1 Monday, 5 November 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 ---Upon commencing at 10.00 a.m.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, Mr. Registrar. Could you call the
6 case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-05-88-T, the Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. For the record all the accused are
10 here. Minus Beara. Accused Beara. What's the problem with your client,
11 Mr. Meek?
12 MR. MEEK: Your Honour, that's a very good question. One of the
13 guards said he was sick. He didn't call me, and I understand that there
14 has been no waiver faxed. So I'd asked Yaiza earlier to see if -- call
15 the UNDU to see if they've had a waiver faxed over.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. We are told that a waiver will be arriving in
17 the course of the day.
18 MR. MEEK: Thank you very much, Your Honour. I'd like to see a
19 copy of it when it comes.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Defence teams I notice the absence of
21 Mr. Bourgon and Mr. Ostojic. That's about it. The Prosecution it's
22 Mr. McCloskey and Mr. Thayer and no one else. You know that we have a
23 technical problem this morning. And we have waited for one hour to see if
24 it could be fixed. We are told that no solution has been found so far.
25 The effect or the consequences of this technical hitch that we have
1 encountered are the following: That although the proceedings are being
2 transcribed, are being recorded, in other words, although a transcript
3 does exist and will continue to exist throughout the sitting, none of us,
4 that includes ourselves, will be able to see the transcript visually on
5 our screens, both screens.
6 We have thought about the possibility, various options that we
7 have, and we have been also told that there is some reluctance on the part
8 of some of the Defence teams to proceed without a transcript. I would
9 like to know precisely what the objection is so that we'll be able to
10 decide what weight to give it and then take a decision on whether to
11 proceed with the sitting or not.
12 We have also been told that from the Prosecution side there is no
13 position to the sitting proceeding with the testimony of General Smith.
14 From the Defence teams, is there anyone who doesn't wish the proceedings
15 to go ahead? Yes, Mr. Zivanovic?
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I cannot follow the
17 transcript and I cannot remember exact phrases and exact translations
18 after the whole testimony of the witness and compare it with the
19 transcript when I got it, when I get it.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Why should that worry you today? You're not going
21 to cross-examine this witness today.
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: You are not.
24 MR. ZIVANOVIC: No, no.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Because this witness has to return and the
1 transcript will be available this afternoon or at latest tomorrow in any
2 case. You are not going to cross-examine the witness tomorrow. You are
3 not going to cross-examine the witness the day after. It will be quite
4 sometime before you cross-examine this witness, by which time would you
5 have had ample opportunity to go through the transcript, and you will be
6 receiving audio interpretation of his testimony as you go along. And
7 you're not going to receive at any time a transcript in B/C/S of what he
8 is saying. Because the transcript will be in English in any case.
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: That's correct. I'll get this transcript later
10 this day. All right. I'll not object in this case.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Does anybody else object? The understanding
12 is of course the transcript will be available in any case. Mr. Josse?
13 MR. JOSSE: No, we don't object, Your Honour, but could I invite
14 my learned friend Mr. Thayer to go particularly slowly because I for one
15 am going to need to make some sort of long hand note in the way that I
16 have done over the last 20 years in practice prior to coming here frankly,
17 and I've got no problem with that but one does need to go a bit slower.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I think that's fair enough. Mr. Thayer, you
19 agree to that? All right. Anyone else wishes to raise an objection?
20 Thank you. And to put the accused's mind at rest, you will be able to
21 follow the proceedings because you will be receiving interpretation in any
22 case. So next thing now before we start with General Smith, we will need
23 to reorganise a little bit the schedule for today. Let's start first and
24 in the course of the sitting, we'll communicate to you how we intend to
25 sit but the idea is to -- now that we have lost one hour to try and
1 recuperate as much as we can.
2 I take it there are no further -- no preliminaries?
3 MR. THAYER: Good morning, Mr. President, none.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: None. Okay. So Madam Usher, if you could bring in
5 General Smith, please?
6 Mr. Popovic. Why are you not hearing -- why don't you have your
7 headphones where they should be?
8 THE ACCUSED POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, they are not
9 comfortable when they are on my head, but I can hear quite well with the
10 headphones as they are now.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you, General.
14 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: And welcome to this Tribunal. I wish to apologise
16 to you first and foremost for the delay. We had a technical hitch. We
17 still have it, but we have discussed it with the parties and now there is
18 agreement that we can proceed notwithstanding the continuation of the
19 technical problem that we have. Only problem that exists also for you is
20 that while usually you would be able to follow the proceedings on the two
21 screens that you have in front of you, today, a transcript will not be
22 rolling at all and therefore you won't be able to follow the proceeding
23 except apart from what you would be hearing.
24 Before you start giving evidence, you're required to make a solemn
25 declaration, the text of which is being handed to you now. Please read it
1 out aloud and that will be your solemn undertaking with us.
2 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
3 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
4 WITNESS: RUPERT ANTHONY SMITH
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, sir. Please make yourself
6 comfortable. What's going to happen is that you're going to start your
7 testimony today then the understanding is that you will return later on to
8 continue it and to be cross-examined also at a later stage.
9 Mr. Thayer will go first. Since we don't have a transcript
10 facilities today, and we would need to take notes in longhand, I suggest
11 that in your answers, you try to slow down a little bit so that no one
12 will have big problems. And you also speak the same language, both
13 Mr. Thayer and yourself, and therefore always allow a short pause between
14 question and answer because the interpreters need that. Otherwise we'll
15 have problems.
16 For the rest, we will sit now until 11.40, and we'll have a 30
17 minute break after that and then we'll sit from 12.10 to quarter to 2.00.
18 All right? And that way we would recuperate, recover a little bit of the
19 lost time.
20 Yes, Mr. Thayer.
21 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President, good morning again to you
22 and Your Honours. Good morning everyone.
23 Examination by Mr. Thayer:
24 Q. Good morning, General.
25 A. Good morning.
1 Q. Would you please state your name for the record?
2 A. My name is Rupert Smith.
3 Q. General, we've lost a little bit of time, so I'm going to I think
4 move a little more quickly through your educational and background and
5 military service history. I'll try to summarise that quickly but if I've
6 gotten anything wrong, please feel free to correct me.
7 Sir, you were born in 1943, graduated Haileybury and the Imperial
8 Service college and then Sandhurst. You enlisted in the British army in
9 1962 and were commissioned into the parachute regiment in 1964. Your
10 service has brought you to Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the Caribbean,
11 and Asia. Specifically, looking at the last ten years of your service,
12 you were General officer commanding the first armoured division from 1990
13 to 1992, including the Gulf War. You served as assistant chief of Defence
14 Staff for operations from 1992 to 1994, and we'll get back to that in a
15 moment. You commanded UNPROFOR Bosnia-Herzegovina during the year of
16 1995. You were general officer commanding in Northern Ireland from 1996
17 to 1998. And you served as deputy supreme commander allied powers Europe
18 from 1998 to 2001, covering NATO's Balkan operations. And you retired at
19 the rank of Lieutenant General in January of 2002. Is that a correct
20 summary, General, of your service? Anything you would care to add?
21 A. Two corrections. I retired as a general, not a Lieutenant
22 General. And the full title of the appointment in the Ministry of Defence
23 in 1992 was the assistant chief of the Defence Staff for operations and
25 Q. And General, what kind of work do you do now?
1 A. I'm a consultant.
2 Q. Now, I'd like to go back to your time with the Ministry of
3 Defence, just prior to your service in Sarajevo. When you were at MOD,
4 can you describe for the Trial Chamber what you did?
5 A. Perhaps the easiest way of describing my job, which was a new job,
6 a new appointment in the ministry, it had been created as a result of the
7 experience of the 1991 Gulf War - and I had never worked in the Ministry
8 of Defence before - and the job was essentially to be the operations
9 officer for all of the United Kingdom armed forces; and thus every
10 operation we were conducting to a greater or lesser extent was -- went
11 over my desk.
12 Q. And what involvement if any did you have in operations pertaining
13 to the former Yugoslavia, General?
14 A. In the sense that these operations were -- the British side of
15 these operations, I was involved in the policy, the deployment of forces
16 and so forth.
17 Q. And would you give the Trial Chamber, please, an idea of some
18 specific examples of topics or areas in which you were involved
19 specifically having to do with the former Yugoslavia when you were chief
20 of operations for the staff?
21 A. There was the initial deployment -- we already had a -- I should
22 start with, we already had a deployment in Croatia when I was starting
23 this job, this appointment. There was the deployment -- the initial
24 deployment of a battle group to Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of UNPROFOR.
25 There was the -- and the associated work with that. There was all the
1 negotiations and staff work involved with, including NATO in the
2 operations, such as the no-fly zones, the safe areas, exclusion zones, and
3 so on.
4 Q. Was there also involvement to some degree with the so-called
5 contact group, the Trial Chamber may be hearing references here or there
6 to it, and if there was such involvement, can you explain what it was?
7 A. Yes. I was involved with the contact group but in support -- this
8 was -- the dealing with the contact group was conducted by another
9 department, the foreign office, and I would be there as the military
10 adviser in support of the foreign office official who would be doing the
11 actual dealings with the contact group.
12 Q. And what was the contact group, General?
13 A. The contact group was formed by a number of nations after the
14 United States had refused to accept the Vance-Owen Plan in, if my memory
15 is correct, 1993. The countries in the initial grouping of countries in
16 the group was, from memory, the United States, Russia, Britain, France and
17 Germany, and the idea of the contact group was to stay in contact with
18 each other, hence its name, those countries to stay in contact with each
19 other and to coordinate their policy.
20 Q. Now, do you recall the date you took command of UNPROFOR
22 A. It's late January 1995 and I think it's the 26th but it might -- I
23 might be wrong by a day or two.
24 Q. Where were you headquartered, sir?
25 A. The -- my headquarters was in Sarajevo itself, in the residency.
1 There was a rare headquarters down in Split but my particular bit of it
2 was in Sarajevo.
3 Q. And who was your predecessor?
4 A. My predecessor was a general, Sir Michael Rose. He at the time
5 was a lieutenant general.
6 Q. And when you arrived in Sarajevo, who was your immediate
8 A. My immediate superior was General Janvier in Zagreb.
9 Q. And was there a UN civilian leadership above you as well?
10 A. Yes. There was the Secretary-General's special representative,
11 Mr. Akashi in Zagreb.
12 Q. And to whom did Mr. Akashi report?
13 A. He reported to the Secretary-General back in New York.
14 Q. And General, when it came to decisions of magnitude, where were
15 those decisions taken, in Sarajevo where were you based, or elsewhere?
16 A. I'm not quite sure what you mean by magnitude.
17 Q. Let my give you an example. For example, if close air support
18 were called for somewhere within your area of command, where would that
19 decision be taken ultimately?
20 A. I'd like to differentiate between close air support and other
21 forms of aerial attack. If it was close air support in direct defence of
22 UNPROFOR forces, then that could be called for by anybody. There were
23 decisions to be made by -- as to whether or not it was -- the call would
24 be answered up the chain of command, and strictly, that never changed.
25 What happened was that over the year of 1995 until after the
1 London Conference in July, this decision became increasingly held by the
2 political chain of command, but the other forms of aerial attack they are
3 still dropping bombs but their purpose of them such as enforcing the
4 exclusion zone would be an example. This was always a higher-level
5 decision than just calling for close air support, and after May, end of
6 May 1995, that decision had to all intents and purposes been moved to
7 Boutros-Ghali, the Secretary-General in New York, and remained there until
8 after the London Conference.
9 Q. And we may recur to some of those topics later. When you arrived
10 in Sarajevo, General, did you have a Chief of Staff?
11 A. Yes, I did.
12 Q. Did you have more than one during the year of your service?
13 A. Yes. They changed every six months, and I had three.
14 Q. Do you recall their names and the -- I'm sorry, General, we have
15 an interruption?
16 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Thayer. Yes, General Miletic?
17 THE ACCUSED MILETIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm sorry to
18 interrupt, but could we stick to what we had agreed; that Mr. Thayer
19 should slow down a little and the General Rupert Smith as well so we can
20 note things down? This is no different from any other examination. I
21 think it is going even a little faster.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Fair enough, and I had the same feeling too. You
23 had forgotten all about what I had stated earlier, so please do slow down
24 both of you. Thank you.
25 MR. THAYER:
1 Q. General, do you recall the names of your chiefs of staff and
2 approximately when they served?
3 A. The only one I can immediately remember is the middle one, General
4 Nicolai, and he served in -- as my Chief of Staff from approximately March
5 until September of that year, 1995.
6 Q. And did you also have a military assistant during your service?
7 A. Yes. I had a military assistant.
8 Q. And what was that person's name?
9 A. Again, I had two of them, one after the other. The first was
10 Colonel Baxter and the second Colonel Carleton [phoen]. My memory is that
11 Baxter left either at end of September early October and Carleton came
12 after that.
13 Q. Now, in addition to UNPROFOR Bosnia-Herzegovina being based in
14 Sarajevo, was there a subordinate sector based in Sarajevo as well?
15 A. Yes. Sector Sarajevo had its own headquarters, and that too was
16 in the city.
17 Q. Were you co-located or was sector Sarajevo in a separate
19 A. It was in a separate location.
20 Q. And what was that location?
21 A. I think, if my memory is correct, in the PTT building. It was
22 certainly down in that direction.
23 Q. Do you recall who commanded sector Sarajevo during the period of
24 your service, General?
25 A. There were three commanders during my time there. The first was
1 Brigadier General Gobillard, the second Brigadier General Bashley [phoen],
2 and I can't remember the third one, but he came in I think November.
3 Q. When you took command of UNPROFOR Bosnia-Herzegovina, what
4 generally speaking, was the military-political situation you were facing
5 in January, February of 1995?
6 A. The general situation was that there had been signed recently a
7 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement between the federation and the Bosnian
8 Serbs. The -- and by and large that was holding when I took over.
9 Q. And in connection with that Cessation of Hostilities Agreement,
10 General, was there a process of meetings that had been designed to
11 implement that agreement?
12 A. Yes. Yes, there were.
13 Q. And did that process have a name and can you describe for the
14 Trial Chamber whether that process was working during your time?
15 A. It did have a name. It was something like the joint commission
16 but I can't remember the full title. And it failed -- the process, as it
17 was intended, failed to work. It didn't function during -- it wasn't
18 functioning when I took over, and it didn't get any better in the
19 subsequent weeks.
20 Q. And what was the idea behind this joint commission?
21 A. Again, I'd need to look at the old -- the agreement to be precise
22 about this, but the general idea was that at this commission the two sides
23 would sort out those issues that were still -- that might occur as to why
24 fighting should start again, and they would sort them out within that
1 Q. Now, General, soon after your arrival, did you begin meeting with
2 various civilian and military leaders of the warring parties?
3 A. Yes. There was a programme that I went through of meeting
4 principal actors in -- on all sides.
5 Q. And would you please just name some of the individuals on both
6 sides, both from the civilian and military leadership, of the Bosnian
7 Muslim side and the Bosnian Serb side with whom you met?
8 A. Taking them in the order you've mentioned, the president
9 Izetbegovic. Muratovic was the minister with particular responsibility
10 for dealing with the UN. Silajdzic. General Delic would be four that
11 come to mind on, if you like, the Sarajevo side. In Pale, I met Karadzic,
12 Koljevic, Krajisnik, Mladic, for four names there.
13 Q. And were these meetings sometimes also attended by civilian UN
15 A. In almost all cases, if I had a civil affairs, political affairs,
16 UN officials in my headquarters, I would take them with me and in those
17 early days, I certainly had UN officials with me, yes.
18 Q. And do you recall just some of the names of those people who
19 accompanied you from time to time?
20 A. The principal one in those early days was Enrique Aguilar, a
21 Mexican. A bit later on Diane Mehoff [phoen] who came from Bulgaria, if I
22 recall correctly. Then there's a gap. Antonio Pedwey [phoen] came
23 subsequently. He would be there from about September. Those would be
24 three names.
25 Q. And would Mr. Akashi be present sometimes for these meetings?
1 A. Yes. He came to meetings but they were his meetings, though. He
2 wasn't there in support of me.
3 Q. And generally speaking, what was the reasons -- or what were the
4 reasons for these meetings, particularly during the early period of your
5 service in February and March and going into April of 1995?
6 A. I understand my purpose in the meetings as opposed to the purpose
7 of the joint commission or whatever these were called. This was my
8 purpose. I was interested in meeting all these people and gaining an
9 understanding of their position and what their intentions were.
10 Q. This might be an obvious question, General, but why were you doing
12 A. I had my own mission given to me, which was, in short, to see that
13 humanitarian aid was delivered, to carry out the instructions of the
14 Security Council in relation to the exclusion zones and safe areas, and to
15 do that amidst a war, even if it had been a cease-fire in existence, I
16 needed to understand the intentions and positions of the various parties.
17 Q. And was your effort at understanding the intentions of the various
18 parties something that you tried to give form to or was it something that
19 just took you from meeting to meeting?
20 A. No. I gave -- there was -- I had a fairly systematic approach to
21 this effort, and so it had a form. I called it a thesis or my thesis, and
22 it was used by me as a means of asking questions and looking for
23 information so as to be able to clarify my thinking as to what was
24 happening during those early weeks, and to project that into the future.
25 Q. General, would you describe your thesis and how it developed and
1 the process by which you worked through your thesis over time?
2 A. Well, let's -- I will start with the process. Essentially, there
3 was the daily reports. There was sources of information. There were my
4 own officers and the sectors on the ground, with their headquarters all
5 providing me with information as to what they thought was going on and
6 what the people they dealt with were saying was going on.
7 And then there were these contacts I was having with the
8 leadership. And the -- the idea of the thesis, if I could just explain
9 the theory, if you like, it had become my practice much earlier in my
10 service that if I was faced with a situation that was not very clear to
11 me, then I would establish a hypothesis, the most likely set of
12 circumstances, and then collect information to either prove it right or
13 wrong, and then keep adjusting it until I had a synthesis or the thesis
14 that I would operate on. And this focused the work of my staff and of my
15 own thinking.
16 The -- in this particular case, it started to become clear to me,
17 from these -- largely from these conversations with the leaderships, that
18 no side to this conflict actually wanted to make peace at this stage, and
19 that this Cessation of Hostilities Agreement would break down. And the
20 evidence of it breaking down became more frequently available during
21 February and March and early April. At its simplest, the Federation were
22 beginning to gain strength and had been forced back into a small-enough
23 area that their numerical superiority and the arms they were now getting
24 were going to give them an advantage if they started to fight again, and
25 they would be seeking, I thought, a -- to alter the situation to their
1 advantage by armed force.
2 On the other side, the Bosnian Serbs had got so much territory and
3 had so few people that they were overextended, and they would have liked
4 to have a cessation of hostilities to work so that that became the basis
5 from which they could bargain from, but they weren't going to be allowed
6 to do that. And the only way they could hold the territory that they had
7 was that they needed to produce more soldiers, and that the running sore
8 in their situation were the enclaves, specifically the enclaves in the
9 east, Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde, which, from their point of view, lay
10 in their year and required the -- a large number of forces and resources
11 to guard.
12 I therefore -- in the light of this, I came to the conclusion -
13 and I assert, re-emphasise, that this was a thesis, I was quite prepared
14 to discover other information to change my mind or my thinking about this,
15 I didn't but that didn't stop me looking for it - that the -- not only was
16 the probability that this cease-fire would break down, but in order to be
17 able to hold the territory they had gained, that the Bosnian Serbs would,
18 in the words I used at the time, squeeze the eastern enclaves, and that in
19 order to reduce their significance and to bring -- and to free up forces
20 so as to be able to defend the territory that had been gained or held from
21 the Bosnian Muslims and the Federation generally.
22 Q. Now, General, you referred to various sources of information that
23 was coming to you or that you sought out during this process. Was that
24 information both of a purely military nature, shall we say, or did it also
25 include information of a larger political nature, if we can make that
2 A. We were certainly getting reporting from the UN chain of command,
3 the civil side of the UN chain of command, there was a certain amount of
4 national support available to the headquarters, British in my case, but
5 the French would be getting French and so forth and so that got pooled, as
6 much as it was able to be pooled, yes.
7 Q. Now, how important, or not, was it to you to have an awareness of
8 the political context in which these military developments were occurring?
9 A. It was very important to have that understanding. The position I
10 was in was absolutely on the interface between the politics and the
12 Q. General, what I'd like to do now is discuss with you some specific
13 meetings that you had, beginning in March of 1995. And I want to turn
14 your attention first to the first week of March and to a meeting you had
15 with General Mladic in Jahorina. I want to ask you what if anything you
16 recall about that particular meeting in Jahorina.
17 A. The first thing I'd say of it was it was an important meeting in
18 that it was one of those ones where I gained an understanding that helped
19 to crystallise what I was talking about earlier, the thesis. From my
20 memory, we realised this -- a meeting was taking place in Jahorina
21 about -- during the period 24, 36 hours before I went to the one with
23 At the time, I had an officer on my staff whose -- called Mike
24 Stanley, and he got up to Jahorina the night before I met with Mladic. We
25 had also seen a number of vehicles with Belgrade plates and Russian
1 vehicles from the Russian Battalion under my command, up at Jahorina in
2 that period before. So we knew there was a big meeting going on
3 with -- of some significance.
4 My memory is that I was invited to come to Jahorina the next day.
5 Whether the invite came the next -- that next day or the day before, I
6 can't recall. When I got up there, I met with, first, Koljevic, and then
7 Mladic and Koljevic together. And they wanted to tell me that a big
8 decision had been made and that essentially they reckoned that the
9 Federation would be going back to war and that the -- and that, secondly,
10 the UN were part of the problem, if you like, that we were supplying the
11 enclaves, we were causing-- we were keeping these groups of people alive
12 from which operations were being conducted and so on.
13 Q. Okay. Let's actually take a look at some notes of that meeting.
14 If we could have 65 ter number 2933 on e-court, please?
15 General you should have a document showing up momentarily, and if
16 it's easier to have a hard copy, I do have them available.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: We can't afford to lose or waste more time. If we
18 have a hard copy, let's put it on the ELMO, please. This is going to come
19 up. I am not receiving anything in any case. It is in the e-court. But
20 put it on the ELMO and let's proceed that way for the time being.
21 So, please try to locate it in e-court.
22 JUDGE KWON: Check whether e-court is working or not.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't see a reason why it shouldn't.
24 JUDGE KWON: Yes, it's here now.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: And let's proceed in this manner. E-court, I'd like
1 to see the B/C/S version so that the accused can follow, and we put the
2 original English version on the ELMO. So English version on the ELMO.
3 The ELMO is not working with the screen either?
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Can we have the B/C/S version on e-court,
6 please? It is working as well now. What we need is the B/C/S version.
7 All right. E-court is working, as far as documents are concerned
8 so we have the English version there. So if you have -- if you have the
9 B/C/S version, you can put that on the ELMO instead. All right. Okay.
10 B/C/S is available there as well. All right. Your next question? And
11 sorry for this interruption.
12 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Q. General, do you recognise what this document is?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And what is this?
16 A. It is a report by my MA, Colonel Baxter, and we had the practice
17 that he -- at the end of a meeting such as this, he would write a minute
18 and it would be distributed to those who needed to know what had been said
19 and done at the meeting, and this is one of those meetings -- such
21 Q. And would you describe, please, for the Trial Chamber what the
22 purpose of this account of the meeting was, for you, in terms of what you
23 intended the document to do?
24 A. The purpose of this was that other people would know, other people
25 in my command, and those who commanded me, would know what I had been
1 doing, what I'd said, what -- and others had said at this meeting, so
2 there was a record from which my own people could then act.
3 Q. And what was of particular importance to you, if anything, about
4 the way these reports were written?
5 A. Well, the first thing is they should be a factual account but they
6 should -- and record the essential points discussed, any decisions made
7 and so on. But secondly, they should provide something of the atmosphere
8 of the meeting, both in its overall setting, as well as in the actual
9 atmospherics of the meeting itself.
10 Q. And how did you consider Colonel Baxter's skill in achieving that,
12 A. I was content, happy, with his way he did it, and it is within my
13 own army one of the functions of a military assistant, to do this and to
14 do it properly.
15 Q. Now, let's take a look at this document, specifically at paragraph
16 1. It refers to the meeting between yourself and General Mladic. Now,
17 other than his bodyguards, would General Mladic typically attend these
18 meetings alone or would he be accompanied by any other VRS officers?
19 A. No. He was -- he would not hold these meetings on his own, and
20 he -- I can't think of an occasion when he wasn't accompanied by another
21 senior officer and it was frequently General Tolimir that is mentioned in
22 this -- in that paragraph.
23 Q. Now, I note first that there is a reference in this paragraph 1,
24 which is on page 1 of both the English and the B/C/S, to a conversation
25 that you had with Mladic the day before, in which he approved a convoy for
1 DutchBat resupply. General, do you recall anything in particular about
2 that conversation you had with General Mladic the day before?
3 A. There were -- it was not only a convoy. It was for me to go as
4 well, into Srebrenica. I had been trying to gain permission from Mladic
5 almost since the very first days I was in command, to visit the eastern
6 enclaves and the UNPROFOR forces in them that I commanded, and this -- in
7 addition, and in particular in the case of the Srebrenica, they were very
8 low on supplies. I can't remember the detail and exactly how low, but it
9 was beginning to be something that was reported to me. And so on this
10 occasion, as I recall it, both the need to get a convoy in and my wish to
11 visit myself was a subject of that conversation.
12 Q. Now, without going into any specifics, because we'll do that in a
13 moment, to what extent, if any, did the resupply of DutchBat's materiel
14 and fuel become a topic of future meetings that you had with the Serb
16 A. Oh, it continued to be a demand that we could get resupplies into
17 our own forces in the enclaves quite apart from the demand to get the
18 humanitarian convoys in, which were also being denied. And in this
19 particular case, there was a humanitarian element to the request, as I
20 recall it again. Medecins Sans Frontieres were short of medical supplies,
21 if I remember correctly.
22 Q. Now, if we may, let's turn to page 2 of this document, and that's
23 page 2 of both the English and the B/C/S, and look at paragraph 4. Okay.
24 I see we have both versions up now.
25 General, the first line of paragraph 4 indicates that the bulk of
1 the meeting and evidently the main issue Mladic wished to discuss was the
2 effect of sanctions on the Bosnian Serbs. What are the sanctions that are
3 being referred to here? And why were they in place? Just briefly, if you
4 can recall.
5 A. There were a series of sanction measures, and they go back to the
6 very beginning of the -- of this crisis. There was -- that had been
7 placed not only the Bosnian Serbs but on Serbia. As to the movement of
8 weapons and so on and so forth. I'd have to go back and read the
9 documents to be more detailed and precise.
10 Q. Now, towards the end of that paragraph, it indicates that General
11 Mladic then threatened a blockade of all enclaves, including Sarajevo, if
12 sanctions were not lifted. And if we look at the bottom of page 2 of the
13 English, it indicates that he demanded acceptance of his terms by 15
14 March, after which he would impose a blockade on all enclaves. And we
15 have to go to the next page of the B/C/S to pick that up, and end of the
17 Now, General, what was your response to General Mladic's threat of
18 a blockade?
19 A. Well, first of all, I pointed out that he would be in effect
20 attacking the international community by doing this, and there would be at
21 some point there is consequences of that. Secondly, he was preventing me
22 from doing what I'd been told to do. And that the next stage, if I can't
23 do this, would be to start to use air resupply and if that was attacked,
24 he would involve NATO because NATO would then become -- would be flying in
25 support of the helicopters.
1 Q. If we turn to paragraph 7, and that's at page 3 of both the
2 English and the B/C/S, that's just at the bottom of the page, there is a
3 reference to another meeting being scheduled for the 7th of March, which
4 was to follow your visit to Srebrenica on the 6th and 7th. You've already
5 alluded to the permission that General Mladic had granted to you to visit
6 Srebrenica. Did you in fact visit the enclave, sir, on those dates?
7 A. Yes, I did. And there was at least one, if not two, supply
8 vehicles came with me into the enclave. They came on different routes, if
9 I recall correctly, and I did visit, yes.
10 Q. And did you visit both the town itself of Srebrenica as well as
11 the DutchBat base?
12 A. Yes. I was visiting primarily the unit, but in doing so, I was
13 shown the town, I met various officials, inspected the weapon collection
14 point and so on.
15 Q. Would you first describe for the Trial Chamber your recollections
16 of the DutchBat base and the situation that you observed there?
17 A. The entry into the enclave was through a specific check-point
18 which was -- clearly controlled all movement by UNPROFOR and supply
19 convoys in and out of the enclave. And I can't remember whether it was on
20 my way out or my way in, but one of the vehicles with me, one of the
21 supply vehicles, had a very detailed search and inspection carried out on
22 it by that check-point.
23 The Dutch Battalion was stationed at a place called Potocari which
24 was outside the town of Srebrenica itself in an old factory. There was a
25 number of portocabin type structures around the old factory as well but
1 that's where they were stationed. In the town itself -- the town itself
2 was largely built up in -- along one long road running up this valley with
3 the houses all around it. And then around the outside of the enclave, but
4 particularly on the side nearest the town, there were a -- a series of OPs
5 of which I went and visited, I think, two of them.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Thayer. Just wanted to inform you
7 that for a short while we did get something like 20 lines of transcript
8 but it was only for a short time and it stuck again so that if you can
9 identify what happened during that short interval, maybe you found a
11 MR. THAYER: I see a reference to Ms. Baxendale on my transcript,
12 so I'm not sure what we're getting but hope springs eternal.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Go ahead. Nothing to do with this case,
14 okay. All right. Go ahead.
15 MR. THAYER:
16 Q. Now, General, would you describe the state of affairs as you found
17 them among the DutchBat contingent that you visited in terms of their
18 supplies and operational capacity?
19 A. When the battalion had deployed, and my memory is that they
20 replaced a Canadian unit, the Bosnian Serbs had prevented all their
21 initial supplies and some of their ammunition and weapons from being
22 deployed into the enclave. So there was a basic shortage of certain items
23 already. They had not been supplied with a number of things, and
24 particular concern was fuel, for some time and again I can't remember the
25 precise details. And there was a limited supply of certain natures of
1 ammunition as a result of the initial failure to get the kit into the
2 enclave in the first place.
3 They weren't starving, but there certainly wasn't much variation
4 in the diet or anything like that at that stage.
5 Q. Now, you referred to bringing in some medical supplies for
6 Medecins Sans Frontieres. Did you visit with any NGOs while you were in
7 Srebrenica, General?
8 A. I don't remember visiting specific NGOs. I remember
9 representatives of the NGOs all coming together at the battalion
10 headquarters at some stage when I was there and meeting them there.
11 Q. And did they describe -- I'm sorry, I'll try to leave more of a
12 pause. Did they describe what their situation was, sir?
13 A. Yes. But I'd also knew this to some extent from the reporting in
14 my own headquarters. Both UNHCR who was responsible for getting food in
15 had been reporting a shortage of the basic rations being got into the
16 enclave, and there was this shortfall in certain medical supplies and
17 again I cannot remember the precise details of that, and -- but my memory
18 is that one of those trucks that we brought was -- contained medical
19 supplies for Medecins Sans Frontieres.
20 Q. You've already noted that a meeting was scheduled for the 7th of
21 March. Did you, in fact, meet with General Mladic again on the 7th?
22 A. Yes, we met at Vlasenica as planned, on my way out of-- from
24 Q. Do you recall whether or not you conveyed your impressions of
25 Srebrenica to General Mladic at this meeting?
1 A. I don't recall it precisely as you stated it, but we undoubtedly
2 discussed the situation of the enclaves, yes.
3 Q. And do you recall what if anything he said to you with respect to
4 resupplying the enclaves?
5 A. My memory of that meeting was it was more of the -- of the line of
6 the Jahorina meeting, that these enclaves are a great nuisance in my
7 rear. This is Mladic talking. And "I am going to prevent them from being
8 a problem to me."
9 Q. Well, let's look at another report. This is 65 ter number 2934,
10 if we may have that on e-court, please.
11 MR. JOSSE: Sorry, could we have the number again?
12 MR. THAYER: The number is 2934.
13 Q. And I note that this refers to the meeting on 7 March between
14 yourself and General Mladic. Let's just move along, General, if we could,
15 to the bottom of page 1, which is paragraph 4, and that's page 2 of the
17 It notes that you asked or General Mladic asked you for his -- for
18 your impressions of your visit, and you registered your concern over the
19 shortages of the medical supplies and general supply shortages. If we
20 turn to page 2 of the English, and I think we can stay with the B/C/S, the
21 report notes that at this stage, Mladic reported that he had cleared food
22 and medicine convoys to Srebrenica and Zepa over the last 24 hours.
23 What if anything, General, did this tell you, given your prior
24 conversation on the 4th of March, in which General Mladic had cleared a
25 convoy? What if anything did this tell you about his ability or authority
1 to approve or restrict the resupply of the enclaves.
2 A. Well, it confirmed a long-standing view held by my predecessor,
3 quite apart from myself, that Mladic was very much in charge and that
4 these restrictions and orders were centrally controlled and controlled by
5 him and his headquarters.
6 Q. During this meeting, General, do you recall General Mladic telling
7 you anything about his intentions regarding the size or the boundaries of
8 the eastern enclaves?
9 A. Yes. At the risk of talking about ground without a map, between
10 the enclave of Srebrenica and to its south the enclave of Zepa, was an
11 east-west road, that was important to the Serbs. The road was outside the
12 boundaries of the enclave of Srebrenica, but could be overlooked by the
13 Bosniak positions in the enclave. It could be overlooked and attacked.
14 And this was a cause of concern to Mladic, and I must assume his
15 subordinate commanders in the area.
16 Q. Now, let's take a look at paragraph 5 here of the English page 2
17 and same page for the B/C/S, thank you. There is a reference to an
18 UNPROFOR OP or OPs in the area of this road that you described. And then
19 there is a reference to a presentation by General Mladic. Can you
20 describe, please, for the Trial Chamber what that presentation entailed?
21 A. The essential point of his argument was that -- was twofold. The
22 first was that the UN had allowed the Bosnian defenders of Srebrenica in
23 this particular case to expand the area of the safe area to their
24 advantage, to wit, in this case, overlooking this particular road.
25 And the second point was that the safe areas in his view were a
1 great deal smaller than they were now, and he indicated on the map just
2 how small in his view they really were. And I think in this paragraph
3 we -- Baxter put them in. Yes, he does, about in the middle, the safe
4 areas comprise a limited area, Srebrenica 4 and a half kilometres by one
5 kilometre and so forth. Those were being -- those were indicated to us at
6 this meeting.
7 Q. And if we look further down in this report, it indicates that
8 Mladic explained that he would attack into the enclaves to destroy the
9 Armija, but would respect his interpretation of the boundaries of the safe
10 areas. What did you understand that to mean?
11 A. Well, you must remember that although I took of the thesis now as
12 though it was a formed idea, it wasn't anything of the sort. This was an
13 idea that's in the process of constant development.
14 The meeting in Jahorina, my drives through Bosnian Serb territory
15 to Srebrenica, the -- and this particular meeting, were all giving me more
16 information against which to test the thesis. And here was a -- here was
17 the commander, Mladic, telling me what I had already started to form an
18 idea as to what he would be doing, which was to squeeze the safe areas, to
19 squeeze the enclaves, to make them less of a problem in his rear area.
20 And so this -- I was assessing what he was saying in that light.
21 Q. Now, before we move on, General, you just referred to your drives
22 through Bosnian Serb-held territory. What if anything about those drives
23 added or subtracted as it might have been, from your thesis?
24 A. It was its emptiness. There was -- there were very, very few
25 people about and the people you saw were not males of military age.
1 Q. And what did tell you?
2 A. That there was a shortage of manpower to defend the area that they
3 had taken, and they needed to find a way of freeing up forces.
4 Q. The report goes on to state that these concerns had led him,
5 General Mladic, to restrict the amount of food, medicine, and fuel
6 destined for the enclaves.
7 JUDGE KWON: Next page for B/C/S.
8 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. Do you recall him telling you that, and if so, what was your
10 response, General?
11 A. Well, I explained that, you know, you -- this again would be a
12 question -- would be interpreted as an attack on the safe areas by the
13 international community, by the Security Council and so forth, and that in
14 the long term this was not in the interests of the Bosnian Serbs.
15 Q. And I'll ask you a couple of questions about this later but with
16 respect to this observation post along this east-west communication, do
17 you recall what eventually happened to that OP in the south of the
19 A. Yes. It got attacked, and if my memory is correct, shot up by a
20 Bosnian Serb tank, and the occupants subsequently withdrew. I'm not sure
21 when that occurred, but it's before the fall of Srebrenica.
22 Q. Finally on this document, General, there is a comment at the end
23 of paragraph 5. It deals with your interpretation of this exchange with
24 General Mladic. Is there anything you care to add or elaborate upon to
25 this interpretation that may have betrayed's General Mladic's capacity or
1 lack thereof to fight a two-front war?
2 A. What you see here is the thesis being formed. I'm talking after
3 the event. This is a report being written in the event. And here you can
4 see my military assistant in effect saying what I've just been saying,
5 that we were beginning to put together that what's being said to us and so
6 forth as to support the idea that the -- there wasn't enough forces for
7 the Bosnian Serbs to do what they were going to need to do if they didn't
8 squeeze the enclaves.
9 Q. Now, you've testified that in addition to the high military
10 command of the Bosnian Serbs, you also met with their political
11 leadership. I want to turn your attention to a meeting you had with
12 President Karadzic at a hotel near Pale on the 5th of April. This was a
13 meeting where you were accompanied by one person each. Do you recall this
14 meeting, General?
15 A. Specifically, no. I remember there was a series of these meetings
16 during April and I think early May, and they would have started in early
17 April. So I imagine the one you're referring to is the first.
18 Q. Okay. Well, we'll then look at some of these individual meeting
19 reports. Was there a reason that you met under these circumstances with
20 President Karadzic?
21 A. (A), I wanted to go on talking to the Bosnian Serbs. It was part
22 of my understanding the situation. But also to try and play my part in
23 support of Mr. Akashi and others in furthering the Cessation of
24 Hostilities Agreement. And so I was interested in having these
25 conversations with everybody, quite apart from the military commanders.
1 The -- my memory is that it was the President Karadzic himself who
2 wanted to meet in this way and in that hotel. He was the one, I think,
3 who dictated the venue and the attendants.
4 Q. Well, let's look, General, at 65 ter number 2935. Okay. I see we
5 have the B/C/S up now as well. Do you see the report before you,
7 A. M'hm.
8 Q. It notes that this is a summary of the meeting or starts with a
9 summary of the meeting between yourself and President Karadzic, and it
10 indicates that it was secret and private. Now, again, was that secrecy
11 and privacy your choice or President Karadzic's choice?
12 A. I think it was his, his choice.
13 Q. And did you have any insight at the time as to why he wanted to
14 meet in secret?
15 A. I think my recall of this, I think he was -- he found it easier to
16 deal in a small group than with everybody around him, and I think at the
17 time we thought that there was a certain amount of tension between the
18 political and military in Pale as to how to deal with this crisis that
19 they were approaching, that they'd were either - and I think by now the
20 Bosnians have actually attacked or they knew an attack was imminent - I
21 can't remember the chronology very precisely. But either towards the end
22 of March or very early April the Bosnians have actually carried out an
23 attack and I think this is after that event.
24 Q. Well, let's look at the actual document. It indicates that
25 President Karadzic was accompanied by Dr. Zametica. I want to direct your
1 attention to paragraph 3 of the English, and if we could scroll up on the
2 B/C/S, perfect, thank you.
3 It indicates that you expressed serious concerns regarding recent
4 activities of the VRS, specifically an increasing number of attacks on
5 safe areas, direct targeting of UNPROFOR personnel and disruption of
6 humanitarian aid convoys. And it indicates that you explained that
7 eventually you would be forced to respond by NATO air strikes.
8 Do you recall what President Karadzic told you about the supplies
9 in the enclaves, his view of the resupply situation in the enclaves?
10 A. I think this is not only his, it was -- I think there was a
11 general view that we were in effect supplying the Bosnian defenders, we,
12 the UN, that was, and that we were taking in, as it were, extra staff to
13 supply them so that the defence of the safe area would be -- would be
14 supported. I don't remember the particular points in this meeting, but I
15 dare say the documents will show us that he had the view.
16 Q. Okay. If we could look at the top of page 2 of the English, he
17 specifies that he would not facilitate the movement of humanitarian aid
18 while the Bosnian Serbs were under blockade. Do you recall that, sir?
19 A. Oh, yes. But that was -- yes. But that was part of the arguments
20 of Jahorina as well, that generally, that if this is being done to us,
21 we're not going to help anyone else either.
22 Q. And again, that was a separate issue from the resupply of the
23 UNPROFOR forces, is that fair to say?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Now, if we could scroll down to paragraph 9 just for a moment, and
1 that's going to be running from pages 2 to 3 --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: One problem. No, no I thought I heard General
3 Miletic. You're okay now?
4 THE ACCUSED MILETIC: [Interpretation] We cannot follow, neither I
5 nor the others, if they are not switching pages, and he doesn't really
6 care whether we follow or not.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Let's go ahead. I think you can follow now.
8 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
10 MR. THAYER:
11 Q. We are looking at paragraph 9, the bottom of page 1 of the
12 English, and we are set with the B/C/S. The first line of paragraph 9
13 indicates that President Karadzic was at pains to point out the decision
14 had been made to start a counteroffensive. And if we move to the last
15 page of the English and if we move to the next page of the B/C/S at
16 paragraph 10, there is a notation that President Karadzic expressed no
17 concern about the threat of NATO and announced a clear preparedness to
18 take NATO on.
19 General, given these expressions by President Karadzic, what
20 conclusion or inference did you draw from this encounter as to where
21 things stood with the Bosnian Serbs?
22 A. I see from this that that attack had occurred so, the one I
23 meant -- the Bosnians had started an offensive. Well, to all intents and
24 purposes, the cease-fire had now broken down. It takes the rest of this
25 month of April for everyone to recognise it but that's -- this is the
1 beginning of the end. Certainly, the -- and here I found it difficult to
2 remember what I thought in April 1995, when I now know what happened later
3 that year, let alone what I've heard since, but my -- I think my
4 understanding at the time was that here was more of what we were already
5 starting to see in late February and March, and certainly since that
6 Jahorina meeting and my trip into Srebrenica, that the Bosnian Serbs were
7 going to counterattack, were going to put the pressure on to the safe
8 areas, specifically those in the east, and that for them the UN and NATO
9 were neutralised, they could control us, by means of restricting our
10 freedom of movement and of restricting the supplies and so forth that we
12 Q. General, I note -- I think we are coming up on the first break?
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, you've got about two, three minutes left before
14 the break, but if you wish to stop here, we can stop now.
15 MR. THAYER: That would be preferable, Mr. President. We have
16 another document. Thank you.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: So we'll have strictly 30 minutes' break in order to
18 try again to recover some of the lost time. Thank you.
19 ---Recess taken at 11.39 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 12.12 p.m.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Before we proceed, I'm pleased to announce
22 that the transcript facilities now are working well. So we can proceed.
23 The chunk that we missed before will be added later on in the day.
24 Mr. Thayer.
25 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Q. Good afternoon, General.
2 A. Good afternoon.
3 Q. We have LiveNote but I think I will continue to proceed with all
4 deliberate speed so that everyone can follow along as I refer to both the
5 English and the B/C/S versions. And again, we also need to leave a pause
6 between our answers, that's as important as each of us speaking slowly.
7 General, I want to turn your attention to a meeting you had --
8 actually a series of meetings, in April, specifically 20 April, where you
9 met with both Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Serb officials, and why don't we
10 just go directly to the report of that meeting. That's 65 ter 2936.
11 Do you see the document, General?
12 A. Yes, I do.
13 Q. Okay. Under the heading, "Meeting with Bosnian government
14 officials," if we look at paragraph number 4, and that's on page 1 of both
15 the English and the B/C/S, you and Mr. Akashi dealt with some demands of
16 the Bosnian government, specifically that they had urged a more robust
17 interpretation of the UNPROFOR mandate. And if you would just elaborate a
18 bit upon what you and Mr. Akashi, what your response was to this urging to
19 be more forceful in the execution of the mandate, and this proceeds from
20 the bottom of page 4 to the top of -- I mean bottom of page 1 to the top
21 of page 2 of both versions. If you could just explain for the Trial
22 Chamber, perhaps in a little bit more detail, your response to the Bosnian
23 Muslim officials and whether this was something that was an isolated
24 demand on their part or whether this was something you had heard before
25 from them.
1 A. No. We had -- this wasn't isolated. This was a theme that you
2 can trace back through much of the story of Bosnia, and UNPROFOR's
3 involvement in it. Each of the parties would seek to use the UN and the
4 UN forces in the country to their advantage. I had a phrase for this. I
5 called it the hostage and shield situation. The -- in many respects, the
6 Bosnians saw the UN as a very convenient source of their legitimisation,
7 support for their population, and particularly with NATO a potential
8 support for their cause in a military sense.
9 The Bosnian Serbs saw the UN as a rather less of a shield and
10 rather more of a hostage in more cases than not in that here was a means
11 of controlling and influencing the international community, and I think
12 this particular case is a manifestation of that in the particular set of
14 Q. If we turn to paragraph 7, and this is page 2 of both the English
15 and the B/C/S, there is a summary, notes that attending this meeting were
16 yourself, Mr. Akashi, President Karadzic, Messrs. Koljevic, Krajisnik and
17 General Gvero. It indicates that the three major issues addressed were
18 the extension of the cessation of hostilities agreements, the safety and
19 resupply of UNPROFOR personnel and Sarajevo airport.
20 Do you remember having a specific conversation with General Gvero
21 during this meeting about the issue of fuel being restricted to
23 A. If I recall it correctly, it was that fuel was being used, we were
24 in effect supplying fuel to the defenders, to the Bosnians in the enclave,
25 and that we had quite enough for our own purposes and that they, the
1 Bosnian Serbs, were under -- were keeping a track of what we had and what
2 we -- what was being used.
3 Q. When you say that the UN had enough fuel and reserves and so
4 forth, who was making that statement, sir, just so the record is clear?
5 A. That was General Gvero.
6 Q. If we could turn to paragraph 9? And that's on page 3 of both
7 versions. That will be the next page of both versions. Under the heading
8 of "Safety and Resupply of UN Personnel," it notes that Mr. Akashi raised
9 the issues of direct attacks on UNPROFOR and the denial of supplies to
10 UNPROFOR troops in the enclaves. Further on, the report notes that when
11 questioned by General Smith on the matter of fuel General Gvero gave the
12 rather inadequate explanation that he had intelligence that UNPROFOR and
13 in particular UNPROFOR troops in Srebrenica were supplying the BiH with
14 fuel. He further maintained that he knew that UNPROFOR had sufficient
15 reserves and he persevered with this line in private discussions with
16 General Smith after the meeting.
17 General, does this passage accurately reflect what you recall
18 occurring during this meeting?
19 A. Yes, I mean that's broadly what I -- as I recall it, yes.
20 Q. Now, you've spoken a little bit about this already, but if we look
21 at the top of that same page in the English, and we'll have to go back a
22 page in the B/C/S to catch the bottom of the previous page in B/C/S, and
23 I'll just read it again, there is a note that "We assess that he has still
24 to make a formal decision to commit the Bosnian Serbs to war. However,
25 the pressure on the Serb leadership and the cracks between the politicians
1 and the military were very clear." Can you elaborate on that, General,
2 from your recollection, with respect to cracks appearing between the Serb
3 civilian and military leadership during there period of time?
4 A. The -- my memory is at this stage is that we have a -- that we,
5 that is I and my immediate staff, were forming the view, and this had been
6 developing since February, that there was a degree of tension between the
7 military and political within, in Pale, amongst the Bosnian Serbs. And
8 exactly what this was about was never entirely clear to us, but we thought
9 it was probably as to how much -- whether they should go on fighting or
10 whether they should strike a deal now is essentially the point at issue,
11 but I don't think we ever got enough information to suppose, to be firm in
12 our own minds, as to which -- whether that was actually what the argument
13 was about.
14 The fact that I was having these meetings with Karadzic separately
15 from and secretly were examples of why we thought that there might be a
16 difference of view and so on within the leadership of the Bosnian Serbs.
17 And in this particular case, if I remember correctly, the -- it was over
18 the actual airport itself, I think, and the opening of keeping it open and
19 so forth that showed that the left hand wasn't entirely in communication
20 with the right-hand, but the actual details of that I don't recall at all.
21 Q. Okay. Well, let's just look at one last portion of this report
22 and see what your recollection is. If we look at paragraph 10, and that's
23 on page 3 of both the English and the B/C/S so we need to -- that's it.
24 Thank you. There is a reference to the Sarajevo airport, and it indicates
25 that we noted that Krajisnik was clearly upset that the pledge he had made
1 at a previous meeting the previous day to ensure that the necessary
2 guarantees for UN civilians would be provided had not been honoured. This
3 issue provoked some heated discussion between Karadzic and General Gvero.
4 Do you have any recollection of this part of the meeting, General?
5 A. Beyond the little I've alluded to, that I thought that that
6 happened, I don't remember this particular case, particular exchange.
7 Q. Okay. Now I want to turn your attention just briefly to a meeting
8 you had about 10 days later, on 30 April. This was again with Mr. Akashi,
9 General Janvier accompanied you, and you were meeting with General Tolimir
10 and President Karadzic and Messrs. Koljevic and Krajisnik. If we could
11 have 65 ter 2937 on the screen, please, and I just want to call your
12 attention to one portion on the third page of the document, paragraph 12,
13 and we do not have a B/C/S translation of this document. I just want to
14 call your attention to a couple of sentences, so I'll just read it into
15 the record and hopefully you can see it when it comes up.
16 And again, it's 2937. Oh, good. If we could look at paragraph
17 12, under "Other Issues," and again, that's page 6 of the translation,
18 then. It refers to all three of you, Mr. Akashi, yourself, and General
19 Janvier protesting the denial of fuel to the enclaves, to the eastern
20 enclaves. Again, there is a reference to the Serbs persisting that
21 UNPROFOR was providing supplies and fuel to the Muslims.
22 And I want to ask you about this last sentence of note, Karadzic
23 was heard to remark, "We regard humanitarian and UNPROFOR convoys as
24 commercial convoys for the benefit of the Muslims. We are under double
25 restrictions, sanctions. You can expect more restrictions." What did you
1 understand President Karadzic to mean by "double restrictions" or
2 "sanctions" there?
3 A. It is the -- you talk -- asked me a question earlier about UN
4 sanctions. I believe this is what he's referring to, and the effects of
5 not only Serbia being under sanction but the Bosnian Serbs as well.
6 Q. Okay. I want to turn your attention to a meeting you had the next
7 day. We are at 65 ter 2938. This is a meeting on May 1st attended by
8 Mr. Akashi, yourself, President Karadzic, and Mr. Krajisnik. If we look
9 at page 2 of the English and B/C/S, paragraph 7, if we can just scroll up
10 on both versions, we will just note quickly who the participants were,
11 Dr. Zametica was there as well, General Subotic. I want to direct your
12 attention to the next page, that's page 3 of the English and also of the
13 B/C/S. And we may need to take this a little bit more slowly than we've
14 even been going already. We can scroll up a little bit.
15 Under the heading, "Commander UNPROFOR Comment," just ask to you
16 take a moment to read that portion to yourself and in particular the
17 bottom paragraph that begins, "The Serbs are harder to read." Just take a
18 moment. And this section will actually go on into the next page, so when
19 you're ready for the next page just let us know, please.
20 A. Can we go over to page 4, please?
21 Q. Now, General, I think for the most part this section speaks for
22 itself pretty clearly, about your comments, your understanding of the
23 situation at that time. Let me just call your attention to a couple of
24 portions in particular, and while we are on this particular page, if we
25 look at the second full paragraph, it states, "It is going to be important
1 to recognise that the Serbs are reacting in part at least to this pressure
2 and not to give into the counterpressure. We must be prepared for the
3 long and painful haul if we intend to remain as peacekeepers."
4 Towards the end of the paragraph, it says, "In light of what is
5 anticipated will be difficult to manage so as not to lose the impartiality
6 required of peacekeepers and avoid making matters worse. It may well be
7 best when the opportunity occurs to play the 'air card' early in the game.
8 "If it works, all well and good, if not, and with no evident
9 willingness or immediate capability to escalate, UNPROFOR can close up and
10 ride out the storm before matters become too dire." Would you elaborate a
11 little bit for the Trial Chamber, please, what your thinking is there as
12 you've expressed them in these comments?
13 A. To set these remarks in context, the -- there is this whole series
14 of meetings which are not mine, although it's my staff officer who is
15 writing these records that we've seen. These are Mr. Akashi's meetings as
16 he tries to establish or re-establish the Cessation of Hostilities
17 Agreement. I am there as a part of the meeting in support of Mr. Akashi.
18 Nevertheless, I want all my subordinates to know what's happening,
19 and as they are coming to an end, and this from memory is the last one, I
20 want them all to know what I think as opposed to what -- and what this all
21 might mean. And you must understand this is a running conversation, if
22 you like. I've talked to them on the telephones, I've met them in between
23 and so on and so forth. So this isn't -- these words are not standing on
24 their own in the way that we are now looking at them. And they are also
25 the view I had of that time, without of course, full knowledge of anything
1 that was going to happen.
2 So that's the sort of general background to it. You can see that
3 the general -- my general understanding that I've talked of as the thesis
4 is being confirmed, and I am already started to think and work out how we
5 must behave in these circumstances and what we are to do, and really I'm
6 recording there, particularly in that last paragraph, how I see things
7 developing and what we, UNPROFOR, must be doing or thinking about doing
8 into the future.
9 More specifically, the -- we -- the general understanding of the
10 role of UNPROFOR was as peacekeepers set within the idea of peacekeeping
11 that had grown up during the Cold War, where essentially a military force
12 with the agreement of both warring parties, is interposed to act as a
13 barrier, if you like, between party A and party B. What we were doing
14 with UNPROFOR in 1993, 1994, 1995, was to interpose a military force as
15 peacekeepers under those -- under that previous understanding of the role
16 and yet in the circumstances where the parties did not want to make peace,
17 and yet we were being required to carry out certain functions, and
18 increasingly during 1993, 1994, with the involvement of NATO, UNPROFOR had
19 started to become more proactive in the use of force and a this was posing
20 a number of political tensions within the capitals of the forces that --
21 of the countries that had provided forces to UNPROFOR and tensions within
22 the Security Council and so forth; all of which I as a commander on the
23 ground had to be understanding, had to understand.
24 And that is why I am rehearsing this point about us being
25 impartial, that the -- and that it may well be better to use the air card,
1 in other words NATO, sooner rather than later so that if we haven't got
2 the willingness to escalate in our capitals and to actually see this
3 through, then we have done the least damage rather than to wait until the
4 very last minute and discover that it doesn't work after all. And I think
5 that was my thinking at the time and why those -- that paragraph is as it
7 Q. Thank you, General. This in fact wasn't the -- not to be the last
8 meeting. We do have notes from two others that I want to ask you some
9 quick questions about. You had another meeting, a secret meeting with
10 President Karadzic, on the 9th of May, and if we could just go directly to
11 the report, it's 6D00163.
12 And for this I will need the assistance of Madam Usher to put the
13 B/C/S on the ELMO. This is a Defence Exhibit and the B/C/S hasn't, as I
14 understand it, been loaded into e-court so we have a hard copy to place on
15 the ELMO?
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, do you have a translation of it?
17 MR. JOSSE: Well, no, Your Honour, Ms. Stewart has been terribly
18 helpful and cooperative, and she has organised these translations, we not
19 having that obligation. But clearly when the Prosecution decides to use
20 these documents, they as I say, organised the translations. For various
21 reasons they haven't yet been put into e-court. We're in the process of
22 doing that. They will have to go on the ELMO for the moment, but could I
23 thank the Prosecution for their efforts.
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, thank you, Mr. Josse, and thank you,
2 MR. THAYER:
3 Q. If we could just look at page 1 quickly, and that's a -- if we
4 could scroll up just a little bit, I'm sorry, on the ELMO, I'm sorry,
5 scroll down, that's good, thank you.
6 Again, this is a meeting on 9 May, a secret meeting between
7 yourself and President Karadzic. The paragraph 2 indicates that President
8 Karadzic confirmed that the VRS had decided to put the UN under sanctions
9 and that he gave the impression that opposed to a large counteroffensive,
10 the VRS might be limited to a vigorous defence of their territory and
11 comprehensive sanctions in the form of a blockade against the UN.
12 Do you recall with any specificity what President Karadzic told
13 you during this meeting about sanctions being imposed on the UN? And if
14 you don't, we can just refer to the document.
15 A. I do not with any -- no specific cases, no.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Madam Usher, you need to put page 2,
17 top of page 2, on the ELMO for the others to be able to follow. Thank
19 MR. THAYER:
20 Q. If we can go to page 2 of the English, and I've given away my
21 B/C/S so I'm not sure what page it's going to be of the B/C/S, but it's
22 paragraph 5, if we can have that shown on the ELMO. There we go.
23 As we can see here, President Karadzic again explained that he had
24 been "convinced" by the VRS that the UN had ample fuel reserves in the
25 enclaves. I think we just lost the ELMO?
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, we just lost the ELMO. Okay. We have it now.
2 MR. THAYER:
3 Q. President Karadzic had explained that he had been convinced in
4 quotes by the VRS that the UN had ample fuel reserves in the enclaves, and
5 as you've already testified that in Srebrenica, the Armija had built up a
6 large supply of fuel from UN sources. The report indicates that you
7 explained that you were certain that neither the Dutch nor the British
8 contingents had supplied fuel to the BiH and that the situation was now so
9 grave that the issue would soon "soon be out of your hands." General,
10 what did you mean by that in this conversation that the matter or the
11 issue would soon be out of your hands?
12 A. As far as I can recall, this is that the national -- the
13 governments of the contingents in -- were beginning to become increasingly
14 agitated and by the lack of supplies that the UN were beginning to -- were
15 capable of managing for their forces, and I think I'm referring to that
16 this would start to become a sort of a national matter, if you like, of
17 the specific countries, and be taken away from the UN. But that's not a
18 very strong memory but I think that's the background to it.
19 Q. Okay. The last sentence of this paragraph reads, "When questioned
20 about food, leave, and mail convoys, he," that's President Karadzic
21 "confirmed that the Serbs had proposed their own 'resolutions' sanctions
22 against the UN."
23 Do you recall what problems, if any, there were with respect to I
24 think you've already spoken about some of the food convoys, but how about
25 the leave convoys?
1 A. Well, I mean, these were all in effects the same -- often the same
2 trucks. It was what went on them. And when they would -- an empty truck
3 on the way out would take a leave party out and soldiers would come back
4 from leave on other vehicles and so forth. So I think this is more a
5 question of what was being allowed or not allowed on vehicles rather than
6 specific convoys as such.
7 Q. If we can go back to page 1 of the English, and I think that's
8 going to be page 2 -- it's going to be paragraph 3, so if we can find the
9 corresponding page on the B/C/S, under the heading, "NATO Air Strikes,"
10 towards the bottom of the paragraph in English, it indicates that Karadzic
11 told you if NATO was used against the VRS, the BSA, he threatened that
12 "Our relationship would disappear and we would treat you as the enemy."
13 I think you've spoken about the development of your thesis up to
14 this point. Was this statement to your recollection something different
15 in any way or was this part of the same thing you were hearing up to that
17 A. It's to some extent it's more of the same. We were -- we, the UN,
18 were to be pressured, denied access and so on and so forth. What -- what
19 the difference in this particular case was that I read it or read it at
20 the time as an attempt to divide me from NATO to split the UN and NATO
21 from each other and not be seen as part and parcel of the same side. And
22 he would say that, wouldn't he, because I was -- because the Bosnians were
23 making it quite clear that they saw the advantage of the UN and NATO was
24 NATO rather than the UN.
25 Q. And if we go to page 2 of the English, and we'll need to scroll up
1 just a little bit on the ELMO, please, Madam Usher, so we get that -- I'm
2 sorry, scroll down so that we get that last line there, there is a comment
3 that you make, if you just read that and is there anything you care to add
4 or clarify with respect to this statement or this --
5 A. No. I mean, it's -- I could see that we were being steadily drawn
6 into a situation where we would be treated not just as an object to be
7 sanctioned or pressured or squeezed in order to produce pressure. If we
8 entered the game, we would -- in any forceful sense, were about to be put
9 into the enemy paragraph of their orders.
10 Q. And while we're at this point, if I could just ask you, the issue
11 or the question might arise you've made reference to the idea of
12 impartiality of UNPROFOR, and to your thinking at the time, what were
13 the -- what were the factors that affected your ability to remain
14 impartial? And can you discuss a little bit about this idea of
15 impartiality? May as well do it now. I presume it's going to come up at
16 some point so just take a moment, if you would.
17 A. The first point I'd make is that I don't understand impartiality
18 and neutrality as being the same thing, although some do. The -- in the
19 case of the situation at the beginning of 1995, and up until now, there
20 were two -- there is the impartiality of the support of the delivery of
21 humanitarian aid which was our initial and primary purpose.
22 Here, I was not the -- I didn't choose who got the aid. That was
23 the business of the UNHCR, and mine was to escort it, make sure it was
24 safe or get it there. And I wasn't about to be drawn into an argument as
25 to whether A should have that amount of food or B should have it. That
1 was someone else's business, and I would see that it got there if I could.
2 If I needed to use armed force to protect my forces while doing
3 that, then I would use it, and I would use it insofar as it was necessary
4 to defend my forces, and that act would stand alone. I certainly wouldn't
5 be neutral when I was doing that. I would be attacking somebody. But I
6 would -- it would not be being done for the purpose of altering the
7 balance of forces in this particular conflict. It was being done to
8 protect my command.
9 With the inclusion earlier in the UNPROFOR Bosnia-Herzegovina
10 story in -- of the no-fly zones, the exclusion zones around the safe areas
11 and so forth, UNPROFOR, together with NATO, had been given the task of
12 seeing that those strictures of the no-fly zone and the exclusion zone
13 were maintained. And if they were broken, you could call upon military
14 force to put the situation back to the status quo ante. The -- here
15 again, you -- someone was going to have to, as it were, break the rules,
16 break the safe area, break the exclusion zone, fly an airplane, before you
17 could -- you would actually react to it militarily.
18 So again, once you'd actually carried out -- were in that
19 situation, you wouldn't be neutral, you would be attacking somebody, but
20 your purpose wasn't to alter the balance between the two sides, it was to
21 impose the exclusion zone and so forth. So that was essentially how one
22 was trying to understand the situation that existed at the time. I can go
23 on, but I think that's probably enough, is it?
24 Q. I think so. Thank you, General. I want to ask you about one last
25 meeting during this period of time, meeting which occurred on May 21st,
1 again a secret, private meeting between yourself and President Karadzic.
2 This is 6D00164. Again I'll need Madam Usher's assistance because we
3 don't have the B/C/S translation loaded into e-court.
4 General, if we could scroll down on the English to paragraph 3 and
5 we'll have to adjust the B/C/S. Thank you, Madam Usher.
6 And we'll skip the summary section and just go directly, and I
7 think we'll have to actually go to the next page in B/C/S, that's the
8 portion of the paragraph we'll be looking at. Thank you.
9 Let me direct your attention specifically to the portion where you
10 expressed your concern about the increasing targeting of UN personnel and
11 the debilitating effect of the denial of supplies and movement to the
12 eastern enclaves. And you pose the fundamental question to Karadzic as to
13 whether the Bosnian Serbs wished the UN to remain in Bosnia. What was his
14 response to that -- first that general question about remaining in Bosnia?
15 Do you recall?
16 A. There was two sides to it, as I recall it. One, that we, the UN,
17 were very much part of the problem. We'd helped the enemy, the Bosnians,
18 and we prevented the Bosnian Serbs from doing what they wanted to do. But
19 on the other hand, they didn't want us to go in the end.
20 Q. And let me just direct your attention to a couple of other areas
21 and maybe expand on what you just said in light of those sections, if we
22 could turn to page 2, and this is paragraph 4, so if we could find
23 paragraph 4 in the B/C/S, thank you. Page 2 of the English. And this is
24 specifically with respect to the eastern enclaves, General. At the bottom
25 of the paragraph, President Karadzic referred to the enclaves as a "time
1 bomb about to explode, and he maintained that the UN should get out of the
2 eastern enclaves but also that UNHCR would be safe to remain." Do you
3 recall him telling you that, sir?
4 A. Not -- I don't recall that particular exchange, no.
5 Q. Okay. Well, let's go to page 3, to the comments section, this is
6 page 3 of the English, and we'll have to adjust the ELMO to paragraph 10.
7 The middle subparagraph at paragraph 10 states, these are your comments,
8 "UNPROFOR remains the channel for the Bosnian Serbs to apply pressure on
9 the international community, but they would like the UN out of the way in
10 the eastern enclaves." Could you tell the Trial Chamber what you meant by
11 this passage in the report?
12 A. This goes back to my understanding of the hostage and shield idea
13 that I had mentioned earlier, that while the UN -- both sides sorry had a
14 hostage and shield relationship with us, but of course they were different
15 because of their different situations and purpose. But in this case, in
16 the Bosnian Serbs, we were a source of as -- acting as a hostage, we could
17 be squeezed, we could be used to influence the international community,
18 the Security Council and so forth, to their advantage, but in order to be
19 in that -- there and able to be influenced, we had to remain in reach of
20 them. And so they needed us there at one hand as a shield, but as long as
21 we were there as a shield, we could also be used as a hostage and both
22 sides used us in this way.
23 Q. Okay. I think we are done with this exhibit. Thank you, Madam
25 General, you've already testified about your numerous protests
1 about the increasing targeting of UNPROFOR and the attacks on civilian
2 areas. Do you recall lodging any formal protests concerning this
3 increased activity as opposed to stating them in these meetings?
4 A. Well, I think these meetings were formal, but there were written
5 protests on specific cases. I don't -- I know these were made. I made
6 some of them. Others were made at sector level. It would -- depended on
7 the circumstances and the severity of the particular case, but I don't
8 recall specific ones, no.
9 Q. Well, let's look at one, 65 ter 2939. And if we could scroll down
10 to the bottom of the -- actually of both, I guess, that will be helpful,
11 great, okay.
12 We can see that this is addressed from yourself to General Mladic;
13 is that correct, sir?
14 A. Yes, General Mladic.
15 Q. The date is 26 June 1995. I just direct your attention to the
16 second paragraph where you state that "On an almost daily basis I am
17 receiving reports of shelling of the populated areas of Bihac, Srebrenica,
18 Gorazde, and Sarajevo." And then skipping down a paragraph, "Apart from
19 these attacks on the civil population, there is also an increasing number
20 of reports of direct targeting of UNPROFOR locations and vehicles.
21 Examples of these violations are recent attacks on observation posts in
22 Gorazde, Srebrenica and Sarajevo."
23 Do you recall, sir, the observation post being attacked in
24 Srebrenica in June of 1995?
25 A. If it's the answer I've already given you, the observation post
1 that's overlooking that road I mentioned, then yes, I do, and that was
2 attacked, as I remember it, by a tank or tanks.
3 Q. Okay. We're done with that exhibit. Thank you.
4 Now, sir, I want to talk briefly about some events that occurred
5 in May, specifically the air strikes of 25 and 26 May, the last meeting
6 notes that we looked at were dated May 21st, and I just showed you
7 something from June 26th. So some fairly significant events occurred in
8 that month or so.
9 So I want to talk just a little bit about the air strikes of May
10 25th and May 26th and the hostage-taking by the VRS of UNPROFOR personnel
11 afterwards. I don't want to get into a dissection of those events at all
12 but I want to ask you, I think because it's more relevant for our purposes
13 here, could you describe how the air strikes and their aftermath, the
14 hostage-taking, affected your thinking, your thesis, and how air power was
15 to be employed after those events. I think you alluded to it a little
16 earlier in your testimony, but if you could pick that up just for a little
17 while so that we could talk about that.
18 A. During May, a series -- there were a series of incidents and as
19 the situation deteriorated further and further. And by the end of May,
20 the Bosnian Serb forces around Sarajevo were using weapons that had been
21 taken from or were being used from weapon collection points, and using
22 them to attack targets within the safe area of Sarajevo. There had been a
23 series of warnings, of protests and so forth.
24 And I came to the conclusion that -- during this month and you've
25 seen the beginnings of it starting to form in my mind, that it now is the
1 time that we had to enforce this exclusion zone and if we didn't get on
2 with it we weren't going to have that option open to us any more. There
3 was considerable pressure on -- to do this because the fighting had
4 increased and so on.
5 I -- you had to do this in consultation with NATO, all of that
6 took place, you had to get the authorities from Mr. Akashi above, and that
7 was all done, and the idea was to use air power, not to attack the
8 specific weapons, which were extremely difficult to attack, locate, but to
9 influence the decision makers in Pale into stopping to do this, stopping
10 to use the weapons in the exclusion zones and break the exclusion zone
11 resolution, but also attacking the populated areas of Sarajevo.
12 These attacks, there was a warning given,, the attacks were --
13 took place; and that night, after the attacks, there was a response to
14 these attacks by the Bosnian Serbs with artillery being fired into all of
15 the safe areas. I may have got that wrong. It may not have gone into
16 Bihac, but I think it went even into there. The most destructive of those
17 attacks killed some 70 people in Tuzla.
18 In my planning, I had planned that if we didn't succeed in the
19 first go, we would escalate, and this had been approved. We did a second
20 series of air attacks, which led to a number of hostages being taken
21 almost at once, television pictures of them being chained to I think a
22 radio mast and a bridge, and an immediate world wide international
23 reaction. I was told to stop doing what I was doing, and that was it.
24 The -- over the next 24 hours, some 300 hostages, I can't remember the
25 exact number, were taken.
1 You then enter a period, which runs all the way up to the middle
2 of July, when UNPROFOR is recalibrating, is one way of describing it, I
3 suppose, of -- as to just what it is we can do and so are the UN
4 commanders and political -- the SRSG and so forth, above me, establishing
5 what it is UNPROFOR is to be doing at that period, immediately after May.
6 Is that enough of a general outline for you?
7 Q. Yes. Thank you, General.
8 I want to bring us forward now to July of 1995. I don't think
9 there is any dispute that the VRS attack on the enclave began on or about
10 the 6th of July. Where were you at that time?
11 A. I'm on leave in Korcula.
12 Q. Do you recall approximately how long you'd been on leave by 6
14 A. I think I'd been on leave a little under a week. I can do it by
15 days. I went on leave over a weekend and I don't know what day the 6th of
16 July was.
17 Q. Okay. When you were on leave, General, did you stay in contact
18 with your command?
19 A. Yes. I had a radio link with me, and an operator and a bodyguard
20 that went with me.
21 Q. And do you recall, approximately, how often you stayed in touch
22 with your command?
23 A. Initially, as I remember, it was every day, I'd take a call. But
24 as things hotted up, and after the middle weekend of the two weeks' leave
25 I had, I was in much more frequent contact, and I was recalled from leave
1 to go to Geneva over that -- the middle weekend of my leave and to meet
2 with the Secretary-General. So I was briefed then.
3 Q. And we'll talk a little bit briefly about Geneva. But during this
4 period of time when things were beginning to heat up, with whom were you
5 actually in contact from Sarajevo?
6 A. I was in contact with my military assistant, Colonel Baxter.
7 My -- General Bobar the sector Sarajevo commander had assumed command in
8 my absence, but I left the military assistants there so that there was
9 couldn't knew wit my office.
10 Q. The Trial Chamber has already heard a bit of testimony about the
11 JCOs who were deployed throughout Bosnia and in the Srebrenica enclave as
12 well. Would you please talk a little bit about this JCO programme, when
13 it began, what its purpose was?
14 A. JCO is joint commission observers, if I recall correctly, is their
15 title. They -- when General Rose had been the commander, he had
16 established this group of people, acting largely in Sarajevo, and as a
17 link with the Bosnian Serbs. They had been included, if I recall
18 correctly, in the -- in the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement at the end
19 of 1994, as part of the observer and control mechanisms, if you like, of
20 that -- of that agreement.
21 They were -- their value to me, as the Cessation of Hostilities
22 Agreement broke down, was much more to do with their communications and
23 their ability as forward air controllers. And as it got harder and harder
24 to communicate with the enclaves, the more important it was that I had a
25 reliable form of communication with those enclaves, and so I deployed JCO
1 teams into Srebrenica and Gorazde. I don't think we got one into Zepa at
2 all, but I can't remember that.
3 The reason of them -- the points about them being forward air
4 controllers is that the NATO nations had forward air controllers in their
5 units who were practised and certified to operate with NATO air forces.
6 This was not the case with some of our troop contributing nations who
7 didn't have -- who didn't come from NATO. So that was one reason for
8 wanting them there.
9 Secondly, to keep this certification, you have to be at a degree
10 of practice with so many missions, practised and so forth. And one of the
11 consequences of the restrictions on movement was that the units in the
12 enclaves were losing their currency to handle NATO airplanes, and so this,
13 too, became reason for getting the JCOs into the enclaves.
14 Q. Now, General, with respect to the JCOs who were in the Srebrenica
15 enclave, do you recall whether they were there secretly or whether they
16 had been declared to the VRS?
17 A. I am -- they certainly weren't there secretly in that we couldn't
18 have got them in there without them driving there, and I have no -- I
19 don't recall how we told -- said who they were and so forth, but they were
20 quite clearly not Dutch. They must have got in somehow, and they must
21 have been seen going in. And the -- they tended to use a particular point
22 of contact in -- I can't remember his rank, but he was called Indic in
23 Lukavica. I suspect that we told him and that's how they went in.
24 And if they had been that secret, I suspect there would have been
25 a lot more fuss after Srebrenica had fallen, but there wasn't and they
1 just came out with the Dutch unit at the time.
2 Q. Do you recall during these events of the attack on the enclave
3 whether you received any information that you can recall directly tied to
4 these JCOs who were operating in the enclave?
5 A. Not -- if you mean that I communicated with them directly, no. I
6 don't think I ever did. And I don't remember a specific report that, you
7 know, someone carried to me with this has come from that team. I don't
8 remember that, no.
9 Q. Okay. Let's go back to your recall from leave to go to Geneva.
10 Was that recall tied directly to the Srebrenica attack or was it for some
11 other reason?
12 A. No. It was wholly for some other reason. It was the report to
13 the Security Council, it was to discuss the report to the Security
14 Council, and the recommendations as to what UNPROFOR should be doing. The
15 Zagreb draft for this had been sent off sometime in late May, to which we
16 in Sarajevo had contributed, and this meeting was to finalise that report
17 for the Security Council.
18 Q. And did you return to your leave after that or did you go back to
20 A. No. We -- I went back on leave. We had -- during this meeting
21 with Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali, I can't remember the precise details
22 but I think it was the loss of another OP and a Dutch soldier being killed
23 was reported to us, was told to us. And the -- the general understanding
24 of what was happening in Srebrenica was that this was a fight about the
25 road I mentioned and it was an example of further squeezing of the enclave
1 rather than what it turned out to be, it was a misappreciation of what was
2 happening. And I recall asking whether both General Janvier and
3 Mr. Akashi whether they wanted me to return from leave and go to Sarajevo,
4 and I was told, no, stay on leave and finish your leave.
5 Q. And what happened next?
6 A. I flew back or down to Split and from there out to Korcula, and
7 then I think it's a day later I am recalled from leave and start a 24 to
8 36 hour journey of getting back into Sarajevo.
9 Q. And why did you return, General?
10 A. Because the -- as I say, the situation had been misappreciated.
11 This attack developed much more strongly. The defence collapsed. The --
12 and the enclave fell as a defensive position and we had a whole load of
13 refugees and so forth all around the Dutch Battalion in Potocari.
14 Q. General, I want to show you a report of a meeting. Do you recall
15 meeting with Minister Silajdzic on the 13th of July during the course of
16 your return from leave?
17 A. I do remember. I was -- I'd been back for a bit of time by that
19 Q. Well, let me call up the document. It's 65 ter 2941.
20 A. I find that very difficult to read. If you've got the hard copy
22 Q. I do, General.
23 A. Thank you very much.
24 Q. Okay. If we could scroll up on the B/C/S as well, please. I want
25 to direct your attention to paragraph 3 first, Silajdzic immediately
1 raised the issue of Zepa and asks you whether you could reinforce the UN
2 forces there. And you replied that you had neither the capability nor the
3 orders to do so at that time and you emphasised that currently your most
4 important task was to clarify the policy on the enclaves and identify the
5 stance of the participating member states as whatever action was taken in
6 Srebrenica would become the model for the other enclaves.
7 Can you expand on those two sections a little bit, General,
8 please? What did you mean when you said you had neither the capability
9 nor the orders to reinforce?
10 A. Well, the latter is easily explained. I had no orders to
11 reinforce any of the enclaves, let alone Zepa. And I certainly didn't
12 have any spare forces, always assuming that the contributing nation was
13 prepared for me to put them into Zepa. That's the, you know, first-order
14 essence or answer to what I'm saying there.
15 Q. And if we could go to paragraph 5 of the English and that's on
16 page 2 of the B/C/S, you have a discussion with the minister about the use
17 of the Tuzla air base for the refugees arriving from the enclave. And you
18 explain that you had sent your deputy Chief of Staff, Colonel Coiffet to
19 aid in effort to coordinate the resources. Do you recall dispatching
20 Colonel Coiffet to do that, General?
21 A. Yes, I do, yes.
22 Q. And did you have any reservations about the air base being used?
23 A. Well, it wasn't -- if -- would it help if I gave a bit of the
24 background? We've had this catastrophe. We've -- a complete enclave has
25 collapsed. There is a large number of refugees to be handled, and a
1 number that we're not entirely clear as to how many are involved. And all
2 the military and deterrent effects such as they were of UNPROFOR and for
3 that matter NATO, have been neutralised by these events. So as I say in
4 an earlier part of my -- I think I'm saying it there, trying to understand
5 what the policy is on -- and so forth.
6 I imagine it's to clarify the policy on the enclaves and identify
7 what the member states are actually capable or willing to do because it
8 was quite clear that they are not -- they are not doing what they said
9 they were going to do.
10 The -- at the same time, the Bosnians are using this as an
11 opportunity to beat up the UN and are refusing to help with any of these
12 hostages -- sorry, refugees, that have been starting to flood over the
13 front line between the Bosnian Serbs and the Bosnians. And I am -- I've
14 got to put them somewhere. And the only large empty space I've got is
15 Tuzla or the airfield with some military there capable of building,
16 putting up tented camps and so forth but it's not the best place for a
17 refugee -- masses of refugees to go. It just happens to be the only space
18 I've got at that time. And much of my subsequent effort is trying to get
19 the Bosnians to start to take responsibility for all of these people or
20 share the responsibility of all these people and stop using something --
21 somewhere between 25 and 30.000 refugees as something as a stick to beat
22 the UN with.
23 Q. Now, if we look at paragraph 6 on page 2 of the English, and
24 that's also on page 2 of the B/C/S, refers to, "Both the Prime Minister
25 and Minister Muratovic raised their concerns as to the as-yet-unconfirmed
1 reports of atrocities in the Srebrenica area, in particular the rape of
2 young women in Vlasenica and the murder of a busload of refugees." There
3 is another reference further down, "They are also worried about reports of
4 refugees being segregated into groups and men between the ages of 60 and
5 16 being sent to different locations."
6 Now, I know, General, that this meeting occurred at 1420 hours on
7 13 July. Do you recall when you first heard reports of atrocities in the
8 aftermath of the fall of the enclave?
9 A. I don't, in -- I don't have a specific memory. I'm -- this is
10 the -- this would be amongst the first and probably the first from a
11 Bosnian source, in that I've only got in in the early hours of this
12 morning into -- into Sarajevo.
13 Q. And if we scroll down on the English to paragraph 9, and we'll
14 have to skip to the next page of the B/C/S to pick up that paragraph.
15 There is a reference in the first line, paragraph 9, that you raised the
16 issue of the move of elements of the MNB upcountry from Tomislavgrad to
17 the Kresevo-Tarcin area. Can you just elaborate on what is happening
18 there and what -- first of all, what's the MNB?
19 A. The MNB is a multi-national brigade, and this is a -- part of and
20 it's headquarters commanded the rapid reaction force. This force has its
21 origins in the events immediately after the bombing in May, 25, 26, when I
22 formed two units, one British, one French, from the forces in theatre, in,
23 as they were armoured infantry battalions and they had tasks to be ready
24 to react and move and operate in each other's areas and gave me a small
25 force under my own hand. The British had reinforced this unilaterally,
1 almost immediately I had started to form these forces, and somewhere
2 around the middle of June, the Security Council have -- had a resolution
3 mandating a rapid reaction force for the better protection of UNPROFOR, if
4 I remember its terminology correctly.
5 The French also produced some extra forces and these are starting
6 to -- these start to be deployed during June, and here is some of them
7 appearing in the south of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
8 Q. And what was the difference between the rapid reaction force and
9 the MNB?
10 A. Well, the rapid reaction force was more than just the
11 multi-national brigade. There was an artillery group, there was a
12 portable brigade as well. And they -- they were -- they were held, as it
13 were, separately from UNPROFOR.
14 Q. And during this period of time in which the Srebrenica enclave
15 fell, how operational was the full rapid reaction force?
16 A. It was not yet fully deployed or operational at that stage.
17 Q. And had you encountered any opposition or suspicion from either of
18 the warring parties about the rapid reaction force?
19 A. The Federation was suspicious of it because they thought it could
20 be used against them. And I think largely at this stage the Bosnian Serbs
21 were less worried about it because I think they thought they could control
22 UNPROFOR by taking hostages and so forth.
23 Q. General, what was your view of this rapid reaction force?
24 A. If I was to use this force, I had to -- it had to be understood by
25 those I wished to use it against as not being under my hand. Otherwise,
1 they could neutralise it by taking hostages and so forth. So it was very
2 important that this was a force that was understood to be separate from
3 UNPROFOR and part of another command.
4 Q. And this reference in this document to the MNB moving up country,
5 was that in relation at all to the developments in Srebrenica?
6 A. No. This was us getting it into the theatre and establishing it.
7 It had yet to form as a -- as its -- and deploy fully into the theatre.
8 Q. So how would you describe your ability during the period in which
9 the Srebrenica enclave was attacked to make use of the MNB or the RRF?
10 A. I couldn't have used them in that -- in those circumstances, if
11 I'd been there. And secondly, the -- even if they had been, I'd -- we
12 wouldn't have been able to reach Srebrenica with the forces that were
13 available in the time available.
14 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I see we are nearing the break. I
15 think this would be a good place to stop. I'm about to move into a
16 different area, if we may.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: We are nearing the end of the sitting. Now, what's
18 the position? When will the general be back?
19 MR. THAYER: We will be ready to roll tomorrow, Mr. President and
20 for the rest of the week.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Oh, I see. So we are going to have him the rest of
22 the week? Okay. All right. That's fine.
23 Tomorrow, General, we'll be sitting in the afternoon.
24 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. We stand adjourned until tomorrow
1 afternoon at 2.00 [sic]. Thank you.
2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.44 p.m.,
3 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 6th day of
4 November, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.