us in conversation with
2 Mladic about the situation, and it's possible, quite possible, that he
3 conveyed his own frustration with their refusal.
4 Q. I'll move on:
5 "They also learned that two civilian officials from Zepa (the
6 mayor and a young doctor)" - and stopping there, that's obviously
7 Mr. Torlak and also Mr. Kunavac [phoen] - "had met with General Mladic
8 some time the day before, discussing arrangements for surrender and
9 evacuation, but they were unable to confirm whether or not they had
10 accepted Mladic's surrender terms. General Tolimir told the Civil Affairs
11 team that the Serbs would accept an arrangement under which the Muslim
12 population in Zepa could remain, provided that they disarm."
13 Have you mentioned anything about that last paragraph to us
14 before, Mr. Joseph? That last sentence, I beg your pardon.
15 A. No.
16 Q. Why?
17 A. I wasn't asked about it, and, frankly, you know, I'm not -- I
18 don't recall everything about this until I'm told. And I will tell you,
19 though, as you surely would have seen from other documents, that myself
20 and David Harland had ourselves proposed a demilitarisation agreement for
21 Zepa, had ourselves, on our own initiative, in the interim period, and
22 that I had discussed this with General Tolimir myself, so yes, and I'm
23 quite happy to give you as much as I can recall about why we were pushing
24 for demilitarisation, why I would raise it with General Tolimir and anyone
25 else. I can't specifically tell you why -- I didn't mention this because
1 it didn't pop into my mind, and, frankly, I don't even really remember
3 Q. Isn't it because your evidence actually is far more
4 impressionistic than being an accurate recollection of these events from
5 12 years ago?
6 A. My -- again, you're asking a witness to characterise his own
7 testimony. I can only tell you -- I cannot going to characterise my own
8 testimony. I'm going to tell you, sir, that I'm conveying to you --
9 responding to your questions and those of the Prosecution, those of the
10 Court, as best I can, as I can 12 years after the fact. But I'm telling
11 you, if you would like to pursue the questioning about conversation with
12 General Tolimir specifically on the issue of demilitarisation, I'm happy
13 to give you that.
14 Q. And I accept that you advanced a proposal in that regard, and I've
15 seen that in documentation that has been made available to me. So I'm not
16 going to pursue it, and if it helps, I accept what you've said about that.
17 Just let's look down, please, at the same document. You've got it
19 "On Friday, the 21st of July, the Bosnians in the pocket
20 threatened to kill the Ukrainian soldiers in the main base if UNPROFOR did
21 not arrange a meeting between the local commander and the Serbs."
22 So we've got this assertion again?
23 A. Right.
24 Q. Presumably, your answer is the same as before; no recollection?
25 A. No, sir, that's not my -- that wouldn't be accurate. I had told
1 you that -- I had told you specifically that I was aware. David and I
2 were both aware of the fact that this threat had been made. We -- and you
3 will see that reported in one of David's reports, wherein he conveys as
4 well that Silajdzic denies it, et cetera. And I'm not putting any
5 judgement on the truth of Silajdzic's reply, either, but I'm telling you
6 it's not true that I wasn't aware. We were aware of some of these
7 threats, and these documents are making it clear, and so there was some
8 awareness on our part of the possible existence of these threats and the
9 fact that perhaps there was even these engagements.
10 Q. Yes, I think that was my fault. I apologise. Thank you for
11 making that clear.
12 Let's have a look, if we may, at 6D134.
13 This is an UNPROFOR report dated the 23rd of July. If we could
14 scroll down, please. It's 0800 hours to 0840 hours, and it says at 800
16 "Firefight erupted between BSA and BiH in the area of OP1. Both
17 sides engaged SA-MG mortars. ABiH fired with mortars from a firing point
18 located 500 metres close to the UKRCOY base at BSA positions in the
19 direction of OP1."
20 So clearly fighting going on at that time. The reason I've shown
21 you this document is whether you discussed with Muratovic the ongoing
23 A. I honestly don't recall. It's possible that we did, but I
24 honestly don't recall. And from the memoranda that I've seen, it seems
25 like the main subject of the meeting was prisoner exchange and dynamics, a
1 question about what would be possible, politically, in terms of the
2 disposition of the enclave. But I don't recall that. It doesn't mean
3 that we did not discuss that. We might well have left that for the
4 UNPROFOR military to take that issue up with the armija military, which
5 would have been the normal thing, but -- that would have been the normal
6 procedure, for those types of things to be done military to military, but
7 it's possible that it might have come up.
8 MR. JOSSE: I'd next like to move on to 6D29, which is a document
9 that the Trial Chamber have seen before. It's a memorandum from Mr. Ryan
10 to -- to Mr. Ryan from Mr. Harland, dated the 26th of July, as I've
11 said: "Situation in Zepa." Could we scroll down, please? Thank you.
12 Q. It says: "At 11.30 p.m. last night, Lieutenant-Colonel Baxter
13 gave the following assessment of the situation in Zepa, as it stood when
14 he left several hours previously."
15 At "ii":
16 "Bosnians, other than men of military age, were coming down from
17 their hamlets in their hills into the Serb-controlled villages and were
18 waiting to be moved by Serb buses to the confrontation line near Kladanj.
19 Many houses in the hills were burning, apparently torched by departing
21 Were you aware that civilians had been sent to the hills?
22 A. No, no, but it's -- if the town was being shelled, it would be
23 logical that they would have sought shelter in the hills. But specific
24 awareness of that, no.
25 Q. Were you aware of any torching policy by the departing Bosniaks?
1 A. No, and nor did I see that.
2 Q. "iii," it goes on:
3 "The Bosnian men of military age were still in the hills, and were
4 apparently awaiting assurances that they would be able to escape to join
5 their families."
6 And that is a position I think we can agree, that they were still
7 in the hills.
8 A. Presumably, yes.
9 Q. But, in fairness, this appears to be -- relate to a report of the
10 25th of July, even though it's dated the 26th, because it's the day
11 before, and you weren't there on that particular day, as you've told us;
13 A. Sorry, it refers to which date?
14 Q. It's dated the 26th of July, but it refers to the day before, when
15 you weren't there?
16 A. That is correct, and I think the best thing would be to speak to
17 Colonel Baxter. I can note his deliberate use of the word "apparently" in
18 "apparently torched," and suggesting that he, himself, wasn't sure about
19 that, and nor am I. I would just emphasise, nor am I.
20 Q. Could you have a look now at 6D136, please. This is a slightly
21 different type of document, so you may have to help us with what it is.
22 A. Right. This is the UNMO, those are the military observers, and
23 it's from their UNMO Sector Sarajevo.
24 Q. And if we move it to the second page, please. I'm not sure I've
25 said it's dated the 30th of July. The bottom of the page, it says:
1 "Update from Zepa. Four UNMOs remain in the Zepa pocket and have
2 maintained regular contact with UNMO HQ at Sarajevo."
3 Stopping there, on the 30th of July, were you still in the pocket?
4 A. I can't be sure of that date. We'd have to use some other means,
5 some other document that establishes my whereabouts. I can't be sure of
6 the date. It's possible I was still there on the 30th.
7 Q. I'm going to leave the next sentence. Moving on one:
8 "The team are currently located at OP2 and have been restricted to
9 this location since arrival in the pocket. Team stated that the French
10 delegation entered Zepa town today and have confirmed that UNMO
11 equipment ..."
12 Can we turn the page, please:
13 " ... Is still with the UKRCOY. Attempts will be made to extract
14 this equipment 31st July. Team reported hearing intensive shelling on
15 29th July (23 explosions, 8 HMG bursts and 4 to 6 outgoing mortar rounds)
16 but could not confirm firing points and impact areas. Team did not hear
17 any firing activity today."
18 The reason I'm showing this to you is it confirms, doesn't it, on
19 the 29th of July there was still quite intense fighting going on between
20 the Serb forces and the Bosniak counterparts?
21 A. I don't know that -- yeah, they're hearing intensive shelling, but
22 they're counting that, yeah. I don't know, 23 explosions, 8 heavy
23 machine-gun bursts and 4 to 6 mortar rounds, I don't know how much that
24 qualifies. I mean, Sarajevo would receive thousands of shells, so I'm not
25 sure what this -- you know, how to qualify it in terms of its intensity.
1 But, yes, it would appear, definitely, that there was fighting.
2 Q. And where this leads me is: Your awareness of fighting, when you
3 had returned there on the 26th of July and thereafter. You must have been
4 aware that these two armies were still engaged in a battle.
5 A. As I told you, we -- I recall as soon as the last bus had left,
6 that the Serbs had -- Serb army had overtaken our position and was fanning
7 out, and then we had the subsequent meeting with Colonel Kusic. I may
8 well have heard some of this engagement. There may well have been some
9 firing that we heard.
10 Q. I mean, you don't dispute that there was military activity after
11 the civilians had been evacuated --
12 A. No.
13 Q. -- on the 28th, 29th, 30th of July?
14 A. I believe that there was. I saw the evidence of the -- of this
15 movement, and presumably there quite well could have been. What was the
16 nature of the engagement, from which side did these things originate, or
17 was it even an exchange, that part I can't tell you, but, sure, the
18 possibility that there was fighting, absolutely, very possible.
19 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, I would say I've about 15 or so minutes
20 to go. There's one particular unrelated document I want to show the
21 witness. I certainly don't want to start with that today. I'd ask the
22 Court to rise now, if that's not inconvenient.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: We'll just do that, Mr. Josse, and we will continue
25 I'm sorry, Mr. Joseph. My anticipation was wrong. We still have
1 a few more cross-examinations to go, but I'm pretty sure we'll finish
3 THE WITNESS: Thank you, sir.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: So we stand adjourned until tomorrow morning at
6 Thank you so much.
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
8 to be reconvened on Friday, the 24th day of
9 August, at 9.00 a.m.