1 Wednesday, 1 October 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: So good afternoon everybody, and good afternoon to
7 you, Madam Registrar. Could you call the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon Your Honours. Good afternoon,
9 everyone. This is case IT-05-88-T, The Prosecutor versus Vujadin
10 Popovic, et al.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, ma'am. For the record, all the accused
12 are present. Prosecution is represented only by -- today only by
13 Mr. Thayer, I understand Mr. McCloskey won't be with us today and
14 tomorrow but possibly on Friday.
15 Amongst the Defence teams I notice the absence of Mr. Nikolic and
16 Mr. Josse and Mr. Haynes, am I right? And Mr. Petrusic is not here as
17 well. Okay.
18 Good afternoon, to you, Mr. Gavric.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: And as presiding judge, I welcome you to this
21 Tribunal. You've been summoned by the Nikolic Defence team as one of the
22 witnesses. Our rules require that before you start giving evidence, you
23 make a solemn declaration that you will be testifying the truth in the
24 course of your evidence. Madam usher has already given you the text of
25 the solemn declaration, please read it out aloud and that will be your
1 solemn undertaking with us.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
3 speak the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Gavric, please make yourself
5 comfortable. Take a seat.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Bourgon will be putting some questions to you.
8 He will then be followed by others on cross-examination. Mr. Bourgon.
9 WITNESS: MICO GAVRIC
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 Examination by Mr. Bourgon:
12 Q. Good afternoon Mr. President. Good afternoon judges, good
13 afternoon colleagues. Good afternoon, sir.
14 A. Good afternoon.
15 Q. For the record, allow me to introduce myself, my name is Stephane
16 Bourgon, along with my colleagues Ms. Jelena Nikolic and Ms. Marie-Claude
17 Fournie we represent Drago Nikolic in these proceedings. Before we begin
18 I would like to remind you of two things. The first one is I would have
19 quite a few questions to ask you today, and I want to make sure if you do
20 not understand any of my questions that you do not hesitate to stop me so
21 I can take that question over again. Do you understand that?
22 A. Yes, I do.
23 Q. And the second thing is I would ask simply to cooperate with the
24 interpreters and allow them to do their work, that you always wait until
25 I finish my question before you provide me with any answer. You
1 understand that?
2 A. I do.
3 Q. Then we are ready to begin.
4 Please state your name in full for the record?
5 A. Mico Gavric.
6 Q. What is your date of birth, and how old are you?
7 A. I was born on the 15th of September 1957. I'm 51 years old.
8 Q. And where were you born, sir?
9 A. The village of Obradici
10 Q. Sir, before the war, what was your occupation?
11 A. I was a mining technician.
12 Q. Did you work in any specific place?
13 A. Yes, I did. I worked in the zinc mine called Sase in Srebrenica.
14 Q. And today, sir, what is your occupation?
15 A. I am a private entrepreneur.
16 Q. And which area do you work, area means what type of work is your
17 business in?
18 A. I live in Bratunac where my company is. I do wood processing.
19 Q. And do you have any employees in your company, and if so, how
21 A. Yes, I do. There are 35 permanently employed people, and 15
23 Q. And, sir, did you before the war have any service in the JNA?
24 A. Yes, I did.
25 Q. Can you share with us where and what you did in the JNA before
1 the war?
2 A. I completed the reserve officer's school. My specialty is ground
4 Q. And how long were you at the -- you said the reserve officer's
5 school, how long were you in that school?
6 A. Seven months.
7 Q. And following this seven months, did you continue serving with
8 the JNA, or was that it?
9 A. Upon completion of the course after seven months, I was first
10 sent to the 3rd Guard's Regiment of the 1st army. I taught firing and
11 targeting for seven months at the reserve officer's school in Pozarevac.
12 Q. I'm not sure that you did mention this, but what year was this?
13 A. I began serving the term in 1978 and returned home on the 2nd of
14 November 1979.
15 Q. Thank you. Now, I understand that during the war you were
16 mobilised in the VRS; is that correct?
17 A. Yes, it is.
18 Q. And also, I think this is not in dispute, that you were a member
19 of the Bratunac Brigade?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And what did you do in the Bratunac Brigade?
22 A. From the 14th of November 1992 when the brigade was formed, I was
23 appointed chief of artillery in the Bratunac Brigade.
24 Q. And did you continue in that same position until the end of the
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And, sir, what was your rank in July of 1995?
3 A. Captain.
4 Q. And did you wear actually rank insignias on your uniform?
5 A. I frequently did, but on occasion I did not.
6 Q. Can you share with us what occasions or in which occasions you
7 would not wear your rank?
8 A. If we were to be engaged in combat, especially during the night,
9 it was then that I did not wear any insignia.
10 Q. Sir, who was your commander in July of 1995?
11 A. Colonel Blagojevic.
12 Q. Sir, before I start to ask you some specific questions about the
13 events which took place in the war, I'd like to ask you this: Is this
14 the first time that you testified before this Tribunal?
15 A. No.
16 Q. In what case or cases have you testified before?
17 A. The Colonel Blagojevic and Lieutenant Jokic case.
18 Q. Who called you to testify at that time?
19 A. I believe the attorney's name was Karnavas.
20 Q. Was that with the Prosecution or the Defence?
21 A. As far as I know, he was a member of Defence.
22 Q. And prior to your testimony in that case, did you have the
23 opportunity to meet with the Prosecution?
24 A. Yes, I did.
25 Q. And when was that, if you remember?
1 A. I believe it was on the 27th or the 28th of November 2001 in
2 Banja Luka.
3 Q. Do you recall if this interview was recorded?
4 A. As far as I recall, it was recorded.
5 Q. And did the Prosecution ever indicate that they were interested
6 in calling you as a witness?
7 A. I was there in the capacity of a witness. I don't know what
8 their future intentions may have been.
9 Q. Maybe, sir, my question was not precise. Did the Prosecution
10 ever indicate to you that they would like to call you as a witness in a
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And when you met with the Prosecution, do you remember what they
14 were interested in from you, what information they wished to discuss with
16 A. When I met with the Prosecution, they were interested in the
17 period of July 1995, and Srebrenica in particular.
18 Q. And, sir, in the end, did you ever testify for the Prosecution?
19 A. I did not. It was cancelled at the last moment.
20 Q. Can you explain us, did you take any steps or were you about to
21 testify or when was it that this was cancelled?
22 A. As far as I can remember, it was probably in February 2004 in the
23 Major Obrenovic case. I was called. I handed over my passport and a
24 visa was supposed to be issued. I was scheduled to fly in two day's
25 time. However, at the last moment, around 3.50 in the afternoon, I
1 received a phone call from the Prosecutor's Office, I presume. I was
2 told that I no longer needed to appear and that Major Obrenovic had
3 reached an agreement with the Tribunal.
4 Q. I'd like now to move on and to focus on the days following the
5 fall of Srebrenica in July of 1995. Sir, do you remember this period in
7 A. Yes, I do.
8 Q. And shortly after the fall of Srebrenica, do you recall having to
9 go to the Zvornik area for an assignment?
10 A. Yes, I do.
11 Q. And do you remember what was -- on what date you went to the
12 Zvornik area?
13 A. Yes, I do. It was between the 14th and the 15th of July 1995.
14 Q. And, sir, how do you remember this date with so much precision?
15 A. For the first time during my service, it happened that I had to
16 refuse an order to my brigade commander. That was one thing. Another
17 thing was that I was supposed to go to a certain area with my soldiers
18 and on our way there, we would have been put in danger. I was supposed
19 to go there with a unit that had been trained in artillery rather than in
20 infantry weapons.
21 Q. So, sir, can you share with us what happened when you received
22 this assignment from, I believe you received it from your commander?
23 A. Yes. On the 14th around midnight
24 resting at my family home. They told me that I was supposed to go to the
25 command on the brigade commander's orders, Colonel Blagojevic. I got
1 ready quickly and arrived at the brigade command to the duty operation
2 officer's room. I encountered Lieutenant-Colonel Blagojevic there as
3 well as Major Dragan Trisic. He told me that he was ordered to send a
4 unit to the area of Zvornik to the Zvornik Brigade for assistance. He
5 decided that it was my unit that was to be sent. I flatly refused. I
6 said that my unit was not intended for infantry combat. I also said that
7 my unit had been trained to engage in combat by using artillery pieces
8 alone. He did not show much understanding, but I wouldn't budge. It was
9 a difficult conversation.
10 At a certain point, Dragan Trisic moved away and then returned
11 trying to exert some more pressure, and I said yes, I will go, but I want
12 a written order. He said well, I can't and then I said, I can't go. It
13 took a while and at a later point I said, I will go but I want to know
14 when my replacement will come. He said, I guarantee that you will be
15 replaced tomorrow before noon
16 go, and I said, I can't go there with my unit at this hour, especially
17 knowing that there were large enemy soldier groups breaking through along
18 that axis and that there is always a good chance of us being attacked on
19 our way there.
20 That was one thing. Another thing, I was supposed to go to a
21 unit the area of which I was not familiar with. I don't know who was to
22 my left and to my right. There were also many other reasons due to which
23 I refused to get into that.
24 Q. In the end, sir, did you finally accept the task from your
25 commander, and did you get that written order?
1 A. Not in writing. I did accept to go, following the brigade
2 commander's explanation that he was to send the replacements by tomorrow
4 Q. Sir, did your commander inform you who he had received the order
5 from to send a unit to the Zvornik area?
6 A. Yes, from a superior command. I presume the corps command.
7 Q. And, sir, is it normal in the military to ask for a written
8 order, as you did?
9 A. It is not customary, but I had good reasons and arguments on my
10 side. There was this chance of us being ambushed along the way. I might
11 survive it, but then I would have to go back to a community, to an
12 environment alive, whereas the rest would have been dead. That was my
14 Q. So, sir, what steps did you take in order to execute or to
15 perform this task?
16 A. When I accepted the order, I called my unit commanders and
17 ordered that a number of people should be left behind to secure firing
18 positions. The rest of the soldiers were to pick up their equipment and
19 personal weapons and show up in front of the brigade command in order to
20 go on a mission.
21 Q. And what happened then, sir?
22 A. In a very short time my officers brought the howitzer and
23 122-millimetre cannon crews, they were in front of the brigade command
24 and a bus awaited us there.
25 Q. What kind of bus was this, sir?
1 A. It was a civilian bus for passenger traffic.
2 Q. What time was it when you boarded the bus to be on your way
3 towards Zvornik?
4 A. I think around 12.30.
5 Q. Did your men keep their weapons with them while they were on the
7 A. Yes, they did. When we boarded the bus, I told them that they
8 should have their weapons loaded because we can be easily ambushed.
9 Q. So, sir, did anything particular happen on the way or on the road
10 between Bratunac and Zvornik?
11 A. On our way from Bratunac towards Zvornik, some 2 kilometres from
12 Bratunac, a part of our unit awaited us. It was the B1 cannon battery
13 crew. They boarded the bus as well and we continued towards Zvornik.
14 Q. And, sir, how many men did you take with you all together, if you
16 A. Around 40 men.
17 Q. And at what time did you arrive at the Zvornik Brigade?
18 A. Around 1.30.
19 Q. Sir, had you been to the Zvornik Brigade before?
20 A. No, I had not.
21 Q. And, sir, what happened when you arrived at the Zvornik Brigade?
22 Can you describe exactly what happened when you arrived?
23 A. We arrived in front of the command building of the Zvornik
24 Brigade. We parked the bus. I got off and went to the military police
25 reception office where there were two MPs.
1 Q. And did you introduce yourself, or what did you do with these
3 A. Yes, I did. I introduced myself and that I was to report to the
4 Zvornik Brigade command. At that point one of the MPs picked up the
5 phone. Having completed that conversation, he told me that we were to go
6 together to see the duty officer.
7 Q. Sir, at this point I would like to show you a picture. If I can
8 have in e-court, please, 3D501. I would ask you, sir, to look at the
9 picture that will appear in front of you, and to tell me if you recognise
10 what is in this picture.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And what is it?
13 A. This is the former command of the Zvornik Brigade.
14 Q. Sir --
15 A. To be more precise, the perimeter of the Zvornik Brigade.
16 Q. Sir, do you see on this picture the place where you went in where
17 you met those two military policemen?
18 A. Yes. I can see the reception office on the right-hand side. I
19 believe that a lady's figure is depicted there in this photo.
20 Q. Now, I will now ask the court usher to provide you with a pen so
21 that you can mark this picture. This is a special kind of pen, sir, that
22 allows you to make markings on the screen in front of you. What I would
23 like you to do is to write the number 1 where you went in to see those
24 two military policemen.
25 A. [Marks].
1 Q. And, sir, can you sign at the bottom of this picture, and write
2 the date, please.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Thank you. We won't be needing this picture anymore. If we can
5 save it in e-court, please.
6 Sir, before I showed you this picture, you said that one of the
7 military policemen told you that we were to go together to see the duty
8 officer. Describe to us what happened.
9 A. When the MP told me that he was to escort me, we went together to
10 see the duty officer at the command of the Zvornik Brigade.
11 Q. So where did he take you?
12 A. He took me to the first floor in the building to the right from
13 the reception office, and he took me to the first office on the
14 right-hand side where the office of the duty officer was.
15 Q. And who did you meet there, sir?
16 A. As I entered the room, I found duty officer or his deputy there,
17 and it is only logical that it was his deputy.
18 Q. And why would that be, sir?
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Exactly. It's not clear. He needs to clarify
21 MR. BOURGON:
22 Q. Sir, you heard the comment from the Presiding Judge. The
23 question is, was it the duty officer or the deputy duty officer, and how
24 did you figure that out, if you did?
25 A. It would be logical that the assistant duty officer is on duty
1 after midnight
2 is a rule that was applied everywhere in the former JNA.
3 Q. And did the person you meet who was on duty introduce himself?
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Bourgon, it's still not clear. The previous
5 question which I found unclear was, "And who did you meet there," and he
6 answered, "As I entered the room I found duty officer or his deputy
7 there, and it's only logical that it was his deputy."
8 Now, having heard him reply to your second question, it's
9 important that one ties it up to the time frame when he went into this
10 office. But then, if you read his answer, at least as we have it in the
11 transcript, it would mean that it would have been the duty officer -- he
12 says it is would be logical that the assistant duty officer is on duty
13 after midnight
14 time it was before midnight
16 MR. BOURGON: I will clarify, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: If it was after midnight then it would be the duty
18 officer and not his deputy. This is how one reads his answer to your
19 second question.
20 MR. BOURGON: I thank you for your comments, Mr. President, and
21 I'll clarify this, yes.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: If you just clarify if with the witness. That's
24 MR. BOURGON:
25 Q. Sir, in that room where you went in, how many persons were there?
1 A. There was just one officer or commissioned officer in that room.
2 I did not see him wearing any insignia on his uniform.
3 Q. And did you confirm whether it was the duty officer or the deputy
4 duty officer?
5 A. This was the room where duty officer was on duty until 2400
6 hours, and after 2400 hours until the following morning, it was the
7 assistant duty officer who would be on duty in that same room.
8 Q. Thank you, sir. But did you establish who was there? Do you
9 know for a fact if it was the duty officer or the assistant duty officer?
10 A. I can only assume that it was the deputy, judging by my previous
11 experience, but I can't be sure of that because the person did not
12 introduce himself to me as either the duty officer or his assistant.
13 Q. And did that person give you his name?
14 A. I suppose he did, but as you will understand, none of us will
15 really retain the name of the person when we first hear it.
16 Q. And what did he military policeman who was with you, what did he
17 do at that time?
18 A. The MP returned immediately. I suppose that he went back to his
19 duty post.
20 Q. And what did you tell the person on duty?
21 A. I introduced myself, and I told him that I had arrived on the
22 order of Colonel Blagojevic and that I was supposed to report to the
23 commander of the Zvornik Brigade.
24 Q. And what was his answer?
25 A. He told me that Major Obrenovic was asleep.
1 Q. And how did you react to that, sir?
2 A. I told him that I was supposed to report to the brigade commander
3 and that he should be informed of my arrival because I had arrived on the
4 order of my superior officer.
5 Q. And what happened next?
6 A. He left the office and did not return for the next five minutes.
7 Q. And when he returned, sir, did he tell you anything?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What did he say?
10 A. He said that I should take my unit into the compound and to
11 billet them in one of the rooms and to be at ready until further notice.
12 Q. Sir, did you know at that time who was acting as the commander of
13 the Zvornik Brigade?
14 A. I knew it at the time because Colonel Blagojevic had told me that
15 it would be Obrenovic down there when I arrived there.
16 Q. And did you know personally Obrenovic?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you know which position he held?
19 A. I know that he was their Chief of Staff on the eve of Operation
21 Q. And did your commander tell you any reason why he sent you to the
22 Chief of Staff?
23 A. He told me that we were to expect a major onslaught of the Muslim
24 forces from Tuzla
25 units in Zvornik.
1 Q. I apologise, sir, my question was not clear. You said two things
2 in your testimony that I would like to clarify. You said that you had
3 been -- that you wanted to see the commander of the brigade, but you said
4 that Colonel Blagojevic sent you to see Obrenovic who you know to be the
5 Chief of Staff. How do you reconcile the two?
6 A. I suppose you did not understand me well. I said that I'm
7 supposed to report to the brigade commander because it is only logical
8 that if my officer had ordered me to report to the brigade commander,
9 that's who I was supposed to report to. However, at the time I was aware
10 of the operation in Srebrenica and I was aware of the fact that the
11 commander was engaged in Srebrenica and I also knew that Obrenovic by
12 establishment was acting as the brigade commander at the time.
13 Q. Sir, did you know Dragan Obrenovic personally, I mean, what he
14 looked like physically?
15 A. He was somewhat taller than me and he was dark.
16 Q. Could you have recognised him if you saw him?
17 A. Yes. I heard that he had been a good commander in the Posavina
18 theatre in Croatia
19 Q. Sir, based on the information you obtained that night, where did
20 you think that Obrenovic was at the time?
21 A. I could conclude from various pieces of information that
22 Obrenovic was in his office, probably resting.
23 Q. And, sir, did you find it unusual that he did not get up to greet
25 A. I did not find it unusual. It was his free estimate when he
1 could rest, as far as I could see it. And if the situation had been
2 different, if we had to be engaged immediately, I'm sure that he would
3 have gotten up and he would have issued orders himself.
4 Q. So what did you do after this encounter with the person on duty?
5 A. The gentleman told me to go back to the reception office, to take
6 my men and to take them to certain buildings and to give them some time
7 to rest, but also to be prepared for action.
8 Q. So tell us where you went at that time and exactly what you did.
9 A. I returned towards the reception office where I was awaited by
10 the same MP who took me to the duty officer. He made it possible for the
11 bus to enter the compound, and when the bus entered the compound, I
12 ordered my soldiers to take their personal gear and weapons and together
13 we headed for one of the rooms after the same MP who was leading us
14 there. We were billeted in a room that looked like a storage with a big
15 door. This is where we stayed until further notice.
16 Q. Sir, in your last answer you say that the military policeman made
17 it possible for the bus to enter the compound. How did he do this?
18 A. As I was walking towards the MP, I'm sure that the duty officer
19 had called the MP and ordered him to lift the barrier for the bus to
20 enter the compound, and I'm sure also that he had told him where to
21 billet us.
22 Q. And, sir, once the bus entered the compound, where did it go
23 inside the compound for your men to exit the bus?
24 A. We entered through the main gate, past the reception office.
25 Q. And how far inside the compound did you go before your men exited
1 the bus?
2 A. I don't understand your question.
3 Q. I am sorry, I'll try to clarify. Once the bus goes in the
4 barracks, where did it go inside the barracks before the men got off the
6 A. There's so much room in front of the reception space that a bus
7 can turn around without much manoeuvring.
8 Q. Now, it's my turn not to understand.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Is it important?
10 MR. BOURGON: I think so, Mr. President. I think that we need to
11 know where the men left the bus.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Right. If it is important, proceed. Otherwise,
13 let's move to your next question.
14 MR. BOURGON:
15 Q. Did the bus drive far inside before the men left the bus? That's
16 all I want to know, sir.
17 A. When the bus entered the compound and when it was in, it stopped
18 and we exited. I'm talking about 10 to 15 metres, the length of the bus.
19 And as soon as we got off, we continued walking towards the room where we
20 would be billeted.
21 Q. Thank you, sir. What did you tell your men as they exited the
22 bus, if anything?
23 A. I told them that we would be taken to a room where we would rest,
24 that we should remain at ready and that we would be probably be engaged
25 if the situation so required.
1 Q. And once the bus was empty, where did it go?
2 A. The bus went back to Bratunac.
3 Q. And, sir, what did your men do during that night?
4 A. Most slept in the room, and some left the room and remained
5 outside. They were talking, smoking, chatting.
6 Q. And you personally, what did you do during that night?
7 A. I was sitting in front of the room where the rest of my troops
8 were resting. I was with the group that was chatting and smoking.
9 Q. And, sir, did you sleep at all that night?
10 A. No.
11 Q. And did you see any vehicles coming in or out of the brigade
12 during the night?
13 A. No.
14 Q. And did you see any other buses anywhere else in the barracks
15 compound that night?
16 A. No.
17 Q. And did you see any prisoners that night?
18 A. No.
19 Q. And during the time you spent at the Zvornik Brigade, did you
20 meet with anyone else, and if so, when and who?
21 A. In the morning around half past 8.00, a group of my soldiers
22 together with me went towards the reception room. I encountered a
23 soldier who wore military overall. He was well groomed, nicely dressed.
24 Q. And what did this man tell you, if anything?
25 A. That soldier told me to give him my men to accompany him on a
1 mission of his.
2 Q. And did you accept?
3 A. No.
4 Q. And why not? And how did this take place?
5 A. I answered him that he couldn't have my soldiers because I was
6 responsible for them and I did not have the approval of the commander to
7 lend my troops to anybody else. We engaged in a somewhat serious
8 exchange of arguments which could have turned into an incident at any
9 moment. And at one point Drago Nikolic appeared on the left-hand side.
10 I believe that he was the security officer in that Zvornik Brigade. And
11 Dusko Nikolic was also with him. He was a military policeman in the
12 Zvornik Brigade. He was a colleague of mine, the latter was.
13 Q. And did they take part in that discussion you had with this man?
14 A. Yes, both sided up with me. Dule was very harsh and gave the man
15 a piece of his mind, so the man realised that he had made a mistake.
16 Q. So what did this man do following this heated discussion that you
18 A. I don't know where he went next. Dule, Drago, and I remained
19 there. We actually turned towards the reception room, and there we
20 talked, we reminisced on our experiences and Dule took out a pistol, 7.62
21 that had he confiscated on a mountain from the Muslim army. We had a few
22 laughs, we talked about our former experiences because the three of us
23 went to elementary school together.
24 Q. And, sir, this young man and well groomed that you met and that
25 you had this discussion with, do you know who he was, or did you know at
1 the time who he was, sorry?
2 A. No.
3 Q. And did you later confirm who he was?
4 A. I only assumed that this was the notorious Lukic but I can't be
5 sure of that because nobody referred to him by his name or address him,
6 so I can only suppose that that was the man.
7 Q. Was this man wearing a rank at the time?
8 A. No. I have already told you that he wore an overall without any
9 insignia on it. I couldn't see any.
10 Q. And did Drago Nikolic or Dusa Nikolic tell you who he was at the
12 A. Had they known, I'm sure that they would have told me or at least
13 they would have addressed him by his name, or at least Dule would have
14 while he had the heated exchange with him.
15 Q. And, sir, did it appear to you that Dusa Nikolic or Drago Nikolic
16 in fact issued an order to this man?
17 A. No.
18 Q. And what time was it, sir, when all this happened?
19 A. I believe that it could have been any time between half past 8.00
20 and 9.00 or maybe to be even more precise, it was around 20 to 9.00.
21 Q. And sir, you mentioned that Dusan Nikolic was a schoolmate of
22 yours. What else did you know about Dusan Nikolic?
23 A. I knew everything. We went to school in Kravica together,
24 together with Dragan Nikolic, we completed elementary education together.
25 Dule then enrolled in the construction school then went to reside in
2 operations started in 1992 he returned to his home town, actually to
3 Zvornik, and that's how he joined the Zvornik Brigade.
4 Q. How about Drago Nikolic, how much did you know Drago Nikolic at
5 the time?
6 A. We knew each other because we went to elementary school together
7 for eight years. After that Drago completed the military secondary
8 school in Sarajevo
9 each other at gatherings.
10 Q. And did you notice that morning how Drago Nikolic was dressed?
11 A. You mean in the Zvornik Brigade?
12 Q. During when you saw him that morning.
13 A. Yes, he was well dressed, nicely groomed, clean shaved. He
14 always made sure that he was nicely dressed and well groomed and that was
15 the case that morning as well.
16 Q. And, sir, was your unit given an assignment at the Zvornik
17 Brigade that morning?
18 A. No, it was not.
19 Q. So what happened?
20 A. We did not receive any assignment.
21 Q. So what did you do, and what happened?
22 A. Around 10.30 I was by the gate. Major Dragan Eskic appeared. He
23 was the personnel officer at the Bratunac Brigade. He was followed by
24 Zoran Kovacevic. Major Eskic approached and said that Colonel Blagojevic
25 sent replacements. I welcomed that news and I accepted the replacements.
1 Q. So what did you do -- what did you and your troops do at that
3 A. I returned immediately to the room where some of the soldiers
4 were. I ordered that they pick up their weapons and equipment and start
5 boarding the bus.
6 Q. And where did you go with the bus?
7 A. Once on the bus we went towards Bratunac.
8 Q. Now, before leaving with your men to Bratunac, did you speak to
9 Obrenovic before leaving?
10 A. I did not, no.
11 Q. Did you return to see the duty officer?
12 A. There was no need. Since the replacements came, I believe that
13 the person in charge of them was supposed to go to see him and receive
14 his orders, and I was supposed to return to my brigade commander.
15 Q. Now, sir, if that morning you had received a tasking from the
16 Zvornik Brigade, what would you have expected to happen? How would this
17 have taken place?
18 A. Had there been any need for us in the area of responsibility of
19 the Zvornik Brigade, I would have been summoned to the brigade command.
20 There the commander would be supposed to issue oral orders and
21 assignments, and then I would have to be taken to the area of
22 responsibility of the unit that I was supposed to assist.
23 Q. And what kind of information would you expect to have received in
24 such a briefing, based on your experience?
25 A. I would certainly be seen by the brigade commander. He would
1 issue the tasks and orders personally. He would tell me what we were
2 supposed to do in that direction, and from what direction we could expect
3 the enemy to appear. He would also probably choose an officer who would
4 escort me to the area of responsibility of any of the battalions of the
5 Zvornik Brigade.
6 Q. Now, sir, going back to just the time before you left, did you
7 speak with those two men who came from the Bratunac Brigade? I'm talking
8 about the two men you spoke with, I think you mentioned the names Eskic
9 and Kovacevic?
10 A. We spoke briefly, as I said. I talked to Major Eskic who told me
11 that he brought another unit that was supposed to replace my unit on
12 Colonel Blagojevic's orders.
13 Q. And did you see how many men were with them?
14 A. I did not.
15 Q. What time did you arrive in Bratunac on that day?
16 A. I think around 12.00 or 12.30.
17 Q. And what happened once you returned to Bratunac? Were you given
18 another assignment?
19 A. When I returned to the Bratunac Brigade command, I dismissed my
20 troops. They went home. I reported to the brigade command and I found
21 Colonel Blagojevic there. We greeted each other and I can say that we
22 were both happy. He was happy because I had gone to fulfill the task,
23 and I was happy because he made good on his promise.
24 Q. Sir, what was your next military assignment given to you by your
25 commander, and when was that?
1 A. On the 17th of July, it was Monday, my commander set out towards
2 Zepa. He told me that I should remain in the AOR of the brigade, and
3 that I should go to the area of Sandici.
4 Q. And what were you supposed to do in the area of Sandici?
5 A. In the area, there was a task I had to carry out. The 3rd
6 Infantry Battalion Commander Zekic and the Workers Battalion had been
7 ordered to go to the area to search the terrain between Sandici,
8 Kamenica, Krajinovici and Mratinci towards Konjevic Polje to the west.
9 Q. What were you searching the terrain for?
10 A. We had to search the terrain because some units were along the
11 road securing the road for regular traffic. Therefore, we had to search
12 the rest of the terrain for any enemy soldiers left behind so that they
13 would be removed.
14 Q. And did you have any information that soldiers, enemy soldiers
15 were left in that area?
16 A. There certainly was some information to that regard because we
17 would not have been ordered to search the terrain otherwise.
18 Q. And, sir, at what time did you set out to perform this task?
19 A. Between 12.00 and 12.30. I had been given a task to link Jevic
20 who was the head of the MPs, and Zekic who was in charge of the 3rd
21 Battalion the area, I was supposed to serve as a link between them.
22 Q. Sir, just to be sure, you say between 12.00 and 12.30, is that
23 around noon
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And if you recall, how many men participated in this search?
1 A. In total around 300 people.
2 Q. And how long were you busy completing this task?
3 A. One afternoon.
4 Q. And do you recall who was in overall command of this search?
5 A. The operation, as I said, included Zekic who was commander of the
6 3rd Battalion. He was responsible for his unit. Jevic was responsible
7 for the police force.
8 Q. And who were you responsible for?
9 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Mr. Thayer.
10 MR. THAYER: Good afternoon, Mr. President. Just to clarify the
11 record, there was a reference on my LiveNote at page 26, it's gone now,
12 probably about line 10 or so to Jevic being in charge of the military
13 police and just so we have it clear on the record that may have been what
14 he said but I'm confident my friends from the Borovcanin team would like
15 this clarified as well, if that's indeed what he said or he said
16 something else so there's no confusion.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's correct in the transcript where you refer to
18 page 26, line 10 because what you are referring to page 25, lines 20 and
19 21 presumably. That's where we have --
20 MR. THAYER: That's it, Mr. President.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: -- "I had been given a task to link Jevic who was
22 the head of the MPs, and Zekic who was in charge of the 3rd," whatever it
23 is, the area. So, Mr. Bourgon, will you look into that, please, and
24 clarify with the witness, thank you.
25 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President. Will do.
1 Q. Sir, did you understand, and can you clarify?
2 A. Yes. There was an error interpretation. Dusko Jevic was in
3 charge of the police. Not the military police.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Thayer, and thank you, Mr. Gavric.
5 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, sir.
6 Q. Moving on, sir, while you were performing this search, what was
7 your role? That was my next question before my colleague stood up. What
8 was your role in that search?
9 A. My role was to serve as a link between Dusko Jevic, that is the
10 police force, and our battalion and its commander Zekic. They were
11 supposed to meet up, whereas the left flank of our battalion was next to
12 a battalion of the military brigade, probably, because we were doing the
13 search simultaneously. This is the area that I hale from in Bratunac
15 Q. Sir, do you recall seeing anything unusual while this search was
17 A. Yes, I do.
18 Q. Can you describe for the Trial Chamber exactly what you saw?
19 A. As we were deploying our units from Sandici and the asphalt road
20 there to the south, we set off for Bratinci. It was the start point of
21 the search. When we arrived in the area of Kamenica, we noticed a large
22 group of corpses. The site was horrific. It smelled awfully. There
23 were so many of them that you could move from one corpse to another
24 without ever touching the ground, there were that many dead bodies.
25 Q. Sir, who were those dead bodies?
1 A. A great many of them was -- were in military uniform. I suppose
2 they were members of the 28th Division. Some of them wore civilian
3 clothes, as it was their custom to change into civilian clothes
5 Q. Sir, did you see any dead bodies of women or children?
6 A. I did not see any children or women.
7 Q. And, sir, do you know how these people died?
8 A. On the spot, you can see everything. Many of them had killed
9 themselves by activating hand grenades. Some of them killed themselves
10 with their weapons. Some of them took out their belts and hanged
11 themselves from the trees. It was gruesome to watch.
12 Q. You say there were so many of them. Can you give us an estimate
13 of how many bodies were lying there in the field that you saw?
14 A. It is in the part that I covered, I saw several hundred dead
15 people, for sure.
16 Q. To your knowledge, sir, were there any ambush operations
17 conducted in that area by the VRS?
18 A. I don't know precisely what the answer would be, but judging by
19 the stories I heard later, I arrived at a different conclusion that I can
20 share with you later, if you want me to.
21 Q. What I'd like to know from you is, you said that some people
22 killed themselves by activating hand grenades and some killed themselves.
23 Did they all kill themselves or were there other reasons for them, for
24 these bodies to be lying there?
25 A. There must have been clashes inside the group as well. According
1 to the information we have, some of them had wanted to surrender, whereas
2 the others had not. You could see that some were shot from firearms.
3 Q. Thank you. I'll leave it at that. Sir, when you?
4 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Bourgon, just a second. Mr. Gavric, what you
5 saw at the time was just dead bodies?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
7 JUDGE KWON: How could you know that they killed themselves by
8 activating grenades?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you see a person lying on the
10 ground with his or her lower part of the lower body completely blown off
11 or up then it means that that person put a hand grenade underneath and
12 activated it. On the other hand, if you see somebody with a bullet hole
13 in their skull, in the temporal area, that indicates that it was a
15 JUDGE KWON: They would have been killed by the hand grenade that
16 was thrown by the enemy or the opponent?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That would have been really super
18 to get 20 metres away from a group which counted 15 to 20.000 and to
19 throw a hand grenade in such a situation. But you could see the dead
20 bodies and you could see the ground they had covered, not a single blade
21 of grass had remained there, and you could clearly see the area that they
22 were moving through.
23 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Bourgon.
24 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Judge.
25 Q. Sir, moving on, did you capture some prisoners during this
2 A. Yes, I did.
3 Q. Can you describe -- do you remember approximately how many
4 prisoners you captured?
5 A. Precisely 38 people. Three of whom were under-age children.
6 Q. And what did you do with these prisoners?
7 A. Dusko Jevic took the prisoners to the area of Konjevic Polje. As
8 for the three minors, I put them in my vehicle and took them to the
9 Bratunac Brigade command.
10 Q. So beginning with the prisoners that you gave to Dusko Jevic, to
11 your knowledge what happened to these prisoners after?
12 A. I don't know. The next day I had to go to Sokolac on private
13 business and I went through Konjevic Polje. In front of a former store,
14 I saw a group of people picking up paper and litter in front of those
15 buildings that were there, and I recognised them as the prisoners of the
16 previous day.
17 Q. And moving on to the three minors that you referred to do you
18 know what happened to them?
19 A. Yes, I do. Upon arrival in Bratunac, I took the three children
20 to the military police premises. I ordered them to give food to the
21 children, to bathe them, and to treat them properly. It was rather
22 difficult because the children would not be left behind and they were
23 holding on to my pants. I suppose that while we were in the field, they
24 felt protected by me. It was a difficult situation and it would be too
25 much for me to tell you all the details of what it was like.
1 Q. Sir, do you know if those three minors are still alive today?
2 A. Yes, I do. I handed them over and they were exchanged for nine
3 policemen who had been captured near Zvornik. I think they haled from
4 Doboj. In 2001 or 2002, I saw them in Tuzla. I had wanted to meet some
5 of those children there and it was made possible for me to do by Naser
7 Q. And did Naser Oric ever tell you who these three minors were?
8 A. When we met at the Tuzla
9 topic. He laughed and he said, the two boys, the twins told you they
10 were from Karacici. They did not want to tell you that they were my
11 cousins, because they were afraid of being killed. And I told him well,
12 who would be such a person to be able to kill a child.
13 Q. Thank you, sir. Just one last question before I move to my next
14 topic. I'd just like to come back to those bodies that you saw, those
15 hundreds of bodies. You mentioned that many committed suicides and you
16 were asked questions by Judge Kwon concerning the grenades. But do you
17 know really how they died, all of these people, or you just notice how
18 some of them died?
19 A. I'll explain. When the children surrendered they got on to the
20 road between Bratunac and Konjevic Polje. They were playing, saying that
21 it was nice to move along a road which was not mined. I asked them many
22 a question about how they survived, had they survived the trip and they
23 told me everything. They said that they ate wild pears, that someone
24 killed a sow, that is how they survived. They also told us of the
25 suicides or people killing each other. They said that at certain points
1 some would get depressed and such a person would simply take out his
2 rifle and spent all of his ammunition before being killed, spraying
3 bullets and killing everyone near. They also had some bombs which I
4 never saw, and they were explaining that as well. They also said that
5 many people stepped on landmines. That is what they were telling us.
6 They also said that they were fired at by artillery.
7 Q. Thank you, sir. I now move to a different topic which is the
8 days preceding the fall of Srebrenica. And my first question is how
9 close is Bratunac to Srebrenica?
10 A. 10 kilometres.
11 Q. And sir, what was the involvement of the Bratunac Brigade in the
12 events leading to the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995? What was the task
13 given to the Bratunac Brigade?
14 A. The main task of the Bratunac Brigade was to defend the town of
16 Q. Did any component of the Bratunac Brigade take part in the combat
17 operations on Srebrenica?
18 A. Yes, it did.
19 Q. Which one, if any?
20 A. The red beret platoon. I know that they were along the axis
21 including checkpoint 789.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: 879.
23 MR. BOURGON:
24 Q. Sir, do you remember what was the code name for the fighting that
25 was directed toward Srebrenica in mid-July?
1 A. As far as I can recall, I believe it was called Krivaja.
2 Q. Sir, at that specific moment were you the chief of artillery of
3 the Bratunac Brigade?
4 A. Yes, I was.
5 Q. And within a brigade such as the Bratunac Brigade, to whom does
6 the chief of artillery report?
7 A. The chief of artillery is a staff officer responsible to the
8 brigade commander. In my case, that would be Colonel Blagojevic.
9 Q. And, sir, can you share with us, what is the role and the duties
10 of the chief of artillery in the brigade? What is it that did you at the
12 A. The main task of the artillery chief is to assist in the
13 preparation of orders in the field of artillery to the brigade commander.
14 All the other chiefs do the same concerning their types of weaponry.
15 Such a person also needs to control the firing and targeting if in the
17 Q. And, sir, who exercises command over the artillery resources of
18 the brigade?
19 A. The artillery officers are commanded by the chief of artillery,
20 who in turn is commanded by the brigade commander. Some of the artillery
21 officers also include officers of the different batteries.
22 Q. And, sir, when we hear that the artillery supports the
23 battalions, what is the role of the chief of artillery in that respect?
24 A. Battalion commanders in this case could require artillery support
25 from the chief of artillery, and in this case it was me.
1 Q. So just for the benefit of the Trial Chamber, what do we mean by
2 requesting support from the chief of artillery? In practical terms what
3 does that mean?
4 A. If one of the units on their axis faced an enemy attack or
5 noticed enemy movements, then the commander of that unit, or in this
6 case, the commander of that battalion, could request for me to provide
7 him with artillery support on the wing where such movements were noticed
8 or where such an attack was encountered, and this type of fire is known
9 as preventive fire.
10 Q. Thank you, sir. One last question, Mr. President, maybe we can
11 go for the break is, what were exactly the artillery resources or assets
12 of the Bratunac Brigade?
13 A. The Bratunac Brigade had a mixed artillery group consisting of a
14 battery of cannons B17, 60 millimetres consisting of five tools, two 105
15 howitzers and 1 to 2-millimetre cannons.
16 MR. BOURGON: Thank you. Mr. President, I think we can stop for
17 the break.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. We'll have the break.
19 --- Recess taken at 3.47 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 4.14 p.m.
21 JUDGE KWON: Since Judge Agius has to attend an official meeting
22 this afternoon, so we'll be herein carry on sitting pursuant to Rule 15
23 bis. Mr. Bourgon.
24 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. Sir, when we left off before the break, you told us what were the
1 resources in terms of artillery which the Bratunac Brigade had.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. My next question has to do with the fighting which was led
4 towards Srebrenica. When did you initially receive orders to take part
5 in the events leading to the fall of Srebrenica?
6 A. On the 6th of July 1995.
7 Q. And how did you receive your orders on that occasion?
8 A. It was a written order by the brigade commander.
9 Q. And what was the task given to the artillery of the Bratunac
11 A. The task given to the artillery group was to defend the town of
12 Bratunac together with the units of the 1st and the 2nd Infantry
14 Q. And where were the guns of the Bratunac Brigade located?
15 A. The brigade artillery group took up three firing position. One
16 was by B1 cannons, northwest of the town of Bratunac in the sector of
17 Repovac village. The howitzer platoon 105 millimetres was by the
18 brickworks, in the brickworks sector which was north, northwest 1.500
19 metres from the town. The 1 to 2 millimetre cannon platoon was north of
20 the town 2 kilometres away from the town in the Ravne sector.
21 Q. Sir, when the guns of the Bratunac Brigade were firing, where
22 were you physically?
23 A. My position was at the artillery observation point, the
24 checkpoint 438 at the advance positions of the Defence of the town at the
25 artillery observation post.
1 Q. Sir, who selected the place where the artillery observation post
2 would be, and what factors do you use when you choose this location?
3 A. In keeping with the rules of service, the chief of artillery is
4 the one who selects and proposes to the commander the observation post of
5 the artillery, and the commander either accepts that or not under what
6 conditions. Several criteria are used. The observation post should be a
7 dominant position as close as possible to the forward defence line in
8 order to be able to observe the artillery fire and forward defence lines.
9 Q. So when the guns are firing, the chief of artillery, is he
10 located with the guns or elsewhere?
11 A. No. The chief of artillery was at the Koalin hill observation
12 post at checkpoint 438, and the firing positions were some 3 to 5
13 kilometres backwards from the forward firing -- defence positions which
14 is according to the rules.
15 Q. And if the chief of artillery must relay the orders of the
16 brigade commander to fire, how do you communicate with the guns?
17 A. You communicate by wire connection, this is the best way if at
18 all possible, and we did have those conditions, and we also used radio
19 communication as required so we used both types of connections.
20 Q. Sir, to your knowledge --
21 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Thayer.
22 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. Again just to clear up
23 the record, there's a reference to the observation post hill, which I
24 presume we'll be referring to on more than one occasion. And I think the
25 witness stated that, but we probably should have it spelled correctly in
1 the record since it tends to get misspelled in other places as well. So
2 if we could have that clarification for the hill at checkpoint 438, I'm
3 sure the witness can spell it for us, if we could have that
4 clarification, please, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. If you could take up the matter.
6 MR. BOURGON:
7 Q. I'm not sure I understand exactly what my colleague is looking
8 for but I think that the witness can confirm where the artillery
9 observation post of the Bratunac Brigade was.
10 MR. THAYER: Page 36, line 4 on my LiveNote. I think we can all
11 agree what it is, I'm happy to put it on the record, but I'd just as soon
12 hear it from the witness and spell it.
13 MR. BOURGON:
14 Q. So where is that location, sir?
15 A. This was elevation 438, midway between the left wing of the 1st
16 Bratunac Battalion and the second wing of the -- and the right wing of
17 the Bratunac Brigade defence and it was the forward defence line of the
18 town, so you end up with a triangle with the observation post in its
20 MR. THAYER: I believe he referred to a particular hill name,
21 begins with a K.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Kaolin hill.
23 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Kaolin Hill, K-a-o-l-i-n, hill.
25 MR. BOURGON:
1 Q. Thank you, sir. Sir, to the best of your recollection when
2 exactly did Srebrenica fall, on what day?
3 A. On the 11th of December [sic] 1995.
4 Q. Is there an interpretation mistake, I'm not sure. Did you say
6 A. I apologise, 11th of July 1995.
7 Q. Sir, during the period when you initially received your orders,
8 that is 6 July as you mentioned earlier, and the 10th of July 1995, were
9 the guns of the Bratunac Brigade fired?
10 A. The 122 millimetres M31/37 opened fire on the village of Studenac
11 on the north slopes of Gradac hill. This is the place which was once
12 inhabited by Serbs and which was then torched, and it was some 3
13 kilometres in front of the observation post as the crow flies.
14 Q. Sir, did this take place -- on which day did this take place? I
15 was referring to the period from the 6th to the 10th of July, so on which
16 day did this take place?
17 A. This took place on the 11th of December [sic]. I apologise, 11th
18 of July. I do it every time, I mixed up my months and I apologise.
19 Q. Thank you, sir. So I'll say my question over again. From the
20 6th to the 10th of July, which of the guns the Bratunac Brigade fired, if
22 A. Between the 6th and the 10th of July, including the 10th of July,
23 we did not open artillery fire. I said that it only happened on the
24 11th. I may have misunderstood your question, sir.
25 Q. Thank you. On the 11th of July, you mentioned that there was the
1 122-millimetre gun which opened fire on the village of Studenac
2 did any other guns of the Bratunac fire on the 11th of July?
3 A. At that moment, no. But after that the 105-millimetre howitzers
4 did open fire.
5 Q. Sir, you also mentioned that this -- when there was firing, you
6 mentioned that you fired on that village, which was once inhabited by
7 Serbs. Why would you fire on this village?
8 A. Six months prior to the operation we had moved the firing
9 positions of our 122-millimetre cannons. The battery commander had to
10 correct his aim and it just so happened that I thought that they had
11 failed to do that, and I had reports from the field that our units had
12 been advancing towards Srebrenica, and I expected at any moment the
13 Muslim forces could engage in a counterattack. And in order to be
14 absolutely sure about the aim of these tools, I ordered the elements to
15 be checked and it turned out eventually that I had been right all the
16 time about the aim.
17 Q. Sir, on the record, we get the word "tools," about the aim of
18 these tools. Are you referring to the aim of the guns?
19 A. Guns, the artillery pieces. Whenever you need to change your
20 firing position, you have to rectify and coordinate your aim according to
21 the rules of artillery fire.
22 Q. And is that the type of fire that you did on the 11th of July?
23 A. Yes, that's the type of fire which had been ordered. I was not
24 happy with the aim and that's why I ordered the pieces to be checked, and
25 once the fire was corrected and as soon as that was done, we were able to
1 hit our imaginary target in the village of Studenac
2 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Zivanovic.
3 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry to interrupt my colleague, but I found that
4 some words of the witness's are not translated despite he told it three
5 times. He used the B/C/S word "nisanske sprave," and it was translated
6 as "aim".
7 JUDGE KWON: The correct translation of which should be what,
8 Mr. Zivanovic?
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: It is aiming equipment or aiming tool or
10 something like that. Not aim.
11 JUDGE KWON: So your observation is noted and will be --
12 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Microphone not activated].
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.
14 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry. It is a part of artillery piece.
15 JUDGE KWON: We'll bear that in mind in hearing the evidence or
16 reading the transcript later on. Thank you. Please carry on.
17 MR. BOURGON: I thank you my colleague for his observation.
18 Q. Sir, do you recall when the population of Srebrenica left to go
19 to Potocari?
20 A. On the 11th of July around 1200 hours I received a report from
21 the elevation 73, also known as Caus about a large group of the
22 population gathering in the vicinity of the gas station in Srebrenica
23 below the hospital.
24 Q. Sir, did the guns of the Bratunac Brigade fire on the population
25 as it was moving towards Potocari?
1 A. No.
2 Q. And did the guns of the Bratunac Brigade fire close to these
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the answer. Could
5 the witness please repeat.
6 MR. BOURGON:
7 Q. Could you say your answer over again?
8 A. If you were asking me whether the guns opened fire close to these
9 people, my answer was no.
10 Q. What is the closest to these people that the guns of the Bratunac
11 Brigade were fired, if at all?
12 A. Fire was not open anywhere close to them, but sometime later, and
13 I can tell you about that, it was 2 to 2.5 kilometre east from the route
14 along the which the population moved.
15 Q. Sir, if it had been the intention of the Bratunac Brigade to fire
16 the guns at the civilian population, technically was this possible?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. What would have been the result if the Bratunac Brigade had
19 intended to fire its guns at the civilian population?
20 A. It would have been a massacre. It was a large group of people,
21 between 40.000 and 50.000 people moved along that road.
22 Q. Sir, to your knowledge did the guns of the Bratunac Brigade fire
23 in or around the UNPROFOR compound in Potocari where the civilians were?
24 A. No.
25 Q. And did the guns of the Bratunac Brigade fire on the enemy at any
1 time on 11 July onwards?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. When was that?
4 A. Around 3.00 in the afternoon.
5 Q. Where did the guns of the Bratunac Brigade fire, and why?
6 A. We noticed below elevation 877, the so-called Divljakinje
7 [phoen], some of the Muslim forces that were engaged in defence and
8 that's when we opened fire on those enemy units.
9 Q. Sir, at this point I'd like to show you a document. If I could
10 have in e-court, please, 5D1107. Sir, a document will appear on the
11 screen before you. Looking at the first page I would like to know if you
12 recognise this document.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And what is it?
15 A. It is an order by the commander of the Bratunac Brigade.
16 Q. And is this the order that you were referring to concerning what
17 happened in Srebrenica later on?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, I will go through these pages on the screen in front of you.
20 I would like to know if you can see in these documents the tasks that
21 were issued to you or that were issued to the artillery of the Bratunac
22 Brigade. If we can have the second page on the screen. If I can now go
23 to the third page. And finally on the fourth page. I'll show you also
24 the next page, I thought that was the last one, but if we can go to page
25 5 also. Sir, looking at this document, have you seen so far the tasks
1 issued to the artillery of the Bratunac Brigade?
2 A. I believe that on the page that I have in front of me, there's no
3 bullet point 6. It should be bullet point 6 specifying those.
4 Q. If we can go one page back on this document towards the end. So
5 what is this paragraph 6?
6 A. Yes. These are the tasks of the brigade artillery group of the
7 Bratunac Brigade of howitzers and other artillery pieces.
8 Q. If we can move to the next page at the top. So we see that
9 paragraph 6 is continuing at the top of the other page, is this also
10 related to the tasks issued to the artillery of the Bratunac Brigade?
11 A. This was Lancer [phoen] 128 millimetre and these were also tasks
12 of the Bratunac Brigade. If you are referring to bullet point 6.2.
13 Q. Indeed, sir, I'd like to draw your attention to 6.2 where it
14 says, and I will read that in English: "At 0300 hours on 6 July 1995,"
15 I'm not sure if it's a correct translation but it says, "it will fire
16 four projectiles (50 kilogram air bombs) on the Potocari sector, (the
17 school the 11th March factory, the Gracic hill at elevation 377, and Kula
18 and Orici). My question is, did the Bratunac Brigade fire these four
20 A. No.
21 Q. So why does it appear in this order and it was not done by the
22 Bratunac artillery?
23 A. This was just an idea, a plan, but this doesn't mean that
24 everything that is planned has to be implemented in the field.
25 Q. I would like now to show you a new document. If I can have in
1 e-court please, P3358 [Realtime transcript read in error "P3588"]. I
2 would like you to take a look at this document that will appear on the
3 screen before you and to tell me if you recognise this document.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Who drafted this document, and what is it?
6 A. I drafted the document and I sent it to the command of the Drina
7 Corps, and in the document you can see why I sent it.
8 Q. Sir, according to this document, it says that fire was opened on
9 Srebrenica at 1907 hours. Was that the reason for sending the document?
10 A. No, this document was not sent because of that. The reason was
11 the fact that our artillery piece broke down, we had to inform the
12 command who were supposed to send us a repairman to try and deal with the
13 problem on the spot.
14 Q. I'd like to move to another document. If I can have in e-court
15 now document P3359. Sir, I'll show you a second document. Do you
16 recognise this document?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Is this document related to the first one or the one that we just
19 looked at?
20 A. Yes. Yes.
21 Q. Sir, once again here it says in paragraph one that the guns of
22 the Bratunac Brigade fired on Srebrenica. Do you recall why the guns
23 fired on Srebrenica on that day?
24 A. On that day from the area of Budak fire was opened on our firing
25 positions. We also noticed an enemy tank that had opened the fire. Then
1 we received an order to destroy that tank. We used anti-tank --
2 anti-armour ammunition which has a stronger recoil than other ammunition,
3 and as we were doing that one of the howitzers got stuck and three of my
4 men were injured.
5 Q. Sir, it says here that the two shells fell or near the domavija
6 feature. Do you know what is the domavija feature?
7 A. I know the facility. It is a former hotel which I believe housed
8 the command of the 28th Division or one of their battalions.
9 JUDGE KWON: Carry on, Mr. Bourgon.
10 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Q. Sir, do you know who Colonel Lazic is?
12 A. I know Colonel Lazic only as a person who was from the Drina
13 Corps command. He was on duty there.
14 Q. To your knowledge, sir, did this Colonel have the authority to
15 order you to fire the guns of the Bratunac Brigade?
16 A. He arrived with an order, he had been ordered by someone from the
17 corps that the artillery be used. That is for certain.
18 Q. I'd like to move to a final document, sir. If I can have in
19 e-court P2884, and I discussed this with my colleague previously,
20 Mr. President, I would like to give the witness the paper version because
21 this document is actually a map, and I would like to give him the paper
22 version that was issued to us by the Prosecution. And in e-court, this
23 is 2884. I only have a few questions and the witness just taking a
24 glance at the document will be sufficient.
25 A. You can go ahead.
1 Q. Sir, do you recall I showed you this document during proofing?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And sir, do you recognise what this document is?
4 A. This is engagement plan of the corps artillery.
5 Q. For what operation?
6 A. The Susica operation. That was the code name for the Srebrenica
8 Q. Now, are you familiar with the plans that were prepared at the
9 corps level or higher concerning operation Susica?
10 A. I was not familiar with it since it was on a higher level than
11 that that I was at.
12 Q. Are you familiar with the type of information included in such an
13 artillery firing plan?
14 A. I can interpret the plan. It was my job to do so, and I
15 understand it well.
16 Q. Thank you, we won't need this document anymore. Sir, if on such
17 an artillery firing plan an UNPROFOR observation post was identified with
18 a number, does that mean that you intended to fire the guns on the
19 UNPROFOR observation post?
20 A. No, and you can't find it in the Colonel Blagojevic's order
22 Q. So why are certain locations identified on the artillery firing
23 plan? Why do we identify locations on such a plan?
24 A. If there are favourable conditions that enable firing, we first
25 must devise a plan of fire with all the features and locations
1 represented that otherwise would be included on the map. Then distances
2 are measured as well as angles needed to load the artillery pieces
3 properly. The numbers and facilities marked may not be targets of such
4 firing. They are simply there to enable the crew to react rapidly
5 against the enemy and that we can quickly move from one object to another
6 should the enemy move quickly. And also it is done to avoid any
7 collateral damage that could result from us not having prepared the
8 locations correctly when opening fire.
9 Q. Thank you, sir. How many times did you meet with me before your
10 testimony today?
11 A. Twice in Bratunac and once in The Hague.
12 Q. Sir, did anyone from the Defence ask you to sign a statement
13 before your testimony here today?
14 A. No.
15 Q. And, sir, what kind of questions did I ask you when we met in
16 Bratunac? What was I interested in?
17 A. You were interested in what my orders were to go to Zvornik, who
18 met there. You also wanted to know about the number of victims in the
19 area of Konjevic Polje in Sandici and what was the situation like during
20 the operation in Srebrenica on the 16th.
21 Q. Sir, did I or anyone from the Defence team of Drago Nikolic tried
22 to influence your testimony in any way?
23 A. No. You could have tried but ...
24 Q. But what?
25 A. There would be no effect. We would probably go our own separate
2 MR. BOURGON: Just one minute, Mr. President. I want to check my
4 [Defence counsel confer]
5 MR. BOURGON:
6 Q. Just one thing I forgot to ask you, sir, earlier on. We spoke
7 about Dusan Nikolic. Do you know what happened to Dusan Nikolic in July
8 of 1995?
9 A. On the 16th of July, Dule Nikolic was killed in action. I
10 received that information soon. I believe I was in town. A few days
11 ago, I discussed those details with my brother who was the physician on
12 duty in the Zvornik Brigade that day. He saw Drago Nikolic between 1.30
13 and 2.00 in front of the hospital. Drago told him that Dule had been
15 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, sir. I have no further questions.
16 Thank you, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE KWON: Just for the record, Mr. Bourgon, if you could
18 indicate the 65 ter number of the draft allegedly drafted by the witness,
19 you said it's P3588, but I couldn't locate the document with that number.
20 MR. BOURGON: Not sure I understand your question, Mr. President.
21 The draft.
22 JUDGE KWON: Actually not sent. The document we just now sent.
23 MR. BOURGON: Oh, the first document which was drafted by the
24 document [sic], the number I have is P3358.
25 JUDGE KWON: 3358, yes. The transcript said it's 3588. Okay.
1 That's corrected. Would any of the Defence team cross-examine this
2 witness? Yes, Mr. Borovcanin's Defence.
3 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes, thank you, Your Honour, we will have a brief
4 cross-examination. I don't believe it will last more than 15 to 20
6 JUDGE KWON: Just for information, we'll break at 5.25 and we'll
7 have a 20-minute break and we'll adjourn at quarter to 7.00 today.
8 Cross-examination by Mr. Lazarevic:
9 Q. Thank you, Your Honour. I will try to accomplish my task by that
10 time. I mean by 5.25 of course.
11 [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Gavric.
12 A. Good afternoon.
13 Q. My name is Aleksandar Lazarevic. I'm Mr. Ljubomir Borovcanin's
14 attorney representing him before this Tribunal and I will have a few
15 questions on his behalf. I also want to go through a number of documents
16 with you. Should any of the questions I put to you be unclear to you,
17 please tell me and I will reformulate it. I also wanted to warn you that
18 you should pause between your answer and my question. Otherwise, there
19 will be an overlap since we speak the same language.
20 A. I understand.
21 Q. Thank you. During your testimony today you said that you
22 participated in the search of terrain on the 17th of July 1995. You also
23 said that during that operation together with the units of the Bratunac
24 Brigade, there was a unit commanded by Dusko Jevic as well taking part in
25 it. Do you remember that?
1 A. Yes, I do.
2 Q. What was your starting point on the 17th of July, from where did
3 you go to Sandici when the operation began?
4 A. We left in the front of the Bratunac Brigade command. I had two
5 MP escorts and a driver.
6 Q. When did you arrive at that location?
7 A. It was at 12.15 exactly.
8 Q. Did you know that that morning when you set out there was a
9 meeting in the Bratunac Brigade, to be more precise, at that meeting
10 tasks were stipulated for the units which were to take part in the
12 A. I did not attend the meeting, but Commander Blagojevic briefed me
13 and told me that some units from the military brigade and some of the
14 units from Bratunac Brigade will take part, plus another MUP unit. Those
15 were the units that were supposed to take part in the search operation in
16 the area of Bratunac municipality.
17 Q. But my question was this: You did not attend the very meeting?
18 A. No, I did not.
19 Q. Do you know whether the meeting was attending by Dusko Jevic as
20 well and did he receive any tasks from the Bratunac Brigade command?
21 A. I truly don't know.
22 Q. Do you know that one day previously on the 16th of July 1995 in
23 the evening there was another meeting between Dusko Jevic and Momir
24 Nikolic in which Jevic was notified that his units were supposed to take
25 part in the search?
1 A. As of the 15th when I arrived at the Bratunac Brigade command I
2 was on leave until the 17th when Colonel Blagojevic answered his
4 Q. Therefore your answer is that you don't know?
5 A. That is correct.
6 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Thayer.
7 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I'm sorry to do this again, but
8 there's another passage at page 49, line 24. There's a reference to
9 commander Blagojevic briefed me and told me that some units from the
10 military brigade and some of the units from Bratunac Brigade will take
11 part plus another MUP unit. I'm not sure again if that's a translation
12 issue or what he said, but I think we can benefit from clarifying that
13 before we go too further along. It just doesn't make sense the way it's
14 sitting on the transcript now.
15 MR. LAZAREVIC: I think.
16 JUDGE KWON: Military brigade.
17 MR. LAZAREVIC: Maybe I can assist my colleague. I believe -- of
18 course, I don't want to put words in witness's mouth, but he said
19 literally Milici Brigade.
20 JUDGE KWON: Can you confirm that, Mr. Gavric.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will repeat. According to the
22 oral orders I received at 12.00 from the Bratunac Brigade commander, I
23 was supposed to go to the area of Sandici where my task would be to link
24 up Dusko Jevic who headed the police force and our 3rd Battalion. On the
25 left flank of our unit of the 3rd Battalion, there will be units from the
1 Milici Brigade.
2 MR. LAZAREVIC:
3 Q. [Interpretation] thank you, Mr. Gavric. I believe this clarifies
4 the misunderstanding. Today you were discussing Dusko Jevic's unit
5 referring to it as a MUP unit. I wanted to clarify one thing. I read
6 the transcript of your testimony in the Blagojevic case and I came across
7 a piece of information you stated whereby you said that the entire unit
8 was formed of deserters who fled Bosnia
9 verify that piece of information?
10 A. Those were Serbian deserters collected all over Serbia. They
11 were taken there and they were referred to as special police, but I
12 wonder what sort of special police it was when these were all deserters.
13 Q. Concerning the search operation, you will agree, of course, that
14 it usually follows after the end of combat and that the goal of such an
15 operation is to locate and neutralise any remaining enemy soldiers, is
16 that so?
17 A. When I was talking about it, I said that it was our task in the
18 field to search it so that it would be clear of enemy forces. And also,
19 we were supposed to relieve the units which were securing the road
20 between Konjevic Polje, Bratunac and Sarajevo.
21 Q. And of course, it's a fully legitimate military operation?
22 A. It is the ending part of an operation. In any country if there
23 are terrorists in a given area, certain units are sent in to search the
24 terrain, what else?
25 Q. Today you talked about a number of soldiers, members of the BiH
1 army who surrendered and the children that you took away. Reading the
2 Blagojevic transcript, I noticed something that I wanted to clarify with
4 When you were on the road, as you said in the Blagojevic case,
5 did you use a phone or some other means of communication to call Nikolic?
6 A. I called from Pervane where the captured soldiers were. I
7 reported to him and asked him what to do. He told me this: The people
8 who surrendered should be handed over to Dusko Jevic so that he could
9 take them to Konjevic Polje and they would be further transported to
10 Bijeljina presumably, that was the order I received.
11 Q. We have a correction for the transcript. It is page 52, line 17.
12 We were talking about Momir Nikolic?
13 A. Yes, the chief of security of the Bratunac Brigade, Momir
15 Q. You received the order from Momir Nikolic?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. He was the person you informed about the existence of the
19 A. Yes, when I called the switchboard Momir Nikolic replied, I asked
20 him what to do and he said, "You should hand them over to Dusko Jevic,
21 you, however, are supposed to go back to Bratunac and we'll dispatch a
23 Q. Very well. Let us now turn to some documents. The first one is
24 4DB00251. Could we please have it in e-court. It is 4DP00251.
25 Mr. Gavric, can you see the document?
1 A. I can.
2 Q. In the upper left corner it says command of the 1st Bratunac
3 Light Infantry Brigade. The date is 14th of July 1995. It says search
4 of terrain, order. Now that you have the document before you, to cut
5 things short, I will only have a few questions for you, which I hope you
6 can confirm. This is an order concerning a terrain search which is based
7 on a Drina Corps command order dated the 13th of July 1995; is that
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. In items 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this order, you can see the tasks for
11 each of the infantry battalions of the Bratunac Brigade concerning the
12 search, is that so?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. On the 14th of July 1995, the Bratunac Brigade had already
15 ordered its battalions to search the terrain, is that so?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. I will -- I would like to move to another document.
18 It is P121.
19 Mr. Gavric, if I remember correctly, you have had occasion to see
20 this document during the Blagojevic case testimony, is that so?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. The author of the document is Colonel Ignjat Milanovic.
23 A. Unfortunately he is deceased.
24 Q. What was Colonel Ignjat Milanovic's position in July 1995?
25 A. I didn't understand the question.
1 Q. I'll repeat. What was the position, the function of Colonel
2 Ignjat Milanovic in 1995, in July?
3 A. I'm not sure. I think he commanded the Milici Brigade. I'm not
4 certain though. I know that he was our Chief of Staff, then he left and
5 I don't know what his subsequent position was.
6 Q. Very well. We can also see from the document that it was drafted
7 on the 15th of July 1995 in Bratunac. Can you tell me who it was sent
9 A. I didn't understand. The 15th of July?
10 Q. Yes, 1995.
11 A. Well, this must have been sent to the commander of the Bratunac
13 Q. Under proposal it says, "The command, the corps IKM, the Drina
14 Corps command."
15 A. Yes, yes, to the attention of the commander. It was Krstic who
16 was the corps commander at the IKM.
17 Q. That is precisely what I wanted to ask you about. On the first
18 page of the document, if you can see, we find that Colonel Milanovic was
19 touring the lines on General Krstic's orders and that according to his
20 information there were large enemy groups in the field east of the
21 Bratunac-Konjevic Polje Road and that the Bratunac Brigade is searching
22 the terrain and that it is about to break out to the lines mentioned
23 here. Is that so?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Please move to the next page. Around the middle of the page it
1 says "proposal" and it is underlined.
2 A. I see it.
3 Q. Can you tell me what it says?
4 A. It says, "To authorize the commander of the 1st Bratunac Light
5 Brigade, as commander of all forces participating in searching the
6 terrain and that are engaged in blocking the enemy and carrying out the
7 'asanacija' of the field next to the road mentioned," and I don't see the
9 Q. And in control?
10 A. Yes, "And in control of the Kasaba-Drinjaca road because we have
11 no one to appoint from the KDK. If you agree with the proposal --"
12 Q. Very well. I believe that you read out the part that I find
14 A. All right.
15 Q. Very well. This proposal by Colonel Milanovic that was sent to
16 the command of the Drina Corps for the commander of the 1st Bratunac
17 Light Infantry Military Brigade be appointed the commander of the overall
18 mission of the scouring of the terrain, was this proposal adopted?
19 A. I don't know whether it was adopted, I only know about this order
20 but I apologise, I remember that Stojanovic, Captain Stojanovic actually
21 was appointed chief of staff in Milici, and Milanovic was transferred
22 for -- to a new duty in the Drina Corps. I apologise. I've just
23 remembered. You have jogged my memory.
24 Q. Very well, let's move on to is different document which is P254.
25 While we are waiting for the document it seems that we again have an
1 omission in the transcript. You said that Ignjat Milanovic was
2 transferred to the Drina Corps, is that correct?
3 A. Yes, that's correct. Nastic was the commander of the Milici
4 Brigade and Stojanovic was the chief of staff. Now I know, you've jogged
5 my memory.
6 Q. This is a document which is a daily combat report dated 15 July
7 1995 sent by the 1st Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade, is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Under item one it says, "Strong enemy forces in front of the
10 forward positions of the 4th Infantry Battalion on the brigade's right
11 flank are carrying out combat activities and regrouping in the direction
12 of Konjevic Polje and further on," is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Further on we are reading under item 2 which reads, "Our forces
15 are still searching the terrain in accordance with your strictly
16 confidential order number 01/4-157/5 dated 13 July 1995." Is that
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. It transpires from the document that the Bratunac Brigade on the
20 15th of July continues to search the terrain; is that correct?
21 A. Yes, it transpires from this document that the commander of the
22 Bratunac Brigade carried out the order. If we are looking at the orders
23 and the combat reports, this is what transpired.
24 Q. And now let's look at another document, the number is P255.
25 Mr. Gavric, this is something that you will agree with and
1 confirm that this is a daily combat report sent on the 16th of July 1995
2 sent by the 1st Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade to the commander of the
3 Drina Corps; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Let's now pay attention to the bottom part of the document. I'm
6 going to read that part to you. I believe we will be able to go faster.
7 A. I agree.
8 Q. It says here: "The commander in the brigade in the course of the
9 day carried out the inspection of all units which are blocking the enemy
10 withdrawal," and it says in brackets, (the 1st Milici Light Infantry
11 Brigade units of the 65th Protection Motorised Regiment, parts of the
12 MUP, and the 5th Engineering Battalion) defined their tasks and organised
13 their joint action and communications."
14 Can you confirm that this is indeed what it says in the document.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. In other words, on the 16th of July 1995, the commander of the
17 brigade was one who went into the field, issued orders and organised
18 cooperation of all the units, at least this is what transpires from this
19 combat report, wouldn't that be correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And obviously all the units mentioned here are duty-bound to
22 carry out the orders of the commander of the operation?
23 A. Of course.
24 Q. And let me just ask you this, what we have just seen now is
25 actually in keeping with the proposal by Colonel Milanovic that we had an
1 occasion to see awhile ago, and by which the commander of the Bratunac
2 Brigade was proposed as the commander of the overall operation of the
3 searching the terrain?
4 A. Yes, this is what Colonel Milanovic drafted.
5 MR. LAZAREVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Gavric, I have no
6 further questions for you.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You are more than welcome.
8 JUDGE KWON: Any other Defence team? Yes, Mr. Krgovic.
9 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, maybe this would be
10 a good time for the next break and maybe I could start after the break.
11 JUDGE KWON: Point taken. We'll break for 20 minutes.
12 --- Recess taken at 5.23 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 5.43 p.m.
14 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Krgovic.
15 Cross-examination by Mr. Krgovic:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
17 Mr. Gavric, my name is Dragan Krgovic.
18 A. Good afternoon.
19 Q. And I appear on behalf of General Gvero and on his behalf I'm
20 going to ask you a few questions relative to your earlier testimony
21 today. Since the two of us speak the same language I would kindly ask
22 you to make a break before giving your answer to allow the interpreters
23 to interpret our words correctly and to avoid any overlapping.
24 A. I understand.
25 Q. Mr. Gavric, in your testimony and in answering my learned friend
1 Bourgon's questions, you said that from the 6th of July 1995 up to the
2 11th, as far as I understood you, in the evening were armed positions
3 together with your unit?
4 A. No. From the 6th to the 10th I was at the observation post and
5 my units were between 3 and 5 kilometres behind me.
6 Q. In other words, between the 6th and the 10th you were at the
7 observation post?
8 A. Yes, inclusive of the 11th.
9 Q. Where was the observation post that you were referring to?
10 A. Our observation post was on Kaolin hill at elevation 438, and
11 commands a view of Potocari.
12 Q. All that time between the 6th and the 11th you were at that
13 observation post, weren't you?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And from that observation post you could observe the UN base in
17 A. Yes, I could see all of it.
18 Q. And you could also observe Srebrenica, the area around the gas
19 station and the hospital?
20 A. I could see the entrance into Srebrenica, the area around the
21 football pitch, and the area east of the football pitch. I could also
22 see the entrance into Srebrenica, and people at elevation 773 could also
23 observe the gas station and some buildings close to the hospital.
24 Q. As far as I could understand your answers provided to
25 Mr. Bourgon, your unit throughout all that time did not have an order to
1 open fire and they did not open fire on Srebrenica or the area around
2 Potocari and I'm referring to the base.
3 A. None of the units including mine had an order to open fire on the
4 UNPROFOR base.
5 Q. And what about the town of Srebrenica
6 A. As for the town of Srebrenica, we never opened fire on it and our
7 firing positions did not allow us to target Srebrenica due to the very
8 high surrounding hills. I'm talking about the town of Srebrenica here.
9 Q. From your observation post you could actually see if anybody else
10 shelled the base and Srebrenica, you could observe the UN base in
11 Srebrenica and the other observation post had a good view of the area
12 around the gas station and hospital?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Throughout all this time, did you ever receive a report from your
15 observation post or did you personally see that the base was shelled or
16 that the area around the base was shelled?
17 A. No, I did not observe any shelling of either the base or the area
18 surrounding the base.
19 Q. You personally never issued an order or opened fire?
20 A. On the base, no.
21 Q. Mr. Gavric, before this Trial Chamber we heard a testimony and we
22 also saw some reports about hundreds and thousands of shells that
23 allegedly fell on Srebrenica and the environs of Srebrenica and the area
24 around the UN base. Would that tally with the truth and would that
25 confirm what you know?
1 A. I can't confirm that because I have no knowledge of that.
2 Q. We have to clarify something, are you saying that you personally
3 did not see or participate in the firing of hundreds and thousands of
4 shells on Srebrenica and on the base during that period in between the
5 6th and the 11th?
6 A. In order to fire hundreds or even thousands of shells, you would
7 need time. Nobody had that time.
8 Q. And later on, did you have an opportunity to observe the area
9 after the end of the Operation Srebrenica, and did you enter Srebrenica?
10 A. I personally didn't enter Srebrenica for the next six months.
11 Many friends of mine did and I can share the information that I have with
13 Q. Can you tell us something about the situation in Srebrenica, what
14 did they found in Srebrenica, would that confirm the fact that hundreds
15 and thousands of shells had been shelled -- fired?
16 A. They say that there was a lot of fire wood, that there was some
17 traces of shrapnel and infantry ammunition on the buildings. If so many
18 shells had fell on -- fallen on Srebrenica, then you could not have
19 entered it. It would have looked like Vukovar, it would have been
20 completely destroyed and it wasn't.
21 Q. Mr. Gavric, before this Trial Chamber, we have seen reports sent
22 by DutchBat to its command, and these reports allege that during those
23 days when you were above the base in Potocari, dozens of shells fell
24 around the base and that some even hit the base or the perimeter of the
25 base, and that the hospital in Srebrenica and its environment also
1 suffered from shelling by dozens of shells. What would you have to say
2 to that, is that correct?
3 A. I can claim with full responsibility that no shells fell in the
4 base or around the base in Potocari. As for the hospital this is the
5 first time I hear it from you that hospital was hit by artillery
6 ammunition. It was well sheltered, and I don't see how any artillery
7 weapons could have targeted the hospital.
8 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Gavric, if you could put a pause between the
9 question and answer. So just wait a little bit more before you start
10 answering. Mr. Krgovic.
11 MR. KRGOVIC:
12 Q. In the reports that you sent to your superior command you
13 obviously submitted combat reports and you stated that there was no
14 shelling and these reports had been sent upwards along the chain of
15 command and you stated that you did not use any weapons against the
16 UNPROFOR base and against civilians, would that be correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Mr. Gavric, my client, amongst other things, is charged with
19 talking to UN representatives and provided them with false reports about
20 the situation on the ground when he said that UNPROFOR members and
21 civilians had not been targeted. This information was based on the
22 combat reports that arrived from the field. His statements that I have
23 just quoted, would they correspond to what you saw and what you know from
24 the field, i.e., that there was no shelling of the UNPROFOR positions and
25 that there was no attack on the civilian population or the town of
2 A. I repeat, in the area of Potocari where I was stationed, actually
3 what I could see from the base, I can guarantee there was no such thing.
4 As for Zeleni Jadar and djoko [phoen] brdo areas, if such things had
5 happened then UNPROFOR soldiers would not have sought protection of our
6 army from the Muslim forces because a soldier of DutchBat had been killed
7 there as far as I know.
8 Q. In other words, when my client claimed that UNPROFOR and the
9 civilian population were not targeted by the units of the Army of
10 Republika Srpska, he was telling the truth, would you agree with that?
11 A. Of course. No normal person would have targeted a civilian
12 population and there was no need and nobody did or could indeed order
13 that UNPROFOR soldiers should be targeted.
14 MR. KRGOVIC: Thank you very much, Mr. Gavric, I have no further
15 questions for you.
16 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Sarapa, do you have any questions.
17 MR. SARAPA: No questions.
18 JUDGE KWON: Then it's you, Mr. Thayer.
19 Cross-examination by Mr. Thayer:
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon to you and Your
21 Honours. Good afternoon, everyone.
22 Good evening, sir. My name is Nelson Thayer, I'll be asking you
23 some questions on behalf of the Prosecution.
24 A. Good evening. Yes, please go ahead.
25 Q. You testified in the Blagojevic case and I think you more or less
1 affirmed it today that you were personally and directly subordinated to
2 Colonel Blagojevic when you were serving as chief of artillery; correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, I want to spend a little bit of time going over the
5 documents which you were shown concerning the shelling of Srebrenica in
6 May, specifically 25 May 1995. Okay?
7 A. Yes, of course, yes.
8 Q. Just so you know, I'm going to spend sometime with you for the
9 remainder of today and through tomorrow just proceeding as
10 chronologically as I can. Just so you know how things are going to
11 happen. I don't intend to jump around. I just want to kind of follow
12 through your activities during this period of time. Okay?
13 A. Yes, of course.
14 Q. Now, in the Blagojevic case, and this was at transcript page
15 8556, you testified that at that time your recollection was that from the
16 17th of April 1993 until the 11th of July 1995, the Bratunac Brigade did
17 not fire at all in the direction of the enclave. You were then shown the
18 two orders that we looked at earlier today, and you tried to explain as
19 best as you could what you recalled being the reason for you firing those
20 shells on the 25th of May. Do you recall that, sir?
21 A. I do, but those were not orders but combat reports sent to the
22 command of the Drina Corps. That's the first thing. Second of all, it
23 is true that in the Blagojevic case, I could not remember the period in
24 May. I could only remember it when I saw the document and then I
25 apologized both to the Trial Chamber and everybody else. I did not do it
1 on purpose. I just omitted that. It just escaped my memory.
2 Q. And I understand that I don't believe you had been shown those
3 documents by any party prior to your testimony in Blagojevic; correct?
4 A. When I arrived here, I wasn't told that by Mr. Karnavas. It was
5 on cross-examination on the part of the Prosecution that I saw that
6 document, and it -- now it jogs my memory, but it's been a long time.
7 Q. Let's look quickly at these two documents again. If we could
8 have P03358, please. You see the document again, sir?
9 A. I do.
10 Q. Now, you correctly referred to this as a report, and it's an
11 urgent report; right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And we can see at the bottom where it says submitted at 2010
14 hours. Do you see that, sir?
15 A. I do, yes. 8 hours and 10 minutes p.m.
16 Q. And does this confirm then, that this was actually sent to the
18 A. Yes, it should have been sent to the corps. We were not the ones
19 to send it. It was sent to the communications centre who was supposed to
20 forward it to the corps command.
21 Q. And based on your recollection of those days, did that howitzer
22 ever get repaired, pursuant to your notification to the corps that you
23 needed an urgent repair?
24 A. That howitzer was irreparable. That is to say, it was supposed
25 to be sent back to the factory because the back section had been
2 Q. And was that determination made based on the contact that you had
3 with the corps, to your recollection?
4 A. As far as I recall, some people arrived and they stated that it
5 had to be towed away for repair. It was taken away and was not returned
6 until the end of the war. At least not to me.
7 Q. Let's put up P03359, please. If we could scroll up just a little
8 bit on the B/C/S on the original, please. And here again, sir, can you
9 see that this indicates that this was sent the 2110 hours?
10 A. Yes, 2110.
11 Q. Now, in the Blagojevic case, let me just read to you your
12 recollection at the time of why these shells were fired, and then I'm
13 going to ask you some questions. At page 8558 you say: "It says that on
14 the 25th I can guarantee now as to what was fired at in a certain
15 locality. I'm trying together rewind the film in my mind, but this
16 document isn't clear to me. It appears that I signed it. I know that
17 there was back recoil and I had some people injured. Now, as far as I
18 can remember, I can't believe that it was in 1995, although, yes, indeed
19 it does say 1995, an enemy tank did fire at us from the front of the
20 Muslim defence lines, from the first Muslim defence lines, and probably
21 99 percent certainty we probably did respond. Now, the anti-armour and
22 anti-armour projectile was used to try to destroy the tank. Well, I
23 suppose I wrote this, but I really don't remember that that was in 1995
24 at all. I really can't remember that."
25 Then you were asked a follow-up question: "All right. Well, you
1 wrote it and it's dated 1995, so I think it's safe to say that that is
2 what happened in 1995; right?" And your answer was: "Judging by the
3 date, yes, but judging by my recollections, no. I remember that people
4 were injured and I remember that this back section became stuck and so
5 on. When I think about it now and turn my mind back to those days, I
6 remember that we were fired at from the Budak defence lines by an enemy
7 tank on my fire positions because there was a group that had been
8 filtered in, a group of their reconnaissance men. And when we saw this
9 fire, we did target the tank, but I really don't remember that that was
10 in 1995. And if it says we opened fire, then I suppose we did."
11 Now, let me just ask you one question, have you had a chance to
12 search your memory since 2004, has anything jogged your memory and has
13 your memory changed at all since you gave those answers back in 2004
14 about this event?
15 A. To tell you honestly, even today those details are not clear in
16 my mind's eye. There were many things that happened and it is difficult
17 for me to recall exactly. I know that three soldiers were injured, they
18 were seriously injured, and that a part of the cartridge fell out,
19 destroying completely the back section. I know that it was towed away
20 for repair and I know we were informed from the observation post that we
21 were being targeted from Budak. We tried to use that to target back. I
22 guess either the piece was too old by that time or our charge was too
24 Q. Okay. Now, sir, when you say Budak, that's sort of a general
25 area. Can you tell the Trial Chamber based on your recollection where
1 was that tank located? Can you give us some reference point as to where
2 precisely as best as you can remember that tank was actually located at
3 the time that we are talking about?
4 A. I can go by the observers report. I was not observing that place
5 since I was not in a position to do so. It is close to Potocari, close
6 to the settlement of Potocari. It is a pine forest they used putting the
7 tank in that area at the frontlines of Srebrenica defence.
8 Q. And can you be more specific as to what location in your
9 recollection actually received or was the target of the tank fire?
10 A. I don't know how well I can explain the area. I can indicate it
11 on the map. I don't know whether you are familiar with that area. If
12 you knew it as well as I do, you would be able to understand easily. It
13 is the forward line of defence where they had certain pieces dug in.
14 They frequently used that part to have the tank or some artillery pieces
16 Q. Okay. But my question was, sir, what did the tank fire on? You
17 said that you responded to tank fire. My question is, can you help the
18 Trial Chamber, give a reference point, something to let them know where
19 this tank was firing at or what received the fire? That's all I'm
21 A. Yes. I think in the Blagojevic case, which should be in the
22 transcript, that I said that our firing position was targeted. They
23 missed and the shell fell at a distance from where our position was.
24 Q. And when you say "our firing position," can you be more specific
25 as to what that means? What firing position?
1 A. The firing position of our 105 howitzer.
2 Q. And, again, that was located where?
3 A. The firing position? It was located in the brickworks area.
4 Q. Now, I take it that this was something that had to be responded
5 to quickly? You've got a tank, it's a mobile target, it has fired at
6 your firing position and if you are trying to target it, as you said, you
7 can't wait all day in order to fire at it. I see you are shaking your
8 head. Please explain.
9 A. When a tank is moving it can open fire, but it can also fire from
10 a stationary position. The tank had been dug in and they were short of
11 fuel. Therefore, the tank did not change position, at least to my
13 Q. So, are you telling us then that it's essentially a sitting duck
14 once it's fired, if it's dug in, it can't get itself out quickly?
15 A. In any case, if there was an embankment, and they probably had
16 one, they would still need time to turn the engine on and leave it.
17 Q. Now, when you say you are targeting the tank, when you testified
18 that you actually targeted the tank, do you recall whether you were
19 successful in taking out either the tank or its position where it was dug
20 in? Do you recall?
21 A. I cannot confirm that. All I know is that no more fire was
22 opened at us from that position.
23 Q. Now, you just had a chance to look at those two reports, your
24 original report, and the interim combat from Colonel Blagojevic. Can you
25 explain why the report clearly states that you targeted downtown
2 A. I don't know personally, but I think that in the report it is
3 stated -- well, I know that we did not open fire at downtown Srebrenica.
4 As for how many projectiles were fired from our position, well, I think
5 it was four at the most. Once the cannon was no longer in operation and
6 the people had been injured, we halted the task.
7 Q. Okay. Well, let's take a look at P03559 again then, sir. You
8 see the document in front of you on the screen?
9 JUDGE KWON: 3359.
10 MR. THAYER: 3359, Mr. President. Sorry if I misspoke.
11 Q. Now, the report is clear and simple, sir, is it not, that in
12 paragraph 1 it says: "Pursuant to Colonel Lazic's verbal order we fired
13 two times two projectiles, in total four, if there was any question, from
14 howitzer 105 millimetre on the Srebrenica town. Projectiles were fired
15 at 1907 hours. Artillery observers from Pribicevac reported that two
16 projectiles fell in the vicinity of the domavija building. The other two
17 projectiles were not observed, but they definitely fell on Srebrenica."
18 My question, sir, is you --
19 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Bourgon.
20 MR. BOURGON: I'm not sure, Mr. President, my colleague is
21 reading from the document or doing some editing the document as he reads
22 along like "definitely fell on Srebrenica" and things like that. I don't
23 see this on the document unless we don't have the same document.
24 MR. THAYER: Well, I'm looking at the English translation that
25 I've got here.
1 JUDGE KWON: Probably there may be some different versions of the
2 English interpretation. Let's move on.
3 MR. THAYER:
4 Q. This is the version that was shown to you, sir, during the
5 Blagojevic trial. I'm looking at it right now. You've testified that
6 tank was over near Potocari. I ask you again, it's clear that these
7 shells were intended for Srebrenica town. Tell the Trial Chamber why in
8 response to the tank fire from Potocari you target a hotel and Srebrenica
10 A. First of all, from my firing positions no one could target the
11 Domavija Hotel. It was in front of trig point 1113. No artillery piece,
12 save for a mortar, could target that building from my direction. I
13 seriously doubt the accuracy of that report. I would like to see a
14 person who can hit domavija across that high -- over that high hill from
15 the position where I was.
16 Q. So your explanation, sir, is this report has got it wrong; right?
17 A. I claim that we practically speaking could not hit that. It's
18 simply not done. There is a factor, a group of angles that you have to
19 calculate artillery use, and the end angle was simply not something we
20 could achieve given that we had no mortars.
21 Q. Now, you testified earlier today that Colonel Lazic arrived with
22 an order, and I just wants to clarify that with you. Is it your
23 testimony that he arrived in person with an order?
24 A. Colonel Lazic came personally to the brigade command. That is
25 why I was trying to remember how that tallied with his arrival. It is
1 certain that on that day when my report was drafted, there was a report
2 sent to the brigade command, and I presume he arrived there personally
3 conveying someone else's order from the corps command. Either that, or
4 in the meantime, he was in contact with someone from the corps, but I had
5 no insight in that.
6 Q. And explain to us, please, why the Drina Corps operations chief
7 needs to hand deliver an order to your brigade to permit you to open fire
8 on a target that has been directly targeting your fire position?
9 A. I can't explain that to you, who ordered and why. In terms of
10 subordination, well, I don't know what his tasks were at the corps so
11 that he would be able to say that he is going to order it. It's either
12 that or he was there on some other business, I don't know.
13 Q. Now, is it your testimony, sir, as former chief of artillery,
14 that you needed authorisation from the corps to fire on a target that had
15 opened fire on your firing position in such a circumstance? You did not
16 have the authorisation on your own to take that action? I just want to
17 clarify that.
18 A. No, no. It was a protected area. Which one of us could do
19 something that was prohibited, and for me, that was the law. I respected
21 Q. Is your testimony, sir, then to this Trial Chamber that the
22 shells that you fired on 25 May 1995
24 A. If someone has the right to kill you without you responding,
25 that's a different thing. In this case someone higher up probably
1 decided that we can respond, having been provoked.
2 Q. Tell us, sir, how much time elapsed between the tank firing on
3 your firing position and Colonel Lazic's arrival to the Bratunac Brigade
4 with this order that he is hand delivering?
5 A. I can't say. As I said, I recall it poorly. I remember the best
6 that my men were injured on that occasion, that is all.
7 Q. Was it minutes, hours, can you help us at all?
8 A. Whatever I told you would not be correct.
9 Q. Now, when Colonel Lazic hand delivered this order, sir, where did
10 he take it?
11 JUDGE KWON: Wait a minute, Mr. Gavric. Mr. Bourgon?
12 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President. I don't like to
13 interrupt my colleague but it's the third time that he suggests that
14 there was a hand delivery of a document, but he put a question to the
15 witness earlier on concerning whether the document -- there was in fact a
16 hand delivered order --
17 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, may we have the witness remove his
18 earphones, please.
19 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Gavric. Mr. Gavric, do you understand English?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't, but I understood the
21 gentleman's question about Mr. Lazic's orders. I didn't see it and if
22 they have one in writing, I'd like to see it.
23 JUDGE KWON: If you could remove your headphone for the moment.
24 I don't remember whose turn it is to speak, Mr. Bourgon.
25 MR. BOURGON: Very quickly, Mr. President, I don't want to take
1 too much time. On page 72 my colleague asked a question at lines 4 to 6
2 and he says, it is your testimony that he arrive in person with an order.
3 And then the witness answered that there was no written order to his
4 recollection. And the content of his answer is there. So I would just
5 like that in future questions not to again come back and always suggest
6 to the witness, again the written order, the written order, the carried
7 written order. He had a response from the witness and then he can move
8 on from there using the information that the witness provided to him.
9 That's all I'm saying. I don't want to take too much time, but it would
10 be more fair to the witness to at least put the right words that he
11 himself answered. Thank you, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE KWON: It's cross-examination but did he refer to written
13 order, Mr. Thayer?
14 MR. THAYER: Frankly, Your Honour, I thought he had. I thought
15 he had testified about arriving at the Brigade with an order. Now, if
16 that was just a verbal order, then fine, we can clarify that. My
17 understanding or the implication I drew was that it was a written order,
18 and in my questions to him he didn't correct me that it wasn't a written
19 order, it was an oral order, so ... now, I'd be happy to try to clarify
20 that with him and I certainly do intend to given what we have here in the
22 JUDGE KWON: Okay. Let's do that and move on. Thank you.
23 MR. THAYER:
24 Q. Sir, you testified earlier today about the first time that you
25 disobeyed an order, and that you had sought a written order in connection
1 with that order. You've just told us that firing on the Srebrenica town,
2 the safe area, was something that you thought was in violation of the
3 law, and that you needed higher authority in order to respond. It's your
4 testimony, is it not, that you sought that authority from the Drina
6 A. What authority?
7 Q. The authority to respond by firing at the safe area.
8 A. I didn't seek it. There was a person from the Drina Corps there.
9 It says it was Colonel Lazic. What I shared with you is my opinion, I
10 did not receive a written document.
11 Q. Now, you testified that Colonel Lazic arrived with his order.
12 What did he tell you about the order? And I understand now you are
13 telling us it's an oral order; right?
14 A. You are asking me about something and I can only tell you this,
15 my commander was there. I didn't talk with Colonel Lazic. It was
16 Colonel Blagojevic that was in a position to talk to Colonel Lazic, not
18 Q. Colonel Blagojevic was in command at this time, what was his
19 position in May 1995, May 25th?
20 A. It so happened that he was there on that day.
21 Q. In what capacity?
22 A. He was the commander of the Bratunac Brigade.
23 Q. And what discussion did you have with Colonel Blagojevic about
24 the need to secure authorisation from a higher command to fire on the
25 safe area in violation of the law?
1 A. I did not discuss that with him. If a report arrived, the
2 brigade commander was put in the picture and that's all that I can tell
4 JUDGE KWON: Ms. Nikolic.
5 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just an intervention
6 on the translation. Page 76, line 4, the witness did not say that
7 Blagojevic was the commander of the Bratunac Brigade, but that rather on
8 that day he was given the duty and accepted the duty of the commander of
9 the Bratunac Brigade.
10 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Thayer, you better ask the question again or --
11 MR. THAYER: I will, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE KWON: -- are you happy with the explanation of
13 Ms. Nikolic.
14 MR. THAYER: Absolutely. I understand what happened on the 25th
15 of May, Mr. President.
16 Q. Now, sir --
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's why Colonel Lazic arrived.
18 Now, I just realised when I rewound the whole film, he probably arrived
19 to actually hand over the duties in the Bratunac Brigade on that day.
20 MR. THAYER:
21 Q. Right. Okay. So we all know that on this day Colonel Blagojevic
22 assumed command of the brigade; right?
23 A. Now we know, yes.
24 Q. Well, you didn't just find that out today, did you? Or did you?
25 A. I cannot answer questions that were never put to me. I was never
1 asked when, on what day people assumed their duties, but I just realised
2 that Colonel Blagojevic arrived on that day and assumed duties as the
3 commander of the Bratunac Brigade, so you can say that the cookie just
4 crumbled, that the penny just dropped.
5 Q. Now, sir, let's go back to what you told us a little while ago.
6 Your recollection was that because you believed you were being called
7 upon to break the law and fire on a safe area, you needed authorisation
8 from your higher command. Now --
9 JUDGE KWON: Just a second. Ms. Fauveau.
10 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, may I please ask
11 the witness to remove his headset so that I can ask a question.
12 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
13 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the witness never
14 said what my colleague just repeated, that is, that the witness didn't
15 want to do something that was not allowed by the law. What he said is
16 that it was something that was not allowed, that such was the law, that
17 it could have been prohibited by an order, by an order from the staff
18 command, for example, so that accordingly he could not fire on the zone
19 without an order from the high command. I think my colleague should
20 first clarify this point.
21 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I'll just read what the answer was to
22 my question. My question was: "Now, is it your testimony, sir, as
23 former chief of artillery that you needed authorization from the corps to
24 fire on a target."
25 JUDGE KWON: Reference?
1 MR. THAYER: This is page 72, line 21, Mr. President. I'll start
2 over. "Now, is it your testimony, sir, as former chief of artillery that
3 you needed authorization from the corps to fire on a target that had
4 opened fire on your firing position in such a circumstance? You did not
5 have the authorisation on your own to take that action? I just want to
6 clarify that." And the witness's answer was: "No, no, it was a
7 protected area, which one of us could do something that was prohibited,
8 and for me that was the law. I respected it."
9 I think it's quite clear what his response was, Mr. President,
10 and that's why he explained that he was getting authorisation from a
11 higher command. I'm simply following up on what this witness said quite
12 unexpectedly, I would add, in the course of answering my question.
13 JUDGE KWON: Could you give me the reference again.
14 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] It is page 73, line 1.
15 Mr. President, with all due respect, for me it is not clear, was he
16 prohibited by the law or by an order from the superior command.
17 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Bourgon.
18 MR. BOURGON: Mr. President, all that needs to be said is that my
19 witness [sic] is trying to put the words in the witness mouth that he was
20 given and illegal order and the witness did not say that, Mr. President.
21 The witness did not say that he received an illegal order. And I support
22 the objection from my colleague representing Mr. Miletic, but also this
23 has to be read in context what the witness said later on, and he said if
24 someone has the right to kill you without your responding that's a
25 different thing. In this case, someone higher up probably decided that
1 we can respond because we had been provoked. That puts that into context
2 and there was never any idea from the witness to say that he was issued
3 an illegal order so that's what we just say my colleague simply should
4 not put these words in the questions or ask him to clarify. Thank you.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Thayer, it is our understanding that the witness
7 said truly that it would be illegal to shell the protected area and said,
8 he said it's the law, but we are not sure whether the order he received
9 was such that he should target the protected area or so. If you could
10 clarify with that, and then proceed from there.
11 MR. THAYER: And that's what I'm trying to --
12 JUDGE KWON: Could we do it in some efficient way. We have only
13 five minutes.
14 MR. THAYER:
15 Q. Sir, you've testified that you believed that you were in no
16 position to authorise firing into the safe area on your own; correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And that is because, as you said, you believed that that would be
19 in violation of the law had you done that; correct?
20 A. I myself was not in a position to make such a decision. It was
21 not my call.
22 Q. Now, can you help the Trial Chamber by recalling what steps were
23 taken within the brigade, within the Bratunac Brigade, to make that
24 decision at a higher level? Who was involved, who had the discussions,
25 and what were the discussions?
1 A. I never attended those meetings. I never participated in that
2 decision-making process.
3 Q. Well, tell us what you know about it, sir. We understand you
4 might not have been there, but this was your firing position that had
5 been fired upon. This was a decision that you've told the Chamber was
6 something that you could not and did not want to make by yourself, so
7 surely you must know what the discussions were even if you weren't there,
8 who talked to whom in order to obtain authorisation to fire into the safe
9 area of Srebrenica?
10 A. You read both reports, both Blagojevic and I say that Colonel
11 Lazic was the man who was there, and that's the long and the short of it.
12 I don't know anything else.
13 Q. Well, can you explain that, please. You testified that Lazic was
14 there, what does that mean?
15 A. I believe that on that day Colonel Lazic came on behalf of the
16 command of the Drina Corps and carried out the changeover of the brigade
17 commanders. What was said, where it was said, what discussions took
18 place, I really don't know.
19 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Gavric, did you ever receive an order either
20 from Colonel Blagojevic or from Colonel Lazic to fire a shell on the town
21 of Srebrenica?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I personally don't remember whether
23 I received an order to convey an order, whether it was ordered directly
24 by Colonel Blagojevic or somebody else. I really can't remember. I
25 really don't know.
1 JUDGE KWON: Shall we leave it at that and adjourn for today.
2 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Gavric, we'll continue to hear your evidence
4 tomorrow afternoon, so in the meantime, you are not to discuss your
5 evidence with anybody. Do you understand that?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
7 JUDGE KWON: Quarter past 2.00 tomorrow afternoon.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
9 6.45 p.m. to be reconvened on Thursday, the 2nd day
10 of October 2008, at 2.15 p.m.