1 Wednesday, 22 April 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, good afternoon. Mr. Registrar, could you call
7 the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon Your Honours. Good afternoon to
9 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case IT-05-88-T, The
10 Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Registrar. For the record,
12 all the accused are present. Prosecution is like yesterday. Defence
13 teams we have the addition of Mr. Bourgon today.
14 Witness is present and so is his counsel, Mr. Tansey.
15 So good afternoon, everybody. Before we start, Mr. Zivanovic.
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: You have two motions pending. One dated 8 April by
18 which you request the -- to recall Professor Dunjic and Professor
19 Stojkovic, and then another one which is dated yesterday. It's a
20 supplemental request concerning the testimony of Professor Dunjic with an
21 annex. Let's start with the first point we'd like to raise with you.
22 Professor Stojkovic, assuming for the time being that we grant the motion
23 to recall these two witnesses, when would Professor Stojakovic be
24 available, would he be available immediately we finish with the two
25 Prosecution witnesses that we have recalled?
1 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Good afternoon, Your Honours. We tried to
2 establish the contact with the Professor Stojkovic, but he is out of the
4 exact details about his schedule before he comes back to Belgrade
5 JUDGE AGIUS: But when did you find out that he is in Italy
6 MR. ZIVANOVIC: On Sunday.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: And why didn't you try to contact him at least on
8 the 8th of April when you first filed the motion?
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry?
10 JUDGE AGIUS: You filed the motion asking for his --
11 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yeah.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: -- recall on the 8th of April.
13 MR. ZIVANOVIC: At the time he --
14 JUDGE AGIUS: We are now on the 21st of April --
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, but --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: The 22nd of April.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I contacted him, but he didn't know his schedule,
18 his professional schedule, so in the faculty of medicine, medicine
19 faculty in Belgrade
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
22 MR. THAYER: Good afternoon, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: On the same thing, I assume.
24 MR. THAYER: Indeed. I'm not sure if the Chamber is aware since
25 it was just filed yesterday, but we have filed a response in which we do
1 not oppose this testimony being submitted via 92 bis, just as a time
2 saving measure. I just wanted to make sure that it had reached the
3 Chamber in case it has any influence on your deliberations.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: And what's your remark on that, your comment on
5 what Mr. Thayer has just said and also their response.
6 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, I know about it, about the response of the
7 Prosecution. I'd just like to add that Professor Stojakovic met with
8 considerable problems with disclosure by the Prosecution. It was some of
9 [indiscernible] were disclosed in last perhaps month or so because it was
10 it was done in hard copies, not in electronic form, and it requires more
11 time than if it was done in electronic form. So I'd just like to let the
12 Trial Chamber know about his problem.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: At the same time, I think you all ought to be aware
14 that have a dead-line for the filing of the final briefs which is not
15 going to be moved. Anyway, Mr. Zivanovic, please do your level best to
16 come back to us by not later than the end of this week with a definitive
17 indication of Mr. Stojkovic's availability.
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I will do, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: And also decide in your mind whether you would be
20 prepared to tender his fresh or additional evidence, expert evidence,
21 through a written statement. Prosecution itself are saying Rule 92 bis
22 would be fine with them.
23 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, I will do, Your Honours, thank you.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: And perhaps you could consider also doing the same
25 thing with Professor Dunjic.
1 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I will do. Thank you.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Anyway, we haven't finished on this
3 issue. It's an unfinished symphony, we'll come back to you after we've
4 got further news from you. All right. Thank you.
5 Mr. Nikolic, good afternoon to you, and my apologies to you for
6 keeping you waiting there, listening to things that are of no -- to
7 matters that are of no concern to you. You are still testifying pursuant
8 to your solemn declaration of yesterday. Mr. Thayer, he is in your
10 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President, good afternoon to you and
11 Your Honours.
12 WITNESS: MOMIR NIKOLIC [Resumed]
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 Cross-examination by Mr. Thayer: [Continued]
15 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Nikolic.
16 A. Good afternoon, Mr. Prosecutor.
17 Q. Sir, I have about half an hour of my allotted time left today, so
18 what I'm going to do to try and save a little bit of time is for the most
19 part turn your attention directly to your prior statements and testimony
20 and just see whether your recollection has changed at all or whether you
21 stand by that prior testimony. Okay?
22 A. Okay. And that is fine.
23 Q. We left off yesterday discussing the efforts that were undertaken
24 by the Bratunac Brigade to make life intolerable for the Muslim
25 inhabitants of the enclave, and you spoke a little bit about the
1 treatment of the convoys by the brigade. And I just want to turn your
2 attention directly to something you said in the Blagojevic trial about
3 something about the convoys and see whether you stand by that testimony.
4 This is at the transcript page 1634 to -35. You said then:
5 "As concerns the convoys, mostly during that period of time
6 immediately before the attack on Srebrenica, convoys for the Dutch and
7 for Muslim civilians were prevented from entering. The Bratunac Brigade
8 had no authority to keep convoys out or let them in. All orders that
9 were issued in this respect went from the Main Staff through the Drina
10 Corps command through the Bratunac Brigade trickling down to us
11 eventually. We were the last to receive these orders and we had the task
12 to stop certain convoys to reduce the number of trucks in a convoy, or to
13 make certain requests regarding the humanitarian aid being shipped into
15 Do you stand by that testimony, sir?
16 A. Yes, absolutely.
17 Q. You also testified in the Blagojevic trial and this is at page
18 2202 that, and I quote:
19 "I did know parts of the 10th Sabotage Reconnaissance Detachment
20 because they had been engaged in Bratunac over the previous few months."
21 I want to ask you: First, do you confirm that testimony?
22 A. Yes, I do. I knew members of the 10th Sabotage Reconnaissance
23 Detachment personally, those of them who were engaged for a period of
24 time on the implementation of a task which covered the area of Bratunac
25 municipality, or to be more precise, the area of responsibility of the
1 Bratunac Brigade.
2 Q. And were you aware of any incursions into the enclave by the 10th
3 Sabotage Detachment or elements of the Bratunac Brigade?
4 A. Yes, I was aware of those incursions. Before operation
5 Srebrenica, there was an incursion into the enclave in which members of
6 the Bratunac Brigade participated alongside members of the 10th Sabotage
7 Reconnaissance Detachment.
8 Q. Do you recall when that was approximately, sir?
9 A. I cannot be precise regarding the period, but more or less
10 perhaps a few months prior to the attack on Srebrenica. The enclave
11 around Srebrenica was declared and then the incursion took place, that
12 may have been a few months before the attack on Srebrenica, although I
13 cannot be precise in terms of dates.
14 Q. And we are talking about 1995, just to be clear?
15 A. Yes, yes.
16 Q. Can you describe this particular incursion briefly, what was it?
17 A. Yes, I can. Some parts of the Bratunac Brigade participated in
18 the incursion alongside the 10th Sabotage Reconnaissance Detachment
19 commanded by Mr. Pelemis. They went in through the old mine tunnel in
20 the Sase area. Those tunnels were used for digging raw material and
21 subsequently abandoned since the exploitation had finished.
22 There was this one particular tunnel or part of the pit takes you
23 from the Sase mines to Srebrenica linking the territory which was under
24 control of the Bratunac Brigade with basically the urban part of
25 Srebrenica from the point of exit. From that point, the centre of town
1 is between 1 and a half and 2 kilometres away. Through that pit or
2 through that tunnel, the forces of the 10th Sabotage Detachment entered
3 as well as parts of the Bratunac Brigade. Most of them were younger men
4 who did not come from a single unit or battalion. They were hand-picked
5 from various battalions since people were needed who were ready to
6 undertake such an action.
7 As they left the tunnel, they carried out an attack on that part
8 of the settlement within the enclave of Srebrenica. I can tell you a lot
9 of details if you wish, and how the operation was justified as well as
10 its final goal, if you are interested, but in brief this is what took
11 place on that date and during that time.
12 Q. Well, just briefly, can you tell us what kind of weapons were
13 used and whether any civilians were injured or killed?
14 A. Yes. Mostly automatic rifles were used, as well as Zolja
15 hand-held launchers. I don't know whether Osas were used which are also
16 rocket-launchers. I do know, however, that Zoljas were used. Then I
17 mentioned the automatic rifles.
18 According to the reports of the members of DutchBat, after that
19 attack on that part of the settlement, there were civilians killed. I
20 don't remember what the exact figure was. If my memory serves me
21 correctly, I believe between four and seven civilians were reported
22 killed. In any case, there were civilians killed during that attack.
23 Q. And I take it from the end of your last answer, you received
24 complaints from DutchBat, or you heard about complaints from DutchBat
25 about this attack on the civilians?
1 A. At the very beginning, they did not know who it was that carried
2 out the attack. For a while, people were of the opinion that there was a
3 clash between two factions inside Srebrenica itself, opposing factions.
4 That is to say, those who were around the then commander Naser Oric, and
5 another faction assembled around the chief of MUP. I think his name was
6 Hamed, although I cannot recall his last name off the cuff. Prior to the
7 war, he was head of the public security station. That was the prevailing
8 opinion at that time as to what the reason of the clash was as well as
9 concerning its participants.
10 Later on, well, things became clearer and certain things
11 verified. The conclusion was that this was not an inter-factional
12 conflict, but simply because those people at that time were not in
13 Srebrenica. They came by information that it was done by members of the
14 Serb army. Of course, never did anyone in any negotiations acknowledge
15 that it was an attack carried out by the Serb -- by Serb forces which had
16 come from the area of responsibility of the Bratunac Brigade.
17 Q. Now, I want to take you to the 11th of July, sir, and some
18 testimony again in Blagojevic. Do you recall testifying that in the
19 afternoon of 11 July that the civilians who were on the move from
20 Srebrenica to Potocari were targeted by the 2nd Battalion which had a
21 76-millimetre gun? Do you recall testifying about that, and this is at
22 transcript 1639 to 40?
23 A. Yes, I do recall that, and it is true, I stand by it. It was
24 from the positions of the 2nd Infantry Battalion which was in immediate
25 contact with the area of Potocari, since you can see Potocari from their
1 positions. It was from that position that the civilians were targeted
2 from a B1 cannon.
3 I just wanted to add another thing. People thought at the time
4 that these were members of the army, that they were moving towards
5 Bratunac. It was used as an excuse. I spoke to those people asking them
6 why they were targeting such a mass of people, and they told me that they
7 had thought that it represented movement on part of the Muslim forces.
8 Later on in our conversations with members of DutchBat, as well
9 as military monitors, I learned that those were civilians that were
10 targeted from that position. The civilians that were injured, wounded
11 during the attack were evacuated and given medical assistance by members
12 of DutchBat. It was their soldiers who transferred them and assisted
13 them medically in the UNPROFOR base in Potocari.
14 Q. And we've heard testimony in this trial that from that location
15 at the 2nd Battalion and from other location of the Bratunac Brigade,
16 that you could see extremely clearly down along that lane that those
17 civilians were following and that you could distinguish between somebody
18 that was armed and somebody that was not armed. Can you confirm that or
19 are you not in a position to confirm that?
20 A. It is my opinion that one could have distinguished between a
21 large number of people from that position. In my view, one could clearly
22 see whether those people were armed and one could see that as a matter of
23 fact it was a mass of civilians moving along the street in groups. There
24 were hundreds of people. It was no combat disposition. Therefore, my
25 answer would be yes, you could tell that it was no military formation
1 with arms.
2 Q. Sir, I want to turn your attention now to the 13th of July, and
3 your travels along the Bratunac-Konjevic Polje road and back and forth
4 and back and forth that day. You told us in your recorded 2003 OTP
5 interview that the MUP forces were the main people along the road that
6 day; do you recall that?
7 That's at page 119 of that interview, for my friends.
8 A. Yes, I do recall that.
9 Q. You also testified in the state court not to long ago, that is in
10 the Kravica warehouse trial, that during your travels along the road, you
11 didn't think there were any VRS forces deployed, certainly no units from
12 the Bratunac Brigade; do you remember that testimony?
13 That's at page 21 of that transcript.
14 A. Yes, I do.
15 Q. And do you recall testifying at page 50 of the transcript that in
16 Sandici you saw only members of the police, but you allowed for the
17 possibility that there were some soldiers there as well? Do you recall
18 that testimony?
19 A. Yes, I do.
20 Q. And do you recall testifying, and I'll quote, and this is at page
22 "As far as I know, the police forces at that time on that road
23 were under the command, were under the control, so were under the command
24 of Ljubisa Borovcanin. Ljubisa Borovcanin was the commander of the
25 forces engaged at the road, Bratunac-Konjevic Polje, the police forces
2 A. Yes, I remember having said that and I abide by it.
3 Q. Now, sir, with respect to Kravica, I want to touch on an issue
4 which I'm sure is no surprise to just about anyone in here, and that's
5 your decision prior to your guilty plea to take responsibility for
6 ordering the Kravica warehouse execution, and then your immediate
7 retraction of that statement. And I just want to show one document in
8 connection with that and ask you some questions about it, okay.
9 MR. THAYER: If we could have 65 ter 4485, please, on the screen.
10 Q. And you'll see a document shortly. And we should have the
11 translation in your own language, sir, as well.
12 Sir, I would just ask you to read this, take your time, I'm not
13 going to read it into the record. I would just ask you to take your time
14 and read it, and after you've had a chance to read it, I would just ask
15 you whether you stand by this signed declaration from the 6th of May,
17 A. Yes, I'm familiar with the contents of the statement. Go ahead
18 if you have any questions.
19 Q. My only question, sir, was do you stand by that declaration that
20 you made?
21 A. Yes, I do. I do.
22 MR. THAYER: Thank you, we are done with that document.
23 Q. Sir, in your statement of facts, you refer to a meeting which was
24 convened by Generals Miletic and Andric. And this was prior to the 1999
25 interviews that the OTP was conducting with, among others, or that had
1 scheduled with, among others, yourself. I just want to ask you about
2 your Blagojevic testimony in that regard and see whether you stand by
4 With respect to that meeting, you said, and I quote:
5 "How I felt personally, I think it was partly pressure, but let
6 me be quite specific here, this was not direct in any way or emphasised
7 in any way, but in view of the way in which this was spoken about,
8 patriotism was mentioned that as little should be stated to the
9 investigators as possible and all the rest of it. So I think this was a
10 form of coercion or pressure on us. Those of us who were to appear
11 before the investigators of The Hague Tribunal in December 1999."
12 And that was at page 2299 of the transcript in Blagojevic. Do
13 you stand by your testimony, sir?
14 A. Yes. I would like to say one more thing. I absolutely stand by
15 everything I said in that testimony, and I believe it to be true.
16 Anything that took place before the departure to Banja Luka in 1999 and
17 appearing as witness since at that time I was not a suspect, I was
18 summoned as a witness, everything that was taking place around me and the
19 people who were summoned at the same time, I am absolutely certain that
20 there was no good intention behind the whole thing at any point in time.
21 I was never assisted by any means in that regard. Everything
22 that took place around the case and the testimony, all those meetings, in
23 my view, looking from this position, were ill-meant and they did not
24 bring any good for me.
25 If I had another opportunity to appear as a witness and if I had
1 the chance to tell what I truly knew, I probably would never have been
2 detained and prosecuted. In any case, I did what I did, behaved in that
3 particular manner, and I met my fate. I'm here now.
4 In any case, I stand by what I said about the meetings, the
5 persuasions, the moral lectures concerning patriotism and so on and so
6 forth, and I'm open to speak about it to any extent you may desire.
7 Q. Well, whatever my desires I only have about 10 minutes left,
8 Mr. Nikolic, so I have to move on.
9 I want to take to you Potocari again and read back some of your
10 testimony in Blagojevic. And this is at the transcript page 2206. You
11 were speaking about the MUP forces that you saw there and I quote:
12 "I just knew that they belonged to a special MUP brigade, and I
13 knew under whose direct command they were. I know that the direct
14 commanding officer of those units was Ljubisa Borovcanin. He was in
15 charge of them. And I knew that the units that were in Potocari under,"
16 and here I'm quoting from the transcript, and I think everyone can agree
17 that this is a mistranslation, it says "... and I knew that the units
18 that were in Potocari under Jelic's command," and I think we can all
19 agree that that should be under Jevic's command, "... belonged to the
20 unit under the command of Ljubisa Borovcanin. What I knew and according
21 to what he himself said, I think he had the rank of a police colonel. I
22 may be wrong but I think he represented himself as a colonel."
23 Do you stand by that testimony, sir.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Gosnell.
25 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, I think in all fairness, both the
1 question preceding that last sentence and there is a sentence after the
2 last sentence that my friend read, in other words, he is leaving out
3 certain words that I think in all fairness ought to be put to the witness
4 especially because he doesn't have it on the screen.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Mr. Thayer.
6 MR. THAYER: Sure, Mr. President. The question was --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead, read the remaining part.
8 MR. THAYER: I'll read the question since my friends had a
9 problem with it.
10 "Q. Okay. And I take it you are not familiar with the
11 structure back then as well on that particular day. If you are not
12 today, it stands to reason that you wouldn't be back then right?"
13 And then his answer is:
14 "It stands to reason that one conclude that I just knew they
15 belonged to a special MUP brigade, and I knew under whose direct command
16 they were." And then what follows is the portion I just read to the
18 And --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you happy, Mr. Gosnell, or is there any other
20 particular part that you meant that Mr. Thayer hasn't understood?
21 MR. GOSNELL: That actually wasn't what I was referring to.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Exactly, that's what I think because you said
23 following --
24 MR. GOSNELL: I was referring to line 10.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, okay.
1 MR. GOSNELL: The question at line 10, and then the remainder of
2 the witness's answer at lines 13 to 14.
3 MR. THAYER: The question is:
4 "Q. Okay what rank was Mr. Borovcanin if you can recall?
5 The answer is:
6 "A. What I read out, what I knew, and according to what he
7 himself said, I think he had the rank of a police colonel. I may be
8 wrong, but I think that he represented himself as a colonel. Whether
9 there is true or not, I don't know."
10 And then Mr. McCloskey asks a question -- or, actually it's
11 Mr. Karnavas on cross, this is happening on cross.
12 "Q. So just so I can be sure about this, and perhaps others
13 may be interested as well, at that particular time you, Momir Nikolic, or
14 Captain Nikolic, chief of intelligence and security, was not sure whether
15 Mr. Borovcanin was indeed a colonel in the MUP, is that your testimony
17 "A. Mr. Karnavas, I said what I thought. I think that at
18 the time he was a colonel. Now, whether he was a colonel, a lieutenant
19 colonel, I don't know.
20 "Q. Okay.
21 "A. And that is my answer."
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's proceed now. Your question to Mr. Nikolic,
24 MR. THAYER:
25 Q. My question, Mr. President, was simply does he confirm that
1 testimony? Does he stand by it?
2 A. Yes, I do.
3 Q. Now, when you met Mr. Borovcanin on the 11th of July and he was
4 directing the tank fire at those targets that you told us you learned
5 were not military targets or that there was no military activity at the
6 time in that area, whose tank was that? Was that a MUP tank or was that
7 an army tank --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Gosnell.
9 MR. THAYER: -- that was firing.
10 MR. GOSNELL: I think that the question ought to be corrected in
11 the sense that the witness clearly said yesterday that those were
12 military targets. And now my learned friend is saying something quite
13 different and that's not what the witness said yesterday.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go back to the particular part of the
15 transcript and see what he said yesterday. I don't have it in front of
16 me immediately.
17 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I can dig it up. I think we know
18 what we are talking about it. I am simply asking whose tank was it that
19 was firing. There was testimony that the accused Borovcanin asked
20 Mr. Nikolic for targets, and those tanks fired at those targets. My
21 simple question is were they MUP tanks or were they army tanks. That's
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I think you can answer this question, Mr. Nikolic.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours, but I would like
25 to be perfectly clear. Yesterday, I said that from the area of the
1 Yellow Bridge
2 right and to the left of the Bratunac-Potocari road. I also said that on
3 the right-hand side and the left-hand side in Likari and Budak were
4 military targets, such as fortifications where previously members of the
5 Muslims forces from Srebrenica had been deployed.
6 On the Yellow Bridge
7 tank, there was no battery of tanks or unit. There was only one T-55
8 tank. In order to avoid any misunderstanding, I also said that at the
9 time when Mr. Borovcanin was firing, and that is on the 11th, and in that
10 period, in these fortifications on both sides of the road as far as I
11 know, there were no longer any Muslim forces, meaning in all these
12 trenches and shelters and fortifications.
13 Mr. Borovcanin did fire, but the targets engaged by
14 Mr. Borovcanin were given to him by me, the coordinates were given to by
15 me because I was an intelligence officer and I knew how these facilities
16 were deployed. That is what I said yesterday and I stand by it.
17 However, to whom this tank belonged, I cannot at this moment
18 confirm. If you are asking me to think logically, then I would say that
19 the tank belonged to Mr. Borovcanin's unit, but however, whose possession
20 it actually was, I don't know.
21 MR. THAYER:
22 Q. Now, sir, you also testified in Blagojevic, and this is at page
23 1691 of the transcript, that units taking part in the physical separation
24 of the men from their families including on the 12th both the police
25 units, the unit with German shepherds, police units from the Drina Corps
1 also took part, elements of the 10th Sabotage Detachment also took part,
2 soldiers from the 65th Protection Regiment, as well as elements of the
3 Bratunac police. Do you recall that testimony, sir?
4 A. Yes, I do recall.
5 Q. And you referred to a police unit with dogs, what unit was that?
6 Do you have any recollection?
7 A. Yes, I remember that unit. What I knew then and what I knew now,
8 the commander of that unit was Mr. Maletic who represented himself as
9 colonel. That unit belonged to the MUP, and what I would like to say is
10 the following: Within the chain of command and the system of
11 resubordination, I can say that I'm not familiar with this chain of
12 command and I don't know how this unit operated within this chain of
13 command. I only know that it was part of the MUP. I personally saw it
14 in Potocari on the 12th when I was there.
15 Q. You also testified that you recall a United Nations military
16 observer by the name of Kingori, he was from Kenya, making a request for
17 water in Potocari for the civilians that were gathered there. I just
18 want to ask, do you remember whether that was on the 12th or on the 13th,
20 A. I think that it was on the 13th. If I had said otherwise before,
21 then it was my mistake. I believe that the majority of the requests,
22 including that one, referred to the 12th because on the 13th, I spent
23 only a short time in Potocari. After I left on the 13th, I didn't go
24 back again that same day. And I can say for sure that this was on the
25 12th. And this is about Mr. Kingori whom I am acquainted with because on
1 numerous occasions, we had an opportunity to negotiate on the Yellow
2 Bridge, he as a representative military observer and I as a liaison
4 Q. Okay. We may have a translation or transcript error. Whatever
5 the date was doesn't really particularly matter, I just want to know, do
6 you remember whether it was the 12th or the 13th, because your answer
7 seems to reflect both. So do you recall whether it was the 12th or the
8 13th. Whatever it was, just give us your best recollection.
9 A. To the best of my recollection I think it was on the 12th after
10 all. I really don't know. But I think it was the 12th. That is my
11 final answer.
12 Q. Okay. Do you recall organising a dinner in late June at which
13 Colonel Vukotic was present, and by organising, I don't mean that you
14 were actually hosting it, but do you remember informing Colonel Kingori
15 about a dinner at which Colonel Kingori was invited, Vukotic, and other
16 VRS others were present? If you don't recall, that's fine, if you do
17 just let us know what you remember about it?
18 A. I do remember but there were more than one such dinners. On the
19 12th I know that something actually became a practice, regular practice.
20 When the companies of the Dutch Battalion were rotating, they would
21 organise a dinner at the Fontana
22 dinner and the replacement of the companies that were set up in June. Of
23 course, Colonel Vukota Vukovic was present there, whether Mr. Sargic from
24 the military brigade was there, I don't know, I was there and I can't
25 remember anyone else. Yes, I do remember.
1 Q. Well, do you remember a particular dinner, whether it was that
2 one or any others, where Colonel Vukovic spoke about the need for moving
3 the Muslims out of the enclave?
4 A. I'm not sure that Colonel Vukovic spoke about this publicly.
5 What I do remember though is what -- that Colonel Vukota Vukovic used to
6 say all the time and that is that the Muslims who wished to leave the
7 enclave in organised manners, I was not present and I didn't pay any
8 attention to his conversations. I don't remember any such conversations
9 between Vukovic and other persons, but I wouldn't discount it.
10 Q. I want to just read back to you your testimony in Blagojevic
11 about what you saw in Potocari on the two days when the separations were
12 taking place, and see whether you stand by that testimony.
13 You said, and this is at page 1697 of the transcript:
14 "At the very spot where the separation was taking place of the
15 men from their families, I saw innumerable cases of abuse and
16 mistreatment of the men being separated. After the separation, which was
17 done in a rough and inappropriate way, personal belongings were seized
18 and thrown into a pile which was formed on the way to the white house
19 where they were taken. Then there was physical abuse and beating of
20 those men with hands and feet. Then there was verbal abuse, that is,
21 they were called balijas and Turks, and Ustashas and the like. Then
22 those who passed through this point were turned back from the buses they
23 had reached and separated and told to go back to the place where the
24 already separated men were temporarily detained."
25 Do you stand by that testimony, sir?
1 A. Yes, I remember giving that testimony.
2 Q. And you stand by that testimony, sir?
3 A. Yes, I do.
4 Q. Do you remember testifying that your failure to prevent that
5 mistreatment and abuse contributed to abuse continuing throughout the
6 period of evacuation? Do you remember testifying about that at page 1697
7 to -98?
8 A. Yes, I remember. But I would like to explain this further, and
9 before this bench I would like to say what really the truth was. Yes,
10 this is what I said and I still stand by it, that I did not respond to
11 what I had seen, but I would also like to say that I was not an officer
12 who had any instruments at his disposal such as instruments or power to
13 prevent everything that was going on. Of course, I admitted and accepted
14 responsibility for that both then and now.
15 As an officer, as a human being, I didn't react, but I should
16 have done so. So regardless of the consequences, I still maintain that I
17 should have stood up against this kind of conduct and this maltreatment.
18 I didn't do did and I think I'm responsible for that. However, I think
19 that I was neither authorised nor did I have any power or force at my
20 disposal, nor were those units under my command to allow me to prevent
21 the commission of all these crimes and everything that I witnessed.
22 Q. And when you refer to the units under your command, you are
23 referring to the military police brigade members that were present in
24 Bratunac; is that correct, sir? Because you controlled them through your
25 professional guidance, your expert professional line guidance in that
2 A. The only unit that I could have ordered or prevented from doing
3 something was the unit of the military police of the Bratunac Brigade
4 that was engaged together in the area where Dusko Jevic operated. Of
5 course, members of the 2nd infantry battalion, that is, members of my
6 brigade, the 2nd Battalion and elements of the 3rd battalion that
7 happened to be there, were also the ones that I could have prevented and
8 that was my duty from doing any abuse or crimes.
9 There were some incidents between members of the Bratunac Brigade
10 and the members of the DutchBat. Members of the Bratunac Brigade seized
11 the weapons and equipment from members of the Dutch Battalion. This
12 report reached me, and I eventually prevented it. But I could have done
13 that because those were my men and I had instruments in my hand to
14 prevent it directly because that was -- concerned members of the Bratunac
16 So the truth is that the men who somehow managed to pass the
17 separation -- across the separation line were sent back by the police and
18 by the Bratunac Brigade military police were sent back to join those who
19 had had been separated.
20 MR. THAYER:
21 Q. Sir, I have one last area to review with you with the court's
22 indulgence, and then I'll be concluded with my cross-examination.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
24 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. And I think I'm going to
25 be touching on an area that will probably be the subject of some other
1 cross, so I may actually save some time with any luck.
2 Q. Sir, you've testified previously about a meeting of the Kravija
3 95 combat group commanders which took place in the Bratunac brigade
4 command, and this was a meeting in which you did not take part but the
5 substance of which you learned after the fact. I just want to first read
6 back to you what you said in an interview in 2003 about your recollection
7 of that meeting, and then what you said in the Blagojevic trial about
8 your recollection of the dates or the date of that meeting.
9 In 2003, and this is page 28 of your interview, Mr. McCloskey
10 asks you a question:
11 "We left off yesterday with filling in some details about the
12 Hotel Fontana meetings, and if you could just briefly outline for us what
13 you did after the first meeting at the Hotel Fontana ended?"
14 And then Mr. McCloskey follows up with another question:
15 "Okay. And did you see any commanders or officers at the
16 Bratunac command when you went there that evening? "
17 Your answer was:
18 "Yes, I saw a group of officers who came to the brigade command
19 and according to the information, according to the information I learned
20 later, the group of officers, that group of officers was a group of
21 commanders of the combat group which participated in the operation."
22 Mr. McCloskey asked you:
23 "Are you sure you saw those commanders there that night of the
24 11th and not the next night, the night of the 12th? "
25 And your answer was:
1 "As far as I can remember that was on the 11th in the evening."
2 The question was put to you:
3 "Do you remember the names of any those officers?"
4 And you named them: Vinko Pandurevic, Colonel Andric, Major
5 Jolovic, General Mladic, General Krstic, Colonel Trivic. You said that
6 you don't recall any MUP officers.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment for the transcript misses at least 50
8 per cent of these names.
9 MR. THAYER: I'll state them again, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, please, if you could. Thank you.
11 Q. Vinko Pandurevic, Colonel Andric, Major Jolovic, General Mladic,
12 General Krstic, and Colonel Trivic.
13 Mr. McCloskey asks:
14 "Do you know, was there any organised meeting or anything there
15 that you were aware of?"
16 And you answered:
17 "Before they showed up there, I didn't know of any meeting.
18 Later on I learned that there was a meeting to be held at the command of
19 the Bratunac Brigade that evening.
20 Mr. McCloskey asked you: "Okay. When did you learn about the
21 meeting that happened at the Bratunac Brigade command on the evening of
22 the 11th?"
23 And your answer was:
24 "Well, I learned right after they arrived. Once they were
25 already there, then I knew that they were getting ready for the meeting,
1 but before they came there I didn't know there was going to be any
2 meeting but once they arrived I knew they were going for a meeting."
3 The question was:
4 "Were you part of that meeting?
5 And you answered:
7 Now, you were asked if you learned what was discussed at the
8 meeting, and you answered at page 31, you answered that you learned that
9 the new task was to go to Zepa, and that you heard that Commander
10 Pandurevic complained about Mladic's new task to go to Zepa.
11 My first question is, do you recall those questions and answers
12 from your 2003 interview, sir?
13 A. Yes, I do.
14 Q. Okay. Now, when you testified in Blagojevic, you were asked the
15 question, this is at page 1647:
16 "Q. Were you aware of any meeting or meetings that occurred
17 between superior officers at the Bratunac Brigade headquarters in the
18 evening hours after you returned?"
19 And your answer was:
20 "When I returned to the brigade command, all I knew was that a
21 meeting was supposed to be held in the Fontana hotel in the evening."
22 And the question was put to you:
23 "All right. Well, I will get to that meeting, but were you aware
24 of any meetings of VRS officers at the Bratunac Brigade headquarters on
25 the evening of the 11th or the evening of the 12th?"
1 And your answer was:
2 "I'm in a little -- I'm in a slight dilemma. I know that one of
3 the meetings was held in the evening. I'm not sure whether it was on the
4 11th or on the 12th, and I can't answer your question precisely."
5 Mr. McCloskey asks you another question:
6 "All right. But tell us what you can remember, how do you know
7 there was a meeting?"
8 And your answer was:
9 "I don't know whether it was on the 11th or 12th, but I know that
10 a meeting was held on the Bratunac Brigade command in the evening and it
11 was attend by commanders of those combat groups together with Chief of
12 Staff general Krstic who was in charge of the operations, and I know that
13 that meeting was held in the office of Commander Blagojevic, but I really
14 don't know whether it was on the 11th or on the 12th, I'm not sure."
15 And then you testify at page 1649 that this meeting that you
16 can't remember was on the 11th or 112th was a meeting where going to Zepa
17 was discussed, Colonel Pandurevic objecting to it, and that's what you
18 remember about that meeting, and in addition that there was some kind of
19 disagreement between General Krstic and Colonel Blagojevic about the
20 Bratunac Brigade forces during the Kravija 95 operation. Do you recall
21 that testimony, sir?
22 A. Yes, I do.
23 Q. And I just want to run by you a couple of other portions of your
24 testimony in Blagojevic. At page 2121, you testified that:
25 "After such a long period of time, I really am unable to mention
1 all the meetings and everything I saw in the Bratunac Brigade because
2 from the moment the Main Staff officers arrived, there were so many of
3 them that it is very difficult to put them in chronological order."
4 Do you remember that testimony, sir?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And do you remember being questioned by His Honour Judge Liu at
7 page 2383, and he asked you:
8 "Well, another set of question is about those meetings. I think
9 I got a little bit confused with all those meetings, as you said, during
10 the questions by the Judges. You could not remember exactly on which day
11 what kind of meeting was held but please do your best, give us a rough
12 idea on a day-by-day base what kind of meeting was held. Let's begin
13 from 11th of July. So far as you remember, was there any meeting on that
15 And your answer was:
16 "Your Honour, in my testimony so far I have said that I have a
17 dilemma regarding the meeting that was held at the command of the
18 Bratunac Brigade which was attended by the commanders of the assault
19 groups, or the combat groups or the commanders of these groups. That is
20 to say, that I'm not sure whether this meeting was held on the 11th or
21 the 12th.
22 Do you recall that testimony, sir, in Blagojevic?
23 A. Yes, I do.
24 Q. My question to you, sir, is has your recollection as to which day
25 this meeting occurred gotten any better or is it a fair reading of your
1 testimony and your recollection that you still don't know whether this
2 meeting of the combat group commanders at the Bratunac Brigade command
3 happened on the 11th or on the 12th?
4 A. I wouldn't like to make any further statements because between
5 then and now I didn't have any new or different information, so what I
6 said then, I still stand by it because, quite simply, I didn't go into
7 this issue after the trial, nor do I have any other means that would help
8 me deduce that these meetings happened on different dates. So this is
9 what I know, and this is to the best of my recollection, and I stand by
10 it. I will really not like to change anything.
11 Of course, I allow for the possibility that I'm wrong, and that I
12 simply got the date wrong, that I forgot it, because there was so many
13 meetings of that kind, there was so much coming and going at the brigade
14 command, so whether this happened on the evening of the 11th or the 12th,
15 I honestly cannot say precisely, and that's what I'm sure about.
16 What I said is still my answer and I -- I'm still in two mind
17 about this. I really wouldn't like to guess and to eventually change my
19 Q. All right, sir. I have no questions.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Thayer.
21 Mr. Zivanovic.
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honours. I would ask the Trial
23 Chamber to permit me to increase my cross-examination time beyond
24 significance and importance of the evidence of this witness and the
25 relevance of his testimony. In my estimate, I would require four hours
1 for his cross-examination, and in addition, I'd like also to indicate
2 that I was not able to review the material, handwritten material,
3 provided by the witness yesterday, so I might ask additional
4 cross-examination after that.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Had you reviewed it, you would have cut down on
6 your cross-examination time.
7 Mr. Ostojic, how much time do you reckon you will need?
8 MR. OSTOJIC: Mr. President, I endorse the request of my learned
9 friend, and I would ask at least three hours. I was able to review some
10 of the materials with Mr. Nikolic, Predrag Nikolic, my co-counsel, of the
11 personal notes that were brought. I do have some questions on one
12 specific one. I also ask the court that the witness bring those original
13 notes back in the courtroom, at least when I begin, because I do have one
14 particular area from those notes that I'll require.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: They probably are in his possession already.
16 Ms. Nikolic?
17 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, at this point in
18 time, I am of the opinion that I will need 2 and a half hours given the
19 material disclosed yesterday.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam.
21 Mr. Gosnell?
22 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, of course to some extents it depends
23 on the questioning and in front of us, I would estimate realistically 3
24 to 4 hours could be very effectively used.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
1 Ms. Fauveau?
2 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] About one hour, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
4 Mr. Josse?
5 MR. JOSSE: Your Honours, we estimate about 15 minutes. One five
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
8 Mr. Haynes.
9 MR. HAYNES: Really too early to say, but I would have thought I
10 would have been able to keep to your order, but it depends what I see in
11 the next day or so, I think.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Zivanovic.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, apart from those of you who require either
15 the 2 hours already allowed or even less, the rest please do your utmost
16 to stick by to not more than three hours.
17 Mr. Zivanovic.
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you.
19 Cross-examination by Mr. Zivanovic:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Nikolic. My name is Zoran
21 Zivanovic. In this case I am counsel for Vujadin Popovic.
22 A. Good afternoon.
23 Q. Mr. Nikolic, the Tribunal ordered that you state clearly which
24 parts of your plea agreement you deny and you did so accordingly. I have
25 a few questions primarily concerning your statement, the statement you
1 forwarded five days ago following the Chamber's request. In e-court, it
2 is number 4483, Prosecution exhibit.
3 In the first paragraph of the statement, I believe it is page 2,
4 you say that the intention of the VRS, in brackets, the initial original
5 intention was to separate physically two enclaves, the one in Zepa and
6 the one in Srebrenica, as wall as to open up communication between Zeleni
7 Jadar and Milici, and in the second stage to reduce the enclave of
8 Srebrenica to its urban area. That is what was contained in that
9 statement. My question is this: How do you know that these were the
10 intentions of the VRS.
11 A. First of all, I know that from my conversation with General
12 Zivanovic. Prior to the attack on Srebrenica, he visited the Bratunac
13 Brigade and he spoke then about what the task was, he referred to the
14 attack on Srebrenica and the attack on the whole territory. Inter alia,
15 he said that the main task or goal of the attack on Srebrenica enclave
16 was to, in the first stage, separate the two enclaves of Srebrenica and
17 Zepa, physically separate them. And in the part where the two of them
18 are separated, to open up communication between Zeleni Jadar and Milici.
19 Then he said that once that is completed, the next thing that needs to be
20 done is to reduce the Srebrenica enclave to its urban area. That is what
21 I learned from Mr. Zivanovic. And that is my response.
22 Q. Thank you. In other words, you knew that before the attack on
23 the enclave, before Krivaja 95?
24 A. Yes, I did.
25 Q. Did you tell that to the Prosecutor when you discussed your plea
2 A. I think I told them a lot. Among other things, I said what I
3 knew and what I understood to be the intentions of the VRS.
4 Q. Do you know for what reason we don't find that in your statement
5 of facts?
6 A. I can only comment on the corrections or changes I made and what
7 is contained in item 1. In my view, of course I'm no expert in that
8 area, but what I can deduce is that in essence, there is no significant
9 difference or any at all between what is contained in item 1 in the
10 previous statement and the statement with the corrections. It has to do
11 with me trying to be precise, to state exactly what the initial task or
12 intention was, and the subsequent one was, and what actually took place.
13 That was the reason why I tried to be as precise as possible concerning
14 VRS intentions. I don't know whether I succeeded, but that was my goal.
15 I still believe that there are no significant differences between
16 the previous statement and the changed statement. The goal is more or
17 less the same.
18 Q. Let us look at the previous statement, that is to say the plea
19 agreement which is 4483, Prosecution exhibit, I believe.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 4489.
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I believe it is page 2.
22 Q. Statement of facts in item 1, paragraph 2 it says: Intention of
23 the VRS during the attack on the Srebrenica enclave and its taking over
24 by forces of the Republika Srpska in July 1995, was to cause the forcible
25 removal of the entire Muslim population from Srebrenica to Muslim-held
2 What I questioned you about a moment ago, do you believe it to be
3 the same as is contained in this document?
4 A. What we can find in the previous statement and the subsequent
5 statement is something I believe to be the same, the same goal and the
6 same results of the attack on the Srebrenica enclave. You can interpret
7 it any which way you want, but the goal of the VRS forces was to have the
8 Srebrenica enclave empty of Muslims. Whether it was achieved this way or
9 that, does not matter. The enclave of Srebrenica became empty of any
10 Muslims, and that was the final goal. No one can deny that.
11 What I was trying to make clear to everyone to make it clear for
12 the Bench and everyone else, was to explain the flow of the operation,
13 the way it developed. I tried to explain in which way the attack took
14 place and how it came about that people began leaving Srebrenica and
15 forcibly transferred to the Muslim-controlled territory. That was my
16 goal and you should see that as my answer. The goal is the same. The
17 final goal was to have the enclave empty and all documents, if you look
18 at them, starting with the director from the Main Staff and the
19 information of Commander Ognjenovic points to the fact that this was the
20 goal of the attack on the enclave.
21 Q. Thank you. I did not ask you about the goal but rather about
22 intentions. You talked about the intentions. We know what the
23 consequences were. In any case, if you believe this clears things up
24 sufficiently, I will not insist any further.
25 A. Sir, I apologise, I apologise, I am here for as long as you want
1 to question me and to the best of my ability, I will answer each and
2 every one of your questions. Therefore, do not spare me. Put your
3 questions and I will respond to the limit of my ability. I am ready to
4 explain any of your questions even if they are uncomfortable and not to
5 my favour. I am here at your disposal.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Not in my favour.
7 MR. ZIVANOVIC:
8 Q. [Interpretation] Thank you. In your written statement you state
9 that the forcible transfer of the entire Muslim population from
10 Srebrenica resulted from the fall of the enclave and certain subsequent
11 decisions. Do you stand by it?
12 A. I do, of course.
13 Q. Did you also convey that to the Prosecutor when you spoke to
15 A. Well, don't hold me to my word, but I wanted to say this, we
16 spoke extensively on all aspects that had to do with operation
17 Srebrenica. I cannot tell you with absolute certainty what it was that
18 we discussed in totality since it's been quite a long time since my
19 proceedings were completed.
20 In any case, we discussed all of the aspects. We recorded and
21 put in writing what the two parties had agreed on.
22 Q. Mr. Nikolic, it is my impression, after reading all of the
23 statements you gave to The Hague Tribunal, as well as your statements and
24 testimonies made before the Bosnia-Herzegovina court, that at some point
25 in time you had a very strong desire to conclude a plea agreement. Am I
2 A. Without the will on my part, of course, there would be no plea
4 Q. It was also my impression that at a certain point in time you
5 became doubtful as to whether this plea agreement would come about?
6 A. You are right.
7 Q. We will touch upon that a bit later. I would like to ask you now
8 whether introducing the intentions of the VRS the way they are stated in
9 the statement of fact as opposed to what you put in your written
10 statement is the result of your wish to play it up to the Prosecutor's
11 Office in order to successfully conclude your plea agreement?
12 A. I did not understand that very well. Could you please repeat.
13 Q. I quoted item 1 of the plea agreement about the intentions of the
14 VRS prior -- during the attack on the Srebrenica enclave in July 1995
15 stating that the intention was to forcibly transfer all Muslim
16 population. At the same time, we do not find in the plea agreement what
17 you stated in the statement given to the Tribunal that I quoted just a
18 moment ago.
19 A. I do not find that surprising. The reason why it was all written
20 the way it was, perhaps you could put that question to my counsel who
21 worked on the plea agreement. All of the information contained in the
22 agreement was revised or decided upon by my attorneys. In
23 terminological -- in the terminological sense, the -- some things I did
24 not fully agree with, and I was trying to find a way to be more precise
25 in my formulations.
1 In any case, I believe it would be better to put that question to
2 my attorneys, because I took very little part in the formulation and the
3 drafting of the concept of the plea agreement itself.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Break time. We will reconvene at quarter past
5 4.00. Thank you.
6 --- Recess taken at 3.48 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 4.18 p.m.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Zivanovic.
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you.
10 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Nikolic, can we now move to paragraph 2,
11 please, of your statement of facts, which reads that you had made an
12 estimation -- excuse me, which says that there were between 1 and 2.000
13 able-bodied men in Potocari. You repeated that yesterday in your
14 testimony. I have seen that after the interview with you, the OTP
15 compiled a report on the 23rd of June, 2003, in which it was recommended
16 that it should be read as a plea agreement. This is actually the report
17 compiled after your meeting with Mr. McCloskey following your interview
18 on the 28th, 29th and 30th May, and it was in fact compiled by Bruce
19 Bursik, the OTP investigator.
20 Now, let me first ask you, do you remember this report dated the
21 23rd of June? Did you have an opportunity to review it.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
23 MR. THAYER: I apologise for the intervention, Mr. President.
24 Just so there's no confusion on the record, the documents which my friend
25 is referring states that it should be read together with the statement of
1 facts for a comprehensive overview of the interview in its entirety. Not
2 as a plea agreement. I just wanted to clarify that for the record so
3 there's no confusion.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
5 MR. ZIVANOVIC: That's correct.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I see Mr. Zivanovic agreeing to that. Yes, let's
7 proceed. Thank you, Mr. Thayer.
8 MR. ZIVANOVIC:
9 Q. [Interpretation] This is Prosecution Exhibit 4470, what I wanted
10 to ask you was whether you remember this report, did you have an
11 opportunity to read it through at all?
12 A. Yes, I remember that particular document. I had an opportunity
13 to see it, but I never analysed it. The reason why I didn't analyse it
14 was that in my view everything that I acknowledged and said and accepted
15 was the statement that I gave and that was recorded. If I remember
16 correctly, and if what we are talking about, the same document was the
17 working draft, that's what it says on page 1, and I can't comment on this
18 document to put it simply.
19 As to the content of this document, and I also said that to the
20 gentleman from the OTP and about everything contained therein, you will
21 have to ask Mr. Bursik about that because this was his note, so I would
22 like to emphasise once again if we are talking about the same document,
23 it's a working version drafted by Mr. Bursik, and I really don't want to
24 go into that what Mr. Bursik heard, how he understood it, what he wrote
25 down, et cetera. Quite simply, I don't want to comment on the draft made
1 by Mr. Bursik. Everything that you wish to know about this document, I
2 think you should ask Mr. Bursik. I can only comment the statement that I
3 made that was audio recorded and written, and I can stand by it with full
4 responsibility. That's my answer to your question.
5 Q. Did you read it at all or you never read it?
6 A. I did read it just superficially. I never analysed what was
7 written in it, to be honest.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Zivanovic, you both speak the same language,
9 and we were doing fine, but last few minutes you are almost overlapping.
10 Please allow a little pause between question and answer for the
11 interpreters to able to catch up with you. Thank you.
12 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
13 Q. [Interpretation] Can you please take a look at this report just
14 that we verify that we are talking about the same document. It bears the
15 number 4470. Tell me just are you able to recognise it at all?
16 A. Really, I wouldn't like to speculate or guess. I've seen a
17 similar document but that was a long time ago.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer. One moment, Mr. Nikolic.
19 Mr. Thayer.
20 MR. THAYER: Again, Mr. President, I'm sorry to intervene. One
21 thing that may help clarify matters a bit.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: This is an information report.
23 MR. THAYER: Yes, and I've spoken with some of my friends about
24 this. The date of the interview that is indicated on the front page of
25 this document on page 1, as it reads is incorrect. It reads 28, 29, and
1 30 May of 2003. That is incorrect. There is an addendum to this
2 information report in which Mr. Bursik corrected the dates which are
3 April 28th and 29th and May 1st of 2003. Those are the dates on which
4 this interview which is memorialized in this information report occurred.
5 Just so there's no confusion to anybody. Hopefully that will clarify
6 things down the line.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Thayer. Again I notice
8 Mr. Zivanovic seems to agree to that.
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, let's proceed. We interrupted -- or
11 rather I did, I interrupted Mr. Nikolic while he was trying to answer
12 your question.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Please, I know of an official
14 document, the statement and my interview. Truly Mr. Bursik was present
15 there with his team. But I would reiterate this: The only report that I
16 can comment on is my statement. It seems to me that I gave my statement
17 in May, and if this information report concerns that statement, then I
18 can comment upon it.
19 If this document which says on the front page that it's a working
20 version, I cannot comment upon it. And there is one such document among
21 the documents that I saw at the time.
22 So to repeat once again, if this is the statement given to me by
23 Mr. McCloskey which was recorded and which I acknowledged as mine, it's
24 audio recorded, then I can discuss this with you and give you my opinion.
25 As for this document which says this it's a working draft, that is
1 something that I simply didn't own as my document and I never analysed
2 it, and I never bothered to see what's written in it.
3 Q. I don't see that it says anywhere in the document that it's a
4 working draft, but regardless of that, let me ask you about the paragraph
5 which is on page 2, that's the penultimate passage.
6 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we please move to page 2.
7 Q. If you look at the penultimate paragraph, you'll say here that
8 the estimate was that there were between 1.500 and 2.000 men, but
9 actually turned out that there were between 400 and 700 of them. My
10 question is, did you tell Mr. Bursik that eventually turned out that
11 there were between 400 and 700 men? In other words, that the original
12 estimate proved to be wrong?
13 A. I can confirm that. What is contained in paragraph 2 of the
14 statement of facts were estimates made based on the information that I
15 received from subordinate units. Of course, these were purely estimates.
16 The actual situation once we entered Potocari on the 12th and when I saw
17 the men who were separated and detained in the Vuk Karadzic elementary
18 school and other facilities, did not number neither -- did not number
19 either 2.000 or 1.500, but between 400 and 700. So the latter figures
20 are correct.
21 Q. Thank you. Now, if we look again at the statement of facts,
22 there is no mention of the actual numbers at all because as you said
23 here, the actual number of men in Potocari was between 400 and 700 men.
24 The figure still that appears there is between 1.500 and 2.000 men. Now,
25 being aware of that fact why wasn't this fact entered in the statement of
2 A. I can only give you a logical reason for that. In item 2 there
3 is a mention of an estimate, explicitly it says that this was an estimate
4 made before the actual number was established, but if you look at the
5 recorded statement where numbers on the 12th and the 13th were mentioned,
6 according to the estimate, these numbers were about 400 to 600. So the
7 difference between the two is on the one hand we have an estimate made on
8 the 11th because on the evening of the 11th we didn't know how many
9 able-bodied men and other men there were. However, already on the 12th
10 we were able to see exactly how many able-bodied men there were, and I
11 don't think this is a mistake.
12 We made an estimate that in Srebrenica there were five, six,
13 seven, or even eight brigades, but once we established the actual
14 situation, that proved not to be true. We estimated also that there were
15 15.000 armed Muslims, it also turned out to be wrong. So these were all
16 estimates and this is my opinion.
17 Q. Thank you. I wouldn't like to elaborate this issue too much for
18 the purpose of time saving. Do you know why this actual number of men in
19 Potocari was never included into the statement of facts?
20 A. I really don't know. Don't ask me that.
21 Q. I'm going to repeat my question. Could it be that this was left
22 out in order to make the OTP more willing to conclude a plea agreement
23 with you?
24 A. Please, what I want to tell you is let us make things clear
25 first. My intention was not to ingratiate myself to the OTP or any such
1 thing. This statement of facts quite simply did not include all the
2 things that had been explained in detail, or in the way that it should
3 have been done in my statement. Why this statement came out as it is?
4 The OTP did their job and my lawyers, unfortunately I must say that I was
5 not satisfied with the way how they did things, it was their job to make
6 things accurate and to precise and to decide what to include into the
7 statement of facts and the plea agreement. Therefore, I have no answers
8 to the question why this happened as it did.
9 Q. Mr. Nikolic, as I understand, you have graduated from the faculty
10 of defence, or please can you tell us the full name of that faculty?
11 A. I graduated from the Faculty of Political Sciences, the course of
12 defence and civil protection. This is how it was at the time when I was
13 a student.
14 Q. Thank you. During your studies, did you ever study military
15 rules and regulations at all?
16 A. As far as I remember we didn't have any specific subject dealing
17 with these issues. I think that one of the subjects was international
18 laws of war, but I honestly don't remember the contents. I don't believe
19 there was any subject that was dealing specifically with military rules
20 and regulations. I mean, as a separate subject.
21 Q. In other words, you became acquainted with these rules and
22 regulations only at a later stage in your life when you joined the Army
23 of Republika Srpska?
24 A. Well, not exactly then, since I used to work with the Territorial
25 Defence staff before the war.
1 Q. I'm asking this precisely because, among other things, you
2 mentioned, or rather, you wrote in your statement that you weren't paying
3 attention to the terms that your organisations and other things, and that
4 they were misused in the statement of facts. Organisation, coordination
5 and such-like.
6 In your statement of facts, paragraph 6, where you say that in
7 Potocari you had been coordinating things with other units and you
8 mentioned these units by name, I'm not asking you about coordination. I
9 would just like to ask you to clarify what was exactly that you were
10 doing with these units that were deployed in Potocari.
11 A. As far as my personal engagement in Potocari is concerned, I
12 listed the units for which I'm sure were engaged in Potocari at the time
13 when I was there. If necessary, I can further explain how this
14 coordination functioned. But my task was to provide assistance in the
15 overall operation that was going on and it had to be agreed, and that is
16 to transfer safely the population from Potocari to the Muslim-held
18 A huge number of officers and units took part in this operation
19 and I listed them all. Among them were units of the Bratunac Brigade.
20 As the intelligence and security chief, my task was to oversee the
21 engagement of the military police units of Bratunac Brigade and the
22 members of the 2nd Infantry Battalion who was directly engaged in the
23 operations concerning Potocari and the enclave, and this is what I did.
24 Also I was directly carrying out my commander's orders to
25 establish a check-point police -- police check-point on the Yellow Bridge
1 which would serve to control the goings-in and coming in and to prevent
2 any looting. Once the transport was on the way, I was involved in the
3 defending the convoys that had been attacked while passing through
4 Bratunac, and I intervened by cooperating with people from the police to
5 allow the convoys to safely pass through Bratunac.
6 At one point we encountered problems in Potocari about the
7 movement of buses about people boarding the buses, et cetera. Mr. Dusko
8 Jevic was there. I helped him by giving him advice in terms of changing
9 the location, to move 150 metres forward so the buses can turn and so
10 that the operation can go on unhindered.
11 So these were the jobs that I did.
12 Q. You also mentioned that among the units that were in Potocari
13 then, there was also an MP unit of the Drina Corps commanded by Petrovic
14 can you tell me who Major Petrovic is?
15 A. I did say that I saw members of the military police of the Drina
16 Corps and they were in Potocari. After that they did some other things
17 as well such as the transfer of the 23 wounded Muslims from the health
18 clinic in Bratunac. What I knew was that those members were commanded
19 over by Major Petrovic, who was a police commander from Vlasenica. I can
20 confirm here that I know those MPs because they operated countless times
21 in Bratunac in the AOR
22 therefore I'm certain that they were in Potocari on the 12th when I was
24 Q. Did you see Major Petrovic on that occasion as well?
25 A. No, I did not. I said what I knew. Of course, there was
1 transforation on the way in the command corps, but my information is that
2 Major Petrovic commanded that unit and I did not see him in Potocari.
3 Q. Are you saying that he was the commander at that time?
4 A. Yes, he was the police commander.
5 Q. At that time?
6 A. Well, I know of no other Petrovic and I have no information that
7 would confirm that.
8 Q. You mentioned the transfer of the 23 wounded Muslims from the
9 health clinic in Bratunac, are you saying that it took place on that day?
10 A. No, later.
11 Q. Were you in contact with those MPs from the Drina Corps who were
12 in Potocari?
13 A. No. No, we had no relationship, no communication, and never
14 worked with them.
15 Q. In paragraph 5 of your statement of facts, I think you have it
16 before you, and I can remind you if necessary, I believe it is 4489, if I
17 recall correctly. Therein you say that Colonel Jankovic having left the
18 meeting at the Fontana
19 women and children as well as the separation of able-bodied men.
20 I will not insist upon that any further because you said that you
21 did not participate in the coordination of those matters. In any case,
22 can you please tell us exactly what Colonel Jankovic told you to do?
23 A. Colonel Jankovic told me this, well, I simply asked him after the
24 meeting what would be the next task, and he said that I was to help
25 during the evacuation of those people who were in Potocari. Of course,
1 Colonel Jankovic knew what had been arranged. He told me then that
2 civilians will be evacuated from Potocari, and that able-bodied many will
3 be separated from the other civilians. It was generally speaking, my
4 task to assist that operation, which entailed evacuation and separation
5 of the able-bodied men who were in Potocari.
6 Q. Did you see Mr. Jankovic, Colonel Jankovic, that morning before
7 you arrived in front of the Fontana
8 A. I cannot say. I think it's the 12th. I cannot tell you
9 certainly whether I saw him. He was in my office, but I'm not sure.
10 Q. In paragraph 7 of your statement it says, the statement of fact,
11 I mean, it says that you learned that in the morning -- sorry, that on
12 the 11th and 12th July, you received intelligence reports that the bulk
13 of the men of military age from Srebrenica had assembled near the village
14 of Jaglici.
15 Did you have information on the whereabouts of the 28th Division
16 at the time?
17 A. That is a difficult question, but I believe I have answered that
18 partly. The forces that were assembled along that axis and the area of
19 Jaglici and Susnjari, well, those were the forces belonging to the 28th
20 Division for the most part. To be precise, I don't know what their
21 disposition was, where most of the forces were, et cetera. Along the
22 whole axis, you had the various forces and units of the 28th Division.
23 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us why we cannot find that in the
24 statement of fact, that in Jaglici and Susnjari, there were parts of the
25 28th Division? The term used is able-bodied men or men of military age
1 from Srebrenica?
2 A. I don't know. I can try to explain but I'd rather not. The
3 wording is as it is. If you are asking for my opinion, when it says
4 military-age men, this is what I mean by forces, if you want me to be
5 honest. What else could it be other than members of the 28th Division,
6 able-bodied men with arms, members of the division. That is what I
7 deduce from it.
8 It is true though that this is not very precise, but under this
9 term, I understand the forces that were in the enclave of Srebrenica.
10 Q. The formulation as it is here, was it done in this way to cover
11 up the fact that Srebrenica had not been demilitarised?
12 A. No. In each and every conversation I had with the OTP, I kept
13 stressing and saying, as I do now, that Srebrenica had not been
14 demilitarised. In Srebrenica, there were armed units which, for the most
15 part, conducted operations outside the voyeurs of the enclave. In my
16 discussions with the Prosecution, I told them that and I repeat it now.
17 Q. My question was rather what the reason was that this was not put
18 in the statement of facts, can you explain that?
19 A. Never in my life did I participate in the drafting of a statement
20 of facts or a plea agreement. I don't know the contents. I didn't know
21 it then and I do not know it now. If you are asking me what there should
22 be in such a document, I still don't know. This was done by my
23 attorneys. I simply accepted that. As for whether this is a good
24 document or not, or whether things should have been done differently, I
25 don't know. I'm not a lawyer and I'm not familiar with what such a
1 statement should contain. I see it for the first time, this was my first
2 encounter with it, and it was the job of my attorneys to keep an eye on
3 it. Therefore, I cannot respond to this type of question in any adequate
5 Q. As the chief or head of the security intelligence organ in the
6 Bratunac Brigade and in your knowledge, were the able-bodied men, or the
7 28th Division in Jaglici and Susnjari or was it a decision on the part of
8 the civilian authorities of Srebrenica, or was it done by the command of
9 the 28th Division?
10 A. I really don't know. I don't know what their decision-making
11 process was and what they finally decided. Whose decision it was, when
12 it was made and why, that I don't know. I cannot say. I cannot opine on
14 Q. Does that mean that you were not familiar with the existence of
15 such decisions? I don't mean being able to see them in writing, but did
16 you have any intelligence data that would indicate that?
17 A. Could you be more specific and then I can try to answer? I had
18 lots of intelligence data about many things. Please be specific. If I
19 can, I'll answer.
20 Q. I'll be specific. Did you have intelligence data that the
21 command of the 28th Division ordered that all of its members and all men
22 of military age from Srebrenica be withdrawn to Jaglici and Susnjari?
23 A. Another thing that I would like to ask you to be precise about,
24 what period?
25 Q. The 11th of July?
1 A. No, of course not. I was in no position to know what they had
2 decided, not at that time. Later on, I did have information on what was
3 going on, and the decisions that had been made, but not on the 11th.
4 Q. And what was the information you got later?
5 A. As regards to the question you put?
6 Q. Yes?
7 A. That the decisions of the military and civilian authorities
8 generally speaking were to the effect that all military-aged men, those
9 who carried arms and were in the units, I must say that I'm not certain
10 for what the decision was concerning boys over the age of 14, but still
11 minors, in any case, the decision was that they should leave the enclave
12 together in a column.
13 Q. Among other things, you must have mentioned that to the OTP?
14 A. The OTP knew that without me.
15 Q. Do you know what the reason was that it was not entered in the
16 statement of facts?
17 A. I think I've answered that question.
18 Q. I notice that not only in your interviews and in the statement of
19 facts, but also during your testimony yesterday, you always referred to
20 these men as men of military age or able-bodied men, you never refer to
21 them as members of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
22 A. Well, they probably didn't put questions about any members of the
23 army of B&H.
24 Q. But for example, they asked you about those that were captured or
25 who had surrendered? You referred to them as men of military age,
1 able-bodied men. You tried to steer clear of the term members of the
2 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
3 A. I'm not trying to avoid the use of that term to say that someone
4 was a member of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I have no reason to do
5 that. By the same token, I cannot know who was or was not a member of
6 the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina if this person is not sporting a weapon or
7 having any type of document which would make me conclude that he belongs
8 to the army. The people I saw, I presume some of them were members of
9 the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina or its units, but how was I to know that
10 this person was and that person was not a member.
11 In any case, I can say with certainty that among those who
12 surrendered and were captured in the area of Konjevic Polje, there were
13 members of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That is not in dispute. I
14 don't think anyone would dispute that.
15 Q. In your written statement you state that on the 12th of July you
16 were officer on duty in the brigade between 7 p.m. on the 12th and 7 a.m.
17 on the 13th?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. In paragraph 10 of your statement of facts, you say that on the
20 13th of July, you went to Zvornik to the command of the Zvornik Brigade.
21 Had you ever been to that brigade prior?
22 A. Yes, I had had.
23 Q. Did you know any of the senior officers of the brigade?
24 A. No. Personally, no. I knew Drago Nikolic personally. I knew
25 Mr. Pandurevic by sight. I knew that he was a commander, and I knew him
1 by sight, but I didn't know him personally. I didn't know the other
2 members of the command. I got to know the major who was the commander of
3 the Drina Wolves, and I knew him.
4 Q. Can you tell us who it was you reported to first when you went to
5 the brigade HQ?
6 A. I reported to the reception box at the gate to the brigade
8 Q. Who was there?
9 A. The military police or at any rate members of the brigade. They
10 appeared to me to be military policemen.
11 Q. Can you tell me where it was they directed you to go to?
12 A. One of the individuals who was there took me to the headquarters
13 of the Zvornik Brigade.
14 Q. Can you tell us where it was precisely you went to?
15 A. I went to an office upstairs on the first floor. I can't
16 pin-point its position. It seems to me that it was positioned diagonally
17 to the staircase as I ascended them, and I was taken to an office there.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Can the counsel repeat his question.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was a member of the Zvornik
20 Brigade. I don't know what he was by rank.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: The interpreters did not get your question.
22 Please, if you could repeat it. We have the witness's answer but not
23 your question.
24 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yeah.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: That's how I understood the interpreters to say.
1 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, I repeat my question.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, please. Thank you.
3 MR. ZIVANOVIC:
4 Q. [Interpretation] Can you tell me who you found present in the
6 A. A soldier or an officer. I don't know what his rank was. I
7 wasn't interested in that. At any rate there was one individual present
8 in the office I was taken to.
9 Q. Did you introduce yourself to the individual and tell him where
10 you came from?
11 A. Yes, I did.
12 Q. And did he introduce himself to you?
13 A. No, he didn't. Or perhaps he did. Frankly, I don't know. I
14 don't recall his name and I don't know who he was. I think he was the
15 duty officer of the Zvornik Brigade at the time. Whether this was indeed
16 the case or not, I'm not sure. Presumably they took me to the duty
18 Q. Can you describe him?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Do you know if his rank was superior to yours?
21 A. I really don't know. I was not interested in that. I stated my
22 intentions and that was the only thing I did at the time.
23 Q. Was there anyone else in the office save for him?
24 A. In addition to him, there was the policeman who had led me to the
1 Q. Was that the individual who assigned a police officer as your
3 A. No. Another person was sent for and that person was told who it
4 was that I was looking for and what it was that I wanted.
5 Q. In the information report we referred to a moment ago at page 8,
6 that's the report compiled by Mr. Bursik, you are referenced as having
7 said that you produced your ID to the guard at the entrance gate and that
8 you produced it to the duty officer as well?
9 A. I don't think that is the way it is formulated there. I said
10 that at the gate into the Zvornik Brigade at the reception box, I
11 produced an ID which was not an official ID but which was produced
12 through an in-house procedure. There was my name, my photo, the stamp of
13 my unit and the signature of my superior officer. I always carried this
14 on me as an ID and I showed it to the individuals who were at the
15 entrance gate. I did not produce or show my ID to anyone inside the
16 compound. I only told them who I was.
17 Q. In other words, you did not state that you had showed your ID to
18 the duty officer as well, this was erroneously written in the report?
19 A. I repeat that I am not aware of what the report states. I'm
20 telling you what I did. I did not show my ID in the office of the duty
21 officer. I said who I was, what I'm doing, and who it was I was looking
23 Q. At paragraph 11 of your statement of facts, let me just find it.
24 It is a rather long paragraph which mentions, among other matters,
25 Pilica. That's to say, the presence of the military police in Pilica.
1 Bear with me for a moment. It is possible that the statement is
2 contained in the information report. At any rate, I can't locate it at
3 this time. I will try to do so later on.
4 You mentioned that the military police, or rather a group of
5 military policemen from the Bratunac Brigade, as having been present on
6 the 17th of July in Pilica guarding the prisoners there; you remember
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did you hear when the prisoners were shot, executed in Pilica and
11 A. Specifically for Pilica and Branjevo and what was going on there,
12 no, I really don't know the dates or the events there. Generally
13 speaking, a day, two, or three following the events in Zvornik, I heard
14 that these events had transpired in the area of responsibility of the
15 Zvornik Brigade. As for the individual events and how they came about
16 and at what precise time, I don't know that.
17 Q. If you recall the indictment that was served upon you, among
18 other matters, you were also charged with the crimes in Pilica and
19 Branjevo. This was contained in your indictment. You do recall that?
20 A. No, I don't. Please refresh my memory. I don't recall having
21 been charged for Pilica.
22 Q. That's count -- or on paragraph 32.9 and 32.10 of the indictment.
23 Let me tell you the precise document, or rather, numbers. 1D1377.
24 That's paragraph 32.8 and 32.9, or item at page 11.
25 This copy of the indictment is in English, but I'll summarise for
1 you what is contained there. You'll probably remember. It says that
2 among other matters, you were charged with these events, that's to say,
3 Pilica School
4 following paragraph, 32.11, which is on the next page, that the Pilica
5 cultural hall is mentioned, and the murders of Muslim men as it is stated
6 here, Muslims who were captured from among the column that was going out
7 of the Srebrenica enclave and they were taken to Potocari. It is stated
8 there that the events transpired on the 16th of July, 1995.
9 What I'd like to know is this, in addition to this indictment,
10 you must have been given corresponding material indicating that the
11 events transpired on the 16th of July, 1995?
12 A. I don't remember that.
13 Q. You did say, though, that a group of military policemen stayed
14 behind on the 17th of July to guard prisoners, that was your testimony?
15 A. I got this information from the commander of the military police
16 of the Bratunac Brigade.
17 Q. I'm trying to locate this portion in the plea agreement, and I'll
18 probably be able to eventually. An erroneous impression is gained that
19 on the 17th of July they must have been guarding alive prisoners, whereas
20 it transpires from this that there were no alive prisoners on the 17th of
21 July there?
22 A. My testimony or statements did not have to do with this. I
23 talked about the information that I received from Mirko Jankovic who was
24 the commander of the military police of the Bratunac Brigade. I only
25 recounted what he had told me. In addition to that, there was a report
1 from the military police which stated that a patrol was kept behind in
2 Pilica on that particular date. This is in the report of the platoon of
3 the military police of the Bratunac Brigade.
4 It stated that the Bratunac Brigade patrol which had been
5 escorting the convoy out of Zvornik was told to stay behind in the area.
6 I know about that report and that sort of information I got from the
7 commander. I don't know anything beyond that in relation to Pilica, in
8 relation to the general area, in relation to either the living or those
9 who were killed there. I don't know that.
10 Q. I would like you to look at the plea agreement now -- or, rather,
11 sorry, the statement of facts. Item 11.
12 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] 4489 is the number, I believe.
13 I see that both versions are in English. Right, there we are.
14 Q. I'm referring to the third sentence of paragraph 11 where it is
15 stated as follows:
16 "I also knew that -- I was also aware that a patrol consisting of
17 two Bratunac military policemen was also left overnight from 16 to 17
18 July in Pilica to assist in securing prisoners detained there. I
19 received reports that on the 13th in the evening," et cetera. I'm not
20 interested in that part, I'm interested in the earlier portion.
21 It follows from here that in the statement of facts, you said
22 that a military police patrol was left behind to guard, that's how I
23 understand this, living people?
24 A. I said that a military police patrol stayed there and I said what
25 the military police commander told me who knew where his patrol was. I
1 said only that and nothing more.
2 Q. In the course of these conversations or did the OTP perhaps tell
3 you that on the 17th of July, or rather in the evening of the 16th of
4 July and on the 17th of July there were no more living prisoners in
6 A. I don't know that. I don't even know that -- it now. I'm
7 only -- I only referred to Pilica in one sense and that was that I knew
8 that a patrol was left out there, and the source is the commander of the
9 military police of the Bratunac Brigade. That's the source of the
10 information. I also saw it in writing in the report which referred to
11 that particular day and the engagement of the military police. It was
12 stated therein that a patrol of the military police stayed behind in
13 Zvornik after all the prisoners had been escorted out of Zvornik. That's
15 Now, whether there were any living persons there, whether
16 somebody was guarding them or not, who was kept behind or not, is
17 something I was not privy to. I only knew that they stayed there and I
18 had information to the effect that they returned to the Bratunac Brigade
19 where they resumed their duties. As for the rest, what happened before
20 that, who asked them to stay behind, all of that is something I know
21 nothing of and I did not inquire what happened. Beyond that, there is
22 nothing more I can tell you. That's all I knew.
23 Q. In other words, at the time when this plea agreement was made,
24 you didn't know and you had no information that all the prisoners had
25 been shot dead on the 16th of July?
1 A. No, really I didn't.
2 Q. In your view while reading this paragraph, if provided this
3 information that all the prisoners had been shot on the 16th of July,
4 does this paragraph and this sentence in particular create a wrong
5 impression with people who are not familiar with the situation, i.e.,
6 that in fact the Bratunac Brigade MPs were guarding living prisoners at
7 the time?
8 A. You know what, you're asking me to draw conclusions, and I think
9 that these are the questions that are, to put it mildly, pointless. For
10 me to draw any conclusions on the basis of a single piece of information
11 which is that a patrol was told to stay back in Pilica is something that
12 is all I know. I know nothing beyond that. And I honestly cannot
13 discuss this issue with you because I have no information whatsoever, I
14 never dealt with this issue and no one ever informed me about this with
15 the exception of the fact that a two-member patrol was there and their
16 commander had told me that they were guarding the prisoners. I never
17 checked what they were actually guarding or who they were actually
18 guarding, why they were kept there and by whom.
19 I still don't know anything about this, so I'm really sorry but I
20 cannot give you an answer to this question.
21 Q. I apologise to you. I would never put this question to you had
22 this not been your statement of facts that you acknowledged.
23 A. That's true, but I want to make this completely clear. In my
24 mind, this was information that a military police patrol from Bratunac
25 was left behind there to secure the prisoners. This is how I understood
1 it because I knew nothing beyond that. And that's it.
2 Q. Among other things, yesterday you mentioned your conversation
3 with Mr. Popovic on the 12th of July, 1995, prior to the meeting, and you
4 said that it took place sometime before 10.00 a.m. because the meeting
5 started at 10.00 a.m.
6 any task to the MPs of the Bratunac Brigade?
7 A. It was not my duty to issue tasks to the Bratunac Brigade police.
8 It was the duty of their commander. My duty was to take care that what
9 the commander had ordered was implemented.
10 Q. That's perfectly clear, therefore I will have to rephrase my
12 On that morning, did you convey any task to the MPs issued by
13 your commander or somebody else?
14 A. Together with the MP commander, I implemented the task relating
15 to the preparation of the Fontana
16 Q. Did you ask any MP of the Bratunac Brigade in the early morning
17 hours of that day to come to the Yellow Bridge
18 A. I'm not sure. I don't know. I don't know what you are referring
20 Q. I'm going to read to you a statement given here by one member of
21 your unit on the 20th of November, 2007, that's on page 17926 to 17927,
22 line 5, among other things he said as following: You -- "actually, that
23 you had ordered the military police to come to the Yellow Bridge
24 -- in the early morning hours of the 12th of July, 1995. When they
25 arrived they found you on the Yellow Bridge
1 Potocari and assigned him to Colonel Jankovic with the task of counting
2 the Muslims who were being driven from Potocari to the Muslim-held
3 territory. He said that this took place before any bus or truck arrived.
4 Is this testimony correct?
5 A. This is absolutely untrue. First of all, I don't know who this
6 is. And secondly, I don't think that I could have given such an order at
7 all. I don't believe that this testimony is true.
8 Q. I omitted to say that this was the testimony of Mile Janjic who
9 publicly testified here. He was an MP.
10 A. It's irrelevant who the person is. I didn't give any such order
11 to count the men.
12 Q. You mentioned your conversation with Popovic on the 12th of July
13 outside the Fontana
14 you see him again?
15 A. No, I didn't.
16 Q. Thank you. Did you see him the following day or the day after
17 the next day? Did you communicate at all?
18 A. Popovic and I did meet before the operation on that day, and
19 after that I did see Mr. Popovic but we never talked to each other and we
20 never did anything together.
21 Q. When you say "before the operation" are you referring to the day
22 before or perhaps --
23 A. I mean the day when they arrived in Bratunac. Let's say on or
24 about the 8th. Please don't hold me to it because I saw Popovic at the
25 command of the Bratunac Brigade around that date.
1 Q. Can you recall if you met Popovic on the evening of the 11th of
3 A. I'm not sure.
4 Q. In the Bratunac Brigade?
5 A. I'm not sure about meeting Popovic.
6 Q. Do you remember that he was cross with you?
7 A. No. If you remind me, please.
8 Q. Do you remember that he was angry because there was no dinner for
9 him prepared?
10 A. No, of course not.
11 Q. You don't remember that?
12 A. First of all, this is impossible, and this is such a trivial
13 reason for him to be angry with me. There was a kitchen that was open 24
14 hours, so he couldn't have been left without dinner. The Bratunac
15 Brigade kitchen was open around the clock and anyone could get a meal at
16 any time, so I'm not sure about what you are talking about.
17 Q. I'm telling you this based on the information that I have, and do
18 you remember you and him entering a room where there was a big tray with
19 big fish bones on it and nothing else and that that was something that
20 made him angry because you offered him that for supper?
21 A. This is really fantasy, it has nothing to do with the truth. I'm
22 really sorry I have to say this. First of all, I was not Mr. Popovic's
23 cook. Let's make it clear. I was an officer who had his duties, who had
24 his attitude towards everything. It wasn't my duty to provide either
25 breakfast, lunch, or supper for Mr. Popovic. And I was not a friend of
1 his so that I would do such favours to him. We had a professional and
2 correct relationship. I respected Mr. Popovic as a fellow officer from
3 the Superior Command who was actually my superior officer, and that was
4 the relationship that we had.
5 As for dinners and fish and things like that, I never had any
6 such arrangements with anyone. I never provided supper to anyone. If
7 they felt like having supper, they could have gone to the kitchen and be
8 served what was available. And for me to make sure that he gets it and
9 if I didn't get it to make him cross, that was beyond my competence.
10 Q. I didn't say that you were supposed to prepare dinner for him.
11 A. Not even to provide it for him. Nothing like that.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Stop, stop arguing. I think we've heard enough on
13 that. Your next question, Mr. Zivanovic, please.
14 MR. ZIVANOVIC:
15 Q. [Interpretation] Yesterday when you spoke about this meeting with
16 Popovic, page 32917, line 23 and 32918, line 17, I'm going to read it out
17 to you because it's important and it's not long and I don't have a
18 translation. You said the following:
19 "[In English]... That probably the Muslim forces or, rather, the
20 civilians, women and children, and people who are not fit for military
21 service, that this whole population would be transported to the
22 Muslim-controlled territory which implied the town of Kladanj. He also
23 said that the so-called screening would be carried out in order to
24 separate able-bodied men, to identify those who had committed or who are
25 suspected of committing war crimes, et cetera. However, at this point in
1 time, I really have to provide an additional information.
2 "After all this, something happened that was absolutely never
3 planned, nor did I grasp from my conversation with Popovic that something
4 could happen. Except in the first convoy our -- not only able-bodied men
5 were separated, but all, all men who were in Potocari were separated from
6 their families and were put on bus -- actually, first detained in
8 "Therefore, I asked Mr. Popovic what was going to happen to these
9 men because, to be honest, not even then I couldn't -- could understand
10 why these men were being set aside. What was the purpose of all that? I
11 was given a simple answer, Popovic told me in his usual way of putting
12 things: All the balija have to be killed. That was, in nutshell, my
13 conversation with Popovic."
14 [Interpretation] Can you first tell me this, what did you mean by
15 Popovic responded in his usual way?
16 A. Well, in that period nearly all the officers, or let's say 95 per
17 cent of them, used to call Muslims balija. Among those who were using
18 these terms, whereas I used to use the term Turks which was also
19 derogatory, so I was no different from others, was Mr. Popovic who
20 referred to the Muslims as balijas. So I quoted him in this
21 conversation. I wanted to make it clear that a meeting with
22 Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic was not an official meeting or an official
23 agreement. It was just an encounter in front of the Hotel Fontana and we
24 had this conversation. I still stand by everything that I said in my
25 statement and that it happened on the day before we proceeded with the
1 meet willing at 10.00 a.m.
2 Q. In this conversation with Popovic outside the Fontana hotel
3 before 10.00 a.m.
4 separated in Potocari?
5 A. Well, I knew it because everybody knew it. Everybody knew that.
6 I was only one of the people who took part in the meeting and
7 decision-making, but I was the last one to learn about what was going to
8 happen. Everybody else, including your client, knew beforehand, knew
9 before me that the screening was going to take place, the people were
10 going to be separated, and that potential war criminals were going to be
11 looked for.
12 What happened was not something that was customary military
13 practice. What happened was that all the men were separated. And I can
14 guarantee you with my life that in Srebrenica all men were separated
15 irrespective of the fact whether they were able-bodied men or not. And
16 that this was going to be done was known by everyone. They even knew
17 that on the evening of the 11th after the second meeting.
18 Therefore, on the 12th everyone including your client would know
19 that everybody from Potocari would be taken to Kladanj and that they were
20 going to look for the alleged suspects of people who committed crimes --
21 war crimes among those 25.000 men.
22 Q. Does that mean that at 9.00 that morning, you never asked me why
23 should all men should be separated rather that only those who were
24 suspected of having committed war crimes?
25 A. I never said that all the men should be separated, and I affirm
1 again that among those who were separated were men who were not fit for
2 military service who were 60 years of age or older. So under no
3 circumstances could they have been considered to be able-bodied men.
4 They were also separated.
5 I personally understood this process of separation until I saw
6 what was actually happening. I understood this to be a separation of
7 those for whom there was reasonable ground to believe that they were
8 members of the BH Army and that they had committed war crimes. And in my
9 opinion, that would be normal military practice. A fair military
10 practice. But everybody was separated and then it no longer was a
11 military practice.
12 Q. They were separated after your conversation with Popovic outside
13 the Fontana
14 A. Yes, after the operation was launched and the operation in
15 Potocari started after 12:00
16 Q. I'm asking you about this because I understood you to have said
17 that you asked him in front of the Fontana
19 A. No. What I asked Mr. Popovic was what was going to happen next,
20 but I didn't ask him that because he could give me some orders and tell
21 me what to do. We were simply discussing things. I asked him what was
22 going to happen next, and he told me what I already knew or I just
23 supposed was going to happen. Mr. Vujadin Popovic was not someone who
24 could give me any kind of orders, let me be completely clear on that.
25 But he did tell me what was going to be -- what was going to happen next,
1 that all the men were going to go to Kladanj, that the screening was
2 going to take place, that it actually turned into something that was not
3 supposed to happen, and that this was something that we discussed on that
4 day before the 10.00 meeting.
5 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I just make one correction in my question, it is
6 page 63, line 23. It was said -- just a moment. It reads "you never
7 asked me."
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I noticed it when I was making my
9 annotations. Yes, okay, okay. Thank you. Incidentally, earlier on you
10 put to the witness that he had told Mile Janjic -- given instructions to
11 Mile Janjic to count. You suggested to the witness that Janjic in his
12 testimony stated that the witness had ordered him to count.
13 MR. ZIVANOVIC: No, but -- sorry, I told him that he directed
14 Mile Janjic to Potocari to assist Colonel Jankovic to count the
15 prisoners. And --
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is contrary to
17 what was interpreted to me previously. This is completely contrary to
18 what I heard as being interpreted to me concerning Mile Janjic's
20 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. We can go back to the statement and I can quote. I told you the
22 following, that he stated that you ordered him, that the military police
23 come to Zuti Most in the morning. He also said that they met you once
24 they arrived there and that you told him to go to Potocari and assigned
25 him to assist Colonel Jankovic in order to count the Muslims that were
1 being transported. I am now reading from the B/C/S translation.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, what we have you need to refer to the end of
3 page 58 and the beginning of page 59 in which you suggested that Janjic,
4 amongst other things, said as follows:
5 "That you," that is Nikolic, "... actually had ordered the
6 military police to come to the Yellow Bridge
7 morning hours of the 12th of July, 1995. When they arrived they found
8 you on the Yellow Bridge
9 Potocari, and assigned him to Colonel Jankovic with the task of counting
10 the Muslims who were coming driven from Potocari to the Muslim-held
12 We've checked the testimony of Janjic. There is no mention of
13 Momir Nikolic in relation to the counting. There is mention of direct
14 mention by Janjic of Jankovic giving such order. But there is no
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry, I just --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. But anyway, just to draw your attention to
18 it and let's proceed. It's time for the break. Thank you.
19 --- Recess taken at 5.46 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 6.17 p.m.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Zivanovic.
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Nikolic, let us try to clear one thing. It is on page 64,
24 lines 21 and 24 and 25. I think there was a discrepancy due to
25 interpretation. In one place it is stated Vujadin Popovic could issue
1 orders to you, whereas in another line, that he could not.
2 So as not to intervene into the transcript itself, let us repeat.
3 Could you please tell us whether he could or could not issue orders to
5 A. To me, personally, as well as to other officers of the brigade,
6 could only receive orders from my commander. Vujadin Popovic was an
7 officer of the Superior Command, which in terms of vertical hierarchy was
8 superior to me professionally speaking. However, as for the chain of
9 command, Vujadin Popovic was not a person who could directly issue orders
10 to me.
11 I am trying to be clear, for that reason I want to say the
12 following: Irrespective of the lines of command and control, never in an
13 armed force do you question an order or a request from an officer of your
14 Superior Command. However, the issue of orders is not in the sense I
15 have explained. Let us try to clear up things with Zuti Most because I
16 don't understand a thing after this whole exercise.
17 Q. That's what I wanted to do, however, during the break
18 Mr. McCloskey told me that he was notified that you were tired. That you
19 asked to have some time for rest. That's at least what I understood?
20 A. No, no.
21 Q. I apologise then, that was a misunderstanding.
22 A. That was a misunderstanding. I'm not tired at all. I don't need
23 a break. I was talking about some other things which do not refer to the
24 period of meetings, but after that.
25 Q. As regards the matter of Zuti Most, I will read out the whole
1 transcript of that part referring to the 20th of November, beginning at
2 page 17926, line 21, to 17928, line 7. I will also skip a part therein.
3 It goes as follows:
4 "[In English] At the military police building on the morning of
5 12 July, Mr. Janiso [phoen], Mirko Jankovic, the commander of his unit,
6 and his deputy Mile Petrovic. Mirko Jankovic told him Momir Nikolic
7 would be calling giving him a task. Shortly thereafter, someone came
8 into room and stated that Momir Nikolic called and stated that the
9 military police should go to Zuti most. Mirko Jankovic then told the 10
10 or 15 military policemen gathered there to go to Zuti Most. Mr. Janjic
11 went with a group of military policemen and when they arrived at Zuti
12 Most, they met Momir Nikolic. Momir Nikolic told them to move towards
13 Potocari, that he would catch up with them there. About ten minutes
14 later when the group had reached Potocari," [Interpretation] There was an
15 interruption in the transcript because there was an objection. I will
16 skip that. It continues with the last sentence that is being repeated:
17 "[In English] Told them to move towards Potocari and that he
18 would catch up with them. About 10 minutes later when the group had
19 reached Potocari, Momir Nikolic met the group and told Mile Janjic
20 specifically that his task that day would be to assist Colonel Jankovic.
21 Mr. Janjic did not know who Colonel Jankovic was. Momir Nikolic then
22 pointed out Colonel Jankovic standing nearby. Mr. Janjic then walked
23 over to Colonel Jankovic and reported to him. Colonel Jankovic told him
24 that buses and trucks would be arriving to take the Muslim civilians from
25 Potocari to Kladanj. Colonel Jankovic said that it would be his job,
1 meaning Colonel Jankovic, to count the number of Muslims transported out
2 of Potocari and that it would be Janjic's job to help him do this and
3 that more military police would be available to assist in this process."
4 [Interpretation] I read out exactly what was said. The rest of
5 the text is not as important since it does not refer to you.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. Zivanovic has just turned off his
8 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. That was regarding Zuti Most. Do you have anything to say
10 concerning this?
11 A. Of course I do. First of all, I never ordered policemen
12 directly. Never. Why would I? If it all took place within the military
13 police. They had their commander and deputy commanders. It was only
14 logical for those men to issue them orders and tasks.
15 Another thing which is incorrect and illogical is this, that it
16 was taking place early in the morning on the 12th, as far as I
17 understood. In the morning there was no transport, no buses, no trucks,
18 and nothing was done until the afternoon on the 12th. The task he said
19 he had received makes no sense. No one was being taken away or brought
20 in from or into Potocari, and it makes no sense that I should tell my
21 policemen what to do with Colonel Jankovic who was from the Main Staff, a
22 colonel. I was a reserve captain. Who was I to say what the policemen
23 was to do with Colonel Jankovic? It makes no sense whatsoever.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's move to something more relevant,
25 Mr. Zivanovic, please.
1 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. It can be concluded from your testimony yesterday that you had a
3 conversation with Kosoric similar in effect that you had with Popovic.
4 However, you said that the conversation that you had with Kosoric took
5 place after the meeting. Perhaps that is not the most fortunate term,
6 "meeting," but when you encountered him. In other words, you said that
7 these two things didn't happen at the same time?
8 A. No, that is correct.
9 Q. You recall, I believe, that you testified in the Blagojevic case
10 about the meeting you had or encounter you had with both Popovic and
11 Kosoric. I will read out that part of the transcript. The 22nd of
12 September, 2009 [sic]. The number 7505. Sorry, 2003. The 22nd of
13 September, 2003. It is in e-court as 7D509. It is page 1676, starting
14 with line 13.
15 "[In English] Q. What if anything was said between you and
16 Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic and Kosoric that morning in front of the
18 "A. Yes, we talked. And in answer to my question to Popovic
19 and Kosoric as to what would happen next, Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic told
20 me that on that day that women and children would be evacuated and that
21 they would be evacuated in the direction of Kladanj. Also, that on that
22 day the man, the able-bodied man would be separated and that those men
23 would be temporarily detained once they had been separated. And when I
24 asked what would happen to them next, he told me that all balijas needed
25 to be killed. That was a conversation in the presence of Popovic,
1 myself, and Kosoric. In continuation we discussed the provisional places
2 of detention for the separated men. I suggested to Popovic and Kosoric
3 that the buildings of the Vuk Karadzic elementary school, that the Djuro
4 Pucar Stari secondary school in Bratunac, the gym, and the hangar should
5 be used as detention facilities for the men separated from the group at
6 Potocari. That was a part of the conversation we had."
7 [Interpretation] One concludes from this that you simultaneously
8 spoke to Popovic and Kosoric and that your testimony in the Blagojevic
9 case differs from your testimony here today -- yesterday, whereby you
10 said that those were two different conversations. Can you explain this?
11 A. Yes, probably there was a misunderstanding. There was one
12 conversation or one encounter with both Mr. Popovic and Mr. Kosoric.
13 There was another encounter which included only Kosoric at the plateau.
14 Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. On the same day at the plateau there was
15 in Kosoric, interpreter Petar Uscumovic and two Dutch officers in front
16 of the Fontana
17 different times: The encounter with Kosoric and Popovic, and the other
18 one was Kosoric, Petar Uscumovic, myself, and two Dutch officers who
19 arrived wanting to know what will happen next, when the operation will
20 begin, et cetera. That is the explanation of the discrepancy that there
21 is in the transcript.
22 Q. May we conclude then from what you said yesterday that these two
23 conversations were separate?
24 A. The next conversation including Kosoric, Uscumovic, and myself,
25 that conversation was not attended by Mr. Popovic. He did not take part
1 in it. But to conclude the matter, the contents discussed in the
2 conversation with Mr. Kosoric and the other group including Uscumovic and
3 the other Dutch officers were the same. It had to do with the operation
4 that was to be implemented in Potocari.
5 Q. I'm referring to the part of the conversation which had to do
6 with the separation of men of military age, as you said, and with you
7 being told that all balijas should be killed, or something to that
8 effect. This conversation took place when all three of you were there?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did both Popovic and Kosoric say that, or either one of us --
11 A. Popovic said it and then Kosoric repeated the same thing. They
12 both said the same thing.
13 Q. Mr. Nikolic, you testified in the Trbic case as well before the
14 BH court. That was on the 1st of September, 2008?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. In that case you, I presume, also told the truth as witness?
17 A. In principle, yes.
18 Q. If asked the same questions as you were asked then by the parties
19 in the case, would you respond in the same way?
20 A. I cannot quote. I'm not capable of quoting what I said then, but
21 the gist of it would not differ, probably. In any case, I would put it
22 slightly differently each time because I have testified in several
23 proceedings and I know that I cannot quote precisely what I said the
24 previous time. However, I believe that the gist of it is always the
1 Q. I wanted to read out one part of your testimony referring to
2 this. Bear with me. It is Prosecution Exhibit 4481. Sorry, 4482. 1
3 September, 2008
4 pages 23 -- no, 27, line 23 to page 31, line 2.
5 "Q. Okay. Let's get back to the outside of the Hotel Fontana
6 on the morning of the 12th of July, 1995. Was there anything else that
7 Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic said to you, and I'm now referring to the
8 able-bodied Bosniak men?"
9 "A. Then he was very abusive and insulting to the Muslims.
10 He referred to them, he said the Muslims were to be killed and in those
11 terms. That's how he referred to them. He was voicing his opinion. I
12 didn't say that. He simply displayed bias towards the Muslims in
13 Srebrenica. That was the gist of what he said."
14 "Q. When Mr. Popovic said that, did he have in mind the
15 Bosniaks, that is to say the men who belonged to that ethnic group?"
16 "A. I can only assume that this referred to the male
17 population. He did not have women, children, or civilians in mind. I
18 believe he had in mind the able-bodied men. That is my opinion."
19 "Q. Was Lieutenant-Colonel Kosoric with you and Colonel
20 Popovic that morning when all of this was being said?
21 "A. No, I believe that Kosoric arrived only later to this
22 area at the plateau in front of the Hotel Fontana. But they were not
23 together, as far as I remember, Colonel Kosoric came only later.
24 "Q. When Colonel Kosoric came, did you have a discussion with
1 "A. Yes, we had a conversation in front of the hotel. This
2 was a brief discussion.
3 "Q. That was the content of your discussion?
4 "A. It was the same topic, problems with the evacuation and
5 the buses and all the issues that were pertinent that were to be resolved
6 in Potocari and in the town of Bratunac
7 "Q. What were the problems that had to be resolved concerning
8 the Muslim men?
9 "A. Kosoric and I did not discuss those problems. Later on
10 an officer of DutchBat came and joined us. We were discussing the
11 transport of Muslims with about the buses and the problems that they had.
12 In the course of the conversation, Kosoric said what Popovic had said, he
13 was abusive towards Muslim men and soldiers.
14 "Q. Did you not discuss with Colonel Popovic and Kosoric
15 about where to hold men and where to execute them?
16 "A. This is what they mentioned. They mentioned the location
17 where men should be separated and singled out and where the captured
18 soldiers, Muslim soldiers should be kept. And they also mentioned
19 facilities where the captured men should be locked up and detained. Yes,
20 this was also brought up
21 "Q. What was discussed, if anything, about the executions of
22 these Muslim men?
23 "A. Well, to tell you, in my first testimony, I also said
24 what they said, what they discussed, Popovic and Kosoric, was simply said
25 all Muslim s should be killed. This was their opinion. They were
1 resentful because of the killings of Serbian civilians and Serb
2 fatalities and they said all the Muslims should be killed, and that is
3 how it was put. What they meant by that remains to be clarified by them,
4 not by me.
5 "Q. After this discussion, what was your understanding of the
6 reason or the motive for the Muslim men to be killed?
7 "A. Did I not have any understanding. There was no such a
8 thing as my understanding. It was horrific to me to listen to it, let
9 alone anything else. I did not have an understanding of that. It was
10 simply their attitude. I did not make any comments. I was simply doing
11 my job and I knew what I was supposed to do.
12 "Q. Could it be said that you received guidance from your
13 superiors in the security organ within the security chain of command as
14 to what your tasks were going to be in the following days?
15 "A. Those were not instructions of any sort. These were
16 just their commentaries and their expression of their frustration and
17 dissatisfaction. These were not instruction or orders, but this can be
18 of inference. This -- it was my estimate, based on what I've heard, it
19 was my estimate and I knew I was aware what was going to happen. It was
20 clear to me that the general message was the general feeling. It was not
22 "Q. Would you agree that guidance were issued, not ordered?
23 "A. No, I will not agree with the term 'guidance.' No
24 guidance were issued. I said precisely and I emphasised my testimony.
25 That was their position. This was not a guidance, this was not an order,
1 this was nothing official, but as a person estimating the situation, I
2 could only conclude that this was some bad intention. There was nothing
3 benevolent was going to be done with Muslim men, especially those who
4 took part in armed combat. This is my answer and I have no other answer
5 to provide about this."
6 [Interpretation] So this is more or less the gist of it.
7 Now, based on this, do you see any difference between what you
8 said here and between your testimony in the Blagojevic case and your
9 statement of facts that we could see?
10 A. In my opinion, everything I said both in the Blagojevic case and
11 elsewhere, I am convinced that there are no substantial differences.
12 There is nothing therein that I said on one occasion and that I didn't
13 say on another occasion. I tried to explain what actually happened. Of
14 course, I told you a minute ago I'm not in a position to quote myself,
15 but generally speaking these are all the same things. I was talking
16 about conversation that took place outside the Fontana hotel and the
17 information that I didn't understand as orders, I also said that
18 Mr. Popovic and Kosoric were not the persons who could issue orders to
20 As for their reactions to the Muslims and the names that they
21 used to call them were derogatory names. There was probably a
22 misunderstanding about the meetings and on this occasion I made an effort
23 to explain to you what actually happened. The same contents and the same
24 messages came from both Mr. Popovic and Mr. Kosoric relating to all
25 this -- Operation Srebrenica. These messages were translated into
1 practice in Potocari. Men were separated. The Vuk Karadzic school
2 happened. The hangar happened. All of this happened. And if there is
3 some misunderstanding or discrepancy, I'm really sorry. I will try and
4 explain if there is anything unclear.
5 Let me just add one sentence more. As far as the detention
6 facilities were concerned, and so far I have testified. Maybe there was
7 a mistranslation relating to the facilities, I said that it was me who
8 suggested that these facilities be used for detention. Why did I do
9 that? Because I am originally from Bratunac, and I was probably the only
10 one among those present there that these facilities were the only ones
11 that could be used for detention. Well, after all, let me tell you that
12 the duty of the organ for security and intelligence is quite clear if you
13 look at the orders that come from higher levels.
14 There are probably shortcomings and there are probably some
15 ambiguities, but I would like to inform the Judges about the
16 circumstances under which I testified in these proceedings. I was simply
17 brought into the courtroom without being given time to read any single
18 document or to read my previous testimonies. I was just brought into the
19 courtroom and I was told, Mr. Nikolic you are a Prosecution witness,
20 please go ahead and testify. So I didn't agree to testify as a
21 Prosecution witness. I was never told about what I was going to testify
23 I have to admit, I was frustrated by such a treatment and
24 probably that was the reason that caused some discrepancies and me
25 speaking as a kind of unwilling witness. But generally speaking in
1 essence there are no differences between my respective testimonies.
2 Q. Do you stand by it that this conversation with Popovic and
3 Kosoric, you never understood to be an order or guide-lines or anything
4 as an official decision?
5 A. I always maintained that this kind of conversation in my mind was
6 never an order or an official meeting. Anything that could be considered
7 as an official stance of my Superior Command to which these two officers
8 belonged. I was from the brigade, Mr. Popovic and Mr. Kosoric were from
9 the corps command, and I believed that this was a conversation among the
10 men who had the same task in one operation. This is how I understood it.
11 Q. In a nutshell, you just understood this to be some unofficial
12 commentary on their part and their personal attitudes?
13 A. Well, you are not right when you say that they showed personal
14 resentment. When I spoke about resentment, I spoke about resentment
15 towards Muslims. That is to say -- that is to say person who were part
16 of that ethnic community. But I was never speaking about the entire
17 operation. You cannot but accept that in an operation Mr. Popovic and
18 Mr. Kosoric had greater responsibility with regards to the prisoners and
19 to the separated men and those incarcerated and their responsibility was
20 greater than mine. They were security organs of the Drina Corps taking
21 part in the preparation stage of the operation starting from writing
22 orders up to the very end. Therefore, one cannot say that Mr. Popovic
23 and Mr. Kosoric didn't know what was going on, that they didn't know more
24 than I did. You have to accept the fact that Mr. Popovic knew more than
25 I did what was to be done.
1 Q. That was not my question, I'm sorry.
2 A. That's how I understood it.
3 Q. Then you misunderstood it. But never mind.
4 My question in fact was, this conversation, you understood as a
5 kind of unofficial form of displaying their personal attitudes, am I
7 A. To be very precise, I understood it as information or providing
8 information about what was going to be done the following day. So that's
9 how I put it simply. I just understood it as their having information
10 because they came from a higher command about what was going to take
11 place the following day. And what my duty was going to be.
12 Q. Are you referring to the separation?
13 A. No, I'm referring to the entire operation from the
15 Q. Transport and separation?
16 A. Yes.
17 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters would appreciate if the
18 speakers would slow down and not overlap, thank you.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: The interpreters would appreciate if the speakers
20 would slow down and not overlap.
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, yes, we'll do it. Thank you.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
23 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, with that in mind, I'm just looking
24 at the LiveNote at line 6 of page 79 of what I'm looking at, it may be a
25 little different for Your Honours, but the question is not really
1 transcribed. We have an answer, but to make the transcript clear, I
2 think we may want the question repeated just so we know what the answer
3 is actually responding to.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: What do you have on line 6?
5 MR. THAYER: I have question:
6 "Q. Are you referring to together the separation?
7 "A. No I'm referring to the entire operation from the
9 "Q. Transportation, separation," and then there is a caret
10 and a CH and a question mark.
11 And the answer is:
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, for that. I think Mr. Zivanovic, you
14 can look into that and perhaps repeat what your question was. I think we
15 can make out what the answer was, so we can proceed from that.
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I will do my best to curtail
18 Q. Mr. Nikolic, let me ask you this specifically: Speaking about
19 this part of the conversation where Popovic and Kosoric said that all the
20 balija or Muslims should be killed, did you understand that to be their
21 personal attitude or an order or a decision, something that you were
22 supposed to implement?
23 A. I believe that the manner in which it was said simply indicated
24 their resentment and anger at the moment on their part.
25 Q. Well, there we have it.
1 In the interview that the OTP conducted with you, you said, among
2 other things, that Popovic was Kosoric's boss. This was exactly how it
3 was recorded in the interview. And that's the interview conducted on the
4 30th of May, 2003, page 125, lines 10 to 11. Can you tell me, is this
5 perhaps a mistake or --
6 A. That's probably what I said because that's how I perceived them.
7 In fact, I didn't have any other information. Now, I'll tell you briefly
8 what I still think about this. At the level of the Drina Corps there is
9 an intelligence and security department. The chief or the head of that
10 department as far as I know was Mr. Popovic. Kosoric was part of that
11 department, and I still think that Mr. Popovic was his boss. If that is
12 not the case, then I'm sorry. I don't know exactly what the formation
13 was. I don't want to deny that. If you have different information that
14 he wasn't his boss, I would accept that. But that was my belief at the
15 time and that's what I stated.
16 Q. I don't know but let me ask you this, did you hear that in 1995
17 these two organs were separated? I mean, the intelligence and the
18 security part and that the intelligence part -- section was part of the
19 staff and the security section was subordinated directly to the
20 commander? If you don't know anything about it --
21 A. What I know is this, and no more than that. The security organ
22 is directly linked to the commander. I know that there was a separation
23 and that the chief of intelligence was directly linked to the Chief of
24 Staff. However, within the organ itself, I believe that the head of the
25 organ was Mr. Popovic, and that one segment of this organ was Kosoric and
1 other desk clerk. Whether I'm right or wrong, I don't know.
2 Q. I'm asking you this because in the paragraph 4 of your agreement
3 on facts, we have Popovic's function specified stating that he was the
4 chief of security of the Drina Corps and Kosoric who was the chief of
5 intelligence. I'm interested to know whether you knew -- whether you had
6 that information in light of what you said to the OTP in your interview,
7 or was that another person's way to put it?
8 A. I said what I knew concerning the establishment.
9 Q. Yesterday inter alia you spoke of the operation termed
10 "asanacija," sanitation and hygiene measures. Can you tell me what it
11 encompassed? I'll try to be precise so as not to speak too broadly. Did
12 it also include the burial of remains that were on the surface, mortal
13 remains of those who were killed and were unburied?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Did it only include the transfer between the primary and
16 secondary graves?
17 A. Yes, that is what it entailed.
18 Q. Can you tell me how long the operation lasted in your knowledge?
19 A. There were breaks. In total it may have been 20 days or so. I'm
20 not sure. It took awhile, with breaks.
21 Q. In your statement of facts, in item 13 you said that it lasted
22 throughout September and into October?
23 A. Yes, with the breaks. It was not a continuous thing. It began
24 sometime in September and then there were breaks and then it would
25 resume. It lasted for awhile. If we were to put all the time together,
1 it lasted between 20 to 25 days in total over the two months.
2 Q. Can you tell us what the reasons were for those breaks?
3 A. I can. First, we received a certain amount of fuel. Then we ran
4 out of it and we were waiting for another supply. It often happened that
5 we were short of people. Those who were charged with doing that would be
6 there for a day or two and then they would flee. They simply wouldn't do
7 that anymore.
8 The next reason was that those people who operated the machinery
9 also usually stayed one or two days and then would leave. Those were the
10 problems that cropped up.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I think we can leave it at that for today.
12 One moment. Tomorrow we start at 9.00 in the morning. Thank you.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.02 p.m.
14 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 23rd day of
15 April, 2009 at 9.00 a.m.