1 Thursday, 20 November 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, Madam Registrar. Could you call the
6 case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case
8 IT-05-88-T, The Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic, et al.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
10 And before I proceed, we are sitting pursuant to Rule 15 bis
11 today. Judge Stole being constrained to leave early because of a family
12 matter, and that will be the positioning as well tomorrow.
13 All the accused are here. Prosecution is Mr. McCloskey and
14 Mr. Thayer. From the Defence teams, I only notice the absence of
15 Mr. Ostojic and Mr. Lazarevic.
16 So we can start. Good morning, everybody.
17 But I understand, Madam Fauveau, that you have a preliminary.
18 Please go ahead.
19 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is to inform the
20 Trial Chamber and the parties that we had a scheduling issue, not with
21 the upcoming witness Mr. Velo Pajic, but as far as the next witness is
22 concerned who for family reasons needs to be at home on Monday. So it
23 will be Ratko Milijanovic as the next witness, and then we may ask
24 witness Stojanovic to come back again. If need be.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you, Ms. Fauveau, and I appreciate
2 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I also have another motion I would
3 like to submit to you. Yesterday, when we prepared the witness Velo
4 Pajic, he drew a sketch of the underground building which the previous
5 witness had mentioned also. Just to avoid wasting any time during the
6 hearing, I would like you to authorise me to add this sketch which he
7 drew yesterday in front of us to our 65 ter list.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. Is there any objection from
9 you, Mr. Thayer.
10 MR. THAYER: None, Mr. President.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: And from the other Defence teams? None. So
12 permission is granted.
13 Let's bring in the witness.
14 In the meantime, please be informed we will finish at 1.15 so
15 that we -- We will finish at 1.15 today, so that we can attend the
16 swearing-in ceremony of Judge Christoph Flugge. Same will happen
17 tomorrow. I understand Mr. Josse will be --
18 Yes, Mr. Josse.
19 MR. JOSSE: Yes, Your Honour. Understandably, the legal officer
20 has been very helpful in liaising with me about this. I haven't, in
21 fact, been around all my learned friends, that's my fault, and there are
22 two I haven't spoken to. So far, everyone else I have spoken to is
23 agreeable to rising a bit early tomorrow so that my client and perhaps
24 others can celebrate a feast day in prison.
25 [The witness entered court]
1 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. This is what I was
2 precisely going to say. Mr. Josse will be liaising with everyone and
3 will -- can communicate to you that we will be rising at 1.15 as well
4 tomorrow, between 1.15 and 1.30 anyway. How the sitting itself will be
5 spread out, we are still discussing amongst ourselves, and we'll let you
6 know in due course how it's going to be today and how it's going to be
8 MR. JOSSE: I will revert to Ms. Fino later.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
10 Good morning, Mr. Simic.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Has anyone tried to contact you on the subject
13 matter of your testimony between yesterday and today, tried to speak to
14 you or something?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Nobody did, Your Honour. I was
16 really very lonely.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: And I think you will be lonely today as well,
18 because I don't anticipate seeing you to finish your testimony completely
20 So let's continue, Ms. Fauveau. Go ahead.
21 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
22 WITNESS: NOVICA SIMIC [Resumed]
23 [Witness answered through interpretation]
24 Examination by Ms. Fauveau: [Continued]
25 Q. [Interpretation] General, yesterday, we started talking about the
1 Spreca operation. In the period before the operation, did officers of
2 the Main Staff of the army of Republika Srpska come to the area of your
4 A. They did.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: So, Ms. Fauveau, in case you aren't finished by the
6 time, break will be at 10.20 and not at 10.30, and it will be a shortened
7 break. Instead of 25 minutes, we will have a 20 minute break. Okay.
8 Thank you.
9 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Q. Can you tell us who was just before the Spreca operation started?
11 A. General Milovanovic was there because we had operations on
12 Majevica, and he came to see how this was going on.
13 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you
14 5D1277. These are conversations that were tapped by Croatian
16 Q. Did General Milovanovic arrive in the area of your corps? Did it
17 coincide with this date, i.e., the 20th of March 1995?
18 A. Your Honours, I can't say with any degree of certainty that it
19 was exactly that date, but he was there during that period; maybe one or
20 two days earlier, one or two days later, but I can affirm that he was on
22 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you page 3
23 of this document. This is still the 20th of March 1995 at 2205, and we
24 can see that General Milovanovic informs General Mladic, who is in
25 Belgrade, about the situation in Vlasic and Majevica.
1 Q. If General Milovanovic, during this conversation, was in the area
2 of your corps, how easy was it for him to contact General Mladic in
4 A. It's technically feasible without any difficulties.
5 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you
6 document 5D974; 5D.
7 Q. Yesterday, you said that your corps had planned the Spreca
8 operation. Do you recognise this particular document?
9 A. I recognise this document. It originates from my corps.
10 Q. Can you tell us what this document is?
11 A. This is an order for attack, i.e., an order for the part of the
12 operations that my part of the corps was involved in.
13 Q. You already mentioned that the administration for operations and
14 training of the Main Staff was not involved in the planning of the
15 operations at an operational level. As far as this particular operation
16 is concerned, i.e., Spreca, and this particular order, did the
17 operation -- did the administration for operations and training of the
18 Main Staff have any influence over or did it play any role in the
19 drafting of this order?
20 A. This is an order of the East Bosnian Corps and it was carried out
21 by my command, had nothing to do with the operations organ save for
22 having incorporated the original document which was the directive.
23 Q. I think that yesterday we saw another document, not only the
24 directive but another document, which was a follow-up document.
25 A. I agree with you. The directive and the order for combat
1 operations. Those are original documents based on which and on the
2 situation on the ground this order was drafted for Spreca operation.
3 Q. After this order was drafted, did any orders come from the Main
4 Staff regarding the Spreca operation?
5 A. I know that I had to coordinate this with the command of the
6 Drina Corps. I met up with my colleague, General Zivanovic. I believe
7 that General Milovanovic was present when I was coordinating this
8 activity with the command of the Drina Corps.
9 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you
10 Exhibit 5D978; 78.
11 Q. Do you remember anything about this order?
12 A. Yes, I remember. This was more tied to the problem of Drvar
13 airport. Every day, several transport or cargo planes landed there; and
14 according to our information, they brought arms and weapons and equipment
15 for the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
16 Q. In item 2 of this order, we can see that Drvar could be open to
17 only on the orders of or with the approval of the commander or the Chief
18 of Staff of the army of the Republika Srpska. Was this customary in the
19 army of the Republika Srpska that only the commander and the Chief of
20 Staff of the Main Staff can give such an order or such an approval?
21 A. In principle, every unit had control over its activity. The Main
22 Staff had rocket units and it had an airforce. And, here, we are ordered
23 not to use our artillery until we are -- they approved that. I believe
24 that they had their own goal, that's why they ordered us that.
25 Q. A while ago, you mentioned coordination between the Eastern
1 Bosnia Corps and the Drina Corps. You mentioned the fact that General
2 Milovanovic was involved in this coordination, or, at any rate, he was
3 present during the meetings.
4 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you 5D979.
5 Q. As you can see in this document, it is the commander of the Drina
6 Corps who is asking you to forward information on to General Milovanovic.
7 Can you explain to us why the commander of the Drina Corps was asking you
8 to forward this information on to General Milovanovic?
9 A. At that time, General Milovanovic was deployed at the command
10 post of the Majevica tactical group of the East Bosnian Corps on Mount
11 Majevica, and the telegram could go to him through the Main Staff and
12 then they would have to return it to us; or, also, it could have been
13 sent directly to my command with a request for him to be informed.
14 General Zivanovic opted for the shorter route, and asked me to inform
15 General Milovanovic about this telegram.
16 Q. If you look at the he second paragraph, at the end of the second
17 paragraph of this document, it says in this part of the document: "I
18 will designate persons who will wait in Standard barracks and conduct
19 Lieutenant-General Milovanovic my observation post."
20 Can you tell us where these barracks were, the Standard barracks?
21 A. The Standard was a building of a former factory at the exit from
22 the town of Zvornik, and that's where the command of the Zvornik Brigade
23 was. Generally, Zivanovic, and some of his officers, were at their IKM,
24 i.e., at the observation post. General Milovanovic was not aware of its
25 coordinates, and that's why General Zivanovic informed him that a person
1 would be waiting for him and bring him to the observation post to help
2 him get his bearings.
3 Q. You mentioned a while ago the coordination between the Eastern
4 Bosnia Corps and the Drina Corps.
5 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you
6 document 5D981.
7 Q. This is a document which comes from the Drina Corps and which was
8 sent to General Milovanovic and to him personally. This has to do with
9 the Eastern Bosnia Corps, as you can see, which is mentioned often times
10 in this document.
11 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would like to draw the attention
12 of the Bench to the fact that there is a mistake on one of the pages of
13 this document in English. It says "General Milovanovic" [as
14 interpreted]. In fact, it is "General Milovanovic" in the B/C/S version.
15 In English, it says "General Milanovic." It should read "General
17 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's proceed.
18 Thank you, Madam Fauveau.
19 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation]
20 Q. I would like to show you page 2 of this document.
21 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] It's also on page 2 in English and
22 in B/C/S we are talking about the first paragraph. In English, we are
23 talking about the third paragraph.
24 Q. "The Main Staff of the VRS, as its capacities allow, appoint an
25 officer who will seek to coordinate and ensure the uniformity and
1 simultaneous of the engagement of the forces for more than three corps in
2 the operation."
3 Is it right that a member of the Main Staff came at a latter
4 stage to coordinate these actions?
5 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I think there is a mistake here.
6 Q. Did someone from the Main Staff come to coordinate all of this?
7 A. There have been two questions here, so let me take them one at a
8 time. Upon the directive and implementation order, this operation had to
9 be commanded by the command of the East Bosnian Corps.
10 In the meantime, the Drina Corps incorporated some of the forces
11 of the Sarajevo Romanija Corps which had not been originally envisaged
12 and which, obviously, did not fully accept the command of the Drina
13 Corps. That is why the command of the Drina Corps asked for somebody to
14 come from the Main Staff as the superior command and to take over the
15 coordination of the operation.
16 Initially, this was done by General Milovanovic; and later on, as
17 far as I can remember, it was Colonel Masal who took over from him.
18 Q. Since we are talking about coordination, can you tell us how this
19 coordination was done, generally speaking?
20 A. Coordination is one of the elements of the command function. In
21 principle, it was carried out by the superior officer, and it is carried
22 out in the following way: Actions are coordinated among several units,
23 according to the territory of engagement, time of engagement, way of
24 engagement, stages of engagement, goals of engagement, and, finally,
25 according to what happens after the end of the operation so as to enable
1 the units to carry out combat operations in a synchronised way in order
2 to achieve a maximum effect.
3 Q. Can this coordination be done by an officer who remains in his
5 A. In principle, coordination is carried out from an observation
6 post where at the territory where combat operations are to take place can
7 be seen. There is no point in doing it from an office.
8 Q. Since we are talking about various actions undertaking during the
9 fighting, can you tell us who was in charge of monitoring the combat
11 A. This is a general question. Combat operations are followed by
12 the one who is commanding. The superior command has the right and often
13 even the duty to send someone from the command to be present at this
14 site, that is, at the command post of this subordinate command; and
15 immediately follow the activities and do what they can for that to take
16 place in a more organised and synchronised fashion; and, if necessary, to
17 engage some elements of the superior command, that is, possibly airforce,
18 et cetera, in order to avoid wasting time by sending telegrams, et
20 Q. Can you tell us which body, as far as the units of the army of
21 Republika Srpska, were in charge of follow the actions of the enemy
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
24 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, if we could just have some
25 specificity as to what we're talking about. Units of the VRS, what
1 actions are we talking about? It's a very general question. I am sure
2 the General can answer, but I think it's just helpful to place some
3 specificity on the question.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Can you be more specific, Ms. Fauveau, and perhaps
5 break it down, somehow, into various questions - thank you - because I
6 think that's the only way you can do it.
7 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation]
8 Q. In an army, I assume it is important to know what the intentions
9 and movements of the enemy forces are.
10 A. Knowing the enemy and his forces, his intentions and objectives,
11 is half the success in any war. Following the activities of the enemy is
12 the task of reconnaissance forces or our units, and this information is
13 analysed at one place, and assessment as to their value and accuracy is
14 done by intelligence organs. Only based on such data can activities of
15 our forces be planned, depending on who our enemy is and how they are
16 deployed and what their combat efficiency is.
17 You plan differently if the enemy forces are broken up, and if
18 their morale is poor, then you need not attack; then you can launch
19 another tactical -- tactical activity, and that is chasing the enemy.
20 Q. You said that the Chief of Staff, General Milovanovic, was, first
21 of all, in charge of coordination. Where he was he based when he was in
22 charge of coordination?
23 A. Well, you may I have noticed that he -- first, he came to me, to
24 the command of the Eastern Bosnia Corps; and, together, we went to the
25 command of the tactical group of Majevica. He acquainted himself with
1 the previous activities that we had launched, and he was able to see that
2 the relay station at the top of Majevica had been liberated. He saw that
3 the units were and where they had been when the cease-fire was agreed.
4 With my commanders, he defined subsequent activities, and then he went to
5 the Drina Corps, where I also went later.
6 The problem was that the unit which had arrived from the Sarajevo
7 Romanija Corps was unwilling to leave the barracks and take the positions
8 from where it was supposed to attack.
9 Q. At some point in the fighting area, was there a forward command
10 post of the Main Staff?
11 A. Initially, no. But, upon the request of the commander of the
12 Drina Corps, it was established in the zone of the Drina Corps. I think
13 that Colonel Masal, who later became general, was there permanently,
14 because General Milovanovic, after two or three days, had to leave due to
15 other commitments. He had to go to the Main Staff, as the commander was
17 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you
18 document 5D986.
19 Q. As you can see, this is a combat report of the Eastern Bosnia
20 Corps of the 14th of May, 1995, which had been addressed to the Main
21 Staff of the army of Republika Srpska and also addressed to the Main
22 Staff of the army of the Republika Srpska, IKM 1, Zvornik.
23 What I am interested in is this: Paragraph 2 of this report, in
24 B/C/S, you can see the abbreviation "NS VRS." Can you tell us what this
25 abbreviation means in this paragraph?
1 A. In the report, we are saying that the Chief of Staff, that is,
2 the Main Staff - in other words, General Milovanovic - that he was
3 present at our command post.
4 Q. I believe that you have already said that he was -- that General
5 Milovanovic was able to contact General Mladic in the area of your corps,
6 but can you tell us a little bit more about this. How did General
7 Milovanovic communicate with the other units in the Main Staff when he
8 was in the area of your corps?
9 A. Your Honours, when he is in the zone of some corps, every officer
10 from the Main Staff has at his disposal the entire communications system
11 of that corps, toward the Main Staff and through the Main Staff, with all
12 other units as well. He was able to establish communication by radio,
13 radio relay, teleprinter, military phone lines, protected or secure
14 lines, and even civilian phone lines.
15 Q. I would now like to move on to another topic and talk about the
16 general situation which prevailed in the area of your corps in 1995. Can
17 you tell us what the situation was like at the beginning of the year?
18 A. Your Honours, we are talking about the last year of the war, what
19 we didn't know then, but there were indications that it would be the last
20 year. The political leadership had already published that it would agree
21 to a division of the territory of 49 to 51, and this actually prevented
22 us, as commanders, from taking any offensive action.
23 The soldiers at the front, who were already exhausted by combat,
24 were willing to sacrifice to defend the existing territory, but they were
25 not willing to sacrifice in attacks to take new territories. They
1 logically argued that we already have more than we need. If you need
2 additional territories, let's swap with the enemy, let's not die for it.
3 We, as commanders, understood that. We were skeptical about the upcoming
4 operation, Sadjestvo, which was planned, and for exactly this reason: We
5 expected the political leadership to start negotiations to end the war.
6 Q. At that time, I believe you have already mentioned this, but do
7 you remember if there were any agreements that had been signed between
8 the various parties in this war?
9 A. Your Honours, there had been several cease-fires. They were
10 mostly initiated by our enemy who was buying time in that way, in using
11 it to -- for supplying themselves with more armaments and ammunition, et
12 cetera. The international community wasn't being sincere with us. We
13 really believed that every cease-fire would eventually turn into peace.
14 Q. When an agreement on the cease-fire was signed, did the units at
15 a lower level, such as the brigades, receive a copy of the agreement?
16 A. Your Honours, the signing of each agreement was accompanied by an
17 order from the Main Staff about its implementation, and we always
18 received the integral text of the agreement as an annex. That agreement
19 was forwarded to all units, and, at the lowest level, it was read out to
20 the soldiers.
21 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you
22 Exhibit 5D1292.
23 Q. Earlier, you mentioned the orders that accompanied the cease-fire
24 agreement. This is such an order dated 1st of January 1995, and I'd like
25 to refer you to item 4 on page 2.
1 Does this item 4, indeed, reflect the general position that the
2 army of the Republika Srpska took in respect of this cease-fire, this
4 A. In item 4, the commander is making the responsibility of the
5 subordinate commands more stringent. They must respect the rules of the
6 cease-fire, and he forbids the use of some weapons that can be used only
7 if we are attacked. I believe that both the military and the civilian
8 leadership was sincerely in favour of this cease-fire agreement, and the
9 agreement on the cessation of hostilities.
10 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Turn page 1 of this order.
11 Q. Could you just tell us at whom this order was addressed?
12 A. This order is addressed to the commanders and the chiefs of staff
13 of all units that are subordinate to the Main Staff; that is, the
14 commands of the corps, the airforce, the military school centre, the
15 logistics bases, our protection regiment; and the IKM of the Main Staff
16 is also informed, that is, the IKMs that had been established.
17 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you
18 Exhibit 5D1325.
19 Q. General, as you can see, this is an order from a document of the
20 Eastern Bosnia Corps. Could you tell us how it happened, how this order
21 was generated?
22 A. This is an order from my command directed to the Posavina
23 tactical group; and, in the preamble you can see that we are informing
24 them of the reception of a telegram of the following content, and it is
25 then quoted there in its entirety. So it's the entire text of the order
1 of the Main Staff, and we also added our own measures to make this order
2 even more serious. In the central part, you can see that it says up
3 there "trajno", "permanently," and we excepted the cease-fire to turn
4 into peace. So we anticipated that this document would be archived for a
5 longer period of time rather than destroyed.
6 Certain commissions were established at that period. The Main
7 Staff established a commission in each corps, including mine, and I had
8 to inform the subordinated units that they could come unexpectedly,
9 suddenly, to check whether this order is be respected.
10 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Indeed, if we can turn page 4 in
11 the English and page 2 in B/C/S.
12 Q. We can see the name of Slavko Guzvic. Do you remember this
14 A. Yes. It is item 6 in the B/C/S version. It's the commission in
15 my corps. There is the chairman, General Budimir Gavric; and the other
16 members are Colonels Lukic and Guzvic, and Lieutenant-Colonel Milan
17 Gavric and a representative of the civilian authorities as this was
18 ordered from the zone. Guzvic was an officer in my corps at the Majevica
19 brigade; and, later on, he was a liaison officer with UNPROFOR.
20 Q. I would just like to Republic of Slovenia to page 1 of this
21 document. We can see that this document was sent to TG Posavina. How is
22 it that we do not see -- that we see on this document that it was only
23 sent to TG Posavina?
24 A. This is not a telegram. This is a document which is given to the
25 hands of someone.
1 In the integral document, it reads: "Delivered to the commands,"
2 and so-and-so. Here, it must be entered manually to which unit it was
3 delivered, and each brigade or regiment or independent battalion which
4 belongs to the East Bosnian Corps must receive one of these, a copy of
6 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would like to remain a little
7 longer on the issue of the agreement and show you a document that I
8 believe you've never seen. It's the same cease-fire agreement which was
9 sent by the Main Staff of the army of Bosnia Herzegovina to the corps of
10 this army, 5D1352.
11 What I am interested in this document is on page 2; page 2 in the
12 English version, too.
13 Q. If you could read paragraph that begins with: [In English]
14 "Predict points from which the Chetniks should withdraw."
15 A. Do I read it out loud?
16 Q. [Interpretation] It's not necessary.
17 A. Your Honours, this confirms my previous statement. The army was
18 Bosnia and Herzegovina did not have sincere intentions. They did not
19 want the cease-fire to grow into peace. Here, they are trying to portray
20 their defeat on Bjelasnica and Igman, and annul it by taking over some
21 dominant positions from the army of Republika Srpska, who would give it
22 over to UNPROFOR, and then they would take it over from them. This
23 actually came through, and this proves that they wanted to go on waging
24 this war for a long time.
25 Q. In this order, we see the term "Chetnik" several times. Does
1 this also surprise you?
2 A. This is an official document. I am really surprised to see this
3 term which you may be used in propaganda documents. But in an official
4 document, we would always refer to them as the army of Bosnia and
5 Herzegovina, and we would also mention the number of unit, or, sometimes,
6 we would refer to them as Muslims. I would never refer to them as Balije
7 or Ustasha. This is part of the jargon. Obviously, this is down to the
8 practices or culture of the operative organ or somebody in the army of
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina who drafted this.
10 Q. Earlier, we mentioned Colonel Slavko Guzvic, and you said that he
11 was appointed as the liaison officer with international organisations
12 such as UNPROFOR. Was this colonel in your corps throughout the war?
13 A. No. I believe that in 1995 or towards the end of 1994, he
14 received an order of the commander of the Main Staff, and he left the
15 corps and was appointed as the liaison officer with UNPROFOR, and he was
16 affiliated with the UNPROFOR staff in Gornji Vakuf.
17 Q. So was he at Gornji Vakuf the whole time or another location too?
18 A. He was there until the moment he was expelled.
19 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you
20 Exhibit 5D760.
21 Q. This is the order from the Main Staff through which Colonel
22 Guzvic is appointed liaison officer of the Republika Srpska army, but
23 here the Dubrave airfield mentioned. Does this mean anything to you?
24 A. I know that there were some talks about him going there, but I
25 don't remember him going, actually. The time plays a role here, Your
1 Honours. He left my unit, so I really can't remembered whether he was,
2 indeed, deployed to the Dubrave airfield where he was supposed to control
3 the aircraft that landed there and was misused for the armament of the
4 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
5 Q. And you said that he was expelled from the place where he was
6 based as a liaison officer.
7 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would like to show you 5D761.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the previous document, the
9 army -- of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina that I saw for the first
10 time, at one point they say, "We will not allow for the representatives
11 of Chetniks to be deployed in the UNPROFOR bases in our territory, and
12 this is something that the UNPROFOR should be aware of."
13 Obviously, this is the implementation without the consent of the
14 Main Staff for any previous agreements. They had agreed our mission
15 consisting of liaison officers to leave Gornji Vakuf, and they did it
16 without the previous consent of the Main Staff.
17 Then the Main Staff ordered for them to be handcuffed, put on a
18 helicopter, and transported over to our side. That was a forcible
19 deportation of a mission which is on -- which is unprecedented under any
20 normal circumstances, because, as a matter of fact, they were there as a
21 military attache, and they should have enjoyed a diplomatic status as
23 Q. Do you have personal knowledge of what you're saying, or does
24 your information come from this document, or do you have another source
25 of information?
1 A. My officer returned to the corps command after having been
2 expelled from that mission, and he told us that he felt humiliated and he
3 put us in the picture. He told us what had happened. Obviously, the
4 UNPROFOR command thought, so every BiH army which [as interpreted] is
5 their command -- and all that time they were ignoring any other civilized
6 norms, because they had originally requested for that mission to be
7 present at their staff in Gornji Vakuf.
8 That mission was established at their request in order to
9 coordinate certain problems in order to deal with any problems that might
10 arise between the UNPROFOR and the army of Republika Srpska, or any
11 problems that might arise during the implementation of the cease-fires.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. If I could draw your attention to
13 lines 18, particularly lines 19 and to the next two lines, anyway. The
14 witness -- I am not understanding what we have in the transcript,
15 basically. He told us he is referring to his officer, okay, who felt
16 humiliated et cetera. "He told us what had happened. Obviously, the
17 UNPROFOR command thought, so every BiH army which is their command --"
18 and there is something missing. "And all that time they were ignoring
19 any civilized norms, because they had originally requested for that
20 mission to be present at their staff in Gornji Vakuf."
21 What I don't understand is the part saying, "Obviously, the
22 UNPROFOR command thought, so every BiH army which is their command -- "
23 I don't understand it, if you could assist. It's probably a
24 question of the witness going too fast and the interpreters not be
25 becoming all to cope, but if you could deal with it, please.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the UNPROFOR command
2 requests from the Main Staff to send a group of officers that would have
3 been present all the time at the command post of UNPROFOR in Gornji
4 Vakuf, in order to coordinate their mutual activities and faster
5 resolution of possible misunderstandings. All of a sudden and
6 unilaterally, the UNPROFOR command, without any previous agreements or
7 negotiations with the Main Staff, expelled that mission of ours under the
8 pretext that their safety was at threat.
9 In the UNPROFOR base, with over 1.000 soldiers, how could
10 anybody's safety and security come under threat? In the previous
11 document that I was shown, drafted by the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
12 in one of the passages, it says, "Ask from UNPROFOR to make Chetnik
13 officers leave the UNPROFOR bases on our territory." Gornji Vakuf was on
14 the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is clear that the UNPROFOR
15 command gave in to the pressures and unilaterally expelled our mission,
16 they terminated their stay.
17 I hope that I have been able to clarify. If you wish me to
18 provide you with anymore details, I am at your disposal, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer. Mr. Thayer.
20 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I think I can agree with my learned
21 colleague that what we had in, Mr. President, in your line citation was a
22 simple mishearing. What I heard was "...every BiH army wish is their
23 command..." I think that's what the General said and what was
25 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter confirms.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: Thanks.
3 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation]
4 Q. You've already mentioned the problems that you encountered in
5 Majevica in the spring of 1995. Do you have any information about
6 problems of cease-fire violation -- violation of cease-fire agreements on
7 other fronts?
8 A. [Interpretation] As far as I can remember, there was an offensive
9 on Mount Vlasic that was launched by the BiH army against the units of
10 the 1st Krajina Corps during the cease-fire. There were a series of
11 other individual violations of cease-fire attempts to correct certain
12 defence lines and certain positions. The army of Republika Srpska was
13 standing completely still at that time.
14 Q. Do you recall when this cease-fire violation occurred in Vlasic
15 more or less?
16 A. I believe that it was either before the new year 1995 or the
17 beginning of 1995. It was in the area of responsibility of the
18 1st Corps. I can't tell you exactly. I had my own zone of
19 responsibility. I was elsewhere.
20 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Can we show witness Exhibit 5D1212.
21 This is the information regarding the enemy offensive at Vlasic, and it's
22 not very clear in the title of the document, but then we can see 24, 25,
24 Q. Could this document describe the offensive at Vlasic that you
25 referred to?
1 A. Yes. And in the upper part where you had the date, you can see
2 that it was drafted in March, and it speaks of the offensive that had
3 taken place the month before. This information was drafted on the 7th of
4 March and reports on what had happened on Mount Vlasic the month before.
5 Q. I would now like to return to your area in Majevica. The
6 cease-fire violations in Majevica, were they reported in your combat
8 A. Yes.
9 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I'd like to show the witness
10 Exhibit 5D1140. This is the daily report of the Main Staff of the army
11 of Republika Srpska. If we could go to page 2 both in the B/C/S and
12 English versions, what I'm interested in is paragraph 4, zone of
13 responsibility of the Eastern Bosnia Corps.
14 Indeed, we see that this report refers to an attack on the
15 Majevica section of the front.
16 Q. I don't expect you to recall precisely what was indicated in your
17 report, but could you tell us where the Main Staff derived the
18 information that is in this report which is the report of the Main Staff?
19 A. I don't know whether I have received a wrong interpretation or
20 whether your interpretation was wrong. This is not a report to the Main
21 Staff. This is the Main Staff reporting to the Supreme Command and
22 describing the situation on the entire battlefield; and under number 4,
23 you will see my signature. The situation was dramatic, and I remember it
24 very well because I had to go there. I had to go into the field. This
25 was not just a minor provocation. This was a well-conceived,
1 well-prepared, well-organised attack by two brigades whose intention was
2 to take the Majevica plateau and create conditions which towers around
3 the -- above the whole area. They wanted to proceed towards Ugljevik,
4 Lopare, and Semberija. That was their planned direction of attack.
5 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. We'll have a 20-minute break. Thank you.
7 --- Recess taken at 10.20 a.m.
8 --- On resuming at 10.42 a.m.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Fauveau. The next break will be at noon
11 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
12 I would now like to show the witness Exhibit 5D1141. This is
13 another report from the Main Staff, dated the 22nd of March 1995. We
14 would need to refer to page 2. We are still on the attacks by the Bosnia
15 and Herzegovina army at Majevica. We see that the relay at Stolice is
17 Q. Could you tell us what type of relay this is. What is this
19 A. Your Honours, on the top of Mount Majevica -- and the peek is
20 called Stolice. At the top of that mountain, there was a radio and
21 television relay station. It was not a military facility, but that
22 facility made possible the transmission of images from the central
23 television at Pale to the territory of the entire Republika Srpska. It
24 is also a hub of civilian communications.
25 Q. So, in these series of reports, I would like to show you 5D1142.
1 And before this report arrives, I would like to know whether a unit not
2 belonging to your corps was, for some reason, to be found in the area of
3 your corps? Did you refer to that in the reports that you sent to the
4 staff -- in the reports that you sent to the Main Staff?
5 A. I mentioned everything that went on in the zone of the corps to
6 my -- in my reports to the Main Staff; and if there is a unit belonging
7 to another command, I mention it. Some units could transit through my
8 zone, then I make mention of that, too.
9 Q. So this is the report dated 23rd of March, 1995.
10 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] And if we could see page 2, at the
11 very bottom of the page in B/C/S, we refer to a unit of the Drina Corps,
12 the 10th Sabotage Detachment and police units.
13 Q. Is it possible for the 2nd [as interpreted] Sabotage Unit to
14 operate in your zone without you mentioning it in the reports sent to the
15 Main Staff?
16 Would it be --
17 A. We are speaking about the 10th Sabotage Unit, and that's the unit
18 of the Main Staff. That unit was sent -- was deployed to my area to help
19 me, because it was the critical at Majevica. And without that unit and
20 without police units, it would have been difficult for us to retake that
21 territory. And when they come to my zone, they are resubordinated to me;
22 that is, my command, bearing in mind that the police have their own
23 commander. But he coordinates his activities with me, and they are
24 deployed as security forces for my logistics.
25 Q. Could you specify the situation at the moment? Could you tell us
1 what you said in your last sentence where you referred to the police?
2 A. I have said earlier, under the conditions when the state of war
3 has not been declared, the Main Staff does not command police units; the
4 Minister of the Interior does. This unit came under the approval of the
5 Minister of the Interior to help my units at Majevica. They cooperate
6 with us in the direction that I determine, but when they come and when
7 they return, as well as their line of command, is not within my purview.
8 It is up to me only to incorporate them into combat activities,
9 and I -- it is up to me to supply them with food, ammunition, and band
10 aid, et cetera. If the state of war had been declared, they would have
11 become a part of the armed forces, and orders would be issued to them in
12 the same way as to the military. In this way, they could have said after
13 two days that they are leaving to carry out another task, and I wouldn't
14 have been able to stop them.
15 Q. Let's get back to what I am interested in. More specifically, we
16 can see that you drafted a report and that the units arrived. When, for
17 instance, as far as the 10th Sabotage Detachment was concerned, when this
18 detachment arrived in your area, could it happen that you did not inform
19 the Main Staff about this?
20 A. Only if they came in plain clothes, but that unit is a regular
21 unit. Although they are a sabotage detachment, they had their specific
22 tasks and duties and they should not arrive without my approval.
23 Q. Did you have the duty to inform the Main Staff about their
25 A. In this case, they were, indeed, sent to me by the Main Staff,
1 and I said that they had been included in combat activities. That is a
2 normal military sequence of activities. In this case, the Main Staff was
3 in a critical condition which can be seen from the fact they deployed
4 this unit which is not an offensive unit, but they had nothing else to
5 send to us.
6 Q. I am now talking about another topic. What was the relationship
7 between the army of Republika Srpska and UNPROFOR at the beginning of the
8 war in 1992?
9 A. The relations between UNPROFOR and the VRS varied depending on
10 whether they were neutral or whether they were totally partial in favour
11 of the army of BiH. Initially, they were neutral; but, later on, even
12 the UNHCR engaged in some activities that are not appropriate for a
13 humanitarian organisation.
14 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you
15 document 5D763. This is an order coming from the Main Staff of the army
16 of the Republika Srpska relating to UNPROFOR, dated 23rd of November,
18 Q. In paragraphs 2 and 3, we can see what the position of the army
19 of the Republika Srpska was as contained in this order, and we can see in
20 the last sentence of paragraph 3 that it says: "They have nothing
21 against checks of every convoy or individual vehicle or the rooms and
22 buildings they use."
23 Do you know why such controls were made?
24 A. I saw it on television; and, later on, it came from a report --
25 it came in a report from the Main Staff that ammunition was found in a
1 convoy allegedly transporting humanitarian aid to Srebrenica and
2 Sarajevo. Then the reputation of the UNPROFOR was damaged, not only in
3 the eyes of the army but also in the people, so that even some women
4 would three stones at their vehicles. Then a meeting was held with the
5 UNPROFOR command, and they agreed that at certain checkpoints vehicles
6 could be checked in order to eliminate any suspicion that they are
7 transporting things they shouldn't be transporting.
8 Q. You did talk about the reputation of this organisation that had
9 been damaged in the eyes of the people.
10 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Could we turn to page 2 of this
11 document, please. If we look at item 5, we can see that this order
12 mentions what the people have been doing.
13 Q. Did the military authorities have the authority to prevent such
14 acts from occurring? I am talking about the civilian population.
15 A. Well, this says clearly: "Through the organs of authority and
16 the SUP
17 population does not take adverse acts toward the representatives of
18 international institutions."
19 Here, probably the MUP was assigned some tasks too, and the
20 civilian authorities sent out a warning through the local authorities;
21 and the commander here obliges us to contact the MUP and the civilian
22 authorities to prevent adverse acts on the parts of some civilians which
23 could prevent convoys from passing, because the people were embittered.
24 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you
25 document 5D764. This is a document stemming from the Main Staff of the
1 army of the Republika Srpska, sent out to all the corps. What I am
2 interested in is the penultimate paragraph on the first page in English.
3 This has to do with -- well, this is the third line, the first paragraph
4 on page 3 in B/C/S.
5 Q. According to this paragraph, "The corps commands shall undertake
6 measures to explain properly to our army members, citizens, why we allow
7 humanitarian aid convoys organised by UNPROFOR to pass."
8 This document was sent to your corps also. Did you have to deal
9 with this kind of matter?
10 A. I was fortunate enough to have very few convoys passing through
11 my territory; and, here, I was informed as a neighbour of the Drina
12 Corps, I suppose. They just wanted to inform me about the problems that
13 they had encountered in their work.
14 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to move to 1995
15 and show you another order stem from the Main Staff dated the 12th of
16 March 1995 which was also sent out to all the corps.
17 This is document 5D852. I apologise, Your Honour.
18 Q. Could you look at paragraph 1 of this document, please. You have
19 already said that the relationship with UNPROFOR changed and varied. As
20 far as you were concerned, was this a general belief in 1995 as regards
22 A. Unfortunately, this relationship was at a very low level in 1995
23 due to various abuses and unequal treatment accorded to the BiH army, on
24 the one hand, and the VRS on the other -- or, rather, the civilian
25 population. It happened that they did send humanitarian aid to the
1 territory of Republika Srpska, but there are also cases that the civilian
2 population refused to take the aid. They were disappointed because that
3 aid was not even 10 per cent of the aid that was given to the population
4 in the territory under the control of the BiH army.
5 Q. Now, if you look at paragraph 2, this has to do with criminal
6 acts which had been comitted against UNPROFOR members.
7 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] If we could now move to page 2 in
8 English, and if we can show the witness the bottom of this first page and
9 then page 2. We can see that an investigation and prosecution was
10 underway against these criminals.
11 Q. According to you, was this the only order of this kind that you
12 ever received during the war, or were there others as well?
13 A. This was a drastic warning, but there were others on several
15 Q. You said that the convoys did not go through our territory.
16 Nonetheless, did you have any contacts with humanitarian aid
18 A. There were very few such passages, but I had other humanitarian
19 organisations. I had a commiserate for refugees on my territory. I had
20 the ICRC which performed its duties honourably, there were Medecins Sans
21 Frontieres, and so on and so forth.
22 There were some attempts -- well, you know, let me put it this
23 way: There are criminals who may be under the impression that a free for
24 all license was given to them when they such treatments were accorded to
25 other institutions. For example, on my territory, they seized a four
1 drive wheel vehicle from the ICRC, and we located it only two days later.
2 It had already been painted in different colours, and we returned it to
3 the ICRC. I believe that this was a case of abuse that resulted from
4 their anger towards the ICRC, but there was no reason to be angry with
5 the ICRC because they were really an honourable organisation and true
7 Q. You mentioned these vehicles that had been stolen, ICRC vehicles,
8 and the attitude you had vis-a-vis this act. Was this attitude the same
9 amongst other members of the army of Republika Srpska?
10 A. In principle, that was the case. There were individuals who
11 stood out from the rest, but those were criminals who were engaged in
12 criminal activities, and they were prosecuted in accordance with the law.
13 If you are referring to the enemy side, the army of BiH, I personally was
14 not convinced that they abided by all the rules.
15 Q. You mentioned those vehicles that had been stolen from the ICRC
16 and painted over in another colour. Did the reverse happen also; in
17 other words, when standard vehicles had been painted white to demonstrate
18 that this was an aid organisation when, in fact, these were military
20 A. This would be something that is prescribed by the Geneva
21 Conventions and rules of war, and it has to be punished. It has to be
22 militarily punished.
23 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you
24 Exhibit number 5D1002. This is an order dated the 5th of November 1992
25 which mentions this situation precisely where UN vehicles had been used
1 for other things.
2 Q. Do you remember whether this order was in effect in 1995?
3 A. It was in effect, this law on the ban to paint vehicles in
4 different colours. That was in effect, yes.
5 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you a
6 document from the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 5D1358.
7 Q. Please take the time you need to read this. Did you have
8 occasion to observe such events among the ranks of the army of Bosnia
10 A. I have never seen this document before; but, interestingly
11 enough, it does not forbid people from painting in different colours, or
12 over-painting, but from publically showing them. The BiH army used this
13 type of masking on a large scale because nobody opened fire on such
14 aircraft. It says here that it should not be publically shown because it
15 is detrimental, but it doesn't say that over-painting such vehicles or
16 aircraft is forbidden, or that it shouldn't be done.
17 Q. You have already mentioned the ICRC and your contacts with the
18 ICRC in the army of the Republika Srpska. The subordinate units that
19 were subordinated to the Main Staff of the army of the Republika Srpska,
20 well, the contacts or relationship with ICRC, was this regulated by
21 anything, by an order?
22 A. At the very beginning of the war, an order came with this regard.
23 We had to study this order, and we had to study the Geneva Conventions
24 together with all the foot soldiers and officers. As far as my corps is
25 concerned, in the place where the corps command was, there was their
1 regional office, an office of the ICRC; and in all the other places, they
2 had their branch offices. We had regular contacts with them. I had a
3 liaison officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Demirovic, who also held a Ph.D. in
5 He was in constant contact with the ICRC, and, once a month, they
6 would come and meet me personally. They called this occasion a "Tea with
7 the General." Then we would discuss any issues, any problems that they
8 encountered in their work. I am, indeed, grateful for all their effort
9 and all the assistance they extended to us during the war.
10 Q. You mentioned an order which was issued at the beginning of the
12 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would like to show you 5D1001.
13 This is an order stemming from the Main Staff dated the 30th of October,
15 Q. Do you recognise this order?
16 A. I recognise this document. This is the order that I've just
17 referred to.
18 Q. Did this order remain in effect through the entire period of the
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. You mentioned the arms and munitions that were transported in the
22 convoys. I would like to show you a short excerpt of a video that was
23 shot by the BBC
24 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] This is 5D1391. Can we show this
25 video, please.
1 [Videotape played]
2 "Journalist: The UN aid convoy had been stopped at a checkpoint
3 in the Bosnia Serb held suburb of Ilija. It was carrying flour loaded at
4 the airport nearby to the Muslim held village of Butmir. The undeclared
5 ammunition was discovered wedged between the pallets of food aid and the
6 truck bed. Serbian soldiers found more than 5.000 rounds of ammunition
7 for rifles and for heavy machine guns.
8 "The Serbs have said to have reacted to the arms find with fury.
9 The French officer commanding the escort remained with the Serbs in Ilija
10 for several hours afterwards, while UN officials searched the airport.
11 In an aid depot, they found more rifle and machine-gun ammunition and a
12 quantity of explosives.
13 "Male: I find it deplorable and, indeed, very sad as well that
14 anybody should attempt to use in United Nations humanitarian aid mission
15 in an attempt to smuggle munitions.
16 "Journalist: The UNHCR said it regrets the incident, but in a
17 war situation, such things are bound to happen from time to time, and all
18 sides have a vested interest in trying to get things transported in any
19 way possible.
20 "Male: What is possible?
21 "Female: I think everything is possible. This is --
22 "Male: In terms of getting weapons onto one of your lorries,
23 what will be possible?
24 "Female: Well, it's pretty difficult because we have pretty
25 rigorous checking exercises, but, clearly, what this shows, I think, is
1 that we can't leave these trucks for five minutes.
2 "Journalist: This arms find, while genuinely regulated by the
3 UNHCR, could do untold damage towards relief operations, many of which
4 rely on the goodwill and cooperation of the Bosnian Serbs. Their leaders
5 have on several occasions accused the UN of supplying the Muslims with
7 "Dozens of aid convoys cross Serbian lines in Bosnia every day.
8 Now Bosnian Serb politicians say, regretfully, they will have to make
9 checkpoint controls and searches must stricter than they wanted to
10 "Male: That's too bad, because that makes convoy -- that makes
11 them keep longer at our checkpoints. For the time being, we wouldn't
12 like to do anything else because we think now the humanitarian side at
13 this moment has to be strictly divided from the political side.
14 "Journalist: As they await the outcome of their investigations
15 into the arms find, UN aid officials say they will increase their own
16 security measures to try and ensure this incident is never repeated.
17 "George Eaton, BBC
18 MS. FAUVEAU: I am waiting for translation of the transcript of
19 the video to finish.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated] ... it has to stop
21 there. Sorry for the interpreters, I had my microphone off. My
23 Mr. Thayer.
24 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, thank you.
25 We'll stipulate that the date of the video is 8 April 1993.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. Incidentally, while we are
2 at it, in the course of Madam Fauveau's examination-in-chief, my feeling
3 is that she asked a lot of questions on issues which I, personally, don't
4 believe are contested by the Prosecution.
5 As we go along - and this applies not only to her but with this
6 witness but also to other witnesses - if there are areas where you are in
7 a position to stipulate, it will be extremely helpful, it will cut down
8 on the time, and it will avoid you having to ask questions because an
9 issue as been raised. So it's an invitation which I am making to you,
10 take it or leave it.
11 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Can we get back to 25.55 on this
13 [Videotape played]
14 "Journalist: Bosnian Serb politicians say, regretfully, they
15 will have to make checkpoint controls and searches much stricter than
16 they wanted to.
17 "Male: It's too bad because that makes convoy -- that makes them
18 keep longer at our checkpoints. For the time being ..."
19 "Journalist: "... cross Serbian lines in Bosnia ..." --
20 "Male: "... convoy -- that he makes them" --
21 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation]
22 Q. General, do you recognise this man?
23 A. Yes, this is Dr. Koljevic, a presidency member.
24 Q. Can you tell us what he was a president of?
25 A. He was a member of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and
1 he was also a member of the presidency of Republika Srpska later on. We
2 were informed that he was in charge of international and humanitarian
3 organisations in the Supreme Command.
4 Q. I would now like to discuss with you the situation with UNPROFOR
5 end of May 1995. Do you remember an incident in particular which
6 occurred with UNPROFOR at the end of May 1995?
7 A. You'll have to help me and pinpoint the exact incident. There
8 were several.
9 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you
10 document P2669A. Can we show the witness paragraph 1.
11 Q. We are discussing a member of the UNPROFOR that was taken
12 prisoner. Does this remind you anything?
13 A. This is a bad decision. It was caused by the bombardment of our
14 positions; and, here, the command of the Main Staff ordered us to take
15 over some of the prisoners and to deploy them in our sector -- or,
16 rather, to accommodate them in our sector and guarantee them safety. We
17 received 27 members, my commander did.
18 Q. Do you know where these UNPROFOR members were captured?
19 A. They were not taken in my territory. They came from the
20 territory of the Romanija Sarajevo Corps, and I didn't want to take them
21 to the prisoner of war camps, so I deployed them in my artillery unit to
22 be there together with my soldiers.
23 Q. How long did these UNPROFOR members stay in the area of your
25 A. Short -- they stayed a short time, only five to seven days.
1 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show the
2 witness 5D1335. This is an order coming from President Karadzic which
3 has to do with the liberation of 120 people, 120 members of UNPROFOR that
4 had been captured. The date is that of the 2nd of June 1995.
5 Q. What I am interested in is this: You see this comment made and
6 it is handwritten - unfortunately, it has not been translated into
7 English - where it says --
8 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Can we show the document in B/C/S
9 so that we can see it.
10 Q. What I am surprised by is why does this say that this is strictly
11 personal and why is it only sent to General Tolimir?
12 A. I am surprised, too.
13 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you
14 document 5D1337.
15 Q. This is an order which was addressed to you and all the corps and
16 your corps also.
17 A. Well, you see here that it isn't only to the attention of General
18 Tolimir. The commander is also issuing an order, so he is familiar with
19 it. This says that I should handover 26 prisoners, and I had received
20 had 27. One was ill and was put up in hospital. He had left earlier.
21 Q. Well, this person who was sent to hospital, which hospital are we
22 talking about?
23 A. That member was first examined by the military doctor, and then
24 he was transferred to the civilian hospital in Bijeljina, from where he
25 was sent to the UNPROFOR hospital.
1 Q. Could you look at paragraph 2, please.
2 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] In English, this is on page 2.
3 Q. We are here talking about the prisoners that were in the area of
4 the Drina Corps. There were six of them in the hospital of the Main
5 Staff and five which were in the Vlasenica barracks.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Do you know what happened to these people? Do you know anything
8 about it at all?
9 A. They were handed over, all of them. They were all handed over on
10 that same occasion.
11 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you
13 Q. Could you tell us what this document is?
14 A. This is a handwritten record stating that my officer handed over
15 UNPROFOR members, because I said to him not to return without a written
16 document. There were no conditions to typewrite it as this was at a
17 border crossing, so he wrote it by hand because he couldn't return to me
18 without a receipt, a document, stating that he had handed over the
19 members. You can see here that their equipment is listed and their
21 Q. You said that it was on the frontier crossing, but if you look at
22 all the names, we can see that it's the Karakaj-Zvornik barracks, and I
23 think the word "Zvornik" is omitted in the English version. Do you have
24 any recollection that the officers of your zone were taken to Zvornik?
25 A. They had left in the direction of Zvornik, but I understood that
1 they were handed over at the border crossing. I might be wrong, but I
2 don't think it changes anything in the essence.
3 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Can we show the witness page 2 of
4 this document; page 2 in the English version, too. We see several names
5 at the foot of this document.
6 Q. Amongst these names, do you recognise anyone?
7 A. The one who handed them over is my officer from my security
8 organ, it's Lieutenant Cvijan Kurtuma, and I don't know the others.
9 Q. Do you recall what the situation was on the Sarajevo front in
10 June 1995?
11 A. I believe that a large scale offensive was in progress from the
12 direction of Sarajevo toward our forces of the Romanija Corps, probably
13 to meet with the forces from the direction of Srebrenica and Zepa.
14 Q. Did your corps have certain obligations that were imposed on it
15 in respect of this situation in Sarajevo?
16 A. As you have seen, I received help for Majevica. Under the same
17 way, I first deployed a light brigade and then another battalion to help
18 out because the situation was critical. It's normal in the military to
19 regroup and to send help to the most threatened spots.
20 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Now, I'd like to show you 5D1155.
21 It's an order of the 15th of June, 1995. 1155.
22 [In English] 5D1165. [Interpretation] 5D1165.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the order for me to send a
24 unit to the area of Butile.
25 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation]
1 Q. In item 2, we also see that the Drina Corps also sent a unit at
2 that time. Was this unit from your corps the only one to be sent to the
3 zone of the Sarajevo Corps at that time?
4 A. This order pertains only to the Bijeljina Light Infantry Brigade,
5 but the situation became even more complex later, and I had to send an
6 additional battalion and I had to obey. The situation was not great with
7 me either, but there, at the Romanija plateau, it was even worse.
8 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Could we see Exhibit 5D1217.
9 Q. At item 1, we see the command of the 1st Krajina Corps. If we
10 could move to page 2 in English. At the foot of the page 1 in B/C/S, 1st
11 Krajina Corps and Drina Corps to send a unit.
12 And on page 2 in B/C/S, page 3 in the English version, item 3,
13 it's the other unit that you've just referred to.
14 A. Yes. The situation was critical and the unit had to leave as
15 soon as possible because there were heavy losses that the -- that the
16 units of the Sarajevo Romanija Corps were suffering.
17 Q. Do you know where General Milovanovic was in July, August, 1995?
18 A. Your Honours, from the strategic point of view, it is obvious
19 that the army of BiH was trying to improve its positions by using all of
20 the forces available before the beginning of the peace negotiations and
21 to reduce the percentage of the territory under the control of the VRS,
22 so that they had launched offensive activities in the Herzegovina; around
23 Sarajevo; at Majevica, they had started earlier; at Vlasic.
24 The Bihac Corps had also received a signal to start combat
25 activities, and then General Milovanovic had to go personally to the
1 Krajina and establish an IKM.
2 I sent a battalion there, too, to help them, because the
3 offensive had to be stopped, because the territory of Bosnia Krajina was
4 on the brink of being severed into two parts. So the situation was
5 critical everywhere, and we expected peace. It was a great surprise to
6 us. It seems that we had trusted them too much. They had put a
7 signature on a document stating their intentions, but probably they were
8 not sincere.
9 Q. General Milovanovic was in Krajina on the western front of Bosnia
10 and Herzegovina. Who was the head of the army staff of the Republika
11 Srpska? Who was the head of the Main Staff Republika Srpska?
12 A. The head -- sorry. The Chief of Staff? The Chief of Staff was
13 General Milovanovic. He was in the territory of Republika Srpska. In
14 the zone of any combat activity, he was always chief. He was not
15 incapable of working. So wherever he was, he was always Chief of Staff.
16 Q. Do you know where during that period in August 1995 where General
17 Mladic was?
18 A. I don't know precisely. I believe that for a while he took part
19 in some negotiations; but, basically, he was also in the zone.
20 Q. When you say "he was in the zone," is there a specific zone that
21 you are thinking of?
22 A. Your Honours, every command has its zone of responsibility. The
23 entire Republika Srpska is the zone of responsibility of the Main Staff.
24 I have an area for my corps. If I leave it, I am no longer in my area or
25 zone; but the commander or Chief of Staff, they are always in their
1 territory, in their zone, if they are in the Republika Srpska, because
2 their zone of responsibility encompasses the entire Republika Srpska.
3 That's the zone that I meant. I hope that you understand.
4 Q. Do you know if General Mladic at one point in August 1995 was in
6 A. I don't remember; he may have been.
7 Q. Only answer this question, if you can: If General Mladic and
8 General Milovanovic were together in Krajina, or the army of Republika
9 Srpska was taking important decisions -- where the army of Republika
10 Srpska was taking important decisions?
11 A. When things were getting complicated in the Krajina, it wasn't
12 only Milovanovic who went there. All the assistants of General Mladic
13 went there, and even he personally to help at the site because the
14 situation was disastrous. The Republika of Krajina, the joint forces,
15 the combined forces, the regular forces of the Republic of Croatia, and
16 the army of B&H, together with HVO forces, had launched a general
17 offensive against the Krajina municipalities.
18 There, the decisive battle for Republika Srpska's very existence
19 was being waged. They may not have been there all the time, but probably
20 they met occasionally.
21 I know that General Milovanovic didn't have a sufficient number
22 of officers. I sent my assistant for morale, Colonel Jelacic, to see my
23 unit which had been deployed there, to see if everything was all right.
24 I sent them some ammunition and food and also some personnel. But when
25 they arrived there, I got a telegram: "This is just the man I need, I'll
1 keep him here. And from now on, he is considered to be a member of the
2 IKM of the Main Staff." They practically captured my assistant.
3 Later on, Colonel Beronja went there and he was also kept there.
4 Q. During this period, when most of the officers of the Main Staff
5 in Krajina, were important decisions taken in Krajina or Crna Rijeka? I
6 would -- answer this question only if you know the answer.
7 A. Your Honours, if the commander with most of his most senior
8 assistants is at a certain place, who can take important decisions at the
9 place where the staff was normally? There was no one left to do that.
10 Wherever the commander establishes his command, that is the main command
11 post, and the site at Crna Rijeka became a reserve post. The command is
12 always at the place where the commander is.
13 Q. I have just a few more questions for you. Did you know that the
14 combat had been conducted around Srebrenica? When did you have knowledge
15 of the fighting around Srebrenica?
16 A. Your Honours, I must say with regret that I didn't know that this
17 operation was being planned at all. Although it was in my vicinity, I
18 was surprised and, in a way, I was hurt. When combat activities started
19 and we could hear intensive artillery fire, I ordered one of my officer
20 to inquire with the Drina Corps what this was about, and we received a
21 reply that those were regular activities.
22 Then after that, for some three days, it was quite, only to start
23 again with even more intensity. And from television, we learned that the
24 operation around Srebrenica had started, and General Milovanovic [as
25 interpreted] could be seen, et cetera. We were not informed of those
1 activities at all, which is not in line with the military rules and rules
2 of information.
3 Q. During this period, July 1995, did you have any contact with
4 General Miletic? And just before you answer, on page 43, line 24, the
5 witness says "General Mladic."
6 Did you have contacts with General Miletic during this period of
7 July 1995?
8 A. I said yesterday, in a jocular fashion, that the occasions were
9 rare when General Miletic left the Main Staff, because all the
10 information went to him and he drafted reports. So everybody else could
11 go places, and he was always on duty. So when no one else was there, he
12 could always be found there.
13 You saw in one of those reports that one of my units was taken
14 prisoner in the Lisaca region, and I had to organise an exchange with the
15 2nd Corps from Tuzla. We always exchanged prisoners on a basis of all
16 for all; and, throughout the war, we had a very good cooperation although
17 we were enemies.
18 But then a young commander had come in. Before him, there was a
19 General Hasim Sabic, who secretly held meetings with me at the
20 demarcation line, and he was later replaced by a -- by one Sead Delic.
21 When he heard that I was no longer in possession of Batkovici because I
22 had handed over all prisoners, and he had refused to exchange --
23 Q. If you could speak a little more slowly, it is not properly
24 recorded in the transcript.
25 You had Petkovic, and I think you said something else.
1 A. Yes. Batkovici, Batkovici.
2 Your Honours, I get carried away. I apologise.
3 MS. FAUVEAU: I don't think that the witness said "I was no
4 longer in possession of Batkovici." He said something else.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Then ask him straight away, please, madam.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can reply, Your Honours. There
7 is no need for Ms. Fauveau to ask me.
8 Batkovici was in my territory, but three times I completely
9 emptied it and shut it down. I didn't have enough prisoners to handover
10 90 prisoners for 90 of my people. That's why I called up the Main Staff,
11 and General Miletic answered the phone. I asked him to give me 90 people
12 for -- to exchange them. I asked him about the combat activities, and he
13 said to me bitterly that he doesn't pass on information to anyone,
14 because he's constantly being called up from the Supreme Command about
15 what had been achieved, and he didn't know what to say to them.
16 Then I asked him to put me through to General Mladic, which he
17 did. Unfortunately, General Mladic said that they didn't have any
18 prisoners of war, and he had no time to continue talking to me and he
19 hung up.
20 I asked General Miletic to put me through to General Krstic
21 because he was in charge of the operation. It was a corps level
22 operation. It seems that they were at the same place at the time, but
23 Krstic said to me the very same thing that Mladic said to me, that he had
24 no prisoners of war, he told me to mind my own business, and he hung up.
25 But I said, "How come you have to prisoners of wars? There is an entire
1 conversation facing you." But he had no comment.
2 General Miletic was on the line as a go-between, and I asked him,
3 "Man, what's happening? Are these people crazy or what?" He said to me,
4 "Don't ask me anything. I really don't know what's going on," and I was
6 But they had broken off conversation with me. I concluded that
7 they didn't inform anyone and that they weren't asking anyone for their
8 opinion. I asked General Miletic, "What am I to do? Should I go there
9 myself to be exchanged?"
10 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Well, it's time for the break.
11 Q. Just before we break, when General Miletic said to you that he
12 had no knowledge of events, did you have any doubt as to his sincerity?
13 Did you have any doubt whatsoever as to his sincerity?
14 A. Since it was a corps operation and the commander of the Main
15 Staff was also there, I thought that they might be reporting to the
16 Supreme Command directly, but I was surprised to hear that General
17 Miletic told me that they were asking for information from him. He was
18 so embittered, so excited, that I really thought that he was being
19 sincere. He was between a rock and a hard place. He received requests
20 from the Supreme Command, and he never received any information from
21 whom --
22 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continued]
23 ... for the break. I still have about another 15 minutes after the
25 JUDGE AGIUS: We will have a 20-minute break starting from now.
1 Thank you.
2 --- Recess taken at 12.02 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 12.25 p.m.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Fauveau. We will stop at quarter past
6 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. General, I will repeat my last question before the break, and I
8 would please ask you to speak slowly because it wasn't recorded
10 When you had this conversation with General Miletic in July 1995,
11 did you have any doubt whatsoever as to his sincerity when he said to you
12 that he knew nothing?
13 A. No, I did not have any doubt. I could sense in his voice that he
14 was in a very unpleasant position. The Supreme Command was putting
15 pressure on him to provide reports as to what was going on, and those who
16 were supposed to submit reports to him failed to do so.
17 Q. When General Krstic and General Mladic told you that there were
18 no prisoners, and when General Miletic told you that he knew nothing,
19 what did you do?
20 A. I told him that there was nothing else for me to do but go and
21 arrest somebody, and he told me, "I can't order you do so," and I said,
22 "Well, it turns out that way." I asked him whether he could inform the
23 Zvornik Brigade that I would send a police battalion to capture a few
24 people over there, and he said, "Yes, I can deal with that. Consider it
25 done. You can start with preparations immediately."
1 Based on that, I ordered the commander of the police battalion to
2 take a company and report to Plitvice [as interpreted], on the border,
3 and to see whether there were any prisoners anywhere, and to take them;
4 if not, to block a sector where there were people how could be expected
5 that they could surrender. Before that, we had never had any problems
6 with this.
7 Q. Just before going into the details, how did you know that there
8 were prisoners in this particular area?
9 A. I didn't know. I sent them to report in the area around the
10 border, because it was just good manners. If you go to somebody's
11 territory, you look for information. If there is anything anywhere, and
12 if you told them that they were in the forest, to take a bullhorn, to
13 shout to them that they were the police and they should surrender.
14 Early on, our exchanges were very fast. We had a VRS fast
15 turnover of prisoners. Every seven or ten days, we would have one
16 exchange. Previously, they never failed to surrender if they found
17 themselves in dire straits. So I did not expect any problems that time
18 around either.
19 Q. Could you give us the name of the command of the unit of the
20 military police to whom you entrusted this task?
21 A. Major Dragisa Vulin, who later on became colonel. He went there
22 and returned very quickly, which I found surprising. I started shouting
23 at him, asking him why he returned. He said, "I completed my mission,
24 and I handed the prisoners over to the Batkovici camp. They have them.
25 The ICRC is making a list of them. Did I do something wrong? Did I
1 break something?"
2 I asked him, "How did you manage to do that so fast? And he
3 answered, "Well, they are already in the school. I just loaded them on
4 to the lorries and a bus, and I transported them to Batkovici. That's
5 all I did." There were about 90 of them all together, but I can't
6 remember the exact number at the moment. After about five or
7 significance days, I believe they were exchanged for our men from Litce
9 Q. Before your testimony, did you have occasion to talk the
10 Prosecutor's office? Did you have an interview with a representative of
11 the Office of the Prosecutor?
12 A. I did. That was four years ago on two occasions.
13 Q. Do you recall the year of the first interview?
14 A. I believe that it was in 2004. I was interviewed for three days.
15 Q. You told the OTP about this conversation with General Miletic in
16 July 1995?
17 A. Yes, I did.
18 Q. Thank you, General.
19 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] No further questions.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Madam.
21 [In English] Mr. Zivanovic.
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I will not question the witness.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
24 Mr. Nikolic.
25 MR. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have no questions
1 unless new issues are opened later on.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
3 Mr. Gosnell.
4 MR. GOSNELL: No questions, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Gosnell.
6 Ms. Nikolic.
7 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] I do have some questions for the
8 witness. Thank you very much, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
10 Cross-examination by Ms. Nikolic:
11 Q. Good afternoon, General. Although we've already met, let me
12 introduce myself. For the record, my name is Jelena Nikolic, and I
13 appear for Mr. Drago Nikolic before this Tribunal. Before I start
14 putting my questions to you, I would kindly ask you to make a correction.
15 On page 47 of today's transcript, line 18, when you said that you
16 had sent a company of your military police, did you send them to Plitvice
17 or to some other place?
18 A. The name of the place is "Pilica." Plitvice is a place in
20 Pilica was in the border area between my corps and the Drina
21 Corps in the zone of responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade.
22 Q. Thank you. My learned friend, Ms. Fauveau, asked you on several
23 occasions something about document PD1338. This is about the handover of
24 26 UNPROFOR members which took place in the territory of Zvornik.
25 My question to you is this: Did anybody from the Zvornik Brigade
1 participate in this act and in this event?
2 A. Your Honours, I don't know. I wasn't present. But if it was in
3 their territory, somebody should have been present during the takeover.
4 Q. Would you please tell us in what level in the hierarchy of the
5 VRS are exchanges and handovers of prisoners taking place?
6 A. Your Honours, in principle, the exchanges are carried out by the
7 Main Staff of the VRS, and there are also commissions that were organised
8 at the corps levels. The brigades did not get involved in the exchanges.
9 Q. During your long military career as an officer, General, you were
10 in command over different types of formations and units. Yesterday, you
11 spoke about that on pages 28.483 of the record.
12 I would like to ask you this: As a commander, did you have the
13 authority and command over all your assistants in the brigade and in the
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And, obviously, you had your own personal authority and authority
17 pursuant to the rules of the -- service in the VRS that were in effect at
18 the time, and that authority applied across the board?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. General, did there come a time in your East Bosnian Corps when
21 you noticed any irregularities in the work of your security organ?
22 A. Yes, I did, Your Honour, in 1992, and I asked for him to be
23 removed from his position, and a new person was brought in after that.
24 Q. How did you remove or replace the security organ in your unit?
25 A. Let me just tell you, I also removed three brigade commanders.
1 He was not the only one. I also removed one assistant for morale. The
2 commander has the responsibility and should be allowed to choose his
3 team. If somebody is trying to do things independently and not working
4 well as a team member, I could not tolerate that and I would remove them.
5 This particular security organ was very young and inexperienced,
6 and he did not make any international mistakes. He just was not cut out
7 for the job, and my personal safety was at stake. He had information
8 that a paramilitary formation would try to kill me, but he didn't tell
9 me. When I received that information from somebody else, he told me that
10 he had already known that. I asked him what did he do about that.
11 Q. But you would have also removed him if he had done something --
12 if he had made mistakes internationally?
13 A. Of course, even sooner.
14 Q. I wanted to ask you about something else. We are just touching
15 upon the security organ. Let me ask you about the briefings in the
16 command. How confidential were they; and if you were discussing military
17 secrets, did you discuss those during the briefings in your unit?
18 A. I've already told you that we had daily briefings, Your Honours.
19 Once you inspect the units, before you write your report in the evening,
20 everybody meets and we which change our impressions from the previous
21 day, as to what the situation was in the units. Those were the so-called
22 daily briefings.
23 There were also briefings that took place on a monthly basis
24 which implied a certain amount of preparation. Briefings are sometimes
25 attended only by my subordinates, the Chief of Staff, and my assistants,
1 and, most commonly, this would be the case when we were discussing
2 personnel matters. Such briefings should be confidential and the topics
3 should stay in the inner circle; however, I must say, with regret, when
4 we talked about promotions, such information would leak even before it
5 was officially announced.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment.
9 Both you, Mr. Simic, and, Ms. Nikolic, please allow a short pause
10 between question and answer because you are overlapping a bit, although
11 the witness has slowed down considerably, which I appreciate. Thank you.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am doing my best.
13 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will try
14 and do that. I apologise to the interpreters once again.
15 Q. General, sir, if a topic of such a daily briefing was the
16 security of units or combat activities that were to be launched or some
17 military operations, would such a briefing be open to civilians or some
18 third persons?
19 A. No.
20 Q. In a leak of secret information that was discussed at such
21 briefings or the discovery of materials about the briefings, could that
22 be the subject of monitoring of the security organ?
23 A. Yes, Your Honour, that would be within his purview.
24 Q. At the beginning of the 1980s and the end of the 1970s, when you
25 served in Sarajevo, did you meet Mr. Drago Nikolic in the JNA?
1 A. Yes, Your Honours, I did. We were in the military police
2 battalion in Sarajevo between 1978 and 1980. Later on, I was
3 transferred, and he stayed on. I don't know for how long.
4 Q. And during that period of time, did you communicate, did you
5 socialise, did you really know each other, or were you just colleagues?
6 A. Your Honours, Mr. Nikolic was not my direct subordinate. We
7 socialised, we communicated. He was one of the best platoon commanders
8 at the time in the military police battalion.
9 Q. In the course of the war, in the course of 1994, more
10 specifically, do you remember -- first of all, did you have a meeting in
11 Zvornik with Drago Nikolic when he was already a member of the Zvornik
13 A. Your Honours, we've already spoken about Operation Spreca and
14 about the coordination of our activities. On that occasion, I arrived in
15 the command post of the Zvornik Brigade, at its command, since people
16 from the Main Staff were delayed. Mr. Nikolic invited me to his office,
17 offered me a cup of coffee, and offered me to wait there instead of
18 waiting in the corridor. I remember that he was without a rank, and I
19 asked him what rank he held. He said that he was at the time the second
20 lieutenant, and I told him, jokingly, "If you were in my unit, you would
21 have been promoted to captain."
22 So I asked him, actually, since I had an opening and I knew him
23 as a good soldier, I actually offered for him to transfer into my corps.
24 He said that it wouldn't be fair towards other members of the brigade
25 command because he felt loyalty towards them, and he thanked me for my
1 kind offer.
2 Q. Thank you, General.
3 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further for
4 this witness.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, madam.
6 Mr. Krgovic.
7 MR. KRGOVIC: I have just a few questions.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, please go ahead.
9 Cross-examination by Mr. Krgovic:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, General. My name is Dragan
11 Krgovic. I have to state my name for the record, and I appear for
12 General Gvero. I have a few questions for you about your testimony so
13 far and about some interviews that you provided to the OTP in some
14 earlier periods.
15 General, first of all, let me ask you this: Do you know the
16 difference between a cross-examination and an examination-in-chief?
17 A. Yes, Your Honours, I am aware of the difference.
18 Q. Because I will be conducting a cross-examination, I will be
19 actually using the same method as the OTP used in their interview. I am
20 going to be leading you a little bit more, and some -- when I need your
21 clarification, I will ask for a very straightforward answer or a "yes" or
22 "no" answer. An open question will be put in that -- with that view.
23 You touched upon the relationship between the army of Republika
24 Srpska and UNPROFOR; and in answering General Miletic's Defence council
25 question, you drew a conclusion, and said that UNPROFOR, as a whole,
1 throughout the war through the Bosnia and Herzegovina was biased and that
2 their activities were geared towards the interest of forces of the Muslim
3 and Croatian federation. Would that be correct?
4 A. Your Honours, this is my opinion. UNPROFOR channelled its
5 activities or geared its activities according to the dictates of the
6 international community which it represented; but, by and large, this was
7 in favour of our opponents. This is my subjective opinion, but I am
8 convinced that I am right.
9 Q. And you probably, during your service in the VRS, had an occasion
10 to be an eyewitness to some events in the field. You read about these
11 events, and you could tell that the picture was portrayed completely
13 A. Yes. Unfortunately, it is completely correct. For example, I
14 also gave an interview and that interview, when published, did not
15 reflect at all what I said. I really had tried very hard to tell a
16 complete and true story, but it never made it to the interview.
17 Q. And in general terms, General, we are talking about the war. If
18 you received a report from one of your subordinate units about an event,
19 and if you received the same report from UNPROFOR depicting the same
20 event, or a report from the foreign media, whom would you believe?
21 A. Your Honours --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment.
23 You are going at super sonic speed, the both of you. Please, we
24 can't go on like this. Please slow down and allow an interval between
25 question and answer. Thank you.
1 MR. KRGOVIC: It's my own fault, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I continue, Your Honours?
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, yes, please.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 First of all, I did not receive any reports from UNPROFOR. I was
7 a corps commander, and the UNPROFOR did not even report to the Main
8 Staff, let alone me. Who would I trust? I would always trust my own
9 officers, both subordinate and superior officers; thus, I did not believe
10 the trustworthiness of information that I read in the foreign media. BBC
11 was objective and honourable, as far as we could tell; but the others,
12 there was CNN and others who were 200 per cent against us.
13 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Did you have an occasion to watch the appearances of UNPROFOR
15 representative in the media speaking about certain events, and did their
16 information differed greatly from the information that you had about the
17 same events?
18 A. Yes, I had such occasions.
19 Q. In one of these interviews, you mentioned that the only officer
20 who tried to be impartial and who had insight in the real state of
21 affairs was General Willcocks, who arrived a little later, and you had
22 the opportunity to cooperate with him?
23 A. General Willcocks is a member of the British armed forces, and he
24 was fortunate to be with us during two terms. So he had the opportunity
25 to get an objective picture of the state of affairs, and he was very
2 Q. And rather objective in assessing the condition in Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina at the time?
4 A. Yes. He was rather objective to the extent that his service
5 allowed it to him, because he was, after all, an UNPROFOR member, and I
6 understood that.
7 Q. Did you get any gift from General Willcocks during your
9 A. I don't remember. I know that I took him fishing once, that was
10 after the war, and I know that we had lunch together two or three times.
11 I don't really remember if I received anything from him, but he was a --
12 he was an officer with a sense of comradery.
13 MR. KRGOVIC: Can we just be shown the Exhibit 6D194.
14 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Simic, I don't believe that you had the
15 opportunity to see this. It's the picture of a bottle of whiskey that
16 General Gvero got from General Willcocks sometime during that period.
17 Now please take a look, and see if what you can read on the label as the
18 function or position of that officer and the commanding position that he
20 A. Your Honours, it is normal for officers to exchange some gifts,
21 and on that occasion, probably as a token of gratitude for good
22 cooperation, because General Gvero met them often. I'm surprised that
23 this isn't empty.
24 Q. Well, my client is a very moderate man, so the bottle is still in
25 my possession.
1 A. Well, I'm still not sure that it would still be intact if it had
2 been given to me.
3 Q. General, you spoke to the OTP two times: On the 3rd of April,
4 2004, that's the longer interview; and the second time, that was -- the
5 interview took place in 2007, in July, the 4th of July.
6 Do you remember the dates? Are those the approximate dates?
7 A. Yes, those are the exact dates.
8 Q. In those interviews, many questions were put to you about various
9 topics. Amongst others, there was a question about the functioning of
10 your command and some members of the main staff and the functioning of
11 their organs. Do you remember speaking with the OTP about that?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Some questions were put to you about General Gvero, too?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In responding to those questions, it is my impression that you
16 spoke extensively about the work of your staff, your command, and then
17 you made some inferences as to the work of the Main Staff. Do you
19 A. Yes, I do.
20 Q. You would explain the differences on some occasions, on others
21 you would not, when it comes to the work of some organs?
22 A. That's possible. Your Honours, when I was requested to, I would
23 explain the differences. The differences are important. Apart from the
24 basic tasks and morale belief and legal affairs, I would also cooperate
25 with international organisations, I would engage in exchange of
1 prisoners, and I had the only information service, which was not the case
2 when it comes to the Main Staff because they had special organs for that.
3 I would like to take this opportunity, while counsel is still
4 considering what to ask me, to say that the levels of command are
5 different and the approach or the concept is different, and that must be
6 borne in mind.
7 Q. Well, that would have been my following question. You
8 anticipated it. Thank you for that. Let us return to your morale organ.
9 You said to the OTP, in your interview, that with time, the activities of
10 that organ extended, and it was you who did that at your level, isn't it?
11 A. Yes. But that is why I had to fill my ranks with professional
12 people who were able to live up to this challenge, and they went about it
13 very seriously, for which I am grateful to them.
14 Q. You had a problem at the beginning of the war with staffing, so
15 that at a certain time, you replaced your assistant for morale and
16 brought in another man, isn't it?
17 A. Your Honours, I can suspend an officer, but appointments are
18 within the purview of the Main Staff because we are talking about
19 officers with the rank of colonel. I expressed my dissatisfaction with
20 his work, and I requested General Mladic and General Gvero, as the man in
21 charge of staffing of the morale organs, to give me another man, because
22 the man I had could not live up to my expectations.
23 I must say here, that I got support from General Gvero, who gave
24 me his assistant, a man from his sector, and sent him to me as my
25 assistant for morale. He was a wonderful man and did his job
2 Q. And that was Colonel Jelacic?
3 A. Unfortunately, he died. Yes, the late-Colonel Jelacic.
4 Q. In your previous response, you actually answered my question
5 about the purview that was different in the corps as compared to the Main
6 Staff. So I will go through it again slowly for the sake of the record.
7 Your assistant for morale was, first of all, assessing morale and
8 reporting to you about it?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You also gave him the task, as you had the Batkovic POW camp in
11 your zone of responsibility, to entertain contacts with international
12 humanitarian organisations and the ICRC?
13 A. Yes. I tasked his first assistant with the monitoring of the
14 camp, because it was a very serious elderly man, a doctor of sociology, a
15 very humane man, because I was convinced that he would do it very
17 Q. The morale organ also informed the soldiers of your own units by
18 forwarding to them the information they considered important for the
19 soldiers. Isn't that the case?
20 A. Yes, it is.
21 Q. It is not clear from the transcript. We are talking about the
22 morale organ at corps level?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You also said in the interview with the OTP that you were
25 publishing a gazette?
1 A. Your Honours, the Main Staff had its own gazette, and we, in the
2 corps, also published our own gazette to inform all members of our units.
3 We organised competitions. We also published interviews with soldiers
4 from various units, because when you -- the papers only wrote about
5 dignitaries and high officials. We wanted soldiers to have an
6 opportunity to say something, and they liked to read about that.
7 The name of that gazette was "Stit," "Shield," and the editor was
8 Jole Petkovic, and that gazette was no worse than the gazette published
9 by the Main Staff. I am proud to say that occasionally or in some
10 respects it was even better.
11 Q. Within the organ for morale, religious, and legal affairs, did
12 you have --
13 THE INTERPRETER: We didn't get the end of question. Sorry.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, one moment. This is what happens when
15 you don't allow a pause between question and answer.
16 Can you repeat your question, please.
17 MR. KRGOVIC: Yes, Your Honour.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Simic, the interpreters didn't hear because
19 I speak fast, so they didn't hear the end of my question, so I will
20 repeat for the sake of the transcript.
21 So these journalists who edited the gazette also worked at the
22 press centre?
23 A. Your Honours, I don't have feedback in my headset, so I don't
24 know when the interpreter has finished, so I don't know I can start. I
25 am a disciplined man. I am willing to wait for my turn to speak, but,
1 here, I cannot tell.
2 To now get back to the specific question --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Before you get back, if you look at one of
4 your monitors, it shows the transcript in English; and as the words
5 scroll, there is a cursor.
6 Now, when that cursor comes to a complete stop, it means -- when
7 that cursor comes to a complete stops it means that interpretation into
8 English has just finished. After that, you can start. This is how you
9 go about it.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I only saw it now
11 because it was switched off because of that video; otherwise, I wouldn't
12 have complained.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Now I am replying to the question.
15 The journalists who edited this gazette also made up my
16 mini-press centre, because I considered it very important that good
17 information make it to the place where it's supposed to go.
18 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. As opposed to your corps, at the Main Staff, contacts with
20 international organisations and the ICRC did not go -- did not go through
21 the morale organ, but through a special body subordinated to the
22 commandant. The chief was Colonel Djurdjic, and I believe that you know
23 that name?
24 A. Yes, I know it, Your Honours.
25 Q. For your information, if you know, with regard to the
1 establishment of the Main Staff, the press centre was organised as a --
2 as an autonomous unit within the Main Staff. Are you aware of that?
3 A. No. But the Main Staff is a higher level unit in the
4 establishment, and they can -- they can have their own arrangement of
5 things. I don't know what that is -- what that has got to do with it.
6 Q. I just wanted to point out the difference of the set up. The
7 morale organ was in a different place in the establishment in your corps,
8 and in the Main Staff, because one could get the impression that it was
9 organised the same way in your corps and the Main Staff. That's why I
10 wanted to clarify this, which may have been unclear based on your first
12 A. [No verbal response]
13 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Please show to the witness
14 Exhibit P3178. It is also has the designation 6D260.
15 Q. Mr. Simic, the way I phrased it may not be the best, but I
16 believe that you agreed with what I implied in my question by nodding?
17 A. Yes, I agree.
18 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Please let's go to the last page in
19 this document.
20 Unfortunately, Your Honours, this document is not translated. We
21 sent it for -- handed it in for translation, but the translation service
22 said it couldn't because the text was unclear, so they said. The OTP
23 used this document in their examination-in-chief, and the expert witness
24 Butler spoke about it.
25 Q. Mr. Simic, I have a hard copy also. Could the usher please show
1 this to you because you may be better able to see it on the hard copy.
2 This is the establishment. On page 1, there are the organs, and,
3 later on, there are the centres, the autonomous units. Please read it
4 through and confirm for the Court that this organ -- that this unit is an
5 autonomous organ of the Main Staff.
6 A. Yes, I agree.
7 Q. Please describe to the Court what this document is about, the
8 document you have in front of you. We can see here that there is a
9 centre for information and propaganda, the so-called press centre. And
10 on the previous page, you will see -- the morale organ may be confusing
11 here. Please look it up on the previous page.
12 It is part of which autonomous unit?
13 A. Yes, I see it.
14 Q. Can you tell the Court which unit is it that's part of the Main
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, one moment.
17 Yes, Mr. Thayer.
18 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, just for the sake of the record, if
19 we could establish what page of the document we are looking at, because
20 nothing is happening on my e-court. It's stuck on the same page. The
21 witness is flipping through a document. So when he gets to whatever
22 Mr. Krgovic wants him to get to, if we can just identify what that is, so
23 we can know what we are looking at since we don't have a translation.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Fair enough.
25 Yes, Mr. Krgovic.
1 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Simic, can you please explain to us what this whole document
3 is about?
4 A. Your Honours, I was going to start, and I thank the Prosecutor.
5 This is the establishment of the military. First, there is the Main
6 Staff with its communications units; and in the last place, there is the
7 centre for information of VRS, which means that this is a unit directly
8 subordinated to the Main Staff or the commander of the Main Staff. It is
9 not part of the organ for morale, religious, and legal affairs. Here,
10 there is the centre of the military schools, Balac. I know Vukobrat and
11 the others that are mentioned.
12 Q. When you said "in last place," you mean the last page and the
13 last position in the establishment, right?
14 A. Yes, Your Honours. This is the smallest unit under the command
15 of the Main Staff. They have a total of three men.
16 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'll switch to
17 another topic, so I think that now may be a good time to finish for
18 today --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
20 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] -- because I would like to
21 introduce a new series of documents.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Krgovic.
23 Mr. Haynes, I notice, although belatedly, unfortunately, that
24 this witness is also your witness. That's the information that I have
25 been given.
1 MR. HAYNES: No, he's not. He was on my original 65 ter list,
2 but subsequent notice removed him.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Oh, I see. Okay. So we stand adjourned until
4 tomorrow at 9.00 in the morning. Thank you.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.16 p.m.,
6 to be reconvened on Friday, the 21st day of
7 November, 2008, at 9.00 a.m.