1 Tuesday, 2 September 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.21 p.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon, Madam Registrar, and welcome back.
7 Could you call the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case
9 number IT-05-88-T, The Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic, et al.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, ma'am. All the accused are here, and I
11 think we are full house Defence teams; and Prosecution, I only see
12 Mr. Thayer today.
13 Any preliminaries? None?
14 Good afternoon to you, sir. You are most welcome to this
15 Tribunal where you are -- and to this case where you are going to give
16 evidence very soon. Before you start doing so, our rules require that
17 you make a solemn declaration that in the course of your testimony you
18 will be speaking the truth. Madam usher is going to give you the text of
19 the declaration. Please read it out aloud, and that will be your solemn
20 undertaking with us.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I solemnly declare
22 that I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, sir. Please make yourself
24 comfortable. What is going to happen is Mr. Nikolic from the Beara
25 Defence team that have summoned you as a Defence witness will be asking
1 you a series of questions. He will then be followed by others on
2 cross-examination, and after that you can go home.
3 Mr. Nikolic.
4 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Good
5 afternoon. Good afternoon to everybody in the courtroom.
6 WITNESS: MIKAJLO MITROVIC
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 Examination by Mr. Nikolic
9 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Mitrovic.
10 A. Good afternoon.
11 Q. As you know, I am Predrag Nikolic, and I represent the accused
12 Beara together with my team, and I will be leading you today on behalf of
13 the Defence team.
14 First of all, could you please state your name for the record;
15 also, could you tell us where you were born and your father's name?
16 A. Your Honours, my name is Mikajlo Mitrovic. My father's name is
17 Bogodan. I was born on the 22nd July, 1955, in the village of Zelena
18 the municipality of Zvornik
19 Republic of Yugoslavia
20 in Banja Luka at number 50 Skena Koljnevica Street. My ID number is
22 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Mitrovic. You provided us with quite a
23 lot of details. Could you please tell us something about your
24 educational background?
25 A. I completed the technical military academy in Zagreb. Upon
1 completing the academy, I became the engineer of electronics, and I
2 became a lieutenant by rank.
3 Q. What is your current occupation, Mr. Mitrovic?
4 A. I'm retired, and I am also a post-graduate student at the school
5 of philosophy in Banja Luka at the department of contemporary sociology.
6 Q. Thank you very much. And now let's go back to the period when
7 you just completed your academy education. Where was your first posting?
8 A. When I graduated in 1979, I was sent to work at the Postojna
9 garrison in Slovenia
10 the logistics of the garrison and then in the technical department of the
11 division command at Postojna barracks.
12 Q. Could you slowly give us all the assignments that you had until
13 you retired?
14 A. I started working in 1979 at Postojna, and I stayed with the
15 technical organ until 1983, and then I joined the security organ upon the
16 proposal of the chief of security of the so-called 9th army and with the
17 approval of the then-commander. I remained working in the security
18 department of the division, and there I also worked as one of the desk
19 officers. I also worked at various battalions as a desk officer and then
20 in the security department of the division. You wanted to know more?
21 Q. Yes.
22 A. In 1985, due to my child's illness I was re-assigned to work in
23 the Sibenik garrison where I occupied the post of a desk officer in the
24 8th naval sector. This was for a year or two, and then I was the chief
25 of the security department of the 11th brigade of the naval infantry in
1 Sibenik, and on the eve of the war in Croatia I was appointed the chief
2 of the department of the naval military district for counterintelligence.
3 This is where I was when the war in Croatia
4 In the course of the war in Croatia
5 I was captured. I spent 45 days in a solitary cell in the Sibenik
6 prison. Then on the 2nd of November, 1991, I was exchanged and was
7 re-assigned to the Knin garrison where I was appointed the chief of the
8 counterintelligence group of the 9th Knin corps. After that, I was also
9 assigned to the Drvar garrison, and I was appointed the chief of the
10 intelligence and security department of the 2nd Krajina corps. I
11 remained in that position from the moment the corps was established to
12 the moment when it was disbanded.
13 After the war, I worked as the deputy chief of the
14 counterintelligence group of the Army Republika Srpska, and then in 1998
15 I was appointed the assistant Minister of Defence of Republika Srpska in
16 charge of security and intelligence, and from there I was pensioned off
17 in 2002. That would be my career.
18 Q. This was, again, providing us with a lot of details, but let's go
19 back to some of them. Mr. Mitrovic, when did you first meet Colonel
20 Beara, actually, Ljubisa Beara as he was then?
21 A. He was the brigade captain, and I met him sometime in 1985. I
22 said that that year I was re-assigned to the Sibenik garrison, and when
23 he came to control and tour the security organs of the 8th naval military
24 district, obviously, I reported to him because he was my superior, and
25 that's when I actually met him for the first time.
1 Q. Thank you very much. Just one small correction. On page 22,
2 line 14, could you please repeat -- page 4, line 22. Could you please
3 tell us the exact rank that Ljubisa Beara held at the time?
4 A. He was a captain, which would be the rank of a colonel in the
5 land forces.
6 Q. Thank you very much. What was the position of Mr. Beara at the
8 A. At the time, he was the assistant chief of the security
9 department of the naval district, and by establishment he was also the
10 deputy chief.
11 Q. Given your position and given his position, what was your
12 relationship in terms of subordination?
13 A. Captain Beara was my second superior. I was a desk officer. I
14 had my chief, at the time I was captain 1st class, as far as I can
15 remember, and that would be the relationship between the two of us.
16 Q. How often did you have an opportunity to meet Mr. Beara while you
17 were serving in Sibenik?
18 A. It's very hard for me to give you any numbers, if you wanted me
19 to give you numbers. In any case, several times a year, at least four to
20 five times a year in Sibenik itself. But there were also occasions when
21 Captain Beara would summon us to come to the command, to the naval
22 district, i.e., to the seat of the security department of the naval
23 district. That's when we had to go to meet him there.
24 Q. Tell me, please, what was the ethnic composition of your unit and
25 especially the security organ during that period of time?
1 A. You have to bear in mind that the army was still the JNA and that
2 the JNA effectively reflected the ethnic composition of the then-state.
3 As far as the security organ is concerned, there were representatives of
4 all ethnic groups starting with Albanians. One of the organs of security
5 at the time was Rahim Ademy, the current general of the Croatian army.
6 There were also Croats, Macedonians, Muslim Serbs, of course,
7 Montenegrins, and so on and so forth.
8 Q. Thank you. Could you please make a pause after my question?
9 A. I apologise.
10 Q. Now, based on your official contacts and relationship with
11 Mr. Beara, what was your opinion of him as an officer, as a professional
12 serving in the same military?
13 A. Naval Captain Beara in our eyes was a role model in professional
14 terms. He was a professional, an exceptional professional. He adhered
15 to the legality of work - that was his main concern - and he was a
16 professional in terms of providing professional guidance to the security
17 organs, especially when it came to counterintelligence. He was also a
18 professional when it came to the subordination relationship. He was
19 primarily a person who understood issues and human problems that we all
20 had, more or less, and his appearance was also something that commanded
21 respect, especially when he wore a uniform. He is an extremely
22 intelligent and educated person, and what he had were manners of a true
24 Q. One must admit that it's very nice to hear these words; however,
25 are there any facts that may corroborate what you've just told us?
1 A. I can illustrate this by giving you an example that concerns the
2 protection of the legality of our work; for example, in the course of
3 1991, i.e. towards the end of that year, when the units and the command
4 of the 8th naval district were in Sibenik encircled by the paramilitary
5 forces of the Republic of Croatia
6 those who experienced that encirclement, and we experienced all sorts of
7 provocations, ill-treatment, and so on and so forth. Every day, civilian
8 population would be brought to our facilities as a human shield, and in
9 addition to that huge loudspeakers were mounted up in the winery next to
10 the barracks and they played loud music. They would try to talk the
11 recruits serving in the army to desert the facilities, and the officers,
12 they also brought their wives and the children of the officers who were
13 trapped in the barracks. They persuaded him to talk to their fathers and
14 husbands and to try to talk them into deserting, and this went on for 24
15 hours a day for ten or even -- ten days or even longer.
16 We asked from naval Captain Beara for his permission to destroy
17 those loudspeakers. We had automatic pistols with silencers with which
18 we could do it; however, he refused to approve that because according to
19 him this would have been a provocation which might have led to incidents
20 and that this might have given a reason to ZNG to open fire on us, which
21 would probably result in the deaths of soldiers and officers, let alone
23 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, at that time which rules and regulations did you
24 apply; i.e., what regulations and laws was your work based on?
25 A. When we are talking about that time, we are talking about the law
1 on defence, the rules and regulations of the work in the JNA, and all the
2 other rules that were in effect; and when it comes to the security organ,
3 then we were talking about the rules of service of the security organ in
4 the then-JNA, which had a legal effect at the time; and we are also
5 talking about the guidance or instruction on the application of the
6 methods and works of the security organs. We are also talking about the
7 rules of service of the military police and the instruction on
8 deliberation of the rules for the work of the military police. Those
9 were the legal documents that we used in our everyday work.
10 Q. In view of all that you've just told us and the rules that
11 governed your work, I would like to hear your opinion. In the situation
12 that you've just mentioned and in the face of provocations of the
13 paramilitaries, did you have legal means to use weapons?
14 A. Yes, because the situation threatened the security of the
15 facilities. It also lowered the combat-readiness of our soldiers, so we
16 had every right to eliminate those provocations.
17 Q. So how did the whole of that situation resolve? How did it come
18 to an end?
19 A. On the 18th of September, these forces launched an attack on our
20 facilities. I'm talking about Sibenik. So those forces used firearms
21 and engaged in combat against us. On that particular day, fighting
22 started all over Croatia
23 Q. At the very beginning of your testimony, you said that you were
24 wounded, that you were injured. How did that and what was the outcome of
25 your injury, and where were you taken?
1 A. When you asked me about my career, I said that, indeed. I said
2 that I was injured in my command by a shell shrapnel. I still have two
3 shrapnel in the brain because I was wounded in the head, in the shoulder,
4 and in the knee. However, the situation was such that the ambulance, the
5 medical organs of the Sibenik barracks crossed over to the other side.
6 They were mostly Croatians, and they joined their people, so there was no
7 way anybody could provide me with first aid.
8 The then-chief of medical department of the 8th naval district
9 took me to the hospital in Sibenik. I believe that he actually handed me
10 over deliberately because he remained living in Sibenik after that. I
11 was given an anti-tetanus shot there mand after that I was half
12 conscious. Some ZNG members arrived and they took me to the Sibenik
13 prison, to the district prison in Sibenik.
14 Q. I have to interrupt you here. We don't want to depart too far
15 from the topic. I would kindly ask you to tell me whether you were
16 exchanged, and where? Which unit did you join after that?
17 A. I was exchanged on the 2nd of November, 1991, and that was the
18 third exchange that took place. There were two exchanges before that,
19 but I was not exchanged on those two occasions; it was only on the third
20 occasion. Whenever the Red Cross came to the prison, they blindfolded me
21 and took me out of my cell to some basement rooms. They were in fact
22 hiding me because I hadn't been reported, but fortunately in the Knin
23 corps they knew that I was there, and they insisted on having me brought
24 for exchange, and they gave a major and 50 shoulders in exchange for me
25 because you, yourself, are well aware that an exchange is a form of
1 trade. After that, I went to Belgrade
2 be medically examined because I had been tortured both physically and
3 psychologically in prison. Every day they beat me up; they threw tear
4 gas into my cell.
5 After this, I was transferred to the Knin garrison, and I have
6 already told you what duty I took up there. My immediate superior was
7 Colonel Zdravko Tolimir when I arrived there.
8 Q. You've already answered my next question. I was going to ask you
9 who your immediate superior was.
10 A. Yes. Well, now that we are talking about this, it might be
11 interesting to mention that naval Captain Beara was the superior of
12 Colonel Tolimir.
13 Q. And where was Colonel Beara at the time?
14 A. I don't know where he was exactly, but the command of the naval
15 military district was relocated to Kumbor, I believe, in Montenegro
16 I think that's where the command of the naval military district was. We
17 were not in contact at the time.
18 Q. After your exchange, when you were transferred to a new unit, the
19 Knin corps, did you have any contacts with Captain Beara, Naval Captain
21 A. No, because there was already fighting going on. It wasn't
23 Q. And Mr. Mitrovic, when did you begin serving in the Army of
24 Republika Srpska and in what unit?
25 A. I joined the Army of Republika Srpska on the 25th of May - if I'm
1 not wrong - 1992, when I was transferred from Knin to the Drvar garrison
2 and appointed chief of intelligence and security affairs of the 2nd
3 Krajina Corps.
4 Q. At that time, was Colonel Beara in the Army of Republika Srpska?
5 A. In that period, no, to the best of my knowledge. Why? Well,
6 because he arrived later on, either at the end of 1992 or the beginning
7 or the middle of 1993.
8 Q. Excuse me for interrupting you, but tell me: How do you learn
9 when Colonel Beara arrived in the Army of Republika Srpska?
10 A. Well, I learned it either through a dispatch or through
11 information sent around by the Main Staff telling us that the Naval
12 Captain Beara had been appointed chief of security in the sector for
13 intelligence and security affairs in the Main Staff, or perhaps we talked
14 on the phone. I can't really be very precise about this.
15 Q. Bearing in mind the duty you were performing at the time, do you
16 know what duty he was performing in that period?
17 A. I told you that he was appointed chief of the security
18 administration, and I have to tell you that I was pleasantly surprised by
19 his arrival because I knew that he was a professional, and I believed he
20 was being appointed to the right post. I was surprised, also, because I
21 considered him to be a Croat by ethnicity because he spoke like a Croat.
22 He used the Latin alphabet when he was writing something. I associated
23 him with a well known football player, the goalkeeper Beara from Split
24 However, later on I learned that he was a Serb and that he had been born
25 in Sarajevo
1 Q. Tell me, Mr. Mitrovic, what legal regulations and rules did you
2 apply in the Army of Republika Srpska in your service?
3 A. In the Army of Republika Srpska, the security organs like the
4 entire army took over the rules of the then-JNA. In particular, in our
5 service these were the rules of service of the security organ, the
6 instruction on applying the methods and means of work, the rules of
7 service of the military police, and so on.
8 Q. Could we now have in e-court document P407. We have an ERN
9 number in the B/C/S version, 00909825; and in English, it's 00920108.
10 Mr. Mitrovic, I'll ask you to take a look at item 16, 17, and 18
11 here. As you can see, we saw the first document telling us that these
12 were the rules of service.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And this is the chapter dealing with management of security
15 organs. Please look at the three paragraphs I mentioned, and tell me
16 when you are ready.
17 A. I can answer your questions.
18 Q. Based on these regulations, please tell me: What was the system
19 of management of security organs in the Army of Republika Srpska?
20 A. Well, you see, these paragraphs of these rules regulate precisely
21 the manner in which security organs are managed. In paragraph 16, it
22 says that the security organ is directly subordinate to the commanding
23 officer of the command unit, institution, or staff of the armed forces in
24 whose strength it is placed in the establishment. That is the gist of
25 that paragraph.
1 Q. Well, let's be specific about this. In your situation in the 2nd
2 Krajina Corp., bearing in mind the duty you were performing, to whom were
3 you directly subordinate?
4 A. To my corps commander. [Realtime transcript read in error,
6 Q. And bearing in mind these rules, does that mean that in the
7 entire organisation of the Army of Republika Srpska, these rules had to
8 be implemented?
9 A. Yes, correct. It says here in all units, institutions, and so on
10 and so forth.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes -- one moment Mr. Nikolic. Ms. Nikolic.
12 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Your microphone.
15 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] I wish to enter a correction into
16 the transcript. Page 13, line 4, the witness said, to my commander, "my
17 corps commander."
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. Yes, Mr. Nikolic.
19 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Could we go back for a minute to
20 clear this up.
21 Q. To whom were you subordinate in the 2nd Krajina corps?
22 A. To the commander of my corps.
23 Q. Thank you. Did the security -- or rather, were the security
24 organs independent in their actions under these rules?
25 A. No. Security organs cannot be independent because, first of all,
1 they are accountable to their commander; secondly, they are accountable
2 to their superior officer from the security service, so what sort of
3 independence could there be? And they have to adhere to the law and to
4 the rules.
5 Q. Bearing in mind the provisions you've just looked at, tell me:
6 What was the relationship between the subordinate and superior security
7 organs in the Army of Republika Srpska?
8 A. It was a vertical relationship, and it referred only to
9 professional guidance of the security organ. This was done by superiors
10 for their subordinates, but this was only professional guidance.
11 Q. Can you be more specific about this. What do you mean by this?
12 A. Well, you see, first of all, when we are talking about this I'm
13 referring to counterintelligence, primarily, and the application of the
14 methods of work of the security organ and the means of work. The
15 superior security organ, they were always more experienced and
16 better-qualified officers who were able to have an overview of the
17 problem and provide guidance to their subordinate organ as to how this
18 problem could be solved in the field of counterintelligence.
19 Q. Please look at paragraph 17, and tell me: What were the powers
20 of the security organ as regards applying the methods and means of work?
21 A. This paragraph deals in detail with the methods and means, and it
22 refers to the legality of work. As regards applying the methods and
23 means of work, it's the federal secretary who corresponded to ministerial
24 rank. He was a minister in the old system, and he would authorize the
25 army commander, and in peacetime it was the commander of the army who was
1 the highest ranking, the ultimate authority who was familiar with the
2 work of the security organ, and when there was combined applications of
3 methods and means of work, he knew about it, and he also approved a
4 secret means and methods of work. In wartime it would be the corps
5 commander who would do all that.
6 Q. I now wish to put a few questions to you about the security organ
7 and the military police. What regulations did you use, if any, in
8 performing your duties as regards the relationship between the security
9 organ and the military police? And before you reply, I'll ask to have in
10 e-court Document -- the same document but page 00909826 in B/C/S, and in
11 English, 00920109. That's page 18 in B/C/S and page 11 in English.
12 Can you see it, Mr. Mitrovic?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Please look at paragraph 23.
15 A. All right.
16 Q. Please be kind enough to tell us what paragraph 23 provides for.
17 A. Well, you first asked me what rules we used.
18 Q. Yes, you're right.
19 A. We used the rules of service of the military police that had been
20 taken over, and this relationship was regulated by law, and the rules of
21 service of the security service also deal with this.
22 Paragraph 23 days that the security organ of a commanding unit
23 institution and so on provides a specialist or professional management
24 for a military police unit, and he is responsible for the unit being well
25 equipped, ready for action, and so on and so forth, and the commander of
1 the unit within whose composition the unit is -- let me clarify. If, for
2 example, there is a military police battalion in the corps, which was the
3 case where I was, I would propose to the commander how the battalion
4 could be used, and he could accept or reject my proposal, but he issued
5 orders to the commander of the battalion of the military police directly,
6 and this is provided for in this rule. The military police units are
7 subordinate to the commander of the unit they form a part of. So, for
8 example, the commander of the brigade or the -- in the case of a
9 battalion to the corps commander.
10 Q. Let's look at paragraph 23, the paragraph 3 thereof, starting
11 with the words "the engagement of units" or "the deployment of units" or
12 "individual members." Could you please look at that?
13 A. Very well. I've had a look.
14 Q. Can you paraphrase this paragraph 3?
15 A. This is exactly about what I've just been talking about. I send
16 my proposal to the commander, and the commander then either approves or
17 disproves the use of military police unit, i.e., the deployment of the
18 military police unit. That's how I understand this paragraph, and this
19 has to be done with the consent of the superior military officer. In my
20 case, I had to have the approval of the corps commander, i.e., his
22 Q. Thank you. We will no longer need this document, and we will
23 proceed, moving to something else.
24 Mr. Mitrovic, during that period of time from the moment you
25 learned that Mr. Beara was, again, the security organ, did you and how
1 often had contacts with him, and I mean professional contacts.
2 A. Of course we had contacts. We had face-to-face contacts, we
3 contacted by phone, by telegrams, by official correspondence, and so on
4 and so forth. Captain Beara was conscientious person, and in -- subject
5 to his other commitments and plans he would come to the corps zone four
6 or five times, and then that's when we would see each other. And there
7 were also cases when he summoned him to come to Banja Luka, for example,
8 if he was there to report to him there. It all depended on the current
9 combat situation.
10 Q. So when we are talking about the arrivals of your superior
11 officer and when we talk about professional management, what did the
12 rules prescribe and how things looked in practice when Colonel Beara
13 arrived in the area of responsibility of the 2nd Krajina corps?
14 A. Look, when he arrived in the zone of responsibility of the 2nd
15 Krajina corps, Naval Captain Beara would first pay a visit to the corps
16 commander. This is a custom, isn't it; when you visit somebody's house,
17 you first say hello to the host. And then naval captain would brief the
18 corps commander and inform him about his plan of the tour of the security
19 organ and the aim of the inspection. He would inspect the departments in
20 the corps and the security departments in the brigades during his visits.
21 Only after that would a naval captain come to the offices of the security
22 department, and there we would report to him. We would brief him on the
24 Q. Within the framework of these official visits, could you give us
25 an illustration, an example when Colonel Beara insisted on a different
1 application of rules?
2 A. Of course not. Absolutely not. He was the beacon of the
3 protection of legality. Actually, it would first be the commander and
4 then everybody else down the ranks. So he was the one who made sure that
5 the legality of the rules was respected.
6 Q. I would like to go back to the military police. I would like to
7 show you Document number P707 in B/C/S; ERN number is 02072110. And in
8 the English version, the ERN is 03041648. In B/C/S, page 32, and in
9 English, it is page 22.
10 Mr. Mitrovic, tell me, please, briefly, what are the duties and
11 tasks of the military police, just in a nutshell?
12 A. I would say tasks rather than duties.
13 Q. I agree.
14 A. These tasks are defined by the rules of service of the military
15 police; and first and foremost, they mean that -- providing security of
16 -- for facilities, commanders, other persons, routes, roads, and one of
17 the priority purposes of the military police units was to fight
18 infiltrated sabotage and terrorist groups.
19 Within the scope of their work, the police had various services;
20 and when we talk about services, I'd like to say that those services were
21 the security service, the duty service, the patrol service, the escort
22 service, and so on and so forth.
23 MR. NIKOLIC: Can the document be lowered? Can we scroll down
24 and display Item number 55, please.
25 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, let's look at Item 55 where one of the military
1 police duties is mentioned, and that is escort service.
2 A. I've had a look at it.
3 Q. Could you please tell me briefly: What would be the tasks
4 prescribed by the rules of service of the military police according to
5 this item?
6 A. When it comes to escort service, this item defines the categories
7 of persons which may be escorted by the military service; and primarily,
8 these are persons who have been apprehended for having committed a crime
9 and so on and so forth, and this is basically the long and the short of
10 it. These persons would be escorted to a military prison or to another
11 type of detention facility.
12 Q. Have you read the Item 55 to the end? Did the military police
13 have any powers or authorities in terms of prisoners of war?
14 A. Yes. Military police had powers and the authority to escort
15 prisoners of war from their temporary detention units at the brigade
16 level to the prisoner of war camps.
17 Q. Thank you very much. We'll no longer need this document.
18 And now, when we are talking about the relationship between the
19 security organ and the military police, you have already stated that your
20 relationship towards the military police was primarily in professional
21 terms. Could you please be more specific? Could you please provide us
22 with some more details and explain this term "professional terms," the
23 essence of the term; what does it mean?
24 A. My obligation was to primarily make sure that the military police
25 unit is manned by professionals or if there are no such men that there
1 was training to provide professional education. In war there were very
2 few professionals, so there were a lot of training courses organised for
3 those who joined.
4 The second task would be to control the training levels of the
5 military police unit and its capabilities, and it was done during the war
6 whenever possible.
7 The next task would be to make sure that the military police
8 units were equipped with all the means that were necessary for the
9 performance of the unit's task, starting with flak jackets, APCs, and
10 other very specific pieces of equipment, technical equipment and material
11 that are indispensable for the work of a military police unit.
12 Q. It arises from your answer that during the war you did not have
13 enough professionals to work in the military police. How did you resolve
14 that? How did you deal with that situation?
15 A. Throughout the war, there was a hovering problem of professionals
16 not only in the military police but also in the security organs because
17 there was a lack of professional servicemen, especially in the military
18 police units. There were not enough men -- and I apologise for speeding.
19 There were not enough men who had completed the appropriate training
20 courses in the intelligence and security training centre in Pancevo.
21 That's why we had to make do with what we had. If somebody -- a certain
22 profile -- professional was necessary, we either had him or not, but that
23 was not just the case in the military police, but there was also problem
24 with the brigade commands. For example, in the brigade commands there
25 would be, perhaps, one or two professionals, and the others had been
1 recruited from the reserve forces.
2 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, let's go back to your contacts with Mr. Beara, who
3 was your superior at the time. What was your attitude towards the
4 problems that you have just shared with us? Was he aware of such
5 problems? Did you brief him about the problems that you faced?
6 A. Of course I briefed my superior about the situation in the
7 military police unit, and I also asked for his assistance, both with the
8 equipping of the units as well as with the professional staff.
9 Q. And did you receive any assistance, and how was the assistance
10 provided to you?
11 A. There was assistance. For example, if there were men in another
12 unit of a different corps, for example, Bosnia or Herzegovina corps, and
13 if they had a surplus of such men, then they would be re-assigned to come
14 and work with -- in my corps. They had broader possibilities than I did,
15 and the same applied to the equipment that I mentioned. The security
16 administration is in charge of making sure that the units of the military
17 police were well equipped.
18 Q. You have stated that your professional contacts took place in
19 various shapes and forms; either Mr. Beara would come to the zone of
20 responsibility of the 2nd corps or you would go and meet him somewhere
21 else. Did Mr. Beara arrive in the zone of responsibility of the 2nd
22 Krajina corps in July 1995?
23 A. Yes. Naval Captain Beara did come to the zone of responsibility
24 of the corps. At that time it was either in mid-July or in the second
25 half of the month of July; I'm not sure. I remember the instance very
1 well because it was a few days prior to the fall of Glamoc and Grahovo.
2 Q. When was that? When did that line fall?
3 A. Grahovo fell into the hands of the enemy on the 27th of July and
4 Glamoc on the 28th of July. So that is some -- there is one event that I
5 tie to his arrival, and the second event was the fact that I took the
6 opportunity given the dire situation in the zone of responsibility of the
7 2nd Krajina Corps in the face of the attacks of the Croatian army on the
8 one hand and the Muslim army on the other hand, and we also were exposed
9 to the HVO attacks. In other words, the situation on the frontline was
10 rather difficult.
11 And in the meantime, I had introduced upon the approval of the
12 corps commander the measures against a person from the corps command,
13 operative measures to be very precise, and that person had provided
14 confidential data to an unauthorized person, and that is why operative
15 measures were introduced against that person.
16 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, could we please just
17 briefly go into closed session because I'm going to mention some names
18 that should not be mentioned in open session.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nikolic.
20 [Private session]
21 [Part of Private Session made public by order of Trial Chamber]
25 A. First of all, I have to tell you that towards the end of 1994 and
1 the beginning of 1995 was a very difficult period. During that period,
2 there was a lot of antagonism between MUP members and the military
3 members, and that antagonism had been created by the then-politics of the
4 SDS. Because of this antagonism and conflicts, the normal flow of
5 information had been interrupted between the intelligence and security
6 organs and the MUP organs.
7 You know, the rule was that information would flow vertically
8 from me, or if you start with the corps brigade security administration
9 and then added the level of the administration for security, the exchange
10 of information would be carried out. While the relationship was good, we
11 at lower levels could also be involved in the exchange of information
12 with our peer services, which is normally provided for by the rules of
13 service of the security organ.
18 [Open session]
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. We are in open session.
20 MR. NIKOLIC:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Could we have P407 in e-court, please. In the
22 B/C/S version, it's number 00909828; and in English, it's 00920112.
23 Mr. Mitrovic, I'll ask you to look at paragraph 31 of this
25 A. Excuse me, can this be moved? Yes, thank you. Very well.
1 Q. Well, now you've seen it and read it. Was this the basis on
2 which your measures were taken?
3 A. Yes, this was the basis in wartime. You must bear in mind that
4 it was war.
5 Q. And who did you inform of this?
6 A. Well, first I reported to the commander and the security
8 Q. When reporting to your commander on the introduction of these
9 measures, was Colonel Beara present?
10 A. Well, you see, first I must emphasize that operative processing
11 was introduced before the arrival of Naval Captain Beara sometime in late
12 May or in June, and this processing was being done. We asked for the
13 application of secret methods, and this was approved by the corps
14 commander because under the instructions on the methods -- implementation
15 of the methods and means of work, he is the authorised superior officer
16 mentioned in paragraph 17. And as the situation at the front was very
17 difficult, I took this opportunity to inform Naval Captain Beara of the
18 overview of our work, and I asked him for guidance as to what should be
19 done next, first of all, because the situation at the frontline was very
20 difficult and we didn't have much time to deal with these -- or rather,
21 with this officer. So we agreed to put him under control until the end
22 of the offensive and then to put a stop to this activity, which is what
23 we did sometime in September of that year.
24 Q. Thank you. We don't need this document anymore. I'll put my
25 next question.
1 Within the scope of these activities, was it your duty to
2 regularly inform Colonel Beara for this.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. On what basis?
5 A. Well, he was my superior along the professional line, and this
6 was a counterintelligence problem and, of course, I had to do this.
7 Q. In the course of this conversation, you mentioned that the
8 background of this whole case was a conflict between the Ministry of the
9 Interior and the Army of Republika Srpska concerning the exchange of
10 important information. My question is as follows: How was the flow of
11 information regulated in that period?
12 A. Well, you see, according to the rules of service of the security
13 organ, there is a chapter there dealing with relations with similar
14 services, services which are akin: the MUP, the state security, and so
15 on and so forth. So this wasn't optional. It wasn't a discretionary
16 matter. So it was the security administration or the security sector for
17 intelligence and security which exchanged information at the level of the
18 Ministry of the Interior of Republika Srpska. At corps level, exchange
19 of information was conducted with public security centres and at brigade
20 level with local public security stations. That's how it was regulated
21 in principle.
22 Q. And what in particular was the conflict about? Why did this
23 break out?
24 A. Well, it was because of these false reports sent by individual
25 members of the state security - I won't say that they were all doing this
1 - and also some members of the MUP, reports concerning the situation at
2 the frontline. I told their chiefs, please, feel free to come and ask
3 for whatever information you are interested in; there's no reason for you
4 to illegally visit the units, and this did occur, and then send reports
5 which are not true, and then the officers are blamed.
6 At the same time, individual members of the MUP said they didn't
7 need officers, that they were educated to command brigades and other
8 units. These were people who had completed reserve officer training many
9 years ago, and now they thought they were able to command the corps, I
10 ask you.
11 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, this conflict, was it ever resolved, and if so,
13 A. This activity was interrupted with the arrest of this person we
14 mentioned, and the filing of a criminal report and the submission of this
15 whole case to the military investigation organs.
16 Q. And please tell me, when did this happen? When was this conflict
17 concerning the exchange of information between these services which are
18 akin resolved, and when was the legal framework restored?
19 A. Well, maybe I'm subjective, but this situation obtained until the
20 end of the war. There were even situations where we were engaged in
21 combat together, and the separate MUP staff would be established, for
22 example, in Petrovci, and the corps command would be in Ostrelj, so
23 regardless of the fact that the MUP units were being used in the theatre
24 of war, which was the responsibility of the corps.
25 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, very briefly, please tell me: In addition to your
1 testimony today, did you ever have an interview with the OTP?
2 A. Yes. In 2004 -- I think it was in June, in 2004 when I was
3 interviewed by an investigator of this Tribunal. The interview lasted
4 for two days. I can give you names if need be. I had the status of
5 suspect in the case against Ratko Mladic.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, could I check my
8 notes, please. Would it be convenient to take a break now, and then I'll
9 be very brief after the break and round off my examination.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Of course, Mr. Nikolic. We'll have a 25-minute
11 break now. Thank you.
12 --- Break taken at 3.39 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 4:11 p.m.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ostojic -- Mr. Nikolic.
15 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. It won't
16 take long now.
17 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, let's try and clarify one thing. When I asked you
18 about the arrival of Mr. Beara in the territory of the 2nd Krajina Corps,
19 could you be more specific and tell us: When did he arrive, bearing in
20 mine the objective events such as the fall of the Glamoc and Grahovo
22 A. The most specific thing that I can tell you is that it was a few
23 days before the fall of Grahovo and Glamoc. I remember that well for two
24 reasons as I've told you, but I wouldn't be able to give you the exact
1 Q. And just one more thing: Do you remember, how much time did
2 Colonel Beara spend in the territory?
3 A. Given the situation on the frontline, he stayed at the corps
4 command for just one day or several hours, not longer. He did not have
5 much time, and then he proceeded according to plan.
6 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Mr. President
7 I have no further questions for this witness. I would just like to add
8 one more thing. At one point we were in private session, and as I looked
9 at the transcript we are of the opinion that not everything has to be in
10 private session from page 22, line 24, to page 23, line 12. This is the
11 part that don't have to be in private session because they don't contain
12 any elements that would call for a private session. At least that's our
13 opinion. Thank you very much.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Do you agree to that, Mr. Thayer?
15 MR. THAYER: I do, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Any of the other parties, judges? All
17 right. Okay. So that part that you have indicated, Madam Registrar
18 would have certainly taken note of which pages and lines will no longer
19 remain in private session.
20 Yes. Mr. Zivanovic, do you have a cross-examination?
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
23 Cross-examination by Mr. Zivanovic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Mitrovic.
25 A. Good afternoon.
1 Q. We have already met, but I will introduce myself for the record.
2 My name is Zoran Zivanovic, and I represent Vujadin Popovic in this case.
3 I would like to ask you, first of all, whether you know Vujadin Popovic?
4 A. Of course, I do.
5 Q. Can you please tell us since when have you known him, and how did
6 you first meet him?
7 A. Your Honours, I know Mr. Vujadin Popovic, and I met him in Drvar
8 when I first took the position that I have already spoken about, and for
9 a while Vujadin Popovic was a desk officer in the department for security
10 and intelligence of the 2nd Krajina Corps.
11 Q. If I understand you well, at the time you were his immediate
12 superior; wouldn't that be correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Could you tell us approximately, how long did he remain working
15 in the same department as you and where you were his superior?
16 A. After my arrival in May 1992, he stayed until the moment the
17 Drina Corps was established. At that moment, upon my proposal, given
18 that the be fact that he was a promising officer at the time who was
19 captain 1st class, Mr. Popovic was re-assigned to the Drina Corps in
20 order to take up the position of the chief of the intelligence and
21 security department in that corps because he hails from Vlasenici. That
22 was one of the reasons.
23 Q. While he worked in your department, in the security department in
24 Drvar, what was your impression of his professional qualities and
25 personal qualities that he displayed during his work?
1 A. I believe that at the time Mr. Popovic was captain 1st class. He
2 was a very responsible officer, very conscientious. Whatever tasks he
3 was entrusted with, he performed well in time and professionally correct.
4 When I speak about him as a person, I have to say that he was -- he had a
5 very good sense of humour. He liked to sing and play instruments.
6 Everybody liked him. However, he was a professional, a very promising
7 officer, and that's why I recommended him for promotion.
8 Q. While you were positioned in the 2nd Krajina Corps, were there
9 any members of other ethnic groups in the 2nd Krajina Corps, i.e., people
10 who were non-Serbs or non-Montenegrins?
11 A. Yes, there were. There were quite a few such persons or
12 individuals. For example, the commander of the command office was a
13 Muslim officer. I can share his name with you if that would be of some
15 Q. Maybe we can go into private session if that is necessary.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: If you want to go into private session, please
17 decide, Mr. Zivanovic, and I will --
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes. If we could, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's do that straightaway. I think it will
20 simplify matters.
21 [Private session]
15 [Open session]
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. We are in open session, Mr. Zivanovic.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC:
18 Q. [Interpretation] And now I wanted to ask you this: What was the
19 attitude of Vujadin Popovic towards these corps members who were of a
20 different ethnic group? Did you notice anything unusual? Did you glean
21 any intolerance towards members of others in the groups while you were
22 his superior?
23 A. No, I did not see any such thing. There was no intolerance, nor
24 did I expect Popovic to display any sign of intolerance because it's
25 simply not the person that he is. He was a JNA officer, and it was only
1 normal that we had people from all over the place in our midst. In our
2 units, there were people from all over Yugoslavia.
3 Q. And that attitude remained unchanged while he was a member of
4 your unit?
5 A. Yes, you are right there.
6 Q. When you say that there were people of other ethnic groups in
7 your unit, could you tell us whether that remained the fact until the end
8 of the war, or was it only of one particular period?
9 A. These people remained on the strength of the corps until the end
10 of the war.
11 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [In English] Your Honour, thank you.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Ms. Nikolic.
13 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I'll try
14 and complete my examination within the 15 minutes that I asked for, but I
15 would kindly ask the Trial Chamber to grant me a possible extension of
16 maybe 10 minutes or 15.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Madam Nikolic, your team has been extremely
18 cooperative, so please, go ahead.
19 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
20 Cross-examination by Ms. Nikolic:
21 Q. Good afternoon, sir. My name is Jelena Nikolic.
22 A. Good afternoon.
23 Q. I represent Mr. Drago Nikolic in this case. I would like to ask
24 you something about the topics that you've already told us something
25 about during your testimony today. It arises from your testimony that
1 you spent your entire career working in the security organs?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You have a very rich experience when it comes to the application
4 of the rules of service of the security organs and working in security
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Judging from your testimony, the Army of Republika Srpska after
8 the year 1992 fully adopted and implemented the rules of security organs
9 and other rules from the previous JNA; wouldn't that be correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. In the meantime, in the course of 1994 and 1995, a document was
12 issued under the title "The Instruction Of the Main Staff." The number
13 is P2741 in e-court, 2741, and this instruction regulates the issues of
14 command and control of the security organ.
15 Mr. Mitrovic, could you please look at that document. You will
16 find the B/C/S version on the right-hand side of the screen. As the
17 chief of security of the 2nd Krajina Corps, did you have an occasion to
18 see this document in the course of 1995? Are you familiar with this
20 A. This document was indeed issued in 1994 and now -- as I'm reading
21 this instruction now, I remember it. I know what the document is about.
22 Q. Could you please pay attention to the first paragraph starting
23 with the words: "Lately, frequent problems, failures, and irregularities
24 have been registered in command and control over the security organ."
25 And this instruction refers to these problems as the rationale for
1 issuing this instruction.
2 Do you know what problems and irregularities turned up in the
3 command and control of the security organs in the Army of Republika
4 Srpska in 1994?
5 A. Well, you see, in the preamble the reason is given why these
6 instructions had to be compiled and sent to the lower-ranking units.
7 There were irregularities in the manner in which command and control was
8 exercised by individual commanders at various levels in relation to the
9 security organs. All I know is that the commanders often sent security
10 organs to perform tasks which were not part of their prescribed duties.
11 In the course of the war, the commander would often go and tell me to
12 bring back a unit from its position or to try and prevent people running
13 away from their positions or to go and disarm paramilitary units if they
14 turned up, and they did, in the zone of the corps, and so on and so
15 forth, and this was not our domain of work.
16 Also, there were certain commanders who designated security
17 organs to be on duty in the commands even though it was well known that
18 their stints of duty were to be within the security organ, not outside
19 it. Further, there were commanders who opened mail even though they were
20 not authorised to do so, mail sent to the security organs. There were
21 such things happening, and all this indicated that there were
22 irregularities in command and control in relation to the security organs.
23 Q. Can you clarify why the commanders had limitations when it comes
24 to opening mail sent to the security organs in the units in which the
25 security organs were active?
1 A. Well, you see, first of all, it's not polite to open somebody
2 else's mail - that's the first point - because every document received by
3 the security organ was always sent to him personally. It wasn't sent to
4 the commander. Why they did this, well, you should probably ask them,
5 but they were not authorised to do so.
6 Q. And the correspondence, or rather, the communication that went
7 along the professional line of the security organs, did it contain
8 details from the counterintelligence work or other forms of work of the
9 security organs?
10 A. Most often, these were counterintelligence issues and also
11 overall security, so the issues in question were such that only the corps
12 commander would be informed of them. Not brigade commanders, for
13 example, but I can clarify if you like. There are certain situations
14 where a brigade commander would be informed by the security organ of
15 certain cases from the counterintelligence assessment. This information
16 reflected the situation in the unit, in the area of responsibility, and
17 so on, and they could know about this. But what was secret from the
18 level of the brigade commander, and this was prescribed by the rules, was
19 the application of secret methods of work.
20 Q. Are you referring to Rule 153 in the methods of work?
21 A. Well, it's defined in the instructions, yes. The secret methods
22 are defined there and those that are not secret.
23 Q. Thank you. I now wish to show you another document. Could we
24 have in e-court 7D576. This is a document not from your unit, 17D176. I
25 do apologise; the number in the transcript is wrong. 7DP176. Thank you.
1 This is a document which was not issued by your corps, but it
2 illustrates precisely what you have just described. Would you please
3 look at the title. It says: "Warning Regarding Prevention of Leaking of
4 Secret Information." Please read this document silently to yourself just
5 to see what it's about, and then I will put two or three questions to
7 A. Go ahead.
8 Q. According to your many years of experience as chief of the
9 security organ, does this document show that all persons who come into
10 contact with secret information are duty-bound to give a written
11 declaration and to keep secret the information they have gleaned from
12 unauthorized opening of mail sent to the security organ?
13 A. In this particular case, you can see that the brigade commander
14 opened mail addressed to the security organ, although he was not
15 authorised to do so, and according to the normal procedure he was
16 supposed to sign a written declaration stating that he would keep
17 confidential the information he had learned in this manner. There were
18 instances where people opened mail sent to the security organ by
19 accident, and then they would sign the declaration. This was the
20 procedure to be followed according to the rules. Security organs also
21 have to sign a declaration that they will keep information confidential
22 when they are leaving the service, for example, or retiring, and so on.
23 Q. Look at point 6 of this document, item 6. You have explained to
24 us what the procedure was. My question is the following: Can this
25 letter or this warning be considered to be a disciplinary measure or a
1 threat to the commander?
2 A. No, by no means. It is only a warning asking him not to do this
4 Q. I'd like to go back to the document we discussed previously.
5 Could we have again P2741 in e-court, please, page 1, item 2, second
6 paragraph. In item 2, second paragraph, can we have the B/C/S version.
7 Can we scroll the B/C/S version, yes, so that Mr. Mitrovic can see it.
8 In paragraph 2, it says that all members of these organs and
9 services are authorised by law to act and work on tasks from their field
10 of work analogous to the authority of the members of the RS MUPs, state
11 security department. Could you please tell us what this means, in fact?
12 A. What this in fact means is that we perform the tasks of state
13 security in the army - that's the simplest explanation - and we are
14 authorised to do so.
15 Q. Thank you. Based on your years of experience, Mr. Mitrovic, can
16 you tell us -- you were the security organs. If a security organ
17 violated the rules or the law, the commander of the unit he is in, does
18 he have the right to initiate procedure to have this chief of security
20 A. Yes, certainly, because he is his immediate superior. Regardless
21 of the fact that he is a security organ, if he violates discipline or
22 commits a crime, he is not amnestied.
23 Q. To the best of your knowledge, who monitors the professionalism
24 and lawfulness of the work of the security organ?
25 A. Monitoring of professionalism and lawfulness is carried out by
1 the superior in the security organ who monitors his subordinate organs.
2 That's the basic principle. And by your leave, I'd like to add in
3 relation to what you asked me just before, the commander does have the
4 right to ask for the dismissal, the replacement of the security organ.
5 There was a situation, for example, in the Kupres brigade where
6 the security chief and the commander fell in love with the same woman,
7 and their mutual cooperation and relations became impossible, and the
8 commander asked for the security organ to be transferred from his unit.
9 He asked this of the corps commander, of course, and we did this so that
10 normal relations could be re-established.
11 Q. Thank you. When answering this question regarding the monitoring
12 of professionalism and lawfulness in the work of the security organ, as
13 we laypersons are a bit confused by this description, 80 percent and 20
14 percent of security and staff work respectively, so does the commander's
15 authority, or rather, the monitoring extend to the 20 percent, or is it
16 somebody else who does that?
17 A. This figure in my view is there to tell commanders that security
18 organs should have time to do their work. I'm referring primarily to
19 counterintelligence activity, and this is normal in wartime. It's quite
20 normal, but how much 80 percent is, well, there are no working hours in
21 wartime. You work day and night. You are up at all hours, so it's very
22 hard to define this precisely. The idea was to let the commanders know
23 that they should allow these people to do their work and give them fewer
24 tasks of other kinds.
25 You asked about the 20 percent. Well, if these are staff
1 security tasks you would do that in the command, and of course, the
2 commander and all the members of the command can see what you are doing,
3 and they know about it.
4 Q. In case of criminal or legal activities, police actions, who
5 oversees the work of the organ?
6 A. Well, if we are talking about the -- I apologise to the
7 interpreters. I apologise to the Court. All those jobs that you
8 referred to are in the security organ's domain of work, and this is,
9 again, something that is done immediately by the security organ's
10 superior officer.
11 Q. I just want to go back to a question that I put slightly earlier.
12 I asked you, in the case that the security organ violates a law or
13 initiates a security measure, can the chief [as interpreted] initiate
14 measures against his security organ by bringing this problem up before
15 the superior command, let's say, from the corps to the staff or from the
16 brigade to the corps?
17 A. Yes, of course.
18 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. My colleague has
19 just warned me that we have in the transcript on page 40, line 9, I think
20 that the question was: "Can the commander initiate measures..." and in
21 the transcript it says "chief." So can we just correct this? Perhaps we
22 can listen to it again and have it corrected.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, can I reply? The commander
24 can initiate even the replacement of the security organ if he is not
25 satisfied with his work, and he does that. For example, if it's me, the
1 corps commander can initiate this replacement towards the commander of
2 the Main Staff or towards the chief of the security administration.
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic. I have no further questions.
4 A. Thank you as well.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Lazarevic.
6 MR. LAZAREVIC: Your Honours, we have no cross-examination for
7 this witness.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Ms. Fauveau?
9 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Yes, Chairman. Yes, Judge, we do
10 have questions.
11 Cross-examination by Ms. Fauveau:
12 Q. [Interpretation] You were talking about the relationships
13 existing between you and the security organ in the staff. Is it true
14 that there were the exchange information between your organ in the 2nd
15 corps and the organ in the Main Staff responsible for security and
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. I would like to show you the document. This is Document 5D1192.
19 This is a document coming from the security and -- sector of the staff,
20 of the Main Staff. Can we see the second page of this document.
21 You can see at the bottom of this document, we can see that this
22 document bears the name of Zdravko Tolimir, and right below we can see
23 that it was sent to the security and intelligence department of the 1st
24 Krajina Corps, the 2nd Krajina Corps, and the other corps of the
25 Republika Srpska. Can you confirm that this document had actually been
1 sent to your organ and your corps?
2 A. Most probably it was because in this dispatch you can see that
3 it's going to the 2nd Krajina Corps.
4 Q. I now would like to know -- we can go back to page 1 of this
5 document, but before we look at this document, can you tell me whether
6 you had the information concerning smuggling in of weapons or oil in
7 humanitarian assistance?
8 A. Yes, we did some -- have some indications of that.
9 Q. And I would like to read the first paragraph and the beginning of
10 the second paragraph of this document. In this document, it is stated:
11 [In English] "With the help of international organisations, allies in the
12 west, and Islamic countries, the Muslims are continuing intensively to
13 import weapons, ammunition, and military equipment via Croatian
14 territory. Under the guise of sending family packages, around 400
15 parcels, on 29 May a convoy was sent from Austria with ammunition and
16 military equipment for use by the 2nd corps of the so-called BH Army.
17 The transport has been organised by a certain Norwegian member of UNHCR
18 called Mak. We have also noted that UNPROFOR is supplying the so-called
19 BH Army."
20 [Interpretation] Before we move on to another question, can you
21 confirm that your corps, the 2nd corps of the army in Bosnia, can you
22 confirm that your corps was actually -- had something to do with the
23 Bihac pocket?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And the information mentioned here, because here we're talking
1 about the 2nd corps of the army, the BH Army, but did you have similar
2 information concerning the corps of the Bosnia or Herzegovina army which
3 was in the Bihac pocket?
4 A. Yes, we did have some indications that supplies were being
5 provided by land and air to the 5th corps of the B&H army.
6 Q. I would now like to show you a document. This is Document
7 5D1195. This is a document from the armed forces of the Republic of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the 5th corps. You can see that at the top of the
9 document. Is it correct to say that the 5th corps was based in the Bihac
10 pocket? We are talking about the 5th corps of the army of the Republic
11 of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 A. Yes, throughout the war.
13 Q. We can read right below the name of the person who wrote the
14 document. We see what it's talking about, and we see that this is a
15 logistics report concerning the receipt of a shipment by UNHCR, and there
16 is an acronym, UBS. Can you tell me what "UBS" means?
17 A. This is the usual abbreviation for devices for killing.
18 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... items sent out and indicated
19 in this document, we realise that we are talking about weapons here,
20 right? Do you agree with that?
21 A. Yes, I agree.
22 Q. I now would like to show you another document, 5D1196. This is a
23 document coming from the Bosnia-Herzegovina embassy in Croatia, which was
24 sent out to the 5th corps. Do you agree with that, the 5th corps of the
25 BH Army?
1 A. Yes, yes. That's what it says in the document.
2 Q. And here, again, we can see that the items mentioned here are
3 weapons, actually?
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. And right at the bottom of this page, can we see the bottom of
6 the page in English? Actually, it's the second page in the English
7 version. Excuse me. So right at the bottom of this page in the B/C/S
8 version, we can see that the truck bears the number UNHCR 10379. From
9 the information you had in your job, did you ever hear that the UNHCR is
10 -- that this organisation transported these weapons and was responsible
11 for smuggling weapons or oil?
12 A. Yes, there were indications of that. Specifically, I heard that
13 the ammunition was packed in sardine cans and so on. I said that this
14 was also done by air; things were dropped by a parachute in wooden
15 crates. This is how ammunition and other equipment was delivered.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please be asked not to
18 MADAM FAUVEAU: [Interpretation]
19 Q. [Previous translation continued] ... 97.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Fauveau, in fact you were overlapping. If
21 you could together with the witness please try to avoid it as much as you
22 can. Even though you are not speaking the same language, still, it's a
24 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I'll pay attention to that.
25 Q. Can we now show the witness Document 5D1197. Earlier on, you
1 told us that you did have indications about smuggling, weapon-smuggling.
2 This is another document from the Embassy of the Republic of the BH in
3 the Republic of Croatia
4 can see that -- at the very beginning of this document we can read: [In
5 English] "The Bihac district office has sent 70 tonnes of D-2 fuel from
6 the 5th corps from the ARBH Army of the Republic of Bosnia
8 [Interpretation] Did you also get some information about
10 A. We did have indications that this was also done with oil, and you
11 know that fuel is a strategic material or asset in wartime.
12 Q. My colleague reminded you that you had an interview with the --
13 in the Prosecutor's Office in 2004, and I would like to read you an
14 excerpt from this interview. It's Document 5D1193, page 83. In this
15 interview, amongst other things you mentioned the signature on the
16 military documents. You explained who signs these document, who has the
17 authority to sign these documents, and how they are signed. And you
18 said: [In English] "You can sign, you know, the everyday report,
19 everyday documents, combat reports, and staff. You can sign that for
20 someone. But if these documents were more important, if you were talking
21 about operations, about directives, about orders for the attack or
22 defence, then, you know, the Commander couldn't be absent. So he would
23 then sign himself."
24 [Interpretation] Based on what you said, could we conclude that
25 all documents are not as important as the daily -- the everyday documents
1 sent from one unit to the others are not necessarily as important as
2 orders concerning a specific operation?
3 A. Yes, that is correct. Depending on what I said on that interview
4 and based on what you've said, daily reports, combat readiness that was
5 -- that were dispatched, if -- or for example, the daily report sent from
6 my organ to the security administration if I was absent, this report
7 could be signed by my deputy. But what you asked about documents, orders
8 to execute some kind of combat assignment or an operation, defence
9 operation or an attack, equally, then the person had to be the commander
10 in this case. He could not be absent from the unit while his unit was
11 getting ready to go off into battle or preparing to execute an operation.
12 Q. I have another question for you. Did you have any information --
13 or do you know whether President Karadzic sometimes gave orders directly
14 to the corps without going through the Main Staff?
15 A. Yes, yes. I'm familiar with such situations. I will give you an
16 example, when Karadzic ordered General Talic to begin the Prsten, ring,
17 operation in the Posavina, and the Main Staff was not informed about the
18 operation and that it would begin. I remember that because my corps at
19 that time was denied the ammunition that was essential to us, which Talic
20 took for himself and used in that operation ring, Prsten.
21 There were also -- there was also talk that General [as
22 interpreted] Karadzic was issuing orders to General Milosevic in the
23 Sarajevo-Romanija corps. Yeah, there were examples.
24 MADAM FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I believe there's a mistake in
25 the transcript. On page 12 [as interpreted] we can read "General
1 Karadzic," but I don't believe that the witness stated that. He only
2 said Karadzic, I believe, right?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
4 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] We are talking about page 46, line
6 Q. Thank you very much, sir. I have no further questions for you.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Krgovic?
9 Cross-examination by Mr. Krgovic:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon. Mr. Mitrovic, my name is Dragan
11 Krgovic. On behalf of the Defence team, I'm going to ask you a few
12 questions about some things that you've already spoken about today. Mr.
13 Mitrovic, you have spoken at great length about the work of your organ
14 and the way things functioned in your corps.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. If I ask you about the Main Staff and the relationship between
17 certain people in the Main Staff and how they exchange information, you
18 could only answer by assumptions?
19 A. I agree because I never worked in the Main Staff.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Krgovic please come closer to the
21 microphone. It's practically impossible to hear him.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Krgovic, we have the same problem as yesterday.
23 I don't know how I can help you more than mentioning it. You need to
24 come closer to the microphone, please. Thank you. The microphone can't
25 come up any further. No, it's fixed. Okay.
1 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, what you have spoken about today mostly concerns
3 the principles of work in the corps and its subordinated units,
4 especially in your corps?
5 A. Yes. That was my level.
6 Q. I wanted to ask you this. In answering my friend Nikolic's
7 questions, you have also spoken about combat activities in the summer of
8 1995 in the western part of the frontline in the zone of responsibility
9 of your corps. Do you remember when combat was launched, i.e., when the
10 Muslim-Croat forces launched their attack in the zone of responsibility
11 of your corps?
12 A. I wouldn't be able to give you the precise date. I know that the
13 preparations started sometime towards the end of July -- June, and if
14 we're talking about the Glamoc axis, members of the Croatian army took
15 Mali Sator feature, which is the most dominant feature near Glamoc. As
16 of the end of June, the intercity of the operations stepped -- was
17 stepped up for the rest of the month and culminated with the fall of the
18 part of the territory that we have already mentioned.
19 Q. Given the critical situation in the zone of responsibility, did
20 officers of the Main Staff arrive in the zone of responsibility of your
21 corps in the period leading up to the fall of Glamoc and around the fall
22 of Glamoc?
23 A. Yes. Members of the Main Staff did come to the zone of
24 responsibility, and I can even give you their names if you want me to do
1 Q. Yes.
2 A. I'll give you those that I can remember. There was General
3 Jovica Maric, who hails from Glamoc, so he had some personal interest in
4 the territory. There was also General Tolimir who was there for awhile.
5 He hails from Glamoc. General Gvero also came. He hails from Mrkonic
6 Grad. General Zivorad Ninkovic, also from Glamoc, also came; and General
7 Milovanovic was at the forward command post of the Main Staff, needless
8 to say.
9 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, I am interested in a very concrete issue. During
10 the time surrounding the fall of Glamoc and Grahovo, did you see General
11 Gvero in the zone of responsibility of your corps?
12 A. I saw General Gvero around the fall of Glamoc; to be more
13 precise, on the 28th of July. He arrived together with General Jovica
14 Maric. Why do I remember this? The Croatian air force was opening fire
15 on our positions around that time, and they attacked with chemical
16 weapons, and there were dozens of members of the Glamoc brigade who
17 suffered the effects of the chemical weapons that the Croats used. The
18 two generals, Maric, who was the chief of the air force in the Main
19 Staff, and General Gvero to raise the morale of the fighters and the
20 people had who had been chased from their homes arrived in the zone of
21 responsibility of our corps.
22 Q. Could you please repeat the position of General Maric because it
23 hasn't been recorded properly in the transcript.
24 A. The chief of the air force of the Army Republika Srpska in the
25 Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska. I believe that was the
1 official title of his position.
2 Q. And can you please repeat the date when you saw the two generals?
3 A. It was on the 28th of July.
4 Q. That was the day when Glamoc fell?
5 A. Yes. That's when the enemy forces entered Glamoc and when our
6 units left Glamoc.
7 Q. I apologise; did you say that in your previous answer, as well,
8 because it wasn't recorded properly the first time around.
9 A. Yes, this is what I said.
10 Q. Can the witness please be shown Exhibit 6D306.
11 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is a translation
12 of the original, which is in English. We have the sufficient number of
13 photocopies of our draft translation. I would kindly ask the usher to
14 distribute these among the Prosecutor, the Trial Chamber. The official
15 translation is still pending.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter apologises. The original is in
17 B/C/S, and the translation is in English.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
19 MR. KRGOVIC:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Mitrovic, this is a document which you sent
21 to the Main Staff in December 1995. Does this document describe the
22 event that you have just spoken about?
23 A. Yes, this is my report, i.e., a report of the security organ
24 describing precisely the events that I have just described, i.e., the
25 chemical agents that were used on that day.
1 Q. Do you remember the time of day when you saw General Gvero on
2 that day?
3 A. It was during the day, while it was still light, but I can't tell
4 you exactly when it was.
5 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, we are talking about two different dates. On the
6 27th of July, chemical agents were used; and then on the following day,
7 you saw General Gvero on the 28th?
8 A. Yes, on the following day when the enemy forces entered Glamoc
9 and when our units together with the civilian population left Glamoc, on
10 the 28th of July.
11 Q. And where did you encounter General Gvero?
12 A. I believe that it was in the village of Kovacevici
13 on the road from Glamoc towards Mlinista and Baraci. This is where the
14 command of the third Serbian brigade was, at least for awhile.
15 Q. Did you see the car that General Gvero arrived in, if you can
17 A. Well, I'm sorry. I don't. I suppose that he arrived in a Jeep
18 or something. I don't know.
19 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, at that time in July 1995, how long would it take
20 to travel distance from Banja Luka to Han Pijesak by car?
21 A. Again, I could only give you my assumption or my estimate.
22 Q. If you were to take that journey from Banja Luka to Han Pijesak,
23 how long would it have taken you at that time?
24 A. I did the journey just once during the war. I was in our Main
25 Staff only once, and I believe that it would have taken about eight hours
1 approximately. I really don't know. It's very difficult for me to say
2 because -- well, I can't be any more precise because the roads at that
3 time were different than they are now. Things have changed. The
4 intensity of the traffic was not the same.
5 Q. And from Banja Luka to Ostrelj, how long would it take?
6 A. From Banja Luka to Ostrelj, about two to two and a half hours,
7 approximately, and Mlinista is a bit further than that.
8 Q. Do you know where General Gvero left after this event, if you
9 know, of course? Did anybody tell you anything about that?
10 A. I believe that General Gvero went in the direction of Mlinista
11 and Baraci because that's where the OG was and those were the next
12 positions of the Army Republika Srpska after the fall of Glamoc.
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic. I have no further questions for you.
14 A. Thank you.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Krgovic. Mr. Haynes.
16 MR. HAYNES: Just a few question.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Please go ahead.
18 Cross-examination by Mr. Haynes:
19 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, when you were chief of security at the corps level,
20 did you have a deputy?
21 A. I did have a deputy, yes.
22 Q. And did you have other people who were subordinate to you, who
23 answered to you?
24 A. In the security department, I had subordinated desk officers who
25 answered to me.
1 Q. Did you ever have occasion to speak to any of your subordinated
2 officers about the way in which they were doing their job?
3 A. Every day. We analysed our work every day. Every day, we had
4 meetings to discuss our further steps.
5 Q. And if you ever considered that one of your subordinated officers
6 wasn't doing his job properly, did you have him into your office to speak
7 to him about that?
8 A. Yes, that's precisely what I would do.
9 Q. And if you thought he was not doing his job properly, did you
10 warn him about the performance of his job and how he was to do it in the
12 A. Yes. We would have a conversation, and I would warn him about
13 things, and I would provide him with my remarks about his work.
14 Q. And would you not regard that as being a way of disciplining that
16 A. No, I wouldn't. A disciplinary procedure is something that is
17 provided for by the rules and regulations of service in the JNA, and
18 these rules envisage disciplinary measures, and what you are talking
19 about and what I'm talking about would have been just a conversation
20 during which the officer would receive caution of sorts.
21 Q. I see. Did you ever have occasion in which you had to decide
22 whether one of your subordinated officers had broken the law or not?
23 A. I don't remember any such situation.
24 Q. But would you agree that another way of describing having to
25 decide whether somebody has broken the law or not is monitoring the
1 legality of their work?
2 A. I would agree, yes.
3 Q. And would you also agree that if somebody has the exclusive right
4 to do something, it means they are the only person who is permitted to do
6 A. I am afraid I don't know what you are referring to.
7 Q. Well, what do you understand by the word "exclusive"?
8 A. I use the word myself when I spoke about the command in and
9 control over security organs, and I said that unit commanders were
10 exclusively superior to the security organs in their own units, if you
12 Q. Well, we'll move on. You've probably answered the question in a
13 roundabout way.
14 Just one other thing. During the course of your work, did you
15 ever use human sources of intelligence, sometimes called "informants"?
16 A. It is the obligation of the security organ to create
17 collaborators with the security service, so the answer is, yes, I did.
18 But these are not people to whom a derogatory term should be applied.
19 Q. I didn't intend to apply a derogatory term to them if that's how
20 it sounded through translation, but were some of these collaborators
21 encouraged to give information by being given money?
22 A. There were different motives out of which people agreed to
23 cooperate with the security organs ranging from patriotism to money, as
24 you say. The motive's different from one person to another, depending on
25 the character and the significance of the person for the security organs.
1 To put it more precisely, whether that person had access to information
2 or not, that's what we were concerned about.
3 Q. So were you involved in your service in paying money to
4 informants, cash?
5 A. As a rule, I was not involved in such a situation, but we might
6 have paid the travel expenses of these informers if they had to travel to
7 a certain place where the meeting or the contact would take place.
8 Q. So did your service keep an amount of cash somewhere?
9 A. The service had a certain amount of money in cash for expenses.
10 In peacetime this would be approved by the army commander, and this money
11 for expenses was used for per diem payments to security organs if they
12 had to travel and to cover operative expenses. If you, for example,
13 invite a collaborator to lunch, you can't expect him to pay. You pay,
14 and you have to justify the expense by a valid financial document, a bill
15 or receipt or such like, or a cheque.
16 Q. And was that the position in wartime?
17 A. In wartime, I never had expense money. There was none available.
18 Q. Okay. Thank you. Just one other thing. You told us about a
19 love triangle between a brigade commander and his chief of security. Can
20 you give us an example of a chief of security ever being sacked by a
21 brigade commander?
22 A. I did not have such an example in the 2nd Krajina Corps. A
23 brigade commander cannot sack him, but he can suggest that this person
24 should no longer perform duties in the security organ of the Brigade.
25 MR. HAYNES: Thank you very much.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Haynes. Yes, Mr. Thayer, there's
2 still time before the break.
3 Cross-examination by Mr. Thayer:
4 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon, Your
5 Honours. Good afternoon, everyone.
6 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
7 A. Good afternoon to you, too.
8 Q. My name is Nelson Thayer, and I'll be asking you some questions
9 on behalf of the Prosecution.
10 A. Yes, please go ahead.
11 Q. During the war, Colonel, were you a member of any political
13 A. During the war, I was not a member of any political party.
14 Q. So not a member of SDS or the radicals?
15 A. Never, no.
16 Q. And before the war when you were in the JNA, you were a member of
17 the communist party, the Communist Alliance of Yugoslavia; is that
19 A. Yes, I was.
20 Q. And that was the norm for JNA officers, was it not?
21 A. It was the norm, yes.
22 Q. And can you tell the Trial Chamber how common it was for a JNA
23 officer not to have been a member of the communist party?
24 A. There were such officers, but a small number.
25 Q. And I think as you put it in your interview with the OTP back in
1 2004, that was simply the world you were living in at the time; is that
2 fair to say?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, we've heard from you today testimony about the friction or
5 conflict that developed between the army on the one hand and the state
6 security services and MUP on the other, you said, towards the end, I
7 think, of 1994, 1995.
8 A. Yes, that's what I said.
9 Q. Now, during the war, sir, there was a conflict that developed
10 between the leadership of the political parties, for example, the SDS and
11 the Radical party, as well as the political leadership of the Republika
12 Srpska on the one hand and members of the VRS on the other. Do you
13 recall that, sir?
14 A. Yes. You are probably referring to September 1993 when you
15 mentioned the SDS and the Radical party. That was when manipulation of
16 part of the units of the Army of Republika Srpska in Banja Luka occurred.
17 They were dissatisfied, and rightly so, with their personal situation at
18 the time, and it later transpired that the aim of this whole action was
19 an attack on some soldiers. However, the slogan was, let's fight against
20 war profiteers, against people who grow rich, but in the end these
21 soldiers arrested certain officers. It was a rebellion of sorts, an
22 uprising of sorts in the Army of Republika Srpska. I don't know if
23 that's what you were referring to when you put your question.
24 Q. Well, that's partially what I'm referring to. The conflict or
25 friction, however you want to put it, between the political leadership of
1 Republika Srpska on the one hand and the army of the Republika Srpska, in
2 particular its JNA-trained officer corps, that continued after 1993; is
3 that correct, sir, after the September 1993 incident that you described.
4 A. I agree with you, yes. This antagonism or this conflict
5 escalated towards the end of the war. I don't want to prejudge things,
6 but on the one hand you had the army, which was quite impoverished and
7 which was fighting every day, and on the other hand you had the civilian
8 leadership, people who were in the then-ruling party who took advantage
9 of the war to enrich themselves personally, and this situation went on
10 throughout the war but especially in the period I mentioned.
11 Of course, it was quite natural that there should be
12 dissatisfaction and that a conflict should arise. It went so far that
13 humanitarian aid which arrived, for example, from Serbia, was sold by
14 these people. They were members of the SDS, to make it quite clear.
15 They were representatives of municipal organs, so they were deputies in
16 the assembly and so on. For a time, there was even a situation where
17 members of the municipal leadership of the SDS could not be mobilised,
18 and that gave rise to conflicts as well; or you had situations where
19 Karadzic ordered that from every municipal SDS, five SDS members were to
20 be designated, and they had to be taken into the state security service,
21 regardless of the fact that they knew nothing about the work of the
23 I'm just trying to illustrate, but there were many other
24 situations which all led to a conflict. There was an assembly meeting,
25 which I did not attend, where all this escalated into an open conflict.
1 Q. And as the conflict intensified, and putting aside the war
2 profiteering for a moment, the conflict had a significant political
3 element to it, as well; wouldn't you agree?
4 A. I agree, yes.
5 Q. The political leadership or politicians in the VRS -- I'm sorry,
6 in the Republika Srpska would refer to officers of the army as "commies"
7 or "reds" or "the red guards"; is that correct?
8 A. That's correct. I personally was called those names. I was
9 called a commie. But I'll tell you something interesting: Some of these
10 SDS leaders had previously been members. For example, Dragan Karadzic
11 had been a member of the central committee of the communist party, and he
12 was not called a commie, but I was, and I was just a rank and file member
13 of the party. So that was absurd, you know.
14 Q. And in your experience, those types of terms were used quite
15 liberally against members of the VRS; is that correct, sir?
16 A. If you are referring to terms such as "commies," "red guards,"
17 "reds," that was the usual terminology they used, yes.
18 Q. And in fact, Colonel, basically any former JNA officer could be
19 the target of such abuse in your experience; is that correct?
20 A. Well, you know what? Basically, it is correct, but there were
21 officers who immediately became close to that party and those organs, and
22 they were not targeted. But I was not among them.
23 Q. And in your experience, sir, the security organs came in for
24 particular abuse along those lines in terms of being branded or called
25 "commies" and "reds" and "red guards" and such; is that correct?
1 A. Yes, they among others. Karadzic even introduced the term "5th
2 column" or "6th column." I'm not sure.
3 Q. And can you tell the Trial Chamber why you think the security
4 organs were singled out for that type of attitude on President Karadzic's
6 A. Your Honours, I can say that one of the reasons, certainly, was
7 that the security organs made efforts to prevent crime, to prevent
8 smuggling and black marketeering, to prevent the unlawfulness of the work
9 of those organs, which was evident. There was a situation where a
10 security organ from the Sarajevo-Romanija corps arrested Krajisnik's
11 brother as a criminal, and Krajisnik was a high-ranking official. On the
12 other hand, he had Karadzic's approval to import fuel without paying
13 taxes or duties, and they all had that, practically. Also, there was a
14 situation when Sanski Most was about to fall in 1995. It was on the
15 point of falling, and the-then president of the municipality - he was
16 most likely an SDS president, as well - issued approval for electrical
17 appliances practically looted from houses to be used, well, for the
18 Defence of Republika Srpska. That's absurd.
19 So what I'm trying to say is -- well, that's what I understood
20 you to ask, anyway.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I think you have understood me, Mr. Thayer. It's
22 time to have the break. 25 minutes. Thank you.
23 --- Recess taken at 5.45 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 6.14 p.m.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
1 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Q. Good evening, sir.
3 A. Good evening to you, too.
4 Q. Just a couple more questions along this line, and then I'm going
5 to move on to a different subject.
6 In your experience, during this period in which the animosity
7 that you felt directed from the political leadership of the Republika
8 Srpska increased towards the army, did you understand that - again,
9 putting war profiteering to the side - also to be as a result of the
10 particularly high political leadership in the Republika Srpska's belief
11 that the power of the security organs of the army, whether that power was
12 real or perceived by President Karadzic, presented a threat to him and
13 the high political leadership in the Republika Srpska? I understand that
14 was a very long question. Please, take your time to think it through.
15 If I need to rephrase it, I will, but please take your time in answering
16 that question.
17 A. From my point of view, I can tell you that we were never a threat
18 to the political leadership of Republika Srpska, nor we ever considered
19 being one at all. The complete military and the security organs had just
20 one focus, and that was war, unlike some members of the political
22 The problems were mounting, and they were never dealt with, and
23 in addition to the problems that I've already spoken about, the problems
24 also reflected in the supplying of the troops, which did not function at
25 all, and in any normal state, in the state of war, this is a matter of
1 the civilian authorities. In our case, our unit commanders had to find
2 their own means to get ahold of food, ammunition, clothes.
3 All I'm saying is that they spent most of their time thinking
4 about dealing with the logistics problems and less thinking about combat.
5 In other words, we were never a threat. We took measures against those
6 members of the SDS, and I don't mean to speak in general terms because
7 there were some very commendable people there who were engaged in crime,
8 who deserted from the front lines, and we did that in our own respective
9 zone of responsibility, and this at one point culminated.
10 And there was another thing that needs to mentioned. Certain
11 local warlords were against the army, and they were permanently making
12 efforts to create their own little armies that would be under their
13 command, just like the situation was at the very beginning of the war
14 when the Territorial Defence units and MUP units were under their
16 I'm really not privy any -- to indicia to the effect that we were
17 a threat to them. We just wanted everybody to do their own job and to
18 put an end to criminal activities. They also had the state security
19 service and MUP organs under their control, and of course, they had the
21 Q. Let me just follow up on that, if I may, Colonel. I understand
22 what you're telling the Trial Chamber in terms of where you were coming
23 from, as it were, as a member of the security organs.
24 My question is, did you ever understand based on what was being
25 said from the Republika Srpska political leadership that they perceived
1 that the security organs of the army presented a threat to their power?
2 Whether or not that was your intent, like I said, whether it was real or
3 perceived on the part of the political leadership, was it ever your
4 understanding that that was also a component of this increasing friction?
5 A. I know nothing about that. I don't know whether they considered
6 the security organs a threat, whether they were intimidated by them. I
7 suppose that they were because we were the ones who tried to curb some
8 activities, and as far as the leadership is concerned, I really don't
9 know of any measures being taken against them. They were independent in
10 every possible way.
11 Q. And despite the -- this friction in 1994 and 1995 and the
12 cessation of horizontal communication between yourself, for example, and
13 your counterpart in the state security service or the MUP, despite that
14 horizontal sharing of information which you said stopped at a particular
15 time, it's the case that vertically, at the very top, there was
16 communication between General Tolimir and Dragan Kijac, correct?
17 A. Most probably. That's how things should have been.
18 Q. And I believe as you told the investigators in Banja Luka in
19 2004, that information that they shared, if the VRS deemed it worthy,
20 would then get transmitted to President Karadzic?
21 A. Yes. That is correct. There was a line of communication with
22 the Supreme Commander, and through the Main Staff he was informed about
23 all the information that was obtained by the security services of the
24 Army Republika Srpska.
25 Q. And it was General Tolimir's duty or his responsibility to ensure
1 that relevant or important information, when it was deemed such by the
2 security organs, would be transmitted to the Supreme Commander President
3 Karadzic, despite whatever the conflict was between the political
4 leadership and the VRS. Is that also fair to say, sir, based on your
6 A. I believe that this is correct. That line of communication still
7 existed, but I can't be sure of that. This is just my assumption. I was
8 never a member of the Main Staff.
9 Q. I understand, sir, that you were never actually serving on the
10 Main Staff. I'm asking you based on your experience in the army, based
11 on your work with General Tolimir, based on everything that you observed,
12 that's the basis upon which I'm asking for your answer.
13 A. Yes, I understand what you are saying. I believe that this
14 communication went on because fighting the enemy was something that went
15 beyond the frictions and mutual misunderstandings.
16 Q. And again, based on your work with General Tolimir, your
17 observations of General Tolimir, that communication, for example, from
18 General Tolimir to General Karadzic would have been one that was
19 respectful, that would have been done properly according to military
20 discipline; is that correct?
21 A. I believe so. I believe that you can put it that way because
22 that's how things functioned, I suppose.
23 Q. Now, sir, in the about 15 minutes or so that we've got left, I
24 want to go back a couple of years before the war, and I'm sorry to do
25 this to you at the end of the day, but I want to get some dates firm in
1 the record and ask you some questions about some of the command
2 relationships that obtained pre-war and just at the beginning of the war,
3 and then we can start fresh again tomorrow.
4 When you were assigned to the Sibenik garrison in the 8th
5 maritime sector, Colonel Beara was one of your superiors, you testified,
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, it's been translated differently in your 2004 interview from
9 today, and I just want the record to be a little clearer. Was he the
10 assistant chief of the security organ at that time or the deputy chief of
11 security, just so the record is clear.
12 A. According to our establishment, the assistant chief of security
13 is also his deputy. That's how it has been defined by the establishment
14 books, similarly to the fact that a chief of staff of a unit is also the
15 deputy commander, and that's the analogy of the matter.
16 Q. And that was for the naval military district, correct, sir?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Just briefly, could you describe for the Trial Chamber what
19 geographic area that district encompassed?
20 A. Your Honours, the naval military district encompassed the entire
21 territory of the Adriatic Sea, which belonged to the former state of
23 depth of the territory, the area from, let's say, Pula to Balka [phoen],
24 Kotorska, or even further down to Ulcinj. This is where the navy units
25 of the JNA were deployed.
1 Q. Okay. And just to define terms, is "military maritime district"
3 THE INTERPRETER: [French spoken]
4 A. I also defined the military naval district. It was a unit of the
5 JNA, which stood side by side with the army, the land army. It was one
6 branch of the JNA.
7 Q. Okay. I'm sorry if I threw you off there, sir. I started to get
8 French interpretation in my ear, and I think maybe some other folks did
9 as well. Let me just -- so there's no confusion on the record, is the
10 term "military maritime district" the same as "naval district"? That's
11 the simple question.
12 A. A military naval district is a military unit, and this does not
13 imply a territorial area but a military area or a military definition
14 thereof. Just like you have the army as a branch of the military
15 referring to the infantry, you also have a naval district, which implies
16 certain military units, and each of these military units had its zone of
17 responsibility in professional and military terms. This is what I mean.
18 Q. And how did the 8th maritime sector fit into the district? Was
19 it a component of that district, I take it?
20 A. The 8th maritime sector was a unit which was a part of the naval
21 military district, a unit which consisted of naval forces and infantry or
22 land forces. In organisational terms, it was a unit of the naval
23 military district as a whole.
24 Q. Okay. And so just to be clear, when Colonel Beara was one of
25 your superior officers, he was assistant/deputy chief of the security
1 organ for the district or for the sector?
2 A. District.
3 Q. And also while you were assigned to the 8th maritime sector, I
4 think you testified that General Tolimir was also assigned there, and
5 what exactly was his position at that time?
6 A. I did not testify that General Tolimir was in the sector. He was
7 in the naval military district if we are talking about the time when I
8 first met him, which was sometime in 1985. At the time, he was the chief
9 of the counterintelligence group in the naval military district. Later
10 on, he became the chief of the security department of the Knin corps.
11 That corps, as well, was one part of the naval military district.
12 Q. Okay. You mentioned during your evidence-in-chief that at this
13 time Beara was superior to Tolimir. Can you just explain to the Trial
14 Chamber how -- why that was?
15 A. Well, I just said that Tolimir was the chief of the
16 counterintelligence group at the time, and when he discharged those
17 duties his superior was Naval Captain Beara. Later, when General Tolimir
18 was re-assigned to work in the 9th corps, again, Beara was his boss
19 because the 9th corps was also an element of the naval military district.
20 Q. Okay. So in other words, there's nothing unusual about that;
21 it's just the way it was?
22 A. Yes. That's how things were at the time.
23 Q. And when did General Tolimir become security chief for the Knin
24 corps? Do you remember? Just the year would be enough.
25 A. I can't tell you that because I don't remember the year. I know
1 that in 1991, or rather, in 1992 when I first joined the corps he was
2 there. I beginning that -- he was re-assigned at the beginning of war,
3 but I'm sure that he was already there in 1992. Actually, I'm sure that
4 he was there towards the end of 1991 and the beginning of 1992.
5 Q. And now, moving to the Main Staff, do you have any idea when
6 General Tolimir moved to the Main Staff? Just a year, again.
7 A. Again, I can't give you the exact date. I suppose that this was
8 at the moment when the Army Republika Srpska was first established. I
9 actually established a link; I put a link between these two events.
10 Q. Okay. So in any case, Colonel Beara arrived at the Main Staff
11 after General Tolimir?
12 A. Correct. That is correct, sir, yes.
13 Q. Now, at some point, sir, the security organs were separated from
14 the intelligence organs. Do you recall what year that was,
16 A. That was in the course of 1993. That's when Naval Captain Beara
17 was appointed chief of the security administration. Before that, there
18 was a vacancy for that position, and I believe that it was then that the
19 sector for intelligence and security was also established. Up to then,
20 these two functions or positions were merged in the person of one organ.
21 Q. And then subsequently, they were separated for the remainder of
22 the war?
23 A. Yes. How shall I put it? I'm trying to find the right word, if
24 you will just bear with me. They were separated, actually. There was a
25 change in the structure of the intelligence and the security system of
1 the Republika Srpska army.
2 Q. Okay. Well, just to save a little time in the 20 minutes we've
3 got left, before the two organs were separated, you told us that you
4 remembered the following people being assigned as the security and
5 intelligence department chiefs. This is before they were separated. In
6 the 1st Krajina Corps, you recalled a person named Stevilovic, who was
7 then succeeded by someone named Bogajevic. Do you recall that, sir?
8 A. I have not received the full interpretation of your question,
9 sir. I'm sorry.
10 Q. Okay. We were having a staring contest, so I was wondering if
11 you had. Do you recall telling us and identifying from your recollection
12 who the various security and intelligence department chiefs were before
13 they were separated?
14 A. I remember.
15 Q. And in the 1st Krajina Corps, you identified a -- someone named
16 Stevilovic, who was then succeeded by someone named Bogajevic. Do you
17 remember that?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You identified yourself in the 2nd Krajina corps, and in the
20 Sarajevo-Romanija corps, you identified Marko Lugonja. Do you remember
22 A. I believe that this is down to misinterpretation. You asked me
23 whether I remember that. I named myself as the organ in the 2nd Krajina
24 Corps, and Lugonja, Marko, was in the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, yes.
25 Q. In the Eastern Bosnia corps, it was Milenko Todorovic, and in the
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And then when the split came, they all stayed as security chiefs,
4 and other people took on the intelligence chief role. Is that also
6 A. Correct, yes.
7 Q. Now, as a corps command officer, you became familiar with members
8 of the Main Staff command, is that fair to say, although you never served
9 on the Main Staff.
10 A. Yes. I knew nearly all the generals who served on the Main Staff
11 and some colonels, of course.
12 Q. And when you were asked during your interview about the origin of
13 the Main Staff, do you recall identifying the following officers, Main
14 Staff officers who came to your mind: General Mladic, General
15 Milovanovic, General Tolimir, General Gvero, General Djukic, and General
17 A. Yes, I remember that I said that.
18 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Could the page of the interview
19 please be put on the screen.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Mr. Thayer.
21 MR. THAYER: Sure. It's page 20.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Page 20.
23 MR. THAYER: But I don't have any further questions on this
24 issue, so...
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, but maybe Madam Fauveau still wishes to see
1 it. All right. Can we proceed? Okay, we can proceed then. Thank you.
2 MR. THAYER:
3 Q. Now, with respect to Colonel Beara, you said in your interview
4 with the OTP that since Colonel Beara used to be General Tolimir's boss
5 and since Colonel Beara knew General Mladic, it was only natural that he
6 became involved in the Main Staff activities. Do you remember telling us
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What can you tell the Trial Chamber about the relationship
10 between Colonel Beara and General Mladic?
11 A. I think that General Mladic and Colonel Beara knew each other
12 from the military naval district because General Mladic was for a time
13 the Chief of Staff of the Knin Corps, which was part of the military
14 naval district, and later on he was the commander of that corps. I think
15 that their acquaintance started there.
16 Q. And how would you describe the nature of their relationship in
17 terms of professionally and how they got along? Can you give the Trial
18 Chamber some more idea of the depth, nature of that relationship?
19 A. Your Honours, it was a superior/subordinate relationship before
20 everything else.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nikolic.
22 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] I think this calls for speculation.
23 How could the witness know about the relations between two other men?
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Of course, he could. If he doesn't, he will tell
25 us. I mean ... Yes. In any case, you had started giving your answer
1 saying that it was a superior subordinate relationship before everything
2 else, and then after that, what was it?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct, Your Honour. I
4 consider that their relationship was primarily of that nature in their
5 contacts. As to their personal relationship, I assume it was good, but
6 whether or not they were friends and so on, I couldn't tell you. I
7 think, however, that they were on good terms.
8 MR. THAYER:
9 Q. And how about the relationship, and the same questions as I've
10 just been asking you, between Colonel Beara and General Tolimir?
11 A. Well, for a time Naval Captain Beara was superior to Tolimir, and
12 in wartime it was the other way around. They worked together in the
13 service for many years, and the fact that Tolimir became Beara's superior
14 I think did not impair their professional relationship. Such things do
15 happen in the military, especially in wartime. Tolimir was promoted
16 before Beara and appointed to that duty because he arrived before Beara
17 did. Beara arrived later on, and he accepted the situation. He accepted
18 the fact that Tolimir was now his superior.
19 Q. And beyond that professional superior/subordinate relationship,
20 what can you tell the Trial Chamber about their personal relationship?
21 A. To the best of my knowledge, their personal relationship was
22 correct, maybe even friendly. In my contacts with both of them, I did
23 not notice any misunderstandings or anything that would disrupt their
25 Q. Now, I just want to show you a document and just ask you a quick
1 question about it before we break, and if you know anything about the
2 subject matter, please say so. If you don't, that's okay as well. May
3 we have 65 ter 3516, please, and I can tell you this was seized from the
4 Croatian Ministry of Defence in 1998. And if we could look at page 6 of
5 the document, please, in B/C/S.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nikolic?
7 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] We have an objection to this
8 document because this is biographical data not supported by relevant
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Wait, wait, wait. If you are going to give reasons
11 for your objection, you will -- particularly the kind of reasons that you
12 have just mentioned, I cannot let you say that or explain that in the
13 presence of the witness. So we have two options. Either we give the
14 pay-off to the witness and send him to the hotel, and we hear what you
15 have to say, and then we continue tomorrow; or else we adjourn until
16 tomorrow straightaway if you need consultation time. It's up to you.
17 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] We can be very brief. The witness
18 can leave, and we can put forward our arguments very briefly.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Could you kindly leave the courtroom,
21 No, no. He is leaving and just staying outside for the time
22 being because he said his intervention is very short. It's 5 to -- I
23 mean, I think we can safely send him back. One moment, go back.
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Mr. Mitrovic, we are going to stop here for
1 the day. It has been very tiring for everyone, and I thank you very much
2 for your patience with us. We'll continue tomorrow in the afternoon. In
3 the meantime, have a good rest, and I'm sure we'll finish tomorrow within
4 an hour or so. Thank you. You were also given an advisory not to
5 discuss with anyone, not to talk to anyone or discuss with anyone the
6 subject matter of your testimony between now and tomorrow. It's a very
7 strict order.
8 He said something, but his microphone, is it switched on or
9 switched off?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I understand your
11 warning, and I also wish you a good rest until tomorrow.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
13 [The witness stands down]
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nikolic, very briefly, please.
15 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. First of all, the OTP
16 has stated that this documentation was something they obtained in 1998,
17 but it was disclosed to us only when witness Medic testified, although
18 this documentation was not produced at the time. So that's one
20 The second objection I wish to put forward is that in this
21 document there are incorrect details contrary to what witness Medic
22 testified about as an investigating judge concerning the detention of
23 Colonel Beara in connection with the incident we discussed when witness
24 Medic testified. It would be logical for the OTP to adduce along with
25 this the documentation which will prove that the situation was the way
1 it's described here. There is documentation concerning this event, which
2 in the course of the testimony of that witness we discussed here in this
3 courtroom. Thank you.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic. Mr. Thayer?
5 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you need this document desperately, or can you
7 use the information that you have in there without using the document?
8 That's my first question to you.
9 MR. THAYER: I could quite literally just repeat the language
10 that's in the document. I mean it's -- as I think I mentioned, it was
11 just one quick question about one paragraph on the second page about him
12 being picked up by -- personally by Generals Mladic and Tolimir on a
13 certain occasion. I just wanted to ask if he knows anything about that.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So anyway -- I mean, because that's my
15 hunch, but anyway, I will -- yes, Mr. Ostojic.
16 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you. Yeah, I know we're running out of time,
17 but we really object to the late disclosure.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: We are also -- not only running out of time, but we
19 are also violating the usual rule that one voice is enough.
20 MR. OSTOJIC: And your exception --
21 JUDGE AGIUS: But it's Monday, 7 o'clock in the evening, and you
22 have our permission. Come on.
23 MR. OSTOJIC: I have it as Tuesday, and thank you.
24 Mr. President, it's the late disclosure. Ten years --
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Tuesday, sorry.
1 MR. OSTOJIC: -- ten years from when they seized the documents.
2 Since we've been in on this case, they have not produced the document
3 which clearly has Mr. Beara's name on it and his biography. We would
4 just like an explanation why we weren't given this document through the
5 course of the trial as well as the pretrial phrase. Thank you.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, but that's another matter. It may not
7 necessarily relate to its admissibility in evidence.
8 So anyway, we'll let you fight this out between now and tomorrow
9 morning and tomorrow afternoon, until which time we stand adjourned.
10 Thank you.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.
12 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 3rd day of
13 September, 2008, at 2:15 p.m.