1 Monday, 21 July 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: So good morning. Madam Registrar, could you kindly
7 call the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case
9 IT-05-88-T, The Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic, et al.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. All the accused are here. From the
11 Defence teams I notice the absence of Mr., Bourgon; Mr. Petrusic - here
12 or not? yeah - and Mr. Haynes. Prosecution, we have Mr. McCloskey
13 present, accompanied by Mr. Thayer.
14 I understand there are no preliminaries. The witness is also
15 present. Good morning, to you, sir.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: And welcome to this Tribunal. You are about to
18 start giving evidence. Before you do so, you are required to make a
19 solemn declaration that in the course of your testimony you will be
20 speaking the truth, the whole truth, and nothing by the truth. You have
21 been summoned here as a witness by the Defence team for Ljubisa Beara.
22 Madam Usher is going to hand you the text of the solemn declaration.
23 Please read it out aloud, and that will be your solemn declaration with
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
1 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. Please make yourself
4 Who is going to -- Mr. Nikolic from the Beara Defence team will
5 be examining you in chief, and he will then be followed on
6 cross-examination by others. Mr. Nikolic.
7 MR. NIKOLIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
8 everybody in the courtroom.
9 WITNESS: MILAN VOJINOVIC
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 Examination by Mr. Nikolic:
12 Q. Good morning, Mr. Vojinovic.
13 A. Good morning.
14 Q. We have already met, but just for the record I would like to give
15 you some instructions to facilitate our work. This primarily concerns
16 our communication. We both speak the Serbian language, which needs to be
17 translated. That's why I'm going to ask you to make a short pause after
18 my question before starting your answer, and this will be of some benefit
19 to everybody in the courtroom.
20 Let me first introduce myself: Predrag Nikolic, co-counsel on
21 the Beara Defence team. And can I now please ask you to introduce
22 yourself; give us your first name, last name, the date and place of birth
23 and all the particulars that are necessary for your identification.
24 A. Milan Vojinovic, born in 1959 in Sarajevo. I reside in Sokolac,
25 40 kilometres away from Sarajevo
1 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us something about your educational
3 A. I finished the secondary school for the interior in Sarajevo
4 1977. Between 1980 and 1983, I attended the school of security in
5 Skoplje and I attained a agree in security law, associate degree in
6 security law.
7 Q. Can you now tell us something about your professional background,
8 first before the war and then during the war?
9 A. Before the war broke out in 1992, which means from 1977 to 1992,
10 I worked in the Ministry of the Interior of the then Bosnia-Herzegovina.
11 In the Public Security Service which during that period of time existed
12 in Sokolac, and that's where I worked in the police station, or as we
13 call it, the station for the police. I performed and discharged various
14 duties starting with policeman, the head of patrol, inspector in crime
15 prevention police for general crime, and then I worked in the traffic
16 control, and for awhile I also discharged the duties of the assistant
17 head of the police station, or the assistant commander of the police
19 I remained doing that until 1992. When the war broke out from
20 the Public Security Service, I was transferred to the State Security
21 Service, and I remained working there from April 1992 until the 1st of
22 June 1998 when I was pensioned off.
23 Q. Could you please give us a brief description of your jobs and the
24 possible distinction between the Public Security Service and the State
25 Security Service?
1 A. The Ministry of the Interior of the former Bosnia and
3 established, it had the Public Security Service and the State Security
4 Service. The Public Security Service was engaged on policing, which
5 concerned the protection of personal security of citizens, controlling
6 peace and order, controlling traffic, and other such jobs which fell
7 within the purview of police.
8 The State Security Service was the other segment of the interior,
9 which was involved in intelligence and counterintelligence, as all any
10 other intelligence and counterintelligence service in the world.
11 Q. During the war, as I can see, you were engaged in the state
12 security sector?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Could you please briefly explain the organisational structure of
15 the state security sector within the Ministry of the Interior of
16 Republika Srpska?
17 A. The State Security Service when it was established within the
18 Ministry of the Interior Republika Srpska was first known as the National
19 Security Service; and then in a subsequent period, I believe that it was
20 -- either in 1993 or 1994 it was renamed and became the Sector of State
21 Security within the Ministry of the Interior. The State Security Service
22 or the National Security Service was organised on the territorial
23 principle, and it had several centres across the country. I worked in
24 the centre of state security in Serbian Sarajevo, which was also
25 organised or broken down into smaller departments in the territory of
1 several municipalities. I worked in the detachment of the state security
2 headquartered in Sokolac, which covered the municipalities of Sokolac,
3 Han Pijesak, Rogatica, and parts of the municipalities of Olovo and
4 Srpska Gorazde, which were under the control of the Army Republika
6 Q. The places that you have just mentioned, were they under the
7 territorial jurisdiction of your detachment and were they bordering on
8 the territories that were under the control of the army of
10 A. Our detachment covered those areas which bordered on the
11 frontlines facing the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I can thus tell
12 you that from Gorazde, across the territory of the municipality of
13 Rogatica, Han Pijesak, and Olovo, those were all border areas that had a
14 direct contact with the frontline facing the army of Bosnian Muslims or
15 the BiH army.
16 Q. During the discharge of the your duties that fell within your
17 purview, did you cooperate or did you have contact with the similar
18 service in the Army of Republika Srpska?
19 A. Yes. As soon as the war broke out and the Army Republika Srpska
20 was established, we first established contacts with our colleagues from
21 the public security stations on the ground and then with our colleagues
22 from the military security, which existed in the areas where particular
23 brigades were headquartered. By and large, this cooperation was
24 maintained with security officers or people who were involved in similar
25 jobs as we were.
1 Q. Can you give us some names, the names of those security officers
2 with whom you cooperated?
3 A. At first, those were the officers in the brigade commands. I can
4 mention a few; for example, Mr. Popovic, who was the security officer in
5 the second Romanija brigade. In the Rogatica brigade, the security
6 officer was the one with whom we cooperated, and then later on I met some
7 colleagues from the security administration, in Similjaka [phoen], for
9 Q. Did you ever meet Mr. Ljubisa Beara?
10 A. Yes, I had an opportunity to meet Mr. Ljubisa Beara.
11 Q. What was the occasion? Why did you meet him?
12 A. It was a long time ago, but I believe that this was towards the
13 end of 1993. I had some contacts with junior officers, and that's how I
14 got in touch with their superior, Mr. Beara, and it was all about
15 exchanging certain information.
16 Q. Could you please tell us, what was the topic of those discussions
17 and meetings?
18 A. Well, the topic of our discussions and meetings -- or rather,
19 mostly this was all about exchanging information that had to do with any
20 operational intelligence that would indicate that there was a possibility
21 of an infiltration of sabotage groups or Muslim armed formations into the
22 territory that was in the municipalities controlled by the army of
23 Republika Srpska.
24 Q. Could you please tell us, was there any overlap in the
25 jurisdictions between your service and the military service?
1 A. No, there was no overlap as far as I could see. Their basic task
2 was intelligence work along the frontlines, or rather, in the combat
3 zones; whereas what we were doing had to do with the territory inside, in
4 the depth where there was no fighting and where there were municipal
5 authorities of the Republika Srpska operating normally.
6 Q. Could you please give us some examples, some occasions where you
7 did this work in your jurisdiction?
8 A. Well, there were many such occasions, particularly in 1992, once
9 the war broke out. Well, it was a long time ago, 15 years ago, but I do
10 remember some striking examples of some events where a large number of
11 Serb civilians were casualties. So let me start with the municipality of
12 Rogatica. I recall an event in the village - I think it was called
13 Vodice - where four members of the Obradovic family were killed. A girl
14 by the name of Danijela Obradovic was wounded, raped, and then her throat
15 was slit. I remember the murder from an ambush of two civilians
16 travelling in a passenger vehicle. I think it was Radenko Bjevakovic and
17 his daughter Sonja.
18 Again, in the Rogatica municipality in the village of Kukavice
19 sometime in August 1992 when the Serb population was expelled from the
20 municipal of Gorazde, as the civilians were withdrawing in a column,
21 there was an attack on this column and several civilians were killed;
22 dozens were wounded; a bus was set on fire as were many passenger cars.
23 Then in Han Pijesak, again, at the beginning of the war in 1992,
24 June, July, there was an attack on the village of Borovine and Jelovice.
25 Several civilians were killed; several buildings were set on fire. I
1 remember that Marko Borovina and his son who was disabled - he couldn't
2 walk - they were killed in the house; they were set on fire. I also
3 recall the killing of civilians in the village of Mislova
4 Pijesak and Rogatica. The murder occurred when people were doing farm
5 work. In Sokolac, sometime in the summer of 1992, the village of Poratak
6 was set on fire. Several civilians were wounded.
7 I also a remember a mass murder in the village of Turcine
8 Muslim family was killed much. It was in the Sokolac municipality. As
9 far as I can remember, I was on the commission that carried out the
10 onsite investigation, and we analysed the situation and put together a
11 file. I believe that a criminal report was filed against unidentified
12 perpetrators as a result of that.
13 Q. Sir, could you please explain to us this: You told us that you
14 did the onsite investigation. What was the composition of the team, and
15 how -- what was the procedure once the onsite investigation was
17 A. Once we learned about this incident in which this Muslim family
18 was killed, the procedure was to set up a commission to carry out the
19 onsite investigation headed by the investigating judge of the municipal
20 court in Sokolac. There were crime -- there was a crime scene technician
21 and I, as the representative of the National Security Service. We went
22 there to the crime scene. The onsite investigation was led by the
23 investigating judge. I think it was a murder of four members of a single
24 family and two members of another family who were visiting. After the
25 onsite investigation, the bodies were brought to the military hospital in
1 Romanija, and there was a autopsy. And since they did not have any close
2 relatives, they were buried in the compound of the military hospital.
3 After that, the procedure was to file a criminal report with the
4 municipal public prosecutor, who then had to take other operative
5 measures in order to identify and locate the perpetrators.
6 Q. So in other words, this was the usual procedure when you were
7 dealing with those cases?
8 A. Yes, yes, if we received information on time.
9 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Speakers are kindly asked
10 not to overlap.
11 MR. NIKOLIC:
12 Q. Could you please --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Nikolic, I don't know if you followed the
14 plight of repeal of the interpreters. You've been overlapping, both of
15 you, so if you could kindly pause between question and answer. All
16 right. Thank you.
17 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise. I got a little bit
18 carried away. First I warned the witness, and then I did it myself.
19 Q. Mr. Vojinovic, when was the first time that you had an
20 opportunity to work together with the military security organs to
21 investigate the crimes that were committed during the war?
22 A. Sometime in mid-August 1995 as far as I can remember. There was
23 a dispatch informing me that I have to report to the Foca penitentiary
24 and correctional facility, where there is a certain number of prisoners
25 of war from the Zepa Muslim brigade, and that a team was set up to
1 investigate the matter, to investigate the matter of any war crimes that
2 may have been committed. And this information was to be obtained by
3 questioning those prisoners of war. I received this dispatch from my
4 immediate superiors.
5 Q. Can you recall, how was this joint commission set up, or rather,
6 who were the representatives of this commission, or rather, what organs
7 did they represent?
8 A. On that day, when I left there and reported there pursuant to the
9 dispatch that I received, I encountered a certain number of operations
10 officers from the Public Security Service there in Foca. They were from
11 the crime police. They were in charge of dealing with crimes against
12 humanity, and there were also some officers from the security
13 administration. After that, we all had a meeting.
14 Q. Did anyone chair this commission? How did this commission work?
15 A. At this meeting, I think Officer Spiro Pereula introduced
16 himself. He was the coordinator of this team. He was there on behalf of
17 the security administration, and I remember that this meeting was
18 attended, also, by the military prosecutors and the military
19 investigating judge.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
21 MR. THAYER: Good morning, Mr. President. I was wondering if we
22 could just have the name, the last name of the individual. I heard it,
23 but it wasn't transcribed. I'm not sure if I heard it correctly. Thank
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. We are talking of Spiro something, and could
1 we have the names again, please.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Spiro Pereula.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Does that make sense to you, Mr. Thayer, or not?
4 MR. THAYER: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President. I thank my friends.
5 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it is spelled a
6 little bit wrongly, but I think that we all heard it and will be able to
7 remember it. The name is Pereula. It's not what it says here, but I
8 think we can continue.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: That shouldn't be a problem. Let's proceed. Thank
11 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Vojinovic, could you please explain to me, how did this
13 commission work?
14 A. After this meeting, it was stated for the record that the
15 officers from the security administration, the operations officers from
16 the public security stations bordering with the protected areas of Zepa
17 and Srebrenica, people who had some operational intelligence already
18 about war crimes against the civilian population were present there in
19 the commission; and I was there, too, representing the State Security
20 Service because I also dealt with the area or I covered the area that
21 gravitated towards the protected areas of Zepa and Srebrenica.
22 After the meeting, we broke up in smaller groups of two, and we
23 started conducting preliminary interviews with the prisoners of war who
24 were detained in the correctional and penitentiary facility in Foca.
25 Q. Who told you that those were prisoners of war?
1 A. Well, when I received the dispatch and the order to go there, to
2 Foca, the dispatch said that there was a certain number of prisoners of
3 war from the Zepa area in the KP Dom penitentiary and correctional
4 facility on Foca, and probably somewhere at the higher levels of my State
5 Security Service and the security administration this agreement had been
6 reached earlier.
7 Q. Fair enough. Let us go back to the questioning, to the
8 procedure. Could you please tell us, what do you recall, what were the
9 conditions in the course of these interviews or questioning, and what was
10 the first thing that you learned in the course of those interviews?
11 A. Well, the people were questioned in separate rooms and offices
12 where there were two operations officers per room. One would be a
13 security officer, and the other one would be from the security service.
14 The interviews were carried out in a very correct and professional
15 manner. There was no coercion at all, and I also noticed that the
16 prisoners of war that were questioned were in good mental and physical
18 Through those preliminary interviews, some operational
19 intelligence was obtained, and for the most part this was intelligence
20 that had to do with the whole 285th Zepa Brigade between 1.300 and 1.500
21 [Realtime transcript read in error, "103.000 and 105.000"] members of
22 this brigade who, after the civilians had left Zepa from the area
23 controlled by the BH Army, refused to hand over their military weapons,
24 withdrew to the Igrisnik sector, and decided that a large number of
25 soldiers should surrender to the army of Yugoslavia after crossing the
2 certain number should cross into the territory held by the BH Army by
3 launching an attempt to break through the territory of Republika Srpska
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
5 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I just wanted to clarification for
6 the number that's in the transcript for the 285th Zepa Brigade. I
7 suspect that it's incorrect. I just wanted to clarify the record. My
8 friends, I think, agree.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nikolic. I would tend to agree with Mr.
10 Thayer here. If you could clarify it with the witness. It's probably a
11 translation error. Let's go through it again.
12 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Mr. Vojinovic, could you please repeat. What information did you
14 get about the strength of how many soldiers were there because it says
15 103.000 soldiers.
16 A. In the interviews, we obtained the intelligence that up to 1.500
17 soldiers of the Zepa Brigade had withdrew to the Igrisnik area where a
18 decision was made that those who wanted to do so could cross into the
19 territory of Yugoslavia
20 surrender to the Yugoslav army. Somewhere between 800 and 1.000 soldiers
21 opted for that, and between 4 and 500 soldiers decided to do a
22 break-through through the territory of Republika Srpska along the access
23 leading to Kladanj, Gorazde, and Orilla [phoen].
24 Q. You obtained this information based on the questioning of those
1 A. Yes, we got it from them.
2 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would now like to
3 use a document. The number is 2D24 -- 2D524. Because the documentation
4 is rather voluminous, I would like to -- we did just a draft version of
5 the translation, so I would like the usher to hand the draft version of
6 the translation to the Bench and the Prosecution, and I will be dealing
7 with this document in Serbian.
8 Can we please see the third page of the document. Scroll down a
9 little, please. Let's see who drafted the document and who signed it.
10 We can see in the left bottom, it says in Uzice on 8 of March 1996, and
11 in the right corner it says OZSUP Uzice, and let me translate this as the
12 secretariat of the interior.
13 And let's go back to page 1, please. Thank you.
14 In the right-hand side corner, it says that the copy of the
15 document is identical to the original. The name of the person who
16 certifies that is Predrag Vojicic, and this was done on the 18th of July,
17 2007, and there is a stamp of the Ministry of the Interior in Belgrade
18 which is in the Republic of Serbia
19 information about the conditions of life and stay of the most members in
20 the reception centres in Mitrovo Polje and Branesko Polje.
21 Before I continue reading the document, I would like to inform
22 you that we received the document from the National Council for
23 Cooperation with The Hague Tribunal of the Republic of Serbia
24 received that together with some other documents. The document has a
25 total of three pages. I don't have to read all of it. I've just singled
1 out the relevant portions. At the very beginning, it says:
2 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Somebody's mobile phone
3 must be switched on, and it is virtually impossible to listen to anybody
4 in the courtroom speaking because of that.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: So please, I'm not in a position, of course, to
6 know who has got his or her mobile switched on. Could you all check and
7 make sure that if you are carrying a mobile phone, it's switched off.
8 And I also ask all the other booths, technicians and interpreters, to do
9 the same because sometimes we can hear phones ringing. The noise that we
10 have is still being received, so we've been complaining about it for the
11 past ten
12 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
13 JUDGE AGIUS: The thing is, as judge Prost is saying, I mean, we
14 can continue to live with it and proceed; but if it's disturbing the
15 interpreter's work to an extent that they cannot continue, we'll stop.
16 THE INTERPRETER: We can do our best.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you for that, but please do let us know if
18 it's becoming too much for you because we do understand how difficult and
19 how problematic it can become.
20 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
21 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] May I continue, please?
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Please do let us know when we can continue. We can
23 continue? No. All right. Let's give it a try. Seems to be better, at
24 least now for the time being. Let's proceed. Yes, Mr. Nikolic. Please
25 just check that you are on the right channel, you are switched on on the
1 right channel.
2 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Thank you. This is information about the conditions of a life
4 and stay of the MOS [Realtime transcript read in error, "most"] members
5 in Mitrovo Polje and Branesko Polje reception centres between 31st of
6 July and 25 October 1995
7 smaller and bigger groups of MOS members entered the territory of the
8 state from the Zepa territory. There were a total of 799 persons during
9 that. They crossed the state border in the territory of the village of
10 Jagostica in the municipality of Bajina Basta from the direction of Crni
11 Potok, i.e., from the territory of the former Bosnia-Herzegovina. They
12 crossed the Drina River
13 things. The media informed the general public about the arrival of those
14 groups. We would like to note that the violation of the territory of our
15 state were carried out by two armed groups, which through illegal
16 channels managed to cross over into the territory of Sandzak
17 accommodation of the MOS [Realtime transcript read in error, "mosque"]
18 members was provided into reception centres, one in Branesko Polje in
19 Cerite [phoen] municipality and Mitrovo Polje at Goc. The reception
20 centre in Branesko Polje was established on the 1st of August 1995
21 the workers' barracks of Planum and on Mitrovo Polje on the 1st of August
22 in the MUP holiday camp. As soon as the reception centres were
23 established, the MKSK was informed about that, which is the International
24 Red Cross Committee, the UNHCR, and other international organizations;
25 and most members were given a partial refugee status. I will stop here
1 for a moment. I believe that it will be useful for us to explain the
3 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Ms. Fauveau.
4 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I believe that my colleague is
5 about to clarify what I was going to mention because page 15, line 16;
6 page 15, line 25; and page 16, line 7, we see an abbreviation that was
7 used MOS, and I believe that the witness will clarify this because as we
8 see it now on the transcript we read "mosque," "most," and "most." But
9 it will be clarified by the witness.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam Fauveau. Mr. Nikolic, please
11 attend to that, and Witness.
12 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Mr. Vojinovic, I hope you have the text that I've just read out
14 before you.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Would you please be so kind and expand the abbreviation "MOS,"
18 A. The abbreviation "MOS" stands for the Muslim Armed Forces, which
19 mean that those were Muslim soldiers, i.e., members of the 285 Zepa
21 Q. And could you also expand the abbreviation "MUP," MUP?
22 A. The abbreviation MUP stands for the Ministry of the Interior.
23 Q. Thank you. And now, can we please look at page 3 of the same
24 document. Thank you very much. This is what I need.
25 Paragraph 3 from the top of the page, I will read: "Between the
1 7th of December 1995 and today, several MOS members were allowed to move
2 into third countries so that a total of 495 of them have left up to date.
3 Of that number, 240 moved to the United States; 103 moved to Australia;
4 11 to Sweden
6 Further on in the text, it says, "We note that three members of
7 the MOS died in our territory: one of them from the border to the
8 reception centre in Branesko Polje, another one in the reception centre
9 in Branesko Polje, and the third one died in the reception centre in
10 Mitrovo Polje. We also note that on the 9th of February, 1996, that MOS
11 members from the reception centre in Mitrovo Polje were all transferred
12 to the reception centre in Branesko Polje, and now the total number
13 amounts to 301."
14 Mr. Vojinovic, I have shown you this document, and I would like
15 to ask you whether this illustrates what you have just told us based on
16 the information that you had received from the detainees in the Foca
18 A. This is precisely the document that confirms what I learned
19 during that period of time, i.e., that all the members of the 285th Zepa
20 Brigade had withdrawn. They had not surrendered their weapons, and the
21 number that I mentioned, anything between 800 and 1.000 soldiers that
22 crossed over to Yugoslavia
23 just confirms information that we obtained through our work during that
24 period of time.
25 Q. Thank you very much. Let's go back to those detainee interviews.
1 While you were interviewing the detainees, did you come by any concrete
2 information about the crimes that had been committed in the times
3 preceding the interviews?
4 A. During the detainee interviews, we also came by some concrete
5 information, which only confirmed that a certain number of the members of
6 the Zepa Brigade had, indeed, committed several crimes against humanity
7 and the international law in the territory of Republika Srpska; i.e.,
8 they had killed a few civilians and torched several facilities or
10 Also, in the course of those interviews, we came by information
11 that immediately prior to the fall of Zepa, i.e., prior to the armed
12 conflict between the Army Republika Srpska and the members of the 285th
13 Brigade in Zepa, and in the territory of Republika Srpska towards the end
14 of June 1995, pursuant to the order of the second corps of the BiH army,
15 eight larger sabotage groups had been infiltrated into that territory
16 from Zepa. Their mission was to carry out several combat operations on
17 the Sokolac-Vlasenici road in order to engage the Serb forces and move
18 them away from Sarajevo
19 civilians [as interpreted] and a few members of the Army of Republika
20 Srpska had been killed. As a result of that, the Army of Republika
21 Srpska had embarked on the disarming of the members of the 285th Brigade.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Josse.
23 MR. JOSSE: We are a bit concerned, Your Honour, about the
24 translation as to the number of civilians. I don't want to lead in
25 relation to this. Perhaps the witness could be asked again what
1 adjective he used in relation to that.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I think there is no harm in leading at this point.
3 MR. JOSSE: We don't think he said "a few civilians." I'm told
4 he used a different adjective.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Could you follow -- of course, we
6 couldn't follow the witness in his original language, but Mr. Nikolic
7 certainly must have. So perhaps you can clarify that having heard
8 Mr. Josse, Mr. Nikolic.
9 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] I'll ask the witness to repeat what
10 he has just told us about the information that they had obtained about
11 the civilians.
12 Q. What concrete information did you receive from the prisoners
13 about the civilians that had been killed during those operations?
14 A. During those interviews we learned, which was later on confirmed,
15 i.e., certain perpetrators were identified. Those who had been involved
16 in the killing of the civilians in the village of Borovine
17 killing of the civilian Stojan Veljovic, the killings of several [as
18 interpreted] civilians in the village of Visnjici
19 Milici municipality, and I really cannot remember any more specific
20 details because I don't have any documents to jog my memory.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Yes, Mr. Zivanovic.
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC: There is an error in transcript. At the page 19,
23 line 24, the B/C/S word "vise" was translated as "several."
24 JUDGE AGIUS: And how should it be translated?
25 MR. ZIVANOVIC: As more civilians.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Anyway -- but I think I heard Mr. Zivanovic say
3 that --
4 MR. ZIVANOVIC: "Many civilians." It should be translated as
5 "many civilians."
6 JUDGE AGIUS: What's the difference between "many" and "several"?
7 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I believe that there is.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's proceed. I am not a native
9 English speaker, but I don't think it makes much difference at this
10 stage. Let's proceed.
11 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Vojinovic, as a result of those interviews, were any criminal
13 reports filed? Who did that, if so, and which organ or body received
14 those criminal reports?
15 A. After conducting preliminary interviews with all the persons who
16 were detained in the Foca correctional and penitentiary facility, the
17 security administration of the Army of Republika Srpska filed several
18 criminal reports against several persons with the military Prosecutor's
19 Office. I can't recall the exact number of those criminal reports and
20 the crimes that this referred to, but the crimes were crimes against
21 humanity and crimes against international law of war.
22 MR. NIKOLIC: Now, I would like to see Document 2D528. We
23 received this document from the witness himself, and the only thing that
24 you will see is the first name in the English translation. Could the
25 Prosecution and the Trial Chamber please be handed the draft version of
1 the translation. I don't think that it will be difficult to follow the
2 rest of the document because all we are interested in is the number of
4 In the left upper corner of this document, it says, the Main
5 Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska Security and Intelligence Sector,
6 security administration, strictly confidential. There's no number, and
7 the date is the 23rd of August, 1995.
8 It is addressed to the basic military Prosecutor's Office in
9 Bijeljina. It says in the text, "Pursuant to Articles 150 and 151, para
10 1, of the Law on Criminal Procedure, a criminal report is hereby filed
11 against the following persons." The person that is listed under number 1
12 is Mohmedalije Cavcic, and we have his personal details.
13 I will now ask whether we should now go into private session
14 because we will now be dealing with the personal details of some persons,
15 and perhaps it would be good not to have this made public knowledge.
16 [Private session]
11 Pages 23698-23699 redacted. Private session.
11 [Open session]
12 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honour.
13 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Could we please move the document up a little bit so that we can
15 see who issued this document. So in the lower right-hand corner it says,
16 "The government, Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic," and there is a
17 stamp, "the Government of the Republic of Serbia
18 Could you please move the document up a little bit. The first
19 section in the upper left-hand corner, it says "confidential," and then
20 it says in the text, Pursuant to Article 11 of the law on the cooperation
21 of Serbia
22 former Yugoslavia
23 criminal prosecution of persons responsible for serious violations of
24 international humanitarian law committed in the territory of the former
1 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in number 18/02 and the official Gazette
2 of the SCG, the number is 16/03, and Article 43, para 3, of the law on
3 the government, published in the official Gazette of the RS. Number
4 55/05, 71/05, and the correction in 101/07, the government issues the
5 following conclusion: Attorney-At-Law Predrag Nikolic, an investigator
6 in the Defence team of Ljubisa Beara, is allowed to submit documents
7 attached to the present conclusion submitted in the attachment to
8 memorandum sent by the Ministry of the Interior, 01, number 5940/07-9 of
9 the 4th of January, 2008. And para 2 reads as follows: "The conclusion
10 is to be sent to the international --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: What do you want to prove with this because, I
12 mean, if there is anyone who is going to doubt the authenticity of this
13 document, I would be very surprised; and secondly, it speaks for itself.
14 It doesn't need to be read out in court, does it? We can all read it.
15 We have already done so, so we can proceed.
16 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Your Honours, attached
17 to this conclusion is a list of statements of 105 persons who provided
18 those statements, and the statements were submitted together with this
19 document. That's what I wanted to do. I wanted to tender this into
20 evidence in order to be able to tender the following document, which is
21 2D422. Could the draft translation of this document into English,
22 Document 2D422, be provided to the Bench and the Prosecution.
23 The title of this document is "Record," and I would now like us
24 to move into private session so that I could read the name and personal
25 details of the person.
1 [Private Session]
11 Pages 23703-23708 redacted. Private session.
20 [Open session]
21 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session now.
22 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] The document number is 2D526. We
23 have a draft English translation.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: I mean, I am tempted to ask the question to the
25 Prosecution. If Mr. Nikolic had, instead of taking two hours of our
1 time, just presented these documents and asked if the Prosecution
2 contested any of this stuff here, what would have been your answer, Mr.
4 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, to a certain extent we, as we have said
5 on numerous occasions, do not contest the general proposition that there
6 were sabotage acts and other acts committed by forces from within both
7 the Srebrenica and Zepa enclave from within the enclaves outwards. With
8 respect to these particular statements, without having been given more
9 information about what was going to be the nature of the examination, it
10 would have been difficult for me to stipulate. However, had it simply
11 been put to me that these documents are X, Y, and Z, we may very well
12 have stipulated that they are simply reports without going into the
13 authenticity or the conditions under which the alleged statements were
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Nikolic, please proceed and
16 try to conclude.
17 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. My
18 examination is drawing to an end.
19 Q. This document was issued by the military court in Bijeljina as
20 you can see in the heading. The number is SU 128/2000 dated 19 July
21 2000. It refers to the list of cases transferred onto the basic court in
22 Rogatica. Under Item number 1, KI-4798/95 --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Please, please, Mr. Nikolic, you don't need to read
24 to us or to the witness the contents of a document. We can read it
25 ourselves. I take it that the witness has already seen this document.
1 Go to the question, please, because we if we stay reading each document
2 that we get here, we'll be here for the next four years.
3 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Vojinovic, my question is this: All these documents that we
5 have seen here today, do they all refer to what you learned during your
6 wartime investigations and during your interviews with the prisoners in
8 A. Yes, these are precisely documents of that nature, documents
9 which confirm all of our previous knowledge and add to that some new
10 information obtained in order to identify the perpetrators of those
12 Q. Before I conclude my examination-in-chief, I'll go back to the
13 part of your testimony during which you spoke about the persons and
14 officers from the security services with whom you cooperated; and within
15 that context, you mentioned the accused Colonel Ljubisa Beara. This was
16 a long time ago, but I would still like to ask you to describe to the
17 best of your recollection the way he looked at the time.
18 A. Mr. Ljubisa Beara remains in my recollection as a person who was
19 tall, with receding -- with a receding hairline, grey hair. He sported
20 spectacles, rather heavily built, and he also spoke with a specific
21 dialect that was reminiscent of the Ikavian dialect.
22 Q. You had several opportunities to meet with Mr. Beara. What were
23 your impressions of him as an officer and a soldier of the army?
24 A. I perceived Mr. Beara as an officer who performed his duties, the
25 duties from within the purview of security in a professional manner, in a
1 very responsible manner. During our conversations, he also showed a
2 sense of humour so that my time spent with the gentleman in question was
3 rather pleasant.
4 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. This
5 brings my examination-in-chief to the end.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Nikolic.
7 Now, Mr. Zivanovic, you had asked for 20 minutes.
8 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
10 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you.
11 Cross-examination by Mr. Zivanovic:
12 Q. Good morning, Mr. Vojinovic.
13 A. Good morning.
14 Q. During your testimony so far, you have also told us that while
15 working in the state security of the Ministry of the Interior, you also
16 cooperated with the military security of the 2nd Romanija Brigade and
17 that you met Mr. Vujadin Popovic at the time. Let me first ask you
18 whether you can tell us - if you remember, of course - until when did you
19 have regular contacts with Mr. Vujadin Popovic?
20 A. As far as I can remember, I cooperated with Mr. Vujadin Popovic,
21 and we had a very good relationship and very good professional contacts.
22 Before he joined the Romanija Brigade, for a year or year and a half he
23 was the security officer in the 2nd Romania Brigade, or rather, that's
24 when we cooperated, when he was the security officer in the 2nd Romanija
25 Brigade for a year or a year and a half.
1 Q. Thank you. During that time while you had regular contacts with
2 him, did you or the service that you were a member of, did you receive
3 any orders from him? Did there come a time when you were subordinated
4 either to him personally or to the military security service?
5 A. No, not at all. Our cooperation was mutually beneficial, but the
6 military security service did not have any jurisdiction whatsoever over
7 any other security service, either the Public Security Service or the
8 State Security Service. They did not have any jurisdiction over either
9 the former or the latter. Our superior was the ministry of the interior
10 of Republika Srpska, and that ministry was responsible for our work and
11 for the coordination of our work.
12 Q. Thank you. Let me now play a video recording. It's a very short
13 clip, 4 minutes, and it shows Vujadin Popovic too. So I would like you
14 to look at it and tell us whether you can recall this event and if you
15 do, to tell us something about it. It's 1D 1310.
16 [Videotape played]
17 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "The drama of the Croat refugees
18 from Vares continues. The poor people have sought salvation from the
19 Muslim soldiers, their erstwhile allies in the Serb territory. The
20 question now is where to go next. Many of them don't want to go to
21 either Herceg-Bosna or Croatia
22 I headed to this territory, to Sokolac, to be able to leave for
24 going from hill to hill. That's what it is. Herceg-Bosna
25 representatives are offering accommodation in Kiseljak, but some of them
1 would like to seek shelter in Serbia
3 Serb people there will let me go there."
4 "Were you scared as they moved towards the Serb territory?"
5 "I was not scared. I was only scared of the Muslims. I'm going
6 to Belgrade
7 "And you are not scared of going to Belgrade?"
8 "We've lived along Serbs for centuries and never had any
9 problems, and this war was not started by Serbs. The refugees from Vares
10 now recall their links with Serbia
11 to them, resentful of their leadership. No one is taking care of us.
12 They have all fled the lines. They have fled. Here they are, and my
13 husband was the first to stay down there and fight, and all those
14 municipal officials and leaders, they're all over the place, skulking in
15 camps. Can you believe it? For sure, and look where they got us, into
16 this mud, and they all wanted to do something. They gave us rice full of
17 weevils and sold the rest. Who did they sell it to? They sold it in
18 shops. The stuff went to Tuzla
19 went to Tuzla
20 from Tuzla
21 Watch out for UNPROFOR because they, in fact, play the main role in
22 Vares, stirred things up?"
23 "As the ordeal of these people continues, a lot of things are now
24 seen in the different light than before. The Serb people have taken them
25 in just as they have always helped those in need. The very way in which
1 the people in the Republika Srpska army took them in has given them some
2 feeling of safety, their personal safety and that of their families.
3 They would probably like to feel the same way when they cross over.
4 "The exodus of the Croatian people from Vares area has continued.
5 Only in the last four days, as long as the fighting between Croats and
6 Muslims in this area has gone on, over 5.000 civilians from Vares and the
7 environs have fled into the Serb territory. Columns of buses, trucks,
8 and cars full of women, children, and the elderly have fled the Muslim
9 warriors and sought shelter and aid from the Serb fighters, and Serbs
10 help those in trouble if they can.
11 "Yet again, they have taken the Croats from Vares Inn, fed them,
12 and escorted them in an organised fashion across the Serb territory and
13 the border crossing at Kobiljaca to Kiseljak, according to our
14 intelligence, and it is reliable, since the Republika Srpska army has
15 done this job extremely properly and humanely. It has taken in the
16 women, the children, the infirmed, the elderly, the wounded, et cetera,
17 and transferred them to Kiseljak. We are talking about more than 5.000
18 people. The last convoy is due today, and we will do it too. On the 7th
19 of November, we are going to Sokolac. From Sokolac, we will move 1.000
20 women and children, again, to Kiseljak. I don't know of any similar
21 examples of any Croat soldiers doing what my soldiers, members of the
22 Republika Srpska army, have done over the past, let's say, four months as
23 the fighting between co-ac and Muslims intensified and this conflict in
24 the former Bosnia-Herzegovina has culminated. All men of military age
25 ... "
1 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Vojinovic, I would like to ask you this.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, I wanted to let the video finish
5 before objecting. I have two objections, and I understand that the
6 practice is to permit the question to be asked first, but -- and we're in
7 sort of a bind sometimes when we do that.
8 But I have two objections, really. One is, we don't know as far
9 as I can see what year this film apparently -- allegedly was filmed, and
10 I'd like an idea of what the relevance of this line of questioning that
11 we are about to hear is, how it arises from the examination of this
12 witness, before we take more time going into events which don't seem
13 particularly relevant or relevant completely to 1995.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's start with the first one. What time frame
15 does this video clip refer to?
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [In English] I'd like to say that this video was
17 disclosed by the Prosecution as Rule 68 material.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, but it's still -- I mean --
19 MR. ZIVANOVIC: And it is related to the events in 1993.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: '93. Okay. And let's hear what your questions
21 are, and if we have any concerns about relevance, of course, we will
23 MR. ZIVANOVIC: According to Rule 68, I do not see any reason to
25 JUDGE AGIUS: No, don't -- let's hear the questions, and if we
1 can figure out that they could be relevant, they could be irrelevant.
2 But we have to hear them first.
3 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes. All right.
4 Q. [Interpretation] My question for you, Mr. Vojinovic is, do you
5 remember this event? Do you have any knowledge of this event, and can
6 you tell us something about it and Vujadin Popovic's participation in
8 A. Yes. I remember this event well.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
10 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, my understanding is that my friend
11 has closed his evidence and this is, in any event, irrelevant. It's
12 1993. It's an event that is not further described than what's going on
13 in the video. I just don't see how this is relevant and how it flows
14 from this witness's testimony.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's wait to hear the other questions, I think,
16 because if they are related it can help us decide better. The fact that
17 we are talking of 1993 doesn't necessarily exclude relevance, but let's
18 hear the other questions.
19 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [In English] I have put the question to the
20 witness. Is it permitted or not?
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah. For the time being, let's proceed, yes.
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I'm expecting his answer. Sorry.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: He did answer. He said, yes, I remember this event
24 very well.
25 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Vojinovic, can you tell us now, what is it that you remember
2 from this period about this event?
3 A. The reason why I remember this event so clearly because I was
4 able to recognise the site where the refugees from the Vares area were
5 housed on this video clip. They were all ethnic Croats - that's Brezjak,
6 near Sokolac - where the UNHCR sometime in June 1992 set up a tent camp
7 to house this refugees, civilians of Serb ethnic background who managed
8 to flee from areas controlled by the Bosnian army, from central Bosnia
9 Zenica, Kakanj, and so on, to the Serb-controlled territory, and this was
10 the first camp where they were taken in. They were given some food, and
11 then they went on according to their own wishes. This camp was full at
12 all times. It is my evaluation that between 200 and 250 refugees
13 remained there, but they would stay there two, three, seven days at the
14 most, and then they would go on. When the war between Muslims and Croats
15 broke out, when Vares where the majority of the population was Croat,
16 when it was attacked by Muslim armed formations, the civilians, Croats,
17 lest they should find themselves in an encirclement, lest they should
18 find themselves in any kind of threat from the Muslims, they decided to
19 cross into the territory of the Republika Srpska. This was decided at a
20 higher level. I know that our troops, the Republika Srpska army, took
21 part in transporting those people, feeding them, assisting to feed them,
22 and to put them up in the tent camp in Sokolac. I know that at that time
23 we had some tasks that had to do with the security, personal security,
24 and the security of property of the civilians in that camp. I remember
25 that the military security was also involved; i.e., Mr. Vujadin Popovic,
1 he had some tasks in providing security for those civilians.
2 Q. Just one more question. Could you please tell me, in the course
3 of your contacts with Mr. Vujadin Popovic, did you ever feel any
4 animosity on his part towards other ethnic groups, Croats, Muslims, or
5 any other ethnic groups?
6 A. No. Quite the contrary was the case, in fact. In his
7 conversations with me, I never felt any animosity on his part towards
8 other ethnic groups except for the armed formations of the enemy side,
9 Muslims, Croats in the battle field on the separation line on the front
10 lines, but that's quite normal.
11 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you, Mr. Vojinovic. [In English] No more
12 questions, thank you.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Ms. Nikolic, do you have any questions
14 for the witness?
15 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] [Microphone not activated]
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Ms. Nikolic informed the Trial Chamber
18 that the Nikolic Defence team do not wish to cross-examine the witness.
19 Mr. Lazarevic? You had requested 10 minutes.
20 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes, I indicated, I believe, that we'll have ten
21 minutes or maybe we won't have any cross-examination, if any, and we
22 decided not to cross-examine the witness.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you, Mr. Lazarevic.
24 Ms. Fauveau, do you have any questions?
25 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I won't have any questions, Your
2 JUDGE AGIUS: The Gvero Defence team don't wish to cross-examine
3 this witness, I take it.
4 MR. JOSSE: Precisely, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Haynes, do you wish to
6 cross-examine this witness? You have asked for 20 minutes.
7 MR. HAYNES: Not that long. One or two questions. Thank you.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Go ahead, please.
9 Cross-examination by Mr. Haynes:
10 Q. Mr. Vojinovic, earlier this morning you were telling about your
11 involvement in the investigation of the murder of a Muslim family in
12 1992. Do you remember that?
13 A. Yes, I do.
14 Q. And you were involved in that investigation as part of your role
15 within the National Security Service. That's correct, isn't it?
16 A. That's right.
17 Q. And you told us that the investigation was headed by an
18 investigative judge. Do you remember that?
19 A. Yes, I do recall that. He was the head of the onsite
20 investigation. That was the Judge of the municipal court in Sokolac
21 because it was their jurisdiction.
22 Q. That's quite correct. What I really want to know from you is,
23 who would have instructed him to carry out that investigation?
24 A. I don't know if he received any orders or not, but the usual
25 practice in accordance with the law in criminal procedure, which was
1 enforced at that time, was once information came in that the crime was
2 committed or that an incident had taken place, once this information
3 comes in, it usually came in via the duty desk of the police stations,
4 and they were duty-bound to inform the investigative judge, the duty
5 investigative judge, and the investigative judge then issued an order, or
6 rather, verbally requested a vehicle from the MUP and also personnel
7 qualified to carry out an onsite investigation; in other words, crime
8 scene technicians, crime police inspector, in order to find and secure
9 evidence on the site.
10 Q. And do you know whether that is what happened in this particular
12 A. Yes because I was a member of this commission representing the
13 State Security Service. That's exactly what happened. A commission was
14 set up. It was headed by the investigative judge. It included the crime
15 scene technician, a crime police inspector, and myself, and we went to
16 the crime scene in two vehicles. There were also some other police
17 officers who were there to, first of all, ensure that the members of the
18 commission were safe and also to secure the perimeter around the scene
19 because the house where this crime was committed, where there was this
20 multiple murder of the Muslim family, was located in such a way that
21 there was a forest nearby; and this is where the armed Muslim groups
22 passed from Rogatica towards Zepa and Srebrenica. And when information
23 came in about this event, it was clear that the safety of the commission
24 during the onsite investigation might be compromised.
25 MR. HAYNES: Thank you very much. I've got no further questions.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you Mr. Haynes. Mr. Thayer.
2 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. Just to give you an idea,
3 I think --
4 JUDGE AGIUS: You had asked for an hour and a half.
5 MR. THAYER: I think I may be able to finish by the break at
6 12.30. I'll do my best, but it's not going to be an hour and a half from
7 what I can see.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you, which means, Madam
9 Registrar, the next witness should remain available, all right? And
10 we'll start him immediately after. Thank you.
11 Cross-examination by Mr. Thayer:
12 Q. Morning, sir. We've not met. My name is Nelson Thayer, and I
13 will be asking you some questions on behalf of the Prosecution.
14 A. That's fine.
15 Q. Sir, it's fair to say that the events immediately following the
16 fall of Srebrenica and Zepa in terms of the break-through of
17 military-aged men from those two enclaves, that was something of intense
18 interest to security and intelligence organs both on the military side
19 and the civilian side like yourself; isn't that correct? Isn't that fair
20 to say?
21 A. Yes, you could say that.
22 Q. And you already told us about the cooperation between the army's
23 security and intelligence organs and the state security organs. I want
24 to focus your attention on July of 1995 to begin with and ask you about
25 your contacts with certain individuals and just see what you recall about
1 your interactions with them, if any, in July of 1995. And just to save
2 time, if you don't recall particular contacts in July of 1995, but you
3 did have contacts with the individual, could you describe what those
4 contacts were, okay?
5 A. Yes, okay. In July --
6 Q. Let me make things easier for you, and I'll just go through some
7 names, okay?
8 A. Excellent.
9 Q. Mr. Beara, Colonel Beara: Did you have contacts with him in July
10 of 1995 following the fall of the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves?
11 A. No, I didn't have any contacts with Mr. Beara.
12 Q. And prior to July of 1995, what was your most recent contact with
13 him that you recall?
14 A. I really can't remember. I can't remember when it was before
15 this time period. For the most part, I had contacts with lower ranking
17 Q. Understood. Well, do you recall any contacts with him in 1994?
18 A. Well, I can't recall the exact date and time, but I first met
19 Mr. Beara sometime in late 1993, and during the war I may have met him
20 just a couple of times in informal settings, and I remember that the last
21 time I met him was sometime in 1996. There was some kind of ceremonial
22 lunch, some kind of a feast to celebrate something. Those are the
23 occasions that I remember regarding meeting Mr. Beara.
24 Q. Okay. So is it fair to say, then, that your contacts were not
25 prolonged or frequent with Mr. Beara?
1 A. Yes, you could say that.
2 Q. Okay. How about an individual named Dragomir Pecanac Do you
3 recall having contact with him? He was a major serving under Colonel
4 Beara in the security administration. Do you remember Major Pecanac?
5 A. Yes, I remember him from the wartime, but I did not cooperate
6 closely with him.
7 Q. And as we go through some of the other parts of the chain of
8 command, do you recall having contacts with Svetozar Kosoric from the
9 Drina Corps on the intelligence side?
10 A. No, never. I never met Mr. Kosoric at all.
11 Q. And how about at the brigade level? Did you have contact in July
12 of 1995 with the commander of the Rogatica Brigade; that would be Kusic.
13 A. In 1995, not. I was not in contact with Mr. Kusic, but
14 throughout the war I was in contact with his security officer, and our
15 relationship and our cooperation were extremely correct.
16 Q. And what was that security officer's name, sir?
17 A. His name was Captain Zoran Carkic.
18 Q. Okay. Now, I want to turn your attention to the individuals that
19 were listed on the document that my friend showed you of individuals who
20 had been captured in Serbia
21 shown a document that had a list of over a hundred people, do you not?
22 A. Yes, I do recall the document, or I saw the list, the criminal
23 report against 149 persons who were reported because there were grounds
24 for suspicion that they had committed a crime.
25 Q. And just so it's clear for the record, sir, is it your testimony
1 that those individuals were transferred to the prison in Foca where they
2 were then, again, interrogated; or is it your testimony that when you
3 interviewed prisoners at Foca, they either talked about the individuals
4 on that list or referred to acts that you considered were connected to
5 those individuals on that list of prisoners from Serbia?
6 A. On the basis of the conversations or interviews with the
7 prisoners in Foca, as far as I can recall there were about 35 of them.
8 Based on their statements obtained in the course of those interviews, we
9 learned on the basis of what they told us that a certain number of
10 persons for whom there were indicators that they had committed war
11 crimes, that they had crossed into the territory of the Republic of
13 where they were.
14 Q. Now, in coming to some of the conclusions that you made today
15 concerning the evidence that certain individuals had participated in what
16 you called war crimes or crimes against humanity, you relied on the
17 information that came to you from the Serbian authorities, did you not?
18 A. Are you referring to the authorities in Serbia?
19 Q. I am, sir.
20 A. No. We did not rely on the documents that you have, documents
21 issued in the territory of Serbia
22 the intelligence we gathered throughout the war about the acts, the
23 crimes, the victims, and the perpetrators; but from the prisoners in
24 Foca, we obtained information that confirmed with what we knew already,
25 or we obtained knowledge that we didn't have before, but we learned from
1 them that some people for whom there were grounds for suspicion that they
2 crossed to Serbia
3 through the territory of Republika Srpska to the BH Army-controlled
5 Q. Now, sir, you were aware, were you not, that there was a group of
6 approximately 40 military-aged men and some older men from the Zepa area
7 who were held in a prison farm in Rogatica during this period of time?
8 A. Yes. I knew that a certain number of persons from Zepa were held
9 in the prison in Rogatica.
10 Q. And that location was the - forgive my pronunciation - the
11 Rasadnik farm?
12 A. Yes. I believe that that was the name of the facility, and the
13 facility was located at a place as you are leaving the town of Rogatica
14 Q. And, sir, it's just outside the town of Rogatica, is it not? And
15 if you would, just orient the Trial Chamber to what direction outside of
16 the town of Rogatica this farm was located.
17 A. This farm was still in the town, but as you leave town going
18 towards Sokolac, that's where you will find it.
19 Q. Okay, and just to save us from having to pull out a map, Sokolac
20 is to the west of Rogatica, northwest, south?
21 A. North of Rogatica, at some 30 kilometres away.
22 Q. Now, this farm, do you recall what type of farm it was? Was it
23 an agricultural farm? Was it used for raising cattle, or can you tell
25 A. Before the war it was an agricultural farm, but during the war it
1 was not operational. As far as I can remember, there was an
2 administrative building there, which was used as a war prison for the
3 temporary accommodation of prisoners of war. From there, they were then
4 exchanged and so on and so forth.
5 Q. Who ran that farm, sir, the army or MUP?
6 A. The army.
7 Q. And the warden was an individual named Zoran Neskovic; is that
9 A. I really can't remember the names. I would go there only
10 occasionally, maybe every two or three months, if I had to see a
11 prisoner. There was always some other member of security, so I really
12 wouldn't be able to tell you who the warden was or who the soldiers
13 providing security were.
14 Q. And in terms of the guards, sir, many of those guards, perhaps
15 all of them, were actually policemen from the Rogatica area; is that
17 A. I don't know about that, but they were all soldiers of the VRS,
18 but I don't know which unit they belonged to.
19 Q. Do you recall interviewing any of the prisoners that were held in
20 this farm prison in Rogatica in July of 1995 during the course of this
21 investigation that you told the Trial Chamber about earlier?
22 A. As far as I can remember, and this was 15 years ago, I believe
23 that before I left for Foca I conducted an interview over there with
24 Handija Torlak, if I'm not mistaken. He was the president of the
25 executive board of the war presidency of Zepa. I remember the interview
1 with that person, actually.
2 Q. And when you were at the prison, do you recall that with Mr.
3 Torlak was a man named Mehmed Hajdic [phoen] who was the hodja of Zepa?
4 A. I don't remember. I know that there were several men from Zepa
5 held in custody, but I remember Mr. Torlak because he had been in a
6 political position in Zepa, in the war presidencies there. That's why I
7 remember the interview during which he was very fair, and he provided a
8 very accurate description of what was going on in and around Zepa at the
10 Q. And do you recall an individual also being present with Mr.
11 Torlak by the name of Amir Imamovic, who was the head of civil protection
12 from Zepa, somebody in whom I presume you would have been interested at
13 the time to interview?
14 A. I really can't remember the name. It doesn't ring any bells. I
15 only remember Mr. Torlak because at the time we really wanted to talk to
16 somebody from the leadership and to obtain information. We were
17 interested in information about the armed formations that crossed our
18 territory and in certain ways threatened the security of the civilian
19 population and the villages that they had to go through. That's why we
20 were most interested in obtaining that information and providing
21 protection to these villages that were endangered.
22 Q. During this period of time, sir, the name of Avdo Palic was
23 certainly known to you was the commander of the Zepa Brigade; is that
25 A. Yes, I know that.
1 Q. And you recall, do you not, that Colonel Palic was captured by
2 Serb forces and held shortly after the transportation of the civilian
3 population of Zepa, the men, women -- older men, women, and children had
4 been completed?
5 A. Yes, I was aware of that.
6 Q. Can you describe for the Court what you know about the
7 interrogation process of Colonel Palic and the circumstances surrounding
8 his detention during this period of time?
9 A. Could you please be more precise? I don't really understand the
11 Q. Please tell the Trial Chamber what you know about what happened
12 to Colonel Palic after he was taken into Serb custody in July of 1995.
13 A. I know that Colonel Palic was detained in Zepa because he was the
14 responsible commander of the 285th Brigade and he did not comply with the
15 agreement on the surrender of his soldiers, and according to that
16 agreement they should have been exchanged on the all-for-all principle;
17 i.e., members of his brigade should have been exchanged for the Serb
18 soldiers that were held by BH Army. When he was captured, he was taken
19 to a centre where he was going to be exchanged for high-ranking officer
20 of the VRS. I don't know anything else about his fate.
21 Q. Now, you told us about how interested you would have been in
22 interviewing Mr. Torlak, who you said was a civilian leader. You no
23 doubt would have been intensely interested in what Colonel Palic had to
24 say about the same issues about which you were interested in interviewing
25 Mr. Torlak, correct?
1 A. Yes, that's correct.
2 Q. Were you present for any of the interviews, interrogations of
3 Colonel Palic?
4 A. Yes, I was present.
5 Q. Can you describe for the Trial Chamber as best as you can when
6 the interrogations began and who was present and where these
7 interrogations precisely took place?
8 A. I can't remember the exact date, but I believe that it was either
9 the end of July or the beginning of August. I had received a dispatch in
10 my department in Sokolac telling me to go to the Borika Hotel in the
11 municipality of Rogatica. There was supposed to be a prisoner there, and
12 I was supposed to contact the security officer in the hotel who was to
13 allow me to talk to the prisoner. I got into the car; I went there, to
14 the Borika Hotel. I reported to an officer whose name I can't remember
15 as I sit here, and the officer took me to one of the rooms. When I
16 entered the room, I found three persons in there: two soldiers of the
17 Republika Srpska army and a man in a camouflage American NATO uniform and
18 boots, and they were sitting down facing each other.
19 As I entered the room, the soldiers who provided the security for
20 the prisoner left the room. I remained alone with the prisoner. When I
21 asked him to identify himself, he identified himself as Avdo Palic, whom
22 I had never seen before. I conducted an interview with him, and the
23 interview lasted anything between and hour and a half and two hours.
24 During the interview, Avdo was very correct in providing his statement.
25 I remember well that he stated that the enclaves of Zepa and Srebrenica
1 and particularly Zepa and the troops of his brigade had been manipulated
2 by the authorities in Sarajevo
3 re-organisation, and that they would receive orders when to start
4 breaking through towards Olovo and trying to link up with the other
5 brigades of the BH Army. Since he was aware that Zepa had been
6 proclaimed a protected and demilitarised area and that the
7 demilitarisation had not been implemented and carried out, he just
8 carried out orders that he had received from Sarajevo. He told me on
9 that occasion that he personally in agreement with Zulfo Tursumovic from
10 Srebrenica, the commander of one of the brigades of the 28th Division,
11 had planned and carried out in June 1995 - I believe that it was on the
12 26th of June of that year - a total of nine sabotage operations during
13 which several civilians and about 40 members of the Republika Srpska army
14 had been killed, and also that on that occasion they captured a wounded
15 Serb soldier and took him to Zepa. In that a same interview, Avdo
16 explained to me that he had been a soldier and that he was duty-bound to
17 carry out orders from Sarajevo
18 result in a counteroffensive of the Republika Srpska army in order for
19 them to protect their territory and their population. After the
20 interview with the gentleman, I made an official note, which I forwarded
21 to my service.
22 A few days later, or a couple of days later, rather, I had
23 another interview with the same gentleman about the same events, and on
24 that occasion he personally confirmed to me and identified certain
25 persons that had committed crimes. And after that second interview, I
1 also compiled an official note, and about that time I received informal
2 information that he was supposed to be exchanged for a high-ranking
3 officer of Republika Srpska. From then on, I don't know what happened to
4 him. Whether he was taken anywhere from that moment on, I don't know
5 anything about his fate.
6 Q. Now, sir, you described somebody being in what you called a NATO
7 uniform and boots. Who was that person just so we are clear on the
9 A. That person introduced himself to me as Avdo Palic. Since I had
10 not met him before, I only took it for granted that he was the man that
11 he claimed to be.
12 Q. And when you say NATO unform, sir, just so we are clear, you are
13 referring to a camouflage or design pattern. Is that correct?
14 A. Yes, precisely, sir.
15 Q. Now, during this period of time, who was your immediate superior
16 in the State Security Service?
17 A. The chief of the service was Tomislav Puhaljac, as far as I can
18 remember. I hope I'm not mistaken.
19 Q. And to whom did he report, sir?
20 A. He reported to the chief of the service.
21 Q. And in July 1995, who was that person, sir?
22 A. As far as I can remember, it was Mr. Dragan Kijac.
23 Q. So who gave you the order to go to the Hotel Borika?
24 A. I can't remember who the person was, but I remember that a
25 dispatch had arrived, or maybe it was a telephone call that I had. In
1 any case, the order did arrive, and I carried it out the way it was
2 spelled out.
3 Q. And you were aware, were you not, that the VRS had established a
4 forward command post at the Hotel Borika?
5 A. I don't think it was a forward command post. I believe that this
6 is where soldiers were billeted, where they took their R and R.
7 Q. And when you arrived at the Hotel Borika, protocol would have
8 required you to report to a VRS officer at that location, correct?
9 A. Yes, there was a duty officer in the facility. I reported to the
10 soldier at the entrance, who called him. I introduced myself to him. I
11 told him what my mission was, and he enabled me to carry my mission out.
12 I can't remember who the officer was or what unit he belonged to. I
13 can't even remember what unit was billeted at that facility at that time.
14 Q. Do you recall who the highest ranking VRS officer was at that
15 time in the Hotel Borika when you were there?
16 A. I don't think there were any high-ranking officers there. There
17 were only lower-ranking officers together with a unit that was billeted
18 there, I believe.
19 MR. THAYER: May we have 65 ter 2793 on e-court, please.
20 Q. Do you see the document on the computer screen, sir?
21 A. Left or right?
22 Q. It should be on the right for you, sir, and there should be an
23 English translation on the left. Just take a moment, if you would, and
24 acquaint yourself with this document, sir. Please let us know when we
25 can scroll down to the bottom. Sir, we can see that this is a very
1 urgent report from General Tolimir memorializing, according to the
2 document, a conversation with Avdo Palic on 28 July 1995. Do you recall
3 seeing General Tolimir in the Zepa area during this period of time when
4 you were there?
5 A. [No interpretation]
6 Q. Do you recall receiving any information at the time that General
7 Tolimir was in fact in the Zepa area?
8 A. I didn't know about that, and I really don't know why I should
9 have been aware of the whereabouts of the high-ranking officers of the
10 VRS at the time, where they were and where they were moving about.
11 Q. Well, you knew what General Tolimir's position was, did you not,
12 at the time?
13 A. Yes. He was the assistant commander for security.
14 Q. You are identifying him as the assistant commander for security,
16 A. The assistant commander for security of the Main Staff, yes.
17 Q. Okay. When you spoke with Colonel Palic, did you talk to him
18 about the location of the minefields?
19 A. No, I did not talk to him about that. I spoke to Colonel Palic
20 about the infiltration of his sabotage groups, what crimes they
21 committed, when, and what were the consequences of those acts for the
22 Serbian civil population, and also about the possible activities of his
23 brigade in breaking through to Zepa because we wanted to have the timely
24 information in order to protect the civilian population on the axis of
25 these forces being pulled out and advancing towards Zepa and Olovo.
1 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I see we are a couple of minutes from
2 the break. I'm going to move to a new document, so if we could take the
3 break now, I think that would be most efficient.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Sure. Let's take the break now, please, and it
5 will be a 25-minute one.
6 --- Recess taken at 12.27 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 1.00 p.m.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
9 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Q. Good afternoon, sir. Let's pick up where we left off discussing
11 this document that's on the screen. Do you recall whether this
12 information was known to you or made known to you at the time that's
13 contained in this report from General Tolimir?
14 A. No. I was not aware of this information, and this was not the
15 topic of the discussion because I was not interested in anything that had
16 to do with the military matters as indicated in this document.
17 Q. Let's look at 2790, please. 65 ter P 02790. You see the
18 document, sir?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Just take a moment and read it, please. Let us know when you are
22 A. I've read it.
23 Q. Sir, have you had an opportunity to see this document previously
24 or the document that I just showed you?
25 A. No, I have not had such an opportunity. These are military
1 documents, so I have not had an opportunity to look at them.
2 Q. Well, in this document dated 28 July 1995, and if we look at the
3 report number, it directly follows the one prior, again, it's according
4 to the latest information and describes where the communication centre
5 for the Zepa Brigade is located. Is it your testimony still, sir, that
6 this type of information was of no interest to you in your capacity as a
7 state security officer in late July of 1995?
8 A. Before this time, before the 28th of July, 1995, the service did
9 have information that the Serbian brigade which was part of the --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the designation
11 of the brigade. The interpreters didn't catch that.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Vojinovic, the interpreters didn't catch the
13 name of the brigade. If you could repeat it, please.
14 JUDGE KWON: Repeat the answer.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was the package radio system
16 used by the 285 Zepa brigade, and it was able to establish direct contact
17 with the command of the 28th Division and the 2nd corps of the BH Army as
18 well as with the Main
19 orders via this communication system and was able to report directly to
21 MR. THAYER:
22 Q. And it is the case, sir, is it not, that the State Security
23 Service or -- and/or elements of the VRS were able to intercept
24 communications among the Muslim forces; is that correct?
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. And no doubt, this was information that was important to you
2 during the war and which you received, reviewed, and relied upon during
3 the course of your duties in the state security service; isn't that
5 A. Yes, that was significant information.
6 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber briefly what you know about the
7 state security capabilities and operations to intercept the
8 communications of the armija and/or its political leaders during the war?
9 A. I personally did not know that because in the section where I
10 worked we did not have the interception equipment, but we did have some
11 knowledge obtained through some radio ham stations that were used, and
12 information was obtained about the communication between Sarajevo
13 Zepa, or rather, the 2nd corps command and the Zepa Brigade command.
14 This knowledge -- this information was mostly short, and some orders were
15 relayed, and reports from the field were -- went the other way using the
16 code book.
17 Q. Can you just clarify your answer a bit, sir, when you refer to
18 reports going the other way and using the code book. What do you mean?
19 A. Well, I can give you an example. For instance, from Sarajevo
20 they say that the Zepa Brigade command should ensure the reception of a
21 packet under a certain number, which means that they have to provide
22 personnel that would either receive armed personnel or some equipment and
23 materiel that was being supplied to them at the time when Zepa was a
24 demilitarised zone.
25 Q. So what you are saying is this is information that was, in fact,
1 intercepted by either army or state security operators and then passed on
2 to, for example, yourself or people in your agency?
3 A. Yes, more or less.
4 Q. Now, I just want to discuss a little bit more about what really
5 was going on in mid-to late July 1995 as far as you and your agency were
6 concerned, specifically when the breakout occurred from Srebrenica on or
7 about the 11th, 12th of July, the column that everybody is familiar with,
8 which headed for free territory.
9 That was certainly information that was important to you to know.
10 Even though it was moving in the opposite direction, this was information
11 that was critical for you to know for your own security and intelligence
12 purposes within your own agency; is that fair to say?
13 A. No, you could not say that because in that period I did not have
14 any concrete activities, and I did not get any information about the
15 events in Srebrenica and the developments around Srebrenica because
16 Srebrenica was not adjacent to the area that I covered in operational
17 terms. So I did not have any knowledge about those developments.
18 Q. Well, tell the Court, then, when you first acquired knowledge
19 that there was this column of thousands of Muslim men and boys and women
20 that were headed in the direction of Zvornik at one point and posed a
21 direct threat to Zvornik. When did you receive that information?
22 A. I saw this on TV, in the media, in other words, and nothing more
23 than that because when those units were pulled out from Srebrenica
24 towards Tuzla
25 distance is about 100 kilometres, so we didn't have any obligations in
1 this regard. There was no need for us to concern ourselves with this.
2 Q. Now, you were familiar at the time, were you not, with Sinisa
3 Glogovac and Vidomir Tomic, your colleagues in the State Security Service
4 from the Srebrenica area?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Your testimony is that you did not know either of those
7 individuals; is that correct, sir?
8 A. At the time, I did not encounter any of them. I didn't have any
9 contacts with them, but I knew Sinisa Glogovac as a colleague of mine.
10 As for this other person, I don't know him.
11 Q. And how long had you worked with Mr. Glogovac, sir?
12 A. Well, Glogovac was in the service while I was in the service, but
13 he was in Zvornik; I was in Sokolac. Perhaps we would meet two or three
14 times about some meetings, things like that. But we did not have any
15 direct contacts in the form of exchanges.
16 Q. Now, the Trial Chamber has heard a good amount of testimony that
17 there were portions of that column numbering in the hundreds that were
18 feared to be heading towards the Zepa area and in some cases in fact made
19 it to the Zepa area. When do you recall receiving that information, sir?
20 A. I received this information from Mr. Avdo Palic in the course of
21 his interview, and he told me that a certain number of soldiers of the
22 28th Division had crossed into the territory of Zepa
23 Q. Just so it's clear for the record, sir, what you are telling the
24 Trial Chamber is that it was not until your interviews with Avdo Palic in
25 late July 1995 that you ever heard about any threat to the Zepa area, any
1 movement into the Zepa area by men who were fleeing the Srebrenica
2 enclave following the fall of that enclave?
3 A. No, I did not have this information.
4 Q. When you interviewed Colonel Palic, sir, did you interview him
5 alone on those two occasions, or were you accompanied by anyone from your
7 A. Yes, a colleague of mine. We always did interviews in pairs.
8 That was standard practice.
9 Q. And what was your colleague's name, sir?
10 A. Predrag Cajic.
11 Q. And prior to your interviews with Colonel Palic, did you attempt
12 to learn whether or not the VRS had interviewed him?
13 A. No, there was no need for me.
14 Q. Wouldn't you have found it helpful to learn from the VRS
15 information that they would have obtained from their interviews with
16 Colonel Palic prior to you sitting down with him?
17 A. No, there was no need.
18 Q. At the time, were you aware whether or not the VRS had
19 interviewed Colonel Palic either before your first interview and between
20 your second interview or after your final interview? Did you ever come
21 into that information on or about this period of time?
22 A. No, I did not get this information, but it was logical to assume
23 that the colleagues from the military security had interviewed him about
24 those things that they were interested in, that they needed to know.
25 Q. The notes that you told us about that you and your colleague took
1 of your interview with Colonel Palic, where are those?
2 A. After every interview that we did with any person regardless of
3 their status, whether those were prisoners of war or refugees, Bosnians,
4 Croats, Muslims, an official record was made of this interview, and it
5 was sent to the centre of our service. As far as I know, those documents
6 are no longer in the service because it was handed over to the
7 representatives of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina
8 because they seized a total -- all of them sometime in the year 2000. So
9 as far as I know, these documents are no longer in possession of the
10 service but are in possession of the international community and its
11 bodies that are charged with keeping peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
12 they should have those documents.
13 Q. Now, the notes that you described went out under your name; is
14 that correct?
15 A. The notes indicate who gave the statement, who took the
16 statement, and who was present when the statement was given. There was
17 the heading on each note indicating the organ that took the statement,
18 the person who actually took the statement, and also the person who gave
19 the statement. The person who gave the statement had to sign the
20 statement at the end.
21 Q. May we have 65 ter 3523, please. Take a moment, sir, and review
22 the document that appears on the right. Let us know when you are ready
23 to have the page turned.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. If we could turn to the second page of the B/C/S document,
2 A. I've read it.
3 Q. Do you recognise this document, sir?
4 A. I've never seen it before, but I see that this was issued by the
5 State Security Service and that the signatory is the head of the service
6 Dragan Kijac.
7 Q. Now, if we go back to the first page of the document at B/C/S,
8 sir. If we could scroll down on the B/C/S to the last paragraph, please.
9 We see here that it says, "After the Muslim side from Zepa rejected to
10 hand over the conscripts, the commander of the Muslim Brigade from that
11 area was 'detained,' and the RDB workers had been interviewing him."
12 Now, this is a document dated 28 July 1995. The RDB workers to whom this
13 report is referring are yourself and the colleague you identified a few
14 moments ago; is that correct, sir?
15 A. Probably. Probably it was the two of us.
16 Q. Well, do you have any information that any other RDB workers
17 interviewed Colonel Palic other than yourself and your colleague?
18 A. No, I don't.
19 Q. And do you have any explanation for why the word "detained" is in
20 quotation marks, sir?
21 A. I don't have any explanation whatsoever why it is in quotation
22 marks. I suppose that the meaning is it was meant that he was detained,
23 within that context.
24 Q. Now, if we continue on in this paragraph, it indicates that "The
25 information we have obtained to date includes the strength, weapons,
1 plans, and movements of Muslim soldiers from Zepa. Palic claims that
2 there are about 2.000 military-age men in that area, 400 to 500 of whom
3 have arrived from Srebrenica. Half of them are armed mainly with
4 infantry weapons, and the rest are unarmed." And then the paragraph goes
5 on and discusses the planned breakthrough.
6 Sir, there's nothing in this report talking about an
7 investigation into war crimes committed by the Zepa forces, is there?
8 A. There's nothing there about that. This report was drafted by the
9 top of the service; i.e., our information contained in our report is what
10 I told you about all the acts that had been committed and that we learned
11 about. However, at the moment when this report was being sent to the
12 minister, the priority was to highlight the remainder of the troops and
13 the withdrawal and passing through our territory. As for the information
14 that we obtained about the crimes and who committed them, that would be
15 used subsequently when criminal reports were to be filed.
16 Q. Well, sir, this information that's contained in this report is
17 coming from no one else but yourself and your colleague; you just stated
18 that no other RDB workers interviewed Colonel Palic, right?
19 A. Yes, but this refers only to this passage where it says the
20 Muslim side in Zepa, but there are other passages here, as well, that
21 speak about the events in the territory of Srebrenica
22 fact that all the daily reports that arrived from the territory either
23 from Sokolac, Zvornik, or other parts are then incorporated into a
24 combined report that is drafted in the evening and forwarded to the
25 superior authorities. So the only part that is related to what I had fed
1 into the report is in this passage. The rest probably came from the
2 other colleagues and what they have provided as an input for the
3 collective report.
4 Q. Sir, I'm just focusing on this one little passage here, but we
5 see that the information that it's referring to includes the strength,
6 weapons, plans, movements of the Muslim soldiers from Zepa and then goes
7 on to describe in more detail some of the military information that you
8 told us a few moments ago you had no interest in. How do you explain
9 that, sir?
10 A. It is very easy to explain, and this is the explanation: The
11 information contained in this passage here were taken out from the
12 context of the entire report that had been forwarded; and in that
13 statement, most of the statement concerns the crimes and the perpetrators
14 thereof. However, the only thing that was forwarded from my report into
15 the combined report for that day was the part that you are reading in
16 those documents now.
17 Q. That's because that was vital information for the State Security
18 Service to know at that time, wasn't it, sir?
19 A. Yes, that's correct.
20 Q. And that's why you asked Colonel Palic all kinds of questions
21 about military matters like those contained in this passage, is it not?
22 A. Yes. Like I've told you already, we asked him various questions
23 in order to obtain information about the possible infiltration of their
24 groups that could have threatened the security of the villages and the
25 population in the territory of Republika Srpska that were along the
1 access of their possible withdrawal in the future. That's why these
2 issues were of some relevance for the security of the service.
3 Q. So please tell the Trial Chamber what efforts you undertook to
4 obtain information from the VRS, from the security and intelligence
5 administration, or any other element within the VRS to keep your
6 superiors as informed as possible about the security threats that were
7 facing your area during this time that you were interviewing Colonel
9 A. At that moment I did not rely on anybody, nor did I obtain any
10 information save for the information that I myself had obtained through
11 my own investigative work.
12 Q. So you never called Pecanac, Carkic, or Colonel Beara or anybody;
13 is that your testimony?
14 A. This is my testimony, yes.
15 Q. Can we have 2D528 on the e-court, please. While we are waiting
16 for that document, sir, when you last saw Colonel Palic, in whose custody
17 and control was he?
18 A. All that time, Mr. Palic was in the custody and control of the
20 Q. Sir, you no doubt are aware that Colonel Palic's whereabouts
21 remain unknown to the public to this day?
22 A. No, not to this day. Around the year 2000, I learned from the TV
23 that a commission had been set up to search the missing persons and that
24 one of its tasks or its only task was to locate for the missing colonel
25 of the BH Army, Avdo Palic. Actually, it was only then that I learned
1 that he had been missing and that he was still missing at the time.
2 Q. Please share with the Trial Chamber any information, sir, that
3 you might have from any source, as a state security officer, through your
4 contacts with the VRS, any information that you might have as to where
5 Colonel Palic is or where his remains might be found. Please share that
6 information, if you have any, with the Trial Chamber.
7 A. I don't have that information at all. I don't know anything
8 about his further movements, about his further destiny from the moment
9 when I did my interview with him onwards.
10 Q. Let's look at this first page of 2D528, please. Do you see the
11 document, sir?
12 A. I do.
13 Q. And if we can scroll down a little bit, if you look at number 9,
14 we see an individual named Ramiz Ridzal, son of Sacire, born in 1951.
15 The individuals on this list, sir, you interviewed them?
16 A. Yes.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I never saw any of them except for
19 Avdo Palic.
20 MR. THAYER:
21 Q. Well, I can tell you, sir, that Mr. Ridzal remains on the missing
22 list compiled by the ICMP [sic]. If we turn to page 5 -- of the ICRC.
23 And if we see number 82, sir, on page 5 of the B/C/S of the original, Mr.
24 Amir Imamovic, son of Mehmed. Were you aware, sir, that his remains were
25 found in a mass grave in the Rogatica area in the village of - I'll try
1 to pronounce it - Vragalovi. Do you know that location, sir, Vragalovi?
2 A. I've never heard of that.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: And we have got 5 minutes left. If you could try
4 and finish within those five minutes, please. Thank you.
5 MR. THAYER:
6 Q. Sir, we have a DNA-matched identification of the remains of this
7 individual who is on this list who was last seen at that prison in
8 Rogatica in the company of Mr. Torlak, whom you interviewed, as a
9 prisoner. Do you have any information as to why these two individuals,
10 in the case of the former, are missing, and in the case of the latter,
11 was found in a mass grave in Rogatica? Do you have any information you
12 can share with us on that?
13 A. I have no information whatsoever about these events.
14 Q. Now, sir, you are aware that the column that withdrew from
15 Srebrenica consisted of both soldiers and civilians, are you not?
16 A. I know that there were soldiers of the 28th Division exclusively,
17 and I'm not aware of the fact that civilians might have been in the same
18 column as the soldier.
19 Q. To this day you've never heard that information, sir; is that
20 your testimony?
21 A. I can't understand the context of your question, sir. Would you
22 please be so kind and give me a specific question, a concrete question.
23 Q. Is it your testimony, sir, that to this day you never received
24 any information that that column of withdrawing men and boys from
25 Srebrenica contained civilians?
1 A. I'm not saying that because I watched TV clips where I saw men
2 wearing civilian clothes, but whether they were truly civilians or still
3 members of the 28th Division I believe remains a topic of further
5 Q. Well, you would certainly allow, would you not, for the
6 possibility that there were numbers of civilians among those thousands of
7 men and boys, would you?
8 A. I will allow for --
9 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. One moment.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- a possibility that there might
11 have been some civilians, but their number was negligible.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Fauveau.
13 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I think it is a question for
14 speculation, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's move and conclude, I think, at this point.
16 Yes, Mr. Thayer.
17 MR. THAYER:
18 Q. Sir, you testified that there were as many as 7 or 800, perhaps
19 more, men from Zepa who made it to Serbia
20 A. This is not what I said.
21 Q. Okay. What did you say in terms of the numbers of men from Zepa
22 that made it over to Serbia
23 A. According to the information that I had at that time, the figure
24 would be anything between 800 and 900 soldiers, members of the 285th
25 Brigade, and I emphasize: They were soldiers. They made a decision to
1 cross over the Drina
2 they surrendered to over there, I don't know. Later on, I learned that
3 the figure was around 800 men.
4 Q. Now, sir, you didn't interview 800 prisoners from Zepa, did you,
5 that made it to Serbia
6 A. I did not talk to a single one of them who had crossed over to
8 any information.
9 Q. So you really have no firm basis based on interviews either
10 conducted by yourself or statements taken from those individuals to
11 conclude that there were no civilians among the men that made it over to
13 A. According to what I know, there were no civilians who made it
14 over from Zepa to Serbia
15 final answer to that question.
16 Q. Well, sir, would you allow for the possibility as there was in
17 Srebrenica --
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's move. That is speculation now, so let's ...
19 MR. THAYER: Thank you, sir. I have no further questions.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Nikolic, is there re-examination?
22 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Just one brief question for
23 clarification more than anything else, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay go ahead.
25 Re-examination by Mr. Nikolic:
1 Q. Mr. Vojinovic, in answering my learned friend's questions about
2 the reasons why Avdo Palic was detained, you said that he had refused to
3 disarm around 1.500 men in the Zepa brigade. I want a precise answer
4 from you. Did this concern the disarmament of the complete enclave of
5 Zepa or just one part of one military unit?
6 A. According to what I remember, based on the information that we
7 had at the time, one of the items in the agreement on the disarmament of
8 the 285th Brigade in Zepa was for the soldiers of that brigade with all
9 of their weapons to go to the UNPROFOR base in Zepa, surrender their
10 weapons, and the Red Cross should have mediated in the exchange of these
11 soldiers for the soldiers of the Republika Srpska army who were detained
12 by the BiH army. Since this item of the agreement had not been complied
13 with, Avdo Palic was detained and kept in custody.
14 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir. I have no further
16 JUDGE AGIUS: I take it there are no questions from the Bench,
17 which means, Mr. Vojinovic, that your testimony ends here. Thank you for
18 coming over to testify. Before you leave the courtroom, on behalf of
19 everyone I wish you a safe journey back home.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, and I wish you
21 successful work and stay here.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: We stand adjourned now until tomorrow morning at 9
24 [The witness withdrew]
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
1 1.50 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,
2 the 22nd day of July, 2008, at 9.00 a.m.