1 Thursday, 29 November 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.19 p.m.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon. Madam Registrar, could you please
6 call the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is the case
8 number, IT-05-88-T, the versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam.
10 All the accused are here. Amongst the Defence teams, I notice the
11 absence of Mr. Haynes and Mr. Bourgon.
12 The Prosecution present, Mr. McCloskey and Mr. Thayer. Any
14 MR. THAYER: None from the Prosecution, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: The witness doesn't need any protective measures, I
17 MR. THAYER: No, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Then we are ready for him.
19 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you still intend to take three and a half hours,
21 Mr. Thayer?
22 MR. THAYER: I've tried to reduce my examination, Mr. President.
23 I will try to keep it to three hours or -- or even less, if possible. I
24 think I've already cut out a decent amount, including exhibits.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. Which means that, if
1 Mr. Thayer keeps to his estimate, one of you at least would be required to
2 start his or her cross-examination today.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon to you, General.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: And welcome to this Tribunal. I am the Presiding
7 Judge. My name is Carmel Agius. To my right I have Judge Kwon and Judge
8 Stole. To my left, I have Judge Prost. Together we compose this Trial
10 You are about to start giving evidence. And before you do so,
11 you're kindly requested to enter a solemn declaration required by our
12 Rules that you will be testifying the truth. Go ahead.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I swear that I will state the truth,
14 the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you, General. Please make yourself
17 WITNESS: CORNELIS HENDRIK NICOLAI
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 JUDGE AGIUS: You first are going to be asked questions by
20 Mr. Thayer, who will then be followed by the various Defence teams on
21 cross-examination. Not all of them, but most of them.
22 Mr. Thayer.
23 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon to you and
24 Your Honours.
25 Good afternoon, everyone.
1 Examination by Mr. Thayer:
2 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
3 A. Good afternoon.
4 Q. Would you please state your name and spell it for the record.
5 A. I'm Cornelis Nicolai.
6 Q. And how old are you, sir?
7 A. I'm 60 years old.
8 Q. Am I correct, sir, you were commissioned as an officer in the
9 Dutch army in 1969 and retired with the rank of major-general?
10 A. In 1965, I entered the service. And I left the service as a
12 Q. And when did you retire, sir?
13 A. 2004.
14 Q. And you served in Bosnia for approximately six months in 1995; is
15 that correct?
16 A. That's correct. From the end of February 1995 until early
17 September I was there.
18 Q. And would you please tell the Trial Chamber how you came to serve
19 with UNPROFOR in Bosnia. Was this a posting you sought out?
20 A. In this specific case, I did. That's not usual. Ordinarily
21 you're appointed to a post. But previously I had been offered another
22 position that was inconvenient for me for personal reasons, and when asked
23 what I did want, I said that I wanted to be deployed.
24 Q. And what was your position when you entered your service in
1 A. In Bosnia I served as Chief of Staff of what was originally called
2 the Command for Bosnia-Herzegovina, the BH Command. The name was later
3 exchanged to UNPROFOR.
4 Q. And what were your duties and responsibilities as Chief of Staff
5 to the BH commander?
6 A. A commander is supported in his duties by a staff, run by the
7 Chief of Staff, who is responsible for day-to-day command of the
8 operations, ensuring that the reports are ready on time, that the
9 commander is properly informed, that the assignments are executed, and
10 that plans are drafted and that the situation is kept track of, all daily
11 routine duties by the staff are on its -- the aegis of the Chief of Staff.
12 Q. And just so the record is clear, General, who was the BH commander
13 under whom you served as Chief of Staff?
14 A. With the British Lieutenant General Rupert Smith.
15 Q. And, sir, did you have a deputy?
16 A. Yes. It was a French colonel, Philippe Coiffet.
17 Q. And in addition to Colonel Coiffet, did you also have a military
18 assistant, or an MA?
19 A. Yes, that's correct. I had a Dutch lieutenant-colonel with me,
20 who basically assisted me in all my daily activities.
21 Q. And what was that lieutenant-colonel's name, sir?
22 A. Andrew de Ruiter.
23 Q. And when General Smith was away, who stood in for him?
24 A. That was the -- the senior-ranking general at that point. He
25 would take over. And in most cases, that was Major-General Gobillard, the
1 commander of the Sarajevo Sector.
2 Q. And at this time, sir, during your service, what rank did you
4 A. I was brigadier-general at that point.
5 Q. General, I'd like to ask you some questions now concerning your
6 contacts with members of the VRS high command. Do you recall the names of
7 any VRS Main Staff officers you heard of during your time in Bosnia?
8 A. Yes. Regularly the man I had the most contact with was General
9 Milovanovic. As far as I know, he was the Chief of Staff of General
10 Mladic. He was also, I would say, the first designated contact for me.
11 When he was absent, I would be passed to somebody else by the -- on the
12 phone. Sometimes that was General Mladic himself, but I also spoke
13 several times with General Tolimir and with General Gvero.
14 Q. And were there any other VRS Main Staff officers whose name you
15 heard or were aware of during the period of your service in Bosnia?
16 A. Not as far as I know. And there was little point to speaking with
17 generals -- excuse me, speaking with officers below the level of the
18 general, because no decisions were taken there.
19 Q. And what do you mean by that, sir?
20 A. What I mean is that if you had a question or a request, the only
21 useful answers would be from somebody at the general's level. Apparently
22 they were authorised to take decisions, and beneath that level at best the
23 question would be accepted and passed on and you would have to wait for an
25 Q. Now, let's spend a few moments and -- and discuss some of these
1 Main Staff officers whom you listed. You referred to General Milovanovic.
2 Do you recall meeting him in person at any time?
3 A. Yes. In the first week after my arrival, my predecessor
4 introduced me to the contacts of the other parties there, and for the VRS
5 that was General Milovanovic.
6 Q. And you -- you stated a few moments ago that you had the most
7 contacts with General Milovanovic. Was there any protocol regarding with
8 whom you would be in contact on the VRS side that governed who you
9 typically would have had contact with?
10 A. Yes, there was such a protocol. There were agreements that staffs
11 would have contact only with their own levels. So BH Command would deal
12 with the army command. The commander of the sectors would interact with
13 the army corps commanders of the troops that they were in contact with.
14 Within the staff, ordinarily the Chief of Staff would speak with the Chief
15 of Staff and the commander would speak with the commander. But, of
16 course, there were occasional exceptions if somebody was absent.
17 Q. And if General Milovanovic were away, for example, was there
18 anyone in particular that would stand in for him that you recall, other
19 than speaking with General Mladic or General -- General Tolimir on
20 occasion, as you stated?
21 A. No. As far as I was concerned, it depended on the coincidence of
22 who happened to be present at that point. If General Milovanovic was not
23 present, I would speak with one of the aforementioned other generals.
24 Q. And regarding what types of matters would you deal with General
1 A. Well, that would be a wide variety of matters. First of all, if
2 there had been any acts of violence, such as shooting incidents, then that
3 would be discussed or protest -- protest would be lodged. And there might
4 also be discussions about permission to transfer a convoy to bring
5 supplies to the civilians in the enclaves. We also discussed exchanging
6 prisoners between the different parties. Other conversations addressed is
7 prisoners of war. Excuse me. Casualties or injured. And what also
8 happened quite regularly: If injured people had to be evacuated, then
9 there would be negotiations about that as well, because authorisation was
10 needed to transport across the territory of one of the parties.
11 Q. And with respect to General Gvero, when do you recall first having
12 contact with him?
13 A. As far as I remember, that was on 11 July, the day that the
14 Srebrenica enclave fell. And I believe I remember that the next day, on
15 12 July, I spoke with him again.
16 Q. And we'll talk about those conversations in a little while, sir.
17 To your knowledge, where were these VRS high command officers, Mladic,
18 Milovanovic, Tolimir, and Gvero? Where was this -- this Main Staff
19 headquartered to your knowledge at the time?
20 A. As far as I knew at the time, that was in Pale. Later on I
21 learned that that was incorrect, but we always contacted people in Pale.
22 Q. Now, you referred to meeting General Milovanovic. Where did you
23 in fact meet him?
24 A. That was also in Pale.
25 Q. And when you met him in Pale, did you meet him in what you
1 understood to be the VRS Main Staff headquarters, or were you in another
3 A. Well, it didn't look like a barracks or headquarters, but the
4 building did look like it served an official purpose. And at any rate,
5 there were some VRS servicemen there.
6 Q. And at that time, what was your understanding of physically where
7 in -- in proximity did the actual Main Staff have its headquarters?
8 A. Well, I thought it was somewhere near Pale, but I didn't have an
9 immediate interest in the exact location.
10 Q. Now, have you ever heard of the facilities located in Han Pijesak
11 or Crna Reka, sir?
12 A. Yes. Later on -- and when I say later on, I mean after I had
13 already returned from Bosnia, I understood that that's where the VRS
14 headquarters were located.
15 Q. Now, when you wanted to contact the VRS Main Staff by telephone,
16 can you describe for the Trial Chamber, please, how those phone calls, as
17 far as you understood it, physically were made. Just step by step,
19 A. Well, making phone calls wasn't that difficult. We had a direct
20 connection with a post in Pale that we could call to. And I had a female
21 interpreter who would call and establish contact. And subsequently the
22 conversation would take place, but if we wanted to send written messages,
23 there was a UNMO post in Pale and we had a fax connection with that and
24 could send the -- a fax to the UNMOs, who would subsequently bring that
25 message to the VRS authorities present at that point in time.
1 Q. General, you referred to a female interpreter a moment ago. Do
2 you recall her name?
3 A. Her first name was Svetlana. Unfortunately, I don't remember her
4 surname any more.
5 Q. And do you recall the names of any other interpreters upon whose
6 services you regularly relied?
7 A. Well, I thought there was one called Zdravko, but I don't remember
8 that exactly because in 90 per cent of all cases, I worked with Svetlana..
9 Q. And by whom was she actually employed, sir?
10 A. She had served many of my predecessors. I think by the time I
11 entered that position, she had been doing that work for three years. So
12 one of my predecessors must have hired her.
13 Q. I want to turn your attention now to the issue of the resupply
14 convoys, both to the DutchBat peacekeepers and the civilian population in
15 Srebrenica. You -- you mentioned that this was one of the areas about
16 which you dealt with General Milovanovic. Would you please describe the
17 procedure that you had to follow with respect to these reply convoys.
18 A. Well, one very unfortunate fact -- see, ordinarily at UN missions
19 the UN troops have freedom of movement. In the beginning, that appears to
20 have been the case in Bosnia as well. After some time, however, that was
21 infringed upon, and that meant that we needed to request permission for
22 displacement of convoys and we need to request permission from the party
23 whose territory that was. So if we wanted to send a reply convoy to the
24 enclave in Srebrenica, then we had to indicate a few days in advance how
25 many vehicles we intended to send there, via which route, and with which
1 load. And we had to request permission for that displacement. And
2 ordinarily that would arrive very briefly in advance, and sometimes there
3 would be restrictions or we wouldn't be allowed to send as many vehicles
4 as we wanted to, or certain parts of the load were not accepted.
5 Q. And on each side - here speaking about the UNPROFOR side and the
6 VRS side - how was the initial request for permission to resupply via
7 convoy handled? At what level, to your recollection?
8 A. Once the needs had been established by the staff within a certain
9 enclave, then the transport officer would determine how many vehicles were
10 necessary to transport that load, and he would then ask -- and I think he
11 did so by fax. He would complete a form requesting permission to be
12 allowed to -- to move that convoy. And if everything went well and
13 permission was granted, then I didn't need to get involved. If at a
14 certain point permission was refused, then we would try it at a higher
15 level, which was usually the level of the Chief of Staff, to see whether
16 we could obtain permission after all, or we would inquire about the reason
17 why certain things were being rejected.
18 Q. [Microphone not activated] And with what frequency would you
19 have --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
21 MR. THAYER: My apologies. My microphone was off.
22 Q. With what frequency would you have convoys denied by the VRS?
23 A. It's difficult to say, but it happened very regularly that at the
24 very least, requests were changed and requests were regularly refused, as
25 well, and I won't say -- I wouldn't say that that happened every week, but
1 it certainly happened every month. It depended on the period.
2 At the beginning of my posting, it wasn't that common. But
3 certainly in May and June that regularly happened.
4 Q. And when you were dealing with General Milovanovic with respect to
5 the denial of the convoys, how would you describe what you had to do in
6 order to get permission from General Milovanovic?
7 A. Well, I didn't have a lot of means at my disposal. I tried to use
8 persuasive tactics to explain why these convoys were necessary, and then I
9 would try to convince my counterpart, of the other party, that the
10 permission had to be granted. Nine out of ten times that's what happened.
11 Once I took it a step further. That was in early March 1995. And
12 we threatened if the food convoy were refused, that the enclave would be
13 supplied by air and, if necessary, violence would be used.
14 Q. And when you say "if necessary, violence would be used," what do
15 you mean, sir?
16 A. If they tried to block the supply flights by shooting at the
17 aeroplane, then we would use our air weapons to fight our way in and to
18 carry out those supply flights anyway.
19 Q. Now, you said this was stated in March. At that time, did you in
20 fact have any air resupply plan in place that would back up that threat,
21 as you described it?
22 A. Not yet at that time. That means that if we had had to execute it
23 at that moment, we would have had to do an awful lot of improvising. But
24 now that we were confronted with the fact that more and more convoys were
25 being refused permission and the supplies were dwindling, we realized that
1 we needed to draft a plan so that if a real emergency materialised, we
2 would have to have a plan that we could execute to be able to supply our
3 troops, if necessary, through violence. That was why General Smith
4 assigned his staff to draft a plan for this eventuality, a very detailed
5 plan. And I remember that we worked over two months on that, set
6 everything forth in paper, and by the end of April the plan was ready.
7 Q. And do you recall whether or not that plan was approved by --
8 length start with Mr. Akashi, for example. -- Let's start with Mr. Akashi,
9 for example.
10 A. Yes. Well, it was a military plan. And, of course, it first had
11 to be approved by General Janvier, but Mr. Akashi was aware of it as well
12 and consented.
13 And what I'd like to state for the record: This does not mean
14 that the plan could automatically be carried out, because aeroplanes from
15 different countries would be participating at the moment of execution.
16 The permission would be required from all countries supplying troops here.
17 So authorisation from all troop-contributing nations.
18 Q. You've described a -- a plan that required a lot of staff work and
19 a lot of time. What were the conditions, General, between March, April,
20 and May which justified devoting that amount of time and resources to an
21 air-resupply plan so that you wouldn't have to follow the procedure that
22 you were following already with the VRS?
23 A. Well, the necessity of developing that plan arose from the
24 increasing refusal to grant permission to resupply convoys, and thus
25 resupplying the military people in the enclaves, as well as the civilians,
1 became very difficult and the situation was deteriorating. And the plan
2 was intended for the event that a situation became imminent where people
3 were on the verge of starvation, and then we would provide supplies
4 through -- if necessary, through violence.
5 Q. And from what you understood, sir, where was the decision actually
6 made on the Serb side as to whether to approve or deny a convoy?
7 A. I assume the VRS headquarters.
8 Q. Sir, I want to focus just for a moment on the fuel resupply. Do
9 you recall off the top of your head how many fuel convoys were approved
10 for DutchBat by the VRS between February and June of 1995?
11 A. Yes, I remember that very clearly, because there weren't a lot of
12 them. During my term, one convoy with fuel entered the enclave. That was
13 the convoy in early March. And after that, all fuel convoys were
15 Q. Now, with respect to the resupply convoys of food and other
16 material, both for DutchBat and for the civilian population, did you
17 receive any reports about what would happen to some of the convoys which
18 would be approved en route to their destination?
19 A. Would you please repeat the question.
20 Q. I'll try to simplify it, if I -- if I might, sir. Did you ever
21 receive reports, sir, that food and other material resupply convoys - not
22 talking about fuel - would not reach the ultimate destination with its
23 approved load?
24 A. Absolutely. That happened regularly as well. Even though
25 permission was granted, somewhere along the route, at a control post or a
1 check-point, vehicles were blocked, sent back. Sometimes the vehicle had
2 to be unloaded but the convoy commanders were prohibited from doing so.
3 So if a vehicle or a load was refused, then it would likely have
4 to return mission unaccomplished.
5 Q. And in -- in your time in Bosnia, sir, with respect to resupplying
6 the eastern enclaves, which party, if any, was doing this blocking or
7 sending-back the most?
8 A. Well, it was clear that that was the VRS, because you had to
9 travel across VRS territory to reach the enclaves. Sometimes during the
10 route preceding that, across Bosnian territory, but the -- the supplies
11 were intended for Bosnians in the enclaves as well. So we didn't usually
12 get problems there, but we did encounter problems with the VRS.
13 Q. So can you describe, sir, to what degree, in your experience, was
14 UNPROFOR dependent upon the VRS to be able to resupply its peacekeepers in
15 the eastern enclaves.
16 A. Well, entirely, because without permission from the VRS, we
17 couldn't move those convoys and we were not in a position at the time to
18 resort to violence, except by air. And that was a means that we wanted
19 to -- it was extreme and we wanted to use that only in dire emergencies.
20 Q. Just a few more questions on -- on this and one related topic,
21 sir, before we move on. Did anything change during your six months
22 concerning the DutchBat peacekeepers taking leave?
23 A. Yes. There were problems with that too. I would almost say, What
24 did we not encounter problems with? But it did happen that the DutchBat
25 soldiers left the enclave to go on leave, and a few weeks afterwards, when
1 they tried to return, they would be blocked and would be refused
2 permission to return to their base. The ultimate result was that the
3 number of troops in the enclave had diminished from about 600 soldiers to
4 about 350 soldiers. Clearly, after that we didn't authorise leaves any
6 Q. And who in the VRS -- with whom in the VRS did you deal about
7 these leave problems?
8 A. Well, various levels were involved. Of course, as the Chief of
9 Staff, I would start talking to my VRS counterpart about that. We also
10 wrote official letters signed by General Smith, and the chief of the civil
11 affairs division negotiated about this as well, all to no avail.
12 Q. And did you yourself have contact with the DutchBat commanding
13 officer about the resupply situation and the effects it had on DutchBat's
14 ability to remain operational?
15 A. Well, I didn't have any formal direct contact with the DutchBat
16 commander, because there was in fact a level in between. So strictly
17 speaking, I had to interact via the headquarters in Tuzla with the
18 DutchBat commander. On the other hand, because I was the senior Dutch
19 officer, the highest ranking Dutch officer in the commando, I was
20 empowered to contact my countrymen directly, and I could do that. I had a
21 direct line. And obviously I did contact him regularly to ask how things
22 stood and whether everything was well, especially when things were not
23 well. I obviously contacted him more frequently to ask about the
25 Q. [Microphone not activated]
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
2 MR. THAYER:
3 Q. And did the DutchBat commander ever commit any of his complaints
4 or concerns in writing to your command, sir?
5 A. Yes. I'll try to give you a full answer. He did so both orally
6 and in writing. At first, it was orally, to indicate which problems were
7 being caused, for example, due to fuel shortages. So very quickly, the
8 fuel shortages forced him to discontinue his motor patrols and he could
9 only send out foot patrols. After a while, they also stopped using fuel
10 to heat the buildings, to save the fuel, to keep the generators going that
11 were needed to use the communication devices.
12 And, of course, those are consequences that compromise operational
13 usefulness. And when that -- when things became worse, I believe sometime
14 in May, he drafted a first report about the situation. That was a written
15 report presented through the official line of command, in which he
16 explained how dismal his supply position was, both with respect to fuel,
17 spare parts, munition, as well as the quality of munitions, the lack of
18 food, and that this was -- this had seriously compromised his operational
20 I remember another report from early June in which he basically
21 stated that he'd reached a point where operationally he was no longer able
22 to do his job properly.
23 Q. Now, we'll be turning to the VRS attack on the enclave in a few
24 moments, General, but first, how would you describe the military
25 situation, just generally, in terms of the activity around the Srebrenica
1 enclave in June of 1995?
2 A. Well, at any rate, the enclave was surrounded on all sides by VRS
3 troops. We clearly had the impression that during the course of June the
4 number of troops had been increased, and that raised questions about the
5 intentions of the VRS, whether they intended to attack the enclave and
6 what the purpose would be of such an attack; did they intend to seize part
7 of the enclave, for example, the southern part across which there was an
8 important supply route, or would they try to seize control of the entire
10 That was a tough call. At first in our commando we believed that
11 it would concern only the southern area. After a while, the VRS did
12 indeed start attacking UN targets, and in June one of the observation
13 posts was attacked and DutchBat was forced to leave those observation
14 posts. In early July there was another step because successively more
15 observation posts were being attacked and shot at, and those static posts
16 at exposed sites, although they were protected by sandbags and barbed
17 wire, they were certainly not -- they certainly couldn't withstand tank
18 fire. So if they were fired on by tanks, the only thing to do was to
19 abandon the observation post.
20 Q. Okay. General, let me just back up for a quick moment. Just
21 generally speaking, in terms of firing incidents or attacks by either of
22 the warring parties in the month of June in the area of Srebrenica, do you
23 recall receiving complaints by either of the warring parties about such
24 attacks, firing incidents, and so forth? And if so, do you recall what
25 you did about those complaints from either of the warring factions?
1 A. Yes. There were complaints from both parties, both from the side
2 of VRS and from BiH. The VRS complained about Muslim soldiers that would
3 exfiltrate from the enclaves and that would attack villages on Serb
4 territory. They complained that evidently the UN was unable to stop this.
5 The BiH complained that they were being shot at by the VRS. The
6 latter could also be observed by DutchBat. So we were well-positioned to
7 check whether these complaints were justified. And actually, there was a
8 third party in some cases; sometimes the UN itself was shot at. So
9 protests about that were sent out as well.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer, I just want to make sure of one thing;
11 namely, that the interpretation is correct. The -- line 24 on the
12 previous page, on page 18: "The BiH complained that they were being shot
13 at by the VRS. The latter could also be observed by DutchBat." Did the
14 witness say Dutch -- the BiH complained that they were being shot at by
15 the VRS or bombarded by the -- by the VRS?
16 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: I just want to make sure if the translation has been
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I will clarify this. Both
20 could be observed. Sometimes it was direct small-calibre fire, but since
21 shots were often fired from the hills, we could see this. And in some
22 cases, it was shelling, shooting with artillery or mortars; sometimes
23 aimed at the positions of Muslim soldiers, sometimes also at random to
25 MR. THAYER:
1 Q. And in response to these complaints from both of the warring
2 parties, did you or anyone at your command issue any formal protests?
3 A. Yes. Initially, of course, that would have to be something to be
4 done by the DutchBat commander, to solve that and to put an end to these
5 hostilities locally. But if the situation was under threat of getting out
6 of hand or whether -- when it was impossible for them to gain control of
7 the situation, of course he could ask his next higher in command to try at
8 a higher level to put an end to these hostilities. And this happened a
9 number of times.
10 Q. And ultimately, do you recall protest letters being issued by
11 either sector-level command or -- or BH-level command to both of the
12 warring parties during the month of June?
13 A. Yes. This happened at some regular intervals, with the exception
14 of using air support, writing protest letters was the only resource we had
15 to try and do something about this.
16 Q. Now, I want to turn your attention to the VRS attack on the
17 enclave, and I want to ask you about several conversations you had with
18 various high-ranking VRS officers during the course of that attack.
19 First I want to turn your attention to the loss of a Dutch
20 soldier, Private Raviv Rensen to Muslim fire on July 8th. Do you recall
21 that, sir?
22 A. Yes, I -- I do.
23 Q. Would you briefly describe the circumstances of his death and what
24 you did in response to his death.
25 A. Yes. One of the observation posts was attacked, was fired at
1 inter alia by a tank. After some time, the commander of the observation
2 post decided that the situation had become untenable. He asked leave to
3 abandon the observation post. That leave was granted. And the commander
4 received the assignment to turn to the command at Potocari with his men.
5 On the way back, they had to pass near BiH positions, who were
6 totally in disagreement that this observation post was abandoned. They
7 tried to stop the vehicle, unsuccessfully so. They also shot at the
8 vehicle. And in the -- on that occasion, the board fire-man was hit and
9 he died before reaching the compound. Naturally, the DutchBat commander
10 reported this soon.
11 Next I contacted the Sarajevo headquarters, the BiH headquarters,
12 to protest against the situation there and to fiercely insist that they
13 were to leave the DutchBat troops in the enclave unharmed and grant them
14 freedom of movement. I also announced that this would be followed up by
15 an official written protest. Naturally, I also protested with the VRS
16 about the fact that they had attacked the observation post and about the
17 fact that they were busy penetrating the enclave. I urgently insisted
18 that they should withdraw their troops behind the treaty lines, truce
19 lines that were -- had been agreed upon earlier.
20 Q. Now, just to be entirely clear, for the record, whose tank was
21 this that was firing on the -- on the OP, General?
22 A. The OP was fired at by VRS troops, and the -- the vehicle that was
23 on its way from the observation post of the compound, that was shot at by
24 BiH troop -- troops.
25 Q. And specifically the tank, who -- who did the tank belong to, sir?
1 A. That belonged to the VRS. The Muslim troops in the enclave didn't
2 have that heavy weaponry.
3 Q. Now, did you personally make any contact with either of the
4 warring parties in connection with this incident?
5 A. Yes. As I just told you, I contacted the loss of the soldier with
6 General Hajrulahovic. He was the person who was the Chief of Staff at the
7 BiH headquarters in Sarajevo. And as far as the attack on the observation
8 post was concerned, I had contacts with General Tolimir of the VRS.
9 MR. THAYER: May we have 65 ter number 2750 displayed on e-court,
11 I'm not showing a English version yet. Is -- am I the only one
12 or -- we're still waiting for it to be uploaded. Okay. I just wanted to
13 be sure.
14 And I have hard copies we can place on the ELMO and --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: It seems there --
16 MR. THAYER: -- place before the witness.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: It seems there may be a technical problem.
18 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much.
19 MR. THAYER: If we could move that just a little bit up or out
20 and -- okay. Maybe a little bit higher so we can catch the -- the
21 signature line. Perfect. Thank you. Thank you, Madam Usher.
22 Q. Sir, have you had an opportunity to -- to read this document?
23 A. [Interpretation] Yes, I have.
24 Q. What is it?
25 A. This is a report of a telephone conversation that I conducted with
1 the VRS headquarters. Particularly in that period when tension rose, we
2 took the habit of drawing up reports of these telephone conversations. It
3 would be drawn up by my MA with the aid of my female interpreter. These
4 reports were mainly intended to inform internally other people within
5 staff. To start with, the commander; then the head of civil affairs, and
6 the head of the present information office.
7 Q. And, again, sir, what was the name of your female interpreter?
8 A. The female interpreter was Svetlana. My MA was Lieutenant-Colonel
9 de Ruiter. And his signature is underneath this report.
10 Q. And was it your practice at the time to actually review these
11 reports after they were created?
12 A. Yes, naturally. Because it was I who had conducted the
13 conversation, and I was responsible. I had to approve these reports.
14 Q. And how would you describe the accuracy of -- of this report,
15 based on your recollection?
16 A. In terms of content, it is 100 per cent correct.
17 Q. Now, I'm going to show you several more examples of these reports,
18 General. And -- and to save time, was the same procedure and the same
19 participants -- were the same procedure used and the same participants
20 present - that is, yourself; your interpreter, Svetlana; and
21 Lieutenant-Colonel de Ruiter - for all of these telephone conversations
22 during this couple of days?
23 A. Yes. Let me say, my military assistant, Lieutenant-Colonel de
24 Ruiter, and Svetlana were always present in these conversations. Svetlana
25 obviously, because without her I was unable to conduct these
1 conversations. My MA was functionally involved in all of these activities
2 too. And in some cases, it could be that a fourth or fifth person was
3 present in my office as well. But generally, that was not the case.
4 Q. Now, let's look at this conversation. It indicates that there
5 were no generals available at the VRS headquarters, so you left a message,
6 referring to a previous conversation with General Tolimir. Do you recall
7 what the -- the content of your previous conversation with General Tolimir
8 was? What was that about?
9 A. Yes. The cause was the attack at the OP, the incident we just
10 referred to, that afternoon at around 3.00 p.m. It was shelled and then
11 had to be abandoned. And as I told you earlier, after having communicated
12 my protests to the BiH troops, I subsequently contacted General Tolimir
13 and protested against the attack on the observation post.
14 Subsequently, insisting with him that this attack be stopped and
15 that his troops be withdrawn behind the cease-fire lines. Since that
16 hadn't materialised in the evening at about 7.30, I contacted him again in
17 order to insist upon this once more.
18 Q. Now, this report notes that General Tolimir promised that UNPROFOR
19 and UN positions would not be attacked. Subsequent to this conversation
20 at 19.45, did General Tolimir keep his promise that UNPROFOR and UN
21 positions would not be attacked?
22 A. The answer is short: No. As with all things we protested
23 against in that period with regard to VRS attacks, they would always be
24 denied -- they would always assure us forcefully that UN troops were not
25 being attacked, which was absolutely at odds with the reports we received
1 from DutchBat in this respect.
2 Q. And let's move to the next day, July 9th, General. Did the VRS
3 attack continue that day?
4 A. As far as I remember, more observation posts kept being attacked.
5 Exactly how many were attacked on that Sunday, I don't remember that. Not
6 off the top of my head.
7 Q. And do you recall what, if anything -- do you recall. Sorry. I
8 was just pausing. Is it being interpreted properly?
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead. I mean, while you're still speaking
10 English, there's no point in asking, because we'll all hear yourself.
11 It's only when the witness turns on to Dutch that -- that we can --
12 MR. THAYER: Okay. I'll keep moving.
13 Q. Do you recall, General, what, if anything, was being done with
14 respect to repatriating Private Rensen's body?
15 A. Yes. This complicated my position. On the one hand, I had to
16 protest vociferously about the events; and, on the other hand, I had to
17 request assistance so that the body of the deceased soldier Rensen could
18 be transported out of the enclave. I requested assistance, and quite
19 honestly, I received such assistance. And that happened entirely as
21 Q. If -- if we may, let's look at 65 ter 2972, just for a moment.
22 And, General, can you read that document on the right?
23 A. Yes. I've already started.
24 Q. I want to focus your attention on the last paragraph. It
25 indicates that "General Tolimir responded that he was not aware of his
1 subordinate commanders obstructing the Casevac by road. He asked General
2 Nicolai that his men go to Bratunac immediately, while he would order his
3 troops to enable them to proceed to Zvornik. When on the BSA territory,
4 his men would be received by his troops, he would immediately pass the
5 instructions to the BSA units accordingly."
6 Just a couple of questions on this paragraph, General. Do you
7 know to whom General Tolimir was referring when he made this reference to
8 "his subordinate commanders"?
9 A. As far as the last part, he meant -- he meant the local commander
10 of the VRS on site, so in or around the enclave.
11 Q. And just generally, what is General Tolimir talking about doing
13 A. If you would give me a moment -- just a moment to read the entire
14 message, then I can refresh my memory.
15 Q. Certainly, General.
16 A. Yes. Now I remember again. Aside from the fact that I spoke with
17 General Tolimir about the return of DutchBat soldiers who had fled to
18 Serbian territory from their OPs because they were afraid to move across
19 the BiH positions, this was primarily about transporting the body of the
20 soldier who was killed.
21 I just said that it happened as agreed, but apparently there was
22 one glitch. The first time they tried to transport the body across --
23 along the road to Bratunac, they were blocked by VRS troops. And I spoke
24 with General Tolimir, asking him to instruct the people that we had agreed
25 that the convoy was allowed to pass.
1 Q. And to your knowledge, did General Tolimir take care of that
2 glitch? And was the convoy allowed to pass?
3 A. Yes. That was resolved. And the remains of soldier Rensen were
4 transported that same day.
5 Q. Now, let's look at 65 ter 2751, if we may.
6 This particular document has a lot of text on it, General. If --
7 if it would be easier for you to have a hard copy, I -- I do have one
8 available. Otherwise, please take your time and try to make out what you
9 have there on -- on the screen. I know it's -- it's a lot of dense
10 writing, but please take your time and -- and let me know when you've had
11 a chance to -- to read the document.
12 A. Yes, I can read it clearly on the screen.
13 I'm finished reading.
14 Q. Do you recall this conversation, General?
15 A. Yes, I do. The situation kept deteriorating, and there had been
16 extensive contact between the headquarters in Sarajevo and the
17 headquarters in Zagreb about the situation that had materialised, and it
18 became clear that only through letters of protest -- letters of protest
19 alone would not resolved the matter. That was why I contacted General
20 Tolimir again and urged him, once again, to withdraw his troops, as we
21 would otherwise be forced to resort to other means of violence to force
22 the troops to withdraw. And that in effect meant using air weapons.
23 And I then spoke about having soldiers return -- allowing soldiers
24 to return who had fled to Serbian territory. General Tolimir said that
25 those soldiers had permission to return to their bases, but that proved
1 incorrect. And General Tolimir asserted once again that the UN was not a
2 VRS target and that they would not be shot at at all, and that conflicted
3 with all reports issued by the DutchBat commander. And General Tolimir
4 promised that he would check once again to ensure that his ground troops
5 did not attack DutchBat.
6 Q. And, General, if we look at the last paragraph on this document,
7 it indicates, as you just said, that "General Tolimir promised he would
8 check this information directly on the ground, although he said" -- or
9 told you that he did not believe this was true. And he asked you to call
10 him back in 30 minutes. Do you recall him doing that, sir?
11 A. As far as I remember, he did call back at some point, but not
12 within 30 minutes. Later that evening.
13 Q. And do you recall trying to reach General Tolimir yourself after
14 this phone call when you didn't hear from him in 30 minutes?
15 A. Yes. At any rate, I tried. As far as I can remember, I tried a
16 few times. But the documents available to you should tell you exactly
17 when I succeeded, because I don't remember that any more.
18 Q. Okay. Well, I think we have enough time before the -- the break
19 to look at another, and that is 65 ter 2973.
20 Actually, this is a rather long, General -- document, General.
21 It's two pretty packed pages. So please take your time. We may not be
22 able to finish it before the break, but take your time and read this, if
23 you would.
24 A. [No interpretation]
25 Q. Okay. The -- the prior telephone conversation you had was 9 July,
1 1750 hours. And now we're looking at a report of the same date, 1930
2 hours. What was the purpose of this call, sir?
3 A. Well, then I would have to tell you what else happened that day
4 within the UN network. After close consultation between the headquarters
5 in Sarajevo and Zagreb and involvement on the part of General Janvier
6 himself, it was decided that to send a clear message that the limit of
7 what the UN would tolerate had been reached.
8 So to this end, General Janvier instructed that parts of DutchBat
9 blocking positions be taken - these are blocking positions in Dutch as
10 well - south of Srebrenica. And, first of all, their purpose was to block
11 the approaching Serbian troops; and, two, they were intended to create a
12 situation so that if they tried to continue approaching Srebrenica, they
13 would be in a situation where they had no choice but to attack the UN as
14 well. And in that case, because both the civilian population was being
15 threatened and the UN was being attacked, the entire international
16 community would then understand that a situation had materialised that
17 justified the use of air arms.
18 And because we wanted to make this very clear to the Serbians, we
19 drafted an ultimatum in writing to let them know that the consequences of
20 their continuous attacks would be such, and this telephone call preceded
21 that and it was, first of all, because I wanted to VRS to stop attacking
22 the UN; and in addition to that, because they had already penetrated the
23 enclave, so I urged that even if they desisted from their acts of
24 violence, they had to withdraw their troops beyond the borders of the
1 Q. Okay. I think we'll have to leave it, I think, there, until we
2 return from the break, General. Thank you.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Thayer. Thank you, General.
4 We'll have a 25-minute break.
5 --- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.
6 --- On resuming at 4.15 p.m.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer.
8 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Q. Good afternoon again, General.
10 A. Good afternoon.
11 MR. THAYER: If we may have the first page of 2973 again, please.
12 And that would be on both versions.
13 Q. The first paragraph, General, reports that you were curious about
14 General Tolimir's information on the ongoing events in Srebrenica and you
15 were concentrated on General Tolimir's confirmation of his previous
16 message. Can you explain this passage just briefly, sir?
17 A. Well, what happened was that each time I told General Tolimir
18 about what was happening - namely that, the UN was being attacked - he
19 consistently denied it, and the last time before this phone call, he
20 promised once again to inquire from his -- from the commander on site as
21 to what was the matter. And each time again he continued to deny that UN
22 troops were being attacked by the VRS.
23 Q. And in the second paragraph, where he tells you that he had passed
24 the message on to his subordinate commanders and was informed that the VRS
25 had no particular problems with UNPROFOR or the civil population in
1 Srebrenica, how did that square with the information you were receiving at
2 the time?
3 A. It was consistently incorrect. The DutchBat commander kept me
4 continuously informed about what was happening. General Tolimir denied
5 that in any way, shape, or form. And I'm fully convinced that he knew
6 exactly what was going on, but he was unwilling to confirm that. And in
7 the end, I told him, "Whether they're actually fighting or not at this
8 point in time doesn't matter that much; the fact is that your troops have
9 already penetrated the enclave more than four kilometres and they need to
10 withdraw beyond the borders of the enclave."
11 Q. And let me just pick up on something you just mentioned in -- in
12 that answer, sir. You described contacts that you had with Colonel
13 Karremans. What were your sources of information during this period of
15 A. Well, the most important source of information consisted of the
16 situation reports that the DutchBat commander gave me either directly or
17 via the intermediary of the headquarters of the Tuzla sector commander.
18 In addition to that, we had some other information sources. There were
19 English special forces in the enclave reporting directly to a special
20 bureau at the Sarajevo headquarters.
21 Q. And by this time, sir, what types of weapons were being used by
22 the VRS during its attack? And do you recall approximately where they
23 were located in the enclave?
24 A. The entire enclave was surrounded by VRS positions, including
25 various artillery positions and launching systems for multiple rocket
1 launchers. There were mortar positions. The OPs were attacked in part by
2 tanks. I certainly know that a T-55 was reported. That's a Russian
3 hyper-tank. And there were shootings in several places with small-calibre
4 arms and small arms.
5 Q. And based on the information you were receiving, how would you
6 describe the VRS operation militarily, in terms of its organisation and --
7 and execution?
8 A. Well, at that point, it became crystal clear that the VRS was
9 attacking the enclave. It was not immediately clear where they would
10 stop, but they had penetrated far enough for them to have almost
11 reached -- have reached the city of Srebrenica. So it was high time to
12 stop the attack in its tracks and that's why we threatened to use
14 Q. We'll get to that in -- in a little while, sir. And just for the
15 clarity of record, when you refer to the use of air power, you're
16 referring to air-strikes or close air support, or both?
17 A. Well, at first close air support would be the most obvious. At
18 that point, it was the only thing that the UN in Bosnia was empowered to
19 use. Permission for air-strikes, so massive air attacks, that would have
20 to be granted from New York. And the levels for that authorisation
21 following the fiasco at the air attack in late May, that level had been
22 raised. So at first we were talking about close air support.
23 Q. Okay. Returning back to the first page of 2973. And I'll
24 actually slow down a little bit. I feel myself speeding up here. In the
25 third paragraph of the English version - and this is also the third
1 paragraph of the B/C/S version - you refer to a strong warning supported
2 by the force commander, General Janvier, and Mr. Akashi that would be in
3 writing. Was such a warning issued, sir?
4 A. Yes, on the evening of 9 July that warning was sent to the VRS
6 Q. We'll talk about that in a moment.
7 Moving down -- and we'll have to, I think, go to the second page
8 of the B/C/S, but it's at the very -- at the bottom of the English.
9 General Tolimir repeated his report that there was no conflict between
10 UNPROFOR, BSA, and the BiH civil population in Srebrenica."
11 Again, based on what you knew at the time, was that a true
12 statement or a false statement?
13 A. That was incorrect. It was definitely incorrect.
14 Q. And if we move to the next page, General Tolimir tells you that
15 the Bosnians were using six APCs either given by or taken from UNPROFOR.
16 How did you respond to that information?
17 A. Well, somewhat irritated. It's unfortunate that you have to
18 communicate that via an interpreter, because this accusation was so absurd
19 that I was extremely irritated.
20 Q. And, again, if we look at the second-to-the-last paragraph in the
21 English - and we'll have to scroll down on the B/C/S to capture that -
22 General Tolimir -- and it's the last sentence of that-second-to-last
23 paragraph, promised to contact his subordinate commanders. Do you
24 remember him promising to contact his subordinate commanders, sir?
25 A. Yes, I remember everything that is stated here. But nothing
1 happened. In fact, the opposite happened. Rather than the troops
2 withdrawing, they continued their attack. So these promises that are not
3 kept, that doesn't do us any good.
4 Q. Okay. We're done with this document. If we may look at 65 ter
5 2975, please. We'll just wait for the B/C/S translation.
6 Do you see the document in front of you, sir?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. If you would, can you -- can you read the date and time-line and
9 tell us what time this document reads and the date.
10 A. 9 July, 22.20 hours, July 1995.
11 Q. And as we can see, this is coming from the commander headquarters
12 UNPROFOR, and the internal distribution. Who was the COS referred to
14 A. That's the Chief of Staff of the headquarters, so that would be
15 me, or that was me.
16 Q. And this cover page indicates that "Attached is the final warning
17 to the Bosnian Serbs. We've sent it as a CAPSAT to General Mladic and we
18 will issue it as a press statement"?
19 Do you remember that being done, sir?
20 A. Yes, this is correct. This document was drafted after an extended
21 exchange of ideas between the headquarters in Zagreb and Sarajevo and was
22 ultimately set forth in writing by Lieutenant-Colonel Baxter, who's
23 General Smith's MA. And following its approval by both General Janvier
24 and General Gobillard, it was sent to General Mladic -- or rather, to his
1 Q. And do you recall what this warning said in sum?
2 A. Yes. That's obvious, because the stage of the difficulties had
3 advanced so far that this was our very last warning before we would resort
4 to violence.
5 Q. Well, let's look at the next page.
6 The first line, General, reads: "The Bosnian Serb Army resumed
7 attacks against the Srebrenica enclave on Friday, 7 July 1995, firing
8 indiscriminately into the safe area and directly targeting UN facilities,
9 causing several civilian deaths."
10 Do you recall receiving information during this period of time
11 that civilians had been killed by the VRS shelling or firing?
12 A. Yes, that's correct. That was reported on repeated occasions.
13 Q. Further on into that paragraph, it indicates that: "Two further
14 UN OPs were overrun by the BSA that evening and 15 peacekeepers taken
15 captive. A further 17 peacekeepers had been taken this afternoon."
16 You indicated earlier in your testimony that some peacekeepers
17 fled to the Serb side because they were afraid of passing through the
18 Bosnian lines. Did you have any reports or information that some of the
19 Dutch peacekeepers were -- were taken -- were taken more against their
20 will than voluntarily from their OPs?
21 A. Well, their flight to Serbian territories, voluntary in the sense
22 that they were still more afraid of passing the BiH positions. Of course,
23 I -- it's no fun to surrender to one of the two parties, but they felt
24 that the Serbians would treat them better than the BiH soldiers would.
25 Q. And how about with respect to other soldiers who had been manning
1 other OPs which were overrun? Did you ever receive any information that
2 they surrendered to the VRS under threat of arms, as opposed to fleeing
3 towards them?
4 A. Yes, that happened as well, especially during the following days.
5 So in some cases they surrendered; basically forced to volunteer. In
6 other cases, they were threatened by arms and then they laid down their
7 arms and surrendered to the Serbians. That happened as well.
8 Q. Now, if we -- if we look at the very bottom, the last paragraph,
9 there's a reference to the blocking position and that the SRSG and the FC
10 have decided that if the blocking position is attacked by VRS forces, NATO
11 close air support will be employed.
12 Is that what you had been describing just prior to the break,
13 General, the blocking positions?
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. Now, you described numerous conversations that you had either
16 directly or via the Sector North-East Command with Colonel Karremans. I'm
17 not sure if we've actually said his name, but the commanding officer of
18 the DutchBat Battalion in Srebrenica. Do you recall Colonel Karremans
19 putting in written form his assessment and concerns concerning the VRS
20 attack some time on the 9th of July?
21 A. Yes, I definitely remember that. And what sticks most in my
22 memory is his concern that air support would indeed be deployed. He
23 feared that this would lead to massive retaliation, actions on the part of
24 the VRS, and he said that unless the air forces were able to take out all
25 VRS positions around the enclave in one fell swoop, he feared that there
1 would be very serious retaliation by the VRS on his own troops.
2 Q. Did you share that fear of massive retaliation by the VRS should
3 close air support be employed?
4 A. I certainly understood his point. The scenario was not strange to
5 me because previously at the end of May, the VRS responded to air-strikes
6 by shooting at enclaves. That was the most striking example, with the
7 blood-bath in the centre of Tuzla. So it was extremely likely that that
8 would be a possible reaction.
9 As far as the UN leadership was concerned, that was no reason to
10 forego this -- this air weapon, because we were certainly using -- we were
11 certainly intending to deploy that.
12 Q. As opposed to employing. Is that correct, sir? At least for the
13 time being.
14 A. Well, let me put it this way: Despite the potentially serious
15 consequences for DutchBat or the civilian population within the enclave,
16 we certainly intended to use air weapons, if necessary.
17 Q. Okay. Let's look at 65 ter 2974 for a few moments, if we could.
18 General, we're just waiting for the B/C/S translation. There we
20 Do you recognise this document, sir?
21 A. Yes, absolutely. That's the document in which Colonel Karremans
22 expressed his concern about the situation that had arisen and the
23 potential consequences that might materialise.
24 Q. Now, we can see in the first paragraph references to shelling OPs,
25 Srebrenica itself, and civilian casualties. You've already spoken
1 about -- about those, so let's move to paragraph 2. He writes -- or he
3 "During these three days, these operations have been executed by
4 all means: Attacking ABiH and UN positions, shelling the enclave and
5 suppressing DutchBat through intimidation by using artillery, mortars, and
6 MLRS (M-63 and M-77)."
7 What is MLRS, sir?
8 A. MLRS means "multi-launched rocket system," so a multiple rocket
10 Q. Colonel Karremans wrote that: "The BSA does exactly know what
11 they are doing and till how far they can go. They do execute their
12 operations according to a predominated and well-organised plan."
13 Based on the information you were receiving, sir, was that
14 consistent with what you were receiving?
15 A. Well, this is an assumption. You can never prove it beyond any
16 shadow of a doubt, but this did appear to be a carefully thought-out plan
17 and we were increasingly getting that impression.
18 Q. Now, let's look at the second page of this document. Paragraph 5
19 refers to an APC, a Dutch APC being lost to the VRS. Do you recall
20 whether more than one APC was lost to the VRS during this operation, sir?
21 A. Well, several fell into the hands of the VRS. At each observation
22 post, there was one armoured personnel carrier, an APC. And if the crew
23 surrendered, then the vehicle would also fall into VRS hands at the same
25 Q. And if we move to paragraph 7, Colonel Karremans refers to several
1 positions in the south-eastern part of the enclave being overtaken by the
2 VRS and refers to the vicinity of the former observation post Echo. And
3 then he states that he did express these concerns already last month.
4 Can you just briefly expand on what he's talking about there, when
5 he says, "I did express these concerns already last month." What's that
6 about, please?
7 A. As I've stated previously during this session that the first
8 observation posts fell into VRS hands in June, or at least had to be
9 abandoned under VRS pressure. And that was the first warning that
10 something was imminent. Karremans expressed his concern. He did not
11 expect only one observation post to be involved; he expected follow-up
12 actions as well.
13 Q. Now, let's just look at the last paragraph before we move on.
14 He -- he writes that: "Using close air support in all possible ways is,
15 in my opinion, not feasible yet. It will provoke the BSA in such way that
16 both Srebrenica itself and OPs and compounds will be targeted by all
18 Is this what you had referred to just a few moments ago in your
19 testimony, General, this concern about having to take out all of the
20 weapons systems in the event that close air support were employed?
21 A. Yes, this is the threat I was referring to recently. Karremans
22 truly did fear that the VRS would deploy all of its means around the
23 enclave as a retaliation for the use of air force and that the citizens of
24 Srebrenica would be the victims of that.
25 Q. Okay. Let's move to the 10th of July. The blocking positions are
1 in place. Briefly, General, what significant developments occurred that
3 A. In effect, the scenario proceeded as one of the possible ones that
4 we had identified. The VRS troops continued their attacks and ultimately
5 attacked the blocking position. And from that blocking position, the UN
6 troops fired back. Because we had already identified this possible
7 situation in advance, we had already completed preparations for requesting
8 air support the day before. All the forms had been completed, and we
9 merely needed to indicate the final update of the -- about the situation
10 and sign off so that the procedure for requesting air support could happen
11 very quickly. And we achieved that situation at the end of the afternoon
12 of the 10th, and the result was that Colonel Karremans then requested air
14 The request was sent to Sarajevo via the headquarter in Tuzla, and
15 Sarajevo said, Yes, this is exactly the situation that we said would
16 justify air support. And that meant that we immediately approved the
17 request and sent it on to Zagreb, because Zagreb was the level for the
18 ultimate approval.
19 Q. Now, given what you've testified about in terms of the blocking
20 positions and establishing the -- the preconditions for the authorisation
21 of close air support, was this the first time that the conditions for
22 close air support had in fact been met during the VRS attack, or had the
23 conditions for employment of close air support been met on other occasions
24 over the course of these couple of days?
25 A. Much earlier there were situations which would have justified the
1 deployment of close air support, if you read UN Resolutions 824 and also
2 UN Resolution 836. There it is clearly described under what circumstances
3 the deployment of air support is justified, and certainly in the cases of
4 self-defence by UN troops but also in cases where the civilian population
5 in the protected areas were attacked. And it had happened already
6 previously on several occasions.
7 The reasons why no air support was used at that time is because at
8 the end of May additional guide-lines or directives were issued for the
9 deployment of air support and great restrictions were requested for in the
10 deployment of air support, and that is why in the case of Mr. Karremans'
11 request at 6 and 8 July for air support, no close air support was granted.
12 And only after such a serious situation had developed as on the 10th of
13 July, it was said, Well, if you don't do it now, it will never happen.
14 And then it will be too late. And so at least at the level of Sarajevo
15 headquarters, the permission was granted, but the level that was
16 ultimately empowered to give that permission doubted for so long that
17 ultimately they didn't grant that permission on the 10th.
18 Q. And why not, sir?
19 A. Yes. The problem was that since they met about it for a long
20 time, in the meantime it was becoming dark and there was also a situation
21 in which the troops, both UN troops and VRS troops, had come to such close
22 quarters that it would become difficult to distinguish one from the other,
23 which made the actual deployment of air support a very risky business.
24 Q. And why was close air support only and not the massive air-strikes
25 that Colonel Karremans had talked about sought?
1 A. Yes. That is really the ultimate means that could have been used
2 to do that. Permission would have been -- would have had to be asked for
3 from New York, and that would have required even more time, and we would
4 have never received that on time. So -- and also the second thought was
5 that perhaps close air support alone would have been a more proportionate
6 reaction and that that would have a sufficiently deterrent effect in order
7 to make the Serbs decide to withdraw.
8 Q. Did you notify the warring parties of the fact that close air
9 support had been approved on 10 July?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And how did you do that?
12 A. As far as I know, in this case I warned both parties that air
13 support had been requested.
14 Q. Okay. If we may look very quickly at 65 ter 2976, please.
15 Just take a moment -- take a moment, please, General, and read the
17 A. I have already read it. You just asked how I warned the parties.
18 Well, this is the report of one of the relevant telephone conversations
19 directed at the VRS headquarters in which I informed them that air support
20 had been requested.
21 Q. Okay. I want to show you something just a little bit different
22 now, General.
23 If we may have P02753 on e-court.
24 General, this is a statement by General Gvero issued by the
25 information service of the VRS's Main Staff on 10 July 1995. Do you
1 recall reviewing this with me during your proofing session?
2 A. Yes, I recall that.
3 Q. Is that the first time you'd seen this document, to your
5 A. That is correct.
6 Q. If we may, let's move to the second page of the English. And I
7 believe in the B/C/S it's going to be the third page. Because of the way
8 the document was created, there are a couple of blank pages. So I think
9 it's there.
10 Perfect. Thank you.
11 In the middle paragraph that begins with "They killed a United
12 Nations soldier," General, there's a line in this statement by General
13 Gvero that: "Our combat activities at the moment are directed towards
14 simply neutralising the Muslim terrorists, and are in no way directed
15 against civilians or members of UNPROFOR."
16 When he says that "their combat activities are in no way directed
17 against civilians or members of UNPROFOR," is that a true statement or a
18 false statement, sir?
19 A. This is absolutely incorrect. From earlier statements I have
20 delivered today, it has become apparent that it was reported repeatedly
21 that not only BiH positions were fired at but also at UN positions and at
23 Q. Okay. Thank you. We're done with that document.
24 Let's move to the 11th of July. I don't think there's any dispute
25 that the close air support was actually delivered that day. And we won't
1 go into the details about how close air support was finally brought about.
2 I think the Trial Chamber has already heard testimony about that. But
3 quite simply, General, did the close air support stop the VRS attack?
4 A. The answer to that question is "no." There are various reasons
5 for that. Firstly, the close air support was done at a small scale with a
6 limited number of aeroplanes. Moreover, the use of close air support
7 against highly distributed troops in a -- in a very hilly terrain is
8 extremely difficult. I mean, in an open desert with -- against
9 large-scale units, this air weapon is extremely effective. You can shell
10 them. You can fire rockets at them. But in -- in this difficult
11 terrain -- it's highly mountainous and a lot of vegetation. You have to
12 find one single tank or just a couple of armoured combat vehicles while
13 you fly over their heads at 100 -- or at 1.000 kilometres an hour, that is
14 very difficult. Once you have tracked them, it's extremely difficult to
15 actually fight them.
16 So under those circumstances, it is not a very effective means.
17 Q. Now, what I want to focus on for -- for a little bit is what, if
18 anything, the VRS said or did specifically as a result of the employment
19 of the close air support.
20 A. Yes. Well, we knew earlier each time the UN made use of air
21 force, the VRS would respond vehemently against that. That was true this
22 time as well. Concretely, it meant that in the afternoon of July the 11th
23 we received a phone call from General Gvero at our headquarters with a
24 message that -- summing things up, said that if we weren't going to stop
25 immediately using air force, he would -- would have -- he would start --
1 he would have the compound at Potocari and surrounding areas shelled.
2 Perhaps you remember the -- the pictures, but otherwise I could
3 describe them. The compound at that point had been flooded by refugees
4 from the city of Srebrenica. In the direct surroundings of the compound,
5 there were thousands of refugees in the open air. So if shelling were to
6 take place with artillery or mortars, this would develop into a tremendous
7 blood-bath involving mainly innocent refugees.
8 In addition, the vast majority of them were women and children.
9 That threat was taken very seriously by us at the headquarters in
10 Sarajevo. We should add to that that the situation at that point had
11 already -- was that the -- the town of Srebrenica had already been
12 occupied, so in our view, the battle had been fought. And at that point,
13 running the risk of this kind of blood-bath prompted us into calling back
14 the air force and to order them to stop their attacks.
15 Q. Now, General, were you the only person, other than the threat from
16 General Gvero, were you the only person to receive a threat as a result of
17 the employment of close air support?
18 A. I'm not 100 per cent certain of this. I seem to remember that a
19 warning was also issued to Colonel Karremans, a warning by the local
20 Serbian commander to Colonel Karremans. But I'm not entirely certain
21 about this, so I have to make some reservations here.
22 Q. Okay. Let's look at 65 ter 2906, please.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. While we are doing that, when he
24 refers -- when he -- when the gentleman refers to a warning by the local
25 Serbian commander to Colonel Karremans, who would that be? Do you have an
1 idea of who could that be, who you're referring to as -- as "local Serbian
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, but I wouldn't -- I would
4 not know that. I do not know who the direct interlocutor of Colonel
5 Karremans was.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, General.
7 MR. THAYER:
8 Q. General, do you see the document in front of you?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Would you please take a moment and read it to yourself. And I
11 have a few questions for you.
12 A. Yes, I've read it.
13 Q. You referred to a -- a threat from General Gvero in a
14 conversation. Based on your recollection, is this the conversation that
15 contained that threat, or was there another conversation?
16 A. No, it was this conversation.
17 Q. Now, we see in the second paragraph, where the report reads that
18 "General Gvero, denying this, said it was not the BSA that was attacking
20 A. Yes. By now I think it must be clear that this is preposterous.
21 For days on end the VRS had been attacking the UN. At that point, we had
22 already reached a situation in which Srebrenica as a city had been
23 conquered. And then still saying that there was no such thing as an
24 attack was obviously an absurdity, which is, well, almost incredible.
25 Q. And if we look at the paragraph the third up from the bottom, sir,
1 it reads:
2 General Gvero answered: "He could and did not have to stop
3 anything, for neither UNPROFOR and civil population in Srebrenica were
4 attacked. In case that the air power did not stop immediately, General
5 Nicolai, in the capacity of the commander's deputy, would be held
6 responsible for all further developments and the destiny of his men and
7 the civil population in Srebrenica."
8 What did you take that statement to mean, sir?
9 A. That General Gvero would blame -- wanted to make me responsible,
10 blame me for anything that happened to the civilian population and
11 UNPROFOR, because he said, "You asked for air support, and so you are also
12 responsible for any reactions on our part to that."
13 Q. And what did you understand that he was telling you their
14 reactions would be?
15 A. For the shelling of the Potocari compound and its immediate
16 surroundings. So if there would be a blood -- a blood-bath there, then in
17 his words, that would be something for which I would have been to blame.
18 Q. And did you take this threat seriously of bombarding the compound?
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Josse.
20 MR. JOSSE: That is absolutely outrageous. The witness had not
21 used the word "threat." And my learned friend has quite deliberately
22 weaved that into his question, and he should be chastised by this Trial
23 Chamber for doing that. He knows exactly what he's doing.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you wish to comment, Mr. Thayer?
25 MR. THAYER: If my friend would calm himself. I think I was using
1 the word that this witness used before I even showed him the record of the
2 conversation, which he has verified was what he was talking about. So I
3 think it's an entirely appropriate question.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Josse, there has been a common understanding
5 between the -- the -- Mr. Thayer and -- and the general throughout the
6 last 15 minutes of this line of questions that the word "threat" or the
7 description of what -- of the various correspondence or conversations was
8 put to the witness as a threat, and the witness has accepted that it was a
10 MR. JOSSE: Well, I've two remarks. First of all, it would help
11 if I was shown the passage where that was used. But even if -- even if I
12 am, Your Honour, if one looks at the two previous questions, Mr. Thayer
13 wanted the witness to use the word "threat." He didn't get that from him,
14 and he therefore deliberately, in my submission, weaved it into his next
15 question. It's really as simple as that.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: When -- when he asked the witness, showing him the
17 document, "Is this the -- does this document indicate or point to the
18 threat that you said you have received from General Gvero, is this on this
19 occasion or is it another occasion?" He replied, "yes it is" in the
20 affirmative. And so he's accepting that it was a threat.
21 I don't know how you would describe it, but I'm not surprised that
22 the witness has accepted the suggestion that it's threat.
23 MR. THAYER: And Mr. President, if I may assist my friend. At
24 page 45, line 9, when I asked "What if anything the VRS said or did
25 specifically as a result of the employment of the close air support?"
1 His answer was: "Well, we knew earlier each time the UN made use
2 of air force, the VRS would respond against that. That was true this time
3 as well. Concretely it meant that in the afternoon of July the 11th we
4 received a phone call from General Gvero at our headquarters with the
5 message that, summing things up, said that if we weren't going to stop
6 immediately using air force, he would -- would have -- he would start --
7 he would have the compound of Potocari and surrounding areas shelled.
8 "Perhaps you remember the pictures, but otherwise I could describe
9 them. The compound at that point had been flooded by refugees from the
10 city of Srebrenica. In the direct surroundings of the compound there were
11 thousands of refugees in the open air. So if shelling was to take place,
12 this would develop into a tremendous blood-bath involving mainly innocent
13 refugees. In addition, the vast majority of them were women and children.
14 That threat was taken very seriously by us at the headquarters in
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Shall we move on, Mr. Josse?
17 MR. JOSSE: I -- clearly, the examination is going to move on. I
18 already said I accept that I was wrong in relation to the use of the word
19 "threat." But I maintain that my learned friend should not have used it
20 in that context in that question. But yes, Your Honour, clearly
21 proceedings need to move on.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, how -- again -- but again, I put the same
23 question to you. How would you expect Mr. Thayer to qualify?
24 MR. JOSSE: Well, he should have asked: How do you perceive
25 this? The two previous questions were an attempt to get the witness to
1 use the word "threat." He failed. He therefore chose to use it himself.
2 I've made my point three times.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. But maybe had you intervened then it would
4 have been better. But at this point in time, there is this common
5 understanding --
6 MR. JOSSE: There was nothing wrong with those questions.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's move, shall we?
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Let's move -- move ahead.
10 MR. THAYER:
11 Q. Sorry about that little interlude, General. Why did you take this
12 threat seriously from General Gvero?
13 A. I've stated previously here that during previous use of air force
14 by the UN, sweeping retaliation actions took place. I'm talking about the
15 shellings in the end of May after the air attacks on 25 and 26 May when
16 all targets were shelled, not only military also civilian targets and the
17 centre of Tuzla was hit by heavy shelling, resulting in over 80 casualties
18 and many injured among the civilian population. And that was clearly a
19 response to the use of air force by the UN.
20 Q. Now, sir, do you recall General Gobillard having a conversation
21 with General Gvero a little while later that same day?
22 A. Yes, I remember that.
23 Q. What was the purpose of that call?
24 A. As far as I can remember, it was, on the one hand, to make clear
25 that the air support had been discontinued; and, on the other hand,
1 General Gobillard did issue a warning that if the VRS resumed hostilities,
2 then a new use of air support could not be excluded, and also that
3 negotiations would take place as to what had to be done with the local
4 population that had fled to the area of the enclave.
5 Q. Now, do you recall being present for this conversation between
6 Generals Gobillard and Gvero?
7 A. I was not present the entire time. I know that the conversation
8 took place, and I believe I was present at the beginning of the
9 conversation, but as you can probably imagine, that was quite a hectic
10 point in time and I was called away because my own Minister of Defence
11 from the Netherlands was calling me by telephone, and that was ample
12 reason to leave the room where the phone conversation was taking place. I
13 did read the report about the phone call later on.
14 Q. Okay. Well, the Trial Chamber has heard a lot of evidence about
15 that phone call, so let's -- let's move on and save a little bit of time.
16 Let's move to the 12th of July, General, if we could. Do you
17 recall contacting the VRS Main Staff, again, that day in connection with
18 issues surrounding the evacuation of those refugees that you just referred
19 to from Srebrenica?
20 A. Yes, I remember that. I did try to offer my services as a
21 negotiator with the VRS, because we believed that Colonel Karremans after
22 the incidents was not the best person to conduct these negotiations. We
23 had also learned that General Mladic himself was with the troops in the
24 enclave, and we thought that it would be better for the negotiations to be
25 between generals than between a senior general and a colonel.
1 Q. So what efforts did you or anyone else in UNPROFOR make to get
2 someone of a higher rank than Colonel Karremans to meet with General
4 A. General Janvier offered to send a delegation of negotiators from
5 Zagreb, and Sarajevo offered to have me act as a negotiator, but if
6 desired, another option would be to have the head of the civil affairs
7 department serve as a negotiator. None of us was successful. General
8 Mladic stated that he could manage perfectly well with Colonel Karremans
9 and that no other negotiators needed to come to the enclave.
10 Q. Well, why didn't yourself or General Gobillard jump into an APC
11 and -- and go to Srebrenica yourself?
12 A. I understand why you're asking me that. Somebody who was aware of
13 the situation at the time probably would have smiled at that. But in
14 effect, that would mean fighting your way onto Serbian territory, and that
15 would have taken quite a bit more than a single APC. So we wouldn't even
16 have been able to cross the border of Serb territory.
17 The same held true for getting into a helicopter. It was known
18 that the VRS also had air target rockets. There was even a US jet that
19 had been brought down during the months before. And if a jet can be taken
20 down, then a helicopter is very easy to hit. So it would have been
21 foolhardy to undertake such a sorry expedition.
22 Q. Well, let's look at 65 -- actually, it's P02907, please.
23 General, just take a moment, if you would, and read the first
24 page. Let us know when you're done. It's a two-page report.
25 A. I've read this first page.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 A. Yes, I've finished reading.
3 Q. Okay. If we might go back to page 1, please, just for a couple of
5 The first line states that you tell General Gvero - and this is at
6 1445 hours on July 12th - that the reason for you calling him was the
7 meeting that was held that morning between the commanding officer of
8 DutchBat and General Mladic on the matter of the evacuation of the
9 refugees from Srebrenica.
10 Do you recall this conversation?
11 A. Yes, I remember it.
12 Q. And do you recall what General Gvero's response was to you when
13 you suggested that perhaps you could get down to Srebrenica and discuss
14 matters with the BSA authorities?
15 A. Well, that was certainly not necessary. Mladic could handle that
16 perfectly well with Colonel Karremans. And there was no need whatsoever
17 to send helicopters with medical supplies and medicine, because the
18 Serbian hospitals were perfectly capable of caring for the injured.
19 Q. Okay. Let's move. We're done with that document.
20 Sir, based upon your personal contacts with General Gvero in these
21 phone calls, the reports that you were receiving, the conversation with
22 General Gobillard and General Gvero, did you form any impressions based
23 upon that information about what General Gvero's role was at the VRS
24 headquarters during this period?
25 A. Yes. I believe that he was the general who was entrusted with
1 maintaining contact with the UN as long as General Mladic was absent,
2 because he was present in the enclave. And presumably General Gvero was
3 in charge of the headquarters at that time.
4 Q. Where did you understand General Milovanovic to be during this
5 period, sir?
6 A. Well, I have no idea. Ordinarily General Milovanovic was deployed
7 as a troubleshooter if problems arose, but I don't know where he was at
8 that point. I -- it seems unlikely that he was also in Srebrenica, so he
9 was probably sent somewhere else.
10 Q. And based on these conversations with General Gvero, did you form
11 any belief at the time about how well or ill-informed General Gvero was at
12 this time that he was in charge of the headquarters, as you put it?
13 A. Well, based on what we said in the course of the conversations,
14 one would conclude that he was poorly informed, but I'm not foolish enough
15 to take that at face value. I assume that he was well-informed about what
16 was going on; he just didn't say so.
17 Q. And what was your assumption based upon that he was in fact
18 well-informed about what was going on? What led you to draw that
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Josse.
21 MR. JOSSE: If it's pedantic, I'm sorry, but there's a difference
22 between an assumption and a conclusion.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Now he's perfectly right. If you could rephrase
24 your question, please.
25 MR. THAYER:
1 Q. General, you stated that, "Based on what we said in the course of
2 the conversations, one would conclude that General Gvero was poorly
3 informed," and that you assumed that he was well-informed about what was
4 going on. Why did you assume that?
5 A. I assumed this because in all respects the VRS made the impression
6 of being a well-trained, disciplined army. In every well-trained and
7 disciplined army, reports are submitted daily or multiple times a day
8 about communications. They had the communication means required for this,
9 so it would have been highly improbable for the headquarters of the VRS
10 not to be aware of what was happening in the Srebrenica enclave.
11 Q. Okay, General. I just have a couple of more areas to cover, and I
12 think we'll be able to finish my examination-in-chief by the next break.
13 So let's move -- well, before I call for the next document, I want to move
14 ahead to a couple of days. After the civilians were removed from the
15 Potocari compound, do you recall an issue, General, concerning a medevac
16 convoy of the wounded from the enclave and, if so, what was your
17 involvement in that?
18 A. Yes, there were several wounded, and they had been placed at the
19 Bratunac Hospital. And at a certain point, a few days after the enclave
20 had fallen, agreements were reached to evacuate them to Tuzla. And to
21 this end, a medevac convoy, as we called it, a convoy for medical
22 evacuation of wounded people would be deployed and would drive by an
23 agreed route to Bratunac, evacuate the wounded, and return to Tuzla.
24 But then when the convoy reached the border of Serbian territory,
25 it was shot at and forced back. And I was on the phone to clear up how a
1 convoy that had been mutually agreed could possibly be shot at and unable
2 to carry out its mission.
3 MR. THAYER: If we may have 65 ter 2978 on e-court, please.
4 Q. Just take a moment and review this report, General, if you would,
6 A. Yes, I've read it.
7 Q. This report dated 1500 hours on the 16th of July, how does this
8 relate to what you were just testifying about?
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. No, my -- my question was: How does it relate? Does it relate?
11 A. This is the report of the phone conversation that I had about the
12 fact that despite the agreement about a medevac convoy, it was still shot
13 at, and I also requested to let me know as soon as possible when the
14 convoy would be able to depart and via which route and what could be
15 agreed. And the response that I received was that General Gvero was
16 meeting with UNHCR authorities about the fate of the refugees and the
17 route along which they were to be evacuated.
18 Of course, it's very remarkable that if there's an agreement with
19 the UN that a new agreement would need to be reached with UNHCR, so I
20 was -- I was quite surprised at that.
21 Q. Well, do you recall receiving any information that General Gvero
22 had in fact met with the UNHCR or any other NGO representatives on the
23 16th of July or thereabouts?
24 A. No, I did not receive that. Every day there was a UNHCR
25 representative present at our staff meetings. He did not say anything
1 about this. The only remaining possibility is that local UNHCR
2 authorities in Tuzla were speaking with General Gvero. But that sounds at
3 the very least highly improbable.
4 Q. Okay. What I'd like to do last with you, General, is talk about
5 the events of 21 July. Do you recall traveling to the Srebrenica area on
6 that date for any reason?
7 A. Yes, as if it were yesterday.
8 Q. What was your assignment?
9 A. In the agreement reached between General Mladic and General Smith
10 about the evacuation of DutchBat from the enclave and other matters, it
11 was stipulated that the departure of DutchBat would be observed by both
12 General Mladic and General Smith or a deputy, because on Saturday, 22 July
13 in London an important conference was to take place that General Smith was
14 to attend. He asked me to act as his substitute and to witness the
15 departure of DutchBat, and to that end I left for Srebrenica.
16 On the 21st, en route I was stopped by troops of General Mladic.
17 General Mladic was there too. That was my first encounter with him. He
18 subsequently requested that I drive behind him to Bratunac. At Bratunac,
19 as we were taking brunch, we continued speaking about the circumstances
20 under which DutchBat might depart. And afterwards we went to the compound
21 to see how the preparations for the departure had proceeded and whether
22 the convoy was ready to leave, and then we witnessed the -- the departure
23 of the convoy.
24 Q. Okay. What was your priority that day?
25 A. Well, the absolute top priority had been assigned by the Chief of
1 Defence Staff in the Netherlands, which was that however DutchBat did it,
2 DutchBat had to leave the enclave that day, because they expected that
3 forceful decisions would be taken at the conference in London, that if
4 DutchBat still remained in the enclave, would -- might have extremely
5 unfortunate consequences. So we said, Whatever you do, make sure that
6 those gentlemen depart and leave the enclave and Serbian territory.
7 Q. Okay. Let's go straight to some video to save time.
8 MR. THAYER: And I think we'll cut down the number of clips. If
9 we may look at P02909. That is V000-6100.
10 The first clip we'll look at starts at 20 minutes and 45 seconds,
11 I believe.
12 [Videotape played]
13 MR. THAYER:
14 Q. General, we've paused at 20 minutes, 57.9 seconds. Do you
15 recognize the location that's depicted in that video and that bridge?
16 A. Yes. That's the bridge that you need to pass to leave Bosnian
17 Serb territory and to reach the other Serb area.
18 Q. And let's look at the second clip. That's at 26 minutes and, I
19 believe, 41 seconds.
20 [Videotape played]
21 MR. THAYER:
22 Q. General, we've paused at 27 minutes, 17.4 seconds. I just want to
23 ask you a couple questions about this frame.
24 There is a -- a UN vehicle with somebody who appears to be
25 saluting out of it. Who is that individual saluting, sir?
1 A. Well, the commander of that vehicle. But I have no idea how I
2 should name him.
3 Q. My question, though, is who is -- who is that individual saluting?
4 A. Okay. Now I understand the question. At the right of the road
5 was General Mladic with some of his auxiliary personnel, and I -- I,
6 myself, next to each other. General Mladic greeted the troops leaving the
7 enclave, and because I imagined that some Dutch servicemen might have
8 trouble greeting General Mladic after everything that had happened, I
9 greeted all the troops so that they could at least greet me and so that
10 that would not increase irritation that might stop the undisturbed
12 Q. Now, we -- we see on the opposite side of the road here some, what
13 appear to be UN vehicles and some personnel. Do you recall who they were?
14 A. One vehicle was my armoured vehicle, and the other one was also
15 from our headquarters, where some GCOs were transported, acting as
16 interpreters and also maintaining contact with the headquarters.
17 MR. THAYER: Okay. Let's continue with the clip, please.
18 [Videotape played]
19 MR. THAYER:
20 Q. Sir, we've paused the clip at 28 minutes, 21.2 seconds. Can you
21 identify any of these four individuals in this frame?
22 A. Yes. I can certainly identify two. Aside from me, there's
23 Colonel Karremans in front, and the others are Serbs. I think the man to
24 the left was one of the local authorities, but I can't say that with
25 absolute certainty.
1 Q. And the man with the moustache, you do not recognize; is that
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Let's look at the third and last clip, please. And this will
5 begin, I believe, at 33 minutes and 9 seconds.
6 [Videotape played]
7 MR. THAYER:
8 Q. Sir, we've paused at 33 minutes, 34.2 seconds. Can you identify
9 anybody in this clip, with the UN?
10 A. Yes. The man wearing the blue beret to the right is my military
11 assistant, Lieutenant-Colonel de Ruiter. The man with the blue beret on
12 the far left is my bodyguard. And the man wearing the blue beret in the
13 middle, that's me.
14 Q. Okay. Thank you, General. I thought I'd be able to finish before
15 the break. I -- I have just a handful of questions left, so we'll have to
16 resume afterwards.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. We'll have a 25-minute break starting from
18 now. Thank you.
19 --- Recess taken at 5.46 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 6.14 p.m.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
22 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Q. Good evening, General. Just to finish up with a couple of more
25 Let's return to the events of the 21st of July. You mentioned a
1 meal with General Mladic in Bratunac. Had there been any agreement
2 regarding UNPROFOR leaving with its equipment?
3 A. Yes. The agreement concluded between Generals Mladic and Smith in
4 Belgrade and later confirmed on July the 19th. That document contains
5 clearly a statement that DutchBat would be allowed to leave the enclave,
6 taking along all its equipment and possessions. The conversation that I
7 had with General Mladic, of course, contained references by me. I asked
8 whether that was an agreement. That happened after the arrival of also
9 Colonel Karremans. And I inquired with him whether he had collected all
10 his equipment. He answered "yes" to that. And then I asked whether he
11 also had all the equipment from the men from the observation post who had
12 fled to Serb territory, and he said,"No, I haven't been given back that
13 material yet."
14 I inquired into this with General Mladic, so I asked, "What about
15 this equipment? When will I get that back?" And he became very angry
16 then. He said that that was absolutely out of the question, that he was
17 establishing the conditions under which evacuation would be take place and
18 that he would make agreements later with General Janvier about the
19 vehicles and any possible other equipment coming from the observation
21 Q. Now, after observing the DutchBat withdrawal, did you travel to
22 Srebrenica town, General?
23 A. Yes. That, too, had been concluded in the agreement. In fact, I
24 was supposed to have tours of the towns of Srebrenica and Bratunac, but
25 General Mladic said that he did not have enough time and that there was
1 only enough time to visit Srebrenica, which we did.
2 Q. Could you share with the Trial Chamber what you saw when you
3 visited the town of Srebrenica on 21 July.
4 A. Yes. The picture I remember most vividly is that it was an
5 enormous mess. There was debris, waste, clothing, linen, remains of
6 packaging materials. It was a real chaos. And that, in the midst of
7 houses that had been shelled or had been destroyed or crumbled, sometimes
8 as a result of recent shellings, you could tell that from the debris that
9 was still lying around others that evidently had been destroyed earlier.
10 And apart from that, a village which was mainly deserted. There
11 were very few people there. And you would see the first people. I assume
12 these were Serbians, who were entering the village carrying on their backs
13 luggage, evidently with the intention of establishing themselves there in
14 the houses that had been liberated.
15 Q. You mentioned that you had wanted to also tour Bratunac. Why was
16 that, sir?
17 A. Well, in the two weeks or the ten days that had passed since the
18 fall of the enclave, an enormous amount of rumours had started to be
19 produced about the fate of the Muslim men that had fled from the enclave.
20 This included rumours of large numbers of them having been captured by the
21 Serbians and who possibly were kept prisoners at Bratunac. That was the
22 reason why I would have liked to inspect Bratunac at more close quarters
23 than I could do now. On my way back, I was only allowed to pass through
24 the village, on my way back to Sarajevo. But I had no permission to look
25 at the village extensively.
1 Q. Why did you not insist on such permission, sir?
2 A. Yes. It's not of great use to insist if you have few means of
3 power. If you're only accompanied by just two or three bodyguards and the
4 other party holds all the trumps, then one may urgently ask for something,
5 but that is just about as much as you can do.
6 MR. THAYER: Thank you, General. I have no further questions at
7 this time.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Thayer.
9 Mr. Zivanovic, you asked for 30 minutes. Do you still require
11 MR. ZIVANOVIC: No, we will not cross-examine this witness. Thank
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
14 Ms. Nikolic, you asked for ten minutes. Do you still require
16 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Ten minutes? No, thank you, Your
17 Honour. I will not have any questions for this witness.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Borovcanin, you confirmed that you don't have a
20 MR. LAZEREVIC: Yes, Your Honour, I can confirm that.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
22 The same with you, Mr. Sarapa? No cross-examination?
23 MR. SARAPA: [Interpretation] Depending on the cross-examination by
24 the other teams, perhaps, but ten minutes at the most.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So ten minutes. I thank you.
1 Mr. Ostojic or Mr. Meek, I don't know who is going to take this
3 MR. MEEK: Your Honour, if it pleases the Court. From what we've
4 heard so far, I don't believe we have any questions at this time,
5 depending on the cross-examination of Ms. Fauveau.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Which leaves basically Ms. Fauveau
7 and -- and the Gvero Defence team.
8 Madam Fauveau, you had ask for an hour and 15 minutes.
9 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Your Honour, at this time I think I
10 have a real surprise. Five minutes will be enough.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Then go ahead. And then Mr. Josse will -- or
12 Mr. Krgovic, I don't know who is going to take this witness, will take
14 Go ahead, Madam Fauveau.
15 Cross-examination by Ms. Fauveau:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, sir.
17 A. Good evening.
18 Q. I have a question, just one. Do you know whether the members of
19 DutchBat were supplied by the Serbs; notably, by Bratunac?
20 A. I apologise. Who was supposed to have gone through Bratunac?
21 Q. Do you know whether the DutchBat was supplied by -- through
22 Bratunac, by Bratunac?
23 A. If by that you mean that this happened during the time they were
24 in the enclave, supplies did not come from Bratunac. They would be
25 brought into the enclave with food convoys, as far as I know.
1 Q. I would like to show you document 5D525, please. I would like to
2 draw your attention on the fact that the B/C/S version is the original.
3 There's a mistake in the date in the English version. This is March 18,
5 This is a supply contract, catering contract. It's a contract
6 between a hotel in Bratunac and the representative of the DutchBat, Major
7 Boering. Have you ever seen this contract, this catering contract?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Do you know who Major Boering is?
10 A. I know of no military person with -- with the name of Boering;
11 although, I do not exclude that a major by that name at some point, a
12 major by that name could have been a member of DutchBat, one it must be.
13 But I don't know him. This was before I took up my posting.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Fauveau, do you wish --
15 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you wish to spell the name, the family name,
17 Boering, to the witness? Maybe it -- yeah, yeah, but I don't know if the
18 witness is following the transcript or not. Boering, B-o-e-r-i-n-g.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I did read that.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
21 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have no other
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mrs. Fauveau.
24 Mr. Josse, who is taking this witness?
25 Cross-examination by Mr. Josse:
1 Q. As you know, General, my name is David Josse because -- I say that
2 because we have met briefly some weeks ago at the --
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah. Sorry. Go ahead. Finish. And then please
5 tell us how long do you expect your cross-examination to last.
6 MR. JOSSE:
7 Q. We met some weeks ago with the cooperation of the Prosecution.
8 And as you know, I represent General Gvero.
9 MR. JOSSE: To answer the Trial Chamber's questions -- or
10 question, I suspect I'll be at least two hours, perhaps the three that
11 I've requested.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: No. No. But I didn't mean to restrict you, but we
13 just wanted to know.
14 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: In that case, if I may ask: Do you have anyone
16 else planned for tomorrow?
17 [Prosecution counsel confer]
18 MR. THAYER: If I recall correctly, Mr. President, we still have a
19 little bit left with the gap-filler on the Drina Corps collection cross.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: You still, however, have not given us a definitive
21 answer on what -- whether you have reached an agreement on those
22 additional 65 ter documents that you have requested the addition of.
23 MR. THAYER: With respect to the road book, I believe that is,
24 Mr. President. I'll have to check --
25 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
1 MR. THAYER: -- with Mr. Nicholls. I think there have been some
2 discussions, but I'm afraid I can't enlighten the Court right now as
3 to -- but that's a different direction from Drina Corps collection cross.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. You've got all the time you need, Mr. Josse.
5 MR. JOSSE: Thank you, Your Honours.
6 Q. The name Major Boering doesn't mean anything to you at all? Is
7 that what you're --
8 A. No. I apologise.
9 Q. What about Major Franken?
10 A. Yes, I know him quite well. He was Colonel Karremans' deputy.
11 Q. I'm sure you won't have forgotten, but I got rather upset at some
12 point in your evidence earlier - not with you, I may hastily add - and an
13 answer that you gave at page 45 of today's transcript was repeated by
14 Mr. Thayer in response to my objection.
15 And you said: "Concretely, it meant that in the afternoon of July
16 the 11th we received a phone call from General Gvero at our headquarters
17 with a message that, summing things up, said that if we weren't going to
18 stop immediately using air force, he would -- would have -- he would
19 start -- he would have the compound at Potocari and surrounding areas
21 Is that exactly what my client said on the 11th of July?
22 A. I do not recall the exact wording. I do know that he issued the
23 threat to me that I was to be held responsible for the consequence of
24 continuing the air attacks. I also know that a threat was received that
25 the compound and surrounding areas would be shot at. I already stated
1 earlier on in the hearing that I don't recall whether this was taken
2 through Colonel Karremans or directly from General Gvero. But that threat
3 was known, in any case. And when General Gvero mentioned these
4 consequences, I took it that what he intended, that was the consequences
5 of we wouldn't stop the air attacks.
6 Q. I appreciate, General, that we are going back 12 years, but I want
7 you as best you can to remember what you allege Gvero said to you that so
8 upset you at that point in time.
9 A. Well, I wasn't so much upset. I know that that afternoon at
10 headquarters a threat became known that the compound and surrounding areas
11 were going to be shelled. This gave rise to discussions in the staff,
12 which led to the decision to stop the air attacks. And once again, how
13 exactly that report was received and who said exactly what, as much as
14 though I -- I try, I can't recall exactly, after 12 years.
15 Q. Did that threat come from Gvero?
16 A. As far as I know, yes.
17 Q. It's a very serious allegation you're making, isn't it?
18 A. Yes. That is one of the reasons why I expressed myself this way.
19 I know that the threat was received. I also know that in any case,
20 General Gvero said that the consequence for not stopping the air attacks
21 would be my responsibility. And I took it that what was intended was the
22 shelling of the compound.
23 Q. Let's have a look at P2906, which is Lieutenant-Colonel de
24 Ruiter's note of this conversation.
25 Towards the bottom of the page, please.
1 Gvero is saying to you that in the capacity of the commander's
2 deputy, you "would be held responsible for all further developments and
3 the destiny of his men and the civil population in Srebrenica."
4 It certainly doesn't say there, does it, that the compound at
5 Potocari was going to be shelled?
6 A. No, that is correct. It doesn't say that in so many words. That
7 is right.
8 Q. Did he say that in so many words in the course of that
10 A. I already said earlier that I can't recall that exactly.
11 Q. Well, General, I'm sorry to be difficult, but as I've already said
12 at page 45 today and Mr. Thayer very proudly repeated it when he got an
13 opportunity, you allege that he did say that. It's a very serious
14 allegation, not one you should make lightly, is it?
15 A. Yes. What I know, in any case, is that that threat was received
16 by us this afternoon. Whether that came directly from General Gvero's
17 mouth or whether we heard that through Colonel Karremans is something I
18 don't know. What I do know is that at the moment of this conversation,
19 when General Gvero pointed out the consequences, I took that as being the
20 threat of shelling the compound. But to the best of my ability, I cannot
21 recall with 100 per cent certainty that he said it exactly that way.
22 Q. Why did you take it, the words that are in de Ruiter's notes, as -
23 excuse me a moment - being the threat of shelling the compound? I
24 repeat: Why do you take the words in de Ruiter's notes as being a threat
25 of shelling the compound?
1 A. Well, this is a reflection of the -- of the conversation.
2 Certainly at that time I didn't consider that another way of wording
3 the -- that conversation could at any point be -- be used. It wasn't a
4 report that was drawn up bearing in mind the idea that we would see each
5 other here in this Tribunal.
6 Q. I dare say - and on a similar point, could I ask you this: Are
7 you aware that there is another and different record of the conversation
8 that you had with Gvero on that day?
9 A. No, I'm not aware of that.
10 Q. The situation is this: That the Muslim security services were
11 intercepting conversations from the VRS Main Staff.
12 A. [No verbal response]
13 Q. I see you nodding. It probably doesn't come as a great surprise
14 to you. Understandable intelligence tactic on the part of the Muslims,
16 A. [No interpretation]
17 Q. Yes. I think you said -- I think you said "yes."
18 A. You were expecting an answer. Yes. I know that -- well, that it
19 was very likely that all conversations were tapped. So I'm not surprised.
20 Q. And we are in the fortunate position of having a record of that
21 conversation in part. When I say "in part," we have what Gvero said and
22 not what you said. And I'm going to invite the Court to put that up in
23 e-court. It's P2374, and it probably should not be broadcast.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Check that, please. But I think Mr. Josse is right.
25 No broadcast.
1 [Defence counsel confer]
2 MR. JOSSE:
3 Q. Now, again, to state the obvious, for your information, General,
4 of course, this is a translation. The original of this document was --
5 was obviously in B/C/S. And you, like me, will need to work from a
7 I don't want to embarrass you or be unfair, but, of course, the
8 translation is in English, not in Dutch. If you need it in Dutch, I'm
9 quite happy to read it all out and the translators over there will
10 translate it. Help us. Do you need it translated into your own language?
11 A. No, I do not think I require that translation.
12 Q. Well, I'm letting you read it.
13 A. Okay. I've read it, and I believe that it corresponds quite well
14 with our own transcription.
15 Q. It goes on to a second page.
16 MR. JOSSE: We're having some trouble with this, clearly.
17 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
18 MR. JOSSE: We can put this on the ELMO, Your Honour. It's
20 A. I've read it.
21 Q. General Gvero did not say to you that he would have the compound
22 at Potocari and the surrounding areas shelled, did he?
23 A. All I know is what Svetlana interpreted for me. If these
24 transcriptions are correct, and I'm happy to assume that they are, then he
25 did not say it in so many words during that conversation.
1 Q. If we go back, please, to page 1, at the bottom, it -- the
2 relevant part would appear to be: "Thirdly, in case General Nicolai
3 doesn't order the bombing to stop and doesn't withdraw NATO aeroplanes, he
4 will have personal responsibility for further developments and for the
5 destiny of all people in the area."
6 A. Yes, that's correct. That's how it reads and what I understood at
7 the time.
8 Q. What was the threat in those words?
9 A. I've explained that as being shelling the compound and the
10 surroundings with the civilian population gathered there.
11 Q. General, what you are doing is you are attributing a threat that
12 some other source in the VRS may have made to you or to Karremans or to
13 someone else to my client, aren't you?
14 A. Well, I never explicitly accused General Gvero in so many words of
15 being responsible for that threat. I said, We have received a threat and
16 in the telephone conversation that we conducted around 4.00, General Gvero
17 told me again that all responsibility for the consequences of not
18 discontinuing the bombardments would be my responsibility.
19 Now, how the direct relates to shelling the compound and the
20 immediate surroundings, I don't remember that exactly anymore. It's
21 possible that Colonel Karremans received that threat and that I
22 subsequently assumed that General Gvero was referring to the same
24 But once again, after 12 years I really can't remember whether it
25 was literally said that way. I read it neither in the -- in this
1 transcription, nor in the transcription drafted by the BiH, nor in the
2 transcription of Colonel de Ruiter.
3 Q. He did not threaten you in the terms that you alleged at page 45
4 earlier today. I think question agree on that, can't we, based on this
5 transcript? But tell me if I'm wrong.
6 A. No, it's not stated here in so many words. I think that if it was
7 literally -- literally said that way, then it would have been appeared
8 literally in the transcript as well.
9 Q. But I'm pressing you further, sir, and I'm suggesting to you that
10 the words in this transcription by the Muslim security services do not
11 amount to a threat at all, do they?
12 A. Well, it depends on how you interpret it. It's in the transcript.
13 In the entire message of General Gvero, 50 per cent is nonsense and lies.
14 So I don't really know what to make of that. All that was said to me was
15 that I would be responsible for the subsequent consequences. And what's
16 interesting is that I read this both in the transcript compiled by Colonel
17 de Ruiter and in the transcript drafted by the BiH. So there is a mention
18 of consequences without them being described in so many words.
19 Now, what apparently transpired, that I -- that I received the
20 threat in a different way but interpreted the consequences as the --
21 carrying out the threat.
22 Q. You were a brigadier-general in the Royal Dutch Army. You were
23 Chief of Staff of UNPROFOR. You bore a great responsibility, didn't you?
24 Gvero was stating the obvious and the truth, wasn't he, in that regard?
25 A. Well, he wasn't telling the truth at all. Half of the message
1 he's relating here was the fact that the VRS wasn't attacking the UN at
2 all, and that was absolutely incorrect. It was an outright lie. So in
3 that sense, I'm not really impressed by what General Gvero said.
4 What matters now is did he express the threat at that moment,
5 "Stop or I'll shell the compound"? Based on these documents, I would have
6 to conclude that that was probably not said in that manner at that time,
7 but the threat did reach the UN headquarters, and mentioning the
8 responsibilities was interpreted not only by me but also by General
9 Gobillard to mean that if we did not discontinue the air attacks, the
10 threat would be carried out by the party expressing the threat.
11 Q. You haven't answered my question. I will give you a chance in due
12 course to examine the "50 per cent is nonsense and lies." But before we
13 do that, try and answer my question. You bore a great responsibility,
14 didn't you? In that regard, Gvero was speaking the truth.
15 A. Yes, if he said that I bore responsibility at the time, I was
16 jointly responsible for decisions that had to be taken at that point.
17 Q. And you, in common with other people, did have the destiny of a
18 large number of people in your hands; isn't that correct as well?
19 A. Yes, I'm very keenly aware of that. I was at the time, and I am
20 now as well.
21 Q. So, General, where is the threat?
22 A. That's another question. Earlier I admitted that neither from
23 this transcript nor from the other transcript is it apparent that the
24 threat was presented to me that -- literally at that point in time, so I
25 have nothing to add to that. Apparently in the conversation it wasn't
1 said in that manner. But pointing out the consequences that would ensue
2 for the population in the area were interpreted by me as meaning that the
3 threat that the civilian population would be shot at, that such a threat
4 would then be carried out.
5 Q. I promised you that I would allow you to tell us about the 50 per
6 cent that is nonsense and lies. Take your choice. Use either de Ruiter's
7 note or use the intercept, and you tell us about the 50 per cent that is
8 nonsense and lies, please.
9 A. All allegations that UN soldiers were not being attacked -- or
10 rather, that it was not -- they were not being attacked by the VRS but by
11 Muslims, that's nonsense and lies, truly. And the same holds true for
12 what I see in the BiH transcript where it's reflected in detail that this
13 is the umpteenth time that there are wrongful allegations that the VRS was
14 attacking the UN. Supposedly that happened at Behaster [phoen] [as
15 interpreted] and at Bihac, and later on apparently that was supposedly
16 based on Muslim propaganda. That's absolute nonsense, and it -- in my
17 view, not even relevant to this discussion.
18 Q. So you're saying that Gvero was lying when he said that the BiH
19 had tried to lure UNPROFOR into the dispute at Bihac and Gorazde; is that
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. 6D204, please.
23 The document that's about to be put on the screen, General, is a
24 report from General Janvier dated the 10th of July of 1995. It's a daily
25 sit-rep sent to Mr. Annan, among others, as we can see from that first
1 page. And somewhere in this document, when it is dealing with Sector
2 North-East, it turns to the issue of Srebrenica and has quite a lengthy
3 military assessment.
4 It's page 6 that I wish to take you to, please.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead. And you've got about four minutes left.
7 MR. JOSSE: Yes.
8 Scroll down, please.
9 Q. It says this: "Similar to what happened in Gorazde (Spring 94),
10 the BiH can attempt to draw UNPROFOR, (including the RRF) or NATO into the
11 conflict on BiH side. Sudden abandoning of positions along the
12 confrontation line, the simulation of a collapse of the enclave or
13 alarming reports from Bosnian side on the situation in the enclaves, will
14 be indicators for this."
15 A few questions. First of all, were you aware that the ABiH had
16 done what UNPROFOR accept -- say they did in spring 1994 in Gorazde?
17 A. I am not aware of what happened in the spring of 1994 in Gorazde.
18 I am aware of what happened in the Gorazde enclave in the spring of 1995.
19 And just as in Srebrenica, in the spring of 1995, under pressure by the
20 VRS, the UN was forced to abandon observation posts and to withdraw to the
21 compound in the city of Gorazde.
22 Q. What about Bihac? Do you know the problems that the Bangladeshi
23 Platoon had with the BiH there?
24 A. Well, regarding a comparable situation in Bihac, I have no
25 information about that.
1 Q. You didn't know about the problems that the Bangladeshi Platoon
2 had at any point in time.
3 A. Not in the period that I was Chief of Staff.
4 Q. Returning to the document that's on the screen, bearing in mind
5 what UNPROFOR say happened in Gorazde in spring 1994, what Gvero is saying
6 to you in the intercept is not a lie, is it? In -- in regard to Gorazde.
7 A. Well, in effect, all I know is what Svetlana interpreted for me.
8 That's what the transcription says that was presented to you. So what --
9 whatever else General Gvero was referring to about incidents perhaps in
10 1994, I have no knowledge of them. They were not interpreted for me and,
11 in my view, are not relevant either.
12 What matters is that General Gvero told me that the VRS was not
13 attacking UNPROFOR. And disregarding what happened in other spots, I
14 regard this as a lie, because I base myself on the information I obtained
15 from DutchBat reports and definitely not on any information that I would
16 supposedly have received from the BiH, because I did not receive that.
17 So there is no basis for comparison with earlier situations, and
18 the situation in Gorazde in the spring of 1995, which I was aware of
19 because I was Chief of Staff then, the reports compiled then reported an
20 attack by the VRS on observation posts. The UN and -- under that threat,
21 they retreated to the compound. And, again, our information comes not
22 from the BiH but from the UNPROFOR troops.
23 MR. JOSSE: Well, I -- I had a follow-up question, Your Honour,
24 but it's 7.00.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Thank you for understanding, Mr. Josse.
1 General, we'll reconvene tomorrow morning at 9.00, and we
2 hopefully will finish your testimony tomorrow.
3 Thank you, everybody, and have a nice evening.
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,
5 to be reconvened on Friday, the 30th day of
6 November, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.