1 Thursday, 23 April 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, to you Mr. Registrar. Could you call
7 the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning 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: Okay. Thank you. For the record, all the accused
12 are here. Presentation is exactly as it was yesterday.
13 Mr. Josse.
14 MR. JOSSE: We just wants to thank the court for its indulgence.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. On our part we want to make sure that
16 your client is feeling fit to continue attending the sitting at any time,
17 so we are informing him that if at any time he needs a break or he needs
18 to leave the courtroom or there's anything wrong, he will just need to
19 draw our attention and we will attend to his needs.
20 MR. JOSSE: Thank you very much. I know he is aware of that.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
22 Mr. Nikolic, good morning to you.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Zivanovic will be proceeding with his
25 cross-examination and then we'll start with that of the Beara Defence
2 Mr. Zivanovic.
3 WITNESS: MOMIR NIKOLIC [Resumed]
4 [Witness answered through interpreter]
5 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honours. Before I start my
6 cross-examination I'd like to indicate two translation errors in my
7 questions yesterday. The first one is on the page 33003, line 11. It's
8 the word "events." I used at this point in time --
9 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Zivanovic, do you have the page number of the
10 day instead of --
11 MR. ZIVANOVIC: 33003.
12 JUDGE KWON: If you start from page 1.
13 MR. ZIVANOVIC: From page 1?
14 JUDGE KWON: My LiveNote hasn't been updated.
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It is 33, page 33 line 17.
16 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes. The word -- B/C/S word "odluke," as
18 decisions, was translated as "events" and it was quoted from statement,
19 the written statement of the witness.
20 And in the other -- my other question was on the page 56, line 1,
21 or the page 025 of updated transcript. Line 22 and 23. Just a moment.
22 It is after the word "to secure," I used the B/C/S word "zive ljude." It
23 was live people. Free people. But it was translated as "area," as "the
25 JUDGE AGIUS: But in your mind there is no problem with
1 Mr. Nikolic having misunderstood your questions?
2 MR. ZIVANOVIC: No, no.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay.
4 MR. ZIVANOVIC: No.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, we can now proceed with your
7 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you.
8 WITNESS: MOMIR NIKOLIC (Resumed)
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 Cross-examination by Mr. Zivanovic: [Continued]
11 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Nikolic.
12 A. Good morning, Mr. Zivanovic.
13 Q. We left off yesterday on the issue of the relocation of graves
14 that you talked about. You named the units or part of the units that
15 were involved in the carrying out of this task, and generally speaking
16 who participated in that operation when you were being questioned by the
17 OTP. Among other things, you mentioned the engineering unit of the Drina
18 Corps as one of the participants.
19 My question is, do you know whether the engineering corps from
20 your brigade took part in that as well.
21 A. Just for your information the Bratunac Brigade didn't have any
22 engineering corps of that type necessary for any sort of excavation works
23 relating to the relocation of graves.
24 There was a young lieutenant or second lieutenant in the
25 engineering part but nothing more than that, and, of course, I'm sorry, I
1 would like to add this, there was also a group of engineering troops who
2 were in charge of planting mines or demining and opening passages and
3 things like that. There was nothing else other than that in the Bratunac
5 Q. You also said that fuel had been provided by the corps and that
6 your duty was to keep records of the consumption of the fuel. That's
7 what you said the day before yesterday in the examination-in-chief. Now,
8 concerning this, I'd like to ask you the following, because there is
9 something a little bit unclear to me and if you can help me with that.
10 What was the reason for the Drina Corps command to issue fuel to the
11 Bratunac Brigade so that the Bratunac Brigade would then pass it on to
12 the engineering corps of the Drina Corps? Can you offer any explanation
13 of the reasons why didn't they do it directly? Why didn't they give it
14 directly to the engineers battalion and appoint one of their people to
15 keep track?
16 A. Apparently you have oversimplified this issue. Within the
17 framework of the operation, not only the machines from the engineering
18 battalion, from Konjevic Polje was engaged, and which was part of the
19 Drina Corps establishment, many machines were engaged in this operation.
20 If you are interested, I can name you all the organisations that supplied
21 machines engaged in these works.
22 There is nothing unusual or illogical in the fact that among all
23 these machines there was an excavator. I don't know what type of the
24 machine it was, and that it spent a certain period of time carrying out
25 works assigned to the Bratunac Brigade. Like everybody else who took
1 part in this operation, took fuel from the gas station or the petrol
2 station where it was stored.
3 So I don't see anything unusual for a machine from an engineering
4 unit that belongs to the Drina Corps tanked their machines at the same
5 point as everybody else who took part in this operation.
6 Q. Perhaps you didn't understand my question fully. The essence of
7 my question was why do you think it was you who were appointed to keep
8 track of the consumption of the fuel issued among other units to the 5th
9 Battalion of the Drina
10 A. Yeah, I can explain it to you. There is no separation of fuel
11 for the engineering unit of the corps. The issue is about two lots of
12 fuel that we received. The first one was 5 tonnes, the next one was 3
13 tonnes. It was supplied to the Bratunac Brigade for the execution of
14 this particular task. There were no separate tasks involved. This was a
15 one operation, a single operation, in which machines mainly provided by
16 work organisations from the municipalities of Bratunac and Srebrenica who
17 had these machines available. The only machine engaged in these works
18 for a certain period of time was an excavator driven by a man whose name
19 I don't know, but his nickname was Caruga. He was a professional driver
20 living in Milici. He was in this unit at the time and he drove this
21 machine and he came to fill his tank.
22 As for monitoring the use of the fuel, that was how it was.
23 There was a terrible shortage of fuel at the time, and why this decision
24 was made to have the security organ monitor the consumption of fuel and
25 then after the completion of the operation to hand over reports with all
1 the records of the use of fuel.
2 All these logs contain the number of the machine, the dates, the
3 quantities of the fuel issued and the signature of the authorised person.
4 All these logs relating to the issue and consumption of fuel after the
5 operation was finished, I handed over to the Drina Corps command.
6 Q. Thank you, you have given us a good explanation, a detailed
8 [In English] Translation, I -- oh, sorry. Yeah, okay. It's
10 [Interpretation] In this operation which was called "asnacija,"
11 did Miroslav Deronjic have any role in it, and if he did, what was it?
12 A. I can tell you in general terms what kind of role the political
13 structures from Bratunac played, and he was part of that structure. I
14 don't know in which way, but they too were involved in all of this from
15 the very outset. Those were Miroslav Deronjic as the president of the
17 civilian affairs in Srebrenica. Then Srbislav Davidovic, the chairman of
18 the executive council was also activity involved. The president of the
19 municipality assembly of Bratunac, Mr. Ljubisa Simic, and chief of the
20 public security station in Bratunac, Mr. Miodrag Josipovic. In addition
21 to these people from the political structure, also included was the
22 entire economy or, rather, the companies that had construction machinery
24 Q. Thank you, I'm for the moment interested only in the role of
25 Mr. Deronjic. Can you tell me more precisely during this operation, did
1 you ever seek any assistance from him?
2 A. Yes, I did. I asked him to get in touch with representatives of
3 the political authorities because that simply wasn't my duty. Of course,
4 I could have done that, but I couldn't influence them and make them talk
5 and become involved in try to engage the companies in Bratunac. I wasn't
6 able to achieve that and that's why I talked to Mr. Deronjic.
7 Naturally I did that on the authorisation of my commander.
8 Q. Did you have any contacts with him regarding the engagement of
9 the MUP?
10 A. No, not with him.
11 Q. I'm going to read out to you a portion of the statement given
12 here by a protected witness on the 19th of November, 2007, and this
13 witness number 170. And that's on page 17857, lines 17 to 21.
14 "[In English] The witness said that in September or October
15 1995, Deronjic informed the witness that the workers were needed and that
16 they should report to Momir Nikolic at the Bratunac Brigade command
17 around 9.00 p.m. or 10.00 p.m.
18 turned them over to Momir Nikolic in front of the brigade command."
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Gosnell.
20 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, I'm not sure but judging from the
21 manner in which this is written, and I know that it happened yesterday as
22 well, so I want to bring it to my learned friend's attention, it could be
23 that he is reading a summary, in which case I don't think that's the
24 proper practice. I think the substance, whatever it actually is, should
25 be put to the witness, not a summary.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes Mr. Zivanovic.
2 MR. ZIVANOVIC: It was quoted from the transcript, and it might
3 be a summary but it was admitted into evidence.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we can safely go ahead. Let's proceed.
5 JUDGE KWON: But it's not evidence. We may --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, obviously.
7 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's proceed. Thank you.
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Can you tell me next whether this accurately
11 reflects the events that the witness referred to?
12 A. You read out a small portion of text to me and you are asking me
13 whether it reflects the totality of the situation.
14 Q. That's not what I'm asking you to do.
15 A. Then please be more precise in what it is that you are asking
16 from me.
17 Q. My question is whether you recall the event referred to by the
19 A. I don't know what witness you are talking about. If I knew his
20 identity, I could give you more precise statement about it. In any case,
21 I do not dispute that at the beginning of the operation, which was termed
22 "asnacija" in my brigade, people were coming in and reporting to me. I
23 participated in the operation. I was a witness to it, and I do not deny
25 Q. And that it was sent to you by Mr. -- that they were sent to you
1 by Mr. Deronjic?
2 A. No, he could have. I cannot exclude the possibility that he was
3 involved, but there was no possibility for me to know that Deronjic was
4 sending them over. I don't think it was the case, though.
5 Q. The day before yesterday you spoke about sniping, the sniping of
6 civilians, as you said, in Srebrenica. On such occasions, were people
7 who were in Srebrenica itself targeted, or were those people in the
8 proximity of the separation line?
9 A. This is an unclear question. I have to be more precise in my
10 answer. The sniping beginning with the establishment or the enclave
11 until the fall of the town, people were being targeted by snipers. Those
12 people who were in front of the lines of the Bratunac Brigade as well as
13 the Skelani Battalion and the Milici Brigade. People were targeted who
14 were immediately in front of the lines occupied by members of the
15 Bratunac Brigade. This is what I can talk about.
16 As for the sniping in Srebrenica itself, that was not possible
17 because there were no technical means to conduct any sniping campaigns in
18 the town of Srebrenica
19 Q. You said in front of the lines of the Bratunac and other brigades
20 of the VRS. Were there any Muslim lines or the lines of the army of B&H
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. So when you say that there was sniping from the frontlines of the
24 VRS units including the Bratunac Brigade, does that mean that there were
25 targeting the lines of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
1 A. I believe a distinction needs to be made to make things clear.
2 I'm not talking about exchanges of fire which happened daily. That was
3 not an issue. I am talking about the sniping of civilians in the enclave
4 because of which I frequently had to discuss this with members of
5 DutchBat as well as with military monitors because they came with first
6 and last names of those who were unarmed and were killed just in front
7 of, say, the 2nd Infantry Battalion. Such cases happened in the other
8 battalions as well, such as the 3rd.
9 The same applies the other way around, meaning to say that from
10 the demilitarised zone, members of the 28th Division round the clock were
11 conducting sniping activity. They would approach the lines of the Serb
12 forces killing the soldiers there as well as the civilians who happened
13 to be in the proximity of the lines because they had property there.
14 This was a daily problem for me as the liaison officer. I was
15 supposed to explain what it was that was being targeted from the
16 frontlines endangering the demilitarised zone.
17 Q. As for the locations of sniping, where the two lines were between
18 the separated armies of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the VRS, who were these
19 civilians that would be in this area in the no-man's land or just
20 immediately behind the lines of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina who were
21 targeted? In other words, my question is, did the DutchBat members that
22 you spoke to explain to you who those civilians were and what they were
23 doing between the lines or immediately behind the lines of the Army of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina since one would expect fire to be opened?
25 A. I don't think you understand or are grasping the concept fully,
1 that there is a frontline and there's nobody around it. Those were
2 inhabited areas. Let's take the example of Budak village. All of the
3 local residents lived there, the lines, the trenches in the area of Budak
4 were in the village itself or in its outskirts, and people had their
5 property, their land which they worked, because they were living there.
6 There was no strict division between the line where the soldiers were of
7 the Muslim army and the soldiers of the VRS with an area which would be
8 empty, void of any living being. People lived there.
9 Q. In your conversations with the members of DutchBat, did they ever
10 tell that you a member of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was targeted by
12 A. Yes, they did. They were targeted, both members of the Army of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina and ... But let me tell you this, they never
14 complained of people who were targeted because they carried arms. If
15 they themselves came across such people who sported arms, they would
16 disarm them. They knew there were armed people. They even had problems
17 in certain areas. For example, in the area of Suceska they had grave
18 problems with the formation of Zulfo Tursunovic. He was a commander
19 there and commanded a unit which they never managed to disarm. This is
20 no secret.
21 JUDGE KWON: Sorry, to interrupt you Mr. Zivanovic.
22 Mr. Nikolic, as for the sniping the Muslim civilians by the VRS,
23 it's not clear to me how you became aware of it. Did you mean that you
24 became aware of it due to the complaint by the DutchBat as well as the
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Among other sources, it was thanks
2 to them as well. But to be completely clear in all companies and all
3 units I had my people. In each battalion I had an assistant, or rather
4 the commander had his assistant for security and intelligence, and that
5 person would inform me of such incidents. Therefore, I had that source,
6 the people who were working along my professional line, then the
7 battalion commanders reported to the brigade commander on any breaches of
8 cease-fire. And the third source were members of the DutchBat and the
9 international observers who were there, and they followed up on any
10 incident that had to deal with sniping.
11 Therefore, I had full information about cease-fire violations and
12 the sniping.
13 JUDGE KWON: So what I'm interested in is whether you heard from
14 your subordinate or the fellow VRS officer or soldier that they
15 purposefully targeted the civilians? Am I correct in so understanding?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You are right. Civilians were
17 being targeted intentionally. You're right. I spoke to soldiers
18 numerous times. I even talked to the brigade commander and he took full
19 note of it. He even suggested that certain soldiers be brought into
20 custody and proceedings initiated because they were sniping civilians,
21 because those were not military targets. They were not armed soldiers,
22 but people working the land, ploughing, fixing the roofs of their houses,
23 and they became sniping targets.
24 JUDGE KWON: I wonder whether you could name those such sources
25 who gave such information to you? If necessary, we can hear that in
1 private session.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What are you exactly asking me to
3 tell you? Which names?
4 JUDGE KWON: Those who told you that the VRS soldiers
5 intentionally targeted Muslim civilians?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can tell you. One of the people
7 I spoke with who was in charge of this area where there was sniping was
8 Zoran Jovanovic, assistant commander for intelligence and security in the
9 2nd Infantry Battalion, and for awhile he was also battalion commander
11 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Nikolic.
12 Mr. Zivanovic.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Gosnell.
14 MR. GOSNELL: I'm sorry for the interruption, but there's an
15 important transcript error that I've been advised of. The witness
16 apparently did not say that it was commander Blagojevic who had suggested
17 that some of these people be brought into custody but rather it was Momir
18 Nikolic himself who made that suggestion.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: You've heard -- Mr. Nikolic, you've heard what
20 Mr. Gosnell has just stated, and I see you nodding. Are you in
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I suggested to Commander
23 Blagojevic, my brigade commander, to have those who conducted sniping and
24 of whom we know -- we knew by their name to initiate disciplinary
25 proceedings, and for them to be detained. That is what I suggested to
1 Commander Blagojevic.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Gosnell.
3 Mr. Zivanovic.
4 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you.
5 Q. [Interpretation] I'd like to follow-up concerning what you just
6 said about Zoran Jovanovic. Did you receive information from him that he
7 had ordered something to that effect, something like that to be done, or
8 was it merely a piece of information he learned from someone else and
9 conveyed it to you?
10 A. No, he didn't tell me that he had ordered it. Zoran Jovanovic
11 for one thing would never order such a thing. I was just told that it
12 was done without his approval. It was the behaviour of soldiers who were
13 very difficult to control along the lines.
14 Q. When you spoke with the members of DutchBat since we've heard
15 here that certain sabotage groups would leave the enclave and go through
16 the lines of the VRS in order to sabotage military targets, but also to
17 attack the civilian population in the nearby villages. Did you know of
19 A. It was taking place on a large scale and each time I protested
20 without reserve. I even suggested in the most problematic regions that
21 DutchBat move their check-points, change the way they operated. I kept
22 bugging at them non-stop to do something about it.
23 Q. The people carrying out such sabotage operations, were they
24 usually in civilian clothes?
25 A. I cannot answer that, whether they were in civilian clothes. I
1 didn't see them as they were doing that, therefore I cannot answer.
2 Q. As an intelligence officer, did you receive information to that
4 A. If you are asking me whether I know what sort of clothes they
5 wore, then I can tell you that they wore all sorts of clothes. They had
6 civilian clothes, mixed civilian and military items, different types of
7 uniform. I did, of course, have that information.
8 Q. When you said that in discussions with members of DutchBat you
9 received information that members of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina were
10 also being targeted and that they did not protest that, it was my
11 impression that they basically kept record of those who were members of
12 the army and those who were not, otherwise how would they know who was
13 and -- or who was not a civilian. Was that your impression as well?
14 A. I don't think that is a plausible explanation in general terms.
15 The fact that they knew there were armed people around, that is something
16 that they were aware of as well. As for their assessments, well, as a
17 person who worked on that, I provided my assessments. I don't know to
18 what degree they were accurate, but as for their assessments, that I
19 don't know. They were covering an area and they had a team of five
20 intelligence people working on that, and you should put this question to
21 them. I cannot tell you anything precisely.
22 Q. Thank you. You said that they were aware of the existence of
23 armed people. Were they aware of the existence of the organised defence
24 by units of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina which used to change the name,
25 first it was called the 8th Operations Group, then it was named the 28th
1 Division, so and within this division --
2 A. You are again asking me a hypothetical question. If you are
3 asking me if they knew about these things, I don't know. If you are
4 asking me what I think and if you rephrase your question, then I can give
5 you an answer. Sorry, the state of mind of members of the DutchBat,
6 that's something I cannot tell you anything about.
7 Q. Did you ever draw their attention at your meetings to your
8 knowledge about the existence in Srebrenica of the 28th Division of an
9 army? It's not just a group of armed people, armed people can be found
10 in any situate town.
11 A. Yes, I did and that was one of my tasks and duties. If I hadn't
12 known that, then I shouldn't have been in that position and in that post.
13 And I did draw their attention that according to the reports that I have
14 and estimates that I have, that there were armed units. And then my duty
15 was to report to my Superior Command, and then I received feedback
16 instructions what to request from UNPROFOR and this is what I did. Of
17 course, I didn't have an opportunity to make decisions myself about what
18 to do, but whatever was asked of me from the superior command, I conveyed
19 to UNPROFOR without fail.
20 Q. Did they ever tell you that there was no armed formation there,
21 that there were only armed individuals? That there was no 28th Division
22 or 8th Operations Group, brigades, commanders?
23 A. Well, let me tell you, in my conversations with members of the
24 DutchBat and military observers, I never went into such discussions and
25 debates and analyses.
1 At the level at which I was, the crucial thing for me was that
2 there were armed men ahead of us, that they were leaving the area of the
3 enclave, that they were endangering the safety of the areas where they
4 were moving, that they were coming close to the lines with sniper rifles
5 and killing people. And I think that in one period 58 murders were
6 committed from the enclave. And this is what I presented to the Dutch
7 Battalion and international observers, and on that basis I asked things
8 to be resolved and asked them to prevent any such exits from the enclave.
9 About the existence of the 28th Division and the transformation
10 of the 8th Operation Group into the 28th Division was my assessment on
11 which I worked very extensively, and I adapted and adjusted my assessment
12 based on each single piece of new information.
13 Q. Let us first correct one error in the transcript. You said that
14 58 murders were committed from the enclave?
15 A. Within one period when I kept a record, probably. I am not
16 talking about the whole period when the enclave was declared until the
17 fall of Srebrenica. For one period I kept track, and with this
18 information and these figures I intervened with the Dutch battalion
19 because I had arguments to show them that there was no peace in the
20 enclave and that the Muslim forces had not been completely disarmed.
21 Q. In order for us to be more precise, the victims of these 58
22 murders were Serbs?
23 A. Yes. And most of them were people killed on the lines. That is
24 to say, members of the Bratunac Brigade.
25 Q. Let us clarify one more issue. You said that your assessment
1 about the existence of the 28th Division and the 8th Operations Group
2 were -- can we say that this were the information shared with the VRS or
3 was this your personal assessment?
4 A. Of course these are not my personal assessments. I did that for
5 the purpose of the VRS, and I forwarded my findings to the command in
6 charge, that is the Drina Corps command. Any new information that I
7 gathered, I did that for the purposes of the military, not for my
8 personal purposes.
9 Q. In other words, let us conclude this topic, does that mean that
10 the VRS knew about the existence of the 28th Division inside the enclave?
11 A. I am sure that that was identical to all other assessments in the
12 VRS as a total.
13 Q. In your statement of facts, you spoke, among other things, about
14 the killing of six Muslims on the 13th of July, 1995. You said that this
15 was done by a military policeman by the name of Mile Petrovic, and that
16 he even told you personally that that was his revenge for his brother or
17 whoever, this is probably irrelevant at the moment.
18 Do you still claim that this is how it happened?
19 A. I claim that what I said during my testimony and in my statement
20 is accurate.
21 Q. You had an opportunity to hear Mile Petrovic's testimony which
22 took place during the deliberation on your sentence, and you heard him
23 refute that?
24 A. Yes, I did.
25 Q. Do you think that he did not tell the truth then when he
1 testified here?
3 (redacted) with regard to
4 this incident they confirmed in principle. Of course, not in the same
5 language and the same phrasing but the essence is totally identical
6 except the fact that he did the killing. Now, I can tell you that there
7 is not a single man, once you accuse him of murder that he would confess
8 and say, yes, I did it. They did confirm everything and I'm convinced
9 that the Trial Chamber believe that this incident did happen. And I
10 still maintain that it happened in the way how I described it and that it
11 had to do with the killing of these six men.
12 Q. On that same occasion, actually in the same paragraph, you say
13 that on the same day, that is the 13th of July, at around noon, you
14 brought Resid Sinanovic to the Bratunac Brigade and that you handed him
15 over it to Zlatko Celanovic?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Can you tell me what -- how did you explain to Celanovic while
18 you were handing over Sinanovic precisely to him of all people?
19 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the witness please
20 start his answer from the beginning.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Hold it, Mr. Nikolic. One moment, we've got
22 problems with interpretation. Could I kindly ask you to start your
23 answer fresh, please.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me clarify the whole situation
2 surrounding Sinanovic. We had information and reports that Mr. Sinanovic
3 was among those who had committed war crimes. When I arrived in Konjevic
4 Polje, members of the civilian police who were manning the check-point in
5 Konjevic Polje told me that Resid Sinanovic was in the area. After the
6 time I spent in Konjevic Polje, I took Resid Sinanovic and drove him to
7 the military police in Bratunac. I handed him over to Zlatan Celanovic,
8 and as for Zlatan Celanovic, I mentioned that in my testimony before, was
9 a lawyer, who worked in the Bratunac Brigade on the issues related to
10 filing reports, gathering evidence about crimes, and was involved to a
11 great extent in the questioning of all those who surrendered themselves
12 or defectors who were taken prisoner from Srebrenica.
13 Therefore, Zlatan Celanovic was an authorised person pursuant to
14 the brigade commanders decision to conduct investigation, gather
15 evidence, do the checks, and file criminal reports. Therefore, it was
16 absolutely logical to me to hand this man over to him and to the military
17 police who was of course supposed later on to apply the legal procedure.
18 And let me just tell you one more thing. Everything that
19 happened later on and for the sake of truth, Mr. Resid Sinanovic was not
20 killed in Bratunac, he was not maltreated, he was allowed to receive
21 visits by his friends from Bratunac, and after that, as far as I know,
22 Zlatan Celanovic transferred him personally together with other prisoners
23 to the Vuk Karadzic elementary school and he ended up in Zvornik.
24 My lawyers investigated this whole case, and all the documents
25 indicate that Resid Sinanovic was transferred to Zvornik where he got
1 wounded, then he swam across the Drina
2 in Banja Koviljaca. We handed over all these documents to the OTP,
3 Mr. McCloskey, and his team.
4 So Mr. Sinanovic ended up as a patient in a hospital in Serbia
5 Q. Thank you. We had an opportunity to hear Mr. Celanovic as well,
6 so I'm not going to ask you any more questions about this. Let's move
8 You said that both Mirko Jankovic and Mile Petrovic had confirmed
9 what you said; however, in the statement of be facts, among other things,
10 it is written about Mirko Jankovic that while coming back with the APC on
11 the 30th of July, he brought with him an amount of German marks and he
12 explained that he had received that from the police by the road. Do you
13 know that he also denied this?
14 A. Yeah, he can deny whatever he wants, I'm telling you what I saw
15 with my own eyes.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Pay a little bit more attention, because this guy
17 was a protected witness and we are effecting a redaction.
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry, it's my fault.
19 Q. [Interpretation] For example, you also mentioned the killing in
20 Kravica or that the killings in Kravica were committed by Milovan Martic
21 and Nikola Popovic among others. Are you aware that there was no
22 proceedings instituted against Nikola Popovic and that Milovan Martic was
24 A. My only task was to investigate whether any members of the
25 Bratunac Brigade took part or were present during the commission of these
1 killings. And I testified in the Martic case. I know that he was
2 acquitted. And as for the fact that no indictment was issued against
3 this other man, I really don't know. It was not up to me to decide. But
4 I did mention these individuals who were on the spot when the murder took
5 place, when the murders took place.
6 Q. In paragraph 11, you described a convoy of buses and trucks with
7 prisoners moving from Bratunac to Zvornik, and you said that it was 1 and
8 a half kilometres long convoy. Can you tell me how do you know that?
9 How do you know how long the convoy was?
10 A. Because I saw it, I saw this convoy moving on that day.
11 Actually, it was formed in Bratunac and it was on the way to Zvornik.
12 And on the road where the convoy was formed is the area from which I hail
13 and I know it very well, but that would be my rough estimate.
14 Q. You also said that you spoke with Mr. Mirko Jankovic on that same
15 day. Did he tell you that he was only in one school in Zvornik when he
16 escorted this convoy? Do you know, did he go to only one school as he
17 said or did he go to more than one schools?
18 A. As far as I can remember, I think I said that I received
19 information from Mirko Jankovic pertaining to Pilica to leaving a police
20 patrol behind, and Mirko Jankovic told me that he reached Zvornik and
21 after escorting them, he just turned his APC and went back. Believe me,
22 I never inquired anything further about that. I never asked him to tell
23 me specifically what he saw or anything of that sort. Yes, we did
24 discuss but without any detail and any specifics.
25 Q. I'm going to put to you one portion of your interview given to
1 the OTP, and it relates to your duties concerning prisoners. It's
2 contained in your interview mentioned yesterday, pages 38 and 39, among
3 other things, and I'm going to quote what you said:
4 "I said that my task was to designate locations for gathering and
5 detaining and securing prisoners."
6 What I'm interested in at the moment is, what was the basis of
7 the task given to you, or is what I have read correct and accurate? Do
8 you remember saying this?
9 A. Yes, I do. As far as I am capable, I really do my best to give
10 you answer to every question, so I worked at the staff for a period of
11 time, I have certain education, as you know. I took part in exercises
12 during peacetime. Well, it only shows that -- I should have learned what
13 the task of an intelligence security service should be in wartime.
14 I never acted, nor do I want to act now, as if I had never been
15 in war, as if I hadn't ever known what my tasks or duties were, but
16 equally, the tasks of an intelligence and security organ is what you
17 described and I'm fully aware of what it should be doing in wartime. And
18 these things are defined by an order or decision issued by a commander.
19 However, whether it is -- if it is produced in a written form or not, I
20 know what my duty is. And each organ is obliged to comply with duties
21 that are stipulated by their post per establishment.
22 Q. You mentioned an order by the commander and we'll get to that,
23 but do you recall any regulation that would oblige you to do what you
24 have just discussed, i.e., to have any sort of authority over prisoners?
25 A. I think it is regulated by the rules of service of the security
1 organ. I had an opportunity to go through the rules of service and I
2 have not come across that, that's why I'm asking you. If you want me to
3 answer this, I would have to refer to the rules and I believe I'd be able
4 to locate that in the regulations. In any case, I won't argue because I
5 don't have it with me.
6 Q. Could we perhaps find it in the rules of service of intelligence
7 organs to have contact with prisoners, gather data, maybe if you are
8 confusing the two documents?
9 A. I am not going to assert what I'm not certain of. I think that
10 prisoners are mentioned in both sets of rules, the rules of service of
11 security organs, and the rules from 1978 concerning intelligence. If I
12 had both, I'd be able to answer precisely.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The speakers must observe
14 a pause.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Mr. Zivanovic, Mr. Nikolic, please you are
16 creating problems for the interpreters, if you could kindly observe a
17 short pause between question and answer. Thank you.
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I don't know, is it the time for break or we --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: The break will be at 10 minutes to 11.00. 10
20 minutes to 11.00. And I think your time is practically up. I think you
21 better check, I'm going to check. Concentrate on important questions,
22 Mr. Zivanovic.
23 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, yes. All these questions are very important
24 for our case, sorry.
25 Q. [Interpretation] I will show you an order you had seen before.
1 It is the order for active combat, P107. It is the very order that has
2 to do the with operation in Srebrenica.
3 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Let us go to page 5. Item 10.
4 Sorry, I think it's the next page. No, no, it's there.
5 Q. Have a look at the second paragraph which says, Security organs
6 of the military police will designate the areas for prisoners of war and
7 collection of war booty. It's one or two paragraphs that we are quite
8 familiar with because we went through them on a number of occasions. Do
9 you recall this? Do you recall these two paragraphs?
10 A. Before that I wanted to say that I had not seen this order before
11 the operation. I saw it for the first time when I received it with the
12 other documents received from the Prosecution.
13 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Let us go to 1D382.
14 Q. It is the same order basically, save for a few things that were
15 put in.
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Let us go to the same page, I
17 think it was page 5.
18 Q. This is the same order, the same text, it's just that the two
19 paragraphs are crossed out, and in the upper part of the page on top,
20 there is an annotation.
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have the entire
22 top of the B/C/S shown. It says "Area of assembly of POWs," and "The
23 area of Pribicevac," and on the very top it says "And war booty." Could
24 we also have the right-hand side of the document shown, please. Yes.
25 Q. The area of Pribicevac or is the area of Pribicevac. Do you know
1 how it came about that these interventions were introduced?
2 A. I don't know. I see this document with these handwritten notes
3 for the first time.
4 Q. We had occasion to hear Mr. Trisic who appeared as witness, I
5 believe you know him, he testified on the 20th of October, 2008 at pages
6 27059, line 18, to page 27109, line 7. So as not to have to go through
7 the whole testimony, I just wanted to share this with you, he stated that
8 the changes on this document were made by you, the handwritten notes. Is
9 that so?
10 A. It should be up to you to conclude whether I as an officer of the
11 Light Infantry Brigade, and I believe this was an order from the Drina
12 Corps command, whether I would be in a position to change the contents of
13 an order signed by the corps commander, General Zivanovic, if it was
14 signed by him. We should go to the end of the order to see that. Do you
15 really think that I was such a force, such an authority there to be able
16 to change that? I'm telling you that I have no idea what this is about.
17 First of all, I was never involved in this and it is difficult
18 for me to even comprehend that type of statement.
19 Q. In other words, you claim that you did not cross the paragraphs
20 out and that you did not make the handwritten annotations on the top of
21 the page?
22 A. Let me see the handwriting. Yes.
23 Mr. Zivanovic, let me be clear, if I did not see this order, and
24 I did not since it was unavailable to me ... I'd like to see the last
25 page to see the distribution list. I am positive that I was not on the
1 list. Therefore it is certain that I did not change it and I did not
2 have the right to do that.
3 Q. This is the last page. Let us go back -- let us go to the bottom
4 of the page.
5 A. Let's see the distribution list, please. In addition to the
6 units mentioned, it was distributed to the Bratunac Light Infantry
7 Brigade, the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade was represented by Commander
8 Blagojevic. It was sent to him. There was no basis for me to make any
9 changes in the order sent to the commander by the Drina Corps command,
10 Mr. Zivanovic. I state that firmly.
11 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Let us go back to the front
12 page of the document, the first page.
13 Q. Did you know that based on this order, the Bratunac Brigade
14 issued its own order for combat activities, it is Exhibit 3085?
15 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 3025.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let us have a look at it.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC:
18 Q. [Interpretation] Are you familiar with this document?
19 A. Yes, I am. I saw it together with the other documents received
20 from the OTP.
21 Q. Is it your claim that you did not know of such an order at all
22 and that you did not have an opportunity to see it before operation
23 Srebrenica began and that you did not see it until you were detained in
24 The Hague
25 A. As I said in my previous testimony, the order compiled by the
1 Bratunac Brigade commander was not forwarded to me and I did not
2 participate in its drafting.
3 Q. In other words, you saw this order for the first time, as well as
4 the previous one, here in the Detention Unit?
5 A. That is correct. Could we please see the last page?
6 Q. Perhaps it would be wise to see the penultimate page of the
7 document as well.
8 A. Yes. The same as in the previous order. The original was sent
9 to -- now the page is gone.
10 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Excuse me, if we could go back to
11 the last page again.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, the original was to kept at
13 the archives of the brigade. It was sent to the commands of the 1st,
14 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Infantry Battalion and to the brigade Chief of Staff.
15 Q. Let us now go to the penultimate page because the issue of
16 prisoners is referred to there. You will see the third item of the
17 order. It says the area of assembly of POWs and war booty, collection is
18 the area of Pribicevac, et cetera, et cetera. You knew nothing of this?
19 A. I didn't know about the decision of my commander, that he had
20 determined that Pribicevac would be the area of collection of war booty
21 and the assembly of POWs.
22 Q. Thank you for your answer. The day before yesterday during
23 examination-in-chief, the Prosecutor showed the document of a commission
24 of the government of Serbia
25 Republika Srpska. I don't think we have the number in the transcript.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Zivanovic repeat the number, please.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Can you repeat the number, please, Mr. Zivanovic.
3 MR. ZIVANOVIC: 4477.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
5 MR. ZIVANOVIC:
6 Q. [Interpretation] You probably recall having contact with them.
7 It was in the Detention Unit?
8 A. With who?
9 Q. With members of the commission of the government of Republika
10 Srpska that was investigating -- that were investigating the crimes
11 surrounding Srebrenica?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. They put certain questions and answers were provided by you.
14 Let us go to item 5, please, of your statement.
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] it is page 9 in the B/C/S. And
16 page 8 in the English version, the second paragraph.
17 Q. You will see that, among other things, Miroslav Deronjic was
18 under the existing document superior to Dragomir Vasic. You will see
19 that at the beginning of the page?
20 A. If I may have a moment to read it. Yes, I read it.
21 Q. It also says that Miroslav Deronjic in the second stage of the
22 operation was the key person who participated in the making of all
23 decisions and was privy to all events that had to do with the civilian
24 population and POWs who had been separated in Potocari. That's what it
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now, my impression is that you didn't mention that in the
3 statement of facts. I even couldn't find anything like that in your
4 previous testimonies or interviews?
5 A. I talked and testified about what I was being asked, so if you
6 are asking me about this, I stand by it. If you need further
7 explanation, I can do that within my best ability. Why I wrote that and
8 why I think that answer --
9 Q. No, you don't have to give me explanations, I believe that this
10 is what it is. I'm just interested to know, was there any reason why
11 this was omitted from the statement of facts?
12 A. I think at least five times yesterday I told you that when I had
13 this interview with the OTP, I didn't know, nor do I know today, what was
14 and what should have been done. I'm not a lawyer. The only thing that I
15 can tell you is that I hold responsible my lawyers for failing to include
16 what they should have included in it. I know no other reason.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: We have to break now, Mr. Zivanovic, and you
18 conclude soon after we start again. 25 minutes time. Thank you.
19 --- Recess taken at 10.52 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 11.19 a.m.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Zivanovic.
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you.
23 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Nikolic, are you related to -- or were you
24 related to Mr. Deronjic?
25 A. Yes, we were. He was my brother-in-law. Actually, my cousin was
1 married to him, not my sister.
2 Q. And I assume that you were -- that you had a good relationship?
3 A. Yes, we did.
4 Q. You were in the Detention Unit here approximately the same time
5 when he was?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And as far as I could see, a very short time elapsed between your
8 plea agreement and his plea agreement; is that right?
9 A. Well, I don't know exactly when he concluded his plea agreement,
10 but you may say so.
11 Q. Within this plea agreement of Mr. Deronjic, are you aware that
12 the OTP has decided to suspend any prosecution of him for the events in
13 Srebrenica in 1995?
14 A. I don't know any details of his agreement, and I had no
15 opportunity to see it, therefore, I cannot give you an answer.
16 Q. Well, correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the
17 portion of the statement that you gave to the government of Republika
18 Srpska that we read before the break, had a significant impact on the
19 outcome of the proceedings against Mr. Deronjic when it relates to the
20 1995 events in Srebrenica?
21 A. It is not up to me to judge what would happen otherwise. I
22 really cannot offer any opinion on that.
23 Q. It is also my impression that what you wrote in this statement,
24 you have decided to do so only after the first instance harsh sentence
25 was pronounced against you. I think it was 27 years of imprisonment?
1 A. I gave this statement when I was asked. I hadn't been asked
2 anything about this previously, and I said that only at the moment when
3 they asked me about it.
4 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we please now look at 1D1378.
5 Q. It's a document or the note of -- Official Note compiled by the
6 commission of the government of the Republika Srpska relating to the
7 conversation or the interview they had with you.
8 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] So can we please move to page 2.
9 Q. As far as I can see this -- there was no audio recording of this
10 conversation because the OTP opposed that move. Do you recall that?
11 A. I don't remember what attitudes that the OTP took towards this
12 interview. I only know that I accepted to give this interview and what
13 the OTP said, I don't know.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
15 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I just want to correct a -- I'm sure
16 my friend just misread the document, but it's quite clear in the document
17 that it says that "the guard service of the Detention Unit did not allow
18 me to bring in any technical equipment because we had not asked the
19 Prosecutor's Office for permission." So -- and that is in the English at
20 the top of page 2. I am afraid I don't have the B/C/S version in front
21 of me. So I just want to --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: The version is on the monitor.
23 MR. THAYER: Okay. I just want to make sure that this excerpt is
24 being quoted accurately. As far as I know, OTP was never consulted in
25 connection with this interview. So it's not the OTP making the decision,
1 it's simply -- according to this document anyway, it's the UN Detention
2 Unit not permitting recording equipment because the OTP had not been
3 consulted in advance of the interview.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, thank you, Mr. Thayer.
5 Are you in agreement with that?
6 MR. ZIVANOVIC: No, I'll read the first paragraph of -- on this
7 page. [Interpretation] "I note that Mr. Bacon and I had planned to
8 record this conversation on the dictaphone, but the guard service of the
9 Detention Unit did not allow us to bring in any technical equipment
10 because we had not received permission for that from the Office of the
11 Prosecution of The Hague Tribunal."
12 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. But you've read that but you also have
13 a statement from the OTP as to what their position was; namely, that they
14 were never consulted. So let's proceed. I mean, it's --
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: It's not -- [overlapping speakers].
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's proceed. I mean, the Prosecution has made
17 the position clear.
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Okay, okay.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: While you have stuck to what is contained in the
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Okay.
22 Q. [Interpretation] Paragraph 2 in my opinion is much more
23 important. It says as follows:
24 "As far as the interview with Momir Nikolic is concerned, due to
25 the huge volume of the material and the facts and that the Prosecutor of
1 The Hague Tribunal had conducted an interview with the above-named that
2 lasted seven days, we suggested to him that he himself offered new
3 information that he hadn't conveyed to anyone before."
4 This is where I'm going to stop because I would like to ask you,
5 is it true that at the time you had offered to provide this commission
6 with fresh information that you hadn't conveyed to anyone else before
8 A. I don't believe so. Everything I had to say to them I told them.
9 Everything they asked me and I knew the answers, I told them, and
10 everything they asked me to write down, I submitted to them in writing.
11 So that would be my answer. Whether there was something new that went
12 beyond my interview with the OTP and they asked me about that, I really
13 cannot tell you. It was a long time ago, and after all, you have it all
14 in writing. And as for these qualifications, it is not up to me to
15 decide and on what basis they made these conclusions. You have to ask
17 Q. It says here explicitly that these people from the commission had
18 said that you volunteered to give new information that you had never
19 conveyed to anyone else. I'm just asking you about this particular
20 portion. Is it true that you volunteered to provide them with fresh
21 information that you hadn't disclosed to anyone before?
22 A. No. I can ascertain that I didn't say anything specific to them
23 that was not previously discussed either with my lawyers or with the OTP.
24 Q. Further on in this paragraph it reads as follows:
25 "Because Mr. Bacon promised him with full responsibility that if
1 these were crucial -- if this were crucial information, he can influence
2 the Appeals Chamber in sense of reducing the sentence due to his
4 Did Mr. Bacon tell you anything of that nature during that
6 A. No, I don't remember any promises being made concerning the
7 reduction of my sentence or my status. What is written here, I'm almost
8 100 per cent sure, has nothing to do what we actually discussed,
9 especially it's impossible that Mr. Bacon was the one who could help me
10 reduce my sentence. I don't recall any such thing. Please believe me.
11 Q. It is my impression that this was not an insignificant episode if
12 something like that was offered to you?
13 A. Of course, I would have remembered such a thing, such a hugely
14 significant thing that has to do with the duration of sentence and any
15 assistance, possible assistance with it. If it had happened, I would
16 have gladly told you about it. And let me add this, never during or
17 after this conversation was any assistance offered or rendered to me in
18 that sense.
19 Q. Is it fair to say then, and correct me if I'm wrong, that neither
20 you had volunteered to supply new information disclosed to anyone -- that
21 you didn't disclose to anyone beforehand, nor did Mr. Bacon promise you
22 that if you supplied fresh information, he can exert some influence and
23 achieve the reduction of your sentence because you acted in a cooperative
25 A. In my opinion, such discussions and such agreements never took
1 place. This is what I remember.
2 Q. Mr. Nikolic, it is my impression that precisely at that time one
3 piece of new information that you disclosed that was unknown before that
4 was exactly what I read to you about Mr. Deronjic, the answers that you
5 gave about the role of Mr. Deronjic in the operation of the
6 transportation of the civilians from Potocari and dealings with the
7 prisoners who were separated there. So it is my impression that this
8 would be one of those new pieces of information that you disclosed at
9 that time?
10 A. I have my comment on that, and I can assure you that what relates
11 to Mr. Deronjic, his role and his responsibility and his importance was
12 no secret to anyone at the time, and that cannot be qualified as any new
13 piece of information at the time when I had this discussion with the
14 commission. Everybody knew about that. And there's an abundance of
15 documents that testify to the fact how important Mr. Deronjic was.
16 What I said or wrote down cannot be described as new piece of
17 information that can either augment or diminish the importance of
18 Mr. Deronjic. Just look at the decision on the appointment of
19 Mr. Deronjic issued by President Karadzic, and you yourself can see what
20 it means and you can draw your own conclusion from that document, and
21 compare it to what I said to the commission.
22 Q. Do you recall if after giving the statement of facts, did you
23 offer to disclose any information to the OTP relating specifically to the
24 events in Serbia
25 A. Yes, I recall that, but I'm not sure. I don't know whether it
1 took place after the interview with the commission. That's the only
2 thing I'm not sure about. That's the timing, when was it when I
3 discussed this issue with the OTP. But it is true that I told the OTP
4 that I can, as far as I know and as far as my presence in Bratunac in
5 1992 is concerned, can provide certain information relating to the then
6 prevailing situation, but I honestly cannot tell you whether that took
7 place before my interview with the commission or after.
8 Yeah, in Bratunac where I was.
9 Q. Yes, I can tell you that happened before your interview with the
10 commission. If you wish, you can look at document 7D629, it's a letter
11 written by the OTP in which they say that your offer would become a
12 constituent part of the plea agreement?
13 A. Yes, I believe what you are saying and I can confirm that I was
14 willing and prepared to provide the information that I had.
15 Q. Very well, Mr. Nikolic, I'm going to move now to the last topic
16 that I would like to discuss with you, and shed some light on it.
17 At the very beginning we both noticed that you wanted to reach a
18 plea agreement with the OTP, not immediately when you were brought here,
19 but after certain period of time had elapsed. I have noticed that in
20 your efforts to achieve this agreement, among other things, you even
21 accepted responsibility for something that you hadn't done. One of those
22 things was that you had ordered the killings in Kravica.
23 Could you kindly please look at Exhibit 4485. That's a joint
24 submission, and I believe actually it's annex B to the joint
25 commission -- submission made together between you and the OTP.
1 A. Yes, it's all right. I know now.
2 Q. It says here that initially you wrongly stated to the OTP that
3 you had ordered the executions in Sandici and in the warehouse in Kravica
4 on the 30th of July, 1995
5 reasons behind your act?
6 A. Yes, I can. The OTP and I had lengthy discussions about numerous
7 topics and issues that related to the topic of our conversations. At one
8 point towards the end of one of these conversations, a misunderstanding
9 occurred and there was a kind of stalemate. Something happened with
10 which quite simply, I did not agree, and I could not concede that I had
11 any role in the events and in the crimes that were committed in Kravica.
12 The OTP probably, this is just my opinion, was under the impression that
13 I did take part in these events, and they insisted on it.
14 At one point, the whole agreement came into question and we were
15 nearing the end of our talks. Quite simply, I was very keen to reach
16 that agreement because I had no other way out. And slightly frustrated
17 and agitated when Mr. McCloskey asked me, did you take part in that, I
18 just said yes, yes, I did. I ordered the killing of those people.
19 That's what happened. Immediately thereafter, I asked the talks to be
20 suspended. I met with my Defence lawyers, I told them what I had done,
21 what mistake I made, that it was because of the state of mind that I was
22 in, and I asked my lawyers to tell them that I wished to apologise to the
23 OTP that I told them untruth, that what I said was false, and that I
24 wanted to apologise to them.
25 We broke for a day and then the next day we met again with the
1 OTP. I apologized to Mr. McCloskey and his team for telling them
2 something that was not true, and I reiterated my statement and I'm saying
3 it again today here that I had nothing to do with that event.
4 After that, Mr. McCloskey and his team told me that it would be
5 necessary for the sake of truth to draft an annex to the agreement in
6 which everything that happened would be described. I said that I was
7 ready to sign it because I made -- had made a mistake by saying something
8 that was not true, and then I was prepared to bear any consequences of
9 that act.
10 And this is how it ended. We continued our talks after that and
11 I did my best until the very end to speak the truth and to tell them
12 everything I knew to the best of my ability.
13 There was another problem that had to do with a photograph.
14 Initially, I admitted that it was me in that photograph, and I can tell
15 you that at that time I was really convinced that I was in that
16 photograph that was shown to me. However, my lawyers after everything
17 took place checked this photograph on the [indiscernible], found the
18 other person who was in the photograph, located him, took a statement
19 from him, and this persons name was Milo Savic. I think I'm correct. He
20 was member of a special MUP brigade in the Sandici sector. They brought
21 me proof and his statement, and my Defence lawyers handed all of that to
22 Mr. McCloskey and his team.
23 This is what actually and truly happened. I would like to say
24 once again that I'm sorry for making this mistake. I shouldn't have said
25 that I participated in something that I didn't, and that was my mistake
1 and I would like to apologise to you, too.
2 Q. You said that you did this because the OTP had insisted on
3 establishing a link between you and the events in Kravica. Now, I don't
4 understand if they insisted on that and you conceded that you had given
5 these order, then how come that so easily they accepted your denial,
6 subsequent denial? So in a nutshell, I find it a little bit odd, there
7 is some discrepancy because as you said, it was them who insisted on your
8 involvement in the crime in Kravica and then after you confessed that,
9 the following day they decided to give up on that?
10 A. You really have to ask that question of the gentleman from OTP.
11 I don't blame the OTP for what they did. They were doing their job. I
12 blame my Defence lawyers because they knew. I told them everything, the
13 whole truth about what had happened and what I had been involved in, and
14 that is contained later in my statement and in my testimony, and I don't
15 hold the OTP responsible at all. They were merely doing their job. I
16 made a mistake. I admitted to making a mistake, and I had serious
17 consequences because of that. I couldn't rectify it in any other way
18 because the mistake was there, and I was prepared to face all the
19 consequences. I suppose that that greatly contributed to my being
20 sentenced to the term of imprisonment that I was.
21 Q. Now you are saying that you are actually not blaming the OTP for
22 that, but that you are blaming your lawyers. I understand that. But I
23 also understand that you previously said that you did this because you
24 were irritated and frustrated by such an insistence on the part of the
25 OTP, and then only afterwards you notified your lawyers about what you
2 A. No, no. My lawyers were all the time with me while the
3 conversation was going on. My Defence lawyers were in the same room with
4 me and the OTP. I said after we broke the meeting, I had one day off.
5 There was a holiday here in Holland
6 in the Detention Unit on which occasion I asked them to get in touch with
7 the OTP and convey everything that I told you awhile ago.
8 Q. If I -- can you please clarify because it's totally unclear to me
9 that it was you who ordered the murder in Sandici?
10 A. That happened within the same statement and the same context.
11 That was this part or area which is close by, and it has to do with the
12 same thing.
13 Q. In late 2007 you were supposed to appear as witness in this case
14 as a Prosecution witness?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did you meet with any OTP representatives in the preparation
17 stage for that testimony?
18 A. I don't know what the status of that portion is with the
19 Prosecution, but in any case, we had contact prior to my testimony. I
20 did have contact with certain members of the Prosecution.
21 Q. Do you remember how many times you met with them?
22 A. Twice in Finland
23 Q. Did you accept to testify in this case?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you know why it was that you did not testify at the time?
1 A. It was never explained to me why I was not called to testify. We
2 talked but no one from the Prosecution ever told me what the reason was
3 behind them withdrawing me as witness. In any case, I was notified by
4 the Finnish authorities that I am no longer going to appear as a
5 Prosecution witness. As for any reasons, you should ask that of them.
6 Q. Were there any problems in terms of your arrival here? Did you
7 caution them as to any of your medical problems being a hindrance of any
9 A. All of us who are in prison have medical problems, standard
10 medical problems of inmates. I have symptoms even now. In any case, in
11 my view, medical problems are not important enough. It is true that I am
12 of better health now than then, but even then I would have been able to
13 testify. Maybe perhaps not in a long stretch, but I could have.
14 Q. In the course of those conversations, do you remember any
15 representatives of the OTP asking you for any notes of yours?
16 A. When I met with them, I think I had with me the notes I handed
17 over here in terms of proofing -- actually, in terms of my own
18 preparation. I then believed, as I do now, that it is a working document
19 and that I am under no obligation to hand it over to anyone. They did
20 not insist. I simply told them what it was about and they did not even
21 have a look at it. I did not give them the documents and they did not
22 insist. It was the same notes I handed over here.
23 Q. The same notes?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. We were notified by the OTP about the conversation you had with
1 them. In the course of proofing, it was on the 27th of September, 19th
2 of October, 2007. It is 4480, that is the exhibit number.
3 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Page 2, please. Page 2, please.
4 Q. You said -- it's not marked, but I will para-phrase in brief.
5 Among other things, you said that you accepted your responsibility for
6 the crime in Kravica because your then attorney told you that without
7 that the OTP would not conclude a plea agreement; is that correct?
8 A. That took place during a break. After I had told them that I had
9 nothing to do with that and that I didn't know what happened. My
10 attorney, Londrovic... There is one thing, this could be my attorney's,
11 Mr. Londrovic's, version of events, although I have my doubts as to
12 whether that was indeed the position of the OTP, because on numerous
13 occasions, I managed to realize that Londrovic was saying thing that was
14 good for him and that he did not want to stand up for me in order to do
15 his job. I cannot confirm that this is correct, that it was the OTP
16 position. My doubts go to Londrovic rather than to the OTP, this
17 sentence that says that the OTP put that as a precondition, otherwise
18 there would be no plea agreement. I doubt that, given that Mr. Londrovic
19 tricked me numerous times concerning what we discussed.
20 Q. Just on -- my question was different. I'm interested in whether
21 indeed you said to the OTP during the proofing sessions that you accepted
22 responsibility for the crimes in Kravica because your attorney had told
23 you that without that the OTP would not conclude a plea agreement?
24 A. That is correct.
25 Q. You will recall that you testified in the Blagojevic case on the
1 19th of September, 2003. It is 7D509. Page 1595. Line 5. You
2 mentioned the photograph, and I won't go into that anymore. I will read
3 another portion where you say:
4 "[In English] This statement I made that is in the statement
5 provided, I would like to inform the Trial Chamber that it was my
6 decision, that was an assessment that I made, and at that time I was not
7 influenced by my lawyers or by the Prosecution. No one exercised any
8 pressure on me at that time. No one exerted any pressure on me. Once
9 the agreements with the Prosecution had already advanced, I came to the
10 decision that there would be no agreement, and I really wanted to obtain
11 an agreement. I made a mistake. I admitted something I hadn't done
12 because I wanted to obtain such an agreement. I accepted responsibility
13 for something that I had not done. I accepted a great degree of
15 [Interpretation] This testimony is quite different from what you
16 have been telling us here. Can you explain why.
17 A. In essence, this is the same thing I said today. The only
18 difference being that at that time I did not want to blame neither my
19 lawyer nor anyone else for practical reasons. At the time, I had no
20 other solution. The only thing I had were Londrovic and Kirsch, the two
21 lawyers. I didn't want to explain in broad terms what had taken place.
22 And in essence, that is true. I made the decision irrespective of what
23 my lawyers said and irrespective of the OTP asking anything or not. I
24 still stand by what I said, that it was my decision, I decided on it, I
25 accepted that responsibility, and I bore the consequences of that
1 decision. It is true that this is somewhat different, that I said that
2 there was no pressure exerted at the time in the sense of anyone
3 insisting or asking of me to do that, but simply my knowledge, my
4 awareness that the talks were coming to an end was sufficient.
5 Everything I knew I said. All of the documents I had were handed over to
6 the Prosecution. I had no other way out. I had no other means of
7 defending myself. And it is true, I did care about reaching the
8 agreement. There was no other way out for me. That's the truth.
9 I reiterate, I made the decision irrespective of my lawyer,
10 irrespective of any misunderstandings with the Prosecution. It was I who
11 made the decision.
12 Q. You say in essence you don't see any difference between the
13 Blagojevic testimony and what you are telling us here?
14 A. I don't see any material difference. I simply acknowledged what
15 I had done.
16 Q. Thank you. A few months later, you were called it to testify in
17 the Kravica case before the BiH court. On that occasion, you expressly
18 stated that you did not wish to appear as a Prosecution witness. You did
19 not want to specify your reasons then. Could you do that now?
20 A. Yes, I can. I submitted the reasons to the BiH court. I
21 explained to them in writing the reasons why I did not wish to appear as
22 a Prosecution witness before a BiH court. Why was that? In the summons
23 I received in the prison in Finland
24 the BiH court to appear as a witness in the proceedings. I received a
25 similar summons while I was in the Detention Unit in Scheveningen, and I
1 responded through the Tribunal's services, letting them know what my
2 reasons were for not wishing to appear. The basic reason was because I
3 believed that I was under no obligation to appear before that court. I
4 undertook an obligation to appear as a witness of the Prosecution before
5 the Hague Tribunal and in The Hague
6 and took over that responsibility -- or, at that time, there was no BiH
7 court. The other reason was this, I am no lawyer, no jurist, but I did
8 know that in order for a BiH Prosecutor to have me appear as his witness,
9 he would have to have my consent. Also, any circumstances of my
10 testimony and contents of it would have to be explained to me previously
11 and that I should have standing contact with the Prosecution, et cetera,
12 et cetera. All of those things were not in place. I did not receive any
13 request. I did not give my consent. I was merely summoned to appear as
15 Before a court in Helsinki
16 to the BiH court, I simply did not wish to appear as a Prosecution
17 witness, although, I wished to be helpful in the shedding of light on
18 some things that I could testify to. Therefore, I said that I was
19 willing to appear as a court witness in order to be cooperative so that
20 no one could tell me, See, now he is refusing to testify. I don't know
21 whether that could cause any problems for me, perhaps not. But I simply
22 said If possible, I will appear as a court witness and I will respond to
23 your questions. Even without any preparation. I had no documents, no
24 papers based on which I could prepare myself for the testimony.
25 That is the truth behind the whole thing.
1 Q. You stated the same position in the Trbic case, and you also
2 testified before the BiH court?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. It is my impression that you were ready to testify to say what
5 you knew on that occasion. Why was it so important for you not to appear
6 as a Prosecution witness? Did you have some sort of misunderstanding
7 with them, a problem with them?
8 A. No. There were no problems with the Prosecution. You have to
9 understand that the role of a witness is an ungrateful one. No one
10 wishes to take on obligations on top of everything they already have. I
11 know that if I were to testify in one proceedings, it would just go on.
12 There would be a series of that, and each new trial would have me. I'm
13 neither of sufficient health to appear as many times, and there are some
14 other circumstances in the gaol where I am, I'm alone there without
15 anyone or anything. Without documents, without anything that I could
16 count on to have quality preparation for that type of testimony. Those
17 were my reasons. Save for the obligation I took over towards this
18 Prosecution, I did not wish to take on any new responsibilities to
19 testify before the BiH court.
20 Q. I will share with you the reasons of which we were notified by
21 the Prosecution in terms of their withdrawal of your name from the
22 witness list. It is the 2nd November, 2007.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Zivanovic please repeat the number of
24 the page.
25 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Page 17398, line 14. 2nd
1 November, 2007.
2 Q. "[In English] Mr. McCloskey: We can be in open session for this.
3 "Mr. President, as I think you are aware, about two weeks ago we
4 a proofing session with Momir Nikolic. Julian Nicholls met with him and
5 from that proofing session it has arisen that Momir Nikolic has become
6 adverse to the Prosecution's case. He made statements at that proofing
7 session that we don't believe are credible, and in reviewing his overall
8 situation, we have decided on balance to withdraw him as a witness."
9 My question is, do you agree with the view provided by the
10 Prosecution? I don't know how "adverse to the Prosecution," the phrase,
11 was interpreted to you, but I hope you understand.
12 A. So what is your question for me?
13 Q. My question is, do you agree with this position of the Prosecutor
14 concerning your attitude or position towards them?
15 A. I have neither the right nor do I wish to comment an OTP
16 assessment. What they say is their position. I responsibly state here
17 that I was never hostile to the Prosecution. I strove to be cooperative
18 in any aspect, and there's one thing that I did not agree with in the
19 plea agreement, and that is what I added in the supplemental statement.
20 This only concerns those matters which I believed could or should not be
21 ascribed to me. The way it is formulated and the words used did not
22 reflect what I had done, and my true participation in that operation.
23 Such formulations were, for example, organising an operation, assisting
24 with coordination, coordination, oversight over units, control. Those
25 were the things that I believed I did not do. They could not be ascribed
1 to me, and it is specifically a duty of commanders. To reiterate, there
2 was no adverse position to the Prosecution and whenever they deem
3 necessary for me to appear as a credible witness, I will accept since I'm
4 under that obligation.
5 As for the things we disagreed on I tried to offer rules of
6 service to the Prosecution which I did not have when I talked to them.
7 Once I got by that book when I saw what the terms really mean, I realised
8 that it was impossible. I was merely trying to avoid having to take on
9 that type of responsibility which stems from that phraseology.
10 Everything else I said in the statement, in my conversations with the
11 Prosecution, and in my testimonies I am ready to repeat to the extent
12 that I can recall. That's it.
13 Q. In other words, you gave no reason to the Prosecutor to conclude
14 that your position towards them was an adverse one or that your
15 statements were not credible?
16 A. To repeat, I do not wish to interpret what they thought. Had I
17 been invited as a witness by the Prosecution, I would have behaved the
18 same way as I did in other trials. I would try to give my maximum to
19 explain what I believe was the truth and to explain my participation.
20 Mr. Zivanovic, I would also strive to say, to tell the truth
21 about the participation of others since I do not wish to bear
22 responsibility for the things I did not have anything to do with. And to
23 add at the end, I do not wish to minimise my role. Never did I say to
24 the Prosecution and never did I think that I should try to represent
25 myself as if I were someone who knew nothing and participated in nothing.
1 I acknowledged the extent of my participation, but it should reflect my
2 true participation, and as I've always said, I'm prepared to bear the
3 consequences of the things I did.
4 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic, I have no further questions.
5 A. Thank you, Mr. Zivanovic.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer.
7 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, it may be helpful to the Chamber if I
8 could just place a couple of the events -- testimony events in
9 chronological order for the Chamber. We've heard reference to two
10 trials, and I think my friends will agree if I can just place the dates
11 of those testimony in the record so the Court has an idea of when these
12 events occurred.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, yes. Please go ahead.
14 MR. THAYER: Mr. Nikolic testified via videolink in two cases,
15 the first one was the Kravica case in the state court, that was 6th
16 February, 2008. He then testified again via videolink in the state court
17 in the Trbic trial, and that was on 1 September, 2008.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay thank you. Do you agree to that
19 Mr. Zivanovic --
20 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: And other members of the Defence teams? Thank you.
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, Your Honours.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
24 Mr. Ostojic, the break will be at 12.30.
25 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
2 Cross-examination by Mr. Ostojic.
3 Q. Good afternoon, sir. My name is John Stojic, and I represent
4 Mr. Ljubisa Beara along with my colleague Predrag Nikolic here. I'd like
5 to discuss with you what I consider to be multiple, repeated, and
6 persistent lies, half truths, and intentional omissions that you have
7 given evidence upon in other cases as well as in this case.
8 Sir, is it true that in fact when you look at the very exhibit
9 that was just immediately shown to you, tab B of your statement of facts
10 and plea agreement, you identify three particular falsehoods, as you call
11 them, or lies. One which was the identification of yourself in a
12 photograph that was untrue; two, your participation in executing orders
13 relate together the Kravica massacre; and three, your participation and
14 giving orders for the murders at Sandici. Would that be correct?
15 A. I explained all of that to Mr. Zivanovic already. And I stand by
17 Q. I'm not going to repeat it, but what I see when I look at tab B,
18 which is P4485.
19 MR. OSTOJIC: And if we can have that please placed on the screen
20 for the witness.
21 Q. I see in fact that you have two other lies within that statement
22 or declaration. Would you agree with me on that? In addition to those
23 three, so that would make it five?
24 A. You have to tell me what it is that you disagree with, and please
25 refrain from insulting me, if possible. If it is falsehood, then it is
1 falsehood, I'm prepared to answer each and every question of yours but,
2 if you insist on insulting me, I will insult you back, so I'm kindly
3 asking you not to do that. I will answer your questions, but please
4 refrain from insulting me.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ostojic, and Mr. Nikolic, one moment, please
6 and do heed my advice. Because everyone has got his own style and one's
7 style sometimes is conditioned by the experience had and particular court
8 forum. Mr. Ostojic, I suggest to you be less aggressive with the
9 witness. No one likes being called a liar. He has given an explanation
10 for good or for bad to Mr. Zivanovic as to why he made certain statements
12 And to you, Mr. Nikolic, I strongly advise to keep your cool.
13 Mr. Ostojic is here carrying a responsibility that he has towards his
14 client. He has a right to put a certain question. He has no right to
15 insult you, but again, I mean certain terms can interpreted differently
16 depending on the person who is hearing them.
17 So I suggest you keep your cool, both of you, and that you,
18 Mr. Ostojic, try to be cool as well and avoid using aggressive language.
19 MR. OSTOJIC: Fair enough.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
21 MR. OSTOJIC:
22 Q. Mr. Nikolic, would you prefer - just so that I'm clear on this -
23 that I don't use the word "lie" and instead use the word "falsehood,"
24 would that be okay? Can I use the word "falsehood" when I describe these
25 instances --
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's give this --
2 MR. OSTOJIC: Okay.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: -- go straight to the question, please.
4 MR. OSTOJIC:
5 Q. Sir, let's look at Exhibit P4485 which should be on your screen.
6 In the middle of that exhibit which you've read, and you've already
7 testified earlier this week on Tuesday, that everything on this exhibit
8 is true and accurate, you wrote, you state, and sign:
9 "I voluntarily informed my lawyers and the Prosecution that I had
10 made the false statements."
11 Do you see that? Should be approximately eight lines from the
12 beginning of the text?
13 A. What we have here is a kind of clumsy wording in my language, so
14 to speak. It says, Yes, [indiscernible] that is a Prosecutor, but there
15 was nothing for me to inform my lawyers about this because we discussed
16 this numerous times previously. I won't like to change anything, but I
17 did inform my lawyers after the fact that what I had said was not true.
18 But that was part of the package of the -- or the answers that I gave to
19 Mr. --
20 Q. And I do recall --
21 A. -- Mr. Zivanovic.
22 Q. Sorry, thank you.
23 I do recall some of your testimony just moments ago where you
24 said that it was your decision, therefore, voluntarily, a day later
25 because there was a holiday here in Holland
1 lawyers and to the Prosecution and admitted this falsehood. But what I
2 want to ask you is, do you remember in October or September of 2007 when
3 you told the Prosecutor something entirely different, and you informed
4 them, sir, that in fact it was the Prosecutor who came to you and said
5 that they had a credible witness who confirms that you were not present
6 at the Kravica warehouse massacre, and it was only at that time that you
7 indeed then admitted the truth and said you didn't participate or give
8 orders for that massacre? Do you remember telling the Prosecution that
9 at all in September or October of 2007?
10 A. I don't know the exact dates. I remember that there was
11 discussion about this formulation as you quoted it. I don't know when
12 and to whom I said that, but I do know and I remember a conversation with
13 my lawyers --
14 Q. Let me help you maybe.
15 MR. OSTOJIC: If we can have P4480 on the screen for the witness.
16 Q. Oh, sorry.
17 A. If I may finish, please. I'd like to finish my answer. I
18 remember my conversation with my lawyers that took place immediately
19 after this took place, and I remember Mr. Londrovic telling me the
20 following, Mr. Nikolic, the Prosecution has irrefutable evidence that you
21 had not taken part in that and do not crucify yourself unnecessarily.
22 End of quote. This is what I remember as regards this statement.
23 As far as the confession to the Prosecution is concerned, the
24 following day was a day off and then the day after when we met, of course
25 before that I had met with my lawyers in the Detention Unit, I admitted
1 to the Prosecutor -- Prosecution to what had happened and I told them the
2 truth, that I really actually hadn't been there.
3 Q. Slightly, with all due respect, is another version that it was
4 your lawyers who told you that there was uncontroverted evidence that you
5 did not participate in Kravica. But let's look at what the Prosecution
6 said when they met with you in 2007 October.
7 MR. OSTOJIC: And if we could have P4480 on the screen, please.
8 Or on the e-court.
9 Q. And if -- because you have some trouble with dates, just if we
10 could look at the first page and if you can see, sir, this is a
11 supplemental information sheet generated by the Office of the Prosecution
12 dated the 23rd of October, 2007, and in the first and second paragraph of
13 the body of this exhibit, it has two dates identifying that the
14 Prosecution met with you, where you're detained, on the 19th of October,
15 2007, as well as on the 27th of September, 2007. Do you recall them
16 meeting with you at or about those two dates?
17 A. Yes, I do.
18 Q. Now, if we can turn to the last page of this document -- which is
19 page -- oh, I'm sorry. The second page of the document. In English it
20 would be the last paragraph or bullet point, and specifically the very
21 last sentence in that bullet point. And I'll read it into the record so
22 that you can find it, sir, so just let me know when you found it. It
23 says -- and this is now the Prosecution, sir, identifying their
24 conversation or relaying it with you in your -- from your prison cell.
25 It says:
1 "After stating that he was responsible for Kravica, the witness
2 claims that he was told" --
3 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Ostojic, make sure the witness is following in
5 MR. OSTOJIC: And that's why I started reading it so that the
6 witness can find the spot. It's the last bullet point.
7 JUDGE KWON: It's on the monitor.
8 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE KWON: I don't think it is that important.
10 MR. OSTOJIC: It would be the next page in B/C/S. And it's --
11 you have to scroll down just slightly, it would be that paragraph there.
12 Where it starts with the bullet point "sredok [phoen]" and then it's the
13 last sentence in that paragraph.
14 Q. And, sir, let me just read it so you can follow along, but I
15 think we have it, and I'll stop halfway so that you can just tell me if
16 the Prosecution was accurate in what they wrote reflecting their
17 discussion with you:
18 "After stating that he was responsible for Kravica, the witness
19 claims that he was told one day later that there was a reliable witness
20 for the Prosecution who stated that Momir Nikolic was not at Kravica.
21 The witness then admitted the truth, that he was not at Kravica during
22 the killings."
23 Do you see that, sir?
24 A. Yes, I found it.
25 Q. Reconcile for me the differences in your view as to what happened
1 when you purportedly voluntarily informed your lawyers and the
2 Prosecution that you had made a mistake. Initially you said that it was
3 your decision and only yours, then you told us just recently now that it
4 was your lawyer who told that you there was an abundance, of -- I forget
5 the word you used, of information suggesting that you were not at
6 Kravica. Now, from this record it seems that you are informing the
7 Prosecution that your recollection is that there was one witness that the
8 Prosecution proffered which showed that you were not in Kravica. Which
9 of the three might be accurate, if at all?
10 A. Well, you have asked me a large number of questions at once. I
11 don't know if your intention was to make this issue as complicated as
12 possible. I don't want to repeat the whole story that I already told
13 about what I told Mr. Lazarevic -- I apologise, Mr. Zivanovic. However,
14 I'd like to confirm that in all these situations regarding all the
15 questions, and I don't think it's anything unusual because I spoke with
16 my lawyers on numerous occasions. I don't see anything special or
17 anything unusual here about my conversations with my lawyers and what my
18 lawyers conveyed to me after discussing things with the Prosecution
19 during the breaks.
20 Of course, I can't recall all the details. It's been a long time
21 ago, and I cannot put all this into an ideal context. I can only tell
22 you what really happened. Concerning this whole situation, my lawyers
23 and I debated these issues that you mentioned. There were some
24 misunderstandings between myself and the gentleman from the OTP about my
25 involvement or lack thereof. I claimed then and I still claim that I did
1 not participate, and why I made this confession, I already explained,
2 that my lawyers were participating in that whole process is true, that we
3 discussed all the possible scenarios, it is also true, and that is all I
4 can tell you.
5 Now, if you want me after all this time to remember every minute
6 of the conversation and every word spoken between my lawyers and me, I'm
7 not capable of doing that. If you also want me to now quote what the OTP
8 had said and to tell you what they discussed among themselves, this is
9 beyond me and that's my answer to you.
10 Q. I'm not asking you and I wouldn't put you through a memory test.
11 All I wanted to know really is, did you quote voluntarily -- you,
12 Mr. Nikolic, did you voluntarily inform the Prosecutor and your lawyers
13 that you had made these false statements? And we're talking about those
14 three, apparently, that you've identified. Did you do it voluntarily or
15 did the Prosecution convince you that you were not being fully truthful,
16 or did your lawyer tell you that there was an abundance of evidence
17 showing that you weren't at Kravica?
18 A. No. I categorically state here that I told my lawyers. After
19 all this ended, they immediately came to visit me in the Detention Unit,
20 and I told them that what I had said before was not true. There was no
21 need for me to inform my lawyers. I'm telling you again, we talked about
22 this on numerous occasions, and they knew very well that I was not
23 involved in that. My lawyers and I at the next meeting informed
24 Mr. McCloskey that that was not true. That's it.
25 Q. Before the break, if I could just ask this question, maybe you
1 could ponder it if it's going to be a long answer. If we look at 4485,
2 what I consider to be the fifth falsehood or untruth, even though you
3 signed it, is towards the bottom of that 4485, it says "neither my
4 counsel nor the Prosecution ever suggested" --
5 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Ostojic, let him follow the statement.
6 MR. OSTOJIC:
7 Q. You see that, sir. It's four lines from the bottom, it should
8 be. And let me again begin, and I'll stop halfway so that you could find
10 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
11 MR. OSTOJIC:
12 Q. "Neither my counsel nor the Prosecution ever suggested..." Do you
13 see that sentence or that portion of that sentence, sir?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And then I'll read it into the record so we have it:
16 "Neither my counsel nor the Prosecution ever suggested in any way
17 that I'd be untruthful."
18 Reconcile for me, if you will, sir, your comments and your
19 testimony about Mr. Londrovic, wherein he apparently told you, at least
20 according to the Prosecution and what you said, that you have to accept
21 responsibility for the Kravica warehouse and that unless you do so, there
22 will be no plea agreement. If it's true what you signed here that no one
23 exerted or suggested to you to be untruthful, how would you identify what
24 you claim Mr. Londrovic told you?
25 A. I can put it quite simply like this, Mr. Londrovic is my lawyer.
1 I don't know -- it's written here that there was no pressure exerted. Of
2 course there was no pressure exerted because our people have a saying
3 that for an intelligent person, even mosquitos buzzing is music. So if
4 something was suggested to me, then it was an indication and a warning to
5 me that something was going on, and that there was a certain stalemate.
6 Therefore, I don't believe that my lawyer did his job properly.
7 Let me tell you one more thing. As for the wording and the
8 drafting of this statement, I had no part in it.
9 Q. And just one -- if I can just have this question we can wrap this
10 section up. So is it true or false this statement that I read from
11 Exhibit P4485, did your counsel suggest in any way that you be
13 A. No. He didn't suggest to me to tell a falsehood. He simply told
14 me that there was a problem, whether I was involved in the events in
15 Kravica or whether I wasn't, and that that posed a problem. And that is
16 the only way I can construe this. What is more important to me in all of
17 this is that the drafting of this statement and the analysis of it is
18 something that I simply didn't have time to do because it was written and
19 I signed it on the day when I was expected to make my plea. That was a
20 crucial moment for me. It was up to my lawyers to take care about the
21 language and the wording because I am not an expert, and I admit I am not
22 an expert in legal matters, and I don't understand them.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Now -- one moment.
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE AGIUS: 25 minutes. Thank you.
1 --- Recess taken at 12.35 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 1.04. p.m.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ostojic.
4 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. Sir, am I correct that during the entire process of your plea
6 negotiation you were under and felt immense pressure?
7 A. Well, every negotiation carries difficulties with it. Throughout
8 the whole process, I felt that it was difficult, but I didn't feel under
9 pressure, you cannot say that. There were problems, sometimes major
10 problem, sometimes minor problems, some disagreements, but one cannot say
11 what you did.
12 Q. So you wouldn't categorised it as "immense pressure"; correct?
13 A. I was quite clear. It was difficult for me during these
14 negotiations, but I wouldn't qualify them as pressure.
15 Q. Let me show you again this exhibit that we left off on before the
16 break, P4480. And it's actually that same paragraph that we were looking
17 at which is page 2, the last bullet point in the English version and the
18 third page in the B/C/S that I believe we've been look at which starts
19 with "the witness" or "sredok."
20 Now, this again, sir, to refresh your recollection because we did
21 a break, is the OTP supplemental information sheet generated after their
22 two meetings with you in their place of detention, and that first
23 sentence in that bullet point it says -- did you find the bullet point,
25 A. Yes, yes, I did.
1 Q. "The witness stated that he felt immense pressure during the
2 entire process of his plea negotiations..." and then it goes on. But I
3 want to focus on this first part of the statement there. Did you or did
4 you not tell the Office of the Prosecutor that which they recorded in
5 this supplemental information sheet, or were they wrong, mistaken, or
6 simply made this up? You told that you were under "immense pressure"
7 during the entire process of the plea negotiations?
8 A. I really don't know. I will pose a counter question to you. How
9 would you feel? Would you feel it as pressure. Would you see that as a
10 problem. If you had to discuss such horrendous things and make a
11 confession to committing something that was so horrible, to me that was a
12 pressure and a burden throughout the whole period. That is why I said
13 that I felt terrible pressure throughout these negotiations.
14 And I also want to tell you and ask you to try and understand
15 this. Even now while you and I are talking, I would really like to
16 forget all of this and put all this behind. I simply don't want this to
17 be part of my everyday life. I'm trying to forget this and this is my
18 final answer. I have no other explanation. The negotiations themselves
19 were a terrible pressure and a terrible burden that I experienced in the
20 way that I did.
21 Q. With respect --
22 A. And you can interpret that anyway you like. And I have no other
23 comment on this. Throughout the whole negotiation and the confession and
24 the admitting to such terrible things was and constituted enormous
25 pressure and burden, and it's up to you to construe that in the way you
2 Q. This terrible pressure and enormous pressure and burden that you
3 were under, from whom were you receiving this from?
4 A. Yes. Well, you know what, I wasn't talking about this kind of
5 specific pressure. The very fact and the very course that these -- on
6 these negotiations and the confession, the fact that one had to face
7 something that was very ugly was pressure in itself. However, the
8 Prosecution wanted to formulate this. Even my conversations with my
9 lawyers were problematic and constituted pressure and burden because at
10 that time I had to face up to all those terrible things that had
11 happened, and you know perfectly well that in a way you yourself
12 contributed to these events, I am talking about this kind of pressure.
13 And even after the sentencing and after going into the Detention
14 Unit even now, I'm still feeling enormous pressure and I'm feeling
15 terrible. Whether you can understand this or not, I really don't know,
16 but this is what I can tell you in all honesty.
17 Q. Now, sir, is it as a result of this terrible pressure from
18 whomever, as you identified, that that is what led you to basically
19 accept responsibility for anything and everything including the Kravica
20 warehouse massacre. Would that be accurate? And if you'd like, you may
21 answer it yes or no, and then we could proceed to another line.
22 A. No. That wasn't a decisive factor for me to make such a
23 decision. The decisive factor was --
24 Q. I didn't mean to cut you off. If you want to repeat it, I think
25 you're entitled to do that, but I don't think it's necessary.
1 A. I said what I wanted to.
2 Q. If we continue to looking at that same exhibit that's on the
3 screen, and I only read the first part of that sentence and if we just
4 continue to read where we were reading:
5 "The witness stated that he felt immense pressure during the
6 entire process of his plea negotiations and that this had led him to take
7 responsibility for the Kravica killings during his plea negotiations."
8 Did you find that and do you see that, sir?
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. All I want to know from you, sir, the Prosecution said in this
11 supplemental information report, 23rd of October, 2007, when they met
12 with you, that you told them this? Is it true that you told them this?
13 Did they accurately state what you told them?
14 A. I have given a full and precise explanation of everything that
15 has to do with Kravica and I have nothing further to add to that. I told
16 you everything. How it all happened, how the negotiations went, and I
17 really have nothing to add to that.
18 Q. Then let's switch to a different topic, although somewhat related
19 involving this exhibit and others. I want to talk about what I've coined
20 the self-professed mental illness that you might be experiencing. And
21 you touched a little bit about it in your previous answers. Sir, is it
22 correct that on the 27th of September and the 19th of October, 2007, you
23 informed the Prosecution that "you strenuously complained that you were
24 mentally unfit to testify in the instant case," that is the case OTP
25 versus Popovic et al.
2 ill, and I was ill. There were a lot of problems in the prison where I'm
3 serving my sentence, and I told them then that I was really not prepared
4 to take to the stand or to give any kind of statements or testimonies,
5 and specifically I wasn't able to endure any lengthy preparations. I
6 told them I was sick, and I was sick, so if the OTP have recorded that,
7 then it's true.
8 Q. How about did you ever tell them that you were traumatised by
9 listening to your own audio of your testimony from the Blagojevic case?
10 You remember telling them that you were not only mentally unfit to
11 testify but that you were also traumatised?
12 A. Yes, I told the gentleman who came to visit me then that I simply
13 felt very bad. I did try to listen to the recorded testimonies, but I
14 told them that I felt very bad and that I wouldn't be able to continue
15 listening to it.
16 Q. Did you also inform the Office of the Prosecution during those
17 two meetings that you felt or feared that you would have a breakdown on
18 the stand if you were to come and testify?
19 A. Yes, I said so. Sorry, it was my assessment that that might
20 happen. I was extremely exhausted. I was on the edge because of the
21 circumstances in the detention. I wouldn't like to discuss this at this
22 point, but in any case, I was in poor shape.
23 Q. In fact, sir, would you agree with the Prosecution if I told you
24 that when they described you after those two meetings, that you were
25 "extremely distraught"? Would you agree with that conclusion that they
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Forgive me for asking, sir, are you willing and able to proceed
4 here today?
5 A. Yes, I'm ready today. Go ahead.
6 Q. Sir, did you tell the OTP during your two meetings with them in
7 September and October of 2007 that you felt under attack and that you had
8 been undermined and betrayed by everyone?
9 A. I did not understand, please repeat.
10 Q. During your meetings with the OTP on the 27th of September, 2007
11 and the 19th of October, 2007, did you inform the Office of the
12 Prosecution and the people that were at your detention centre, or at your
13 gaol, that you had been undermined and betrayed by everyone and that you
14 were under attack, or you felt under attack, excuse me?
15 A. I don't remember my exact words.
16 Q. Let's look at that same Exhibit, 4480. P4480. And I think it's
17 actually the very last paragraph on both documents.
18 MR. OSTOJIC: So in English it's page 3, and then in the B/C/S I
19 would ask the assistance of the Court to just show us where in e-court
20 that last paragraph is.
21 Q. And sir, it's the third sentence or so from the bottom, and I'll
22 quote -- just quote it halfway and then when you find it you tell me and
23 then we can proceed: "The witness explained that he felt under attack,
24 that he had been undermined and betrayed by everyone."
25 Just take your time and find it, and if you need I'll read it
2 A. I understand the gist of what you are talking about. I spoke
3 with the gentleman of the Prosecution about feeling cheated, and
4 primarily I had in mind the behaviour of my lawyers in the course of the
5 negotiations, drafting of documents, et cetera. That was what I wanted
6 to convey. I don't know if that was necessarily the way they understood,
7 but more or less that is what I told them.
8 Q. Well, who else, other than your lawyers who you are blaming from
9 time to time, did you feel under attack, undermined, or betrayed you,
10 because in the report it say that you felt everyone undermined and
11 betrayed you? Who else, if you can tell us, undermined and betrayed you,
12 according to you?
13 A. Don't ask me to speculate. I know the things that took place and
14 the way they were taking shape. I was discussing my lawyers, I felt
15 cheated by them, and I believe that as jurists they did not stand for my
16 interests to the extent in my view they should have and it would have
17 been necessary.
18 Q. Anyone else other than your lawyers is really what I'm asking
19 you, sir, thank you. And I apologise for interrupting you, but I did get
20 that part of your answer.
21 A. I don't know. I really can't recall any details of the
22 conversation, but in principle that was it.
23 Q. How about the Prosecution, did you feel that they betrayed you or
24 undermined you, and in fact made you into a Mladic? Did you ever tell
25 that to them? And if you want you can just look at the very next
1 sentence in that very exhibit that we are looking at.
2 A. Yes. We talked about certain words and formulations in the
3 statement. It is true that I said this. If everything was the way it
4 was written, that would mean I would be General Mladic. If you go
5 chronologically, and I thought then as I do now, that we should focus on
6 certain parts of the statement, parts of which I did not understand at
7 the time we were concluding the plea agreement. It has to do with the
8 words used in my statement. The words such as coordination, control,
9 oversight, management, and command. Those are the elements.
10 I wasn't paying attention to it during the negotiations, and I
11 thought it was the job of my lawyers. Later on when I studied that I
12 expressed my dissatisfaction with those words being put in that document,
13 and I was convinced that such things should not be ascribed to me. It
14 was in that context that I said that if all this were true, I would be at
15 the rank of General Mladic. I was no senior officer, I was a reserve
16 captain. That was the essence of it.
17 Q. You don't have to keep repeating, and I think we've heard it over
18 the last few days, that very fact that you are denying now that you were
19 coordinating or in control or command and we got that from your
20 supplemental sheet so there's no need for that. But wouldn't you agree
21 with me that in your other testimonies, in Blagojevic and others, and if
22 you'd like I can give you a cite to it probably tomorrow morning, you're
23 the one who used the words in describing your duties and responsibilities
24 of coordinator? Do you remember that at all?
25 A. It is true. I used that during testimony, but I owe you an
1 explanation as to why. Not fully understanding the word "coordination,"
2 I was simply trying to repeat what I had signed, including the
3 formulations that were included in the statement. That was the reason
4 why I used those terms, and it is true that I did.
5 Q. Okay. Now -- and we are going to try to stick with this document
6 for today, so I'd like to turn to another topic within this document. Do
7 you remember if at any time either in September or October 2007 the
8 Office of the Prosecutor had prepared a written statement or draft of a
9 statement that they wanted you to sign while they visited you in your
10 prison cell?
11 A. I don't recall any such thing. I really don't.
12 Q. Now, just to finish up on the self-professed mental illness that
13 we touched upon and then we'll go to another topic. Sir, were you ever
14 under the care of a doctor or psychiatrist or health care professional
15 who diagnosed you with any mental illness or illnesses?
16 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Mr. Nikolic, if you prefer to have any
17 of these issues relating to your health discussed in private session or
18 closed session, please let us know. And at the same time, may I ask what
19 is the relevance of this question, Mr. Ostojic?
20 MR. OSTOJIC: I think that it may go to the credibility of the
21 witness's recollection and ultimately his testimony here. If the
22 Court -- just so the Court knows, he has testified to this very issue
23 before and it was in open session, but I can move on if the Court wishes
24 me to do so.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Nikolic, do you wish to answer this?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Certainly, there is no problem.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
3 MR. OSTOJIC:
4 Q. Had you ever been diagnosed with a mental illness of any kind or
5 a nervous breakdown?
6 A. No. I'm not a mental patient, let me make that clear. In 1992
7 there were certain events. I can explain if you want me to, but in any
8 case, I was attacked by a group of volunteers.
9 Q. We can get to the facts of that. All I want to know, sir, is
10 were you hospitalised as a result of that in a neuropsychiatric hospital
11 both in Bosnia
12 need, I don't think, but if you wish, go ahead, you can explain the whole
14 A. Of course I will. After that, pursuant to the recommendations of
15 the head of the medical service, Mr. Maticic, I was sent out of Bratunac
16 since I was physically attacked. I went to Serbia. I spent two days in
17 a hospital in Sabac. If you need documents, I can show it to you. I was
18 there for two days. After that, my family came and I went to Belgrade
19 I was taking medication in Belgrade
21 To make it absolutely clear, I was on the verge of a nervous
22 breakdown because of everything that was taking place in Bratunac. But I
23 also wish to say that I'm not ashamed of it. It is only human to fall
24 ill because of all the things that were happening there. I couldn't
25 stand them, couldn't stand what was going on. After which, thank God, I
1 recovered and returned to the Bratunac Brigade.
2 If you want me, I can say all about that.
3 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... thank you.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Ostojic.
5 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you.
6 Q. And upon your return back to Bratunac after that five to six
7 months or so of convalescing in Belgrade
8 in the Territorial Defence or in the army?
9 A. When I returned, perhaps I may go wrong on the date, but I'll try
10 to be precise, I think I returned to Belgrade on the 19th of November. I
11 think, although I'm not certain. By that time in Bratunac, the brigade
12 had been formed. There was no longer any Territorial Defence, it was the
13 brigade that was in place. After awhile, say a week or a fortnight
14 later, I was assigned to the duty which I occupied until the end of the
15 war; that is to say, head of the security intelligence organ in the
16 Bratunac Brigade.
17 Q. And prior to that what was your position, sir, when you were with
18 the Territorial Defence?
19 A. I was acting as the head of the territorial municipal staff.
20 Territorial Defence municipal staff.
21 Q. Okay. And at that time when you were the head of the territorial
22 municipal staff, Miroslav Deronjic was also in Bratunac; correct?
23 A. Yes, he was.
24 Q. And just for my historical perspective, I think he was president
25 of the Crisis Staff from April 1992 up to a certain point, would that be
2 A. There are documents you can look at. I don't know exactly.
3 Q. When did, to the best of your recollection, the Crisis Staff
4 transform into being called the War Presidency?
5 A. I don't know exactly.
6 Q. Who else were members of this Crisis Staff or War Presidency
7 after April of 1992 when it was initially instituted?
8 A. You know what, I can tell you what the functions of particular
9 members were, but I don't remember their names any longer. I could use a
10 document to jog my memory, but in terms of functions, there was the
11 president of the SDS
12 of the assembly, or the speaker of the assembly, a head of the
13 Secretariat of territorial -- of national defence, the commander of the
14 staff, and I believe the head of MUP.
15 Q. We'll get to that document. Let's talk about another -- and
16 sticking with Kravica, I want to talk about a person whose name I cannot
17 reveal to you in open session, so we'll call him PW-161.
18 MR. OSTOJIC: So if I can, with the Court's permission, go into
19 private session, and with the Court's permission if I can identify the
20 witness to him, then I'll do so.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session.
22 [Private session]
11 Page 33126 redacted. Private session.
15 [Open session]
16 MR. OSTOJIC:
22 A. Yes.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Judge Kwon is right, we need to redact your
25 question, and our suggestion is that we go back to private session and
1 continue until you finish this matter in private session.
2 MR. OSTOJIC: Mr. President, if I can just have a clarification
3 so that I don't make the same mistake again, why is it being redacted?
4 JUDGE KWON: I think you are safe to ask that question with his
5 name actually in open session, but you indicated in open session that
6 gentleman is PW-161.
7 MR. OSTOJIC: With the abundance of caution --
8 JUDGE KWON: This document is public document, and you identified
9 his pseudonym.
10 MR. OSTOJIC: I understand now.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Let's go back to private session
12 [Private session]
11 Pages 33129-33130 redacted.
18 [Open session]
19 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session.
20 MR. OSTOJIC: Yes, thank you.
21 Q. Sir, on another topic if you will, for our purposes here, back in
22 1995, could you please describe the relationship, if any, between Dragan
23 Mrkovic and Dragomir Vasic?
24 A. I don't know. Dragomir Vasic and Mrkovic, I don't know.
25 Q. Okay. Yesterday, I asked the court that I would need your notes
1 so that you can have them in front of you, the original. I would like to
2 go over some of those notes tomorrow given that we are at the close of
3 today's session, and particularly if you could look at your notes
4 relating to a person by the name of Dragan Mrkovic, and I'm going to
5 highlight for you, it's on page 3, I think, of that six-page handwritten
6 description that you give of his testimony. So would you be kind enough
7 to do that for me or at least bring the notes tomorrow so that we could
8 go over that?
9 A. I have it here. We can deal with it now.
10 Q. I am sorry, I didn't know, I didn't see it on you. Thank you.
11 Now, from what I -- in a brief cursory review of your notes that I kind
12 of had a chance to glance at, you kind of break it down into three
13 sections. One section is testimony that comes from the DutchBat or the
14 UN personnel, a second section deals with the testimony from various
15 Bosnian Muslims, in essence, and the third group of documents which you
16 provide a table of contents for is testimony or statements that you've
17 reviewed from Bosnian Serbs. Would that be generally accurate? And I
18 know there might be some exceptions to that. Is that the way you kind of
19 broke it down?
20 A. Yes. In the first part there is a number of orders, yes, more or
21 less that's it. You want to discuss this statement?
22 Q. Your notes and your comments regarding Dragan Mrkovic, and you'll
23 find that in your summary of his. It's in the middle portion, if I
24 recall, of your original binder. It looks like we are out of time, but I
25 could still help through the usher to help you find it.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: We will adjourn until tomorrow, 9.00. Thank you.
2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.
3 to be reconvened on Friday, the 24th day of April,
4 2009 at 9.00 a.m.