1 Monday, 3 September 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [Technical Difficulty]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.28 a.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: So, good morning, Madam Registrar, and good morning,
8 Could you kindly call the case, please.
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.
12 For the record, all the accused are here. Defence teams, full
13 house except for Mr. Haynes.
14 The Prosecution, it's Mr. McCloskey.
15 I understand you have a preliminary, Mr. McCloskey.
16 Before you do so, just for the record, we are starting with a
17 half-hour delay because there was a technical hitch, which was beyond our
18 control, and we had to wait until it was fixed.
19 Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
20 MR. McCLOSKEY: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. Could we go into private session briefly?
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly. Let's go into private session.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President --
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Wait, wait.
1 [Private session]
18 [Open session]
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, ma'am.
21 For the record, while we were in private session, we were
22 discussing the putting into place possible protective measures that have
23 been asked by the witness. We've heard both parties, and we have decided
24 to put an application of facial distortion only.
25 [The witness entered court]
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you, Mr. Simanic, and welcome to
2 this Tribunal. You are about to start giving evidence. There are a few
3 things I would explain to you; but, before you testify, you are required
4 to make a solemn declaration under our Rules that you will be testifying
5 the truth. That's the equivalent of an oath in some jurisdictions.
6 Please read it out aloud, and that will be your solemn undertaking
7 with us.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
9 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
10 WITNESS: MILE SIMANIC
11 [The witness answered through interpreter]
12 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you.
13 Please make yourself comfortable.
14 There are two reasons why you were kept waiting before coming into
15 the courtroom. One is we had a technical problem. We have fixed that.
16 The second is that Mr. McCloskey, for the Prosecution, has informed us
17 that during his proofing sessions with you, you expressed the desire to
18 have in place some protective measures. We have discussed that. We have
19 also heard the members of the Defence teams, and everyone is in agreement
20 that the only protective measure that we can grant you is to hide your
21 face from the public. We call that facial distortion. Basically, that
22 means that no one will be able to see your face from outside the four
23 walls of this courtroom.
24 I hope that puts you more at ease, satisfies you. I'd like to
25 know whether you're happy with this arrangement so that we can proceed.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm only partially happy; but if
2 that's all I can get, then ...
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. I can assure you that we would have
4 granted you more protective measures if we were satisfied that there was a
5 good cause shown for them, but there isn't, not according to our Rules.
6 You will now be asked some questions by Mr. McCloskey, and he will
7 then be followed by the various members of the Defence teams on
8 cross-examination. However, before we start with the questions, it is my
9 duty to alert you to a provision that we have in our Rules which protects
10 your right against self-incrimination. Let me explain, in simple words,
11 what I mean.
12 Our Rules provide that if a question is put to you which, if
13 answered truthfully by you, could expose you to any possible criminal
14 proceedings in the future, then you can address us, the four Judges here,
15 and ask us to exempt you from answering such questions. I'm not saying
16 that there will be such questions, but I cannot exclude them, either,
17 because I don't know what questions will be asked.
18 If any such questions are put to you and you ask for an exemption
19 from us answering that question or those questions, then we have two
20 options. We can either accept your plea and grant you an exemption, or we
21 can decide not to exempt you but rather to compel you to give a truthful
22 answer to such questions.
23 In such a case, if we compel you to answer such a question, there
24 is a further right that you enjoy; namely, that unless your testimony
25 amounts to false testimony, then whatever you say in answering such
1 questions cannot be used against you in any possible future proceedings
2 that could be taken against you.
3 Have I made myself clear to you? Have you understood the import
4 of my explanation?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe so. I'm not a lawyer, you
6 know, so I have been able to understand as much as I can, in my position.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you at least understand that you have a right to
8 ask us not to answer incriminatory questions, questions that, if answered
9 truthfully, could expose you to criminal proceedings? Have you understood
10 that, at least?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Then I think we can safely proceed.
13 Mr. McCloskey, he's all yours.
14 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Examination by Mr. McCloskey:
16 Q. Good morning, Mr. Simanic. Can you, first of all, tell us your
17 name for the record?
18 A. My name is Mile Simanic.
19 Q. And what year were you born?
20 A. I was born in 1956.
21 Q. And where did you grow up?
22 A. I grew up in Sekovici.
23 Q. And Bosnia-Herzegovina?
24 A. Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslavia.
25 Q. And what is your profession?
1 A. I am a construction engineer.
2 Q. And can you briefly outline your education leading to your
3 profession as a construction engineer?
4 A. Having completed the elementary school in Sekovici, I also
5 completed a secondary construction school in Tuzla, and I went to
6 university in Sarajevo, where I also graduated.
7 Q. And what degree did you graduate in from Sarajevo?
8 A. I obtained a degree in Engineering.
9 Q. And what year was that?
10 A. That was in 1981.
11 Q. And did you do your JNA service at some point?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And when was that and where?
14 A. In 1977 and 1978, in Tuzla and in Brcko.
15 Q. And, before the war broke out in 1991 and 1992, did you have a
16 chance to work in your profession as a construction engineer?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And can you just briefly tell us what work you were involved in
19 before the war broke out?
20 A. On the eve of the war, I worked in the Self-Governing Interest
21 Community of Vlasenica. The abbreviation is "SIZ."
22 Q. Were you involved in engineering projects, construction projects?
23 A. Well, my institution had its officials which were in charge of
24 supervising certain works and designing certain projects, and I was in
25 charge of all of that, and, finally, I was involved with the Assembly of
1 Self-Governing Interest Communities, which is very much like the
2 Association of Assemblies. People were appointed to these institutions,
3 and there were also clients who chose these institutions to perform
4 certain construction works for them.
5 Q. Just very briefly, can you give us an idea of the kind of work
6 projects and construction we're talking about here?
7 A. I worked on the construction of local roads within the
8 municipality, constructing various infrastructure in the municipality. To
9 a certain extent, I was also involved in residential construction; and in
10 some instances, when we had to change certain aspects of those designs, we
11 would also act as planners or designers. I was not the only person
12 involved in these projects. We worked in teams.
13 Q. Okay. Can you again now briefly outline your military
14 assignments, what units you were in when the war broke out? If you can
15 start from, let's say, the summer of 1992 and go onward.
16 A. Well, when I was mobilised, I was assigned to the Territorial
17 Defence of the Municipality of Vlasenica. We were headquartered at the
18 Panorama Hotel. We were assigned to some companies, and all these
19 companies differed.
20 In addition to that, the Army of Republika Srpska was established,
21 and the Territorial Defence remained in place until the end of that year.
22 After that, the Drina Corps was established, and then it was divided up
23 into units according to the corps requirements.
24 We were assigned to companies and battalions on the strength of
25 the Drina Corps.
1 Q. Okay. And let's just jump to 1995. Can you tell us what position
2 you held in the beginning of 1995?
3 A. I was the deputy of the Engineering Battalion of the Drina Corps.
4 Q. And can you tell us what the name of that Engineering Battalion
6 A. It was the 5th Engineering Battalion.
7 Q. And was your title "Deputy Commander" of that unit?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And who was your commander in 1995?
10 A. My commander in 1995 was Milenko Avramovic.
11 Q. And can you describe, just broadly during the year of 1995, what
12 sort of work were you involved in for the 5th Engineers?
13 A. Commander Avramovic and I divided all the jobs between ourselves.
14 I was in charge of the construction works for the army because that was my
15 field of expertise. I was well versed in all sorts of road construction
17 Commander Avramovic, on the other hand, was involved with other
18 tasks which were mostly of a military nature. I did not interfere with
19 those because I did not find myself versed in those matters, so I didn't
20 get involved in such duties.
21 Q. Well, we can understand what road building involves. What
22 military-type engineering projects are you referring to that Avramovic
23 would have concentrated on?
24 A. I'm mostly talking about minefields, laying mines and clearing
25 minefields; and the rest, I don't understand much about all that. That's
1 why I can't use the military terminology. I also didn't know much about
2 military administration that both him and higher units insisted on.
3 Q. In 1995, did you have a rank?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And what was that?
6 A. I started as captain first class, and then I was promoted to the
7 rank of major.
8 Q. And what was Commander Avramovic's rank?
9 A. He also started as captain first class, and he was also promoted
10 to the rank of major later on, but I don't know when.
11 Q. All right. Now, you say you were the deputy commander. What was
12 your position when Mr. Avramovic left the area of the Drina Corps or was
14 A. Conditionally speaking, I should have stood in for him, but our
15 unit, our battalion, was almost always deployed in various construction
16 sites, where they performed various construction tasks. Somebody had to
17 be in charge of all of that. So when he was absent, I primarily made sure
18 that all the construction sites were working properly.
19 As for the command part of his job, I did not find that very
20 important in Konjevic Polje. I spent most of the time at various
21 construction sites, where I made sure that the works followed the schedule
22 that were -- schedules that were required from us from our superior units.
23 Q. But did you take over command when he was absent?
24 A. Conditionally speaking, yes.
25 Q. What do you mean, "conditionally speaking"? I don't think command
1 is a conditional situation, as far as I know.
2 A. Well, what I'm saying is that when it comes to the military
3 administration, I didn't understand much about that, so that whenever
4 somebody told me how things should be done, how things should be written,
5 I just did that. I did not question things too much.
6 On the other hand, when I was in a construction site, I understood
7 the matter much better. I could issue orders, I could supervise things,
8 and I could stand by everything I did on a construction site.
9 Q. Okay. Now, let's go to July 1995, and can you tell us, for that
10 time period, a little bit about the structure of the 5th Engineers? First
11 of all, can you tell us about the personnel? How many people were in this
12 battalion, and how were they divided up in July 1995?
13 A. Well, I didn't know the exact number, so in a conversation with my
14 lawyer, I got the exact number. I believe that there were a total of 134
15 men in the battalion, out of whom 111 are foot soldiers and the remainder
16 were the so-called command staff.
17 We were deployed on various construction sites in Han Pogled above
18 Vlasenica. This is where we worked. We were involved in the construction
19 of the so-called passive light for the telephone network of Vlasenica. At
20 the time, Vlasenica was not connected to any of the other towns, so we had
21 to complete that part of the job in order to connect Vlasenica and put it
22 into the telephone network of Republika Srpska.
23 Our next job that I wasn't involved in, however, was works on Vis,
24 near Mount Kalesija. A larger group of engineers from the Engineering
25 Battalion worked there.
1 We also had a construction site in the Bisina Barracks near
2 Sekovici. We were involved in the barracks construction there.
3 We also worked in Crna Rijeka, near Han Pijesak, where the command
4 was, the army command. As far as I know, some prefabricated buildings
5 were being erected there to accommodate the army.
6 In Vlasenica, we also had a workshop, where we had people involved
7 in the repairs and maintenance of various buildings. We had our plumbers
8 and electricians there, who would be called to repair the appointments in
9 houses that had been damaged or to maintain the army buildings.
10 One part of our unit was in Konjevic Polje, in the rear, where
11 that part of the unit was based.
12 Q. What sort of building was the unit in, in Konjevic Polje?
13 A. In Konjevic Polje, we were billeted in several private houses that
14 were damaged. We repaired them and then we used them either to billet the
15 troops or to store the goods.
16 Q. Did you use a school near the intersection of Konjevic Polje?
17 A. We used just one part of the school. We used a classroom that we
18 converted into an office. We transformed the boiler house into our
19 kitchen, and we used this classroom, not as an office but as a dining
20 room. We changed the door so that the door led from the kitchen to the
21 dining room.
22 Q. Okay. I understand that you had many construction projects in the
23 area, but can you tell us where Avramovic's command office was? Where did
24 he command from, generally, when he wasn't in the field at the various
25 construction sites?
1 A. I was the one who was mostly spending time at construction sites.
2 As for Mr. Avramovic, he was in Konjevic Polje, where we had an office in
3 a building there. And when he wasn't in Konjevic Polje, as far as I was
4 told, I was told wherever the commander is, that's where the command post
6 The 5th Engineering Battalion did not have its area of
7 responsibility. It was only deployed there for the purpose of storing its
8 things. Our first command was in Vlasenica; then we were moved to Milici,
9 near the playground. There was not enough space there. There was not
10 enough storage space, and that's why we were further moved to Konjevic
12 Q. Were you in Konjevic Polje in July 1995, the offices and the
13 buildings you've just described?
14 A. Me?
15 Q. Your unit.
16 A. One part of the unit was in Konjevic Polje, indeed. The troops
17 who would return from leave, especially those who hailed from Zvornik and
18 the area around it, they would first report to Konjevic Polje and then
19 they would be dispatched to various construction sites.
20 Konjevic Polje was the place where the rear platoon was mostly
22 Q. When you were not at various construction sites, did you have an
23 office place where you did your business in July 1995?
24 A. When I was not at a construction site or when I was preparing for
25 some construction works, I stayed at Konjevic Polje to complete that part
1 of the job; and, from there, I would go and work at construction sites.
2 Q. Okay. Besides the Konjevic Polje facility and the repair shop
3 you've described in Vlasenica, did the 5th Engineers have any other office
4 space or facility somewhere else? And I'm talking about July 1995.
5 A. We did not have any other offices, as the one in Milici was closed
7 Q. Okay. Did you have any -- or describe what sort of construction
8 equipment the Engineering Battalion had in July 1995.
9 A. You mean all of our equipment and where it was?
10 Q. I don't need a complete inventory, but just the -- let's start
11 with the excavating machines, excavators, loaders, that sort of thing, if
12 you had any of those, and just tell us what you had and where they were.
13 A. It would be easier for me to just give you a breakdown of
14 machinery per construction sites; for example, we had a loader machine.
15 It was an older model, but it was still in good working order. It was in
16 Pribicevac, which is above Sase. We were building a road three kilometres
17 long, and this machine was commandeered by the Pribicevac Tactical Group,
18 and it was engaged on repairing that road.
19 There were also two smaller lorries, the so-called 13 lorries,
20 that worked alongside that loader. Also, we had a small bulldozer, TG110,
21 which was on Vis, working on the construction of an ancillary road and
22 protective barriers along that road. There was also a tractor there. It
23 had a small digging bucket in the back, and in front it had a small
24 loading bucket. It was there, and it was also at the Bisina Barracks.
25 Furthermore, we had four or five big boats with strong engines
1 which were not in a good state of repair. They called them barges, and we
2 also had three scaffolding sets.
3 Q. Okay. I think, as we hear the translation, when you're talking
4 about boats and scaffolding sets, are you talking about a military pontoon
5 bridge that would form a bridge across a river?
6 I'm getting a signal that he may not have got the translation.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, and I heard some comment coming from some of
8 the accused.
9 Do you have the same problem. You did not receive -- did you
10 receive interpretation of Mr. McCloskey's question?
11 They seem to have received it. Perhaps you could repeat your
12 question, kindly, Mr. McCloskey, please.
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: All right. I was --
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, one moment.
15 Madame Fauveau.
16 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the accused have not
17 received the interpretation, as a matter of fact.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I am sorry about that. I thought --
19 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] It seems to me that now it's
20 working, the interpretation.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Thank you.
22 Could you kindly repeat your question, Mr. McCloskey, please.
23 And thank you, Madame Fauveau, as well.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY:
25 Q. When you described boats and a scaffolding, were they associated
1 with your pontoon company and, pardon my B/C/S, but "pontonjerska ceta"?
2 A. Yes. This was the Pontoon Company equipment. But, again, when
3 you say "company," you have to take this term conditionally. When you say
4 "a company," you imply about 100 men, but we only had about 16 or 17
5 people who were working in that company and who were in charge of guarding
6 those tugboats or bridges, pontoon bridges places.
7 Q. Okay. Did you -- did your company operate a pontoon bridge across
8 the Drina in July 1995?
9 A. We did not have a pontoon bridge, as far as I know.
10 Q. Did you have a ferry crossing that the Pontoon Company looked
11 after somewhat?
12 A. We just called it a crossing. There was some elements and boats
13 and iron rope across the Drina.
14 Q. And where was that located, that we'd call it a ferry?
15 A. There were three places: Osamsko, Fakovici, and -- three places.
16 I believe that Petrica was the third.
17 Q. And did supplies come over from Serbia from those ferries in July
19 A. As far as I knew and as far as I was informed, there was no supply
20 through us.
21 Q. Was there a supply through someone else?
22 A. Possibly. I was not aware of it, and I was not informed of that.
23 Q. All right. We may ask about that a bit later.
24 Aside from the excavating machines you've mentioned, did your
25 battalion have the ability, either itself or through the corps, to
1 requisition other excavation or construction equipment for various
3 A. Well, the battalion never required other machines and never
4 applied for other machines, because if they would order us to carry out
5 certain works, then we would go to do some reconnaissance, see what kind
6 of works and what their scope was, and what the battalion was able to do.
7 If the battalion was unable to cope with something, then the corps had to
8 issue an order specifying in which way it would be done, whether the
9 machines of the 5th Engineering would be resubordinated to some other unit
10 or the task would be accomplished in some other way, whether they would
11 give our machines to whichever unit was going to actually perform the
13 That was how it was usually done. We would make our machines
14 available, and the corps would provide other machines and logistics. By
15 "logistics," I mean fuel, lubricants, and everything that is necessary to
16 carry out that task.
17 Q. All right. And besides yourself, who was an actual engineer, can
18 you tell us what Avramovic's professional position was in terms of his
19 professional qualifications as an engineer?
20 A. He was not an engineer. He had graduated from the military
21 academy, and I believe his branch was engineering, which is different from
22 a construction engineer, working in civil engineering with appropriate
23 degrees and diplomas.
24 Q. Aside from yourself, as a construction engineer, were there any
25 other qualified construction engineers on the 5th Engineering Battalion in
1 July 1995?
2 A. I don't think so.
3 Q. Okay. Now, let's go into some more particular dates in July, and
4 I now want to take you to that time period that you may remember when the
5 Srebrenica enclave fell or was liberated, depending on your position. Do
6 you remember that period of time when Srebrenica -- when General Mladic
7 marched through Srebrenica and Srebrenica became Serbian?
8 A. I cannot recall the exact dates, but we watched it on television
10 Q. Okay. We don't need to really worry about exact dates. I'll
11 mention some dates that will help us get oriented, but it's more the time
12 period that I'm concerned about, and I think we can go from there. But
13 just for your knowledge, and everyone will agree, that Mladic and others
14 went through Srebrenica for the first time on 11 July 1995.
15 So can you tell me where you were at that time? Where were you
16 watching television or where were you when Srebrenica fell?
17 A. If that was on the 11th, then my movements were approximately from
18 Konjevic Polje to Vlasenica, and I went to those places touring
19 construction sites that mostly concentrated around Vlasenica, and that is
20 why I spent most of my time in Vlasenica, because at that time I was also
21 involved in some other preparations for other construction sites that were
22 about to be opened, and they were related to Vlasenica.
23 We were supposed to build the road for the requirements of the
24 Vlasenica Brigade towards Kladanj to enable supply to units, and we also
25 had to prepare the ground for the building of transmission lines from
1 Vlasenica to Konjevic Polje, because Vlasenica at the time had no
3 Q. Do you know where your commander was on this day that Srebrenica
4 fell, 11 July?
5 A. Well, during those days, he was absent. His wife and daughter had
6 come to visit from Slovenia. I don't remember when he left, but we didn't
7 see each other immediately before he left. I was just told, notified,
8 that he would not be there for a while.
9 Q. And so who was in command of the 5th Engineering Battalion in the
10 absence of Major Avramovic?
11 A. Well, I just said a moment ago, conditionally speaking, it was me;
12 but when I was not in Konjevic Polje, there was a duty officer who was
13 perfectly able to deal with everything, just as the commander would have
15 Q. Was there a daily report requirement for the 5th Engineers to
16 report their activities to the Drina Corps?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Can you tell us a bit about that, what you were -- what the
19 requirements were? And we'll go over, as you know, one of those reports a
20 little bit later, but if you could tell us generally.
21 A. Well, the administrator, who was in Konjevic Polje, and the duty
22 officer knew where the units were deployed. That would be put in the
23 report, and I would sign that report in the absence of Avramovic.
24 Q. All right. Now, let's go to the time Srebrenica has fallen.
25 Mladic has gone through. You're in the area of Konjevic Polje, and you
1 say you're going to Vlasenica. Were you aware of any activity, any Muslim
2 movement, from the direction of the former enclave through the area of
3 Konjevic Polje, Milici, Gravica?
4 A. Well, officially speaking, we did not receive a single
5 notification of that in Konjevic Polje; but most of the information that
6 we were unable to verify even, we received from soldiers who were
7 returning from home leave. This was unverified information, but that was
8 all we had.
9 Q. But what information did you have?
10 A. Well, it's written in one of the reports that a large group of
11 enemy soldiers had been inserted and that they were in the broader area of
12 Konjevic Polje.
13 Q. So did you see any of these Muslim soldiers or civilians passing
14 through the area when you were there?
15 A. No, no.
16 Q. Where were you during this time period when there were reports
17 that Muslims were going through this area?
18 A. Well, I can't tell you exactly now whether I was in Konjevic Polje
19 or in Vlasenica, but nobody passed through the barracks or through the
20 immediate vicinity, so that we, or at least I, would be able to see them.
21 Q. What orders, if any, did you receive to defend your unit and your
22 area from Muslims passing through the area?
23 A. We did not receive any order to defend. It was our obligation,
24 our standing obligation, to defend our barracks, because there were mines
25 and explosives stored there. There was equipment and tools and personnel
1 that had to be protected.
2 Q. Who commanded the defence of your barracks during this time
3 period? And I'm talking about the 11th, the 12th, the 13th; the three
4 days after Srebrenica fell.
5 A. Well, if I was not around, then there was the duty officer at the
6 barracks who was responsible for the security of the barracks.
7 Q. Well, where were you during those three big days right after the
8 fall of Srebrenica?
9 A. Well, I could only have been in Vlasenica or in Konjevic Polje.
10 Q. Which one, or what combination of? Those are fairly memorable
12 A. Well, it was a long time ago. That's why I can't -- I was touring
13 a number of construction sites; and depending on where I was needed, I
14 would go to one of them. I can't tell you where I was on the 11th, on the
15 12th, on the 13th. I can't remember precisely.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you.
17 It's, I believe, time for a break, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. We'll have a 25-minute break starting from
20 Thank you.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. All right. Let me ask you, just back to those combat reports,
1 what time of day were you supposed to get the combat reports out to the
2 Drina Corps by, roughly?
3 A. I don't know the exact time. Nobody asked us to submit them
4 precisely at a certain hour. They had to be submitted within that day.
5 Sometimes we were late.
6 Q. Well, can you get any more specific? Did they have to go out in
7 the morning, or was it the afternoon?
8 A. Well, I really couldn't say now when they were submitted, because
9 we would put them in an envelope and give them to somebody who was going
10 to Vlasenica, to take them, or use anybody who was going there.
11 Q. You didn't have one of those coded teletype machines?
12 A. No, no way. We had an old machine, a typewriter.
13 Q. All right. Well, there's one document that I want to go over with
14 you. Perhaps it will refresh your recollection on some things. Its
15 number is P02672. It's from the Command of the 5th Engineering Battalion,
16 dated 14 July, and it says "By courier" on it, and it will come up on the
17 screen there for you.
18 I want to also give you the original that's got an original stamp
19 and inked signature.
20 Let's, first of all, turn it over on the back page or the second
21 page, where we can see that it's typed up, and it says "Deputy Commander
22 Major Mile Simanic." Do you see that signature on the original?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Is that your signature?
25 A. Most probably.
1 Q. Well, do you remember what you told me last time we talked about
2 this document, about who signed it?
3 A. I don't remember exactly what I said then, but sometimes I would
4 sign a blank paper if I was not going to be there, so that the report
5 could leave on time, be sent to the corps command.
6 Q. Is that what you think you did with this document, you just signed
7 a blank?
8 A. I'm not sure, but that kind of thing happened, because we didn't
9 want any trouble from the Command. Therefore, I would sign a blank paper
10 and then they would type the report on it, because these reports were
12 Q. Are you suggesting you would have signed your name to something,
13 sent it to the Drina Corps, and not known the information that was on it?
14 A. Well, as for the contents of the document, I was told that the
15 important thing was the whereabouts of the unit, where it was deployed,
16 and I mean the 5th Engineering Battalion. As for the rest, it was done
17 according to a stereotype, and the person typing up the report would fill
18 in the rest.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: All right. Can we put the original on the ELMO,
20 because there's some inked material that may come up for Your Honours that
21 you can see. I don't know if ELMO will catch it or not, but if we could
23 Can you just pull it out of that plastic thing, Madam Usher, and
24 it's a one-page document with material on the front and back. And if we
25 could look first at the front, and if we could zero in a bit on the "1983"
1 that appears to be handwritten on the top.
2 Okay. That's good enough. I think ELMO's become colour-blind in
3 the years we've had him, because we can't really see the colour there.
4 Thank you. That's not -- we don't need the ELMO anymore.
5 Q. All right. Let's now go over some of the information in this
6 document. Why don't you -- you can hold that document in front of you,
7 sir, so that it's easier to read. Let's start with the beginning.
8 It's entitled "Regular Combat Report," and the first paragraph
9 says -- now, you've had a chance to see this document during your
10 interview which happened back in January of 2006; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And you've had a chance to see this document yesterday and review
13 it; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So having reviewed the paragraphs of this document, can you tell
16 us today whether or not you are responsible for the information in this
17 document? In other words, did you sign off this document knowing the
18 information in it when it was sent to the corps?
19 A. Well, as for this information about the enemy, I was not aware of
20 that, and I didn't even look when I was signing because the unit that we
21 belonged to had no way of checking the veracity of any information. This
22 was probably entered based on what was learned from soldiers coming back
23 from home leave. They must have told the administrator, and the
24 administrator just put it in.
25 Q. Sir, do you believe that this information was on the document when
1 you signed it, or do you believe that you signed a blank document and
2 never saw this information?
3 A. I just told you I didn't read it. I don't know whether it was
4 there or not.
5 Q. Let's go over that first paragraph. It says, in English: "A
6 large enemy group was infiltrated in the region of Pobudje Brdo and the
7 region of Konjevic Polje. Units of the 5th Engineering Battalion and the
8 MUP successfully resisted the enemy."
9 Now, were you present on the 13th or 14th when the 5th Engineering
10 Battalion and the MUP resisted the enemy, as stated in this report?
11 A. On the 13th, as far as I can remember, I was not present, because
12 this extraordinary event, this incident happened then, when two soldiers
13 were wounded on the guard post. And this reference has to do with the
14 fact that we were protecting the barracks, and our assignments were only
15 around the guard posts around the barracks.
16 I told you already I don't know how come MUP is in the same
17 report, but this is done according to form, as I explained, and that's how
18 this unit appears here. MUP has their check-points [as interpreted] on
19 which they worked, following their own orders, and we had nothing to do
20 with their work and no information about them. But since we had no
21 losses, that's probably why the report says that the resistance was
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Lazarevic.
24 MR. LAZAREVIC: I'm Sorry. I don't want to disturb my
25 colleagues --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
2 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes. Now it's in order.
3 The thing is that I would just like to clarify something that I
4 heard, and here in the transcript I see a very slight difference. If I
5 remember correctly, the witness said that MUP had their own check-point.
6 It was in singular, and here it says "check-points."
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Lazarevic.
8 Is that correct, Mr. Simanic?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They had a check-point, one
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. McCloskey.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Q. Sir, we would prefer that you not speculate about things. Can you
14 tell us: Were you present on the 13th of July, the day before this report
15 went out, in this area doing -- defending the area and your unit?
16 A. I just told you a moment ago that I was not there when those
17 people were wounded in Konjevic Polje.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Just one moment, Mr. McCloskey.
19 Mr. Zivanovic.
20 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you. The witness already answered.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
22 Mr. McCloskey.
23 MR. McCLOSKEY:
24 Q. And when were those people wounded?
25 A. Well, according to this report, it was on the 13th of July, 1995,
1 around 800 hours. That's what it says.
2 Q. Now, let's continue to the next sentence.
3 JUDGE KWON: Mr. McCloskey, instead of you reading out, how about
4 ask the witness to read it out and being translated by the interpreters,
5 the last sentence.
6 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Your Honour.
7 Q. Could you read slowly in your -- the sentence that begins: "About
9 A. This first paragraph?
10 Q. Yes, please.
11 A. "Around 1.000 to 1.500 enemy civilians and soldiers were arrested
13 Q. Now, in your view, does that sentence --
14 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment.
15 Mr. Zivanovic.
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: There is no comma in the original B/C/S text.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY:
19 Q. Do you remember when I showed you this document in Bosnia, do you
20 remember what you first said when you read that?
21 A. I said, "God forbid," or "God Almighty," or something like that.
22 Q. And why did you say that after reading this sentence?
23 A. Because at first I thought it was written meaning that the MUP and
24 the Engineering unit did that.
25 Q. Do you think what's described here was a crime, no matter who did
2 A. I've already told you --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment.
4 Yes, Mr. Ostojic.
5 MR. OSTOJIC: I think it might be an inappropriate question for
6 the witness, and I do object because I think it calls for a legal
7 conclusion. And unless we're given the same latitude with others, I think
8 he should not answer that type of question.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't think the witness is being asked to make a
10 legal analysis as to whether all the ingredients of a possible crime are
11 met here, you know, so I think it's a generic question.
12 Yes, go ahead, Mr. McCloskey.
13 And Mr. Simanic, if you could answer the question, please.
14 MR. McCLOSKEY:
15 Q. You had started answering the question.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: The question was: "Do you think, sir, what's
17 described here in this document was a crime, no matter who did it?"
18 A. Now I don't understand whether I'm supposed to answer or not.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: You're supposed to answer, yes.
20 A. I have to answer, then?
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
22 A. In my view, whoever does something like that, it constitutes a
24 MR. McCLOSKEY:
25 Q. All right. Let's continue to go down the document, and I think I
1 can read the rest for simplicity's sake. Thank you.
2 Then, the second paragraph is entitled "Paragraph 2, BG," which we
3 believe stands for "Combat Readiness." Is that correct?
4 A. That's how it should be.
5 Q. Okay. And it says: "The battalion was engaged on carrying out
6 the following tasks:.
7 And this is the -- the first one is, "(A), the 1st Pioneers
8 Company," and I won't read all of it, but it talks about fighting the
9 enemy in the region of Pobudje. It also talks about building
10 fortifications in the area of Vis, and the clearing of mines in the region
11 of Derventa.
12 Can you tell the Court where Vis is? Vis is someplace fairly far
13 away and doesn't have anything to do with Srebrenica; is that correct?
14 A. The Vis facility is close to Kalesija, which is rather far from
15 the place that you have in mind, that you're talking about.
16 Q. And the clearing of the mines in Derventa, where is Derventa?
17 A. Derventa is - just let me count it, how many kilometres from
18 Konjevic Polje - 17 or 18 kilometres away from Konjevic Polje.
19 Q. In what direction?
20 A. In the direction of Milici; and from Milici, the road forks off to
21 the mine, to the bauxite mine.
22 Q. And then we have the last sentence: "The squad sent to clear
23 mines in Zeleni Jadar and Skelani region came back."
24 We're all very familiar now with that region, so were you aware
25 that some of your Pioneers were down there clearing mines before this
2 A. No, I wasn't aware of that.
3 Q. All right. Now let's go to the next section, B. It talks about a
4 road and bridge company, and it talks about some work at the Vlasenica
5 PTT, which I think you've described. Is that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And it also says that this part of this road and bridge company
8 was organising ambushes and engaged in combat activities against the
9 enemy. So in these first two sections, A and B, we've got part of the
10 Pioneers fighting the enemy, and now we have road and bridge guys
11 organising ambushes. Were you aware that your Engineering Battalion guys
12 were involved in this military defence activity?
13 A. I have just told you that those were defence activities which were
14 being carried out in the barracks area. There were guards, and that's how
15 the guards were organised in order to secure the barracks. All the
16 available men were deployed at various guards' posts; and if a guard's
17 post was critical, more men would be deployed there. And by the same
18 token, if a guard's post was less critical, it required fewer men. Also,
19 it had to be done in that way that they had to stay alert throughout the
21 Q. Then, again, let me call your attention to paragraph (a). It
22 says: "Fighting the enemy" -- it says: "The Pioneers are fighting the
23 enemy in the region of Pobudje."
24 This Court has heard quite a bit of evidence about Pobudje. It's
25 way out in the woods, up above the road between Konjevic Polje and
1 Glavica, so that's not sitting -- that's not the barracks. Did you know
2 anything about your unit being in the woods in Pobuje?
3 A. Look, Pobudje and Konjevic Polje are two places with a very
4 indistinct border between them. When you say "Konjevic Polje," you don't
5 know what it's meant, whether you mean Pobudje, the slopes of Pobudje, or
6 what. In our view, Pobudje and Konjevic Polje were one and the same
8 Q. All right. Let's go to C. It says: "The Engineering Company,"
9 and that's, I believe, the work you described at Crna Rijeka and the
10 barracks there.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Okay. Let's go to D. We've spoken briefly about this, I think.
13 It says: "The Pontoon Company organising ferry crossing points on the
14 Drina River at the Osamsko, Fakovici, Petrica, and Sopotnik villages."
15 Now, by "organising ferry crossing points," what does that mean?
16 A. The word speaks for itself, providing security for the ferry
17 crossing points, which meant organising guard duty, providing security
18 around the ferry crossing point in order to prevent looting and any such
19 thing. That's the meaning of the word "security."
20 Q. Sir, were those ferries being used in July 1995?
21 A. As far as I know, they were not being used in June [as
23 Q. We got a translation that you said "June 1995." My question
24 was: Were they being used in July 1995?
25 A. I understood your question. You asked me about July, and I said
1 that as far as I know, they were not being used at the time.
2 Q. So men are out there organising the ferry crossing points for
3 ferries that are not being used?
4 A. I have to explain. Those were men from the neighbouring villages
5 whom we engaged to be there and to provide security, and if need be to
6 work on the ferries. As far as I know, in July, they did not do anything
7 but provide security for the ferries.
8 Q. All right. We go down to E, and it says: "The Logistics
9 Platoon," and it's providing logistic support to units organising combat
10 activities against the enemy. So, again, we have part of the job of your
11 logistics platoons is organising combat activities against the enemy.
12 Were you aware of that?
13 A. Well, this may be a mistake. The word "organise" may be a
14 mistake. There was very little available staff in Konjevic Polje. There
15 were only one or two men from each company, and the Logistics Platoon is
16 the only platoon that was down there, say, for the people who were on
17 leave. In other words, they did not organise anything. They implemented
18 or carried out things.
19 Q. Do you know that from your memory? Does this help you refresh
20 where you were and whether you were involved with them in that
21 implementing, as you should have been as the man in command, or are you
22 just speculating?
23 A. Look, the Logistics Platoon, as far as I know, could not organise
24 anything. They could only implement or carry out tasks.
25 Q. I understand. Were you commanding them in their implementation?
1 Does this refresh your recollection that you were there, that you read
2 this, that you reported this to your command, the Drina Corps, or is
3 this -- are you just guessing?
4 A. I'm only saying how things should have been.
5 MS. NIKOLIC [Interpretation] Your Honours, this question has been
6 asked and answered on several occasions, and it has been answered very
7 clearly by the witness.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: I think, more or less, we are in agreement here,
9 that it's true that the witness has already said now, "No, I told you I
10 wasn't there." What is Mr. McCloskey doing here? Is he trying to refresh
11 his recollection by these additional -- by referring him to these
12 additional facts?
13 So go ahead.
14 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: And if he still maintains the same position, then
16 you proceed to your next question.
17 Do you wish to repeat the question, Mr. McCloskey?
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: I don't -- I don't think that's necessary.
19 Q. Is your answer to that last question, whether this helps you
20 remember whether you were there or not, is it the same? You can answer
21 the question.
22 A. I can't recall any new details. I'm just providing my comment to
23 what is written here.
24 Q. So you stand by your testimony, that you don't recall being there
25 and being involved in this, what is being identified in each of these
2 JUDGE AGIUS: No. That is an unnecessary question, because he's
3 definitely answered it now. So you don't need to ask it again. His
4 answer was he doesn't recall.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. Okay. Let's go to F, which is the -- it says: "MUP police
7 company, executing tasks as ordered by its command, organising combat
8 activities against the enemy in coordination with the units of the 5th
9 Engineering Battalion."
10 Now, in this paragraph, we see the 5th Engineering working with
11 the MUP. Do you have any information that, at this time period, the 5th
12 Engineering unit was working with and organising combat activities with
13 the MUP?
14 A. As I've already told you, there was a police check-point there in
15 very close to the vicinity of our guards, post number 6, and the first
16 right-hand side neighbour to this guards' post was the police check-point.
17 That is why, I suppose, the word "coordination" is written in here.
18 I have to say that the police and the army would very rarely or
19 almost never cooperate or engage in any coordinated action, because there
20 was a lot of antagonism between the police and the army. The police was
21 much better equipped, which caused the feeling of jealousy among the
22 troops who were not that well equipped as the police.
23 Q. All right. Let's go down to -- there's a section about security
24 and morale. It mentions that security measures were increased in the
25 wider area of Konjevic Polje due to the infiltrated enemy, civilians, and
1 soldiers. The morale of the soldiers arresting and fighting the enemy is
3 Did you at the time have this information before you, wherever you
5 A. It doesn't say here who are arresting, but it says who are engaged
6 in making arrests.
7 Q. All right. It seems like a difference without a difference. Does
8 that have a meaning to you, the difference you've just described?
9 A. No. What I am saying is that the 5th Engineering Battalion, as
10 far as I know and as far as I can remember, never arrested anybody. They
11 even had two wounded among them.
12 Q. All right. It says the morale of the soldiers was high. Did you
13 receive any information about how the soldiers morale was during those
15 A. I did not receive any such information. However, as soon as you
16 have so few men in the barracks, their morale has to be high, because fear
17 is always running much higher than anybody can assume. I suppose that
18 this was written simply because nobody ran away.
19 Q. All right. I will continue. The next one is number 4, entitled
20 "Situation in the Territory." Again, it says: "A large enemy group
21 infiltrated from the direction of Srebrenica into the region of
22 Pobudje-Konjevic Polje."
23 Then number 5 says: "Extraordinary Events." That talks about the
24 wounding of these two soldiers from your unit that occurred on 13 July.
25 Then number 6: "Logistics."
1 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters would like to see the original
2 on the ELMO in B/C/S. Thank you very much.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Usher. Okay. That has been attended to.
4 Thank you.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY:
6 Q. Okay. Under the "Logistics" section, it says: "Preparatory
7 activities need to be carried out for the loading machine which will be
8 engaged to bury the killed enemy soldiers. Fifty litres of oil to be
9 assigned for the task."
10 Do you have any knowledge or information about the 5th Engineering
11 unit using a loader to bury killed enemy soldiers, as referenced in this
13 A. First of all, let me tell you this: In my previous testimony, I
14 said that this loader had remained in Pribicevac, and it continued
15 together with the Tactical Group - I don't know in which direction - which
16 means at that time it was not in Konjevic Polje, if you are talking only
17 about the loader.
18 We had another tractor, though. This was a small machine with a
19 loading bucket in the back; and in front -- it was supposed to arrive from
20 the Bisina Barracks where it had been engaged in some work. It was
21 supposed to return, and I suppose this is the machine that was meant. And
22 this part is what the Logistics is involved in, and they sent their
24 Q. Why is it that you suppose that that is the machine being
25 referenced here?
1 A. Which one do you mean?
2 Q. The one you just mentioned. Why do you suppose that this little
3 machine you've described is the one that's being referenced in paragraph
5 A. I did not specify which machine. But since this was written by a
6 person who did not know anything about the machines, I am explaining the
7 difference between a loader, which is only used for loading, and that
8 machine remained in Pribicevac as part of the Tactical Group in
9 Pribicevac. The other machine, the machine that I'm referring to, we
10 asked for this machine to be returned to us because of the works that we
11 were supposed to do on the reconstruction of the electricity lines between
12 Lastanica and Konjevic Polje. That's why I said that possibly it is this
13 machine that is referred to herein.
14 Q. Can you provide this Trial Chamber with any information about your
15 unit engaged in burying the dead enemy [as interpreted]?
16 A. I am not aware of our unit being engaged in these activities.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Ms. Nikolic.
18 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in the interpretation
19 into the B/C/S of the question put by my learned friend, Mr. McCloskey, in
20 line 9 in the B/C/S interpretation. I heard "fallen enemy soldiers";
21 whereas, in the transcript, we only have "dead enemy." And I suppose that
22 the witness received the same interpretation I did.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: I don't think there's -- it doesn't change the
25 meaning, really, of my question.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we thank Ms. Nikolic for pointing this out,
2 but I don't think it, unless for the witness, makes a big difference or a
3 material difference. He can proceed to answer the question.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: Okay.
5 Q. Sometimes we have translation issues. Perhaps just to clarify it,
6 I'll ask the question again, or I'll try to. Do you have any information
7 of your unit involved in burying, you know, the killed soldiers that were
8 referred to in this document?
9 A. I don't have any information about the involvement of this unit in
11 Q. All right. At the time, the 13th, 14th, 15th, those days shortly
12 after the fall of Srebrenica, were you aware that mass graves were dug in
13 the area of Nova Kasaba, Cerska Valley, and Glogova?
14 A. I wasn't aware of that.
15 Q. Okay. We'll go through the rest of this. We're almost done.
16 Under "7", it says "Losses." There were none. Number 8, "Conclusions,
17 Forecasts, Decisions." It talks about continuing organising ambushes to
18 fight the enemy infiltrated in Pobudje Hill. "Shift the focus of the
19 fight against them there. Destroy the enemy and liberate Pobudje Hill as
20 soon as possible."
21 So now we're talking about a specific area in Pobudje, the Pobudje
22 Hill, and it says: "Continue with the 5th Engineering tasks. Increase
23 security, vigilance, measures in the region of Konjevic Polje.
24 And I take it reading this doesn't refresh your recollection, any
25 more than any of the other paragraphs; is that correct?
1 A. It doesn't help me, because I have to say once again: Pobudje and
2 Konjevic Polje, in our terminology, is one thing. We don't know where the
3 boundaries -- sometimes they refer only to Pobudje. Other times they say
4 "Pobuje Hill." Maybe it's a problem for you when you try to determine
5 where things are.
6 But I have to mention there were two minefields placed there,
7 because otherwise we hadn't -- we would not have been able to defend
8 ourselves with the number of personnel we had.
9 If you go from the intersection in Konjevic Polje towards
10 Bratunac, taking the right, where the transmission lines are, that road --
11 that path went from the road -- that minefield went from the road to the
12 guard post number 6. And the left side of the road, 800 to 1.000 metres
13 from the road and parallel to the road to Bratunac, was a stretch that
14 ended with guard post number 5.
15 Q. All right. Let me just reference you briefly to the final
16 section, "Requests," paragraph 9. It says: "Assign 50 litres of oil for
17 the above task."
18 And we have the B/C/S on our screen. You have the original in
19 front of you. And we can see on the VRS or B/C/S version that we have, in
20 paragraph 6, the number "50" is circled and "50 litara nafte" is
21 underlined, and that's in blue ink on the original. And then as we go
22 down to paragraph 9, we have another reference to 50 litres; and then
23 we have written in handwritten blue ink and underlined is the word "done."
24 Now, you've got the original in front of you. Can you explain to
25 us, in your view, who would have been the person that did this underlining
1 and wrote in the word "done"?
2 A. I can't even guess who that might be. Probably someone from the
3 corps or -- I don't know.
4 Q. All right. Now, bringing -- if you can look at the original, just
5 one more question. Is this your signature?
6 A. As I said earlier, it probably is. My signature is not
7 complicated. It's very easy to write.
8 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] The witness answered, Your Honour,
9 but he already answered the same thing at the beginning of this
10 examination. That was my point.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: You are 100 per cent right.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Going over the document, I looked at it and
13 thought about it. I think it is a fair question, given --
14 JUDGE AGIUS: But you could have rephrased it. Anyway, let's
15 proceed to a different question.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: Well, I'd like to ask the Court permission to read
17 back a bit of what this witness said on a similar subject in his
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: What's the purpose behind this request?
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: To try to give the Court the best possible view of
22 what the truth may be, and I can go into it in further details, of course,
23 but it's probably not a good idea in the context of having the witness
24 before us.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I was going to direct the question. Are you trying
1 to impeach the witness?
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: In some respects, yes. And if you would like a
3 foundation for that, that's --
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. But if we are going to discuss that, we will
5 discuss it in the absence of the witness, in the first place.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: So Mr. Simanic, do you understand English, or a
8 little bit of it?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Still, I think I better take some
11 precautions. If you could escort the witness out of the courtroom for a
12 short while, please.
13 Does anyone of the Defence team want to contribute -- just one
14 moment before you speak. I just want to know if there's anyone who wishes
15 to make their position on this.
16 MR. OSTOJIC: Mr. President, we're --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Ostojic. I just want to have an
18 indication so that we'd know how long this gentleman will need to stay
20 Yes, Ms. Nikolic first.
21 [The witness stands down]
22 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, thank you. I'll be
23 very brief.
24 If my learned friend wants to treat this witness as hostile, I
25 believe there is a clear procedure that was taken by this Tribunal in two
1 cases, Brdjanin and Limaj, on the grounds that the witness is not telling
2 the truth or that he is refusing to answer; and in that case, the
3 Prosecutor asks leave of the Court in order to do what my learned friend
4 announced he wanted to do in the case of Witness Simanic.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam.
6 Let's hear from Mr. Ostojic, and then I'll give you the floor.
7 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 I would just reserve it, to hear what my learned friend has said
9 as a foundation, so I'm not sure I would have any response, except for
10 until I hear actually what the foundation is, as he states on page 41, on
11 line 18 through 21, I think. So I would reserve that to hear what my
12 learned friend has to say first.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
14 Mr. McCloskey.
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, the reason I have taken this step -
16 over the last year, there's many times we could have possibly taken this
17 step and we decided not to - was that, well, partly this was not a witness
18 we had originally planned to call, but because of the document, because of
19 the interest, we agreed to take part in this. But in his previous
20 statements, he said to me very clearly that he signed this document and
21 that he had signed blank documents, and that he did not know what this
22 material was.
23 What I was reading back to him was two times where he acknowledged
24 that this was his signature. So, yes, when he says "probably," I don't
25 think he's being completely truthful on that point. I think this witness
1 is being you untruthful on several points. I think he is being truthful
2 on others, and I think the Trial Chamber has got the good, tough job of
3 figuring it out. In fact, I think it's important that we called him so
4 that you see this, and I think it speaks light years about what this
5 document means. So I think, in the end, it's worth it.
6 But I do want to remind everyone this was not a Prosecution
7 witness, but I do think it is helpful and I do think you can sort it out.
8 And I think these last two questions -- or I can just read them to you now
9 and we don't need to bother with the guy, frankly. I don't really care,
10 but I want the trier of fact to be able to hear him clearly or see him
11 clearly saying to me that, "This was my signature."
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Right. Thank you.
13 Ladies and gentlemen, I have still not been convinced by Judge
14 Kwon and Judge Prost that such a way of proceeding should be allowed, but
15 we've discussed it and I find myself in a minority. So you've got the
16 go-ahead. In other words, the decision is to proceed by majority, by a
17 majority vote, me dissenting.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Then I would be just reading back to him a few of the lines that
20 we were talking about and getting his comments, and leaving it at that.
21 Now, if Defence has an objection, I may change my mind, you know,
22 if there's some issues there.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's bring the witness back in. You
24 know what our position is.
25 [The witness entered court]
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President. And if we could give
3 the witness the B/C/S version of the transcript. It's page 22, around
4 lines 120 to 124, and I've highlighted some of them for the witness. And
5 I'll just read back the relevant sections and ask him.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Also give us the precise interview you're talking
7 about, because to my knowledge there was more than one.
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: And the ERN number, please, and date.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: 12 January 2006 interview, and it's ERN T000-3088.
11 And I'm going to page 22, and it starts on the English on line 23, where I
12 basically refer him to the document.
13 And he says, as he has testified: "God forbid."
14 And then I ask him: "Can I ask you just briefly what you meant
15 when you said 'God forbid,' what you read, can you read this?"
16 Answer: "About 1.000 to 1.500 enemy civilian and soldiers were
17 arrested killed.
18 And then I say: "Okay. Go ahead, take your time."
19 And then he says: "And furthermore, even worse, I signed it."
20 Q. Do you recall that part of our interview?
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. One moment before you answer the question.
22 Madame Fauveau.
23 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I would like the
24 Prosecutor to read until paragraph 23, the version in English, line 35-36,
25 because that also relates to the signature.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have any problem with that?
2 Thank you, Madame Fauveau.
3 Do you have any problem with that, Mr. McCloskey?
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, I do, frankly. She can read that back, if
5 she wishes. He does say, "Yes, most probably," and he talks about it
6 again. But I don't think I need to go through it every time he talks
7 about the signature. I just want to give you a flavour of what he said.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Go ahead for the time being, and then you can
9 raise it on cross-examination if you wish. Okay.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY:
11 Q. You have that next page in front of you, and I think it's a good
12 idea that you take a look at it to prepare yourself for any other
13 questions. When you're asked if it's your signature, you say: "Yes, it
14 is, most probably."
15 Then I'd like you to go to --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Nikolic.
17 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have a problem
18 following the text in B/C/S. My learned friend said that it's page 22,
19 lines around 120 to 124, which is impossible, but that's not the problem.
20 On page 22, in B/C/S, that text is simply not there. It could be the last
21 sentence is on page 24 in B/C/S, which means that the witness is probably
22 not able to follow what the Prosecutor is saying.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
24 Thank you, Madam.
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: The witness has it in front of him; and if I said
1 "120", I'm sorry. I'm reading it wrong, it's 20 through 24, and he has
2 it before him.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
4 Madame Fauveau.
5 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I would really like
6 the witness to read for himself what is written on page 22, lines 22 and
7 23. That's precisely what the Prosecutor read in English, because it
8 seems to me that the version we have in English is not at all the same as
9 what we have in B/C/S. So, if the witness could read those two lines,
10 that would be his reaction to that signature which is or isn't his.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: The problem is I find - I speak for myself - I find
12 it difficult to follow, because I neither have the B/C/S text nor the
13 English text. There seems to be some minor confusion as regards to the
14 exact part of the text that he's supposed to be looking at. There is now
15 an allegation or suggestion that the English translation does not
16 correspond to the B/C/S text, so I think we need some assistance here.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: I object to this. This is purely obstruction.
18 It's designed to confuse the issue, where there is none.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. But we can't say, yes, we agree or disagree
20 with you, Mr. McCloskey, because we don't have anything.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: Well, the Defence can get up and talk like that
22 all day long, and there's nothing I can do to respond, because he's got it
23 in front of him. He's got the outlined section in front of him.
24 Translations are never perfect. This is a very simple thing. They --
25 that's what cross-examination is for. When they object like this and make
1 these comments in cross-examination, it's unnecessary.
2 Now, sometimes it's helpful because of translation issues, and we
3 need to deal with them as we go. And they've done that many times and
4 that's appreciated. This time, I can't really figure out what they're
5 saying, so I can't really answer you.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Our position is as follows: Witness, you have heard
8 the various submissions both from the Prosecution and some Defence teams.
9 Our position is: Go ahead and answer the question that has been put to
10 you by Mr. McCloskey, and then the rest will be dealt with on
12 And I also think it's the case of you repeating your question,
13 because a couple of minutes have passed since then.
14 MR. McCLOSKEY: I think I can encapsulate both the question and
15 Ms. Fauveau's concern.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Please do so, by all means.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY:
18 Q. In the part I read, it clearly says that, "Worse yet, it's my
19 signature," and then a page later you say, yes, it's your signature, but
21 Can you tell us today, as you sit here, did you sign this
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Let him answer the question first, Madame Fauveau,
25 A. I answered several times to this question, that I sometimes signed
1 blank papers, that this is most probably my signature, but I'm not
2 certain, and that's all I said.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madame Fauveau.
4 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I'm really sorry, but
5 the problem is that the question, such as it was asked, is not correct.
6 It's not appropriate because the witness didn't clearly say that it was
7 his signature in B/C/S. That's why I believe it's important for the
8 witness to read lines 22 and 23, and particularly the end of line 23.
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, I strongly object at this point --
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Stop, Madame Fauveau and you, Mr. McCloskey. We've
11 already made our position clear on that. You can deal with that on
12 cross-examination. But for the time being, let the witness answer the
13 questions that are put to him.
14 Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 Q. Now, if you can go to page 25 on that, on yours. That's the
17 B/C/S. Maybe a bit on page 25 and 26.
18 I won't read out my question.
19 And the English is page 26, beginning with lines 2. I am
20 specifically not setting out my question, but we'll have no objection if
21 someone else does.
22 But the answer is: "See, I have to explain to you now where the
23 unit was during these days; and as far as I know - and I can only talk
24 about things that I know - this is it. I really don't know where this guy
25 who wrote it found this information in the first paragraph. There is what
1 are mentioned.
2 "This is in accordance with what I mentioned before, that I was
3 signing blank pieces of pages which were later used to compile reports, to
4 present in a report things about units that were not part of the
5 Engineering Battalion. It sounds weird, stupid to me."
6 It does indeed, sir, sound a little weird. Do you stand by that
8 A. I stated that I was a reserve officer, that I didn't know much
9 about military terminology. And I still believe it was madness to
10 introduce another unit into your own report, but these reports were done
11 according to a stereotyped format. And it was referred to as a company of
12 military police, but we didn't know what it was doing, what its strength
13 was, where it was, or anything else about it.
14 Q. Are you suggesting a professional officer in the Command of the
15 5th Engineering would not have written what was written in paragraph 1?
16 A. I would not.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you. I don't have anything further.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE KWON: Mr. McCloskey, I was wondering whether this 5th
21 Engineering Battalion belonged to Drina Corps directly. Could you
22 clarify, please?
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Your Honour.
24 Q. Can we go back to our structure area? I failed to ask you. Can
25 you tell us, the unit, the 5th Engineering Battalion, what unit was it
1 part of?
2 A. To the corps that was our superior unit, the one above on Vlada,
3 as far as I understand these things.
4 Q. And this document we're talking about, it's addressed to the Drina
5 Corps Command, so the Drina Corps was your direct Command; is that
7 A. I think so.
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
10 So we'll soon be having a break in ten minutes' time; but before
11 that, let me get a revised estimate of cross-examinations.
12 Mr. Zivanovic.
13 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Half an hour, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ostojic.
15 MR. OSTOJIC: Ten, 15 minutes, Your Honour, if that.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Ms. Nikolic.
17 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Also 10 to 15 minutes, unless other
18 colleagues exhaust my questions.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
20 Mr. Stojanovic.
21 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] We were reckoning with ten
22 minutes, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
24 Ms. Fauveau.
25 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I believe we will have no questions,
1 Your Honour, but I reserve the right to use five minutes, unless on the
2 colleagues asks the questions I want to ask.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
4 Mr. Josse.
5 MR. JOSSE: Probably ten minutes.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: And Pandurevic, nothing.
7 Mr. Sarapa.
8 MR. SARAPA: No questions.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Who wishes to go first, Mr. Zivanovic?
10 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honours. I would ask the Chamber
11 if you can have the break now.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Of course.
13 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: Would it be okay to release the next witness? I
16 know times change, but --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: The thing is this, Mr. McCloskey: I have here,
18 instead of the previously-estimated one hour 55 minutes, we now have one
19 hour and 20 minutes, which means we won't finish with this witness today,
20 unless we make an effort to do so. But if we make an effort to do so, I
21 don't anticipate there would be much more time for the next one. So
22 that's how I look at it.
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: He's been waiting most of the day, so it sounds
24 like we should be able to let him go.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. All right. Agreed.
1 Twenty-five minutes.
2 --- Recess taken at 12.22 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 12.56 p.m.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we can start again.
5 Mr. McCloskey.
6 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President.
7 I had forgotten to ask one question I meant to ask. I mentioned
8 that to the Defence counsel. It's not so directly related to all this
9 material, so it should take very -- very brief. And it's not meant for
10 impeachment, but it's meant for information for the Court.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Any problem for the Defence? No.
12 Yes, go ahead.
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you.
14 Q. Sir, as I think we'd said, I need to ask you: Did you have a --
15 get a criminal conviction in 2003 in Bosnia?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. We don't need to hear about the facts of it, but can you just
18 describe very briefly what -- what the crime was, what you were convicted
20 A. It was about a confirmation that I -- was based on a contract.
21 The contract got stolen and nobody was found responsible but me. I was
22 actually blamed for the missing contract.
23 Q. So was this irregularity associated with a construction contract,
25 A. Yes.
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: All right. Thank you.
2 Nothing further.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. McCloskey.
4 Mr. Zivanovic.
5 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you.
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Zivanovic:
7 Q. Good afternoon.
8 A. Good afternoon.
9 Q. My name is Zoran Zivanovic. We have had an opportunity to meet,
10 because I've already spoken to you.
11 Sir, I would kindly ask you to look at the document that you have
12 just been shown by my learned friend from the Prosecution, which is P2672.
13 Can you see it clearly on the screen?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. First of all, let us clarify one thing. I understood that you
16 were not the one who drafted this document. Is that correct?
17 A. Yes, that is correct, I didn't.
18 Q. Can you please confirm that you did not provide the person who did
19 draft the document with any information?
20 A. You're referring to any information?
21 Q. I'm talking about the first part, which is relevant to the arrest
22 and killing of anything between 1.000 and 1.500 enemy soldiers and
24 A. No, I don't think so.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Zivanovic, we've started on the wrong foot.
1 You're going too fast, both of you. You need to allow a short pause
2 between question and answer, because otherwise the interpreters will not
3 be able to catch up and we will get half transcripts. So please
5 Mr. Zivanovic.
6 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 Q. Tell me, please, as you read the second sentence in the first
8 paragraph, we have read this sentence on many occasions up 'til now:
9 "Between 1.000 and 1.500 enemy civilian and soldiers have been arrested
11 Do you agree with me that once you read this sentence, this
12 sentence is not clear and it could be interpreted in two ways?
13 I'm going to give you these two options, and then I will ask you
14 whether you agree with me.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you agree with me that one of the options would be the
17 following: First, 1.000 to 1.500 enemy civilians and soldiers were
18 arrested and then killed; whereas, the second option would be this: In
19 confronting the enemy group, the total number of killed and arrested was
20 anything between 1.000 and 1.500 enemy civilians and soldiers. In other
21 words, a certain number were killed in conflict with the enemy; whereas, a
22 certain number was arrested.
23 I am talking only about the linguistic meaning of this sentence
24 and not about its actual content, not about what actually happened.
25 A. This can be interpreted in several ways. I don't know how to
1 answer your question.
2 Q. Would you agree with me that these two options are possible?
3 A. I believe that they are possible, because there are no full stops,
4 or commas, or anything.
5 Q. And do you agree with me that it would be much clearer if there
6 was a word "a" or "or" between the words "arrested" and "killed"?
7 A. I would not wish to answer that, because I am not able to
8 interpret or understand this. This sentence lends itself to several
9 interpretations, and it really depends on who's reading.
10 Q. Let me remind you of one part of your interview that you provided
11 to the Office of the Prosecutor on the 15th of April, 2005. This is
12 1D376. I'm going to read to you just one sentence of one question or
13 explanation provided to you by the Prosecutor when he was interviewing
14 you. My question will be whether you remember this.
15 This is page 25, lines from 11 through 14 in the English version,
16 and page 24, lines from 28 through 30 in the B/C/S version.
17 In the B/C/S version, it says: "Unfortunately, two men from
18 your" --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. In relation to 1D376, I'm reminded
20 there's no English attached to the document, so we need to attend to that.
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: It's some kind of technical problem, sir.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: But not everyone speaks your and the witness's
23 language, and there are some of us who need to be able to follow.
24 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I'll read the sentence. It is just one sentence.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Go ahead.
1 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
3 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] This sentence reads:
4 "Unfortunately, two men from your unit were wounded, and the military
5 operation in order to stop the Muslims from going through your area was
6 absolutely legitimate, which was clearly established."
7 This is what the Prosecutor told you on the occasion he
8 interviewed you. Do you remember that?
9 A. What page is that question?
10 Q. This is page 24. Would you please look at your screen? It is on
11 your screen. Page 24.
12 A. Line 19?
13 Q. Page 24 -- no, no.
14 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [In English] I have another one. 1D376. 1D376,
15 15 April 2005.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, I don't want to complicate matters any
17 further, but there was one on the --
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] This is on page 25, then.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Sorry for that interruption, but we needed to verify
22 Yes, Mr. Zivanovic.
23 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [In English] Yes. I found it under page 25.
24 There are two versions of this transcript.
25 [Interpretation] It is on page 25, lines 14 through 17. Page 25.
1 Well, again, it is not that. It seems there are three versions of
2 the same transcript. I'm sorry.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: The thing is I'm still feeling somewhat confused,
4 Mr. Zivanovic, because, you know, the information that we get is scanty,
5 but it's supposed to be to the point.
6 If you look at page 56, line 10, your question seems to be
7 directing the witness to his interview dated 15th of April, 2005. Now, I
8 have an interview which dates back to the 21st of October, 2005; another
9 interview which dates back to the 12th of January, 2006; and then a
10 handwritten note submitted during OTP interview, which goes back to the
11 first of these two interviews, that is, 21st of October, 2005.
12 On the other hand, on the document itself, it says "15/4/2005."
13 So rather than you explaining, I think it should be Mr. McCloskey.
14 It's the same, "Mile Simanic" and "Milo Simanic" That's in the --
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, there was a mistake in the B/C/S
17 version. I apologise. That's what's confused the issue, and the dates of
18 the interviews are 21/10/2005, very short, almost nothing said there; and
19 then "12/1/2006" is the -- that's the January one that we've been dealing
20 with thus far.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: So this 15th April that we see --
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. Ignore April in 2005. That's just a typo.
23 That's the 2006 interview.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. That was 2006. All right. I'm glad I raised
25 it, because at least that clears what was troubling me in my mind. You
1 know, I mean, I thought we had -- yes.
2 But Mr. Zivanovic, you now know, more or less, what date you're
3 talking about and which statement you're talking about?
4 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [In English] Yes. I would just like the witness
5 to see it on his monitor, but not if it is not possible to do.
6 Q. [Interpretation] In any case, I would kindly ask you, even if you
7 can't see this statement because of some technical problems, can you
8 remember the sentence that I just quoted?
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Josse.
10 MR. JOSSE: Just to help my learned friend, Mr. Zivanovic, I think
11 the witness has the complete interview there in front of him. So all
12 Mr. Zivanovic needs to do is point the witness to the correct page, and he
13 will obviously find it. So there's no difficulty there.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Josse.
15 Mr. Zivanovic.
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] It could be page 25, line 14;
17 actually, lines 14 through 17.
18 Q. Did you find that?
19 A. Page?
20 Q. Twenty-five.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you see the sentence starting with the words: "Unfortunately,
23 two men from your unit were wounded ..."?
24 A. No.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: We are going to take more than the 30 minutes.
1 We've barely started.
2 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I'm going to give you my copy to
3 look at.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: If you put it on the ELMO. The usher doesn't hear
5 me. Yes, she has.
6 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Can you see this now, line 14? It says: "Unfortunately, two men
8 from your unit were wounded. The military operation to prevent Muslims
9 from passing through your area was absolutely legitimate, which was
10 clearly established."
11 Do you remember that this was said to you during your interview?
12 A. I believe so. Most probably it was, since it was recorded here.
13 Q. For that reason, I would like to ask you to answer this: Did you
14 understand from that that the possible killing of the enemy soldiers and
15 those who arrived in the territory during the combat was legitimate? Did
16 you understand that from the Prosecutor's words?
17 A. You're referring to this particular sentence?
18 Q. Yes. I'm referring to this particular sentence.
19 A. It turns out that way, now that I look at it.
20 Q. Yes. I'm asking you this to clarify something that the Prosecutor
21 asked you when he faced you with the second sentence of the previous
22 report, in which you stated that the sentence pointed out the existence of
23 a crime. Did you imply that the crime consisted in arresting people first
24 and killing them after that, or did you also believe that it would be a
25 crime to have killed these people in combat?
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. One moment before you answer the question.
2 Mr. McCloskey.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, I'm going to object to the form of
4 the question. It's leading. This is not classic cross-examination. This
5 is not a Prosecution witness in that technical sense. We can go on and on
6 and on like this.
7 [Overlapping speakers]
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: The Defence agreed to have this witness called. I
9 think a fair and concise question, a few leading ones, is fine. But if we
10 go on like this forever in this context, I don't think it's appropriate to
11 the context that this witness has been called. I don't think the Rules
12 should be held as discreetly as they have in the past.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's hear the wise words of Mr. Zivanovic.
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I didn't lead this witness through his
16 examination-in-chief. I have to cross-examine him, and leading questions
17 are permissible.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: We are not going to change any rules and practice as
21 yet, Mr. McCloskey.
22 Mr. Simanic, could you kindly answer the question, please. And,
23 let me see, shall I read it out to him again?
24 Do you remember the question?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It seems to me that I have already
1 answered some of it, but maybe it would be advisable if the question was
2 read out again.
3 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I shall repeat.
4 Q. In answering the Prosecutor's question, when he faced you with the
5 sentence about 1.000 to 1.500 men being killed, you said that it was a
6 crime. Did you mean that the crime would have consisted in killing the
7 detainees or even those who were killed in combat?
8 A. I meant that it would be a crime if people were first arrested and
9 then killed.
10 Q. Thank you. I would move on to something else.
11 Could you please look at the document 1D379.
12 Do you agree that this is a document entitled "Overview of the
13 Current Strength in the Units of the Drina Corps" for the months of July
15 A. That is written.
16 Q. Can you see that in column 1 of this report, under number 1,
17 certain units are enumerated?
18 A. Yes.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: Could we get the list from the Defence that you're
20 referring to of documents? We don't have anything. We don't need them
21 before we begin our questions, but I believe the agreement is that we get
22 them prior to questioning.
23 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [In English] It was handed. It was handed. I
24 don't know.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: It was sent, Mr. McCloskey. "It wasn't sent," says
1 the Prosecution.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: Ms. Stewart doesn't have it, but that's okay.
3 We'll deal with it after, no problem.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: It happens with e-mails sometimes. It takes longer
5 to get there, and sometimes it gets lost.
6 Yes, Mr. Zivanovic.
7 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Can you see, therefore, in column 1 of this report, that various
9 units of the Drina Corps are enumerated; and can you find, in line 4, the
10 5th Engineering Battalion? Do you agree?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Do you agree that, in column 2, we see that -- we see the name of
13 the commander of this battalion?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you agree that in July 1995, in the 5th Engineering Battalion,
16 there were two active duty officers and seven reserve officers?
17 A. Probably. I really don't know the numbers, but I know that we had
18 two active duty officers.
19 Q. Do you agree that it says here there was one active duty NCO and
20 13 reserve NCOs?
21 A. I know about the one active duty NCO. I think 13 is the correct
22 number for the others.
23 Q. Do you agree that there were 111 soldiers and all of them were
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Do you see, do you agree that, in the last column, we see the
2 total strength of the 5th Engineering Battalion in July 1995, and that it
3 was 134 men?
4 A. Most probably.
5 Q. My colleague from the Prosecution showed you the second part of
6 that document 2672, which states what various units of your battalion were
7 engaged in on that day. Do you agree there were four companies and one
9 A. Yes, only on paper, not in terms of actual strength.
10 Q. According to the strength stated in this document, it is clear
11 that not every company could have 100 or more men, but now I'm trying to
12 find out something different. Could you explain this: We see that there
13 were four companies and one platoon. One platoon is smaller than a
15 A. Was it three companies or four?
16 Q. I saw four companies in that document.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] It's document P2672, if we can
18 show it again to the witness.
19 Q. Here, look at item 2.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. So we see the first two.
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we scroll down?
23 Q. You can see that four companies are enumerated here: Pioneer,
24 Road and Bridge Company, Engineer Company, and Pontoon Company. Do you
25 see that?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Do you agree that there were four of them?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Do you agree those soldiers we saw on the list, 111 engineers and
5 their superior officers, were assigned to those four companies and one
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Was the number even across the four companies?
9 A. No. It was not evenly distributed.
10 Q. Some companies were stronger, others not?
11 A. The Engineering Company had the highest -- the largest number of
13 Q. And could you give us a rough estimate, how many men there were in
14 the Pioneer Company?
15 A. I believe around 20.
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Could we now please look at this
17 item A.
18 Q. I conclude, from subparagraph (a), that the Pioneers Company was
19 assigned to four different tasks. Am I right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. One part of it was in Pobudje, another on Vis feature, yet another
22 in the area of Derventa, and the fourth one had been to Zeleni Jadar and
23 had just returned that day?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Would I be right in saying that each of these groups had
1 approximately the same number of men? In other words, if there was a
2 total of 20, each group had 5 or so?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Explain, then.
5 A. The largest group was at Vis feature.
6 Q. Could you tell me approximately how many?
7 A. Let me tell you one thing first. When you are sending soldiers to
8 remove mines, you send two or three soldiers; and then if these mines are
9 explosives and then have to be removed and transported, you send
10 assistants from appropriate companies because they are the only ones who
11 are trained for that job. If they are laying a minefield, then you send,
12 again, two, possibly three, and the unit to which they are sent gives them
14 Q. You say that the group at Vis feature was the largest one?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. How many men, approximately, were there?
17 A. Around ten. There should have been around ten, but I'm not sure,
18 because they were not the only ones who were engaged there. There were
19 men from other companies.
20 Q. From this answer you've just given, explaining how many men are
21 normally sent to remove mines and how many there were at Vis feature, I
22 conclude that, in the area of Pobudje, there were five or six men, if the
23 whole company had 20. Is that right?
24 A. Well, look, if we take it that those who had come back from Zeleni
25 Jadar, then there couldn't have been more than five.
1 Q. Reading your interview, I noticed that, on several occasions, you
2 mentioned that those people who belonged to your battalion were not really
3 young men, closer to middle age.
4 A. A lot of them were actually retired, but their retirement
5 procedure was not complete.
6 Q. In your statement - and I'm not going to repeat this - it says
7 that on the 13th of July, two soldiers from your unit were wounded. Would
8 you please just look at P2879.
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [In English] The second page, please.
10 Q. [Interpretation] These are the details of the two men who were
11 wounded. You probably remember their names. This document may serve as a
13 Please look at the column which is entitled "Data and Place of
14 Birth." Is it correct that the first man was born in 1943?
15 A. They must have copied it from some sort of record. It should be
17 Q. That would have made him 53 at the time he was wounded in 1995?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. The second man, Vaso Orasanin, was born in 1939, and he was 56
20 when he was wounded; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You see, I did not manage to find any more details about the
23 personnel of the 5th Engineering Battalion, so I would appreciate your
24 answer. Were the others approximately in the same age group as these two
1 A. Except the Pioneers, everyone was approximately in that age group;
2 old hands, worn out.
3 Q. Let us go back to 2672, please, and look at page 2.
4 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [In English] Second page, please.
5 Q. [Interpretation] Can you look at paragraph 6, where we can read
6 that 50 litres of oil is required for the burial of enemy soldiers who
7 were killed. Can you see that?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Since I don't know how much fuel a construction machine like that
10 would need to dig a pit to bury a number of people, could you tell me how
11 large a pit can a construction machine of the kind that you had at the
12 time dig? What could be the size of that pit?
13 A. Can we say a pit, a hole?
14 Q. You can.
15 A. It all depends on the distance that has to be covered to go there
16 and back. The machine that we had uses 15 litres per hour, so that's
17 approximately two, two and a half hours of work, assuming that there is a
18 stretch of road to be covered as well on the way there and back. And the
19 pit would be one metre deep, three by two, unless it's rocky terrain. It
20 had to be normal ground, because our machine was rather weak.
21 Q. When you say "three by two, one metre deep," does it mean the
22 length and breadth would be three and two metres respectively, and depth
23 would be one metre?
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. Would I be right in saying that in a pit like that, it would be
1 impossible to bury the number of people that is mentioned in paragraph 1
2 of that report that we have read?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You have spoken to the Prosecution more than once. As far as I
5 could see from your interviews, you emphasised that you did not write this
6 report yourself.
7 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Could we scroll down a bit?
8 Q. At the end, we see two initials, "MB/MB." Generally speaking,
9 what do these initials represent?
10 A. They should be the initials of the man who typed and the man who
11 wrote, who drafted.
12 Q. That means that the person in this case both drafted and typed the
13 document, judging by the initials?
14 A. Right, judging by the initials.
15 Q. And my last question: In your talks with the Office of the
16 Prosecutor, were you ever informed if that person had been contacted, if
17 that person had any comments to make concerning this report, or yourself?
18 A. No.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Zivanovic.
20 Mr. Ostojic.
21 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Ostojic:
23 Q. Sir, just to -- my name is John Ostojic. I represent Mr. Beara
24 here today in this case. I have several questions for you. I was hoping
25 we would conclude, but it honestly doesn't look like we can, unless I
1 speak very quickly, which I will not do.
2 If we can stick with that same document on the second page that we
3 had, P02672, I believe.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ostojic, I hate to interrupt you, but we've only
5 got five minutes. So try to limit the topic to fit those five minutes,
6 and we'll continue tomorrow.
7 MR. OSTOJIC: That's why I'm taking it somewhat out of my outline
8 to go to this topic. Thank you, Mr. President.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
10 MR. OSTOJIC:
11 Q. Sir, again we're looking at the -- and I think you had the
12 original there, but in any event we're looking on the e-court screen,
13 where it has, on the left-hand corner there, the initials "MB/MB."
14 Do you know who "MB" was in 1995 in the 5th Engineering Battalion?
15 A. Mirko, whom we called Zajo; and, later on, I learned that his
16 family name was Bastric, or something to that effect.
17 Q. How did you learn that information; do you know?
18 A. When I spoke to the Prosecutor, I could not remember at the time.
19 It was only later on that I remembered, because we all used his nickname.
20 That's why I couldn't remember.
21 Q. Just so I'm clear, so it was the Prosecutor who told you who this
22 individual was with the initials "MB"; correct?
23 A. No, it's not correct.
24 Q. Who did, then?
25 A. I stated that before the Prosecutor, when he asked me about that
2 Q. And was this something during the interview on July 12th, 2006 --
3 January, January. I'm sorry. January 12th, 2006. Thank you.
4 A. I believe you'll find it somewhere in here.
5 Q. We'll take a look at that a little closer, and we'll get back to
6 it tomorrow.
7 Just before the break, I want to ask you a couple of questions,
8 because you were asked by the Prosecutor about crimes, et cetera. Did you
9 ever discuss with him what a legitimate combat task was on January 12th,
11 A. Whose task are you referring to?
12 Q. Well, I'm referring to your battalion's combat task. Did you
13 discuss with the Prosecutor, in January of 2006, relating to your combat
14 task and whether or not it was legitimate?
15 A. I don't think so. It was only mentioned in his question, as I
16 have just been able to read.
17 Q. Do you remember discussing with the Prosecutor -- and it's just
18 for two minutes and we'll address it more tomorrow. Do you remember that
19 the Prosecutor told me -- told you that he didn't have any indication that
20 the 5th Engineering Battalion murdered anybody at the Kravica warehouse?
21 Do you remember him telling you that?
22 A. It seems to me that he said that there were no indications about
23 the 5th Engineering Battalion having killed anybody in Kravica.
24 Q. And also do you remember telling him that he didn't think the 5th
25 Engineers killed these people? Do you remember that on a separate
1 occasion when he was questioning you in January of 2006?
2 A. The Prosecutor interviewed me only once.
3 Q. And I understand that, and we'll address it.
4 I think it might be a good time to stop, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: By all means, Mr. Ostojic.
6 So, Witness, Mr. Simanic, look at me, please. Mr. Simanic, we are
7 stopping here for today, and we will continue and finish tomorrow, in the
9 Between now and tomorrow, when you resume your testimony and
10 conclude it, you're not to talk to anyone or let anyone talk to you or try
11 to discuss or mention to you the subject matter of your testimony. Do you
12 understand me?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
15 We stand adjourned.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
17 to be reconvened on Tuesday, 4th September,
18 2007, at 9.00 a.m.