1 Thursday, 12 February 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 a.m.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning. Mr. Registrar, could you call the
6 case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you and good morning, Your Honours. This
8 is the case number IT-05-88-T, the Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. All the accused are present,
11 presentation today we are a full house. Mr. Nikolic is back. Otherwise,
12 it's the same composition as yesterday.
13 Mr. Haynes, good morning to you and good morning, Mr. Pandurevic.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's continue.
16 MR. HAYNES: Good morning, Mr. President, good morning, Your
17 Honours, good morning everybody.
18 WITNESS: VINKO PANDUREVIC [Resumed]
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 Examination by Mr. Haynes: [Continued]
21 Q. We're on the home straight, Mr. Pandurevic. Just taking us back
22 a little bit, remind us where you were on the 14th of July of 1995.
23 A. I was in Zepa, in the Zepa area.
24 Q. And according to your understanding now, where was Dragan
25 Obrenovic on the 14th of July?
1 A. I think he was partially in the field, that is to say, around
2 Snagovo and Crni Vrh, that general area and that he spent time in the
3 barracks from time to time, and I think that on the evening of the 14th,
4 as he said, he was in the command.
5 Q. I'm going to ask you about somebody else whose name hasn't come
6 up so far in your evidence. A man called Dragan Jevtic, where was he, to
7 your understanding, on the 14th of July?
8 A. To the best of my knowledge, he was engaged with part of the
9 soldiers from the engineer's company in ambushes along Snagovo and Crni
11 Q. And how long did he remain there, to your understanding?
12 A. I think he was there up until the 17th, to the end of the day.
13 Q. And at the moment he's just a name. I'm sure people know who he
14 is, but can you tell us what function he filled in the Zvornik Brigade?
15 A. He was the commander, komandir of the engineer company, of
16 soldiers with no military training, with no rank, but as -- by profession
17 he was a civil engineer.
18 Q. And what did that mean that he did on a daily basis?
19 A. He was the komandir of the engineer's company and he performed
20 that job daily, which means he was in command of the company in the
21 spirit of his own authority and responsibility, and in the spirit of
22 orders from his superior officers, the Chief of Staff and the chief of
23 the engineers.
24 Q. Okay. And where was he based?
25 A. The entire company was based north of the barracks, some 500
1 metres away within what was called the youth settlement which were sheds
2 that were used to accommodate the youths and volunteers who worked on the
3 construction of the railway line running from Zvornik to Tuzla.
4 Q. And what did he do on a day-to-day basis?
5 A. The engineer's company had assignments from -- they placed mines
6 and obstacles of various kinds to ensure maneuvers and the movement of
7 units which meant to build roads and maintain roads as well as bridges
8 and also fortification work, which meant seeing to fire positions for
9 artillery pieces and various things of that kind. And those were the
10 kinds of tasks he did, build shelters and so on.
11 Now, the other ways in which he commanded was that he was
12 directly linked to daily orders.
13 Q. Well, we'll come to that in just a minute. But when he wasn't
14 there, for example, between the 14th and 17th of July, who fulfilled his
16 A. In the company command there was the deputy commander, or his
17 title might have been assistant for morale, and that was Bogicevic.
18 Whether his first name was Slavko, I'm not quite sure. And he was in
19 command then also.
20 Q. Very well let's look at P297, please, the first page, that's 134
21 in the B/C/S and page 14 in the English.
22 Now, Mr. Pandurevic, what is the handwritten document that we see
23 on the screen there?
24 A. This is an example of a daily order for the 14th of July, 1995
25 by the company commander.
1 Q. And who is it apparently signed by?
2 A. The daily report should be signed by company commanders. I can't
3 see the bottom of the page here, but I think that it was signed by
5 Q. And how were daily orders given?
6 A. Well, I have to say that in conformity with the rules of service,
7 the company commander would issue a daily order every day and the
8 contents of that daily order relates to the following day which means
9 that if a daily order is issued today, for the 12th of February, its
10 entire contents and activities relate to the next day, that is to say,
11 the 13th of February. Now, in those orders, duty is assigned as well as
12 guard duty, fire guards, the training of the company, and certain other
13 tasks which might crop up outside these basic tasks. So the daily order
14 is read out in the morning when the company is lined up, and if there are
15 any alterations in the daily tasks and assignment, then an additional
16 daily report or an addendum to the daily report is written.
17 Here we can see that in the engineer's company, the order was
18 written every day, not a day in advance as the rules of service provide.
19 And there are no additions to the daily order, it's not supplemented. So
20 that was probably necessary for the period that we're discussing.
21 Q. So that I'm sure that I understand you, should this document be
22 written out before it is read out?
23 A. The company clerk entering today's date writes the order and that
24 order has a date and a title, and nothing more. It says: Daily report
25 of the company commander for the 12th of February, 2009, for instance.
1 And then in point one, it says: The duty officer of the company of the
2 13th of February, 2009, will be Marko Markovic, Joe Blow, for example.
3 So after writing it, it is read out in the morning when the company is
4 lined up.
5 Q. Thank you. So on the face of it at least, this is what was read
6 out to the engineering company on the 14th of July or that's what should
7 have happened?
8 A. Well, probably. The number of soldiers who happened to be in the
9 company at that time, this was probably read out to them.
10 Q. Can we go forward one page in the document, please, to the 15th
11 of July, page 135 in the B/C/S and page 15 in the English.
12 And again, can we look at the foot of the page in the B/C/S so
13 that General Pandurevic can tell us who apparently has signed that
15 A. It was signed by Mr. Dragan Jevtic.
16 MR. HAYNES: And can we go forward again another page to page 136
17 in the B/C/S, page 16 in the English.
18 And again to the bottom of the page so that General Pandurevic
19 can tell us who signed the document. Can we just -- no, other way.
20 Thank you very much.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was signed by Jevtic.
22 MR. HAYNES: And lastly page 137 and page 17 in English, one page
23 further again.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Also Jevtic's signature.
25 MR. HAYNES:
1 Q. Given your understanding as to his whereabouts, what comments do
2 you have to make about the fact that he appears to have signed those
3 orders on the 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th of July?
4 A. He must have signed these signatures subsequently when he
5 returned to the company. Somebody probably brought those orders, put
6 them on the table, and he signed them retroactively, all of them, because
7 during those days, he was at ambushes around Snagovo and Crni Vrh.
8 Q. Very well. Let's move on from that.
9 MR. HAYNES: Can we have a look at 7D260, please. The English is
10 now up.
11 Q. It's probably obvious from the title of this document, but what
12 is it, General Pandurevic?
13 A. This is a collective report for 1995 of the engineers showing how
14 many soldiers there were in the engineer's company, the replenishment of
15 the company, how many officers, how many soldiers, then information about
16 mines and explosives, vehicles, machines, and so on and so forth.
17 Q. Can we go to the second page, please, and paragraph 8.
18 Generally, what does paragraph 8 describe?
19 A. Paragraph 8 enumerates the different material supplies divided up
20 according to the type and source of those supplies.
21 Q. Sub-paragraph A, army stock. What does that mean?
22 A. Each unit in the army has what we call a material formation,
23 which means the equipment and materiel that the company uses in carrying
24 out its assignments. And part of that material and equipment is owned by
25 the army itself. And in peacetime, these pieces are manufactured for the
1 army and the army has its store warehouses and depots, and it is the army
2 who owns the technical material and that's 8 A, the army stock, and
3 that's what the engineer's unit had as its own materiel and technical
4 equipment, owned by the company itself.
5 Then B, we have the inventory stock, as it says, and since the
6 army wasn't rich enough, especially the army in this war and the JNA as
7 well, then part of the technical equipment and materiel was taken over
8 from certain companies and commercial enterprises so that during the war
9 for the requirements of those units this materiel was requisitioned or
10 mobilised, and they were placed temporarily at the disposal of the army
11 units. And that's what is meant by the inventory stock.
12 And C we have war booty and that is what is seized from the enemy
13 during the war and then used for combat subsequently and that's under C,
14 war booty.
15 Q. I'm just interested briefly in one item under sub-paragraph B and
16 that's the BGH700 excavator. Who owned that?
17 A. I think that the -- that excavator was owned by a public
18 enterprise called Zvornik Putevi or Zvornik roads.
19 Q. And just so we understand, did that company have use of it?
20 A. Well, the situation was very specific. Frequently, these items
21 on the inventory stock at the disposal of the engineer's unit were then
22 given back to companies to use when they needed to carry out their own
23 assignments and tasks depending on the urgency and on a need-to-use
25 Q. Thank you. Now, I just want to move on to another document. Can
1 we look at P302, please.
2 This is a form of document we've seen a number of. It relates to
3 a ULT 220 backhoe excavator and it says in the English, "Construction
4 machine owned by Birac holdings," and its driver is apparently somebody
5 called Veljko Kovacevic. Was that a machine which the Zvornik Brigade
7 A. The Zvornik Brigade did not own that machine either in the
8 inventory stock or in the army stock.
9 Q. Veljko Kovacevic, who is he?
10 A. Veljko Kovacevic, according to this vehicle work log, was the
11 driver, or, rather, he handled the machine and probably someone employed
12 in the Birac Holding Enterprise
13 of the list of soldiers of the engineer's unit, in July he wasn't on the
14 list of engineer unit soldiers.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: If I could just, I'm sure there will be no
17 disagreement, but there's a translation error. This is not a backhoe,
18 this particular machine.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Haynes.
20 MR. HAYNES: I'm not sure whether that's a translation issue
21 or --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know why. I wouldn't know either.
23 MR. HAYNES: Or an expert evidence issue, but it doesn't matter.
24 I can clear that up.
25 Q. This is the sort of machine, isn't it, that would be useful for
1 digging holes in the ground.
2 A. I know what this machine looks like. It's a machine with wheels,
3 with a cabin, and in front, it has a hoe, a big hoe, a metal hoe which is
4 best suited for loading up material or sand or earth or whatever else.
5 It is not suited to digging except where the ground is soft.
6 Q. Now, we'll come on to this generic topic in a little more detail
7 in a few minutes, but given that this machine was not owned by the
8 Zvornik Brigade, was not part of its inventory stock, can you explain how
9 it comes to be that there is -- a vehicle work log has been opened for it
10 on the 15th of July?
11 A. This work log shows that this machine received fuel for the first
12 time on the 15th of July, and I believe that was the first day of its
13 usage which you can see on the next page showing when and where this
14 machine was used. This log was probably opened on the 15th when this
15 machine arrived and was put to use.
16 Q. Did Dragan Jevtic or his deputy have any right to give orders in
17 relation to this driver or this machine?
18 A. No, they couldn't have engaged this particular piece of
20 Q. Do you know who did?
21 A. From what I know, from Obrenovic's statement and what was told
22 him by Jokic, the machines commandeered from companies, including Birac
23 Holding Company, the Josanica quarry, et cetera, were requisitioned by a
24 group of people, including Mr. Beara, on the 14th and members of the
25 Birac Brigade. I don't know how this whole operation was conducted.
1 Q. Did you mention the Birac Brigade in your last answer?
2 A. No, I said Birac Holding Company.
3 Q. And where is that situated?
4 A. It's a large company in Karakaj about a kilometre north of the
5 command, maybe less. It was working on processes alumina and aluminium,
6 and they had this [as interpreted] type of machines that were used for
7 reloading clay in the process of production.
8 Q. Thank you. Now while we're discussing vehicles and fuel and the
9 like can we have a look, please, at P377, that's the earlier duty
10 operations officers' notebook. And if Ms. Stewart can provide you
11 briefly with the hard copy, you will need to look at page 766, the rest
12 of us will have a look at page 148.
13 Now, we've looked at this before, Mr. Pandurevic, but it's the
14 second of the entries on that page at 1400 hours.
15 "At 1400 hours, Popovic requested a bus with a tank -- sorry
16 requested a bus with a full tank and 500 litres of D2. Duty officer and
17 Golic informed."
18 I'm sure you've told us this before but just remind us who Golic
20 A. We can only see the family name of Golic. I used to know
21 Mr. Pavle Golic who was an intelligence officer at the Drina Corps staff.
22 Q. And can you confirm the date of this entry in the duty officers'
24 A. That's the 16th of July.
25 Q. And just remind us, I'm sure we all know, but what you were doing
1 and what was going on at 1400 hours on the 16th of July.
2 A. That was precisely the time when the column of the 28th Division
3 was either setting off or already on the way to abandon the area.
4 Q. And were you notified of this request?
5 A. No, I wasn't.
6 Q. Now, it's likely that we can, as it were, give some more detail
7 to this note.
8 MR. HAYNES: If we look at P1189 A in the English and C in the
9 B/C/S, which is under seal. And in the B/C/S, we'll need to go to page
10 2, please. Thank you.
11 Q. Now, this record of a conversation between the duty officer at
13 at Zlatar, which we now know is the corps command is recorded as being at
14 1358, which is two minutes before the note we just read. So it would
15 look, wouldn't it, as though the note in the duty officers' notebook is a
16 note of this conversation; would you agree with that?
17 A. Well, logically this note would follow the conversation.
18 Q. And reading this note, what is the duty officer at Palma
19 what's he asking for?
20 A. Actually, he is acting as a person who is a dispatcher, that is
21 to say, passing on information among various individuals working at the
22 corps command but are posted at different locations and cannot establish
23 direct contact amongst themselves.
24 Q. I mean just help us. If one was, for example, at Pilica and you
25 wanted to get in touch with corps command at Vlasenica, how would you do
2 A. There were probably a number of technical solutions for that. If
3 someone from Pilica has a PTT number available and knows the counter PTT
4 number in Vlasenica, he can establish direct contact. If he doesn't know
5 the PTT number in Vlasenica, he can call the switchboard at the Zvornik
6 Brigade staff and ask them to reconnect them or to call the duty officer
7 at the Zvornik Brigade and ask him to establish a one-to-one contact with
8 the duty officer at Zlatar, and that is actually the name of the person
9 mentioned here.
10 Q. Let's concentrate on a couple of aspects of this conversation.
11 B, who is Basevic - and you've told us who he was earlier in your
12 testimony - says in the penultimate response of the first page:
13 "Well, fuck him, don't you have 500 litres of oil? They're
14 asking for two tonnes loaded."
15 Would the Zvornik Brigade have had 500 litres of diesel in its
17 A. I believe it had even more.
18 Q. And then the Palma
19 "Well, I don't know. He just called me from the field and told
20 me to pass you the message over there."
21 How does that help us interpret the entry in the duty officers'
22 notebook we've just looked at?
23 A. Quite simply the duty officer at Palma is the one who relayed the
24 information, and he doesn't want to know what the problem is about, nor
25 is he looking for a way to solve it. He quite simply left it to the
1 people who are in charge of finding a solution. He neither has the will
2 nor the authority to resolve these issues, as you can see.
3 Q. Thank you. I want to have a look at three documents now very
4 quickly, and I think we've seen them largely before but quickly P291,
6 The title of this document in English is "A Material List for
7 Dispatch." It's dated the 16th of July, and it relates to the provision
8 of 500 litres of fuel on the order of Captain Sreten Milosevic to the
9 command of the Drina Corps. The addressee is Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic.
10 And apparently, according to this document, 140 litres were subsequently
11 returned. What is this?
12 A. This material list is a special kind of document that must always
13 accompany the movement of materiel or fuel when it's being distributed to
14 various units. I wouldn't like to go into too many details, but I will
15 say that there are five copies of this list for each type of materiel,
16 the first one is white, the second one was blue, and the last three are
18 In this particular instance, the Zvornik Brigade, at the request
19 of the chief of the technical service of the Drina Corps who was normally
20 the one to supply the Zvornik Brigade with fuel, oil, asks the Zvornik
21 Brigade to hand over 500 litres of fuel to the Drina Corps. In order for
22 the Zvornik Brigade to properly deregister this fuel and that it's -- and
23 to confirm that it's no longer in its possession and that they hold no
24 responsibility for it any longer, this list has been issued and the
25 responsibility was shifted to the Drina Corps for these 500 litres, or to
1 be more precise, 360 litres because the quantity was later changed. This
2 fuel was at the disposal of the Drina Corps and they used it for their
3 own needs. It wasn't used by the Zvornik Brigade.
4 Q. You've been sitting there for two and a half years, where did
5 this 500 litres of fuel come from before it arrived at the Zvornik
7 A. I cannot tell you exactly. The Drina Corps command and its chief
8 of the technical service knew exactly the sources of supply for the
9 brigade. It might have been some of the logistics bases. Most often we
10 were supplied with these items from the logistics base, 35th logistics
11 base in Bijeljina.
12 Q. And who was in control of that?
13 A. The Zvornik Command Brigade would list their requirements for
14 fuel, send the request to the corps command and the corps command,
15 through the logistics organ and based on the logistics support plan,
16 either meets the requirement of the Zvornik Brigade or doesn't meet their
17 requirement. The person who was in charge at Drina Corps for fuel was
18 Mr. Basevic, chief of the technical service; whereas, in the Zvornik
19 Brigade, this was supposed also to be done by the chief of the technical
20 service who at the time was Mr. Krstic. However, in practice, fuel was
21 handled by Mr. Pantic, head of the traffic service, because that was his
22 remit during peacetime as well.
23 Q. Now leaving this to one side for a moment, is it unusual for
24 arrangements to be made between units for fuel to be provided between
1 A. It was not uncommon. Mr. Basevic could have asked the Zvornik
2 Brigade to hand over 200 litres of fuel to the Birac Brigade or Bratunac
3 Brigade, and the same list would have to be filled out for dispatch in
4 order to relieve the Zvornik Brigade of this obligation vis-a-vis fuel.
5 Q. So far as you were aware was there any prior arrangement on the
6 16th of July that the Zvornik Brigade should provide the Drina Corps with
7 any fuel?
8 A. No, I knew nothing about that.
9 Q. And in reality, who was providing this 500 litres of fuel to
10 Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic?
11 A. This activity of delivering and supplying fuel was probably
12 organized by Mr. Pantic, but I have no direct information about that.
13 Q. What does the phrase "two tonnes loaded" mean?
14 A. Probably there was an earlier request of the Zvornik Brigade to
15 receive fuel which was quite an ordinary request, and Mr. Basevic
16 probably referred to the two tonnes of fuel that he had been sent into
17 the Zvornik Brigade through the regular procedure. However, looking
18 through this list, I couldn't find any confirmation that two tonnes of
19 fuel had reached the Zvornik Brigade during that period. There might be
20 a document to that effect but I haven't seen it.
21 Q. Thank you. Well, we'll leave that now.
22 If we take, for example, the school at Petkovci during the summer
23 of 1995, was that used as an educational establishment?
24 A. All the schools were used as educational establishments during
25 academic year. I can't tell you for each individual school how many
1 students they had. There was an old school in Petkovci, and I don't
2 remember precisely which of the two schools had students and had classes.
3 Q. The middle of July, would that have been an academic term or
4 would it have been school holidays?
5 A. There's always school break in July.
6 Q. Who were owned, governed, and was responsible for the school
7 buildings in the Zvornik municipality?
8 A. All I know is that this was state property, whether owned by the
9 municipality of Zvornik or some other municipal organ. These schools
10 were managed by an executive committee through school principals or
11 people in charge of education within the municipal authorities.
12 Q. Were those buildings under your lawful control as commander of
13 the Zvornik Brigade?
14 A. No, they were not under my control. I certainly was the brigade
15 commander but I was not a school principal.
16 Q. And what responsibility did you have for criminal acts that were
17 committed in those school buildings?
18 A. I had no responsibility whatsoever with regard to any crime if
19 committed by someone who was not a member of the Zvornik Brigade and
20 outside the facilities under the jurisdiction of the Zvornik Brigade.
21 Q. What military responsibility did you have in relation to those
22 school buildings or any of them?
23 A. Each brigade has as its principal task to carry out combat
24 operations, whether defence operations or offence operations. In other
25 words, the main task of the Zvornik Brigade was to defend the territory
1 and the population from attacks by enemy forces. In that sense, we
2 provided protection and defence for the population in the entire zone
3 including the facilities situated there.
4 If it had happened that an enemy or a column of the 28th Division
5 was to head towards Zvornik, our duty was to fight them in the town and
6 try to push them outside of the town. That does not mean that
7 automatically, we become responsible and we take ownership of the
8 facilities where combat operations were conducted.
9 Q. Were there, for example, houses in the village where your forward
10 command post was situated?
11 A. Yes, there, but also along the entire defence line, some couple
12 hundred metres.
13 Q. And did people live in them?
14 A. Yes, they did.
15 Q. And what responsibility did you have for them?
16 A. Only to protect them, to prevent the enemy from entering their
17 houses and causing harm and damage, but I didn't interfere. I didn't go
18 into their houses because I didn't have authority to do that.
19 Q. What right or power did you have as a brigade commander to use or
20 requisition other people's property?
21 A. If there is a need for the brigade command or any of the units to
22 start using a facility owned by the local community or some other state
23 organ, then the procedure for that is clearly defined, allowing the army
24 to take possession of these facilities for temporary use. This procedure
25 is prescribed by the minister of defence and it relates to mobilisation
1 of people, materiel, and buildings.
2 Q. And what was the procedure?
3 A. I think that this has been discussed extensively during this
4 trial. At the beginning of the war, I must say that there were some
5 mistakes and wrong moves, but the procedure became very clear in 1995.
6 Brigade commands through their organs for mobilisation, organisation, and
7 personnel would send a request to the corps command while, on the other
8 hand, the corps command would reformulate it and pass it on to the
9 Ministry of Defence and its organ in charge.
10 Depending on the decision of the ministry, it either takes action
11 or doesn't take action. If it takes action, then mobilisation of the
12 people and the materiel takes place.
13 Q. We'll just look at one example to illustrate a point, please.
14 Can we have a look at P2900.
15 This is a fairly notorious piece of mobilisation, this relates to
16 the buses. And we see under the order of the minister of defence of the
17 12th of July, "Mobilise immediately all buses except articulated ones."
18 Could the whole procedure be enacted pretty quickly?
19 A. This is a different type of example compared to what I was saying
20 earlier on. Here, we have a direct order from the Ministry of Defence of
21 Republika Srpska, that is to say, the highest organ in charge of
22 conducting a mobilisation, and it's them issuing a direct order to the
23 Ministry of Defence departments to carry out mobilisation. And this
24 could have come on the heels of a decision by the Ministry of Defence
25 itself of Republika Srpska with respect to the needs that arose or on the
1 basis of some request and that request can be sent by the -- to the
2 Ministry of Defence from the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska.
3 Q. Did you request the mobilisation of any of the schools we've
4 heard about in this case?
5 A. The schools which were used in July for accommodating prisoners
6 of war and detaining them were not mobilised by the Zvornik Brigade nor
7 was a request sent. During the war, there were similar requests, and
8 some houses, privately-owned houses, were mobilised and used during the
9 war and there are records of that.
10 Q. Thank you. Now, I want to switch on to a last topic, please.
11 When you arrived at the Zvornik Brigade in December of 1992, you've told
12 us that Dragan Obrenovic was already there as Chief of Staff. Did you
13 know then how long he had already been in Zvornik?
14 A. As I've already said, I didn't know him before. I didn't know of
15 his existence at all. And when I arrived on the 18th of December in
16 Zvornik, 1992, that is, that's when I met him for the first time. It was
17 a general state of confusion, so I didn't quite understand whether he was
18 the Chief of Staff and Lieutenant-Colonel Bosancic standing in for the
19 brigade commander or vice versa. But anyway, Obrenovic was somebody from
20 whom I received the first information about the situation and structure
21 of the Zvornik Brigade, and I knew that he spent time in the area during
22 1992, whether March or February or maybe later on as well, and that he
23 left the area and returned to it.
24 Q. Over the course of the next three years, he was your colleague.
25 What were your views as to his capabilities as a soldier and a Chief of
2 A. I very soon became convinced that Dragan Obrenovic was a typical
3 officer of the Yugoslav People's Army. He was brought up and trained
4 that way, and as somebody who was from -- also somebody who was from a
5 traditional conservative family and environment. He was highly
6 disciplined, responsible, and did his best to carry out his tasks and do
7 his duty.
8 Q. Was he connected within the local community?
9 A. Well, at any rate, he knew the local community far better than I
10 did, but the greatest problem was the fact that both of us were people
11 from outside, as they used to say, from elsewhere, not from the Zvornik
12 municipality. But I did know that he had good relations and contacts
13 with the president of the municipality, the mayor, and some other people,
14 and that there were proposals on their part that he should be the brigade
16 Q. To this day, how many conversations have you had with him about
17 the events of the summer of 1995?
18 A. Let me say before that, that Obrenovic was an individual who does
19 not easily engage in conversation and makes contacts outside his
20 professional domain. He's not gregarious, he doesn't like to talk too
21 much, so the two of us did not have a highly-developed friendly relations
22 in the sense of visiting each other privately or having our families
23 visit each other. Our relations were highly proper and correct on a
24 professional basis, very frank and open, and I always thought that
25 Obrenovic informed me professionally and in the proper manner about his
1 work and what he was doing.
2 Now, with respect to the events that we're discussing at this
3 trial, we talked for the first time about that on the 16th in the
4 afternoon and then on the 17th in the morning, on the 18th as well in the
5 morning, on the 23rd, I think in the afternoon, that was, and I think I
6 had another talk or meeting with him after his first or second interview
7 which he gave to the OTP, but I'm not quite sure about that, whether it
8 was his first interview or his second interview, which means five times
9 if I've counted correctly.
10 Q. Do you remember what year that last conversation was and where it
11 took place?
12 A. That last conversation was in Belgrade. I think it was 1999 and
13 we have the interview and it says there, I might be wrong, but I think
14 that he was in Belgrade
15 and that he went to the Medical Military Academy
16 meeting, our meeting came about in the presence of Mr. Jevdjevic
17 [Realtime transcript read in error "Jevcevic"], Milenko Jevdjevic.
18 Q. And what did you discuss at this meeting in 1999?
19 A. Well, if we leave aside the niceties one usually said, I heard
20 from him that he had talked to the Prosecution and I asked him what they
21 had discussed, and he recounted the meeting and said that he had told
22 them what he knew in July 1995 and also what I knew and what he conveyed
23 to me, and he said that those talks were held in a proper manner. And I
24 asked him whether he concluded from the interview that there was the
25 possibility of him being treated as a suspect and he said no, he was
1 there in the role of a witness and that he didn't gain the impression
2 that he was treated as a suspect.
3 Q. Did he tell you anything in this meeting that was new?
4 A. Nothing new, perhaps the order in which he recounted things might
5 have been different, but the substance of what he said was the same.
6 Q. Did you hear that he had been arrested when he was arrested?
7 A. Yes, I heard that he had been arrested. I think that was
8 sometime in May, whether it was 2000 or 2001, I can't be sure. And as
9 far as I knew, there was no public indictment raised and that his arrest
10 was sudden and that he was transferred to The Hague.
11 Q. What was your reaction to that?
12 A. Well, I was surprised in view of the fact that all the
13 information I had and all my discussions with him, especially after the
14 interview he had given, but I don't have the knowledge that I know today.
15 I don't have the information that I've gained during these proceedings in
16 this trial. Whether there were reasons for the indictment or not, that's
17 something I didn't know.
18 JUDGE KWON: Just before it disappears, the name appears at the
19 end of this -- at the top of this page "Jevcevic," probably Jevdjevic who
20 appeared as a Defence witness.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Jevdjevic. Yes, Your Honour.
22 MR. HAYNES:
23 Q. Since it's been raised, were you aware of what relationship those
24 two men had, Obrenovic and Jevdjevic?
25 A. I think that they were school friends, whether they were
1 neighbours as well I don't know, but they knew each other better than
2 Dragan Obrenovic and I did.
3 Q. Now, as we know from history subsequent to his arrest, Dragan
4 Obrenovic appeared before this Tribunal as an accused and entered a plea
5 or pleas of guilty to certain charges that he faced on an indictment.
6 What was your reaction to that when you learned of that?
7 A. It was very shocking and a big surprise to me, and I couldn't
8 understand why he had done that, why he did that.
9 Q. Why do you say you couldn't understand why he had done that?
10 A. Well, everything that he told me during all our meetings and that
11 period of time, I was not able to conclude or to know that somewhere in
12 his soul or deep down in himself he had some knowledge and that there was
13 something else that he didn't tell me about or that he felt guilty about
14 something. But anyway, it was a surprise as far as I was concerned.
15 Q. General Pandurevic, I want just to return to a question that you
16 were asked by Judge Kwon a few days ago, and I'm going to put it to you
17 slightly differently.
18 On the 9th of July of 1995 when your units withdrew from Zivkovo
19 Brdo having taken that feature, how did you envisage events unfolding
21 A. I considered that the object of the operation Krivaja 95 had been
22 fully executed and that all the forces who had taken part in that
23 operation had reached strong features in the topographical and military
24 sense, that all communication had been cut off between the enclaves of
25 Srebrenica and Zepa, and that what would be necessary was that the forces
1 of the Bratunac Brigade from the Skelani Battalion should take control
2 and positions up around those new positions and hold them, keep control
3 of them. And that all the forces who had come from outside, including my
4 own tactical group, that they should be returned back to base.
5 Q. What changed all that?
6 A. The very appearance of General Mladic at the forward command post
7 of the Drina Corps and his order that they should continue in the
8 direction of Srebrenica changed the course of the operation itself and
9 expanded its goals.
10 MR. HAYNES: I've concluded my examination in chief of you, and I
11 think that is pretty much precisely 30 hours.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. And you've concluded it three minutes
13 before the break schedule, so we'll have the break now after which
14 Mr. Zivanovic, you will start your -- is there a -- yes, Mr. Bourgon, you
15 are going to start?
16 MR. BOURGON: Yeah, I will be the first one to go, Mr. President.
17 Thank you.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: And you have changed your estimate from 4 hours to
20 MR. BOURGON: Indeed, Mr. President. I will do everything I can
21 to try and shorten that from 12 hours, but at the present time I had to
22 count on 12 hours. Thank you.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. So we'll have a 25-minute -- will 25
24 minutes be enough for you, Mr. Bourgon, 25 minutes' break? Or do you
25 prefer 30, I mean --
1 MR. BOURGON: Yes, Mr. President, I'm ready to go.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, okay. Thank you. 25 minutes.
3 --- Recess taken at 10.18 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 10.47 a.m.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: So, let's start, Mr. Bourgon. I don't think you
6 need to introduce yourself.
7 MR. BOURGON: Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning, Judges.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning.
9 Cross-examination by Mr. Bourgon:
10 Q. Good morning, Mr. Pandurevic?
11 A. Good morning, Mr. Bourgon.
12 Q. Given the fact that you've been sitting here in this courtroom
13 for almost three years now, you know who I am. However, for the record
14 allow me to introduce myself this morning. My name is Stephane Bourgon
15 and I'm accompanied today to start this cross-examination by my colleague
16 Jelena Nikolic, and my colleague Marie-Claude Fournier.
17 And of course you know, Mr. Pandurevic, that we represent Drago
18 Nikolic in these proceedings.
19 Before I begin my cross-examination, I'd just like to come back
20 to something you just mentioned a few moments ago when you finished your
21 examination in chief, and this has to do with your knowledge of Dragan
22 Obrenovic as an officer. And you stated, and that was at today page 19,
23 lines 18 to 23, that Dragan Obrenovic, you considered to be a typical
24 officer of the Yugoslav National Army, brought up and trained that way,
25 highly disciplined, and responsible.
1 My question to begin with is: Do you, Mr. Pandurevic, consider
2 yourself at the time and even today a typical officer of the JNA brought
3 up and trained that way?
4 A. Dragan Obrenovic and myself, just like all the other officers of
5 the Yugoslav People's Army, were trained and brought up in the same way
6 and prepared to take up our duties in the same way, and that was based on
7 the policies of the league of Communists of Yugoslavia, based on
8 socialist self-management, based on the concept of total national defence
9 and social self protection, and on brotherhood and unity as well. As
10 well as the fact that we had to unconditionally execute orders.
11 I was an officer of the Yugoslav People's Army, but I always
12 aspired to be an officer, an officer first and foremost because an
13 officer's code of conduct implies certain elements of conduct regardless
14 of which army you belong to.
15 Q. Thank you, sir. That would be very useful for the continuation
16 of my cross-examination.
17 A second question that comes to mind before I begin is something
18 you said about Dragan Obrenovic and the fact that he pled guilty, and you
19 mentioned that this came as a surprise to you. What I would like to know
20 is what was the surprise? Was it the fact that he pled guilty or was it
21 what he said when he pled guilty?
22 A. Both.
23 Q. So what was surprising about the fact that Dragan Obrenovic pled
25 A. Well, the knowledge and information I had about his actions
1 during the period treated in the indictment did not tell me that he could
2 be an accused.
3 Q. So it is your testimony today before I begin with my questions
4 that the information you have highlighted for us in this -- during your
5 examination in chief, according to what you said, Dragan Obrenovic was
6 not guilty of any crime. Is that your position?
7 A. The knowledge that I had and the information that he gave me, in
8 view of all that and in view of how the events happened, took place, I
9 considered that he had not organised it, that he hadn't ordered it, and
10 that he hadn't taken part in it, but I knew and was conscious of the fact
11 that he couldn't have prevented it either.
12 Q. Thank you. We'll also come back to this later on during my
13 cross-examination, but right now I'd like to begin with some general
14 questions and even before I do so, I apologise, I have to just ask you if
15 you remember that you and I have had the opportunity of meeting on 5
16 December 2005 at the United Nations Detention Unit. Do you recall our
17 meeting, sir?
18 A. I recall the meeting, but I don't remember the exact date. If it
19 was on the 5th of December, 2005, and you have noted that down, then I
21 Q. And do you remember that on that occasion your counsel,
22 Mr. Sarapa, was present as well as my colleague, Jelena Nikolic?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Now, I don't know if your counsel took any notes on that
25 occasion, but did you have a chance to discuss with your counsel what you
1 and I discussed on that occasion?
2 A. I remember that the meeting was short and I talked with my -- I
3 discussed quite a number of things with my counsel, so I can't say
4 specifically whether we discussed that meeting of ours and, if so, what
5 we said.
6 Q. Thank you. Now, we'll spend a number of hours together, sir, and
7 my cross-examination will be divided into a series of topics which will
8 not follow any -- will not be addressed necessarily in a chronological
10 My first topic regards your knowledge and assessment of Drago
11 Nikolic during the period you were together in the Zvornik Brigade, and
12 that is from January 1993, that's when Drago Nikolic arrived at the
13 Zvornik Brigade, and until April 1996 when you left the brigade. Can you
14 confirm that during that period you and Drago Nikolic served together in
15 the Zvornik Brigade?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And you can confirm that Drago Nikolic actually joined the
18 brigade, the Zvornik Brigade, and that was initially in January of 1993?
19 A. I know that he came at the beginning of 1993, I thought it was
20 February, but if you have information and a record of it being January,
21 then I suppose that is so.
22 Q. I don't have the document with me, but I can show it at some
23 other time. But what I'm interested in is that at the beginning, Drago
24 Nikolic was working as a clerk in the security organ. Is that your
1 A. I remember that before Mr. Nikolic, the chief of security was a
2 certain Major Milosevic who held that post for a short space of time and
3 then left and went to Valjevo, so that I remember one day, when I was out
4 in the field during combat operations, a man appeared, he was Drago
5 Nikolic. He introduced himself as being the new security organ in the
6 Zvornik Brigade. And from that time on, we worked together.
7 I did not seek him out. I did not bring him there. I did not
8 select him.
9 Q. Now, what I would like you to confirm is that between January and
10 March of 1993, he was not the chief of security of the brigade but he was
11 working in the security organ. Do you recall this period, sir?
12 A. I remember that he worked on security affairs, whether his status
13 was clerk or chief, to find out that you'd have to look at the documents
14 that can either confirm that or not. If he was a clerk, occupied the
15 post of clerk, then he worked as assistant commander for security. He
16 did that kind of work.
17 Q. I will show you the exact document later on, but what I'd like to
18 know is that when he was assigned as chief of security of the Zvornik
19 Brigade, now I suggest to you that this was in March of 1993, and that at
20 that moment you did not raise any objections to his assignment as chief
21 of security, whether that was with the corps commander or with the chief
22 of security of the Drina Corps.
23 A. No, I didn't object for any of the officers, nor did I choose to
24 go to the Zvornik Brigade, nor did I choose the people who would be in
25 the Zvornik Brigade. I had the people I worked with that I had. Some
1 were better than others. And I'm sure other people thought -- some of
2 them thought I was good, others might have thought I was bad. So I
3 didn't ask anybody to either withdraw Drago from the post or to leave him
4 where he was.
5 Q. And you can confirm that at the time Drago Nikolic joined the
6 Zvornik Brigade and became the chief of security, that his rank was that
7 of second lieutenant.
8 A. I knew that he was a non-commissioned officer in the JNA, whether
9 he had the rank of the sergeant first class, I'm not sure, but when he
10 came to the Zvornik Brigade, I think that he had the rank of the second
12 MR. BOURGON: I'd like to have in e-court, please, 3D542.
13 Mr. Pandurevic, this is the book you published in 1999 called the
14 "Sociology of the Army," and if I can have page 2 in English and page 4
15 in B/C/S.
16 Do you recall, sir, you have this page in front of you that --
17 that's the wrong document, I apologise. It should be 3D542, please.
18 I apologise, I have the wrong number. I'll give you the right
19 number. 3D549.
20 Q. Do you recall participating or publishing this book, sir, in 1999
21 called "The Sociology of the Army"?
22 A. I was the author of this book. I think that it was published by
23 the faculty in Pale or the university library, but you can find this
24 information in the book itself.
25 Q. And in this book, and in the page that you have before you, you
1 establish a distinction between three groups of officers. If we look at
2 the paragraph that is on the page before you, that is 18.104.22.168.2. In this
3 paragraph, you talk about a group of lower officers and a group of higher
4 officers; is that correct?
5 I'm informed that maybe the -- on the right side is not
6 completely on the screen, if we can move just a bit. Thank you.
7 Is that better, sir?
8 A. Yes, yes.
9 Q. In this paragraph, you do distinguish between the group of lower
10 officers and the group of higher officers.
11 A. This is a sociological approach to the analysis of a military
12 organisation or army as an institution primarily from the point of view
13 of social relationships that are being established within the
15 This division into higher and lower ranks is conditional. There
16 are no legal provisions applicable here in the VRS. In the JNA, they
17 were treated as junior officers and officers. Junior officers went up to
18 the rank of major, and higher or senior officers went up from major to
19 colonel, whereas generals represented a separate structure within the
21 Q. If we can have on the right side the next page so that we can see
22 paragraph 22.214.171.124.3. And this is where you speak about the distinct
23 group of general officers; is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. If we can come back to the previous page that we looked at, the
1 previous paragraph.
2 Now, it is your view expressed in that book that those two groups
3 of officers, that the group of lower officers includes second lieutenant,
4 lieutenant, and captains; is that correct?
5 A. Yes, but captain first class, that's what the rank was.
6 Q. And then the higher group of officers begins with the rank of
7 major and it goes to lieutenant-colonels and colonels?
8 A. Yes, but let me just tell you this: Each rank within the regular
9 organisation of an army involves certain contents, that means that the
10 person has to have a certain level of education and also implies certain
11 tasks that this person has to carry out. The rank per se is meaningless
12 if you don't have anything to fill it in with.
13 Q. I'm not sure that's useful, but I will take that answer and we'll
14 go on because we will cover this a little later on.
15 What I need to ask you at this time, looking at the paragraph
16 2.2, you state that between the group of higher officers and lower
17 officers, that there are differences. And these differences are based on
18 noticeable social characteristics. And you also say that officers from
19 the lower group occupy work positions of a lower level to which a lower
20 amount of power is attached.
21 We're not talking about Drago Nikolic for now, we're just simply
22 talking in general. Is that the views you expressed in that book?
23 A. This is what is written and I still maintain this view, because
24 there is a relation between the level of education, the rank, and the
25 function, and this has been stipulated by the law.
1 A second lieutenant cannot command a brigade if he hadn't
2 graduated from the academy. The usual procedure, however, stipulates
3 that there should be a clear link between the level of training and
4 qualifications and the task and the rank.
5 According to the law, there is a certain span for each rank.
6 Therefore, lower officers command lower-ranking units, they have less
7 power, and less authority.
8 Q. Thank you. And you will agree with me that Drago Nikolic, during
9 the time that he served with you in the Zvornik Brigade, held the lowest
10 rank within the group of lower officers, and as a matter of fact, the
11 lowest possible rank for an officer in the VRS; is that correct?
12 A. Yes, he held the rank of an active-duty second lieutenant. There
13 were other both active-duty and reserve second lieutenants. Drago
14 Nikolic acquired this rank during the war, and the person who gave him
15 that rank probably thought he deserved it. Normally, you would acquire
16 this rank after finishing a four-year academy.
17 Q. And that's one of my next questions, you know that Drago Nikolic
18 never attended the military academy; is that correct?
19 A. No, as far as I know.
20 Q. Now, even though Drago Nikolic had the rank of second lieutenant,
21 he was nonetheless assistant commander for security within a brigade.
22 A. Yes, he was.
23 Q. Would you agree that this is a position which, pursuant to the
24 military establishment, would normally require a much higher rank?
25 A. Certainly, either a major or a lieutenant-colonel.
1 Q. Well when we met in December 2005, you said to me exactly
2 lieutenant-colonel, but I suggest to you that the normal rank according
3 to the establishment for the chief of security would normally be held by
4 an officer holding the rank of major. Can you confirm this or you would
5 have to look at the documents?
6 A. Of course with the rank of major, even security organs in
7 battalions had to have a rank and that was normally captain.
8 Q. And if we look at this from a seniority perspective, you will
9 agree with me that Drago Nikolic was assigned to a position much higher
10 than his effective rank.
11 A. Yes, and that was one of the characteristics of the military
12 profession, that you cannot choose the duty or your immediate associates
13 or your superiors and your subordinates as well.
14 Q. And would you say, sir, that this happened because of the war or
15 could it also happen in peacetime?
16 A. I have no knowledge about such instances in peacetime, with all
17 due respect to Drago Nikolic, I believe that in peacetime, he would be
18 retired as a warrant officer first class, so therefore, he would end his
19 career as a non-commissioned officer.
20 Q. Now, during your testimony, and that was at page 30781, you
21 mentioned that Drago Nikolic was a disciplined officer. Do you recall
22 saying that?
23 A. Yes, I remember and I agree.
24 Q. And when we met in 2005, you also mentioned disciplined,
25 professional officer who abided at all times with regulations and orders.
1 Do you still agree with this?
2 A. Yes, I agree. Only I would like to add the following, that the
3 cloak of the security service that he put on, he -- was much too big size
4 for him.
5 Q. Thank you, that's very useful. You also mentioned during your
6 testimony that Drago Nikolic attended all command meetings and briefings
7 and that his overall relationship to the commander, that is to you, was
8 correct. Do you stand by this testimony?
9 A. Yes, Drago attended all meetings pursuant to his position, and he
10 acted by abiding by the relationships and by the army rules.
11 Q. And can we say, therefore, that as an officer in general, you had
12 no reason to complain regarding the demeanour of Drago Nikolic?
13 A. If we look at this from the point of view of the rules of service
14 and other rules that govern the relations between senior and junior
15 officers, the subordinates and superior, there were no objections in that
16 area. However, when it comes to carrying out his duties as per
17 establishment, there were problems.
18 Q. And what problems were those?
19 A. When I said a minute ago that the cloak of the security worn by
20 Drago Nikolic was of a much bigger size than he could have worn, and that
21 with time, he would be swallowed by this service. He was actually very
22 devoted to this service, and therefore believed the service much more
23 than he believed me.
24 Q. Well, let's take this step-by-step. First, I suggest to you
25 today that you cannot recall one example where Drago Nikolic disobeyed
1 one of your orders.
2 A. That's true.
3 MR. BOURGON: May have in e-court please 3D233, page 3 in B/C/S
4 and page 9 in English.
5 Q. Sir, this is the evaluation report, personal evaluation report,
6 which you completed and signed on 24 November 1994 concerning Drago
8 Maybe we can start by the first page just to -- for the sake of
9 allowing Mr. Pandurevic to take a look at what document we're talking
11 Now, if we can go to the page I was asking for which was page 9
12 in English and page 3 in B/C/S. And I'd like to draw your attention,
13 sir, to section 7 -- I'm sorry, it's 6 in English.
14 Do you see, sir, in section 7 that you rated Drago Nikolic's
15 performance as exceptional?
16 A. Yes, I can see that, only I cannot see to which particular period
17 of time this assessment refers to.
18 Q. Well, if we go back to the first page, you see that the period
19 goes from the 10th of January, 1989 -- sorry, 10th of June -- I
20 apologies, if we can go back to in B/C/S the first page of the document.
21 10 June 1989
22 had joined the brigade by that time. However, if we move to the page
23 where you signed, that is page 3 in B/C/S, we see that this report was
24 completed on the 24th of November, 1994.
25 If we can move to page 3 in B/C/S, section 7 again.
1 Do you recognise your signature? It says Vinko Pandurevic?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now, my question is although the period of this report ended in
4 June 1993, the report was signed in 1994 in November. My question is
5 just by that time, did you still agree with this evaluation, or did you
6 want to change it at that time?
7 A. Look, during the war, official appraisals were drafted very late.
8 Each professional officer should be given an official appraisal for a
9 period of four years which is a regular assessment. There should be some
10 interim assessments for a variety of reasons. This is a professional
11 appraisal of Drago Nikolic, staff sergeant first class, desk officer for
12 security with the Zvornik Brigade.
13 In the Army of Yugoslavia he had this same rank and was therefore
14 supposed to be posted to this duty. The period that this refers to is
15 the six months that he spent at the Zvornik Brigade. However, that was
16 not the reason for me not to be able to grasp his quality and his
17 performance, but, nevertheless, I had to consult with the commander of
18 his former unit and with the superior security organ. And this appraisal
19 spelled promotion for Drago Nikolic, both in the Yugoslav Army and in
20 terms of his rank of the staff sergeant first class, and he did actually
21 the job of a major or a --
22 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter would kindly ask the witness to
23 repeat the last part of his answer.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Pandurevic, the interpreters didn't catch the
25 last part of your answer. If you could repeat it, please.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise.
2 So this evaluation that I put down, I agree with it for the most
3 part even to this date.
4 MR. BOURGON:
5 Q. Of course your answer is useful but that's just what I wanted to
6 ask you. Before looking at the review of this report by the next level,
7 what I wanted to know was your opinion, whether by November of 1994, you
8 saw any reason that Drago Nikolic's performance after the end of the
9 reporting period 10 June 1993
10 changed or it was also or still exceptional?
11 A. It's already been said that I didn't have a full insight into the
12 performance of Drago Nikolic with relation to all the jobs that he did
13 and all the areas of his engagement. When I started noticing that apart
14 from the tasks given to him by me, he is engaged in other businesses that
15 I knew nothing about, that is when I started asking me [as interpreted]
16 and demanding that he report to me about what he was doing and that is
17 when the problem started.
18 Q. And when was that, sir?
19 A. Well, the climax of the problems came about in late 1994.
20 Q. So is that before or after you signed this report on 11 November
22 A. If I want to be a principled man, then I would say that the
23 period to which this official appraisal refers to does not include the
24 period of our discord. I may have though written it before the
25 instruction that followed, and it was passed on to Drago at the time
1 specified herein.
2 Q. Okay. We can go at length over this but that was meant to be a
3 non-contentious part of my cross-examination, but if you want to make one
4 then that's not a problem.
5 By November 1994, had the problems begun between you and Drago
7 A. These problems had been existing on and off even in the period
8 before that. I cannot recall all of them, but I do remember, for
9 example, when the issue of the use of motor vehicles, we had problems.
10 On other occasions, nobody knew where -- his whereabouts and things
11 similar to that.
12 MR. BOURGON: I'll move on to the next page of this report. If
13 we can have in B/C/S page 4, and in English, page 8 -- 7, sorry. Sorry,
14 page 6 in English.
15 Q. So you see on this page, comments of the reviewing officer.
16 First of all, can you tell by looking at this who the reviewing
17 officer was?
18 A. It says here Colonel Tomic. I think his first name was Mile and
19 he was a chief of security at the Drina Corps command, and he endorsed my
20 appraisal and agreed with it and it was better, so I wouldn't have been
21 happy if he didn't agree with my appraisal.
22 MR. BOURGON: We can do away with this document.
23 Q. I have one last question concerning this document. You recognise
24 that in November of 1994, you signed a document rating Drago Nikolic's
25 performance as exceptional, and you recognise that the reviewing officer
1 did the same, yet right now you say that you did not know of Drago's
2 whereabouts during that period. I fail to understand. Can you explain?
3 A. I didn't put it that way exactly. I said that there were times
4 during the day, during working hours, that Drago was engaged elsewhere
5 without anyone at the command knowing where he was or what he was doing.
6 None of the other officers acted like that.
7 Q. We'll move on to the next document. If I can have in e-court
8 document number 3D232.
9 Sir, this is the performance evaluation report for Drago Nikolic
10 which was signed by Lieutenant-Colonel Obrenovic on 10 June 1997
11 we look at the first page of this report, we see that it covers the
12 period from 10 June 1993
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And if we go on the second page of this document, where we
15 have -- in English it would be also on the third page in English, where
16 we have a conclusion. Now, it says here in this section: Descriptive
17 grade and conclusion that Drago Nikolic is conscientious, that he takes
18 initiative, and that he is a very responsible senior officer, that he is
19 trained for independent work in the security organ, good expertise and
20 moral qualities, his organisational capacities are very good, and he
21 receives the grade of excellent.
22 Can you read this in the document in your language, sir?
23 A. Yes, I can. I've read it.
24 Q. Now, you said a little earlier that when it was time for you to
25 sign the report, the previous report which covered the period from 10
1 June 1989 to 10 June 1993
2 supervisors of Drago Nikolic; do you recall saying this?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, I take it that Lieutenant-Colonel Obrenovic in 1997 did the
5 same in that he consulted you before completing this report. Would that
6 be a fair statement?
7 A. No, he didn't consult me and he made an observation here where he
8 says capacity -- trained for independent work in the security organ,
9 which a commander -- which brigade commander Obrenovic would not have put
10 there because his work in the security organ contains 80 per cent of the
11 work that should be assessed by his superior security organ.
12 Q. We'll have plenty of opportunity, sir, to discuss the 80 per cent
13 issue during my cross-examination. But right now, it is your testimony
14 that Lieutenant-Colonel Obrenovic did not consult you when he gave Drago
15 Nikolic an excellent evaluation report for the period going from 10 June
16 1993 to 10 June 1997
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And my question to you is do you agree with this evaluation even
19 though Obrenovic did not consult you as he should have done?
20 A. Not fully.
21 Q. What is in this report that does not correspond or that you did
22 not agree with during the reporting period of 1993 to 1997?
23 A. Well, I wouldn't be able to make these assessments as to
24 independent work in security organs, when he said "trained for
25 independent work in the security organs," I don't know what Obrenovic
1 meant by that. Secondly, with all due respect for the effort that Drago
2 Nikolic put in, without having completed the military academy, and
3 without having the necessary experience in the security organ, it was
4 difficult for him to achieve that. That was what he aspired to but he
5 was not able to fulfill it as somebody who had all the necessary
6 education, training, courses, and rank would and that is why they stress
7 conscientiousness and responsible work and that kind of thing.
8 Q. Now if we look at for those areas of his work of which you were
9 informed during that period from 1993 until you left the brigade, would
10 you agree that his performance was excellent as rated by
11 Lieutenant-Colonel Obrenovic?
12 A. With respect to the tasks that I assigned him and that he
13 executed on the basis of the orders I had given, then I would agree with
14 the assessment made by Obrenovic -- made here.
15 Q. Thank you. We'll come back to those tasks that you had the
16 opportunity of assessing in Drago Nikolic's work.
17 I have one more question in relation to the professionalism of
18 Drago Nikolic as your chief of security. Would you agree in general,
19 sir, that the issue of volunteers from whatever origin who show up to
20 fight with the Zvornik Brigade is important in that such volunteers must
21 be carefully screened before they are accepted within the ranks of the
22 brigade. Would you agree with this statement?
23 A. I agree, and I didn't like to see volunteers among my ranks,
24 especially not those with a very doubtful past.
25 Q. Well, you lead into my next question. For example, it is very
1 important to check whether these volunteers have a criminal background.
2 Is that one of the things that we would have to check?
3 A. It all depends of the way in which these volunteers appear in the
4 units of the Army of Republika Srpska, how they were coming in, but at
5 all events, you would have to look at their goals, why they had come,
6 their characteristics, and their past. That should be checked out. And
7 that is one of the tasks that Drago Nikolic had.
8 Q. So checking their past and their goals would include, for
9 example, whether they have a criminal background.
10 A. Well, if you were to appraise everything, everything concerning
11 those people, then this would include everything including that criminal
12 background. Now, whether once a criminal always a criminal holds true, I
13 don't know. I can't say.
14 Q. Now, would you agree with me that if volunteers coming to join
15 your brigade are not properly screened, that they can actually be a
16 threat to your brigade?
17 A. Well, those people have their own interests, their own reasons
18 why they came, and you know that you don't go visiting people uninvited,
19 let alone go to war. So people coming in as volunteers to take part in a
20 war without wishing to be subjected to military rules and regulations but
21 chooses his time and place for going to war, that is the -- those people
22 are the greatest impediment and obstacle to control and command of
23 soldiers and units.
24 Q. And you mentioned a little earlier that it was the task of Drago
25 Nikolic to screen these volunteers. Would you agree with me that he
1 performed this task in a very professional manner and that he indeed
2 considered this to be a very serious task?
3 A. I remember one group of volunteers, it was a larger group that
4 came to Zvornik, and I know that Drago was directly involved into the
5 screening them and returning them to Serbia
6 individual cases of the screening of others, I don't remember but that
7 was certainly one of his tasks. And when we're talking about this large
8 group that turned up, he acquitted himself affably in carrying out that
10 Q. Now, this group is exactly what I wanted to ask you about. Do
11 you remember that they came from Valjevo in Serbia. Is that something
12 you recall?
13 A. I think they were from Uzicka Pozega which is western Serbia
14 very near to Valjevo.
15 Q. And when you say that Drago Nikolic acquitted himself affably in
16 carrying out that task, does that mean that he did a good job in
17 screening them and making sure that they would not be accepted and that
18 they were actually be sent back?
19 A. Well, we can characterise it as the regular performance of his
20 duties and assignments, and it was his conclusion that those men did not
21 have honourable intentions for coming, and they demonstrated that very
22 quickly, and he was quite right when he required that they be sent back.
23 Q. Now, whether this was part of his regular duties or not, as a
24 brigade commander, were you satisfied to see that you would not be faced
25 with the -- having to deal with a large group of individuals not having,
1 as you say, honourable intentions. Were you satisfied that this work had
2 been done?
3 A. Well, yes, I was always satisfied when the people who worked with
4 me did their job properly.
5 Q. But my question is much more specific. I'm not talking about
6 people doing their job properly. I'm talking specifically of this group
7 of people who were turned back because they did not have, as you say,
8 honourable intentions. Were you satisfied to see that for this specific
9 example, that's one -- that this was one less problem for you as the
10 brigade commander?
11 A. Yes, I said I was satisfied. And it was the task of my
12 associates and the people that worked with me to see that I have as few
13 problems as possible.
14 Q. And do you remember individuals by the name of Slovenac, Niski
15 and Profa? Do these names ring a bell to you?
16 A. Probably you mean Pivarski.
17 Q. The names I'd like to know, we can deal with this one later, but
18 the names I want to check with you is Slovenac, Niski and Profa. Do you
19 remember these three individuals trying to join the Zvornik Brigade in
21 A. I know a certain Profa, that was his nickname. I don't remember
22 what his actual name was. He was a member of the Podrinje Detachment of
23 the special forces and he was --
24 THE INTERPRETER: We didn't hear whether he said not or was
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Slovenac was the nickname of a
2 young man. Whether he was really a Slovene or whether they just called
3 him Slovene, Slovenac.
4 Now, Niski was someone who was a paramilitary who existed in
5 Zvornik, who was in Zvornik before I arrived, and who mistreated citizens
6 and soldiers. And I remember that somebody mentioned that name, and I
7 had a meeting with him and I ordered that he be sent away and he was sent
8 away. Whether Drago was there at the time or not, I don't remember.
9 Q. Well, these three individuals, I want to obtain confirmation from
10 you, I guess you cannot, but what I suggest to you is that they were
11 screened by Drago Nikolic in 1993, and they were also sent back because
12 they did not have, once again, as you say, honourable intentions. Do you
13 recall this?
14 A. If you are referring to this larger group that we mentioned
15 earlier on, then, yes. Now, if you mean these individuals, then I've
16 just remembered the name -- Profa's name, his name was Mile Vukadinovic.
17 He wasn't sent back, he was a local, Slovenac was also in the detachment,
18 up until how long, I don't know.
19 Q. But these individuals were dealt with in 1993 and because they
20 were properly screened, that was one less problem for you as a brigade
21 commander; is that correct?
22 A. I agree with you. Now, we could go on to enumerate all the tasks
23 he did or should have done, that Drago Nikolic did or should have done,
24 and this comes within his remit, part of what his job entailed.
25 Q. So the screening of volunteers such as the ones we named, and we
1 could, as you say, name other, that was part of his remit as chief of
2 security of the brigade, and he did that to your satisfaction; is that
4 A. Among the other jobs he did, that would be correct too.
5 Q. Now, again always on the section of Drago Nikolic, I'd like to
6 come back on your testimony two days ago and that was at pages 31188 to
7 31208. And this is when you were commander of the Drina Brigade deployed
8 in the Krajina. Do you remember what period I'm talking about in your
9 examination in chief?
10 A. I remember that I talked about my involvement in Krajina. Now,
11 on what pages exactly, I really don't know.
12 Q. The pages is for my colleagues, but do you remember that you
13 spoke about the Krajina? And in fact, you testified that you left the
14 Zvornik on 7 August and that you actually returned to Zvornik on 16
15 September; is that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And you also testified that in the period from 13 to 15
18 September, that's towards the end of that deployment, you pulled back
19 closer to - I have to pronounce this right - Kljuc, I should know, I was
20 there, and Sanski Most and that on 15 September, more specifically in the
21 village of Ramici, another brigade from the Drina Corps came to relieve
22 you. Do you recall saying this?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And can you confirm that Drago Nikolic was a member of the
25 brigade from the Drina Corps which relieved you on that occasion?
1 A. I remember the brigade commander, Major Mile Kosoric, and another
2 major, assistant for logistics. I can't remember having seen Drago
3 Nikolic at the time, but in the order to establish the brigade command,
4 there must have been all the persons listed within the command. So if
5 Drago was there, then his name would be on that list.
6 Q. Well, let's look at this list together, sir.
7 MR. BOURGON: If I can have in e-court 3D165 and that is page 1
8 in English and also page 1 in B/C/S.
9 Q. Can you confirm that we see from this order that Drago Nikolic
10 was assigned as chief of security of the brigade which came to relieve
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And you will agree with me that during Drago Nikolic's absence
14 from Zvornik Brigade, the duties of chief of security would have been
15 fulfilled by Trbic; is that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. If we can move to page 5 in English and page 4 in B/C/S, please.
18 Sir, we see in -- I guess it's paragraph 7 -- sorry, paragraph 11, where
19 we see the order of march or the march route. Do you see paragraph 11 on
20 the screen before you?
21 A. Yes, yes, I see that.
22 Q. So you can confirm that this document says that the brigade was
23 to start marching at 10.00 on 14 of September and that their final
24 destination was Drvar?
25 A. Yes, I think that this order was written somewhat earlier on, as
1 far as I saw from the heading, and at the time Drvar was still under our
2 control and that's why the end point was Drvar.
3 Q. Now, you were sitting in the courtroom during the testimony of
4 Dragutinovic, and when he testified in this case, he said that he met
5 Drago Nikolic in Ramici, that was on 18 June 2007, transcript page 12780,
6 lines 7 to 9. Do you recall yourself seeing Drago Nikolic on that
7 occasion in Ramici?
8 A. I said I didn't remember, but I don't deny that he was there
9 because in the order from the commander, he was appointed assistant for
10 security so that means he must have been there.
11 Q. If I can now have in e-court, please, P2925, and on page 3.
12 Sir, this is a document that is not available in English but it's
13 a list of names, and it's actually a document you looked at yesterday.
14 It's the attendance roster for officers of the Zvornik Brigade command
15 for the month of September 1995. Do you remember looking at this
16 document yesterday?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Can you look at line 45 and the name we see here, can you confirm
19 that this is Drago Nikolic second lieutenant who was your chief of
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And can you tell me what you see under the columns 13 to 20?
23 Based on what you said about yourself yesterday, what do the indications
24 in these columns reveal?
25 A. I can see that for the 13th of September, we have the Cyrillic S,
1 means that Drago was S for Slobodan, off duty, and then the 14th, 15th,
2 16th, 17th and 18th of September, the letter T means that Drago was in
3 the field. T for "teren."
4 Q. And then what about for the 20th?
5 A. It seems to have been a plus first and then the letter S,
6 Cyrillic S, something seems to have been corrected.
7 Q. So that would mean free; is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 MR. BOURGON: If I can now have in e-court, please, P383 --
10 sorry, I have to change that. I'm told to ask instead for 3D166 which is
11 actually the same document because I'd like to have page 74 in B/C/S --
12 sorry, that's why it's easier. It's just only the relevant page is on
13 that record instead of taking the big document. So that's 3D166.
14 Q. And can you confirm, sir, that this is a page that comes from the
15 barracks duty officer log book of the Zvornik Brigade?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And I draw your attention at the bottom of this page --
18 Now, I draw your attention to this page where it says that's when
19 the group from the Zvornik Brigade left to go and relieve you on 14
20 September 1995. Where it says, "Rotation units for the 2nd Krajina Corps
21 left at 1120 from the barracks."
22 Would you agree that this refers to the departure of the unit
23 that relieved you?
24 A. Yes, this refers to the units that were established pursuant to
25 the order we were looking at a moment ago, and on the 14th of September
1 at 11.00 they set off for Krajina.
2 MR. BOURGON: If I can have in e-court please P383, page 74 in
3 B/C/S and which is not available in English, coming from the same
4 barracks duty officer log book. The ERN page to make it easier may be
6 Sorry, I need to have page 74 of this document and the ERN should
7 finish by 5880. And that's also in P383.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Haynes.
9 MR. HAYNES: Just something else to check. We don't believe that
10 3D166 is the same book, the barracks duty operations officers' log book.
11 We think it is the duty officers' log book. That's what it says on your
12 list and that's what we recognise it to be, so this is not a page from
13 the same book.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, thank you, Mr. Haynes.
15 Yes, Mr. Bourgon.
16 MR. BOURGON: I thank my colleague for this observation. Indeed,
17 the first book was the log book, the duty operations officers' log book;
18 whereas this page, at 5880, is the barracks duty officer log book.
19 Q. Sir, I draw your attention to the before last entry on this page
20 where it says: "At 2.00 a.m.
21 Drvar arrived and soldiers were driven or sent home."
22 Do you see this, sir?
23 A. Yes, I do and I remember that the brigade who came to relieve my
24 brigade was soon to disintegrate and that on the next day, elements of
25 this brigade deserted in the direction of Zvornik.
1 Q. So when that unit returned to Zvornik, that was everything that
2 was left over of that unit, and this would match the attendance record
3 with Drago Nikolic coming back on this date; is that correct?
4 A. I cannot be explicit about the time when Drago Nikolic returned,
5 but it says here the remaining elements of the units from Drvar. If you
6 say "remaining" one assumes that it's the last one.
7 Q. Thank you. One more question concerning Drago Nikolic before I
8 move to my next section. You mentioned during your examination in chief
9 that on 15 July, while you were at the IKM, the forward command post of
10 the Zvornik Brigade, that you spoke with the brigade duty officer at the
11 brigade command. Do you recall saying this?
12 A. That's probably what I said, if it is in the transcript; however,
13 I do know that I had a contact with a duty operations officer, whether it
14 was in order to convey my orders by the communications office or whether
15 I spoke with him directly, I'm not sure because I was at the observation
16 post where I had an induction telephone, and the switchboard then
17 transferred the calls as I requested. But I do agree that on the 15th of
18 July, Drago was the operations duty officer.
19 Q. Well, that was the purpose of my question. And then also during
20 your testimony, and that was on page 31084, lines 10 to 11, now we're
21 talking about the conversation you had a Dragan Obrenovic on the morning
22 of 17 July. And you said in your testimony that Trbic would have said to
23 Obrenovic that Drago was not there because his brother-in-law or his
24 cousin died.
25 Do you recall saying this?
1 A. Yes, that's what I said.
2 Q. And one last question before moving on. Do you know anybody by
3 the name of Vojo Jekic?
4 A. Yes, I've seen that man a few times.
5 Q. And how close were you to Vojo Jekic?
6 A. We were not close at all.
7 Q. And how many times did you see him, for example, in 1995?
8 A. I don't remember seeing him at all in 1995. I know that the man
9 of that name existed. Somebody told me that he was working with the MUP
10 of Serbia
11 wandering around from time to time but I don't know what his purpose and
12 his business was. However, I do know that we never socialised.
13 Q. And when you say that somebody told you that he was working with
14 the MUP of Serbia, do you recall who is that person who told you that?
15 A. I don't know. Could have been one of the drivers or my escort.
16 I seldom travelled alone and I would probably ask them, but it is also
17 possible that Dragan Obrenovic told me that; however, I cannot tell you
18 for sure.
19 Q. But you were not friends or anywhere close to Vojo Jekic?
20 A. No, no, not at all.
21 Q. So would you agree with me that he would not be the type to say,
22 Let's drop by brigade headquarters to see Vinko?
23 A. Whether he would say that or not, I don't know, but each of our
24 encounters, which were only a few of them, were very cold. I think that
25 there wasn't much love lost between the two of us.
1 MR. BOURGON: Thank you. Mr. President, I move to a completely
2 different section. Maybe it's the right time for a break.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Bourgon. 25 minutes. Thank you.
4 --- Recess taken at 12.06 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 12.38 p.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Haynes.
7 MR. HAYNES: Could I just raise a brief practical matter. It did
8 seem to me that during the last session, perhaps for the first time
9 General Pandurevic, was showing some signs of fatigue. He has assured us
10 in a brief conversation on the break that he's fine to carry on, but he
11 would appreciate it if he could spend a little less time at court each
12 day because that affects the amount of rest he can get. And I've spoken
13 to the security guards, and they say that were you to indicate that it
14 would be beneficial to the smooth running of the trial were General
15 Pandurevic to be on the last bus out of the detention unit to court in
16 the morning, not the first bus out of the court to the detention unit at
17 the end of the session, then that could be practically effected and that
18 would mean that he had two more hours, as it were, rest in each day and
19 less time sitting around at court waiting to be transported. So I raise
20 that at this stage. If you were to give that indication it would be
21 fairly swiftly acted upon, I think.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: No one wishes to comment?
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE AGIUS: So for the record, the Trial Chamber fully concurs
25 with your suggestion, Mr. Haynes, and would appreciate if this is taken
1 care of and attended to by the authorities that are in charge, I think
2 the security section in cooperation with the Dutch police, I understand,
3 but for this purpose I would suggest, Registrar, please that you copy and
4 paste this in a e-mail or memo to the section that remains in charge with
5 the transportation of the accused. Thank you.
6 MR. HAYNES: Thank you.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: So let's go back to Mr. Bourgon.
8 MR. BOURGON:
9 Q. Welcome back, sir.
10 A. Thank you.
11 Q. I move to the next section of my cross-examination which deals
12 with Dragan Obrenovic. And firstly I'd like you to confirm, of course,
13 that Dragan Obrenovic was indeed your Chief of Staff for the entire
14 period from December 1992 until September 1995, at least?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And would I be right in saying that during this period, despite
17 what you said earlier at the end of your examination in chief, that you
18 were quite close to Dragan Obrenovic during this period?
19 A. Yes, we were close at a professional level and cooperation.
20 Q. That's what I meant. As a brigade commander, you were close to
21 your Chief of Staff.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And I already asked you a question in which you confirmed that
24 Dragan Obrenovic, when he pled guilty, you were informed of that. Now,
25 my next question is did you have an opportunity of reading the statement
1 of facts which accompanied the guilty plea of Dragan Obrenovic?
2 A. I read the statement of facts here in The Hague.
3 Q. And you are also familiar with his public testimony in the
4 Blagojevic case on 1, 2, and 6 October 2003; is that correct?
5 A. Yes, I listened to an audio recording of that testimony.
6 Q. It's been brought to my attention that it was 1, 2, 6 and 10
7 October 2003.
8 Now, during your testimony, you referred on a number of occasions
9 to events or facts as they had been reported either in the statement of
10 facts of Dragan Obrenovic or during his public testimony in the
11 Blagojevic case.
12 Mr. President, if we can move into private session, please?
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's do that, please. Private session.
14 [Private session]
11 Pages 31365-31372 redacted. Private session.
12 [Open session]
13 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session, thank you.
14 MR. BOURGON:
15 Q. I would like to come back, Mr. Pandurevic, to what you said in
16 your examination in chief concerning information which was communicated
17 to you by Obrenovic between 15 and 18 July 1995. Do you understand what
18 period I'm talking about?
19 A. From the 15th to the 18th.
20 Q. My first question is very simple. According to your testimony,
21 the first time you obtained information regarding prisoners being taken
22 to Zvornik is when you met with Branko Grujic on 15 July at the forward
23 command post; is that correct?
24 A. Information was from the individual mentioned not that they be
25 taken to Zvornik but that they be brought from there, perhaps the
1 interpretation wasn't correct.
2 Q. I need to clarify this, Mr. Pandurevic. Can you just confirm
3 that on the 15th of July at the forward command post is the first time
4 you acquired any information concerning prisoners - I'm looking for the
5 exact word - being taken to Zvornik or from Zvornik?
6 A. I repeat again, I received information that they were already in
7 the Zvornik area in some schools there.
8 Q. Thank you. Because that's exactly -- I have your testimony here
9 now, that was on page 30983 where you specifically stated:
10 "He simply arrived and asked me how come there were prisoners in
11 some schools on the territory of Zvornik
12 mentioned the school in Petkovci and the one in Pilica."
13 Now, my only question is that that was the first information you
14 obtained with respect to prisoners being in Zvornik area?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. Some of these questions are a little long. At any point if you
17 don't understand or if you wish me to repeat, I can repeat the question.
18 Now, moreover, according to your testimony, before that
19 conversation with Mr. Grujic, you had no knowledge from anyone of
20 prisoners being taken to Zvornik and even less so about prisoners being
21 killed in the Zvornik area; is that correct?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. And according to your testimony, the first time you discussed
24 with Obrenovic the issue of prisoners being taken and killed in the
25 Zvornik area is on 16 July at the forward command post.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. So it is your testimony that at no time prior to that
3 conversation on 16 July you discussed the issue of prisoners being taken
4 to the Zvornik area and killed, that is, with Obrenovic?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. Now, what I am interested in at this time or in this part of my
7 cross-examination is to confirm with you the exact information which you
8 obtained from Obrenovic when you met with him at the forward command post
9 on 16 July. So I'm not interested at this point, at least, in what you
10 did or did not do with this information. Do you understand what my next
11 questions will be?
12 A. I have a good idea.
13 Q. So we'll go step by step as to what Obrenovic told you on that
14 occasion, and I will ask you to maybe clarify or confirm what he said on
15 that -- during that conversation.
16 Firstly, you can confirm that this encounter or conversation with
17 Obrenovic took place at your request; is that correct?
18 A. Yes, pursuant to my order. I don't issue requests to him.
19 Q. And where was Obrenovic when you ordered him to come to the
20 forward command post?
21 A. He was together with Legenda somewhere along the corridor through
22 which the Muslim forces were passing.
23 Q. Can you be any more precise when you say "with Legenda near the
25 A. Well, we said that the corridor was open at the link between the
1 6th and 7th Battalions, roughly, where there was an indentation called
2 Gresnik and towards Zuta Zemlja, but I don't think that helps you if you
3 don't know the topography of the land, the lie of the land, but he was by
4 the corridor.
5 Q. Thank you. And how did you contact him, by what means?
6 A. I had a radio connection and I had a wire connection to the 6th
7 Battalion, and he was in contact with the soldiers of the 6th Battalion
8 who were up at that defence line.
9 Q. So using the radio, I take it that there is a Motorola radio,
10 that you could contact him, you could contact Obrenovic from the IKM; is
11 that correct?
12 A. I am certain that Legenda had a Motorola. Now, whether Obrenovic
13 had one, I don't remember. I simply rang and told them to come to me.
14 Q. But just to be -- just to clarify this so that we are -- there's
15 no doubt, was it possible for you, if you wanted to speak to Obrenovic
16 before that, could you do that using the radio?
17 A. I could do it by radio and I could do it with a wire connection.
18 Q. And today, you can't tell us if Major Obrenovic had or did not
19 have a radio.
20 A. He had the RUP 12. Now, whether he had a Motorola, I'm not quite
22 Q. Now, you can also confirm that when you had this conversation
23 with Obrenovic at the forward command post, this was after you dictated
24 your combat report to Milisav Petkovic at around 1700 hours on that day;
25 is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 MR. BOURGON: If I can have in e-court P330.
3 Q. I wanted to show you this -- that was your combat report that
4 you --
5 MR. BOURGON: -- internal combat report you sent on the 16th but
6 for some reason it's not available. Is it because it's not on our list
7 or is it because it's not in -- P330. Because I have it on the other
9 Well, we'll just move on just to avoid any waste of time, and
10 I'll bring -- I'll make sure that we have this report later on when I
11 need it for more specific purposes.
12 Q. But you can confirm that you wrote this report -- that you
13 dictated this report, sorry, to Milisav Petrovic around 1700 hours on the
14 16th of July?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And that your conversation with Obrenovic was after dictating
17 that report?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, I referred to your testimony of 3 February on pages 31066,
20 line 24, to 31068, line 18. You said, and I quote:
21 "Obrenovic told me that on the evening of the 13th, Drago Nikolic
22 passed on information to him that he had received from the security organ
23 that pursuant to the order of the Main Staff of the VRS, a number of
24 prisoners were to be transferred to the area of Zvornik and that a triage
25 was going to be carried out or a screening. Those who were suspected of
1 committing war crimes would be sent to Batkovic --" or I guess it's
2 Batkovci, that's the way it is in the transcript, "... and the rest of
3 them would be exchanged."
4 This is what you said. My question is the following: Did
5 Obrenovic tell you where Drago Nikolic was when he conveyed this
6 information to him?
7 A. Obrenovic conveyed this information to me only when I turned to
8 him and mentioned the prisoners of war, which means he didn't broach the
9 subject and that's what I said during the examination in chief, as far as
10 I remember. And I don't think he told me where Drago Nikolic was and
11 whether he called him or whether he had any personal contact with him.
12 Q. So it is my understanding that Obrenovic, based on the part of
13 the conversation I just read to you, did not tell you, based on the
14 information he would have obtained from Drago Nikolic, how many prisoners
15 were to be transferred to the area of Zvornik; is that correct?
16 A. He didn't say the number, no.
17 Q. And it is also my understanding that Obrenovic did not tell you,
18 based on the information he would have obtained on 13 July, where in the
19 area of Zvornik the prisoners were to be transferred?
20 A. He didn't mention any specific places.
21 Q. Moreover, I take it that Obrenovic told you, based on the
22 information he would have obtained on 13 July, that the prisoners of war
23 would be screened and that a triage would be performed, that is
24 specifically what he told you; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. So Obrenovic did not tell you, based on the information he would
2 have obtained on 13 July, that the prisoners would be or were to be
3 killed in the area of Zvornik.
4 A. He did not tell me that they were supposed to be killed because
5 as he himself said, he was surprised when, on the 14th in the evening, he
6 received information that an execution had taken place in Orahovac.
7 Q. So I take it that it was your understanding just with respect to
8 your last answer you just gave that this surprise, the people that were
9 killed, he was surprised because that -- it was not part of the plan he
10 was informed of or the information he obtained on the 13th of July; is
11 that correct?
12 A. He didn't mention any plan. All he said was that he had received
13 information from Drago that they were supposed to arrive, that they were
14 to be taken in, kept there, a triage conducted, and there was no
15 information that Drago told him that they were supposed to be executed.
16 Q. Maybe it's my question, again, I apologise which was not precise.
17 What I was trying to get at is what you just added to this, when
18 Obrenovic told you that he was surprised that this -- those execution
19 could take place. So was it your understanding at the time when you
20 heard this from Obrenovic that those executions were not part of the
21 information he obtained on the 13th of July?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. In his statement of facts, Dragan Obrenovic stated, and I quote:
24 "Drago Nikolic told me that they were not going to send the
25 prisoners to Batkovci because the Red Cross knew about Batkovci."
1 My question is: This is not information which Obrenovic conveyed
2 to you on 16 July; is that correct?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. For the record that was the statement of facts, paragraph 3,
5 where Obrenovic says this.
6 In this same paragraph, Obrenovic also said, and I quote:
7 "He (Drago Nikolic) said that the orders were that these
8 prisoners were to be brought to Zvornik to be shot."
9 Once again, this is not information that Obrenovic conveyed to
10 you on 16 July; is that correct?
11 A. That's right.
12 Q. Now, if Dragan Obrenovic would have had such information when he
13 met with you on 16 July, would you have expected him to tell you about
15 A. I expected him to tell me everything he knew and to tell me the
17 Q. I now move to another portion of your testimony, again dealing
18 with the same conversation with Obrenovic on 16 July at the forward
19 command post.
20 "He," meaning Obrenovic, "spoke about his being most of the time
21 in the field setting up ambushes for the 28th Division and that he just
22 went to the command occasionally."
23 That was your testimony 3 February, transcript page 31067 lines
24 12 to 15.
25 My understanding, Mr. Pandurevic, was that Obrenovic was then
1 referring to the period between the moment he would have departed from
2 the Zvornik Brigade command on 13 July and 15 July in the morning. Was
3 that your understanding?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And when Obrenovic stated that during this period, he went to the
6 command occasionally, that's the word you used, what did you understand
7 the word "occasionally" to mean?
8 A. I understood it to mean that it was necessary to regulate many
9 questions that he had to deal with at the time and not to sit in an
11 Q. And would it be a fair statement to say that you also understood
12 this that he went to the command on more than one time during this
14 A. At that point, it was irrelevant to me how many times he went
15 there and when he went there.
16 Q. That's fine. I move to another portion of your testimony, again
17 dealing with the same conversation between you and Dragan Obrenovic at
18 the forward command post on 16 July.
19 And I quote your words, page 31067, lines 15 to 23:
20 "What is particularly interesting is that he told me a story
21 relating to events that took place on the evening of the 14th. He told
22 me that on the evening of the 14th or, rather, during the night, he sent
23 an interim combat report to the corps command asking for reinforcement
24 given that he had estimated the forces of the 28th Division, the size of
25 them, as that he needed reinforcement. He spoke to Dragan Jokic on that
1 occasion who was duty operations officer and who told him, according to
2 his words, that Colonel Beara had been in the command with some other men
3 unknown to him."
4 When you said he spoke to Dragan Jokic on that occasion, who was
5 the duty operations officer, it's my understanding, Mr. Pandurevic, that
6 this conversation took place in the command when the interim combat
7 report was sent. Is that your understanding and was it your
8 understanding at the time?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. So Obrenovic did not tell you that he obtained that information
11 on 15 July in the morning, did he?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. I move on to the next portion of that conversation, and I quote
14 again from your testimony at 31067 line 23, to 31068, line 6.
15 "From representatives of the authorities, they had requested
16 certain machinery to bury the people who were shot dead in Orahovac.
17 They also asked, they actually asked the machinery to be provided by
18 companies, but after they had been told that some of the machines were
19 mobilised by the engineer company of the Zvornik Brigade, they took one
20 of the machines from Glinica or the company called Bihac Holding, one
21 machine from Josanica quarry, and another machine from the Josanica
22 Company. These machines were used to bury the people killed in
24 On the basis of this portion of your conversation with Obrenovic,
25 it's my understanding that Obrenovic was perfectly aware at the time of
1 the machinery which was used to bury the people in Orahovac, including
2 the details in this regard, meaning what machine from what company; is
3 that correct?
4 A. There was an engineer's company and he must have known -- I
5 didn't say, but I'll tell you now that he asked Jokic at the time about
6 the two engineers who had been withdrawn from the field, that they should
7 be brought back to operate these machines.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: They were withdrawn
9 in order to operate these machines.
10 MR. BOURGON:
11 Q. Now, this is something that you did not mention during your
12 examination in chief and that's exactly the purpose of my question. Did
13 Obrenovic tell you at the time that he himself authorised those two
14 members of the engineering company, and their names are Kucanj [phoen]
15 and Miladinovic, to report to Orahovac knowing that they would be
16 involved in the burial of prisoners killed? Did he tell you anything
17 like that?
18 A. No, when he told about the whole -- his encounter with Dragan
19 Jokic, he only said that he showed interest in the reasons for asking
20 these two operators, whether they were involved in the burial, but he
21 never said anything about releasing them because he was a commander in
22 the field.
23 Q. And he never mentioned either to you during that conversation
24 that Major Jovanovic told him, having seen the prisoners arrive in a
25 convoy with Colonel Beara at the front of the convoy. He never said that
1 to you, did he?
2 A. No, he didn't mention Zoran Jovanovic.
3 Q. And that later part of the conversation when it was mentioned
4 that prisoners had been killed in Orahovac, this was the first time you
5 ever heard about anything like that, is that correct, according to your
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. I move to the next portion and I quote, that's 31068, line 7 to
10 "I asked Obrenovic whether he informed about this or did he pass
11 this information to anyone, but he said that in view of the information
12 that he had received from Drago Nikolic, these men were to arrive
13 pursuant to an order from the Main Staff and that he considered that this
14 should not be passed on to anyone as information."
15 On the basis of this portion of your conversation with Obrenovic,
16 it is my understanding that he did not tell you that after allegedly
17 getting information from Drago Nikolic on 13 July, he, Obrenovic, spoke
18 to General Zivanovic and did not tell him anything about that; is that
20 A. I don't know if I mentioned the General Zivanovic in examination
21 in chief in this context, but as a soldier and as a commander, I
22 understand the acts of Dragan Obrenovic and this whole situation. Dragan
23 Obrenovic had not received an order from the corps command, nor
24 information about the arrival of these men. He was given a task --
25 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter correction: He received this
1 information from Drago Nikolic --
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- and the information was that
3 nothing unusual would follow. Therefore, his conclusion as mine would be
4 that was a task taken care of by someone else and that his main task was
5 to foil the breakthrough by the 28th Division.
6 In that respect, he probably didn't pass on this information to
8 Q. But he did not tell you that he had a conversation that night
9 with General Zivanovic, did he tell you that?
10 A. No, he didn't.
11 Q. Now, we know that Major Obrenovic says, and we covered that
12 earlier, that for him, the information he said he received from Drago
13 Nikolic was that the prisoners were to be killed. Does that change your
14 previous answer and would you expect him to discuss this issue with
15 General Zivanovic if he had him on the line immediately after?
16 A. He had received information from Drago Nikolic in the form and
17 content as he, and when I say "he," I mean Dragan Obrenovic claims, then
18 the least he could have done was to call the corps command and clarify
19 the issue with them and undertake steps for such things not to occur.
20 Q. And would you agree with me that of course, killing or no
21 killing, the arrival of a large number of prisoners in the Zvornik area
22 at that time was something that could have an effect on Obrenovic's
23 mission to stop the column. Would you agree with that from a military
25 A. That, from a military aspect, could have had indirect impact.
1 Why Dragan Obrenovic did not inform the corps command, or maybe he did
2 without my knowledge, is a completely different issue. As soon as I
3 learned about this on the 15th, I reported this in my interim report.
4 Q. I move to the next part of your testimony, and we only have a few
5 minutes left:
6 "I also asked him if he knew if any member of the Zvornik
7 Brigade took part in these activities in Orahovac. He answered that
8 apart from being contacted by Nikolic, to whom he gave the man in
9 question, he had no information about anyone from the Zvornik Brigade,
10 including Drago Nikolic, took part in the execution."
11 On the basis of this part of your conversation with Obrenovic, it
12 is my understanding that Obrenovic never mentioned to you an earlier
13 conversation he had with an elderly member of the 4th Battalion on 15
14 July who would have told him that Drago Nikolic was involved in the
15 killing of prisoners at Orahovac. Did he mention that conversation at
16 all to you?
17 A. No, he never mentioned that conversation to me.
18 Q. And if Obrenovic would have had such a conversation with a member
19 of the 4th Battalion, and if at the time he did have information that
20 Drago Nikolic was involved in the killing of prisoners at Orahovac, would
21 you have expected him at the time to tell you when you asked him if
22 anyone from the Zvornik Brigade was involved?
23 A. Yes, I would have expected him to tell me that but since he
24 didn't do this, and I don't know for what reason, perhaps he really
25 didn't know and he had nothing to do with it, it was probably the reason
1 why he didn't mention it.
2 MR. BOURGON: Thank you. We can stop here for today,
3 Mr. President.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, thank you. We'll reconvene tomorrow morning
5 at 9.00.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.
7 to be reconvened on Friday, the 13th day of
8 February, 2009 at 9.00 a.m.