1 Monday, 16 February 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, good morning. Madam Registrar, could you
6 please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours, the IT-05-88-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: All the accused are here. Presentation is like it
10 was last Friday with the exception of Mr. Josse who is not present today.
11 Good morning, Mr. Pandurevic.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
13 WITNESS: VINKO PANDUREVIC [Resumed]
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, Mr. Bourgon. I take it there are no
16 preliminaries? Thank you.
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Bourgon: [Continued]
18 Q. Good morning, sir.
19 A. Good morning.
20 Q. I'd like to go back immediately to where we left off on Friday
21 when you told us about a meeting you would have had with General Krstic
22 on the morning of the 15th of July. According to your testimony, you
23 can -- you said that you were called by Jevdjevic to report to Krstic at
24 the IKM at a few minutes before 9.00; is that correct?
25 A. Yes, the signals officer Jevdjevic was someone else. We got this
1 message across the radio to report to General Krstic at the IKM and
2 Jevdjevic might well have been the person involved.
3 Q. And at that point, you were shown some documents. Now, when you
4 were shown those documents was that before Krstic showed up or after?
5 A. Krstic was there when I came, and the documents were there too.
6 Following my conversation with Krstic, I looked at the documents.
7 Q. And one of those documents was the interim combat report which
8 was sent to the corps command by Obrenovic on the night of the 14th; is
9 that correct?
10 A. Yes, it was during that night. I think it was 1.00, past
12 Q. And it's at that time that a decision was made to send you back
13 to Zvornik to fight the 28th Division?
14 A. Yes. General Krstic ordered me to go back to Zvornik.
15 Q. Now, what I am interested in this morning, and I don't intend to
16 spend too much time on this, is the exact contents of what was said to
17 you by General Krstic before sending you back to Zvornik. My first
18 question is, did he tell you how big the group, or the 28th Division,
19 which was already in the Zvornik area ready to attack your defence line
20 from the rear, did he tell you anything about that?
21 A. As far as I remember, he did not have any specific information on
22 the manpower of the 28th Division or indeed its exact location. He knew
23 this based on a report that he received from Obrenovic.
24 Q. Now, as far as you were concerned, you were sent back to Zvornik
25 to fight this column, were you interested in finding out how big the
1 threat was in Zvornik?
2 A. I was interested and that's why I conducted a couple of
4 Q. But General Krstic did not provide you any information regarding
5 the strength of the column; is that your testimony?
6 A. He conveyed the information that he had received from Obrenovic
7 concerning the danger to the Zvornik Brigade following an incursion by
8 the 28th Division into the brigade's area. I'm sure he didn't specify
9 the strength of the attacking forces.
10 Q. Now, we saw from various documents that the mission which had
11 been given to Dragan Obrenovic was to stop, block, disarm, capture, or
12 destroy the column. Did General Krstic stress the importance of that
13 mission to you before you left?
14 A. He gave me the same task.
15 Q. And did he stress the importance of blocking the column to ensure
16 that it would not link up with the 2nd Corps?
17 A. Well, the fundamental thing was to prevent it from linking up
18 with the 2nd Corps.
19 Q. And I take it you fully understood how important it was for you
20 to prevent this because those forces might then come back and hit you on
21 your front line; is that correct?
22 A. Well that over-simplifies the explanation of this situation. The
23 information that I had at the IKM in Krivace was in no way sufficient for
24 me to take a final decision on how to use my forces, the forces that I
25 was on my way back with, or indeed those forces that were in the defence
1 area of the Zvornik Brigade. But I knew that the mission was clear, the
2 28th Division was to be blocked or crushed.
3 Q. Thank you. That was my question, the last part of your answer.
4 Now was -- did General Krstic tell you at that point on the basis of the
5 request which was sent to him by Dragan Obrenovic, what reinforcement he
6 was sending to Zvornik other than returning Tactical Group 1?
7 A. He told me that it seemed that Obrenovic was in too much of a
8 panic for no reason, and General Krstic was not convinced that the danger
9 was really what Dragan Obrenovic would have had us believe. I can't
10 remember specifically. Krstic told me that in addition to taking my own
11 forces back, he would be sending in some other units by way of
12 reinforcement. I know that some units were there already when I arrived,
13 and I know that some other units kept arriving by way of reinforcement.
14 Q. So what you're saying is that General Krstic did not believe
15 Dragan Obrenovic when he said the situation was critical, yet he had
16 already sent reinforcement to Zvornik; is that what you're saying?
17 A. Well, when I say he didn't believe him, he believed that the
18 forces were there and that there was a danger. He just believed that
19 Obrenovic was blowing this out of proportion, over-emphasising this, and
20 that he was doing this because he was fear-stricken. Any superior must
21 in any situation try to calm both his subordinates, any superior is under
22 an obligation to try to show as much presence of spirit and bravery as he
23 possibly can.
24 Q. And was anything said at that moment concerning coordination with
25 either the MUP or the special police?
1 A. No. General Krstic did not tell me anything about any
2 coordination. It was up to me to take a decision and see how I will be
3 using the forces in the defence zone of the brigade and under my command.
4 Q. And if General Krstic would have had at that time any
5 information, intelligence information coming from the MUP, would you have
6 expected him to share that information with you along with that which
7 came from Obrenovic?
8 A. As far as I remember, he had received information from the radio
9 reconnaissance platoon, one of the units subordinate to him. He had
10 received information from Dragan Obrenovic as well, and he had received
11 certain information from the corps command as well. Based on what I knew
12 at the time, he had not received any information from the MUP, at least
13 none that he shared with me.
14 Q. Now, you knew what the size of the 28th Division was. Did you
15 ask General Krstic or did he tell you whether part of the 28th Division
16 had been stopped before reaching Zvornik?
17 A. I had information that the 28th Division, while it was in the
18 Srebrenica area and defending the positions that it was defending.
19 Following its withdrawal from that area, it was no longer the same sort
20 of military power, the same division that it used to be because now it
21 was withdrawing in a number of different directions. General Krstic
22 certainly knew at the time what the main axis was along which the 28th
23 Division was attempting a break through. I don't remember him telling me
24 anything at all about the strength, the numerical strength of the
25 division, or indeed about what had been done up to that point to stop it
1 and disarm it.
2 Q. So what you're telling us this morning is that General Krstic
3 sent you back to fight a force without telling you how big the force was,
4 how many weapons they had, and where exactly they were going; is that
5 your testimony?
6 A. I will not go that far. He said he knew where they were going
7 and what their intention was, at least the main body, the mainstay of the
8 28th Division, but nobody at all knew exactly what sort of weapons they
10 Q. And at no point General Krstic would have told you that part of
11 the column was stopped before reaching Zvornik and that prisoners were
12 captured from that column; is that your testimony?
13 A. No.
14 Q. And in organising the return of Tactical Group 1 to Zvornik, the
15 only thing you did before leaving in addition to speaking to
16 General Krstic was to inquire or contact the brigade to ask about the
17 situation; is that correct?
18 A. Yes. I was adamant that General Krstic take the decision for me
19 to be sent back. He was reluctant to make this move.
20 Q. And when you called the brigade, you inquired about the situation
21 at the 4th and the 7th Battalion, that is, because you knew, based on
22 your knowledge of the land, that this is where the column would be
23 heading; is that correct?
24 A. Based on that but also based on the report from the radio
25 reconnaissance platoon and information from Colonel Josic and the alleged
1 intentions of a group led by Naser Oric that had performed an incursion
2 into the Krizevici village area which was the axis and the area
3 controlled by the 4th and 7th Battalions.
4 Q. I move to the time, sir, when you arrive at the Zvornik Brigade
5 command on the 15th of July. First, I'd like to confirm some of the
6 things you said in your testimony, that you went directly to the office
7 of the Chief of Staff. This was at page 30958, lines 23 and 24; is that
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And that there was, in that office already, Dragan Obrenovic,
11 Borovcanin, Vasic, and Milos Stupar; is that correct? That was page
13 A. That's correct. I think that Milo Zoric was there too.
14 Q. And that the only thing that was discussed on that occasion was
15 the situation of or created by the 28th Division, page 30959.
16 A. Yes. It was only logical. That's why I was on my way back
17 for -- what I was on my way back for, and that's the information that I
18 was after.
19 Q. And there was no mentions, according to your testimony, about
20 prisoners of war during that meeting?
21 A. Not just according to my testimony, no one ever said that
22 anything like that was brought up.
23 Q. And during that meeting, you testified at page 30963 that
24 Borovcanin suggested to open the line; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And you can confirm that Obrenovic was of the same view; is that
3 A. Obrenovic told me about the mission that he had received, that
4 was quite contrary to the proposal put forward by Mr. Borovic. I don't
5 remember Obrenovic putting forward a proposal like that. He hardly had
6 any proposals that in any way ran counter to any of the orders received.
7 Q. And what about Mr. Vasic, did he tell you anything about his view
8 that the column -- that the line should be open to let the column
10 A. I'm not certain whether he commented or not on what Borovcanin
11 had said, but the original proposal and the first proposal that came up
12 about this was the one by Mr. Borovcanin. To the best of my
13 recollection, I'd never seen him before.
14 Q. And did anyone else in meeting, and was also of the view, to the
15 best of your recollection, that it was better to open the line and let
16 the column through?
17 A. I think the others didn't really join much in this discussion.
18 Obrenovic submitted his report to me. He pointed out everything on the
19 map, including the tactical situation. It was based on that that I took
20 my decision on what to do and what steps should be taken.
21 Q. And did anyone in that meeting mention to you that minutes before
22 you arrived, Obrenovic contacted the corps command to request permission
23 to let the column go through?
24 A. I don't remember that. All I know is he told me about the
25 mission that he had received from the corps in terms of stopping the
1 advance of the 28th Division column.
2 Q. And was there any mention during that meeting, to the best of
3 your recollection, that Major Obrenovic even called the Main Staff to try
4 and obtain permission to let the column through?
5 A. I don't remember that.
6 Q. And if Major Obrenovic, your Chief of Staff, knowing that you
7 were on the way back, would have done both of these phone calls, would
8 you have expected him to let you know about what he did before you
10 A. I can't say whether he, in fact, made those phone calls or not.
11 He might as well have made the phone calls and then have told me that the
12 mission was to stop and crush the division and that, as a matter of fact,
13 was my mission. You need to try and put yourself in my shoes at this
14 precise point in time, and given the situation that prevailed, and you
15 must try to remember what the focus, my interest might have been, not any
16 previous moves made by Dragan Obrenovic. Surely, my priority was to take
17 steps to deal with the problem that had just arisen.
18 Q. Now that's not my question, sir. My question was: If Dragan
19 Obrenovic did make those two phone calls, would you have expected your
20 Chief of Staff to let you know that he did so when you arrived?
21 A. Well, he would have been expected to tell me, and perhaps he did.
22 I simply don't have the information at my fingertips right now.
23 Q. Now who told you, sir, that there was a meeting going on in the
24 office of the Chief of Staff? Where, how, and when did you learn about
25 this meeting if you went directly to that office?
1 A. No one told me. I knew where the office of the Chief of Staff
2 was. I know it wasn't in my office. I went straight to his office
3 instead. I didn't know if there was anyone in there with him and when I
4 came in, I found those people there.
5 Q. So it's your testimony today that you just happened to fall on
6 that meeting by coincidence?
7 A. No, I didn't just stumble into that meeting, it was my intention
8 to go to the office of the Chief of Staff, and that's what I just said.
9 Q. Did you know that a meeting was going on and did you have -- did
10 you intend to participate in that meeting when you arrived at the
12 A. My intention was, first of all, to meet the Chief of Staff. I
13 had no idea who else he was with at the time. Even if I'd known that
14 there was a meeting in progress there, I would certainly not have waited
15 for the meeting to be concluded and try not to disrupt it. I would have
16 walked straight into that room just as I did anyway.
17 Q. So you had no idea that Borovcanin was there and waiting to put
18 his forces at your disposal?
19 A. Yes, that's right. I had no idea about that.
20 Q. You mentioned a few moments ago that Obrenovic gave you the --
21 his report and that he used the map to do so. Did he indicate to you the
22 number of positions of the units on the line? Maybe I can make my
23 question more precise: Did he tell you exactly how many soldiers of the
24 Zvornik Brigade were present in each of the battalions?
25 A. He knew it and I knew it too, there was no need for him to tell
1 me where each of the battalions were and what their respective strengths
2 were. The order was to assume positions and the order applied 100 per
3 cent across the board. I knew what the strengths were and how many men
4 were there.
5 Q. So there was no mention by Obrenovic to give you an updated
6 report as to exactly how many soldiers were in the trenches on the line
7 for each of the battalions, you took that for granted; is that correct?
8 A. Nobody could give you that sort of information with any great
9 degree of accuracy, not the battalion commander let alone a brigade
10 commander. What he did tell me, however, is that none of the battalion
11 positions had shifted, that the front line had not been penetrated, that
12 the 6th, the 4th and the 7th Battalions had managed to fend off all of
13 the attacks coming from the front line. He also pointed out to me the
14 positions of the additional forces that he had brought in by way of
15 reinforcement in Snagovo, Crni Vrh, and Planinci. He also shared with me
16 what he knew about the present deployment of the 28th Division.
17 Q. Looking at the exact situation for Snagovo and Crni Vrh, did
18 Dragan Obrenovic tell you that he had to remove a platoon from each of
19 the battalions, if not a company, in order to form some kind of a
20 intervention platoon to send to Snagovo and Crni Vrh thus depriving each
21 of the battalions of important resources?
22 A. He did the right thing. He regrouped the brigade forces where
23 this was indispensable and he also engaged additional forces from the
24 battalions which were under no threat from the -- either from the front
25 line or from the rear. He told me that he had established two companies
1 as temporary forces under the command of Mr. Maric and Mr. Jovanovic, and
2 he told me where the companies were deployed. He also told me that a
3 unit of the Ministry of the Interior had arrived from Doboj.
4 Q. And what about the forces from Bratunac, did you decide where the
5 forces coming in from Bratunac would go or had he already made his
6 decisions concerning these forces?
7 A. As far as I can remember, he told me that the forces that had
8 arrived from Bratunac had been sent to the area of command of the 4th
10 Q. Now, you mentioned that in addition to telling you about those
11 two companies that he created, that he told you about the reinforcements
12 that he had called in or -- I'm looking for the exact answer -- and that
13 he deployed. Tell me to the best of your recollection what were those
14 forces that he told you about during that meeting.
15 A. He told me how he had carried out a manoeuvre with some of the
16 elements from the brigade. In addition to the ones that I had just
17 mentioned, he also spoke about the engagement of the elements of the tank
18 company that remained in Zvornik. There two self-propelled guns, 57
19 millimetre, and one APC
20 of Crni Vrh.
21 Q. What I'm interested in is units coming from the outside. What
22 other information did you have from Obrenovic concerning units which were
23 not from the Zvornik Brigade that were coming in?
24 A. I mentioned a MUP unit from Doboj and a unit from the Bratunac
25 Brigade as well as the fact that Mr. Borovcanin was there and that his
1 units under his command were ready to be engaged pursuant to my decision.
2 Q. One question I forgot to ask you about concerning General Krstic.
3 Did he tell you before you left on the 15th in the morning that you would
4 be in command of all forces in the area to face the threat posed by the
5 28th Division?
6 A. We all knew what kind of threat they could pose. I don't
7 remember that he said anything special about that threat. Based on the
8 reports that we were privy to at the time, we were all able to conclude
9 that this indeed was a threat that had to be taken seriously and that we
10 had to take the right position vis-a-vis that threat.
11 Q. Maybe my question was not precise enough. Did he tell you that
12 you would be in command of all forces in the area to face the 28th
14 A. He did not have to tell me anything to that effect, nor did he
15 indeed tell me because it was self-understood. In my area of
16 responsibility, what was attached to me and what was under my command, if
17 I was the most senior officer, then I was in command. That's how things
18 were at the time.
19 Q. So I take it on the basis of this answer that later on on the
20 17th, on the 16th and the 17th of July, when additional forces from the
21 outside came in to participate in a combing operation, they were also
22 under your command, that goes without saying; is that true?
23 A. They were under my command.
24 Q. And when these forces used the Orahovac school to sleep and use
25 as accommodation, was then the Orahovac school used by the Zvornik
1 Brigade command or by something else?
2 A. I don't know exactly where the company that had arrived from the
3 16th Krajina Brigade spent that night in Orahovac.
4 Q. Are you saying that you are not aware that forces coming in to
5 participate in the search of the terrain used the Orahovac school as
6 accommodation starting on the 16th?
7 A. I know that the company did arrive in the territory of Orahovac
8 and that on the 16th, the task -- Obrenovic were getting in touch with
9 that unit and issuing the task to the commander and show him the terrain.
10 They started searching the terrain but they soon stopped that and they
11 spent the night in the territory of Orahovac
12 know whether they spent the night in a facility or under the sky. I
13 don't know.
14 Q. Now, are you saying that this is information that was important
15 to Major Obrenovic but it was not important to you to know where these
16 forces were staying and were billeting?
17 A. What mattered for him at the moment was where to find them, where
18 to meet them. He did not really have to know where they were billeted.
19 And I'm sure that he met up with them somewhere on the road.
20 Q. And, sir, when you drove past the Orahovac school and you saw the
21 earth that had been moved, as you testified, did you see that the
22 Orahovac school was being used by those forces?
23 A. The first time I passed by the burial site on the 17th in the
24 evening, and that is a bit before the school. I took an asphalt road by
25 the school. I did not notice anybody. It was on the 17th in the evening
1 and all the units were engaged on the scouring of the terrain.
2 Q. Sir, I come back to that meeting. Did you ask Major -- did you
3 discuss any other topics about reinforcement with Major Obrenovic?
4 A. Are you referring to the 15th meeting?
5 Q. Yes, the meeting on the 15th when you arrived at the brigade and
6 you speak with Obrenovic. We talked about Doboj and Bratunac
7 reinforcements. I'm talking -- did you talk about any other deployment
8 of units of the Zvornik Brigade?
9 A. No. I didn't know that there were any other units there or that
10 any other units would arrive in the course of the day.
11 Q. I take it that you never asked Major Obrenovic where the military
12 police company had been deployed?
13 A. What military police company are you referring to?
14 Q. I think there might be something -- either it's my mistake or a
15 mistake in translation. I'm talking about the military police company of
16 the Zvornik Brigade, and I'm asking you whether you asked Major Obrenovic
17 because you said you did not discuss any other deployments, where was
18 your military police company? Where was it deployed?
19 A. He said that it had already been deployed in the area of the 4th
21 Q. And he didn't tell you that he would have given part of the
22 military police company to Drago Nikolic as you testified?
23 A. On that day, on the 15th, he didn't.
24 Q. And, sir, you'll agree with me that as a brigade commander such
25 as yourself, the military police company is about the only flexible
1 resource you have to deploy on the battle-field. That's what you call,
2 in military language, your reserve; is that correct, sir?
3 A. Actually it was no reserve at all and its main task was not to be
4 engaged in combat. However, truth be told, it was often used for that
5 although this was not its planned use and very often that company or,
6 rather, parts thereof was often engaged on all sorts of tasks.
7 Q. And whenever the military police company was used for combat
8 tasks, they weren't deployed by Drago Nikolic, were they?
9 A. When it comes to combat and when you engage a military police
10 company, it was not Drago Nikolic who decided on that.
11 Q. Now, as we say, sir, the man on the ground is always better
12 placed to evaluate the tactical situation, would you agree with this
14 A. It depends on who does the tactical evaluation, whether it is an
15 officer or a foot soldier.
16 Q. And I suggest to you that if one person knew the real strength of
17 the 28th Division getting ready for a clash with the Zvornik Brigade,
18 that was Dragan Obrenovic; do you agree with that?
19 A. He knew approximately what the strength of the 28th Division was,
20 but he didn't know exactly.
21 Q. So he had been there two days organising companies, pulling
22 soldiers from the lines, sending interim combat reports to the corps, but
23 you knew better than him what the situation was with the 28th Division;
24 is that what you're saying?
25 A. No, Mr. Bourgon. I didn't know how much I knew at that moment
1 about the 28th Division in the territory of Zvornik
2 case, the 28th Division was not lined up so there was no way for us to
3 count heads. It was walking through the forest, through the mountains in
4 several parts, and certain elements of the Zvornik Brigade did come in
5 contact with the 28th Division. The first information spoke about 200 to
6 300 men. The next was about 1.500 and then 3.000 men.
7 We had all sorts of information. And I knew that I would learn the truth
8 when I arrived at the IKM and when I compared the information that I
9 received at the command from Dragan Obrenovic would -- my personal
10 insight on the ground and the information that I received from the
11 battalion commanders who were there on the spot.
12 I believe that only then would I be able to complete the
13 information which again did not mean that it would be completely accurate
14 and correct.
15 Q. And, sir, I suggest to you that if there was another person who
16 was very much aware of the tactical situation involving the 28th
17 Division, that was Vasic who had also been on the ground for the past
18 two, three days fighting this column or taking measures against that
19 column; would you agree with that?
20 A. I don't know where Mr. Vasic was in the course of the previous
21 two or three days and what he did. I assume that he did not go to the
22 area where Dragan Obrenovic was, so I don't know what information
23 Mr. Vasic was privy to at the time.
24 Q. So what you're saying is that during that meeting, Vasic never
25 told you where he was for the past three days and what he had seen about
1 the column. He didn't share that with you at all.
2 A. Vasic did not brief me at all. He was there, he was present.
3 Whatever troops he had at his disposal was a PJP company subordinated to
4 Mr. Borovcanin and on the strength of his forces, so Mr. Vasic could not
5 offer me nor indeed he did offer me any other forces. His forces were
6 deployed around Kula Grad and on the brims of the city of Zvornik
7 Q. But during that meeting, did you ask him, And you, Vasic, what do
8 you know? What can you do for me today? Did you ask him any questions?
9 A. I asked the people who were there what they had, what forces they
10 had. I told you what they had. Mr. Borovcanin was in command of the
11 combined MUP forces composed of the special brigade from Sekovici and the
12 PJP from the public security centre in Zvornik. As for any other MUP
13 forces that were in the general area, they were under the command of the
14 MUP staff which was either in Bijeljina or in Zvornik, I'm not exactly
15 sure where it was.
16 Q. Sir, I suggest to you that during that meeting, it was suggested
17 to you to let the 28th Division through simply because the people who
18 were there in that meeting knew very well that the Zvornik Brigade, even
19 reinforced with Tactical Group 1 and the outside group sent as
20 reinforcement could not stop the 28th Division. Do you agree with that?
21 A. I don't.
22 Q. And do you think that if it had been possible to destroy the 28th
23 Division and the column, that Obrenovic would have done so before you
25 A. To destroy does not mean to kill everybody to the last man. You
1 destroy a unit when it is not capable for any further combat. Obrenovic
2 did take measures which he did, he set up ambushes and ambushes are a
3 special type of combat by way of which less powerful forces can inflict
4 damage on more powerful forces grouped in a convoy. The data that we had
5 on the 15th in Dragan Obrenovic's office is something that Dragan
6 Obrenovic knew best. Vasic did not know as much. Borovcanin probably
7 knew even less because he had only arrived there. And I, as the
8 commander who had received my orders to block and destroy the 28th
9 Division, without going to the field and establishing what the situation
10 was, for me to make such a decision in the office, it would have been
11 simply terrible and it would have immediately been reported that I had
12 not taken my task seriously. If I had done that, this would have been
13 construed as me refusing to carry out an order or not having carried out
14 my order completely.
15 Q. Well, sir, I fully agree with you that during that meeting, you
16 could not relinquish your mission such as fast as this and you had to see
17 for yourself. I understand that. But my proposition is is that once you
18 were on the ground and once you saw what Vasic, Obrenovic, and the others
19 had seen for the past three, four days, you understood that the Zvornik
20 Brigade with could not stop the column and you agreed with them and
21 that's why you let the column through; is that correct, sir?
22 A. The column had already stopped. It was in a solitary state in
23 the territory of Planinci
24 tried to block the barrels with their own bodies which is a desperate
25 measure, a measure taken by a person in dire straits, in a desperate
1 situation. We had -- have some intercepts showing people from the 28th
2 Division were not able to do anything, that's what they are heard saying.
3 We have statements by their commanders about the situation in
4 that division. We have information related to Dragan Obrenovic on the
5 16th in the morning at the command post of the 4th Battalion by an
6 officer of the 28th Division. All that showed that the 28th Division was
7 as good as destroyed at that moment.
8 Q. And, sir, one last question on this issue. If the column had
9 been stopped as you say by Major Obrenovic, the mission was thus
10 successful and the column was not going anywhere and would not reach the
11 2nd Corps. Why didn't you simply, if you were so strong, capture the
12 column and that would be the end of it without any fighting? Why didn't
13 you do that if you were so strong?
14 A. On the 15th, I entered negotiations with Mr. Semso Muminovic.
15 The column of the 28th Division at that time was even further from us
16 from our front part, the 2nd Corps had not managed to achieve any
17 successes. There was no combat going on. The situation was calm at that
18 moment, and I was thinking about the tasks that had been given to me and
19 how I would be able to accomplish it very elegantly by entering into
20 negotiations and letting the column go through, especially those who were
21 not armed.
22 On that day, I asked for those who were carrying arms to
23 surrender their weapons.
24 Q. We'll come back to this issue, page 17 line 3, it's been brought
25 to my attention that there was something -- a mistake concerning 3.000
1 men which does not appear in the transcript.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: What I have --
3 MR. BOURGON: Page 17 line 3.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: The only full sentence I have: "The next was about
5 1.500 and then ..." what seems to be "... 2.000 men."
6 Is this --
7 MR. BOURGON: That's where it should read 3.000 men.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: 3.000 men, okay. Thank you. Do you agree to that,
9 Mr. Pandurevic? This is the part when you said -- "The information spoke
10 about 200 or 300 men. The next was about 1.500 and then 3.000 men." Is
11 that correct?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that previously, Your
13 Honour. However, in my last answer, I never mentioned any numbers at
15 JUDGE AGIUS: This was a little -- a couple of minutes ago.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Bourgon.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: I leave it in your hands, Mr. Bourgon.
18 MR. BOURGON: Thank you.
19 Q. Sir, I would just like to ask you a few questions about the time
20 before you left for the IKM on that day. And did Obrenovic give you any
21 information concerning who was at the forward command post and who was on
22 duty there before you left?
23 A. What date are you referring to? You are saying when I left from
24 the IKM.
25 Q. Leaving the Zvornik Brigade command to go to the forward command
1 post as you testified, before leaving, did Obrenovic tell you whether --
2 who was on duty at the IKM and who was there?
3 A. I don't think he said anything to that effect.
4 Q. He did not tell you that any special security measures had been
5 taken for you to lead the battle from the forward command post?
6 A. If the IKM had been under threat, I'm sure he would have told me
7 that. Since that was not the case, there was no need for him to say
8 anything to that effect.
9 Q. And he did not tell you about any special duty system that he
10 would have organised for you to lead the battle from the IKM?
11 A. Mr. Bourgon, that IKM had been there for a long time. It did not
12 all happen on the 15th. And we were not thinking along the lines that
13 you are asking me. What this implied, there were always signalmen at the
14 IKM, in crisis situations there was somebody on duty, an officer always
15 present there. This is what all that implies.
16 Q. Sir, we know that. What I'm asking you is that was there
17 anything special done? It's not every day that the commander of the
18 brigade goes to the forward command post to lead the battle from that
19 area. I'm saying was there anything special, other than the normal
20 situation put in place by Dragan Obrenovic before you arrived?
21 A. The duty was -- the duty service was organised at the IKM even
22 before I arrived there.
23 Q. Thank you. That's all I needed as an answer.
24 Now, did you discuss before leaving the Zvornik Brigade command
25 on the 15th at around -- in the early afternoon as you testified, did you
1 discuss any other topics with anybody else while you were at the brigade
3 A. No.
4 Q. Sir, you knew from your telephone conversations in the morning
5 that Dragan Jokic was at the brigade command. Was it not important for
6 you to know where the engineer resources were at the time, and did you
7 not try to speak to him?
8 A. The fact that Jokic was the operations duty officer and the
9 engineering resources have nothing to do with it. If there had been
10 someone from the logistics, I should have asked him about the
11 logistics -- the rear units then. The Chief of Staff is my closest
12 associate, the Chief of Staff is the person who can give me the best and
13 most accurate information regarding anything which is exactly what he did
14 when I arrived at the command on the 15th. I no longer needed any
15 information from anyone else. I don't even remember seeing Jokic on the
16 15th. I don't remember that he was sitting in the office of the
17 operations duty officer.
18 Q. Did you anticipate, sir, at that time before leaving the command
19 having to use engineering resources to fight the column?
20 A. No. Where did you ever see that; engineering resources being
21 used to fight a column like that? No.
22 Q. Well, if I just look back at the testimony of General Kosovac, he
23 explained that in order to block a column you might very well use
24 engineering resources. As far as I'm concerned, it's a very well-known
25 fact. But I'm just asking you, did you anticipate the need to use
1 engineering resources to fight the column? I mean, you can just say
2 "yes" or "no."
3 A. If this had been mechanised or an armoured column, a column using
4 roads along which one can place obstacles and perhaps even minefields,
5 well, then engineering resources might have been used. However, given
6 the kind of terrain that the 28th Division was crossing, you could only
7 use foot soldiers, no machines whatsoever. And anyway, how could one
8 possibly have used a machine there. Perhaps to help construct and
9 reinforce positions at the front end, but at this point we had that
11 Q. Sir, you'll agree with me that when you were for the past three
12 years the Zvornik Brigade had been facing an enemy to its front and had
13 dug in positions to face an enemy coming from the north. Would you agree
14 with me that now that you have suddenly an enemy coming to your rear,
15 that you need to change your complete defence disposition, and that you
16 need engineer resources to prepare the line to face a threat coming from
17 the rear. Do you agree with that; yes or no?
18 A. I cannot agree, Mr. Bourgon. I would need to explain to you the
19 many things belonging to the field of tactics and how in a tactical
20 sense, units of resources should be used in a situation like this. I'm
21 not quite sure that we have sufficient time for that.
22 Q. Well, I spoke recently to the military expert who testified here
23 on behalf of the team of Drago Nikolic, and he explained to me exactly
24 that -- the change, when you have an enemy coming to your rear and you
25 have to change your complete defence positions or disposition of your
1 trenches, and it goes way beyond changing the weapons from facing to the
2 north from facing to the south and that it includes a lot of digging and
3 a lot of reorganisation which takes a lot of time and a lot of resources.
4 Just tell me whether you agree or disagree with him?
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Haynes.
6 MR. HAYNES: Sorry, is he putting a conversation he's had with
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
9 MR. BOURGON: I'm simply putting the foundation to my question.
10 I don't know what this objection is all about.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Haynes.
12 MR. HAYNES: No, are you putting evidence in the case or are you
13 putting a conversation you've had with somebody else outside of court?
14 MR. BOURGON: I'm putting to the foundation to my question so
15 that --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, yes, but --
17 MR. HAYNES: It's a simple enough question, could you answer it.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: But you are also making a statement, and the
19 question that Mr. Haynes is raising is whether you are offering that
20 statement as part of -- as evidence.
21 MR. BOURGON: I'm not offering evidence, Mr. President. I'm
22 simply putting a foundation to a question, and then the witness
23 understand can answer whether he agrees with that or not. It's not
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President, I plan on asking many similar
2 questions based on knowledge that I may have gained from various sources.
3 And as long as he's not trying to make it evidence, I think he can ask
4 questions like this all day long.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: This is precisely what Mr. Haynes raised. I mean,
6 if he is suggesting that this is how it is and this is part of the
7 evidence, then obviously there are problems, but using it as a foundation
8 for his question is another matter.
9 So let's proceed.
10 Your question was very long, Mr. Bourgon. I think I better read
11 it out.
12 MR. BOURGON: My question, Mr. President, if I can try to make
13 things as quick as possible is simply: Reorganising the defence line to
14 face an enemy coming from the rear requires lots of resources.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
16 Do you need us to repeat the question to you, Mr. Pandurevic, or
17 are you in a position to proceed?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, that's not necessary, Your
19 Honours. I'm able to answer the question.
20 I think Mr. Bourgon is here discussing something that is a
21 well-known fact in the field of tactics. An attack from the rear, forces
22 being introduced based on a plan to unsettle a defence and to make it
23 easier for other forces from the front line to carry out an attack. Or
24 there could be an airborne attack with a landing at a certain facility,
25 again in order to distract the defending forces and stretch them out.
1 In situations such as these one must always plan for some reserve
2 forces to engage these new attacking forces. There might be situations
3 where you'd need to use the engineering resources to block an area where
4 a landing is expected. Nevertheless, the situation at hand is entirely
5 different from everything that I've been talking about so far. We had
6 the 28th Division, forces of the 28th Division, being hounded from the
7 Srebrenica area and driven towards the Tuzla area. They had not been
8 infiltrated in order to crush the Zvornik Brigade. They were at this
9 point moving along, trying to use stealth, if possible, to reach the area
10 of the 2nd Corps as quickly as possible. They were not successful in
11 this, rather, they were detected, their presence was detected, and they
12 were blocked.
13 The 2nd Corps was then the principal force that tried to give
14 them a hand. They tried to open a new front line in order to link up
15 with them by carrying out an attack from the front line.
16 The Zvornik Brigade did not at all shift any of its defence lines
17 that were contiguous with the 2nd Corps, the lines were merely
19 Some of the forces being used for that purpose by Dragan
20 Obrenovic, some of the forces that had arrived from elsewhere, and
21 Tactical Group 1 were entirely new forces. They were unrelated to the
22 forces engaging the 2nd Corps, but they were engaging the 28th Division.
23 Q. Thank you, sir. I'll leave it at that. At the headquarters on
24 that morning, you knew that Mijatovic was at the command. Did you try to
25 speak to him before leaving the command?
1 A. I didn't know he was there. I asked whether he was around and
2 whether I could speak to him.
3 Q. Now, you spoke to him, we have -- the intercept was shown to you,
4 that was one of your conversations, and he provided you with some
5 detailed information with respect to the ground. Didn't you want to have
6 an updated information from him?
7 A. Well, based on all these conversations, you've probably realised
8 that I never exchanged a single word with Jokic about the tactical
9 situation or the deployment and disposition of forces or indeed the
10 fighting in progress. I knew that I could not obtain the adequate
11 information for it, and there were all sorts of reasons that I'm not
12 going to go into -- going into right now. I remember it, however, that
13 Mr. Mijatovic some time before was the commander of the Baljkovica
14 Battalion, and I realised that he was a person who was exceptionally
15 familiar with the area.
16 I asked him to provide me with a precise disposition of our
17 forces as well as reliable information on the alleged incursion of groups
18 led by Naser Oric to Krizevici village area.
19 Q. Well, sir, that's exactly my point. When you arrived at the
20 Zvornik Brigade command, you attend this meeting with Obrenovic. Coming
21 out of this meeting and before leaving to the IKM, didn't you want to
22 speak to Mijatovic that he could provide you that type of information
23 because he knew very well the terrain.
24 A. It would have been pointless, this would have been hearsay. Any
25 information he had, he had been given by Obrenovic. I wanted to go
1 straight to the source, Dragan Obrenovic himself. Why on earth would I
2 humiliate him by speaking to someone else when he was the source?
3 Q. So it would be humiliation to verify information you obtained by
4 Obrenovic by speaking to Mijatovic; is that what you're saying?
5 A. Information conveyed to me by Mijatovic via the radio is
6 information that he had obtained from Dragan Obrenovic. It wasn't his
7 own information. So how could I possibly verify this information with
8 him and how could I learn anything about whether Obrenovic's information
9 had been accurate to begin with or not?
10 Q. And how do you know that it was not his own information when he
11 gave that to you over the phone a few hours earlier?
12 A. As far as I remember, he said he'd spoken to the boss.
13 Q. Sir, you know that Sreten Milosevic was at the Zvornik Brigade
14 command that morning because he was also involved in that conversation
15 you had before leaving the Zepa area. I take it then that you did not
16 speak to Sreten Milosevic before leaving the command; is that correct?
17 A. That's right.
18 Q. Weren't you interested to know, sir, before engaging in a battle
19 with the 28th Division whether the brigade had enough bullets?
20 A. I knew they had what was necessary. There was always a combat
21 kit at the battalion station attached to the battalion command. I knew
22 that each of the soldiers had a full combat kit on them, and the third
23 combat kit was kept at the brigade's rear station. You see that later on
24 during the fighting I asked for reinforcements in terms of ammunition and
25 certain kinds of ammunition.
1 Q. So you know as well as I do that the ammunition within a brigade
2 goes up to 72 hours maximum, and you had no information what kind of
3 ammunition was used in the past 72 hours. But nonetheless, you're saying
4 that you knew that the brigade had sufficient ammunition and that you did
5 not need to speak to Milosevic in that regard; is that your testimony?
6 A. The norms you are talking about, the 72 hour norm, it's not
7 something that I'm familiar with. It's not part of the JNA doctrine.
8 I'm not sure where you got your information, it's probably other sources
9 you're drawing on in other armies. In the VRS, we determined this in
10 relation to each individual mission, how many combat kits would be used.
11 Given the conditions in this situation, and we were defending, we had
12 sufficient ammunition, especially the small arms ammunition. We were
13 never short of that.
14 If that had been a problem, that probably would have been the
15 first thing for Obrenovic to bring up when speaking to me, wouldn't it?
16 Q. And were you interested, sir, in finding out whether the brigade
17 was able to provide food to the units coming from the outside which were
18 sent in as reinforcement? Was that something you would have liked to
19 discuss with Milosevic?
20 A. No. It wasn't like there was a single loaf of bread and this was
21 meant to be not to feed the whole command. The food supplies that were
22 there were sufficient for at least a whole week.
23 Q. And what about the transport resources to move the soldiers
24 around on the battle-field as well as to transport the food. Is that
25 something that you would have liked to discuss with Milosevic that
2 A. Well, if I'd gone to that kind of detail, I would have stayed
3 there for God knows how long. These are things that go without saying,
4 and they just happen as they are meant to.
5 Q. Sir, you knew that the duty officer was at the Zvornik Brigade
6 command, and I take it that you did not speak to the duty officer.
7 A. I've answered that question, haven't I?
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: Could we get a time, a date?
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
10 MR. BOURGON: I'm talking all the time about the 15th before
11 leaving the command. Mr. President, I would like to get five more
12 minutes to finish this topic and just to go until --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: But we have an agreement with Mr. Pandurevic that
14 we stop after an hour and 30 minutes.
15 MR. BOURGON: Then we can stop here, Mr. President. I will just
16 say to clarify, to answer my colleague, that I was always talking about
17 before leaving the command on the 15th, but we'll get back to that.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: We'll have a 25-minute break now. Thank you.
19 --- Recess taken at 10.20 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 10.49 a.m.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Bourgon.
22 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Q. Sir, getting back where we left off before the break, and I'm
24 referring to the 15th of July, when you are still at the command of the
25 Zvornik Brigade. And just to summarize your position, when you arrive at
1 the brigade, you had a meeting with Dragan Obrenovic during which you
2 discussed the situation created by the presence of the 28th Division, you
3 did not deem necessary to speak to Jokic, the chief of engineers, and who
4 was the duty officer that morning. You did not speak or try to speak to
5 Mijatovic, because his information was secondhand. You did not speak to
6 Milosevic, assistant commander for logistics, because he had no
7 question -- there was no questions of logistics as these things just
8 happen, as you say, and I take it that you did not speak either to the
9 new duty officer; is that correct?
10 A. That's correct, all of it. All I did was all the things that
11 I've testified to already in chief.
12 Q. Now, the expert witness who testified in this case,
13 Lieutenant-Colonel Landry, on 25 September at page 26261, he said that if
14 one person knows the ongoing situation, it is him -- I'm sorry, that was
15 General Kosovac, he said, If one person knows the ongoing situation, it
16 is him.
17 My question is the following and I'd like to read a part of what
18 General Kosovac said:
19 "When any officer is leaving and the most senior officer who will
20 stand in for him is there, he is duty-bound to create such conditions in
21 which the officer who will stand in for him has all the information about
22 the situation in the unit that will enable him to reach an appropriate
23 decision in view of the commander's wishes and goals, otherwise the
24 officer standing in will not be able to make an appropriate decision in
25 an emergency."
1 Sir, on this basis, I'd like to know if, before leaving the
2 command on that day, you told the brigade duty operations officer that
3 you were leaving and where you were going?
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Haynes.
5 MR. HAYNES: Are we still talking about the 15th of July or some
6 other day?
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Bourgon.
8 MR. BOURGON: Absolutely. I've been talking all about before
9 leaving the command it was quite clear and --
10 JUDGE AGIUS: That's how I understood it to be. Let's proceed.
11 Mr. Pandurevic.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I left the command, and when I
13 took over the command of the tactical group and was off to the general
14 Srebrenica area, it was Dragan Obrenovic who stood in for me as brigade
15 commander. The previous answer that you quote might imply an entirely
16 different situation. Someone stands in for someone else for an hour or
17 two or a day, perhaps, and then this other person conveys to him
18 information that might be relevant. But I was in no position to inform
19 Obrenovic on what might or might not be happening over the following 20
21 On the other hand, establishment-wise, he was my deputy and he
22 knew about as much as I did. He had all the information that I had. All
23 the information that was available to me was available to him when we
24 were together at the brigade command.
25 MR. BOURGON:
1 Q. Sorry, sir, this is not my question and maybe my question was not
2 clear enough. What I'm saying is, did you feel it was necessary before
3 leaving the brigade command on the 15th of July to tell the duty officer
4 that you were leaving and where you would be?
5 A. No. In that case, I should have called a new duty officer on the
6 16th to tell him as well where I was. I left and there was another
7 person who was discharging my duties.
8 Q. Now, under normal circumstances, we have seen from the duty
9 officers' notebook that when you went to see your lady friend in Celopek,
10 you would tell the duty officer before you left where you were and leave
11 a phone number. I'd like to know why, in this case, before leaving the
12 brigade command to wage the war from the forward command post, you did
13 not feel appropriate to warn the duty officer before leaving?
14 A. I hadn't noticed that the date you were talking about was the
15 15th of July, the day when I left the command, and that's why I provided
16 the answer that I did. As you put it yourself, I am by nature a
17 responsible man. Whenever I was with the brigade and whenever I was in
18 effective command of the brigade, I would always leave information
19 pertaining to my whereabouts, and I was at all times available to the
20 duty operations officer. I was always in a position to receive
21 information and, if necessary, react.
22 On this particular day, when I arrived on the 15th, everyone knew
23 exactly what was going on and where I was off to. Everyone was perfectly
24 clear about that. I did not specifically speak to a duty operations
25 officer on the 15th to tell him that I was off to the IKM; although, I
1 had seen the first entry in the log book dated 11.45 and the handwriting
2 was that of Drago Nikolic.
3 Q. Sir, it is your testimony that before you arrive at the Zvornik
4 Brigade command on the 15th of July, everyone knew even before you
5 arrived that you would only attend one meeting and then go immediately to
6 the forward command post to lead the battle. What you're saying is that
7 everybody knew this; is that correct?
8 A. Not all of them knew exactly when I would arrive or whether I
9 would be attending a meeting. I didn't know this myself.
10 Q. But you take it for granted that a duty officer, the brigade duty
11 operations officer knew that you were going to the IKM without you
12 telling him?
13 A. He should have known. And he should have been able to infer
14 where I would be off to.
15 Q. And now being the commander of the Zvornik Brigade and having
16 been away -- having been away for almost ten days, you did not feel
17 appropriate if only to open the door and take a peek in the duty
18 operations officer's room and to ask if everything was okay. That was
19 not necessary for you to do; is that correct?
20 A. If I hadn't tracked down the Chief of Staff, I probably would
21 have done just that. If I hadn't previously met Dragan Obrenovic, if I
22 hadn't received information from him, the next thing for me to do would
23 have been to go to speak to the duty operations officer.
24 Q. And I take it that you did not check if there was somebody in the
25 operations room or department?
1 A. That door was normally open. I did throw to glance to see
2 whether somebody was there. However, during the conversation with IKM at
3 Krivace, I knew that Dragan Jokic was on duty that morning. I don't know
4 whether he started the duty that day or the day before. I didn't know
5 that at the time.
6 Q. Did you ask Dragan Obrenovic where the operations people were?
7 A. The operations people work in the operations section of the
8 staff, one of them was with me at Zepa. I didn't ask, I didn't inquire
9 about the others because those were his subordinates.
10 Q. So it was not important to you -- for you to know where the other
11 people in the operations department were?
12 A. Well, you know what, Mr. Bourgon, the commander does not have to
13 poke his nose in everything, to put it that way. He has to know exactly
14 who he should talk to and who he should seek information from. It is not
15 his job to inspect various officers to see who is there and who isn't.
16 Q. And sir, when you left or before leaving the Zvornik Brigade
17 command on that day, did you see the military police leave going to
19 A. How could I have noticed that.
20 Q. Well according to the testimony of some of the military police,
21 I'll just refer to one, and that was at the transcript at page 6542, the
22 question was:
23 "And where were you physically when you received that order to go
24 to Rocevic? Where were you on duty at that time?
25 "A. I was in the standard barracks.
1 "Q. Approximately, can you tell me approximately what time of
2 day was this?
3 "A. It wasn't in the early morning. It was again in the
4 afternoon hours."
5 Did you see the military police at the Standard barracks that day
6 and did you see them leaving for Rocevic?
7 A. You can see from that answer that one of them left in the morning
8 and the other one left in the afternoon. This does not give us any
9 precise time as to whether it was at noon or at 1400 hours. I don't know
10 if I saw any police officers, I did see soldiers in the barracks;
11 however, if I'm on my way, I don't stop. I don't ask every foot soldier
12 where they are headed in order to find out whether somebody is headed for
14 Q. But the fact, sir, that Dragan Obrenovic was in the command that
15 morning, and that military police were sent to Rocevic on the same
16 morning, is that information you would have expected him to give you?
17 A. No.
18 Q. So you confirm that other than the information you obtained from
19 Dragan Obrenovic before leaving, you had no other information; is that
21 A. It is.
22 Q. Now, the expert witness who testified in the defence case of
23 Drago Nikolic said that a commander should always ask for a full briefing
24 when he returns to his brigade. Do you agree with that?
25 A. Yes, I did the same and I received full briefing.
1 Q. Now, on 11 February, at page 31238, line 25 to page 31239, line
2 19, you describe what you did when resuming your functions as brigade
3 commander on 26 September 1995. Do you remember testifying about that?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You said, and I quote:
6 "Since I met Obrenovic for a brief period and he was preparing to
7 leave for the Krajina, I shortly told him about some of my experience
8 from the combat operations and my stay in that area, and then I took up
9 the regular duties of a commander, which means I talked to the officers
10 from the staff, the operatives first and foremost, in order to be
11 informed with the situation in the brigade."
12 You also said:
13 "And looking at this work book for that day, as it says, the
14 battalion commanders and artillery battalion commanders had reporting
16 Sir, on this basis, you'll agree with me that upon your return to
17 the Zvornik Brigade command on 15 July, you did not get the full briefing
18 as you should have done, according to your testimony?
19 A. I don't know whether that question has been interpreted
20 correctly, but we are talking about two entirely different situations
21 here. On the 15th of July, I came with a very clear task and objective,
22 and that was to deal with the newly arisen combat situation operation.
23 The first person who briefed me about everything was my deputy. He was
24 the one who could do it adequately and professionally. And both of us
25 remained in the area of responsibility of the brigade and both of us were
1 in the centre of combat activities.
2 On the 26th, he was the one in command of the new brigade and he
3 left, and this was all done on the move. There was nobody else available
4 to me to provide me with information save for the person who was acting
5 on behalf of the Chief of Staff, and that was Milos Maksimovic.
6 And later on, in order to be provided with the complete
7 information about the situation in the brigade, we held the battalion
8 command briefing. You wouldn't expect me to call all the battalion
9 commanders on the 15th when I arrived and hold such a briefing while
10 combat was still ongoing in the area of Crni Vrh.
11 Q. So can we agree that due to time constraints and the emergency of
12 the situation, you were satisfied that you could not or you were not able
13 to get the full briefing that you required.
14 A. What day are you referring to?
15 Q. Always the same day, always before leaving the brigade command on
16 the 15th of July. I'm asking you whether it is because of time
17 constraints and the emergency of the situation that you did not obtain a
18 full briefing before leaving?
19 A. It would have been a stupid thing to -- for me to do as a
20 commander. I could have wasted time on briefing by the first battalion
21 commander about the situation in Lokanj, knowing full well that nothing
22 was going on there. I was briefed by my deputy. He pointed to the
23 problems in the brigade and I dealt with the problem. I had my regular
24 briefing session on the 23rd of July.
25 Q. Sir, during his testimony, General Kosovac, who testified as an
1 expert in this case explained, and I quote:
2 "Now in exactly this scenario which you described a little
3 earlier, and that is because of time constraints the commander is not
4 able to get the full briefing, would you expect him to arrange a meeting
5 with his Chief of Staff at the earliest opportunity in order to get that
7 The answer of the general was as follows:
8 "Yes, that's absolutely so. He would initially be asked to be
9 informed of the most important facts, and then he would say, You will
10 give me more detailed information at such and such a time or after such
11 and such a thing takes place. So he would tell him when he expected the
12 full briefing."
13 Do you agree with this statement from General Kosovac?
14 A. I don't see any difference between what I'm trying to explain and
15 what Mr. Kosovac said.
16 Q. So you agree with this statement?
17 A. I don't know what event he is referring to here. However,
18 looking at the sequence of events that he points out, this is exactly how
19 things developed on the 15th, and my meeting with the Chief of Staff.
20 On the 15th at that meeting, Dragan Obrenovic informed me about
21 the burning issues, and then we went together to deal with the task ahead
22 of us.
23 On the 16th in the evening, I again met with him and he provided
24 me with the fresh information in detail; on the 18th, it went even
25 further; and on the 23rd, we had this briefing of the battalion
1 commanders. And this is exactly the sequence of events as Mr. Kosovac
2 portrayed it in his testimony.
3 Q. That's very useful for my next section. What I would like to do
4 at this time is return to the alleged conversation you had with Dragan
5 Obrenovic on 16 July. This time I'm not interested in what Obrenovic
6 told you on this occasion, but rather I want to look at what you did or
7 did not do after the conversation.
8 Now, you can confirm, of course, that Obrenovic told you that
9 there were people shot dead and buried in Orahovac in that conversation;
10 you recall saying this?
11 A. As far as I could understand the introduction into your question,
12 you said you were not interested in that at all, but I can confirm that
13 he did say that to me.
14 Q. I want to clarify that you did not know how many people had been
15 shot in Orahovac; is that correct?
16 A. I didn't know that, it's correct.
17 Q. And I want to clarify that the people shot dead in Orahovac, you
18 knew that this referred to the prisoners coming from Srebrenica; is that
20 A. That's what I was told, yes.
21 Q. And you did not know whether there were still prisoners held in
22 Orahovac school when you had that conversation; is that correct?
23 A. He told me what had happened in Orahovac. He never told me that
24 there were more people being held at the Orahovac school.
25 Q. And that's exactly my point. You don't know if there are still
1 prisoners while you're speaking with Obrenovic in Orahovac; is that
3 A. Correct, yes.
4 Q. And you knew of course that many members of the 4th Battalion
5 lived in the vicinity of Orahovac school; is that correct?
6 A. Some did. Whether there were many of them or not, I don't know,
7 but some did.
8 Q. I can settle with "some did." According to your testimony, you
9 knew from Grujic that prisoners were held also in Petkovci school and
10 Pilica school; is that correct?
11 A. Yes, I said that I remembered him having mentioned the two
13 Q. And according to your testimony, Obrenovic also told you about a
14 conversation he had with Ostoja Stanisic and the fact that prisoners held
15 in Petkovci were executed both in the school and near the dam; is that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. But you did not know if there were still prisoners held in the
19 Petkovci school?
20 A. I did not know.
21 Q. And Obrenovic did tell you that members of the 6th Battalion were
22 involved in collecting dead men around the school and driving them to the
23 dam; is that correct?
24 A. Yes, Ostoja Stanisic told him that at the villagers' request,
25 some people had indeed taken part in the removal of the bodies that had
1 been scattered around the school.
2 Q. And you knew that many members of the 6th Battalion lived in the
3 vicinity of the Petkovci school?
4 A. I don't think that many men from one company resided in the same
6 Q. Can we settle for some members of the 6th Battalion lived in the
7 vicinity of the Petkovci school?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And you had no information about the situation at the Pilica
10 school, that's exactly when you are having the conversation with
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. And you did not know if there were still prisoners who were held
14 there and who were still alive?
15 A. No, I didn't.
16 Q. You did not call the corps command to clarify the situation and
17 obtain more information about what was going on?
18 A. I didn't.
19 Q. In your testimony at page 31385 lines 16 to 19, your answer was
20 the following:
21 "He had received information from Drago Nikolic in the form and
22 content as he, and when I say 'he,' I mean Dragan Obrenovic claims.
23 Then, the least he could have done was to call the corps command and
24 clarify the issue with them and undertake steps for such things not to
1 My question is the following: What happened with your own
2 saying? Didn't you feel important it was to call the corps command and
3 do exactly what you said Obrenovic should have done?
4 A. Would you please first read the question and then my answer?
5 That's for our future reference. At that moment I wanted to get the
6 complete information to know what had been happening in order to be able
7 to send a complete report to the corps command.
8 Q. So it was not appropriate, the situation was not urgent enough
9 for to you call the command immediately even though you were told that
10 people had been shot and buried in Orahovac?
11 A. Well, yes, in view of all the information that I was privy to at
12 the time, I believed that I had to check certain things first before I
13 sent any reports.
14 Q. So calling the corps command could wait until you obtained more
15 information and that's why you gave the night off to Obrenovic, so he can
16 report with that information in the morning, there was no urgency; is
17 that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you consider sending Obrenovic to the corps command or
20 keeping Obrenovic at the forward command post and going yourself to the
21 corps, or maybe that was not important enough to you?
22 A. Well, you see, since the command of the Zvornik Brigade and the
23 brigade had not received any orders from the corps command to receive
24 prisoners of war and take care of them in any way, the brigade command
25 could not, without any additional information, report back to the corps
1 command. The fact that Drago Nikolic said something to Drago Obrenovic,
2 and that was that he had to stay and receive the convoy of vehicles
3 transporting prisoners of war, did not mean for a single second that it
4 was his task to kill these people.
5 The prisoners of war save for being in the territory of the
6 municipality of Zvornik had nothing to do with the Zvornik Brigade, and I
7 can understand Dragan Obrenovic's understanding who said in his interview
8 conducted on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of June, 1995, that they were his
9 concern and that the Zvornik Brigade was in charge of executions. And
10 this -- he said only upon the intervention of Mr. McCloskey. His initial
11 answer was the Zvornik Brigade was not tasked with that, and then he
12 changed his answer to "yes." I will never understand why he changed his
13 opinion and why he decided to take that responsibility upon himself.
14 Q. So you had information that prisoners were shot and buried in
15 Orahovac, you had information that prisoners were executed in Petkovci
16 school and at the dam, you had information that soldiers from the 6th
17 Battalion were involved in moving the bodies around, but yet you
18 basically said it's none of my concern, the brigade is not responsible,
19 and my report to the corps can wait in the morning; is that your
21 A. All this is correct, but you failed to mention one more thing. I
22 knew that this was organised and carried out by the security organs from
23 the Main
24 security organs were involved. That was my initial information and the
25 reason why my first report was drafted the way it was and sent the way it
1 was drafted.
2 Q. Sir, I'm not talking about the information you learned later, I'm
3 talking about the information you gained just minutes ago from Dragan
4 Obrenovic, and at that time he did not provide you information that the
5 security was responsible for this, and I don't need to recall what
6 exactly you said about Obrenovic, we made that very clear. Did you not
7 call the Main Staff at least to confirm what the information was about
8 the prisoners and what was the intentions of the Main Staff regarding the
10 A. Well, your question involves different points in time. The
11 events did not follow the sequence as you presented. Obrenovic informed
12 me about the fact that the security organs of the Main Staff were there
13 and that they had brought a column in and that was on the 16th. He also
14 told me what they asked from Jokic to do and what they asked from
15 municipality officials to do, so I knew it at the time. It is not as if
16 I learnt it only here.
17 Q. But, sir, that's not my question. You did get information on the
18 15th about the presence of prisoners. On the 16th of July, you are
19 informed that prisoners were shot dead and buried in Orahovac and
20 executed in Petkovci. You know that soldiers from your brigade are
21 involved in moving bodies around, and you did not call the Main Staff or
22 you did not send a combat report immediately to say what is going on
23 there; is that your testimony?
24 A. I've already confirmed that.
25 Q. And it was not important for you to warn them of what was going
2 A. It was important, it was. It was absolutely important, however,
3 it was also dangerous.
4 Q. You had a secure line with the brigade duty officer; is that
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And you could dictate to him immediately on the phone a report
8 which could be sent to the corps command by secure means; is that
10 A. Yes, but luckily enough for -- or misfortunately, those were duty
11 officers who knew much better than me what was going on and they were in
12 constant communication with the duty officer of the Drina Corps and other
13 people at the Drina Corps, also with the Main Staff, and the people who
14 were involved in all that, who had done it; so they were in a position to
15 inform anybody.
16 Q. But you had no information about what the brigade duty officer
17 knew at the time; is that correct?
18 A. Drago Nikolic, it was -- he was on the 15th and Trbic on the
19 16th, and I didn't know at the time the extent of their knowledge about
20 the whole situation.
21 Q. And you did not call the brigade duty officer even though you
22 sent Obrenovic just to do that, to speak to the brigade duty officer
23 according to your testimony?
24 A. Well, I sent Obrenovic -- I didn't want to call just anybody. I
25 thought that that would be the best way and manner for us to obtain
1 complete information.
2 Q. But you agree with me it would have been much quicker than
3 sending Obrenovic simply to call the brigade duty officer and ask him if
4 he knew anything about that; is that correct?
5 A. It would have been faster, I agree.
6 Q. Now, according to your testimony, at no time that night you
7 yourself inquired with the brigade duty officer about the prisoners in
8 other schools or executions; is that correct?
9 A. I sent Obrenovic to check all that and collect information.
10 That's why I did not call anybody.
11 Q. My question is not why, we'll get to that later. Is it your
12 testimony that that night, you did not inquire with the brigade
13 operations duty officer about the presence of prisoners in other schools
14 or executions?
15 A. Well, you see, my previous answer spelt that for you. I did not
16 call anybody.
17 Q. But you will agree with me that there were a number of
18 conversations between you at the forward command post and the brigade
19 operations duty officer that evening; is that correct?
20 A. As for the exchange of information between the IKM and the
21 operations duty officer, that did take place. However, I was at the
22 observation post, and the information was conveyed from the weekend
23 cottage where the IKM was. I don't recall any direct communication with
24 the duty operations officers. I did not remember hearing his voice.
25 You could see that it says in the log book of the duty operations
1 officer that the information was conveyed to the commander at the IKM.
2 Q. So let's take a look at e-court P377, please. I'd like to have
3 in English page 151 and in B/C/S also page 151. I think we have the
4 original that we can give you, sir, and I ask you to look at the entry at
5 5769 -- on page 1769 [sic], where it says "message from Zlatar."
6 Page 5769, it says:
7 "Message from Zlatar that a parcel sent off from Badem half an
8 hour ago, it was reported at 2015, reported at IKM."
9 Are you saying that this information was not communicated to you
10 that night by the duty officer at the IKM?
11 A. No, what I'm saying is exactly the other way around. I received
12 this information, but not directly by talking to the duty operations
14 Q. The duty operations officer, which one?
15 A. Well, we are looking at this and we see that the man involved was
17 Q. So you did speak to Trbic that night at 2015?
18 A. Well, I'm telling you I don't remember. I most probably never
19 spoke myself to the operations duty officer directly.
20 Q. But was this information communicated to you then by somebody?
21 A. Of course. There was a signals officer manning the switchboard
22 receiving messages and relaying them to me, and then I would instruct him
23 what to convey to others. I wasn't a signals officer myself, I was a
25 Q. Was there an officer on duty beyond -- beside you at the IKM that
2 A. No, not when I was there. I remember the chief of signals,
3 Milisav Petrovic, I remember that the intelligence officer Mica Petkovic
4 was there for a while. The security, the soldiers, the signalsman, there
5 was always someone around.
6 Q. And sir, since you've been so helpful since the beginning of your
7 testimony in telling us what the entries in the operation duty officers'
8 notebook means, what was the parcel which set out from Badem that night?
9 A. Probably a number of soldiers from the Bratunac Brigade. Based
10 on my recollection, they arrived that evening and they joined the 16th
11 Krajina Company.
12 MR. BOURGON: If I can have in e-court please page 5770, the next
14 Q. I refer you sir to the second entry where it says:
15 "30 soldiers from Bratunac at 2100 hours, IKM informed regarding
16 their engagement."
17 Now, that information was communicated to the IKM, did you
18 receive this information?
19 A. I probably did just as all the other information that was relayed
20 to the IKM.
21 Q. Now, here it says that 30 soldiers from Bratunac, so that means
22 that the parcel of the previous entry must be something else. Do you
23 remember what the parcel was from Badem?
24 A. Well, it says first that the parcel was off and now it says the
25 parcel has arrived, the 30 men or whatever. So it's one and the same
1 thing, one and the same men.
2 Q. If I look at the next entry down where it says:
3 "At 2108 hours, the IKM was informed that Milenko Marjanovic from
4 the military police has been captured, and they want to see if there is
5 any possibility for an exchange."
6 Did you discuss this information with the brigade duty operations
8 A. The IKM was informed, that's what it says. I was at the IKM.
9 Someone probably told me. I can't remember specifically right now, and I
10 can't tell you what you're asking me to tell you, Yes, I was told this
11 about specifically at such and such a time.
12 Q. But my question is: Were you told this information on the
13 line -- on the secure line between the forward command post and the
14 brigade command by Trbic?
15 A. There was a secure communication line that was used to relay
16 this, and I can't be more specific than that.
17 Q. Did you speak at 2108 hours to Milorad Trbic who was the brigade
18 duty operations officer?
19 A. Well, I gave you a general answer to these questions, didn't I,
20 about the contacts between me and the duty operations officer.
21 Q. I'm not asking for a general information. I'm asking if that
22 entry at 2108 was a discussion between you and Milorad Trbic who was at
23 the brigade command.
24 A. And I'm telling you that I did not speak directly to the duty
25 operations officer. Maybe this was, in fact, occasionally the case, but
1 what he recorded, the IKM was informed. If it was me personally that he
2 was speaking to, he probably would have written something to the tune of,
3 I relayed this information to the commander.
4 Q. Thank you. I draw your attention to the last entry on this page,
5 where it says:
6 "At 2155, the commander requested 100 dry daily rations, rifle
7 grenades, and hand grenades to be sent to Orahovac, and he also wanted to
8 know how much ammunition has arrived today."
9 The commander, that is you, correct, sir?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And did you speak to the brigade duty operations officer on that
12 occasion at that time?
13 A. There are two possible alternatives: The first one that you had
14 been adamant about, that I spoke to him personally; and the other option
15 would have been the signalsman got in touch and said, The commander seeks
16 this or seeks that, because if you have an operations duty officer, he
17 can't just make an entry like this: I am seeking this or I am seeking
19 Q. Let's move to page 5771. And there are two more communications
20 between the IKM and the brigade command that night. The first entry at
21 the top of the page:
22 "Message from the IKM that the unit from Bratunac is sleeping at
23 the barracks and the Praga is to stay where it is."
24 Do you recall discussing this information with Milorad Trbic who
25 was the brigade duty operations officer?
1 A. I don't remember discussing these issues at all to begin with.
2 At the time, it struck me as not so important. What is recorded here
3 that word got through from the IKM, meaning someone had conveyed my order
4 for the men from Bratunac to sleep in the barracks.
5 Q. I draw your attention to the second last entry at the bottom of
6 this page where it says:
7 "The security centre reported at 2317 hours that enemy groups
8 have been spotted moving from Kusonja to Crni Vrh and that this was
9 passed on to the commander at the brigade IKM."
10 Now, the commander, that is you; correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And you still deny that you spoke to Milorad Trbic that night?
13 A. I'm not denying it. I told you a while ago about the two
14 alternatives, what the possible alternatives would have been. If he had
15 got in touch with me directly and told me directly, that was one thing,
16 but he might have relayed this through a signalsman.
17 One thing is certain, I do not remember talking to Mr. Trbic.
18 Q. Now, looking at this page in the book again -- one minute.
19 If we can go back to page 5771. This is an entry at 2210 hours
20 from the 1st Battalion asking from one loader, one excavator, and a dump
21 truck with a tarpaulin to be in Pilica at 0800 hours. And this
22 information was conveyed to Jokic and to Milosevic.
23 Sir, if you had spoken to the brigade duty operations officer
24 that night instead of sending Obrenovic, you could have obtained that
25 information, and you would have known what was going on in Pilica; is
1 that correct?
2 A. I could have obtained that information but it states clearly who
3 the requests were conveyed to. I testified in chief that on the 18th at
4 Baljkovica, Jokic told me that he had received this request for this
5 machine to be sent over to Branjevo.
6 Q. But that night, this request was addressed to the brigade command
7 from the 1st Battalion. How come Obrenovic the next morning on the 17th
8 was not informed of that if he spoke to Trbic that night?
9 A. He was informed about what Trbic had told him. The conversation
10 may have taken place before this entry and maybe after this entry.
11 Either way, I'm not sure.
12 Q. Sir, you knew that many members of the 1st Battalion -- let's
13 correct that, you knew that some members of the 1st Battalion lived in
14 the vicinity of the Pilica school; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And you did not call the 1st Battalion if only to get a report
17 about the situation; whether there was still prisoners in the school, who
18 was guarding them, and what was happening to them?
19 A. No, because I had never given an order to that battalion in that
20 respect. I didn't and Obrenovic didn't either.
21 Q. But you had information from the 15th that there were prisoners
22 in Pilica, and you have information coming from Obrenovic that there's
23 been executions in two places. Don't you want to call to see what's
24 happening with the prisoners in Pilica? Are you not interested by this
1 A. I knew about the prisoners in Pilica, the school building on the
2 15th. I had not heard about any executions anywhere until the evening of
3 the 16th and that was the reason I dispatched Obrenovic to Zvornik to
4 gather information for my sake on all the other events in all the other
6 Q. Well, that's exactly my point. While Obrenovic is gone to the
7 Zvornik Brigade command, and you've already conceded the fact that it
8 would have been quicker to call yourself, while Obrenovic is away, you
9 did not call the 1st Battalion to find out what was happening with the
10 prisoners there.
11 A. I didn't call. His command was in the village of Manojlovici
12 the distance being about 10 kilometres from Pilica. I don't think the
13 commander would have relayed anything at all frankly, even if he'd known
14 anything about it.
15 Q. And, sir, being the good commander that you were in 1995, weren't
16 you interested in calling the 1st Battalion if only to let them know that
17 the presence of prisoners in Pilica was taken care of by units which were
18 not from Zvornik and this had nothing to do with the brigade, at least so
19 that you would reassure them?
20 A. I didn't call them and I didn't tell them about this.
21 Q. And knowing that executions had taken place in both Orahovac and
22 Petkovci, did you consider sending an order to the 1st Battalion at least
23 to say: Do not get involved in any way with the prisoners who are held
24 in Pilica? Did you consider doing that?
25 A. I didn't even know that they were involved to begin with or that
1 anyone had ordered them to get involved. Therefore, I simply had no
2 reason to call in order to tell them not to get involved.
3 Q. And I'm just talking, sir, about the information that you did
4 have, not on information you learned later, but on the basis of the
5 information that you did have, didn't you feel and did you consider
6 calling them to ensure that your brigade would not be involved in the
7 killing of prisoners?
8 A. Why would I have harboured a suspicion to begin with that my
9 brigade was involved in anything like that. Those prisoners were brought
10 there under escort by other people. The first information was that there
11 would be a triage and that they would later be exchanged. Why would I
12 anticipate that some killings might take place?
13 Q. Because you obtained information that some were shot dead in
14 Orahovac and Petkovci, and you at least want to warn your battalion not
15 to be involved; is that correct?
16 A. I could have reasoned like that. I could have been thinking that
17 those people had been killed, the people who, as it later turned out, had
18 been killed over there, but I could also infer that perhaps those people
19 were still alive.
20 Q. Well, that's exactly my point, sir. If they were still alive,
21 maybe you could have saved them, but I'll move on to the 6th Battalion
23 Can you confirm that you did have secure means of communication
24 from the forward command post to the 6th Battalion command?
25 A. As to the first thing you said previously, that those prisoners
1 were still alive and then I warned the 1st Battalion, and had I warned
2 the 1st Battalion maybe they would have still been alive. You know who
3 carried out the execution. You now who had brought those people there.
4 It depended in no way on the 1st Battalion or indeed the command of the
5 Zvornik Brigade.
6 As to the second part of your question, we were in contact with
7 the 6th Battalion. Was there a wire link, a safe one from the IKM, or
8 did this go through a switchboard is not something that I can be certain
10 Q. According to your testimony, even though you learned from Dragan
11 Obrenovic that the 6th Battalion was involved in some way in moving
12 around the bodies and that there were executions in the school and at the
13 dam, you did not call Ostoja Stanisic if only to get a report about the
14 situation; is that correct?
15 A. He had spoken to Dragan Obrenovic and conveyed to him that type
16 of information. Ostoja just happened to know about this and the
17 villagers had asked for the dead bodies to be removed, so that's what
18 they did. Was that a crime? Does moving the dead bodies constitute a
19 crime? Well, then that is up for debate.
20 Q. My point is that on the basis of this information, didn't you
21 want to find out or ensure that the 6th Battalion was not involved deeper
22 into these executions?
23 A. What do you mean involved deeper? The man said it was all over.
24 How can he go any further than that.
25 Q. I'll make my question more clear. You had information that
1 coming from Dragan Obrenovic who got this information from the commander
2 of the 6th Battalion that personnel from your brigade were involved in
3 moving bodies who had been executed in the school. My question is: Were
4 you not interested in ensuring that the implication of members of your
5 brigade did not go beyond moving around bodies?
6 A. Well, the man was speaking in past tense, it was something that
7 was over. He said the bodies had been removed. I don't see what else
8 the 6th Battalion might have done there or what else the 6th Battalion
9 might have been involved in.
10 Q. So if it's in the past, it doesn't matter, I don't need to speak
11 to the battalion commander to find out if my brigade is involved; is that
12 your testimony?
13 A. Well, there was another thing that was on my mind, namely that I
14 shouldn't launch into conversations with certain people and thus broaden
15 the circle of people from whom I would be requiring information because
16 this would have reached the ears of the probable perpetrators in no time
17 at all. If there was a truth that I could have gotten at before this
18 Tribunal does, this would have had all sorts of ramifications for some
20 If you think that an organ like this can investigate the actions
21 of a commander, a security investigator, then you're not right because
22 the security people do not have the authorisation to do that. You have
23 the instructions for the work of the security organs and the instructions
24 say that they must investigate any crimes within the jurisdiction of a
25 military Tribunal. They must make sure that no evidence is removed, they
1 must search flats, they must seize goods and possessions. They must
2 issue summons, they must interrogate, they must detain, and so on and so
4 So what are you expecting me to do in a situation like that? To
5 sound the alarm at full blast and launch an investigation.
6 Q. Sir, what I'm referring to is the exact moment after Dragan
7 Obrenovic left to the Zvornik Brigade command upon your instructions, and
8 what I'm saying is that there is no broadening of information. The
9 information came from the commander of the 6th Battalion, and you will
10 agree with me that you could have ordered Ostoja Stanisic to report to
11 the IKM to explain to you what had happened there if only, because you
12 did not know as you said, whether prisoners were still alive there?
13 A. He could have reported to me or to the Chief of Staff. He
14 reported to the Chief of Staff which was tantamount to reporting to me
15 because I received the same information.
16 Q. And that's my point. You don't know if there are still prisoners
17 being held there and alive, and you did not call Ostoja Stanisic; yes or
19 A. Well, for the third time, Mr. Bourgon, I'm telling you it was
20 over, past tense, far back in the past, Ostoja says. This is over, no
21 one is alive, the bodies that were lying around the school building have
22 been removed.
23 Q. Sir, I'll just remind you your answer at page 41, lines 20 to
24 22 -- or 21 to 23:
25 "Q. But you did not know if there were still prisoners held in
1 the Petkovci school?"
2 Your answer was:
3 "I did not know."
4 Not knowing whether there are still prisoners alive in the
5 school, we're not talking about the past tense, could you call Ostoja
6 Stanisic to come to the IKM and explain to you what was going on?
7 A. I think there may have been a misunderstanding. I didn't know if
8 there was anyone still alive in the school building before Ostoja spoke
9 to Dragan Obrenovic, but after his conversation with Dragan Obrenovic, I
10 knew that there were none left, no one was alive.
11 Q. Pardon me, sir, but that's the first time you say this, and when
12 I questioned you as to the exact content of your conversation with Dragan
13 Obrenovic, never did you say that everyone had been killed there. So are
14 you changing your testimony now?
15 A. I'm not changing my testimony. I'm saying they were killed. All
16 or not, it's just a word that I might use, but if I say they were killed,
17 the meaning is the same.
18 Q. I'll move on, sir. You know that our position in this case is
19 that on the 13th of July, Obrenovic did not receive any information from
20 Drago Nikolic about the prisoners. Nonetheless, based on what you say,
21 Obrenovic told you on the 16th of July -- I take it that you did not
22 attempt to reach Drago Nikolic; is that correct?
23 A. I didn't see Drago Nikolic in those days. Obrenovic left on the
24 evening of the 16th and I expected that I would track him down, but he
25 tracked down Trbic, not Drago Nikolic. I did not speak to Drago Nikolic
1 about this subject.
2 Q. And my question was: You did not speak to him, but you did not
3 consider or try to reach him by calling the brigade operations officer,
4 for example?
5 A. Well, I'm telling you I didn't speak to him. I didn't see him, I
6 didn't seek him out.
7 Q. But you will agree with me that if Drago Nikolic was, as
8 Obrenovic said, the first person who received the information or the
9 order concerning the arrival of prisoners, then he would have been the
10 right person to speak to to clarify the situation. Would you agree with
12 A. Yes, I would. If Obrenovic found him there on the 16th then he
13 would have conveyed that to him and maybe he would receive the more
14 accurate information than the information that was conveyed to Obrenovic
15 by Trbic.
16 Q. And, sir, you will agree with me that you could, through Trbic or
17 other means, order Drago Nikolic to come immediately to the forward
18 command post to provide you with a report; is that correct?
19 A. You mean on the 16th in the evening?
20 Q. Yes, on the 16th in the evening, sir.
21 A. Yes, I could.
22 Q. And sir, again, of course we -- our position is that the
23 conversation between Drago Nikolic and Obrenovic on the 13th July never
24 took place, but according to your testimony, Drago Nikolic could have
25 informed you as to how many prisoners were taken in the Zvornik area; is
1 that correct?
2 A. Well, he did not convey that to Obrenovic. If Obrenovic did not
3 talk to him, then Drago Nikolic waited for the column of his own will and
4 did things on his own, and he took the five or six policemen without
5 Obrenovic having approved that move.
6 Q. Well that's not my question and I'm not sure I understand your
7 answer, but the question is very simple. If you had ordered Drago
8 Nikolic to come to the IKM that night, he could have told you, based on
9 your testimony and that of Dragan Obrenovic, he could have told you how
10 many prisoners arrived in the area; do you agree with that?
11 A. I agree he could have and he should have. If he knew, he did not
12 have to wait for my order or request.
13 Q. And of course you know our position in respect of that - and I
14 don't have to say it again - but he could also have told you, if you and
15 Dragan Obrenovic are correct, where the prisoners were taken that night
16 or that day on the 14th of July, sorry?
17 A. Well, if it is your position that he did not speak to anybody,
18 that he wasn't there, then he could not have told me. If your position,
19 however, is different, and if the position is that he was there and that
20 he talked to people then he could have told me.
21 Q. We're not talking about my position. We're talking about your
22 position and the information that you had. According to your testimony,
23 you got information from Obrenovic. On the basis of the information that
24 you say you were in possession at the time, if you ordered Drago Nikolic
25 to come to the IKM on the 16th, he could have told you what the MPs he
1 allegedly used, including Jasikovac, did in respect of the prisoners; is
2 that correct?
3 A. Yes, he could have come, he could have said that, he could have
4 told us where he had met up the column, how many people were with him,
5 where the column had been taken, with which senior officers he had met,
6 who had carried out the executions, where were all the people at all
7 times. He could have told us all that.
8 Q. Well, based on the information you obtained from Obrenovic, I
9 don't think he could have told you where the executions took place,
10 because Obrenovic never said anything of that to you, but he could have
11 told you what the -- any military police he allegedly was given that
12 night, what they did when the prisoners arrived, whenever they arrived.
13 That's what he could have told you; do you agree with that?
14 A. Are you referring to Drago Nikolic?
15 Q. Yes, I am.
16 A. At least that. At least the things that you have just mentioned.
17 Q. And why did you not consider -- why did you not call Drago
18 Nikolic or ask for him to come to the IKM?
19 A. I did not call him because I had sent out Obrenovic to collect
20 information, and I placed more trust in what Obrenovic would come back
21 with than whatever Drago Nikolic would have had to convey.
22 Q. And that information could wait in the morning after Obrenovic
23 had slept at his place; is that correct?
24 A. Well, he did not have much sleep. He left late. He arrived
25 early. And the information was already there, yes.
1 Q. And sir, I take it that after your conversation with Obrenovic on
2 16 July, you did not attempt to reach your commander of the military
3 police company, Jasikovac, if only to get a report from him as to what he
4 did with Drago Nikolic?
5 A. Correct, I did not call him. The information that I had was such
6 as to the whole operation having been conducted from the highest level,
7 that there was a suspicion that some individuals in the Zvornik Brigade
8 might have been involved, at least according to Obrenovic's information
9 and what he told me. I could not have conducted a selective
10 investigation in order to establish what an X, Y, Z policeman had done
11 without establishing at the same time what Nikolic, Trbic, and others
12 did, and under whose orders they had done what they did.
13 Q. And you did not issue any order to ensure that members of your
14 military police company would not be involved in the guarding or any
15 other manner with the prisoners?
16 A. No.
17 Q. But you could have contacted the brigade duty operations officer
18 and ordered Jasikovac to report to you immediately?
19 A. Yes, just as with the previous person that you spoke about.
20 However, according to the information that I had on the 16th in the
21 evening, things had already taken place at those locations, and I fully
22 believe that those policemen in question were no longer engaged anywhere.
23 Q. Sir, wasn't it important for you to confirm that the members of
24 your military police company in your brigade were not involved in any
25 crime? Didn't you want to confirm that after hearing of the executions
1 in Orahovac and Petkovci?
2 A. According to my information, no member of the Zvornik Brigade had
3 participated in the executions.
4 Q. And sir, after your conversation with Obrenovic on 16 July, I
5 take it that you did not call nor attempt to call Dragan Jokic, your
6 chief of engineers, if only to get a report on the use of the engineering
7 resources which were used and ensuring that members of the engineering
8 company were not involved in the burying or in any other matter with the
9 prisoners; is that correct?
10 A. On the 18th in the morning, I met with Jokic and I asked him
11 about that.
12 Q. But I'm referring to the 16th after your conversation with
13 Obrenovic, you did not attempt to call Jokic to find out what engineering
14 resources had been used and by whom?
15 A. He said that Dragan Obrenovic on the 14th in the evening, he told
16 him how the equipment had been requisitioned and who requisitioned it.
17 It was not Jokic who did that.
18 Q. But you had no idea, sir, who had buried the bodies who were
19 executed at the Petkovci school or at the dam; is that correct?
20 A. To this very day, I don't know who participated in the burial of
21 the bodies at the dam. At that time, according to Jokic, those were the
22 two machines from Birac Holding and Jasenica quarry and BGH700 from the
23 engineer's company. The machinery was run by a soldier from the
24 engineer's company.
25 MR. BOURGON: Mr. President, we can stop there.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
2 --- Recess taken at 12.11 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 12.42 p.m.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Bourgon.
5 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. Sir, I have more questions concerning what you did and could have
7 done that night but I will stop here. However, just I'd like you to
8 confirm whether any of what I'm going to say you disagree with.
9 Following your conversation with Dragan Obrenovic on the 16th of
10 July at the forward command post, according to your testimony, you sent
11 Dragan Obrenovic to the Zvornik Brigade command to find out more
12 information and you gave him a night off. You did not call the brigade
13 duty officer to find out more information even though you had a secure
14 line of communication with him. You did not call the corps command to
15 try and obtain more information. You did not call the Main Staff or
16 attempt to call the Main Staff to obtain or provide information. You did
17 not send an immediate report even though you had secure means to do so.
18 You did not call the 1st Battalion. You did not call the 6th Battalion.
19 You did not issue any orders to prevent no one from Zvornik Brigade to be
20 involved with the prisoners. You did not try to reach Drago Nikolic.
21 You did not try to reach Dragan Jokic in respect of engineering resources
22 and you did not try to reach Jasikovac in respect to the military police
24 Do you disagree with any of these statements?
25 JUDGE AGIUS: And to be clear, you are limiting this to the 16th
1 of July only.
2 MR. BOURGON: The night of 16th of July immediately after,
3 following the conversation with Dragan Obrenovic.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. Bourgon, let me put it
5 this way: This question sums up all of your previous questions and now
6 you're asking me to sum up all of my answers and make one simple answer
7 out of it.
8 Generally speaking, I agree with what you put to me.
9 Nevertheless, had I been there as an attorney-at-law on the evening of
10 the 16th, in my capacity as an attorney-at-law not a commander, had I had
11 the time to reflect peacefully on what I could possibly do, maybe not all
12 of these things would have come to me but some certainly would, the best
13 part, I would say.
14 Nevertheless, we have to imagine the situation as it was, the
15 reality on the ground and what was going on. There is something else
16 that I didn't do. I didn't ask permission from the corps or the Main
17 Staff to do what I did on the 16th. That's another thing that I didn't
18 do. I didn't call any of these people that you mentioned to check these
19 things with them because I believed that the information available to me
20 by way of Dragan Obrenovic was sufficient.
21 I also had to consider all the potential consequences of any
22 action that I took in terms of opening up the corridor and in terms of
23 negotiating with the opposite side. As for calling any of the security
24 officers and discussing this subject with them, I don't think it would
25 have made any sense because I wasn't likely to obtain any information at
1 all from them, not even to the extent that I received from Dragan
3 Q. Sir, as you testified at some point in the evening of 16 July,
4 the passage of the column was interrupted pursuant to the agreement you
5 and Muminovic agreed to; is that correct?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. Sir, in these circumstances, I suggest to you that there was
8 plenty of time, that you had the necessary communication means, and that
9 it was both feasible and possible for you to take the actions we just
10 discussed and which you confirm you did not do. Do you agree with that?
11 A. It was feasible and possible to take different kinds of actions
12 including the ones that you mention, but the passage of the column of the
13 28th Division was disrupted and that was not a mitigating circumstance
14 because the danger was all the greater for fresh forces of the 2nd Corps
15 being infiltrated through that corridor behind the lines of the Zvornik
16 Brigade defence.
17 What would have become of me then if something like that had
18 happened? I did this in full awareness and I took action myself, and
19 that was my foremost concern.
20 Q. Sir, on this basis, my question is the following: What did you
21 do at the IKM the night of 16 July?
22 A. I was awake until well past midnight. I was at the IKM and I was
23 maintaining contact especially with those forces that were in the open
24 corridor because there had been a physical contact that had been
25 established between the BH Army soldiers and the Republika Srpska Army
1 soldiers. I think by 3.00 or 4.00 that morning I was again awake and
2 again up and ready to monitor the developments.
3 Q. Sir, I now move on to the 17th of July in the morning, that's
4 immediately the next morning. According to your testimony, when
5 Obrenovic returned, he informed you of the following, and this can be
6 found at page 31084, line 9, to page 31085, at line 7, and this was on
7 the 9th of February. You said that Milorad Trbic, the duty operations
8 officer conveyed -- sorry, I did not say you said -- you were told by
9 Dragan Obrenovic that Milorad Trbic who was the duty operations officer
10 conveyed to him the following: That Drago Nikolic was not there because
11 his brother had been killed. Is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, maybe I was looking over this weekend because you said
14 "brother." Now, it's not his brother who were killed, but I think for
15 you it's something that you use even though it was his cousin; is that
17 A. No, we say cousin or relative, depending on the exact kind of
18 kinship involved.
19 Q. Sir, I just looked into that over the weekend. But you know that
20 it wasn't Drago Nikolic's brother who had died. Did you know that at the
21 time or were you told that it was his brother?
22 A. I'm not sure if it was his brother or not, but I've learned since
23 during the trial that this person who was killed was in fact not his
25 Q. And Trbic also told Obrenovic that he confirmed that the
1 prisoners accommodated in the schools in Pilica and Rocevic were executed
2 there; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And Trbic would have confirmed to Obrenovic the killings in
5 Orahovac and Petkovci.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And Trbic also mentioned to Obrenovic, according to your
8 testimony, that some machinery from the engineer company had been used to
9 bury the bodies of those who had been executed; is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And sir, having learned that information from Dragan Obrenovic on
12 the morning of 17 July, I understand from your testimony that you did not
13 take any action with respect to what you learned from Obrenovic; is that
15 A. Yes. No specific action, but I spoke to Dragan Obrenovic on what
16 would be the best thing for me to do.
17 Q. And sir, even if I agree with you that the fighting the column --
18 well, at that time was no longer fighting, but at least it was leading
19 the operations of the column going through your lines was a very
20 important part of your obligations on 17 July, I suggest to you that
21 there was sufficient time, that you had the necessary communication
22 means, and that it was possible to take all of the actions that we
23 discussed together and that you confirm that you did not take in the
24 night of 16 to 17 July; do you agree with that?
25 A. Well, the latter part of your answer about the night between the
1 16th and the 17th, yes, that's right, but then you said that I had
2 sufficient time and sufficient means of communication on the 17th; right?
3 Q. Yes, that's correct. That's what I'm suggesting to you.
4 A. And I'm telling you that I spoke to Dragan Obrenovic on the
5 morning of the 17th. We considered the information. We knew what the
6 16th had been like and what the requests had been by the corps and the
7 Main Staff about my decision to open up the corridor. Later, I learned
8 that an interim combat report had been requested. I waited for that date
9 to pass, for the corridor to close, and then on the 18th I wrote up an
10 interim combat report. It had a number of addresses, and all the
11 addressees found it sufficiently explicit. They knew exactly what it was
12 about and what I meant when I wrote that report.
13 Q. Sir, I'm not talking about what you did concerning the column and
14 the 28th Division. I'm calling -- -I'm talking about actions concerning
15 what you obtained from Dragan Obrenovic about the executions. Now, I
16 quote from page 31085 to 31086, the question was put to you:
17 "What action did you decide to take about the information
18 Obrenovic had given you about the prisoners?"
19 And your answer was:
20 "I told him that we would resume that conversation later as soon
21 as our job was over, and our job at hand was to let the column of the
22 28th Division go through."
23 Do you recall saying this?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. What I'm suggesting to you, I come back to my previous question,
1 is that while you were letting the column of the 28th Division go
2 through, I suggest to you that you had the communication means, the time,
3 and the possibility to take all of the actions we discussed that you did
4 not take on the night from the 16th to the 17th, do you agree with that?
5 A. I do. Those are actions that I could have taken but that is with
6 hindsight and post facto. But that would have done nothing to diminish
7 the crimes that happened.
8 I thought what I should do at the time is think of a way to
9 address the corps command and inform them about all these issues, and
10 what I can't help but wonder is why no one else left a trace of any sort
11 of note at all on what had gone on, with me as the only exception.
12 Q. Well, sir, the -- I'd like you to confirm that even at this point
13 in time after your conversation with Dragan Obrenovic on the morning of
14 the 17th, despite all the terrible things he announced to you, you still
15 did not know whether there were still some prisoners who were alive and
16 who could be saved; is that correct?
17 A. Well, the information I received was that people were there and
18 were shot there. No one said anything about anyone else being brought
19 over, any persons remaining or any persons to be shot at a later date.
20 My information did not suggest anything of the kind.
21 Q. That's what I'm saying. Because you did not get this information
22 did you ask Dragan Obrenovic: Do you know if there are still prisoners
23 we can save? Did you ask that question?
24 A. Well I'm telling you, the information said there were no persons
1 Q. Well, once again, sir, I think that this is contrary to what you
2 said before but I will move on. Some other people might be interested in
3 exploring this answer.
4 I simply suggest to you that on the morning of the 17th of July,
5 having received such information from Dragan Obrenovic, it was even more
6 important for you to take such action than it was on the night of 16
7 July. Do you agree with this statement?
8 A. Sir, I received information as to where those people were
9 detained and that all of them were shot. This rules out everything else.
10 This entirely rules out the possibility of someone being left behind.
11 There was no information suggesting that. I never had any reason to
12 believe that there was anyone left there who was still alive.
13 The information that I received was dire enough. When you're
14 told something like this, what can you possibly do? You know it's
15 nothing to do with you, and how do you cope? You can't just dart out
16 through the door and take action that very minute. You have to stop,
17 pause, and a take some time to think and consider your options.
18 Q. And for you, sir, the taking the time to stop, pause, and think
19 was to wait until the 18th of July when you sent that additional interim
20 combat report; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, part of the information you obtained is that engineering
23 equipment from your brigade was used to bury the prisoners. Now that's
24 precise information that your brigade is involved. Don't you think it
25 was more important to take action on the 17th of July?
1 A. I have to say that the machine did belong to the engineering
2 company of the Zvornik Brigade and the driver was a member too, but the
3 machine itself was not in the possession of the Zvornik Brigade and it
4 certainly wasn't my private property. It was just something that the VRS
5 was using, and I wasn't the one who sent that man on that mission.
6 Therefore, it was not my place to investigate any steps that he took in
7 an isolated context and outside the context of an overall investigation
8 or, indeed, investigating any action taken by any other persons involved
9 in that specific event.
10 Q. Sir, during your examination-in-chief an intercept was shown to
11 you, that is P1206, at -- involving a conversation between yourself,
12 General Krstic, and Trbic on 17 July at 0615 hours. Do you recall seeing
13 this during your examination-in-chief?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, this conversation at 6.15 happened after your conversation
16 with Dragan Obrenovic; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. So you had an opportunity to mention this to the corps commander,
19 and you did not mention anything to him; is that correct?
20 A. Yes. I spoke about that in chief and I explained why and how.
21 Q. Indeed what you said, sir, is that you did not do because
22 General Krstic did not mention anything in relation to your interim
23 combat report of 15 July. Do you remember saying this?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. So because the general didn't mention it, then you said, It's not
1 appropriate, I don't have to tell him.
2 A. At the time, yes, I didn't raise the issue. I knew that I'd be
3 dispatching an interim combat report, and I knew that I would personally
4 get in touch with him and raise the issue, broach the subject.
5 Q. But not before the 18th of July at the earliest; is that correct?
6 A. Yes. It was on the 18th that the interim combat report was
8 Q. And you did have as of 15 July -- 17 July in the morning, much
9 more information than when you submitted your interim combat report of 15
10 July; is that correct?
11 A. I was receiving information and sending interim combat reports.
12 It was in lockstep, and you could see that the amount of information was
13 increasing as I was sending out further combat reports. I certainly was
14 not concealing anything.
15 Q. Well, again I remind you what you said about your own saying,
16 that the least Obrenovic could have done when informed about the killing
17 of prisoners is to call the corps command and clarify the issue with them
18 and undertake steps for such things not to occur.
19 That was at page 31385. Are you saying that this did not apply
20 to you on 17 July even though you had the corps commander on the line?
21 A. You see, on the evening of the 14th, Obrenovic had information to
22 the effect that people were being shot in Orahovac or that they had been
23 shot. Therefore, he was not able to prevent this either. Maybe his
24 reasons were similar for not informing anyone given the information that
25 he had received from Drago Nikolic.
1 I did inform the corps command, however, both in writing and
2 orally. I spoke to the corps commander. What you seem to be insisting
3 on, something that I could have done on the 17th or the 18th, that being
4 to call Drago Nikolic and order him to investigate the crimes which we
5 had found out in the meantime had occurred in the Zvornik area. Well
6 now, you can go to Drago Nikolic and you can ask him yourself what he
7 would have done in a situation like that.
8 Q. Sir, I suggest to you that the reason you did not say anything to
9 General Krstic on that morning is because in fact all this information
10 about the executions you learned from Obrenovic not on 16 July but much
11 earlier on 15 July; isn't that true, sir?
12 A. That is not true. But my mode of reporting would not have
13 changed even if that had been the case. However, I only found out on the
14 evening of the 16th.
15 Q. Sir, that morning - I'm talking about the 17th of July -
16 according to your testimony is the same morning that the three colonels
17 showed up from the Main Staff; is that correct?
18 A. Three colonels from the Main Staff, yes.
19 Q. And during your testimony, you described, that was at page 31092,
20 lines 7 to 16, when and to what extent you spoke to the three colonels
21 and that you basically responded to their questions without providing any
22 additional information; is that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. So I take it then that you did not mention anything to the three
25 colonels concerning executions and all the information you obtained from
1 Dragan Obrenovic; is that correct?
2 A. As far as I remember, I said that military logic would imply for
3 me to say something about that. I may have been guarded by the idea that
4 my reports mentioning these prisoners had already been dispatched. No
5 one from the superior command reacted to this and that included them.
6 Another reason would have been they were from another superior command.
7 They were not my direct superiors. And the only person I wanted to raise
8 these issues with at the time was General Krstic and no one else.
9 Q. Well, sir, you would agree with me that here you have a chance to
10 speak directly to the representatives of General Mladic and to let them
11 know what has been happening in the area of the Zvornik Brigade, and it
12 is your testimony under oath today that you did not bring the subject at
13 all with them; is that correct?
14 A. Correct, and under oath.
15 Q. Sir, I suggest to you that the reason you did not say anything to
16 the three colonels that morning is because in fact, all this information
17 about the execution you learned from Obrenovic on 15 July at the IKM; is
18 that correct?
19 A. No, sir, that is not correct.
20 MR. BOURGON: If we can move into closed Mr. President -- private
21 session, please.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Private session.
23 [Private session]
11 Pages 31557-31558 redacted.
10 [Open session]
11 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session.
12 MR. BOURGON:
13 Q. Sir, so concerning that we never had any warning about the
14 content of your testimony before this Trial Chamber that you would be
15 talking about a conversation between you and Obrenovic on the 16th of
16 July, is that something you kept as the commander's surprise for your
18 A. It may be a surprise for many, the way I testify may be
19 surprising because they maybe thought that I would select information.
20 Before I even received the indictment, I had decided to testify before
21 this Tribunal. That was never out of the question. I had decided long
22 before that that I would testify before this Tribunal and that I would
23 say everything I know.
24 Q. Sir, do you remember that when you and I met at the United
25 Nations Detention Unit in December of 2005, you never mentioned having
1 any conversations with Dragan Obrenovic on the 16th of July; do you
2 recall this?
3 A. Well, I did not enjoy the privileged position with you.
4 Q. And when you met with Eileen Gilleece, you never said or told her
5 that you had this conversation with Dragan Obrenovic on the 16th of July;
6 is that correct?
7 A. I said that I had received information from him on the 16th of
9 Q. Well, according to the report that we have looked at in this
10 courtroom, and I've asked that question before so I did not think it was
11 necessary to come back, but it says here that: "I was informed by the
12 Chief of Staff on the 15th of July," isn't that the truth?
13 A. I've explained the mistakes that appear in this report. This is
14 one of them. At one point, a reference is made to the chief of security
15 who informed me about things, but that was another mistake. The
16 information came from Dragan Obrenovic.
17 Q. But I'm not talking now about the mistake, I'm talking -- you met
18 with Eileen Gilleece, an investigator from the Office of the Prosecution,
19 with the aim of helping and solving this case. Did you tell her on that
20 occasion that you had a conversation with Dragan Obrenovic on 16 July
21 1995 about the prisoners?
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's proceed but you need to redact.
5 Go ahead, Mr. Bourgon.
6 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: We'll look into that.
8 MR. BOURGON:
9 Q. Well, sir, then let's go back to the events of the 15th after you
10 left the command of the Zvornik Brigade. You testified today that other
11 than for the meeting with Obrenovic, Vasic, Borovcanin, and others, you
12 did not discuss any other topic than the 28th Division; is that correct?
13 A. Yes. The only topic was the 28th Division and the tactical
14 combat situation. Those are the things that we discussed at that
16 Q. And sir, in these circumstances, and in accordance with the
17 testimony of General Kosovac and Lieutenant-Colonel Landry and your own
18 behaviour in September 1995 that we recalled, I suggest to you that being
19 a very good commander, as was established on Friday, the 13th of
20 February, you did order Obrenovic to meet you at the IKM that same day on
21 the 15th of July so that he could provide you with all the information
22 you needed to resume your functions as commander and to lead the battle
23 against the 28th Division. Isn't that the truth, sir?
24 A. Mr. Bourgon, at the command he conveyed all the information to
25 me, the information that he had, and then we left together. I went to
1 the IKM and he went to the command of the 4th Battalion, which was one
2 and the same place. And then we got additional information on the spot.
3 So there was no need for him to meet with me again because any
4 unnecessary movement around the battle-field poses a risk.
5 Second of all, there was nothing else discussed at the meeting
6 save for the topics that I am telling you about. I may have been a good
7 commander, I'm not saying that I wasn't. I probably was. But I was not
8 a clairvoyant. I was not a prophet.
9 Q. And sir, you will agree with me that by the 14th of July -- sorry
10 by the 15th of July, by the time you had this meeting at the brigade
11 command, that Obrenovic was fully aware of what had gone on in Orahovac
12 the day before; do you agree with this?
13 A. According to him, on -- according to what he told me on the 16th
14 in the evening, yes, that was probably the case.
15 Q. And knowing this information, it is, I suggest to you, that he
16 would have told you if you did not ask for him to meet that day, he would
17 have told you: I need to see you that day to discuss something.
18 Would you have expected something like that from Obrenovic?
19 A. He did not tell me any such thing, and as for expectations,
20 expectations may vary.
21 Q. Sir, who was at the IKM when you arrived there on the 15th?
22 A. I've already told you that several times, I told you who I
23 remember. I believe that at the same time with me or a few minutes
24 later, the chief of communications arrived, Petkovic, Petrovic was there,
25 some signalsmen were there, and there were some couriers as well. As for
1 the rest, I don't remember any others.
2 Later on in the afternoon, Ljubo Bojanovic also turned up at some
3 point. And before him, Mr. Brano Grujic was also there.
4 Q. Now, did anyone else arrive at the forward command post before
5 Branko Grujic?
6 A. I'm telling you whom I found when you arrived up there. They had
7 already been there. I had been at the observation post some 300 metres
8 away, whether somebody arrived in the meantime, whether somebody spent
9 some time there or not, I don't know.
10 Q. Sir, according to the testimony of Dragutinovic in this case,
11 that was on page 12599, 12600, on that day you issued an order to Galic
12 to deliver some information and to brief Dragutinovic with respect to the
13 tactical situation. When and where did you see Galic that day?
14 A. Galic was asked to convey my order to Mia as to where to send the
15 tank company. At that time, I believe Galic was in the barracks.
16 Q. So you -- it was inside the barracks that you met Galic, because
17 you told us that you didn't speak to anybody else but Obrenovic, so it
18 was at the barracks that you issued that order?
19 A. You have to look at the log book. This was said at the IKM, and
20 it was recorded that Galic was told to convey the message to Milutinovic
21 [as interpreted]. I don't remember any meetings with Galic.
22 This information could have been received by the duty operations
23 officer Nikolic.
24 Q. Sir, as you testified, when you arrive at the IKM, the situation
25 was not critical and not -- certainly not as critical as it was put to
1 you in the meeting with Vasic, Obrenovic, Borovcanin and others. Do you
2 agree with that?
3 A. The situation was almost calm. The only difference was in the
4 area of the 7th Battalion on the left flank from where one could hear
5 sporadic fire being opened.
6 MR. BOURGON: Mr. President, page 83, line 15, the name
7 "Milutinovic" appears and it should read "Dragutinovic."
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Bourgon. Line 15, wasn't it? Okay.
9 Thank you.
10 MR. BOURGON:
11 Q. Sir, so you will agree based on your last answer that there was
12 no threat to the municipality of Zvornik
13 column intended to break the line at the intersection of the 4th and 6th
14 Battalion; is that correct?
15 A. Yes, a day before the column had already passed by the town of
16 Zvornik and no longer posed a threat to the town of Zvornik.
17 Q. And the likely point of impact if the column was to force its way
18 through the line was where, according to your reading of the situation at
19 that time?
20 A. It could have been in -- more in the middle of the 4th Battalion
21 rather than at the intersection between the 4th and the 6th Battalions.
22 Q. And sir, when you arrive at the IKM, you did have secure lines of
23 communication with the brigade command as well as with the battalions.
24 A. I'm not sure whether it was the case with the 7th Battalion,
25 whether I had a direct wire line with them or if I had to go through the
1 4th Battalion. In any case, I did have radio communication with the
2 4th --
3 THE INTERPRETER: With the 7th, the interpreter's correction.
4 MR. BOURGON:
5 Q. So just to clarify, you did have wire communication with all
6 battalions and the 7th, maybe you had to go through the 4th, and in
7 addition to that you had radio communications. That's the way I
8 understand your answer; is that correct?
9 A. You understood my answer correctly. There was a direct wire line
10 with all the battalions. I believe that the communication was done with
11 the 7th and that I had to go through the companies of the 4th Battalion
12 in order to get to the 7th. And we also had direct radio communication
13 via RUP-12.
14 Q. Sir, I take it that you did contact your battalions to inquire
15 about the situation on the line; is that correct?
16 A. I received information from Obrenovic that the situation was
17 quiet everywhere but in Baljkovica. That's why I focused on that area
18 and I had contacts with the commanders of the 4th, 7th, and 6th
19 Battalions. We were in constant communication.
20 Q. Well, that's one thing, for example, I wanted to confirm, because
21 Lazar Ristic said before this Trial Chamber on 17 April that you did call
22 him. So you confirm speaking with Lazar Ristic on the afternoon of 15
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And sir, you testified that Branko Grujic told you, and I quote:
1 "He simply arrived and asked me how come there were prisoners in
2 some schools on the territory of Zvornik
3 mentioned the school in Petkovci and the one in Pilica."
4 So I have referred to that quote before, but my question is the
5 following: In the circumstances at the time where you were sent back to
6 the Zvornik area to defend the forward defence line of the brigade
7 against the threat posed by the 28th Division coming from the rear, you
8 will agree with me that the transfer of a large number of prisoners of
9 war placed in schools which are located close to the potential combat
10 area and within villages where members of the brigade and their families
11 live, that this was a factor which you had to consider. Do you agree
12 with this statement?
13 A. That's why I include the words "additional burden" in my interim
14 report. This was not my task or obligation. The way I was thinking was
15 just along the lines of what you have explained.
16 Q. So one reason, for example, why you had to consider the issue of
17 the prisoners is that the prisoners could escape and thus could add to
18 the considerable threat represented by the 28th Division. Is that one of
19 the reasons?
20 A. I would not say that my thoughts went along those lines.
21 Mr. Grujic told me that there was a degree of dissatisfaction and
22 misgivings on the part of the people in the area where the prisoners were
23 accommodated, and there was a likelihood that some of the soldiers who
24 hailed from the area may have thought that their homes were under threat.
25 Q. And that was important for you as a brigade commander because you
1 don't want the soldiers to desert the trenches to go and protect their
2 families; is that a fair statement?
3 A. Yes, that's very important. As soon as Ljubo Bojanovic turned
4 up, I had a word with him and I asked him about his information on the
5 prisoners of war in the territory of Zvornik
6 Q. Sir, in your testimony, you mention that the persons who were
7 there when Grujic showed up could not provide you with any information
8 concerning the prisoners. Who were these persons?
9 A. Probably Captain Petrovic who had returned from Zepa with me and
10 some signalsmen or soldiers, but I never thought of asking them anything
11 because what could a foot soldier have told me about such a matter?
12 Q. And Bojanovic was not there at the IKM when Grujic told you about
13 the prisoners; is that correct?
14 A. No, he appeared a bit later. I believe that he had taken a shift
15 of soldiers somewhere and then came to the IKM.
16 Q. Sir, not being able to obtain information from anybody, that is
17 before Bojanovic arrived, you are telling us today that you did not call
18 anyone to obtain more information before he arrived; is that your
20 A. Yes, that is my testimony.
21 Q. Sir, I suggest to you that the first person you would call to
22 find out if indeed prisoners had been transferred in the area of Zvornik
23 would be Dragan Obrenovic who was acting as commander in your absence and
24 who would know what happened in your absence. Do you agree with that?
25 A. Since I had received information which did not point to anything
1 extraordinary, both with regard to the lot of the people and their -- the
2 length of their stay, Bojanovic appeared very quickly, I talked to him,
3 and what he told me put my mind at ease in a certain way.
4 Q. Well I don't know, I'll move on to what Bojanovic told you when
5 he arrived just to see -- so you can explain to us how much your mind was
6 at ease when he arrived. But what he told you, according to your
7 testimony, is the following. He said he had information about a column
8 driving by -- prisoners driving in front of the brigade command, but he
9 could not provide you with any other information.
10 Can you explain to us how that information put your mind at ease?
11 A. Well, it sufficed for him to tell me that no order had arrived
12 from the command with regard to the prisoners, that he had seen buses
13 driving in the direction of Bijeljina. He told me that it was likely
14 that some of them had kept for a while but that they all be dispatched to
16 Second of all, when Krstic sent me from Bijeljina from Zepa, he
17 never mentioned any prisoners who would be transported or were already to
18 be found in the territory of Zvornik
19 the real situation, and the way I was thinking at the time.
20 Q. Well, sir, just let me for one last question for today maybe,
21 this was on page 30984, and the question was:
22 "What did Ljubo Bojanovic tell you?"
23 And your answer was:
24 "Ljubo Bojanovic told me that he knew that some buses with
25 prisoners had passed by the command and that they had gone in the
1 direction of Bijeljina, but whether they stopped in some schools in the
2 Zvornik area or not, he did not know so he said. And he said he did not
3 know that the command of the Zvornik Brigade had received any task
4 concerning the prisoners of war."
5 Now, what I'm putting to you, sir, is that on the one hand you
6 have Grujic who tells you that you have prisoners present in schools in
7 your area, he gives you two specific names including Pilica and Petkovci.
8 On the other hand, you have Bojanovic who tells you that all he knows is
9 that he saw buses passing by the command but nothing else.
10 Sir, in these circumstances, I suggest to you that you could not
11 have your mind at ease and that you needed to find out more in order to
12 accomplish your mission; is that correct?
13 A. My mind was put at ease with regard to that. I may have been
14 unsettled about something else. My task had nothing to do with the
15 prisoners. I was given a task at Krivace and I got down to it.
16 What you have quoted just now is exactly the same what I'm saying
17 now. The late Bojanovic even claimed that he didn't know anything about
18 the prisoners and that he learned about them only ten days subsequently.
19 It would be similar to me saying that I only learned about the
20 fall of Srebrenica when I saw myself leaving the town on TV. That's the
21 kind of statements people provided.
22 Q. And sir, you did not think at that time, this is your testimony,
23 you did not think of picking up the phone, the secure line with the
24 brigade operations duty officer to ask him: Did you see any prisoners
25 arriving in our area?
1 Did you do that, sir? Did you consider doing that?
2 A. I didn't. I've told you over and over again. You see, I didn't.
3 MR. BOURGON: Mr. President, I think we can stop here for today.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Tomorrow, as you know, we are sitting in the
5 afternoon at 2.15. We are adjourned.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.
7 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 17th day of
8 February, 2009 at 2.15 p.m.