1 Friday, 24 April 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning. Mr. Registrar, could you call the
7 case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour. Good morning, Your
9 Honours. Good morning to everyone in and around the courtroom. This is
10 case number IT-05-88-T, the Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
11 Thank you.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. For the record, all the accused are
13 present. The presentation is complete as -- precisely as yesterday. The
14 witness is present, also his counsel, Mr. Tansey.
15 Mr. Ostojic, unless there are preliminaries, you may proceed with
16 your cross-examination.
17 Mr. Thayer.
18 MR. THAYER: Just a pre-preliminary, Mr. President. If we could
19 reserve perhaps two or three minutes at some point during the day just to
20 give the Trial Chamber an idea of some scheduling for next -- next week,
21 what we have available for the Trial Chamber.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I would suggest that we leave that till the very
23 end. In the meantime, we will have seen how far advanced we would have
24 gone with this witness.
25 Yes, Mr. Ostojic.
1 Thank you, Mr. Thayer.
2 MR. OSTOJIC: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours. Thank
4 WITNESS: MOMIR NIKOLIC [Resumed]
5 [Witnessed answered through interpreter]
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Ostojic: [Continued]
7 Q. Mr. Nikolic, yesterday we were speaking briefly about
8 Dragan Mirkovic, and in order to advance the process, let me just quote
9 what you said in several proceedings when you gave testimony before, and
10 you tell me if that's correct or not.
11 With respect to Dragan Mirkovic, you said on the
12 23rd of September, 2003, under oath, sir, that he told you that the
13 civilian bodies --
14 MR. THAYER: Sorry, could we have a transcript cite, please.
15 MR. OSTOJIC: I'm sorry. 1763, lines 15 through 17.
16 Q. You testified under oath, sir, that Mr. Mirkovic told you that
17 the civilian bodies, the civilian government requested from him to
18 provide a vehicle so that the dead bodies of the Muslims that had been
19 killed could be put away during the night. Do you remember giving that
20 testimony under oath on the 23rd of September, 2003, and do you stand by
21 it here today?
22 A. Yes, I do remember it.
23 Q. Do you stand by it here today, sir?
24 A. Yes, although I would like to ask you not to manipulate with what
25 I said.
1 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... Excuse me.
2 MR. OSTOJIC: And I'm going to ask the Court to instruct the
3 witness just to answer the question as he has.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, okay. Stop, Mr. Ostojic. We will do that.
5 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Nikolic, we've done really fine so far. If
7 there is need to protect you, we will be the ones to protect you. Don't
8 worry. We have stopped not just Mr. Ostojic but everyone else when it
9 was needed, and we will continue to do so.
10 So Mr. Ostojic.
11 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Q. Sir, one week after that sworn testimony that you stand by here
13 today, you testified again in the Blagojevic case, and under oath again,
14 sir, you said the following, and that's on page 2284, lines 8 through 11:
15 "Dragan Mirkovic told me that he was personally in charge of
16 clearing -- or, rather, transporting the bodies and digging the graves
17 and the cleansing of the terrain as a member of the civil defence unit in
18 Bratunac at the time."
19 Sir, do you remember giving that testimony under oath, and do you
20 stand by it here today?
21 A. Yes, I stand by it. I also stand by the first quote you used as
22 well as by everything I said then and what you have just quoted. In any
23 case, I feel a need to explain that in more detail, but I shall wait with
24 that until a better opportunity arises.
25 Q. The third issue I want to cover with you as to no only who gave
1 Mr. Mirkovic instructions to get a truck, who authorised him to
2 personally supervise and to take the transportation of the Muslim bodies
3 from Kravica to Glogova and to bury them ultimately. The third issue
4 with respect to this I want to cover, and that's your testimony that on
5 the 23rd of September, 2003, page 1762 for counsel, and that is all the
6 way from lines 12 to 19. You also stated that Dragan Mirkovic informed
7 you that between 80 and a hundred Muslims had been killed that night,
8 meaning the night of the 13th, in Bratunac. Do you remember giving that
9 testimony, and do you stand by that testimony today?
10 A. Yes, I stand by it, and I'm ready to explain that as well.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. Ostojic should not overlap. Thank you.
12 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you.
13 Q. Sir, when did Mr. Mirkovic tell you that he was in charge of
14 transporting and digging the bodies of the Bosnian Muslims that were
15 murdered at the Kravica massacre? When did he first tell you that?
16 A. I cannot be precise as to the time or date of that, but it was
17 not at the time as all it was was -- all of it was happening. It was
18 sometime later when we were discussing those matters. The war was over,
19 and then I had an opportunity to discuss with Mirkovic those issues. We
20 talked about the corpses, that is to say the killed people who were in
21 Kravica. To makes things clear, I'm ready to respond to each and every
22 of your questions, but we have to make a distinction between two things.
23 There were those killed, and then there were those killed -- they were
24 along the road between Sandici and Kravica and in the area of Kravica
25 itself. That should be the first thing that is clear.
1 Another thing what I had in mind when I confirmed what you quoted
2 referred to a group of people that was killed after being detained in the
3 Vuk Karadzic school, the hangar, and other buildings in that area. As
4 regards those buildings, I refer to between 80 and 100 people and the
5 information I got from Mr. Mirkovic to the effect that he was tasked by
6 the Bratunac civilian authorities, that is to say the municipal
7 president, president of the Executive Board, to have the 80 to 100 people
8 removed once he had secured a vehicle to do so and to clean that area.
9 Mirkovic Dragan told me that perhaps a year or even a year and a half
10 after the operation.
11 Q. Thank you for that. Let me try to put it in context. Did he
12 tell you this before or after you personally burned the documents from
13 the Srebrenica operation that was in your safe in May of 1996? So if we
14 were to look at a time line, did you have this conversation with
15 Mr. Mirkovic before or after you destroyed those documents?
16 A. There are documents, and you have evidence of that, that the
17 hand-over was done sometime in 1997, in March or April. I don't have
18 that with me, so I'm not sure. In any case, that was before I handed
19 over the documents from the vault of the security organ.
20 Q. But we're -- sorry, and I'll let you finish, but I'm not
21 really interested -- and we'll get to the discussion about your
22 destruction of documents, and with all due respect, just so you know,
23 without being either aggressive or rude to you. It's my understanding
24 that you burned the documents in the safe, not that you handed them over,
25 that you set fire to them. Isn't that true?
1 A. It is true.
2 Q. We will talk about -- we will talk about that a little
3 extensively in a few minutes, but all I wanted to know for this point,
4 the time line when you had this conversation with Dragan Mirkovic, when
5 he informed you about the burial of the bodies in Glogova, that he was in
6 charge of it personally, both the transportation and the burial, when he
7 told you about the 80 to a hundred Bosnian Muslims who were killed in
8 Bratunac: When did you have this discussion with him relative to the
9 time that you burned the documents from the safe at the Bratunac Brigade?
10 And from my time line, that was in May of 1996 that you did that act, so
11 when did you have this conversation with him, before or after May of
13 A. First of all, I'm not sure about the date. We can look into a
14 document that is in existence. That is not in dispute, the document of
15 my hand-over. And at the same time, I did set fire to some documents.
16 That document is in existence. I think it was in April 1997, although
17 I'm not sure. In any case, we can refer to the document.
18 The next thing I wanted to say is this: I did not receive any
19 report from Dragan Mirkovic. We merely had a conversation since we were
20 on good terms. This was no official report submitted to me by
21 Dragan Mirkovic, and he did not brief me officially. In any case, this
22 was after I had left the army. In any case, I don't know the exact date.
23 Q. Let's -- let's talk about the destruction of documents for a
24 moment. Is it true, sir, that you personally destroyed these documents?
25 A. It is true that I destroyed a portion of the documents from the
1 vault of the security organ. However, it is incorrect that I destroyed
2 any official documents kept by the security organ.
3 Q. Is it also true, sir, that you did not receive orders from anyone
4 to destroy those documents, and you did it on your own volition?
5 MR. OSTOJIC: And for counsel, you could look on page 2365 of his
6 testimony, pages -- that was the page -- lines 10 through 11.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is true that I did not receive
8 any orders to destroy documents, at least pertaining to those that I did.
9 MR. OSTOJIC:
10 Q. Is it also true, sir, that in May of 1996 when those documents
11 were destroyed by you personally that you did so because you were "afraid
12 of the consequences"?
13 A. I can accept that formulation. If I may add another sentence,
14 there were documents which in a certain way could compromise myself and
15 the Bratunac Brigade. I stated that openly, and there's nothing to be
16 disputed about that.
17 Q. And those are actually, Mr. Nikolic, your words. You said, "I
18 was afraid of the consequences," and you were afraid of the consequences
19 because the documents that you burned, destroyed, set fire to, would
20 compromise you personally and the brigade; correct?
21 A. I said so, and I testified to that effect.
22 Q. Now, on the 1st of October, 2003, when the Honourable
23 Judge Vassylenko asked you questions regarding this topic of destruction
24 of documents or spoilation of evidence, you seemed to volunteer to him in
25 one of your answers at page 2366, line 7, that the documents that you
1 destroyed included your diary, your notes, and your opinions, et cetera,
2 is the way you phrased it, and that's at line 7, counsel, 2366. Do you
3 remember giving that testimony to the Honourable Judge Vassylenko? Do
4 you think that's accurate as you sit here today that that's what you
6 A. Among other things, yes.
7 Q. And what other things are you referring to, sir?
8 A. I also said that in the vault, there were several types of
9 documents. It is difficult to explain in a single sentence. The first
10 group of documents were those kept by the intelligence security organ,
11 that is to say, myself. In the notes of hand-over, you have a list of
12 the things contained in the vault, and you have it in groups, documents
13 kept by the security organ pursuant to the rules of security organs, and
14 based on that you can see that no official document of that nature was
15 destroyed. All things that had to do with the professional expert line
16 of work were not destroyed. I told Judge Vassylenko that I destroyed
17 some notes, my diary, information sheets of sorts, and there is a set of
18 documents which I kept in the vault which were information memos I
19 received from my cooperatives in the various units without having been
20 able to verify the information contained therein.
21 For example, there was a mention of smuggling of arms involving
22 two people, one on the Serb and the other on the Muslim side. When
23 investigating, I couldn't prove those allegations. That information was
24 in the vault.
25 As the security organ and as required by the rules of service, I
1 had to destroy such documents. I was under an obligation to do so. I
2 destroyed that set of documents, as well as those which I can frankly say
3 here were all the documents that had to do with the operation of the
4 transfer of bodies from the primary to secondary graves. There were
5 working notes, then there were lists of all of the participants in that
6 operation, lists of machinery used, as well as reports on the fuel spent.
7 I had photocopied forms that we received in the Bratunac Brigade which
8 were in a large envelope that I was the custodian of. Those were the
9 papers that were destroyed. Everything else, everything that falls under
10 the title "Official documents," as you can see from the notes of the
11 hand-over were handed over to the successor. It is all in the documents.
12 Q. Now, sir, isn't it also true that in May of 1996 when you set out
13 to do this task personally without any orders to burn the documents in
14 your safe as you've described, you did it because you knew SFOR was
15 starting to commence searches for various documents within your brigade;
17 A. It's not. I -- that was done much before I destroyed the
18 documents. SFOR was engaged extensively in that area much earlier than
19 the destruction of documents occurred and the hand-over. They had a base
20 in the immediate vicinity of Bratunac. They were present round the clock
21 working on those issues. They were visiting the field, carrying out
22 checks. Therefore, your assertion does not stand.
23 Q. So is it your testimony that SFOR had nothing -- the fact that
24 SFOR was coming to the area to search for those documents had no
25 motivation for you to destroy those documents? Is that what you're
1 telling us basically? Right?
2 A. I'm not telling you that. I'm telling you simply that members of
3 SFOR had already been present there. You can understand that any which
4 way you want, but if -- if it would be favourable for you to have that as
5 a motive, then I'll agree with it.
6 Q. It's not a question of whether it's favourable. All I want is
7 finally to get you to tell me the truth, and to be very frank with you,
8 here is what you said on the 1st of October, 2003, under oath, and that's
9 approximately --not approximately, it's page 2365. The question and your
10 answer is long-winded, but nevertheless, you state here on lines 24 and
12 "I knew that what was underway was searches by the commands of
13 SFOR. I took these documents, and I destroyed them."
14 All I want to do is have you reconcile that for me, and it was my
15 impression from reading your testimony if I accepted it ever as being
16 truthful, and now what you say here, was SFOR really a motivating factor
17 in addition to you being afraid of the consequences of you personally
18 having been exposed in your brigade to what occurred in Srebrenica, or
19 did SFOR not play a role? At the end of the day, that's all we really
20 want to know, a final answer on this question.
21 A. It is only normal that it did have some influence.
22 Q. Okay.
23 A. Without the searches and raids ... the point is this: Why did
24 not destroy the documents a fortnight or a month before that? I
25 destroyed the documents on the very date of the hand-over, and it was
1 then that the opportunity arose for me to destroy everything that I did
2 not wish to turn over to my successor.
3 Q. We can spend hours talking about your motives and opportunities,
4 sir, but I just want to talk about the destruction of these documents.
5 Isn't it true, or you tell me if it's true or false, that you destroyed
6 all the documents relating to the period - meaning the Srebrenica
7 operation - before the beginning of the operation, during the operation,
8 following the operation about which you reported to the command of the
9 Drina Corps; therefore, Mr. Nikolic, you destroyed all written documents
10 and reports that were in your safe. Isn't that the truth?
11 A. How could it be? The hand-over document is there proving that
12 it's not true.
13 Q. Well, I don't know if it's true or not, but I can share with you
14 that under oath you gave sworn testimony on the 23rd of September, 2003
15 at page 1773. When Mr. McCloskey, I believe, was asking you the question
16 you gave the following answer, and that's lines 14 through 18.
17 Mr. McCloskey, he's the Prosecutor for the Office of the Prosecution that
18 led you in that case. On line 13:
19 "What kind of documents did you destroy?"
20 Answer by Mr. Nikolic, under oath, lines 14 through 18:
21 "I destroyed all the documents relating to the period, that is,
22 reports around Srebrenica before the beginning of operations, during the
23 operations, following the operations about which I reported to the
24 commander of the Drina Corps."
25 But you don't stop. You continue, Mr. Nikolic, under oath to say
1 the following on that same page, 1773, lines 17 through 18. You state:
2 "Therefore, all written documents and reports that I had in my
4 That's what you said under oath six or so years ago. Can you
5 reconcile for me or explain why you think that's not true, because in
6 fact, Mr. Nikolic, you did destroy all the documents within the safe, did
7 you not?
8 A. You can assert whatever you like. I'm telling you what I did
9 destroy, and I can confirm that and explain. The reports I had in the
10 vault -- please, you don't want to stop talking, and yet you don't want
11 me to explain. Otherwise, I'll keep completely silent. You cannot force
12 me to say a simple yes or no.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Nikolic, you don't address Mr. Ostojic. You
14 address the Judges.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My apologies, Mr. President. But
16 if Mr. Ostojic is putting a question to me without letting me to provide
17 an explanation, then I don't know why I'm here. Please allow me to
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Please go ahead. No one is stopping you, and to my
20 knowledge Mr. Ostojic did not try to stop you. Go ahead and finish your
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So this is about the report that
23 were in my safe, and they indeed referred to the period before, during,
24 and after the Srebrenica operation. These are various reports that I
25 kept in my safe. Basically, these reports are not to be handed over to
1 anyone. I didn't place them in the archives, and they remained in my
2 safe. It is true that they were inter-related and that they contained
3 information about Srebrenica, but quite simply these kind of reports are
4 not to be handed over to anyone because no one needed them. These are
5 the reports that I destroyed as well as the other documents that I
6 already mentioned. However, your claim is wrong when you say that I
7 destroyed all the documents that were in the safe. The truth is that I
8 destroyed the report pertaining to the relevant periods, the ones that
9 you mentioned.
10 MR. OSTOJIC:
11 Q. Sir, you gave testimony under oath and it was recorded by the
12 court reporters in that courthouse that you said:
13 "Therefore, all written documents and reports that I had in my
15 So I'm not surmising that, but --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, Mr. Ostojic. Now I'm going to stop you.
17 It's --
18 MR. OSTOJIC: Fair enough, I'll move on.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Come on.
20 MR. OSTOJIC: Okay.
21 Q. Now, sir, what I'd like to ask you is what else was in that safe?
22 Do you remember?
23 A. There were pistols from war booty, some jewellery, also as part
24 of the war booty. There was money from the war booty and official
25 documents of the security organ that were being kept in the safe.
1 Q. Now, when you reference the war booty specifically with respect
2 to the jewellery, as I think you called it spoils of war at one point, do
3 you remember from whom specifically you obtained those spoils of war,
4 that jewellery that was in your safe?
5 A. These were the items confiscated from the people who were
6 imprisoned. They had to hand over the money, the gold, jewellery, and
7 everything else that they had of value, and that was recorded. There was
8 also another group of people who had been transferred from Serbia to the
9 Bratunac Brigade, and along with them arrived the money and everything
10 that they had, and all of that was put into the safe. At the time of the
11 hand-over of the security organ safe, a record was made of the hand-over
12 to the corps organ, including all the valuables that were there.
13 Q. And we have that. It's reflected on Exhibit 4D687 that that
14 occurred approximately on the 4th of April, 1997. And in particular,
15 what I'd like to focus on are the prisoners that you received from Serbia
16 that came, the Bosnian Muslims that you received in late or mid-July
17 1995. Do you remember that? You have to give a verbal answer or a -- do
18 you remember that you received prisoners from Serbia in July of 1995,
19 people who left the Srebrenica and Potocari area or some area there, and
20 then they were returned back to the Bratunac Brigade, specifically to
21 you. Do you remember that?
22 A. They were not returned to me. They were first returned to the
23 border police, and that was a procedure that was a normal one at the
24 time. A number of these Muslim prisoners who were returned from Serbia
25 were sent to the border police. Some were handed over to the Bratunac
1 Brigade, and then the Bratunac Brigade police, pursuant to order of the
2 corps command, were transferred to the prisons in Knezina, Batkovici, or
3 Vlasenica. I don't remember all of those who were there.
4 Q. How do you know they were transferred to Batkovici and Vlasenica?
5 How do you remember that?
6 A. I know because Zlatko Cejanovic along with the MP commander and
7 military policeman was the person in charge of drafting the supporting
8 documents for sending these people to these facilities. I think I saw
9 lists from Batkovici and Knezina containing the names of these people,
10 and it also contains information about the origin of where these people
11 had come from.
12 Q. Did you consider this issue, because there's a record on the
13 7th of April, 1997, specifying what specific jewellery was placed in your
14 safe, and we were able to trace that jewellery to certain Bosnian Muslims
15 who were returned specifically to your custody from Serbia
16 that list, sir, were you -- did you find that to be problematic for you
17 at all with respect to your involvement in that?
18 A. I don't see anything problematic there because I absolutely had
19 no other relationship apart from maintaining contact with the border
20 police commander because he was the one who handed them over to the
21 Bratunac police, military police -- Bratunac Brigade military police. He
22 sometimes used to see me. I would sign a list of people who had been
23 handed over to the Bratunac police.
24 Q. Well, let's just quickly look, if we can, at 4D687, please. And
25 I don't want to spend too much time on this, but I just want to highlight
1 a couple of things for you and get your answer. And that would be page
2 2, but we can look at the first page, so I just want to get acquainted
3 with the document. It's a record hand-over of documents and other
5 Directing -- sir, I'm going to just quickly -- and if you do need
6 the time, please let us know, as I'm sure you will, to read the full
7 document. I want to focus on paragraph 20 for the moment.
8 A. Can I please see it?
9 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... and paragraph 20 talks
10 specifically about you, sir, personally handing over to the commission
11 certain items from the spoils of war, and then they list out six or so
12 items, and above that they list out pistols. Do you see that? Okay.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. I want to compare some of these items to other documents that
15 you've signed. So if you could just for this moment focus on number 1,
16 item number 1, which is a one gold chain, and item number 3, which says
17 "One gold men's ring," as well as item number 4, which says "four small
18 gold -- gold chains (pierced)." So these three items in mind and then
19 let's look at 4D431, please. And with all due respect, we're going to
20 focus on paragraph number 4, but I'd like Mr. Nikolic to verify that
21 that's his name that appears on the right-hand corner and that bears his
22 signature on the copy of this document, 4D431. So, sir -- thank you. I
23 wasn't sure --
24 A. Yes, yes.
25 Q. Now, focusing your attention, these are some of the people that
1 you received on the 24th of July, 1995, who were in Serbia, and then they
2 were transferred to -- or given to the border police, and the border
3 police transferred them to you; correct?
4 A. The border police transferred them to the Bratunac Brigade, and
5 this hand-over record was signed by me on behalf of the Bratunac Brigade.
6 Therefore, they were not handed over to me. They were handed over to the
7 commander of the border police. He only came to my office and asked me
8 to sign it. You have it in front of you, this list --
9 Q. I just --
10 A. -- and I said that the border police commander was also a
12 Q. I just want to match some of the people, so if you look at item
13 number 4, that person when he was brought to you had with him the three
14 items that we discussed as reflected on Exhibit 4D687, and why don't you
15 read what it says in B/C/S. If you could look, it's on the fourth line,
16 and then we could maybe go back and match it to 4D678. What does it say
17 on the fourth line that he had? It starts with 1, and then it says
18 "zlatni lanac." Do you see that? So one gold chain. Can you continue
19 reading for me? What else does it say? 1 "zlatni muski prsten," right?
20 One gold men's ring. What else?
21 A. Yes. Just a moment. Four small pierced coin, and then it says
22 ID card number, et cetera.
23 Q. This individual seems to match the person whose spoils of war you
24 had in your safe, does it not? I mean, he had one gold chain, one gold
25 men's ring, four small gold coins pierced; right?
1 A. I cannot give you an affirmative answer --
2 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
3 A. -- really. Please. Whose jewellery this is, I don't know. The
4 person who arrested them or apprehended them was the one who confiscated
5 these items and handed them over to the police with the proper record.
6 He didn't hand them over to me. What I had in the safe was what was
7 given to me for safekeeping --
8 Q. Thank you.
9 A. -- by the military police commander.
10 Q. And let's look at 4D425, please, which is another listing. Just
11 by way of example, I wanted to see where these two people were in
12 particular. Yes, 4D529 are also similar names of prisoners that you
13 received from -- that were coming from Serbia that were turned over to
14 the border and then you received them from the border, and 4D529 is
15 actually the document that bears your signature, I believe, which
16 identifies the balance of these spoils of war, and I really wanted to
17 focus on these, and we want to do it in reverse this time, these three
18 items on item -- on paragraph number 3. This person reflected on item
19 number 3, he was bearing with him, among other things, ten gold women's
20 rings of various sizes and one pearl necklace; correct? Do you see that
21 under item 3?
22 JUDGE KWON: Are we following that document?
23 MR. OSTOJIC: Yes, I think so. On the left-hand side, paragraph
24 number 3, the second to the last line, it starts with ten women's gold
25 rings --
1 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. Thank you.
2 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you.
3 Q. Do you see that, sir?
4 A. Yes, I do.
5 Q. That's the same -- that's the same items that are reflected on
6 4D687. So if we could just have 4D687, please, brought back, and that
7 would be page 2, under paragraph 20. And just, sir, if you could look at
8 under paragraph 20, numbers 2, which says one pearl necklace, and then
9 number 5, which it talks specifically about ten gold women's rings of
10 various sizes. Now, what I'm suggesting to you, sir, is that the reason
11 you find or you should find that these people that you received
12 problematic is because the Prosecution is alleging that these people on
13 the list that I've showed you, that they were not transferred to
14 Batkovici or Vlasenica but that they were killed and buried in Glogova,
15 and you know that, and that's why in your notes, which we'll look at in a
16 minute, you write with respect to this issue that it's problematic, and
17 it's at that point that you start creating this story that they were
18 transferred to Batkovici or Vlasenica. Isn't that true, sir?
19 A. No, it's not true.
20 Q. Earlier -- you earlier told us that you didn't find it
21 problematic --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Don't cut him --
23 MR. OSTOJIC: I thought he --
24 JUDGE AGIUS: -- like that. Although you're speaking English and
25 he's speaking Serbo-Croat, you understand the language, and therefore,
1 you're not allowing a pause, and you make it appear as if you are
2 interrupting straight away.
3 MR. OSTOJIC: I'll pause.
4 Q. You continue, sir. You said, no, it's not true.
5 A. No, it's not true. I didn't have enough time to go through all
6 the names, but one of the names that I spotted immediately was the name
7 of Malkic, yes, Malkic. I know this man, and I know that he is alive.
8 He is still living and working in Srebrenica. I didn't go through all
9 the names, but what I know and what was told me -- that is to say all the
10 information that I had related to what happened to these people came from
11 the MP commander and Zlatko Cejanovic. If you look at one document, you
12 will see that it was Zlatko Cejanovic, the one who drafted supporting
13 document and sending people where he did. That is what I know.
14 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
15 MR. OSTOJIC: With the Court's permission, if we could have the
16 usher give us the original of his notes so we could direct his attention
17 specifically to a passage within that, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, you may.
19 MR. OSTOJIC:
20 Q. Mr. Nikolic, we are just going to take your notes for one minute
21 and we'll return them, just so I may direct your attention to ... thank
22 you. Yes. And this is a passage in your notes that we found, although
23 we didn't have an opportunity to go through as closely as we would have
24 liked. It's under the name of a person called Dragisa Jovanovic, and
25 within, I guess, his statement or testimony, you write certain notes as
1 you do for other witnesses where you say it's important, where you assert
2 that the person has lied, or you find that there is a problem area, and
3 specifically relating to these people and the issue with respect to the
4 jewellery that was found and where those people were ultimately buried,
5 because I'll tell you, the Prosecution, even in their update from this
6 Investigator Janc, they find that this guy Halilovic was found in
7 Glogova. His body was found Glogova. But I want to talk to you about
8 this, so if you can direct your attention to this page here that's open,
9 and towards the bottom third of that page, do you see the name
10 Dragisa Jovanovic there, highlighted in yellow?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Just to put it in context, it's not immediately -- turn the next
13 page, sir, please. Again, towards the bottom third of that page, you'll
14 see that there's an asterisk which says "document" in B/C/S.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can you read that section to us all the way through and including
17 the part where it says, "Problem."
18 A. I have foreign currency --
19 Q. But slowly.
20 A. -- in my safe, and I have pistols. I asked my commander, What
21 shall I do with that? Based on the record, these items were --
22 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
23 A. -- handed over to the chief of --
24 Q. Who -- the chief of who? You said you handed over to the chief.
25 A. They were handed over to the chief of security of the
2 the statement.
3 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
4 A. Just a moment, please. So this is a quote from Dragisa's
5 statement, and we would really need to read the whole statement because
6 these are just fractions from certain pages and taken out of context, and
7 I would like to discuss this in this manner. These are just portions of
8 his statement.
9 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... I have --
10 A. This is not the full statement, and these are not complete
12 Q. And that's why I asked the question. If you could just help us
13 out, sir. No one's trying to -- we're just trying to get an issue
14 resolved here. I know that it says that, but we saw document 4D687, and
15 we know that this Mr. Dragisa Jovanovic asserted that and you wrote it
16 down. We know that those jewellery and all those items were not given to
17 the chief of security of the Drina Corps, but they were given
18 specifically to a commission. We know for sure that that commission
19 received those items on the 4th of April, 1997.
20 The next passage is what interests me. That's your opinion, is
21 it not, when it starts with the word "problem," that you found this to be
22 problematic. Those are your opinions right after that, is it not? You
23 were nodding, but I wasn't sure ...
24 A. No, no, no. The first thing, I want to make it absolutely clear,
25 what is marked with an asterisk is only a part of the statement without
1 the full context. In order for me to discuss this, I would need to have
2 the entire text. What you see as a problem is that I added a remark
3 "problem" relating to where these jewellery and other items came, and it
4 says here that they had take -- been taken over from the people who came
5 from -- back to Serbia
6 who took these items from them. It was done by the commander of the
7 military police who received them and took care of them, and also
8 Zlatko Cejanovic who was in charge of organising the transfer of these
9 people to prison. And it reads here they were -- the prisoners were
10 taken from Serbia
11 whose jewellery is listed here were transferred to Susica or Batkovici,
12 so there is nothing disputable here. This is all I know about this
14 I cannot confirm with any degree of certainty how many people
15 were where, but you can find a list of people who were in Batkovica, and
16 you can find also the names of the people who had been transferred from
17 Bratunac. That is all I know. Everything else was within the
18 jurisdiction of the military police. Zlatan Cejanovic --
19 Q. What --
20 A. -- and the brigade command. Yes, I'm finished.
21 Q. When did you make these notes, sir?
22 A. First of all, I have to explain this. These notes were a working
23 project, so to speak. There's nothing contained here that can be taken
24 as proof or evidence. These are not my words. These are excerpts from
25 the statements that I was reading and my opinions about certain things.
1 There is nothing final about this, and it doesn't reflect my ultimate
2 position. So this was just an initial phase when I was receiving
3 statements, reading them, thinking about what was going on. That's it.
4 So therefore, I do not consider this document to be any valuable
5 evidence. These are just my thoughts, and I revised my positions over
6 the time after learning new information.
7 Q. In your long-winded answer, I failed to hear when you made these
8 documents. Can you give me a date or a approximate date when you created
9 them, and if you can be concise, I would personally appreciate it.
10 A. Yes, yes. This document was created in a period that is
11 mentioned in --
12 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters kindly ask the witness to
13 repeat the answer. It was incomprehensible.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Nikolic, the interpreters didn't understand
15 what you said. If you could kindly repeat your answer.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Since there are three sets of notes
17 here, the first one contains orders and statements -- or, rather, four
18 sets with some orders, the second set contains statements of potential
19 Muslim witnesses, and the third one is, I think, relates to international
20 forces in Potocari, and the fourth set contains statement given by
21 Serbian witnesses.
22 According to the sequence of how I received them from the OTP, I
23 analysed them and made my notes, and this is how this notebook was
24 produced. And it contains my thoughts and preparations in order for me
25 to be able to present to my lawyers the things that are relevant or may
1 be irrelevant, to underline or highlight what could be crucial for my
2 defence case, because I still didn't have the decision to enter an
4 MR. OSTOJIC:
5 Q. Were these notes, then, would it be fair to say, created prior to
6 your ultimate plead of guilty and to those negotiations? So it was
7 before somewhere in May of 2003; correct?
8 A. I think so.
9 Q. Thank you. Let's move to another topic, Mr. Nikolic. Can you
10 tell us, sir, in 1995 --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Just a moment. Mr. Gosnell.
12 MR. GOSNELL: I'm sorry for interrupting my friend, and I didn't
13 want to interrupt the line of questioning, but way back on page 17, line
14 3, there was a mistranslation, I'm informed, something about the border
15 police commander also being an investigator. I don't know if this is of
16 any significance, but I just wanted to put it on record and see if my
17 friend thought it was of significance and it needed to be corrected.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Right. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Gosnell.
19 MR. OSTOJIC: We can take a look at it.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's proceed.
21 MR. OSTOJIC: It may have been a misstatement.
22 Q. Sir, can you tell us in 1995 in Bratunac, specifically the entire
23 territory of Bratunac, up until the Srebrenica operation when it started,
24 did there exist a civilian body or civilian bodies that were functioning
25 in that area that called themselves authorities in exile?
1 A. I have no clue. This is the first time I hear of it. A
2 government or authorities in exile?
3 Q. Yeah. I would have used government in exile. I'm familiar with
4 that, but specifically authorities in exile. You're really telling us
5 you have no idea what that is; right? Never heard of it before? I mean,
6 that's what you said, right, just a second ago?
7 A. A government in exile? I don't know such a government.
8 Q. Okay. Well, help me with this, then, if you don't mind. When
9 you, sir, on the 1st of October, 2003, gave sworn testimony in the
10 Blagojevic case, the Honourable Judge Vassylenko asked you a question,
11 and for my learned friend it's on page 2366, lines 15 through 17 is the
12 question to you, Mr. Nikolic. Judge -- the Honourable Judge Vassylenko's
14 "Mr. Nikolic, can you tell us what civilian bodies have
15 functioned in the municipality of Srebrenica
17 Answer by Mr. Nikolic, lines 18 through 21:
18 "In Bratunac and in the territory of Bratunac
19 operation started there were authorities that were functioning and that
20 called themselves the authorities in exile, and they had their offices in
21 Bratunac, not in Srebrenica."
22 Now, sir, you told us under oath here that you never heard of
23 that term, but you used that term and you gave sworn testimony that you
24 knew what authorities in exiles -- in exile is. Isn't that true? So my
25 question to you, sir, is what you told Judge Vassylenko in 2003 false, or
1 what is what you just uttered to this Court, that you never heard of the
2 term "authorities in exiles," false?
3 A. Your Honours, I'd like to explain. In my language, it was
4 interpreted to me as a government in exile in Bratunac. That is what
5 heard. I was confused by that at first because there was no government
6 in Bratunac.
7 Next, no one could have been exiled in 1995, but had the
8 gentleman asked me whether any representatives of the civilian
9 authorities of -- were in the area of Bratunac, I would have said yes,
10 there were Srebrenica civilian authorities representatives present in
11 Bratunac. They had their offices there, although that was not their home
12 municipality. They represented Srebrenica municipality in the territory
13 of Bratunac municipality. They were there to represent the interests of
14 all of the inhabitants of Srebrenica municipality.
15 If you deem that to be exile, then it is. I'm telling you that
16 Srebrenica authorities, representatives were in Bratunac taking care of
17 their population in the territory of Bratunac
18 That was the situation that was in the field.
19 Q. Okay. Focusing -- and I'm going to read it back just so we can
20 get it correct with the translation, and they've heard your comments on
21 that, I'm just quoting that back, and I have a question. I quote:
22 "You stated, sir, under oath in 2003 in Bratunac and in the
23 territory of Bratunac, until the operation started, there were
24 authorities that were functioning and that called themselves the
25 authorities in exile, and they had their offices in Bratunac, not in
2 All I want to do is follow up on this answer that you gave
3 previously. When were this -- when was this group or body formed,
4 this -- these authorities in exile, to the best of your knowledge?
5 A. I can tell you only approximately; sometime in May of 1992
6 perhaps. I am not sure of the time exactly, but it was in the period
7 when Srebrenica fell and the Muslim forces entered. Then both the
8 population and the authorities left the territory of Srebrenica
9 arrived in Bratunac in May or so. I don't know whether they established
10 themselves as such immediately or at a certain point, but they were in
11 Bratunac indeed.
12 Q. So this body that called themselves authorities in exile, as you
13 recall it, started somewhere - and we're not holding you to that date -
14 May of 1992 and lasted - would I be correct - until approximately July of
16 A. I really don't know until what time they existed; probably until
17 Srebrenica was liberated and they went back and orders were issued to
18 establish new authorities. I would presume that up until that time they
19 were in Bratunac and then moved to Srebrenica.
20 Q. Who were its members?
21 A. I knew some individuals, but as to the way they were elected,
22 appointed, that I don't know, and I don't know what the authorities
23 consisted of. Perhaps they followed the same principle as those in
24 Bratunac. I simply don't know.
25 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... I'm sorry.
1 A. I know some of them personally, and I know they were members of
2 those authorities, but I don't know the entire structure of the bodies.
3 Q. Okay. Keeping that in mind, sir, tell us who they were that you
4 knew personally who were members of this body that considered themselves
5 to be "authorities in exile." Like, for example, your brother-in-law
6 Miroslav Deronjic, he was a member, wasn't he?
7 A. He was not a part of their authorities between 1992 and 1995. He
8 was supposed to establish the new authorities once they returned to
9 Srebrenica. He was with the authorities in Bratunac.
10 Q. You've said on page 28, line 3, that you knew some of the
11 individuals, and then you go on to explain that you don't know exactly
12 when they were appointed, what their job -- just name the individuals for
13 us to the best of your recollection that you know were members from
14 sometime in this body called "authorities in exile." Just list them for
16 A. I will try to recall as many as I can: Dane Martic; Cvjetinovic,
17 who was the municipal SDS
18 Delivoje Sorak. I don't know. I really don't. Don't ask me to
19 speculate. I know their faces, but I no longer remember the names. If I
20 saw a list, I'd be able to tell you who they were. In any case, I
21 enumerated those that I can remember.
22 Q. Sir, let's switch the topic, then, because I don't want to make
23 you any more uncomfortable than you may be answering my questions. Let's
24 talk about the 13th of July, 1995, if you will. You gave us an overview,
25 and I summarised it somewhat. You said from the 12th to the 13th you
1 were the duty officer, but I remember - and you correct me if I'm wrong;
2 these are not questions meant to mislead you or to trick you - you went
3 to bed at about 3.00 that evening, that morning, from the 12th, 3.00 in
4 the morning, up until the 13th, and you woke up at 7.00. Do you remember
6 A. More or less, it was so.
7 Q. Now, focusing our attention from the time-period of 7.00 a.m.
8 the 13th, were you at the Bratunac headquarters throughout that entire
10 A. Which day? The 12th or --
11 Q. The 13th. Thank you for asking for clarification. The
12 13th of July, starting from 7.00 when you awoke after having slept for
13 four hours. The 13th, that day.
14 A. Yes. I was present at the brigade, although I wasn't at the
15 command all the time.
16 Q. And we know that. At one point, sir, you went on the 13th to
17 Potocari; is that correct?
18 A. Yes, it is.
19 Q. And also, at one point that day you went to the
20 Konjevic Polje-Bratunac road in Konjevic Polje; is that correct? And
21 just to help you, that's when you waited 45 minutes for General Mladic to
22 arrive. Do you remember that?
23 A. Yes, I do.
24 Q. And then -- and then you came back to the Bratunac headquarters,
25 brigade, and then after a little period of time you went back to
1 Konjevic Polje with Mirko Jankovic and with Mile Petrovic in an APC; is
2 that correct?
3 A. Yes, it is.
4 Q. And then you went back from Konjevic Polje back to the Bratunac
5 headquarters; correct?
6 A. After a while, yes.
7 Q. Well, how long? How long did it take you to drive that APC from
8 Bratunac all the way to Konjevic Polje with Mirko Jankovic and
9 Mile Petrovic?
10 A. I don't know. It's 20 kilometres from Bratunac to
11 Konjevic Polje.
12 Q. Okay. I know, but -- you can do it by car, but when you do it
13 with an APC
14 A. Of course it is slower. We were moving more slowly, but I don't
15 know exactly how much time --
16 Q. How often --
17 A. -- I needed.
18 Q. Thank you. How often would Miroslav Deronjic come to the brigade
19 headquarters, the Bratunac Brigade headquarters?
20 A. Not often.
21 Q. Did he come to the brigade headquarters on the 13th of July,
23 A. Well, whether he came -- I didn't see him, but that needn't
24 necessarily mean that he wasn't there. In any case, I didn't see him.
25 Q. Did anybody ever tell you, including Miroslav Deronjic, that he
1 went to the Bratunac Brigade headquarters on the 13th of July?
2 A. I really -- maybe there was information to that effect, but I
3 don't know. He may have arrived there. I heard something and -- but it
4 was such a long time ago that I no longer remember. I did hear that he
5 had certain problems with the telephone lines and that at a certain point
6 he came to the brigade because of that. Whether that is true or not, I
7 don't know. I did hear about that, but I don't know if it's correct. I
8 was not there to greet him. I was not with him. In any case, it was
9 supposed to have to do with the problems with the phone lines. That's
10 what I heard.
11 Q. You told us briefly that you allegedly got instruction that the
12 people from Potocari would be transported to be temporarily detained in
13 Bratunac on the 12th of July, 1995. Focusing your attention on the 13th
14 and your trips to Konjevic Polje, I know you spoke to your commander at
15 about 9.30 in the morning on the 13th of July, Colonel Blagojevic. After
16 going to -- after going to Potocari that first time, returning back to
17 the Bratunac Brigade, with whom did you have any meetings?
18 A. With Mirko Jankovic and Petrovic, the commander and --
19 Q. Just so?
20 A. -- deputy commander of the military police.
21 Q. I'm not cutting you off, sir. I'm going to give you all the time
22 you need to help us with this. That was the second trip to
23 Konjevic Polje. The first thing in the morning you did, you woke up; you
24 know that Mladic and Krstic were having a meeting. You had a meeting
25 about Blagojevic at 9.30. You head off to Potocari, and then you come
1 back to the Bratunac Brigade, and then from the Bratunac Brigade you go
2 to Konjevic Polje; correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Okay. Just sticking with at that period, and just so we're
5 clear, the meeting you're talking about with Mirko Jankovic and
6 Mile Petrovic that was the second time you went to Konjevic Polje; right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Let's stick with the first one for now, and we'll reach the
9 second one hopefully. During this first time that you went to
10 Konjevic Polje, who instructed you to go to Konjevic Polje?
11 A. No one instructed me in particular. I simply learned that during
12 that day, perhaps an hour or an hour and a half after -- later,
13 General Mladic was supposed to travel along that route. Together with a
14 military policeman, I got in a car and went there to check the safety of
15 that road. There were no particular instructions. I simply thought that
16 that would fall under my regular tasks.
17 Q. So up until this point, immediately upon leaving Bratunac
18 headquarters to go to Konjevic Polje, no one gave you the instruction to
19 do that. Did anyone instruct you to advise the people at Konjevic Polje
20 that they should transport the Bosnian Muslims that were detained to
22 A. Whether anyone told me or ordered me to, no.
23 Q. Would it be fair to say that the first time you decided to inform
24 someone to transfer the detained Bosnian Muslims from Konjevic Polje to
25 Bratunac was when you would reach the MUP check-point upon your arrival
1 at the Konjevic Polje crossroads?
2 A. No.
3 Q. When -- when did you first make the decision unilaterally to
4 transfer Bosnian Muslims who were detained in Konjevic Polje to Bratunac?
5 A. First of all, I want to say that that was not done unilaterally.
6 On the 12th already, the places where those detained were supposed to be
7 kept were known. On the 12th, in the afternoon, by that time there had
8 already been some detainees at the Vuk Karadzic school. As the security
9 intelligence organ, I was, among other things, to a certain extent -
10 since I wasn't alone in that, but I'm talking about my responsibility - I
11 was tasked with transferring those detainees to the place where a number
12 of Muslim men had already been kept. As I said in my initial testimony,
13 for a while I had contact with Dusko Jevic. He was he that I told to the
14 first time that if there were any detainees, any captured, that they
15 should be transferred to the locations where there already were some
16 detainees, and those facilities were being secured. I believe I listed
17 them before.
18 Of course, never did I dream of what the actual figures of
19 detainees will be. I did expect some, but not hundreds and up to a
20 thousand. I didn't know that would happen. This was not done of my own
21 accord. It was no decision of me alone. Simply, all of those who were
22 detained and separated were being brought there. I don't know see
23 anything illogical about that.
24 Q. Okay. You said here in your answer at page 33 that you had
25 contact with Dusko Jevic, and it was he that I told for the first time,
1 et cetera. Just so I'm clear, sir, and help me with this, are you saying
2 that the first person you told that they should transfer the Bosnian
3 Muslims who were detained in Konjevic Polje to Bratunac was Dusko Jevic?
4 A. One could say so.
5 Q. And where did you have this meeting with him? At the MUP
6 check-point at Konjevic Polje, at any other place, Bratunac?
7 A. No. Dusko Jevic was in Potocari, not along the route you
9 Q. So --
10 A. Parts of his unit were engaged in Potocari.
11 Q. So let's go back and just try to clarify this a little. The
12 morning of the 13th, 1995, you go from Bratunac headquarters to Potocari,
13 you meet Dusko Jevic, and there you tell him, what, that the detainees
14 from Konjevic Polje should be transferred to the Bratunac municipality?
15 A. We talked, and among other things Dusko Jevic said -- well, we
16 were talking about things in general. In any case, he said that part of
17 his unit or the unit he belonged to was along that road. There were no
18 orders or instructions. I wasn't in any position to order or instruct
19 Jevic. It was just a conversation in which I told him that all those who
20 would surrender or be detained along that route should be sent to
21 Bratunac. That was my comment, nothing more than that.
22 Q. And that's what I want to focus on. Your comment -- from whom
23 did you learn that "all those who would surrender or be detained along
24 that route should be sent to Bratunac?" From whom did you gather that
1 A. It was a well-known thing, sir. Everyone knew where detainees
2 should be sent to, at least as the AOR
4 Q. Well, did you, sir, instruct the MUP at the check-point of
5 Konjevic Polje-Bratunac road to send the detainees that were captured to
7 A. Yes, I did. When I arrived there and saw that there were those
8 captured, I told the members of the MUP there that transport should be
9 organised and the detained taken to Bratunac. If we are talking about my
10 first departure there, at that time there was a smaller group of
11 detainees. There were not many detainees in Konjevic Polje itself. In
12 any case, I did say to the MUP members that they should transport those
13 detainees to Bratunac. In any case, there were very few of them at that
15 Q. True or false, Mr. Nikolic: When you met Dusko Jevic, did you
16 tell him to pass an order to his units which were on the
17 Bratunac-Konjevic Polje that all the captured Muslims on this road be
18 transported to Bratunac?
19 A. Yes, it is true. I told him that if he was in contact with all
20 units that may have some detainees, that those detainees can be
21 transferred to Bratunac.
22 Q. I said to pass an order. From whom did you receive this order?
23 A. Well, maybe there was a written order, but --
24 Q. No, I only think -- because I think the translation was wrong, I
25 don't think -- and I can help you -- sir, I think the translation is
1 wrong. That's the only reason I'm interrupt -- they said that maybe
2 there was an order, but I think you were trying to say something else,
3 with all due respect, but if you could start from the beginning, and I
4 apologise for interrupting.
5 A. No. You were talking about me conveying an order. I told you
6 what I said, Dusko Jevic. I may have said something to that effect, but
7 neither then nor now do I believe I could order Dusko Jevic anything. It
8 was simply an information as to what to do with the captured, and this
9 was the normal way of communicating. I did not receive any order from
10 anyone what to do. Nobody told me, Nikolic, you are to convey this to
11 Dusko Jevic. I simply encountered him, and I thought it necessary to
12 tell him that. I didn't know that by that time he had some captured, and
13 I simply told him that they should be transferred to the area previously
14 designated for their Assembly. I believe this was a normal way of
15 communicating between two people working on the same task.
16 Q. Once you arrived in Konjevic Polje, did you give instructions or
17 direct the people there to transport the Bratunac men -- I'm sorry, the
18 Bosnian Muslim men to Bratunac? Did you give instructions, and did you
19 direct them to do so?
20 A. If you believe that it falls under instructions, the thing I told
21 them that the detainees have to be sent to Bratunac, then I can accept
22 that. The people I knew there, I told them that the captured that they
23 had can be transferred to Bratunac. Objectively speaking, in
24 Konjevic Polje, in my knowledge there were not sufficient forces or
25 facilities that can be used to secure and keep prisoners. That's why I
1 said that.
2 Q. Now, sir, just quickly, if I can ask you before the break, do you
3 remember approximately or specifically, if you do, what time you returned
4 to the Bratunac headquarters after your second trip to Konjevic Polje
5 with the APC
6 Mirko Jankovic or -- yeah, Mirko Jankovic and Mile Petrovic?
7 A. I went back in the afternoon. What I remember best would be that
8 that took place between 5.00, 5.30, 5.45, and 6.00 p.m. Please don't
9 hold me to it because it was long ago. Let's say between 5.00 and 6.00
10 on the afternoon.
11 Q. One couple -- one last question before the break, sir. From 5.00
12 up to 8.00 or let's say even 10.00, were you at the Bratunac Brigade
13 headquarters for that entire period of time? Or you tell me. I'm sorry.
14 Let me restate the question. From 5.00 or 6.00 when you claim you
15 returned to the Bratunac headquarters, how long did you stay at the
16 Bratunac headquarters?
17 A. Between one and a half hours, two hours.
18 Q. And just to clear this up. After that one and a half two hours,
19 where did you go? Where's the next place you went?
20 A. I didn't go anywhere until I received a call. I was at the
21 brigade command throughout the whole time until I received the call.
22 Q. And that's the call that you alleged happened from the
23 communications centre in which you were summoned to go see Mr. Beara in
24 the centre of Bratunac; correct?
25 A. Yes, yes.
1 Q. [Previous translation continues]... thank you. Its think it's
2 time for a break.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I think so too. How much longer do you have,
4 Mr. Ostojic?
5 MR. OSTOJIC: It's very difficult to estimate. I've really taken
6 out quite a bit. Sorry. I think an hour if I can have the Court's
7 indulgence on that. I'm not sure how long I've gone so --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: In my mind I would be very reluctant, but we'll
9 check how long you've been, and we'll come back to you after the break.
10 Thank you.
11 --- Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 11.03 a.m.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Gosnell.
14 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, I know you're going to offer an
15 opinion or give your instructions to my friend as to the amount of time
16 he may have, and just in advance of that, I thought I would let you know
17 that we will not be using three to four hours. I would expect a
18 realistic estimate at this stage is inside of two hours unless something
19 unforeseen happens.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Thank you. It doesn't really make a
21 difference in our mind. Mr. Ostojic had asked -- we had given each one
22 of you two hours. Mr. Ostojic asked for three. We are prepared, of
23 course, to grant him the three hours. You've been already two hours and
24 24 minutes. Try to stick to the three hours. If there are a few
25 leftovers and it doesn't involve much more time, we'll try and consider
1 extending it, but try to finish in three hours, please.
2 MR. OSTOJIC: I'll try my best, Mr. President.
3 Q. Sir, we were talking about the issue relating to this purported
4 call that you received to go and see Mr. Beara at the centre of town on
5 the 13th, but I had -- in my haste in getting to that topic, I omitted to
6 ask you another question which I'll go back to, and then we'll come back
7 to this topic that you've alleged.
8 Now, you said on page 35, lines 4 through 6, and we were talking
9 at that point, just to put it in context for you, how is it that you were
10 going to Potocari and Konjevic Polje on two occasions talking to the MUP
11 at the check-point then the MUP officers at Konjevic Polje to transfer
12 the detained Bosnian Muslims to Bratunac, and in essence and I know what
13 you've said, and I'm not saying you didn't say other things. You've
15 "Everyone knew where detainees should be sent to at least as the
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, do you know that there's an intercept that the Prosecution
19 had in its possession which they've declared was exculpatory under
20 Rule 68 where they capture Mr. Beara on the 13th of July, 1995, in
21 essence telling people that the detainees from Nova Kasaba should be
22 transferred to Batkovici? Do you know about that intercept?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Let me turn back now to the 13th of July, 1995, and this evening
25 -- purported communication that you received. At any time that evening
1 prior to receiving that communication was Mr. Miroslav Deronjic at the
2 Bratunac headquarters?
3 A. I didn't see Mr. Deronjic. A short while ago, I said that I
4 hadn't seen him. I didn't have any communication with him. Whether he
5 was there or not, I don't know. I want to make myself quite clear. The
6 fact that I didn't see him doesn't mean that he wasn't at the command of
7 the Bratunac Brigade, but I myself didn't see him.
8 Q. Up until that point in time, meaning when you were at the
9 Bratunac Brigade headquarters before you received this purported call
10 from the communications centre, did you know that there was going to be a
11 transfer of Bosnian Muslims held in Bratunac to another place and/or to
13 A. No, I didn't know.
14 Q. What was the code-name for the Bratunac headquarters
15 telecommunications centre? Do you remember?
16 A. I think it was Badem.
17 Q. Well, we think so, too, but I thought you would know more
18 concretely than that. Yes, it was Badem.
19 Now if we could look at Exhibit P1149A and B, B being the B/C/S
20 version which is typed out and A being the English version. And as this
21 is coming up, sir, my first question in this regard, have you ever seen
22 this intercept before or this document that identifies a conversation?
23 A. I can't tell you until I see the document.
24 Q. We're trying to get it up. Let me move to another area, and we
25 can come back to this in brief order as long as I get a signal that we've
1 found it. Okay. Sir, they're trying to get the document, and we could
2 show it to you. I have a copy, but it has some markings on it. If it
3 doesn't work, we'll use my original copy. Now, in 2004 you gave an
4 answer to questions --
5 JUDGE AGIUS: It's coming. One moment. Okay. Go ahead.
6 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead. And I apologise for the interruption,
8 but there was a technical hitch, which I think in the meantime has been
10 MR. OSTOJIC: Okay.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
12 MR. OSTOJIC:
13 Q. Mr. Nikolic, before -- can I ask you, what time was this
14 purported meeting or encounter with Mr. Beara at the centre of Bratunac
15 on the 13th of July, 1995? And in various testimony, I'll just try to
16 remind you or refresh your recollection, you said it happened at
17 approximately 8.30 p.m.
18 A. Yes. I said between 1500 hours and 8.30, and I really don't
19 remember exactly. I gave you a rough timing.
20 Q. In all your prior testimonies, you've concretely said that it was
21 approximately 8.30. Do you stand by that, or do you think that now it
22 was from 1500 hours --
23 A. Yes, I do. I stand by it.
24 Q. But let's focus on this exhibit which we have in front of us
25 which is -- purports to be an intercept that was captured on or about
1 July 13th, 1995
2 channel and a time, and then it talks about the participants, and do you
3 see the name Badem there?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And do you agree as you sit here that that's the Bratunac Brigade
6 headquarters; correct?
7 A. Yes, as far as I know.
8 Q. And this is a conversation that apparently was between
9 Mr. Deronjic and Dr. Karadzic and actually an intermediary with
10 Dr. Karadzic; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Had you seen this document ever before?
13 A. Yes, I have.
14 Q. And now do you remember reading this document and learning that
15 it was Dr. Karadzic and Deronjic who decided that the Bosnian Muslims
16 from Bratunac should be moved?
17 A. Well, I couldn't exactly deduce that they made that decision at
18 that point exactly, but they did talk about the prisoners detained in
19 Bratunac and about their fate.
20 Q. You told us, I think, in your testimony on Tuesday that at this
21 12.00 or 12.30 midnight
22 with Deronjic that he was insisting at that point that the Bosnian
23 Muslims from Bratunac be transferred to Zvornik; correct?
24 A. Yes, he was insisting on that.
25 Q. To the best of your understanding and recollection, from 8.10 -
1 which is the time that this conversation was captured - up until this
2 alleged meeting that you attended at 12.00, 12.30 p.m. on the same day,
3 given that Mr. Deronjic was insisting that the Bosnian Muslim prisoners
4 in Bratunac be transferred to Zvornik, when did you learn that
5 information for the first time?
6 A. The information that the prisoners should be transferred from
7 Bratunac to Zvornik, and that is what I heard for the first time from
8 Mr. Deronjic.
9 Q. Now, according to the document --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the name of the
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I think he mentioned Mr. Deronjic, but I stand to
13 be corrected if that's not the case.
14 You heard the information that the prisoners should be
15 transferred from Bratunac to Zvornik the first time from Mr. Deronjic,
16 didn't you?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, that's not what I said. Or
18 maybe I did. No, no. I said Colonel Beara, from Colonel Beara. If I --
19 if I said Colonel Beara, then it was a slip of the tongue.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Then you need to clarify this. The question was as
21 follows: To the best of your understanding, Mr. Nikolic, and
22 recollection, from 8.10, which was the time this conversation was
23 captured up until this alleged meeting that you said continued at 12.30
24 on the same day, given that Mr. Deronjic was insisting the Bosnian Muslim
25 prisoners in Bratunac be transferred to Zvornik, when did you learn that
1 information for the first time? And you answered, according to the
2 transcript, which you are free to correct, you answered:
3 "... information that the prisoners should be transferred from
4 Bratunac to Zvornik, and that is what I heard for the first time from
5 Mr. Deronjic."
6 Is this what you said, and is it correct?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. After the meeting with
8 Mr. Beara. That's how I understood it, and that's why I responded in
9 that way. So after the meeting with Mr. Beara and in that period between
10 20.30 when I met Mr. Beara and the next meeting which took place on the
11 premises of the SDS
12 Mr. Deronjic for the first time that he insisted that all the detainees
13 be transferred to Zvornik. However, before the SDS meeting, I met with
14 Colonel Beara, and it was from him that I heard that the prisoners from
15 Bratunac should be transferred to Zvornik.
16 MR. OSTOJIC:
17 Q. Our position -- is that clear enough?
18 JUDGE AGIUS: It's clear enough if this is what he maintains, but
19 in my mind there are questions, obviously.
20 MR. OSTOJIC: There are many. But I think we could --
21 JUDGE AGIUS: And I tried to clarify what the question is because
22 previously, I don't know who was asking you the question, or in your
23 statement -- in your statement attached to your -- related to your plea
24 agreement, you had -- you had told us that there was a meeting between
25 Beara and Deronjic. You were present nearby. You're not taking part in
1 the meeting yourself, but you were present nearby and you could hear the
2 conversation, and you said that initially there was quite a heated
3 argument between the two, the argument being that Deronjic didn't want
4 the prisoners to be transferred to Bratunac or remain in Bratunac while
5 Beara seemed to be taking that position that they be kept and they be
6 taken to Bratunac in the first place.
7 What you have just answered seems to me to be exactly the
8 opposite, because what you said a minute ago, line 7 on the previous
9 page, page 44:
10 Yes. After the meeting with Mr. Beara. That's how I understood
11 it, and that's why I responded in that way. So after the meeting with
12 Mr. Beara and in that period between 20.30 when I met Mr. Beara and the
13 next meeting which took place on the premises of the SDS the same
14 evening, the truth is I heard Mr. Deronjic for the first time that he
15 insisted that all detainees be transferred to Zvornik. However, before
16 the SDS
17 heard that the prisoners from Bratunac would be transferred to Zvornik."
18 In other words, at the end of this last meeting, do I take it
19 that Mr. Beara agrees, as well, that the prisoners be transferred to
20 Zvornik or not?
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Exactly. This is what you need to -- since there
23 are two meetings, you need to clarify exactly what the position obtained
24 at the very -- the occasion of the last meeting when you met with
25 Mr. Beara.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The final position regarding the
2 detainees and what I heard at the meeting after the discussion was that
3 all the prisoners should be transferred as quickly as possible from
4 Bratunac, and I explained the reasons for this position, and the reason
5 was because there were thousands of people in Bratunac, in the streets,
6 in the buses, in trucks. The school was crowded. Some people were taken
7 off the buses and killed. Therefore, there were no conditions to provide
8 security for them in Bratunac due to this complete chaos that prevailed
9 there, and ultimately all those who took part in the meeting and who were
10 engaged in this operation decided to transfer them as quickly as possible
11 towards Zvornik or to the facilities located in the area of
12 responsibilities of the Zvornik Brigade.
13 Your Honours, let me just say one more thing. There was so many
14 illogical things. There was so much confusion, all kinds of decisions,
15 arguments, misunderstandings and the like. And believe me, if I make a
16 mistake, I'm really sorry because it is difficult for me to follow all
17 this. I'm only trying to forget all this because I really had enough,
18 and I'm finding it hard to do what I'm doing here today. And if I give
19 you a wrong time or a wrong date, please understand that I am also pretty
20 tired. I will do my best to provide this testimony in the best possible
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you for that, Mr. Nikolic.
23 Mr. Ostojic.
24 MR. OSTOJIC:
25 Q. Now, if I could just follow up on some of what you said, although
1 I agree with the Court that it does seem somewhat inconsistent, and --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I didn't say inconsistent.
3 MR. OSTOJIC: I'm sorry.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I hope you are sincerely sorry.
5 MR. OSTOJIC: I thought you said inconsistent, but let me --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, I didn't.
7 MR. OSTOJIC:
8 Q. Let me ask you this: I think the Court was trying to ask you on
9 Tuesday, sir, that if you're right and if what you're telling us is the
10 truth, that you had this meeting with Mr. Beara in the centre of town and
11 that he instructed you or told you or informed you that the Bosnian
12 Muslims from Bratunac were going to be transferred to Zvornik, then if
13 you're also telling us the truth - which we dispute, respectfully - that
14 you were at this meeting being at or near or by this meeting, depends on
15 which of your prior testimonies we're going to stick with, with Deronjic
16 and purportedly Mr. Beara in the SDS
17 wanted the prisoners from Bratunac to be transferred to Zvornik, yet you
18 also add in there that Deronjic and purportedly Mr. Beara were in a
19 heated argument as to where the Bosnian Muslims should be transferred to.
20 Don't you find that somewhat illogical if what you're saying in some
21 instances is true, that Mr. Beara allegedly wanted the Bosnian Muslims
22 transferred to Zvornik, Mr. Deronjic wanted the Bosnian Muslims
23 transferred to Zvornik, yet they were arguing and had a heated
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, okay. Mr. Nikolic.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I shall be glad to respond. The
2 situation that prevailed on the 11th, 12th, and the 13th, could you
3 really believe that you could have consistent decisions about something
4 that is totally in order and that all the orders were clear and
5 consistent? It was obvious that the decisions, what to do and how to do
6 things were changed and made every ten minutes, as far as I know.
7 Instructions were pouring in. Orders were pouring in. Of course, I'm
8 not talking about written instructions, but there were telephone calls.
9 There were communications through radio communication lines, and there
10 was a huge influx of information that affected the positions and the
11 decisions on what to do next. I was trying to describe to you the
12 situation in Bratunac. There were thousands of people on the streets of
13 Bratunac. They had been brought in there from that axis, and the people
14 who were supposed to secure them had left, simply left. The battalions
15 of the Bratunac Brigade were dissolved. Everybody went home. Nobody
16 listened to anyone.
17 The same situation prevailed when it came to taking a decision
18 what to do with these people, regardless of the fact that there were many
19 people from the army, from the -- both civilian and army police, from the
20 reserve forces or people who were under work obligation, including
21 civilians armed with rifles. The situation was horrible. And as for the
22 status of these prisoners, they made different decisions every half an
23 hour, let's say. Decisions were made as to what to do with them, who was
24 going to secure them, et cetera.
25 I know that in that context there are some illogical aspects. In
1 one evening -- in one meeting, Mr. Beara wanted them to -- these
2 illogical aspects derived from the previous decisions. I am trying to do
3 my best and to help you -- help us all get at the truth and that you get
4 the picture of the situation that prevailed in Bratunac at the time. I
5 know it is very easy in hindsight to say what should have done and what
6 should have been done according to the law, but that is not what was
7 happening in reality. The situation was totally out of control in
8 Bratunac, in all aspects.
9 I tried to explain to you why and how these illogical aspects
10 appear. I am sorry if I didn't manage to explain this in the best
11 possible way and sorry for being such -- sorry for giving you such a long
13 MR. OSTOJIC:
14 Q. Yes --
15 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Ostojic, I would like the witness to repeat what
16 he said after he said, I know in that aspect there were some illogical
17 aspects. The witness said:
18 "In one evening -- in one meeting, Mr. Beara wanted them to --"
19 and we see some dots.
20 Mr. Momir Nikolic, what did you say in that context? "In one
21 evening -- in one meeting, Mr. Beara wanted them to --"
22 After that, what did you say?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said, and I stand by it, is as
24 follows: My first conversation with Mr. Beara took place in the centre
25 of the town. On that occasion, Mr. Beara conveyed an order for me for
1 all the prisoners in Bratunac to be transferred to Zvornik. What
2 happened afterwards, I can explain.
3 On that same day, that is the 13th, when I returned from Zvornik,
4 another meeting was held where I was present and heard what was being
5 said. In this meeting, Mr. Beara told Mr. Miroslav Deronjic that he had
6 instructions for the prisoners to stay in Bratunac.
7 Mr. Miroslav Deronjic, in this second meeting, insisted that all the
8 prisoners should go to the territory of Bratunac
9 Everything else I can explain further, of course, if I'm asked to do so.
10 MR. OSTOJIC: If I may proceed.
11 Q. Sir, you described the situation in Bratunac in the evening of
12 July 13th, 1995
13 also described it in other testimony that it was chaotic. It was highly
14 stressful. There were people everywhere within the town. Is that
15 accurate still today in your memory?
16 A. What I said then is something I can explain in detail further,
17 but in principle that's it.
18 Q. And basically, you said that you wanted us to get the picture,
19 and the picture that you would draw, if permitted - and we will permit
20 you to do that - is that the situation in the town of Bratunac was, as
21 we've said, chaotic. And I know you could draw other examples from it,
22 but it was a pretty crazy situation at that time, wasn't it? And we're
23 talking about July 13th, 1995
24 A. There was disorder, and I agree with you. We can absolutely call
25 it chaos.
1 Q. Well, you called it that, so let's stick with that if you don't
2 mind. Now, sir, are you telling us that you want us to believe that you
3 went in the centre of town during this most chaotic period when there
4 were people going all over the place, thousands of prisoners, various
5 people, that you met Mr. Beara in the centre of town alone, allegedly at
7 A. When I mentioned the chaos, I had in mind the evening of the
8 13th of July and that night, the whole night. I was then discussing the
9 general situation. However, that was not the same situation that we had
10 at 8.00 p.m.
11 on a large scale. The situation was chaotic in terms of security of
12 prisoners, new buses arriving, et cetera.
13 As for the town of Bratunac
14 with one main road, one Assembly building, the MUP building, and a few
15 houses. It wasn't difficult to find anyone if you wanted to in the
16 centre of town. It's no New York
17 soon as you leave any of the buildings that I mentioned, you are in the
18 centre of town. I claim absolutely that you could find anyone if they
19 wanted to be found in the centre of town.
20 Q. Describe for us what Mr. Beara looked like at this purported
21 meeting in July 13th at 8.00 or 8.30 of 1995.
22 A. Sir, I know Mr. Beara very well. If you're asking me to describe
23 his appearance then, I can tell you that he looked pretty much like any
24 other person in uniform, but this was an officer whom I knew excellently
25 well. Countless times did he come to see me in his official capacity to
1 Bratunac, and there's no need for me to describe him because I know him
2 very well. We sat together numerous times, and I can also tell you that
3 I hold him in high regard as a person. Mr. Beara, as any other soldier
4 in uniform -- well, that's how I know him.
5 Q. Here's what you told Peter McCloskey, the OTP Prosecutor, on
6 page 1743, lines 2 through 6. He asked you:
7 "Had you had any contact with Colonel Beara before meeting him
8 that night in the centre of town on this day or the day before?"
10 "No, I never had any contacts with him previously, but I did see
11 him once, I believe on the 13th, in Bratunac, but up to that point I had
12 not been in personal contact with Colonel Beara, no."
13 Do you stand by that sworn testimony, sir?
14 A. Yes, I stand by it. I still claim that I did not see Colonel
15 Beara in the course of those few days in Bratunac. We did not have any
16 contact in Bratunac during those few days. In any case, there were so
17 many officers from the Main Staff with whom I did not have any contact,
18 and yet they were in Bratunac. If you want me to be precise, given that
19 you were invoking my notes -- yes, yes, you did. You used that as
20 arguments, trying to claim something of it was true or not.
21 In great many statements, one can read that Mr. Beara was in
22 Bratunac even before that time. I don't know if that was the case. I
23 only know that I did not see him. I did not have any contact with him in
24 the course of those few days except for the 13th. As for whether he was
25 here without me seeing him, of course there is that possibility. There
1 were many others who were there, but I didn't see them or have contact
2 with. If you're asking me what I believe, I can tell you that I believe
3 Colonel Beara was in Bratunac before the 13th.
4 Q. Mr. Nikolic, let's focus on the second meeting. You're aware --
5 that's the one at about 12.30 or so at the SDS building where allegedly
6 you were near the offices of Mr. Deronjic with this purported
7 conversation that you overheard took place.
8 You're familiar, are you not, that Mr. Deronjic, during your
9 sentencing hearing, that he acknowledged that not only could he not
10 remember you, but he said that you were not at this meeting. Do you
11 remember that?
12 A. I still claim that I was not in that meeting. I remember, and I
13 stand by what I said, that I was not one of the participants.
14 Q. You just happened to be in the next room overhearing the
15 conversations; correct?
16 A. That is not correct. Mr. Beara asked me to take him to the SDS
17 office, and I did so.
18 Q. Did you make an introduction of Mr. Beara to Mr. Deronjic
20 A. I think they had known each other before that. In any case, I
21 said that that was Colonel Beara, my boss, as I used to refer to him, and
22 that's what I said.
23 Q. Do you remember having a meeting with Mr. Deronjic here at the
24 United Nations Detention Unit where he confronted you about your alleged
25 involvement or participation in this meeting in December of 2003 and
1 going into January 2004? Do you remember that he confronted you and
2 said, Look, I gave evidence. I couldn't remember that you were there,
3 and I told the Prosecution you weren't there, and I don't believe that
4 you were there. Why did you come up with this telling me and telling the
5 Prosecution that you were at that meeting?
6 Do you remember having that conversation with Mr. Deronjic at any
8 A. I don't know. I had countless conversations with Deronjic. As
9 to what he said about us discussing, I really cannot comment on that. We
10 discussed many issues. I would have preferred not to have been anywhere
11 near there, including that meeting. I would be the happiest man without
12 being present at any of the meetings, including the one of the 13th. I
13 was, however, and as far as I recall Mr. Deronjic confirmed in his
14 testimony that I was in the offices but did not participate in the
15 meeting. That's what I can recall concerning Deronjic's testimony in my
16 case on this and including this meeting.
17 Q. Yeah, but isn't it true that you told Deronjic that you weren't
18 there and that you supposedly learned about this meeting allegedly from
19 Mr. Beara at a later time? Don't you remember that?
20 A. I don't remember that, and I don't think I ever said anything to
21 that effect. I truly do not remember.
22 Q. Well, let's see -- let's see if Mr. Deronjic has it right or if
23 you do or neither of you do. If we could have P3139 on the e-court,
25 And this, sir, was during a closed session that Miroslav Deronjic
1 gave evidence on in the Blagojevic case, and at that point he's conveying
2 with Mr. McCloskey leading the charge because he was given that
3 information --
4 JUDGE AGIUS: It was in closed session?
5 MR. OSTOJIC: It was at that point, yes, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: It remains closed session.
7 MR. OSTOJIC: I thought they released it and it's open, but
8 that's fine.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer.
10 MR. OSTOJIC: It's the 19th of January, 2004, pages 6138 and
12 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I'm looking at the transcripts right
13 now. I'm trying to find that exact site, but my information is that this
14 was --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ostojic himself concedes that it was in closed
17 MR. OSTOJIC: Well, it says so on the first page of this,
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you for pointing it out to us.
20 MR. THAYER: I'm trying to confirm --
21 MR. OSTOJIC: I can explain, I think, and it was because it was
22 during the same time that Mr. Deronjic pled guilty, and they were
23 actually having some difficulty as to what portion should or should not
24 be open at that point as it may relate to Mr. Nikolic, I believe. But I
25 think it's all okay to be in public session now, but I'll proceed as the
1 Court instructs.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't agree with you that it's all okay. You're
3 jumping to conclusions. I just want to make sure whether it's still a
4 protected piece of evidence. Yes.
5 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, it is open session. It has been --
6 it has been opened. That portion has been opened.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Then we can proceed.
8 MR. OSTOJIC: And if we could have P31 --
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Ms. Nikolic.
10 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] I think that it's fine now. In the
11 transcript, it says 1335 and 1339. That's why we have the wrong document
12 on the screen, but I believe my learned friend will correct that.
13 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you. It's P --
14 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. Then check that again, Mr.
15 Thayer, and let's proceed.
16 MR. OSTOJIC: It's P3139, and we've I think put in a couple of
17 pages of that, and if you could turn to page 6 of that document, please,
18 which is in the official trial transcript dated 19th January, 2004, page
19 6138. Just so the Court can see -- page 6138. So the next two pages,
20 please. And towards the bottom on line 22, this is where it begins on
21 closed session, and if we can turn kindly to the next page. And I'm
22 going to focus our attention on line 16 through 18 of that page where
23 Mr. Deronjic on being questioned by Mr. McCloskey says:
24 "I was supposed to testify in detail about the presence of
25 Mr. Nikolic at that meeting. During my testimony at the time, I said --
1 I reiterated my position that I did not recall whether Mr. Nikolic was
2 present at that meeting or not, but I did leave a theoretical
3 possibility, more in the sphere of theory, that perhaps he could have
4 been present, but I did not register that or remember that. Of course I
5 was aware of the gravity of my testimony, and I believe that that
6 testimony had certain implications in other cases ..." et cetera.
7 Q. The next page, Mr. Nikolic, for us to focus on really begins at
8 the top, and that's where Mr. Deronjic says that he met with you at the
9 UNDU on an occasion during either Christmas or New Year's, and he
10 essentially had a conversation with you about this fact which he
11 disputed. And it goes on to say, and we can all read it from lines 11
12 and onward or from lines 1 to 23, but I want to focus it in the interest
13 of time, he says at line 10:
14 "And I told him that I would like to know the truth, that I
15 believe that it is very important, and I did not want to have the feeling
16 that I had said something that was not right. And he ..." meaning you,
17 Mr. Nikolic, "... responded at that point ..."
18 Then Mr. Deronjic goes on to say:
19 "I will try to quote him ..." you, Mr. Nikolic, "... as much as
20 be. He ..." meaning you, Mr. Nikolic, "... said: Well, I wasn't there.
21 I wasn't present in the office. I was really confused. I said ..."
22 meaning Mr. Deronjic, "... so how could you have talked about the
23 conversation that was conducted at the office, and he said ..." meaning
24 you, Mr. Nikolic, "... that the details and the gist of that conversation
25 he ..." meaning you, Mr. Nikolic, "... learned directly from Mr. Beara."
1 And it goes on, and we can give that to you, which I'm sure
2 you've reviewed because in October and September 2007 you were given all
3 these materials to look at and review in preparation for your testimony.
4 Is Mr. Deronjic being truthful here? Did you meet with him, first of
5 all, at Christmas, New Year's at the UNDU from 2003/2004 period?
6 A. The only thing I claim, that the fact that I wasn't there is not
7 true, everything else concerning Mr. Momir [as interpreted] Deronjic
8 said. It's not something that I can offer any comment on as to what he
9 thinks of that meeting. I state that I was in the offices of the SDS
10 when the meeting was taking place and that I heard what the participants
11 said. That's what I assert. I know what it was they discussed. I know
12 how the meeting developed, and I know the details to the extent I could
13 overhear. I have already testified about that, and I'm ready to repeat
14 everything I previously said concerning that meeting.
15 I also wanted to say another thing. Mr. Deronjic, Miroslav, that
16 evening, as well as your client - I'm sorry to have to say this - both of
17 them were drunk. They were not aware of the things they were saying or
18 doing. I'm sorry to have to say this, but I have to. You want me -- you
19 want to picture me as a person with amnesia. Deronjic and your client in
20 particular was drunk. He had no idea what he was doing. It wasn't the
21 first time round. It was the 50th time round. Whenever I saw him, he
22 was drunk. I can put my life on it and say -- when I say that I was
23 there. I overheard the discussion. I can repeat that. It was ugly,
24 abusive. When the whole thing was over, they sat down and continued
25 discussing things much more calmly, and again, they had a drink, both. I
1 know everything they said at the meeting. I know the details, and I know
2 what followed.
3 Q. Now, sir, you say that Mr. Beara was drunk every time that you
4 saw him allegedly. Was he also drunk according to you, sir? I don't --
5 you said something, and I didn't want to cut you off. What did you say?
6 A. I said, pardon me? I didn't hear what you said.
7 Q. I thought I heard you say "slazem se," that you agreed up to that
8 point to it. But in any event, my question is you say that Mr. Beara was
9 drunk --
10 A. No, no.
11 Q. You say that Mr. Beara was drunk every time that you saw him,
12 allegedly. Was he also drunk, sir, when you claim that you saw him at
13 8.30 in the centre of town during the chaotic period in Bratunac on the
14 13th of July, 1995?
15 A. He was always inebriated, drunk to a point. He was always
17 Q. So is that a yes to my question that at 8.30 on the 13th of July
18 in the centre of town, Mr. Beara was drunk?
19 A. No. I am not stating that. I wasn't trying to analyse him in
20 the two minutes while he was giving me the task. At this meeting,
21 however, where I was, he was very tipsy, drunk, actually, both he and
22 Nikolic [as interpreted]. After they had that fight, they finally sat
23 down and started talking more calmly but having a drink alongside that.
24 When I saw him prior to that, I did not try to analyse him. There was no
25 time. He simply said what he had. I left to do it, and that's it. I'm
1 not stating that he was drunk at 7.30 or 8.00 when I saw him.
2 Q. Well, look --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Just for the record.
4 MR. THAYER: Just to be fair to one of our accused as well.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Line 24, "Nikolic" should read "Deronjic."
6 MR. OSTOJIC:
7 Q. Sir, let's just be fair about this for one moment. You're now
8 moving the time-frame that you saw Mr. Beara purportedly in the centre of
9 Bratunac. Consistently when you've given testimony before you've already
10 said it was 8.30. Now you said maybe 8.00 to 8.30. Now you've kind of
11 moved it to 7.30, 8.00. As you sit here, can we finally have your best
12 recollection as to when you claim you saw Mr. Beara in Bratunac in the
13 centre of the town on the 13th of July, 1995?
14 A. I'm trying not to assert that I know what the exact time was
15 because I don't know. No one would be capable in such a pace of events
16 to tell you whether something took place half an hour earlier or later.
17 No one could do that. In my view, it is more important what happened or
18 whether it happened 30 minutes before or later. That's why I'm
19 intentionally not being that precise because I simply don't know what the
20 time was. However, I'm trying to picture the event the way I saw it. I
21 stand by what I said. I'm not certain about the time. It could have
22 been half an hour, three-quarters of an hour before that, or ten minutes
23 later. That's what I'm trying to say.
24 Q. And that's why I was trying to place it in a time-frame for you,
25 if it was before or after this conversation that Mr. Deronjic had with
1 Dr. Karadzic and his intermediary at 8.10 or 20.10 hundred hours on the
2 13th of July, 1995. But be that as it may, in the -- when you gave
3 answers to the commission in 2004, your handwritten answers, you write
4 on -- with respect to paragraph 5 or question 5 the following, among
5 other things. I want to read it to you. I want to see if you still
6 stand by it:
7 "The civilian authorities ..."
8 Maybe I should just -- it's on Exhibit P4477. Thank you. It's
9 on page 7 of that document, answer to question number 5. In part, you
11 "The civilian authorities played a special and central role in
12 the planning, decision-making, and organisation of the forces -- of the
13 forced relocation of the civilians from Potocari to the Muslim-controlled
14 territory Kladanj. Their decisive role in this phase was manifested from
15 the top, from President Karadzic via Miroslav Deronjic, the civilian
16 affairs commissioner who was appointed to that post on Karadzic's
17 personal order and the representatives -- representatives of the judicial
18 and executive authorities of the Bratunac and Srebrenica municipalities.
19 The authorisation and tasks of Commissioner Deronjic and the civilian
20 authorities can be seen in Karadzic's orders, which exist as evidence."
21 There's more to the answer, but I want to focus on this paragraph
22 now, just to be fair. Do you remember saying that, sir, and writing
24 A. Yes, of course.
25 Q. So when you say they played a special and central role, what do
1 you mean, that the civilian authorities played a special and central
3 A. I can explain. The information I have is the following: The
4 civilian authorities, including Miroslav Deronjic, as SDS president and
5 commissioner appointed by Mr. Karadzic; then Srbislav Davidovic who was
6 president of the Executive Board of the Municipal Assembly of Bratunac;
7 then Mr. Simic as the Assembly speaker of Bratunac; then
8 Miodrag Josipovic and Dragomir Vasic. You'll ask me why I include these
9 two in the civilian structures. In my deep belief and what I'm certain
10 of is that members of the civilian structures, including
11 Miroslav Deronjic, were the ones who had it under control and regulated
12 everything concerning the engagement of the military police, and they did
13 that with Mr. Miodrag Josipovic. Their participation [Realtime
14 transcript read in error, "partial"] and influence at such meetings and
15 everything that resulted from the authorities Mr. Deronjic had based on
16 his appointment as commissioner in and of itself provided Deronjic with a
17 lot of authority, and from that position he could even use force, police
18 force if anything needed to be done, regulated, or requested, and this
19 also entails the use of military force to resolve a problem. Therefore,
20 his influence was great.
21 There were the armed forces there, and I have in mind the
22 officers of the Main Staff and the corps command, because they jointly
23 participated in the making of all decisions concerning the status of
24 detainees, civilians, and all those in the territory of Bratunac
25 municipality. That is that in brief, and I still claim that
1 Miroslav Deronjic, the civilian authorities, and those belonging to them
2 had great influence and that to a large extent they influenced the
3 decisions that went through Miroslav Deronjic up to President Karadzic
4 and the other way around. That is what I think, and I'm certain that
5 they participated in the meetings and arrangements having to do with the
6 status of detainees, and there are, of course, documents that can
7 corroborate that.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Fauveau.
9 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, just to correct the
10 transcript. On page 61, line 10, the first word is "partial," and the
11 witness was talking about participation, participation of these people to
12 the meetings, and it wasn't "partial."
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Ostojic.
14 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you.
15 Q. Sir, also you state that Miroslav Deronjic was the superior
16 officer of the Zvornik CJB, public security centre; senior officer,
17 Dragomir Vasic. Is that correct? And it's on page 8 of the exhibit that
18 we're discussing, P4477.
19 A. Yes. Perhaps this is not a very happy solution and wording
20 because it doesn't reflect what I actually thought. What I think is that
21 during that period, Miroslav Deronjic, as the commissioner entrusted with
22 the organisation of civilian authorities in Srebrenica on the authority
23 of the president, and Mr. Vasic was in charge of setting up police forces
24 in the newly liberated municipality, that led me to believe that
25 Mr. Deronjic was superior to Mr. Vasic because setting up of civilian
1 authorities was within the remit of Mr. Deronjic. And when it comes to
2 command or military terms, I don't think that he was a superior officer
3 to Mr. Vasic in that sense.
4 Q. Well, neither were in the military at that point, I believe, but
5 nonetheless, do you remember that there was a meeting at approximately
6 8.30 on July 13th, 1995
7 removal of the Bosnian Muslims who were murdered at the Kravica
9 A. Yes, if we are referring to the same things. If not, then please
10 correct me. What I know is that sometime on the 13th this meeting took
11 place, but I cannot tell you anything more than that. I had this
12 information that that kind of meeting had taken place, but after the
13 tragedy in Kravica. Whether this meeting was held then or not, or
14 whether it was held or -- at all or not, I cannot confirm.
15 Q. Can you --
16 A. I heard the information that it was -- it happened in the public
17 security station in Bratunac.
18 Q. And I just wanted to ask you, you weren't at that meeting, were
19 you? Obviously not. Okay. Now I want --
20 A. [No interpretation]
21 Q. -- to go back to a document quickly that was covered in part
22 during your cross-examination by my learned friend Mr. -- I'm sorry,
23 Mr. Nikolic. I jumped the gun here. They didn't get your answer.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: He needs to repeat it.
25 MR. OSTOJIC: Right.
1 Q. If you want, I can restate the question just so it's clear, but
2 you can answer, sir.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: The question was:
4 "I just wanted to ask you, you weren't at that meeting, were you?
5 Obviously not."
6 Were you at that meeting or not?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I wasn't.
8 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Q. I want to turn to a document that you looked at yesterday
10 briefly, and that was 1D382. And, sir, you were given a copy, and this
11 is an order dated the 2nd of July, 1995, from the Drina Corps to the
12 Bratunac Brigade. There's a related document, just so the Court has it
13 and we have it in the record, P3025, and you remember the document and
14 the Drina Corps had some handwriting on that document and that you were
15 asked if that was your handwriting, et cetera. Do you remember that?
16 A. Yes, I do.
17 Q. My learned friends from the Office of the Prosecution were kind
18 enough to bring the original document, and I'd like with the Court's
19 permission to tender that document to you and focus your attention
20 specifically on the page where there's evidence in this case that this
21 may be your handwriting, sir, and if you could take a look at that for us
22 one more time just so that the record's clear that you looked at the
23 original document and so we could have your sworn testimony on that. And
24 we're tendering it to the -- Madam Usher, and she will focus your
25 attention on that.
1 A. [In English] Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Okay. Okay. [Interpretation] No,
2 this is not my handwriting.
3 Q. And you seem certain of that; correct?
4 A. It seems so.
5 Q. I just want to quickly, if I could, again, with the Court's
6 assistance and the assistance of the usher, put this, which is an
7 in-house document that we created after his testimony on this, just to
8 see whether or not his handwriting matches. I know it's not an official
9 handwriting expert, but we wanted to at least get a preliminary -- or
10 have his opinion on that based on at least this preliminary analysis that
11 was conducted.
12 MR. OSTOJIC: That's it, yeah. Oh, yes, please, and show it to
13 the Prosecution.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ostojic, before we decide on whether to allow
16 you to put this question as you've presented it, what do you mean by "an
17 in-house document we created after his testimony ..."?
18 MR. OSTOJIC: Yes, and I can explain that in detail. Your
19 Honour, after his testimony we were given with the Court's permission his
20 personal notes and records. We didn't learn until his testimony I
21 believe yesterday that he denied this entry on the document from the
22 Drina Corps, and what we did was had a group of the Defence staff look at
23 his handwritten notes and pick out the exact same word and just make a
24 comparison, word underneath word, based on the handwriting that was on
25 the Drina Corps document and those exact words that appear in his
1 handwritten notes that was tendered.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Listen, Mr. Ostojic, in Oric I had counsel stand up
3 and say, You know, my legal assistants - one of the girls who were -- who
4 were working with him - can copy Oric's signature to perfection. Here it
5 is. There is a page with about 10, 20 signatures.
6 So what? Let's move.
7 MR. OSTOJIC: That's fine. We can move on.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
9 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you. If I could just get the original
10 retrieved and returned to the Prosecution so that that chain of custody
11 is completed.
12 Q. Sir, I'm going to tell you this because the Court and the rules
13 here suggest that I should put my case to you. We suggest, sir, that
14 that meeting with Mr. Beara where you saw him alone in the middle of the
15 Bratunac centre at 8.00 or 8.30 or whatever time it was on July 13th,
16 1995, never happened. In fact, we brought evidence, sir, that Mr. Beara
17 was in Belgrade
18 telling us the truth, and I don't mean to insult you, but the reason
19 you're not telling us the truth is because you're bitter and angry at the
20 sentence that you received, and the first time that you ever disclosed
21 any facts in connection with Mr. Beara and these purported meetings and
22 specifically this purported meeting on the 13th of July at 8.00 or
23 8.30 p.m.
24 to say to that?
25 A. You know, sir, you have the right to think what you want to think
1 and, of course, to defend your client. What I said, I stand by it. In
2 the statements that I made lies the whole truth. Everything that you
3 said now would be all right, and I would be the happiest man in the world
4 if it hadn't happened, but it did happen. No matter how strongly you try
5 to deny that your client had any role and involvement in all this, I put
6 it to you that the involvement and the responsibility of your client in
7 this operation is ten times that of mine.
8 Why did I accept, and why am I embittered? Of course I am
9 embittered, and I am not trying to hide that, but at the same time I'm
10 also a brave man. Regardless of how this might be difficult for me and
11 the people around me, my family, I really want to tell the truth about
12 who did what and whose role was in this heinous crime, without sparing
13 myself either. If I'm not going to spare myself, then rest assured that
14 I'm not going to spare your client either.
15 There are some other men here who I respect very much, and I am
16 willing to do anything for them. One of those men is Mr. Borovcanin. I
17 would donate blood or my organs to him if necessary.
18 I am not saying that we are the best of friends. We never
19 socialised, but there are people who are honourable and honest officers
20 and the people who enjoy my respect. But they experienced what they
21 experienced, and they have to face the consequences of what had happened
22 to them.
23 I am telling the truth here in the best possible way. Perhaps
24 I'm not very skilful in expressing myself, but I am doing my best to be
25 helpful. I still maintain that everything that happened, and
1 unfortunately, if there hadn't been any victims and if there hadn't been
2 any crime, you could -- could have told to me, Mr. Nikolic, you are
3 lying, you don't know anything. However, the killings took place, and
4 everything happened. Whether it happened one hour earlier or later,
5 whether it happened at 8.00 p.m.
6 irrelevant. I am trying to help the Chamber to arrive at the truth.
7 They should know that a crime had happened, and I shall always be willing
8 to respond to any call from the Trial Chamber. I am very sorry that the OTP
9 perceived my behaviour as hostile, but I was not feeling well. However, I am
10 now feeling well, and I am ready and willing to help the Prosecution and the
11 Trial Chamber in any future proceedings, provided they invite me to do so,
12 of course. And please, I am not embittered against the people who are
13 sitting up there in the dock. I'm only trying to say and describe what I
14 saw and to pass on to you the information that I have.
15 Q. Okay. Mr. Nikolic, you --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, one moment. Ms. Fauveau.
17 MS. FAUVEAU: The witness just said on page 68, line 1 and 2, [In
18 English] [Previous translation continues]... continue to have the Trial
19 Chamber and the Prosecution. [Interpretation] These are the exact words
20 of the -- of the witness.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Okay, let's proceed.
22 MR. OSTOJIC:
23 Q. Mr. Nikolic, if you were so truthful and honest, why didn't you
24 tell the Prosecution prior to your meetings for your plea negotiations
25 any of this evidence you claim you had relating to these purported
1 meetings with Mr. Beara on the 13th of July? Why hadn't you offered that
2 to them in 1999 when you met with them and gave an interview?
3 A. In 1999, I simply wasn't ready to talk about any of those things.
4 That was immediately after the war, so four years after the war. The
5 overall situation in Republika Srpska at that time and in the area where
6 I live was terrible. Any statements, any confession of guilt at that
7 time would have been totally unacceptable then, and for the sake of my
8 family and their safety, I didn't want to go down that road. Quite
9 simply, the circumstances were not good for that. People were still
10 losing lives, and I was fearing for my life and the lives of my dearest
11 and nearest. That is why I didn't want to speak about that so soon after
12 the war.
13 Q. So during these three or four or so meetings that you had with
14 the Prosecution once you wanted to accept and acknowledge your
15 responsibility - although modified, as we've seen - that was the first
16 time that you actually told them about Mr. Beara. Would that be correct?
17 A. I really wouldn't like to manipulate with this and to commit
18 myself as to when was the first time I spoke about this with the OTP. We
19 had numerous meetings, and I don't want to guess when was the first time
20 that I told the OTP about any event. We went back again and again on --
21 to certain events. We debated things. We discussed them. Of course
22 there were disagreements. There was lack of understanding because we
23 really talked on numerous occasions about everything, and I can't give
24 you the dates.
25 Q. And just to be fair, the reason I'm asking you, Mr. Nikolic, is
1 because none of those meetings that you had with the Prosecution where
2 you purportedly or seemingly mentioned Mr. Beara, they weren't recorded.
3 There was no transcript of those meetings during your plea negotiations
4 or any of that, and since you were there I thought you might be able to
5 tell me if it happened in the early part, the middle part, or the latter
6 part of your plea negotiations with the Prosecution that you mentioned
7 this alleged encounter with Mr. Beara. But if you don't recall, you --
8 you can tell us.
9 A. I kindly ask you not to insist on this because I simply don't
11 Q. Now, you're also aware that Mr. Deronjic pled guilty at or about
12 the same time that you did; correct?
13 A. I said that yesterday.
14 Q. It was a foundational question. Thank you. Did you discuss with
15 Mr. Deronjic at the UNDU his process and his deliberation on seeking to
16 have a plea negotiation with the Prosecution?
17 A. I have to tell you something that you probably don't know. I'm
18 not at all close with Miroslav Deronjic regardless of the fact that he
19 had married a cousin of mine. All those who know both of us know that as
21 Miroslav Deronjic didn't see me as a person with whom he can talk
22 and confide in, nor did I perceive him in that way. All our
23 conversations were actually short encounters because we were not actually
24 residing in the same part of the unit. Therefore, we never discussed
25 either his agreements with the OTP or my agreements.
1 Q. But you must be aware, Mr. Nikolic, that the first time that
2 Deronjic ever told his tale of this purported meeting with Mr. Beara was
3 just prior to his plea agreement in 2003. And if counsel needs a
4 reference, it's at page 1571; October 28th, 2003. You're aware of that.
5 A. As far as Mr. Deronjic's process and negotiations are concerned,
6 I -- I know nothing. I don't know how these negotiations went. I don't
7 know any details involved. I absolutely know nothing because I never had
8 an opportunity to read any document from the -- Deronjic's plea agreement
9 with the exception of the documents provided to me by the OTP.
10 Q. And I'm trying to be fair to you, Mr. --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you approaching the end, Mr. --
12 MR. OSTOJIC: I am. I am.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, because it's --
14 MR. OSTOJIC: Yes, I am. Thank you.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: -- almost three hours and a half now.
16 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you.
17 Q. Sir, but that's not entirely accurate, and I'm trying to be fair
18 to you, because at your sentencing hearing Mr. Deronjic testified, and
19 here's what was asked. You were present. Here's what was asked on the
20 28th of October, 2003, at page 1571 by Mr. McCloskey, I believe:
21 To Mr. Deronjic:
22 "Is it fair to say that the first time you ..." I add the
23 parentheses, (Mr. Deronjic) "... told the OTP that Beara had actually
24 talked to you ..." again, parentheses, (Mr. Deronjic) because he's the
25 one who's giving evidence, "... personally about the killing Muslim
1 prisoners was in your recent interviews just prior to the guilty plea?"
2 Answer by Mr. Deronjic, in front of you, sir, while you were
4 "Yes, that's correct. That's what I said in my last interview,
5 and he stood by it."
6 You don't remember that at all, that he like you, sir, the first
7 time Mr. Beara's name ever was mentioned despite the prior interviews or
8 contacts you had with the Office of the Prosecution and this tale that
9 you and Mr. Deronjic created was only during your plea negotiation in
10 order for you to get a lighter sentence; isn't that true?
11 A. No. I don't want to comment the statements made by Mr. Deronjic
12 at all. I don't want to make any comments on that. I can only comment
13 my statements and what I wrote down. I cannot and I do not wish to make
14 comments about anyone's statement why he said what he said and why he did
15 what he did. My statement is what you heard from me today, and I stand
16 by it. You can interpret in any way you wish.
17 MR. OSTOJIC: Mr. President, I based on the time constraints will
18 stop here, but I did have several other areas that I could address with
19 the Court after the witness finishes that I would have liked to ask the
20 witness questions on, specifically, that comment I see from my notes, are
21 the Dragomir Vasic documents where he describes the role of the civilian
22 police in both Potocari, Bratunac, and Zvornik, but I'm adhering to the
23 Court's ruling, and I'll have no further questions at this time.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Do you prefer to start immediately,
25 Ms. Nikolic, or do you wish to have the break now?
1 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe it would be
2 more appropriate to have a break now and give some time to Mr. Nikolic to
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Then we have 25 minutes' break. Thank you.
5 --- Recess taken at 12.23 p.m.
6 --- On resuming at 12.55 p.m.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I saw you standing, Mr. Ostojic.
8 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Mr. President. I just wanted to thank
9 the Court for giving me the additional time that you did, and it's very
10 much appreciated.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: That's very nice of you to say that. Thank you.
12 Ms. Nikolic.
13 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Cross-examination by Ms. Nikolic:
15 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Nikolic.
16 A. Good afternoon.
17 Q. My name is Jelena Nikolic. I appear on behalf of
18 Mr. Drago Nikolic. It means that there are four Nikolics in this
19 courtroom alone.
20 A. Yes. Unfortunately, it seems that there's very many of us.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: That's a good sign. I mean, my surname in Malta
22 accounts to something like 50.000 people, and that's -- it has always
23 been a positive sign to me. We are prolific.
24 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. Mr. Nikolic, in order for the two of us to understand each other
1 well, since we speak the same language, I will caution you and myself to
2 wait to finish each other's questions and answers so that we could have
3 an accurate transcript. Do you agree with me?
4 A. Certainly.
5 Q. Thank you. On the 22nd of April, 2009, when you were being
6 examined by my learned friend Mr. Zivanovic, you said that among the
7 officers of the Zvornik Brigade you knew Drago Nikolic. Can you tell me,
8 how long did you know him and in what way, personally or professionally?
9 A. I knew Drago Nikolic as a person who hails from the same
10 municipality as I do. Privately speaking, we did not socialise. We did
11 not know each other, had any contact of that type. In our official
12 capacities, we seldom met, barely ever, during the war, save for
13 accidental meetings at the corps command at this or that meeting, but it
14 was seldom. Nothing in particular to say. Nothing official, I'd say. I
15 knew him as a person born in the village of Kravica
16 there and had family. That was the extent of me and Drago Nikolic's
18 Q. And I suppose you know Mr. Nikolic's family from Kravica, at
19 least by sight?
20 A. If you mean his immediate family, I don't. I may have seen them
21 or met him -- met them, but I don't think I know Drago Nikolic's
22 immediate family members. The Nikolic family in Kravica is a large one,
23 and most of them I know by sight, and some of them even personally.
24 Q. What about Mr. Nikolic's parents and brothers?
25 A. I think I saw them on occasion, but I didn't pay much heed. I
1 did not have any contact with any members of his family.
2 Q. Thank you. Before the 13th of July, 1995, did you on occasion go
3 to the Zvornik Brigade, to any meetings with the security organ there,
4 Mr. Drago Nikolic?
5 A. I cannot be precise. I don't know which period you have in mind
6 exactly, but what I can recall best is that on one occasion I was in the
7 Zvornik Brigade to attend a workshop or training session. I am not sure.
8 In any case, I can confirm to you that at least on one occasion I went to
9 the offices of the Zvornik Brigade.
10 Q. Thank you. I would like to go to July 1995 next, the period
11 between the 11th of that month and the following days. Did you have any
12 telephone or other type of communication with the Zvornik Brigade or
13 Drago Nikolic?
14 A. I am certain that there was no communication with Drago Nikolic.
15 I did not see him in the course of those few days, as regards the
16 Bratunac Brigade, that is, and the part that has to do with Bratunac and
17 Srebrenica. I'm positive we did not speak over the phone, Drago Nikolic
18 and I, or anyone else from the Zvornik Brigade, for that matter. I don't
19 think there were any conversations before that either, because there was
20 no need for me to contact them.
21 Q. Therefore, we may conclude that in the period between the 11th
22 and the 13th of July, you did not see Drago Nikolic in Bratunac.
23 A. That is correct. I didn't see him in Bratunac.
24 Q. As of the 13th of July, and I mean July, August, September, you
25 did not have any contact with Drago Nikolic by phone or any other way,
1 and I mean 1995.
2 A. No. That is correct.
3 Q. I'd like to talk about your alleged conversation with Drago
4 Nikolic at the forward command post of the Zvornik Brigade in the night
5 of the 13th of July, 1995. You have testified extensively about that,
6 and I will not go back to the details.
7 At page 32 -- 937, lines 20 to 23 you explained to the Chamber
8 what the context was of the message you conveyed to Drago Nikolic, that
9 is to say that the people who had been separated and kept in Bratunac
10 were to be transferred to Zvornik, and that it was his task to have the
11 location ready to receive the prisoners.
12 You referred to it in similar terms in the Trbic case, but I
13 would like to quote that part of the text to you and then put a question.
14 For my learned friends, it is P4482, page 25 in the B/C/S; in the
15 English, 63.
16 In answering Mr. Trbojevic's [phoen] question you said: Yes,
17 that's how it was. That's what I told Drago, that I had information that
18 the people who had been captured and who were going to be transferred to
19 Zvornik, that they would be killed. That's what I told him, meaning that
20 was the information I had. That is what I knew, and that was my
21 assessment. I shared that with him.
22 Defence: Did he anything say concerning your remark? Did he say
24 Witness: Well, he didn't. He was simply beside himself. He
25 neither commented the arrival of the prisoners nor anything of what I
1 told him. He said very well, Nidzo. You conveyed the order, and I
2 simply did not offer any further comment.
3 Do you recall this, Mr. Nikolic?
4 A. Yes, I do.
5 Q. Given Drago Nikolic's reaction as you described it in the Trbic
6 case, he was quite taken aback by the message you conveyed to him.
7 A. I just want to confirm that what you said more or less was what I
8 told him on that occasion. Of course he was surprised, and I can confirm
9 that because I'm being asked of that. He was surprised because I suppose
10 until that point he wasn't aware of what was going on and what was to be
11 the further stages of the operation. What you read basically fully
12 accurately reflects Drago Nikolic's reaction at that point in time.
13 Q. Given your answer about his surprised reaction, you were able to
14 conclude that you were the first person to tell him that.
15 A. Well, I wasn't thinking about whether I was the first person to
16 tell him that or not. However, I do suppose that I was the first person
17 to convey to him the message that those captured in Bratunac were to be
18 transferred to the area of the Zvornik Brigade. I suppose I was the
19 first person to tell him that. Whether he had any other knowledge or
20 not, I cannot say.
21 Q. Your conversation with Drago was a brief one, as you testified,
22 five to ten minutes.
23 A. Not even that long. It was very brief. I did not enter the
24 forward command post building, and I had no other business there. I came
25 there, turned my car around, got out, told him that, got back into the
1 car with the policeman and left. It may have lasted five, six, or seven
2 minutes at the most, or perhaps ten, not even.
3 Q. Thank you. I will go back to these details later. I would like
4 to answer the following: What you said in the Blagojevic case as well as
5 in the Trbic case, the portion I just read out to you, as well as the
6 things you said to the Bench here today, that is fully accurate of what
7 you and Drago Nikolic spoke about that day. There was nothing beyond
8 that that Drago Nikolic told you.
9 A. No, I think that's correct. Perhaps there may have been one
10 sentence in a testimony or a statement of mine, and that is that before I
11 got back in the car Drago told me that he was to see with his command
12 what was to follow, what to do with what I told him. That was the only
13 sentence extra, and Drago and I did not discuss this or any other matter
14 later on.
15 Q. Drago therefore never mentioned to you that he had information
16 that the captured people were to come to Zvornik.
17 A. No, and I never said so. That was how the conversation
18 developed. That was our first and last encounter. We never saw each
19 other after that.
20 Q. Drago Nikolic never told you that he had allegedly spoken with
21 Colonel Popovic or Obrenovic on that subject.
22 A. When I saw him?
23 Q. Yes.
24 A. No, he didn't. I don't remember ever having said anything
1 Q. And, of course, on the 13th of July you never told Drago Nikolic
2 that the Zvornik Brigade was supposed to execute those prisoners.
3 A. I said what I said and the way you read it.
4 Q. And nothing beyond that.
5 A. That's right.
6 Q. Including that the Zvornik Brigade was supposed to carry out the
7 executions of the prisoners.
8 A. I didn't say it because I didn't know.
9 Q. After that, you left the area.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. After your departure, during that night Drago remained at the
12 forward command post; is that so?
13 A. I don't know that.
14 Q. At the moment of your departure ...
15 A. If you're asking me about that moment, then, yes, Drago Nikolic
16 stayed at that place where I had found him.
17 Q. He did not go back with you?
18 A. He did not.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Ms. Nikolic and Mr. Nikolic, please try not to
20 overlap. Just allow a brief pause between question and answer.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well, Your Honour.
22 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, and I
23 apologise to the interpreters.
24 Q. Now a few general questions concerning the relationship between
25 the military police and the security organ. You discussed that during
1 Mr. Thayer's examination, as well as in your previous testimonies.
2 Did you command the MP platoon in the Bratunac Brigade?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Did you issue direct orders to them in July 1995 and to
5 Mirko Jankovic who was the MP platoon commander in the Bratunac Brigade?
6 A. Directly, no, I did not issue orders to the MP commander.
7 Q. In which way did you do it, then, and what was the relationship
8 between the security organ and the military police in July 1995?
9 A. Direct command and control of the military police, since you're
10 asking about command, is in the hands of an officer of the unit within
11 which the MP unit is per establishment or attached to. Speaking in the
12 military professional terms, an MP platoon or military police in general
13 is controlled by the security organ, in professional terms. This does
14 not entail direct and immediate issuance of orders.
15 The commander of the unit within which the MP unit is contained
16 is the only person, the only officer who can issue orders to the military
17 police through their MP platoon commander, and to military policemen
18 directly, it can only be done by the MP platoon commander. He can issues
19 direct tasks to them.
20 In professional terms, professional control means equipping,
21 training, and following the state of combat readiness of that unit. The
22 security organ, among other things, is tasked with taking care of the
23 readiness of the MP unit at any point in time so as to be at the full
24 disposal of the commander of the unit attached to.
25 In brief, that would be the relationship between the military
1 police and the security organ. If you're interested in anything else,
2 please ask me and I'll explain.
3 Q. As a security organ, if you needed to use the military police for
4 a specific task, were you allowed to single out policemen and take them
5 to carry out this task, or did you have to seek approval from their
7 A. I was able, and I did take part in making proposals to the
8 commander about the ways in which he should use the military police.
9 That is one of the tasks of a security organ. But, of course, before the
10 commander makes a decision how to use the military police, it was no
11 place for me to take a decision, to pick ten policemen and take them into
12 the field. That is to say, pursuant to the decision made by the
13 commander to use a unit for a specific task, the unit commander and the
14 commander of the military police decides the schedule, decides the size
15 and the composition of the unit, and from the professional point of view,
16 if it is necessary to have cooperation with the security organ, then he
17 would seek such cooperation. And if the security organ, vice versa,
18 decides that he should offer assistance, then he should be the one to
19 provide this professional assistance to the military police.
20 Q. Thank you. Let me ask you one more question about these general
21 matters relating to your job as the security organ. How independent were
22 you as a security organ of the brigade in discharging your duties, and in
23 what aspects?
24 A. There's a difference between what I did and what
25 Mr. Drago Nikolic did. I was a security intelligence organ with a Light
1 Infantry Brigade, whereas Drago Nikolic was a security chief in
2 the Infantry Brigade, and these two functions are separate.
3 Now, again I'm not saying this affirmatively, but I think that I
4 can say that Drago Nikolic was an authorised official, whereas I wasn't.
5 That's the difference. Mr. Drago was in charge of security issues, and
6 he was authorised to do that. I, on the other hand, was in charge of
7 intelligence and security affairs, and the focus of my engagement was
8 intelligence, and I was only in charge of security at the command staff,
9 and that refers only to providing protection of one's own unit.
10 Therefore, in any criminal proceedings I couldn't appear as an authorised
11 official who could file criminal reports, et cetera.
12 Q. All I wanted to ask you is the following: Were you involved in
14 A. Of course I was.
15 Q. Did you act independently in that area?
16 A. Well, yes. Yes.
17 Q. In applying the methods of works?
18 A. Well, not in that area. When you speak about
19 counter-intelligence, my job was to make assessments regarding the enemy.
20 I'm not particularly skilled, and my expertise is not significant there.
21 I just made assessments about the enemy, their intentions, and things
22 like that. As for the application of the methods of intelligence,
23 security organs, you have to apply rules which also on the other hand
24 implies seeking certain permissions, and in that sense the security organ
25 is not independent. If they want to apply these methods, they need to
1 seek approval.
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic. From this I understand that security of
3 the brigade was not your primary task, and you don't feel to be fully
4 qualified to do that.
5 A. No, and I wouldn't like to make any comments on that issue.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: You're going too fast, and you're overlapping
7 again. Please.
8 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] I apologise again.
9 Q. Mr. Nikolic, I apologise on your behalf as well.
10 A. Yes. I will try to do my best because I sometimes forget about
12 Q. Let us now move to another area. When you answered questions
13 asked by Mr. Zivanovic about the officers you knew in the Zvornik
14 Brigade, you said that you knew only a few of them. So can we please now
15 have in e-court Exhibit P2880. You will see in front of you,
16 Mr. Nikolic, a photograph, and I'd like to ask you, are you familiar with
17 the officers by the name Nenad Simic; Dusko Vukotic; Mico Petkovic,
18 assistant of the chief of staff for intelligence and moral guidance;
19 Sreten Milosevic, assistant for logistics? Do you recognise any of the
20 people in this photograph?
21 A. I can tell you positively that I recognise two people only,
22 Mr. Pandurevic -- Pandurevic and Drago. I may have seen the others at
23 some point, but believe me, I wouldn't remember any single name. I heard
24 of Vukotic and some other names, but I don't know them.
25 Q. Have you ever met Sreten Milosevic in 1996, in 1997, in the
1 printing house in Bratunac?
2 A. It is possible. I was the manager of that printing plant, and it
3 is possible, but please believe me, I don't know.
4 Q. Can you perhaps recognise him in this photo? This was taken in
6 A. No. No. I really cannot.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] We can remove this document from
9 the screen. Thank you.
10 Q. Let us now go back to your statement of facts. That's 4D16,
11 item 10. You testified at length about the meeting in Bratunac during
12 Mr. Ostojic's cross-examination. However, can we establish as a fact
13 from 6th of May, 2003, when you signed this statement, that at around
14 2030 hours after the alleged meeting in Bratunac with Colonel Beara, you
15 set off to the Zvornik Brigade?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. At that point, you were told that you were going to the Zvornik
18 Brigade command in Karakaj to see Drago Nikolic and to convey personally
19 Colonel Beara's message to him.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Therefore, at that point when you set off for Zvornik, what you
22 knew was that Drago was probably at the Zvornik Brigade command in
23 Karakaj; is that right?
24 A. Yes, it is.
25 Q. And no one had any information, neither you nor Colonel Beara,
1 that he was actually at the forward command post, which we only learned
3 A. I can say for myself I didn't have that kind of information.
4 Q. Having read your testimony in the Blagojevic case, it seems that
5 you were then able to provide more details to the Chamber. You said, for
6 example, that the distance between Bratunac and Zvornik was
7 42 kilometres, that it was dusk or early evening. Can you tell us what
8 was the situation on the road? Was the road blocked? At which route did
9 you take while driving?
10 A. When I passed there, control points had already been erected in
11 Kravica, in Konjevic Polje, and also in front of Kuslac. There was a
12 sort of check-point on the road as well. There was one in the Drinjaca
13 sector. There were a number of people in uniforms. I don't know if they
14 were military or police. And that is all that I saw on that road, and I
15 travelled from Bratunac via Kravica, Konjevic Polje, and Drinjaca. And
16 it is true that the distance is -- to Zvornik is about 42 kilometres, and
17 I don't know how far the command itself from that point is. Let's say
18 two or three kilometres more because the command headquarters is outside
19 of town. It was July, so it was not night-time. It was 8.00 or 8.30 in
20 the evening. So that's -- I would call that early evening or dusk.
21 Q. As you said in your testimony in the Blagojevic case, your ride
22 took about one hour.
23 A. Well, roughly speaking. I didn't have any problems or -- or
24 difficulties on the road. I just said hello to people in Konjevic Polje,
25 people from Bratunac who were manning that check-point, and I just
1 proceeded on my way.
2 Q. Can you tell me, what vehicle did you use? Was anyone else with
3 you in this vehicle?
4 A. No. I was alone, and I think I drove a Golf car.
5 Q. Was that a civilian vehicle or a military vehicle?
6 A. It was a civilian vehicle.
7 Q. With civilian licence plates or military licence plates?
8 A. I really don't remember. It belonged to the VRS, the Bratunac
9 Brigade. It had been mobilised and was in the possession of the brigade.
10 It was given to me for use.
11 Q. According to item 1 of your statement of facts --
12 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Item 10.
13 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. In 2003, you said that you arrived at the Zvornik Brigade at
15 around 21.45.
16 A. What I said that, I can repeat now.
17 Q. I forgot to ask you, had you announced your arrival to the
18 Zvornik Brigade? Did you contact them from any point before you set off?
19 A. No, I hadn't.
20 Q. When you came outside the gate to the Zvornik Brigade, you
21 stopped at the gatehouse; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Mr. Nikolic, I'm going to show you now this gate. So please, if
24 we can see in e-court Exhibit 3D502, which is the gatehouse or the gate
25 to the barracks of the Zvornik Brigade.
1 Mr. Nikolic, in front of you, you can see this photograph.
2 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] And I would kindly ask the usher to
3 give a pencil to Mr. Nikolic so that he can mark the place where he
4 parked his car.
5 Q. First of all, do you recognise this photograph? Do you know what
6 it is?
7 A. Of course. This is -- this used to be a factory before the war,
8 one of the factories in Zvornik. During the war, it was converted to the
9 Zvornik Brigade command headquarters. What I see here, if I see it
10 correctly, at the entrance to the Zvornik Brigade command headquarters is
11 a little office, and this is the direction when you move from Zvornik
12 towards Karakaj, what I'm showing to you now.
13 Q. Can you please mark this direction with the pencil so that I can
14 see that on my screen.
15 A. I say if this is direction from Zvornik to Karakaj, then the
16 Zvornik Brigade building is on the right-hand side, and at the entrance
17 there's the gatehouse or the little office where the duty officer sits.
18 I stopped immediately in front of the Zvornik Brigade command, that is to
19 say outside the asphalt road of the road that leads to Karakaj.
20 Q. Could you please put a number 1 on the spot where you stopped
21 your car.
22 A. Well, I cannot tell you exactly. Let's say here in front of the
23 gatehouse, or maybe a little bit further on. I really cannot tell you
24 exactly. This will be roughly the place where I stopped the car.
25 Anyway, it was not in the road lane or the road leading to Karakaj. This
1 is the office which I approached, and I reported to the people who were
2 manning the gatehouse.
3 Q. Just one moment, please. This is where you stopped, and you
4 marked it with number 1. Was there any gate or swinging barrier at the
6 A. I think there was.
7 Q. Was the gate closed or was the --
8 A. I think that it was closed, and the only way in was here where
9 the office is.
10 Let me just add one thing. You're asking me about these details,
11 and I really try to answer your questions to the best of my ability, but
12 I really didn't pay attention to these details that you're asking me
13 about, whether the gate was closed, whether the swinging barrier was up
14 or down. But nevertheless, I will try to tell you everything that I know
15 that you request me to tell you.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 A. But please don't expect me to be very precise because I didn't
18 pay attention to these details at all.
19 Q. When you came to the gatehouse - you already told Mr. Zivanovic,
20 and I do not intend to go into that again - you produced your ID, which
21 is not an official one, is that right, and you explained that you were
22 looking for Drago Nikolic.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. How many soldiers or military policemen were there as you
25 approached the reception area, the reception booth at the gate to the
1 brigade HQ? How many of them were there?
2 A. Around the booth there were two individuals outside of it, and
3 within the reception booth there were two to three individuals. I'm not
4 quite sure. There were at least two of them inside and a group of
5 people -- a group of soldiers in uniform outside.
6 Q. In other words, there were persons around the reception booth?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did they allow you to enter the compound in your vehicle?
9 A. No. I didn't attempt to do that.
10 Q. Where did you park your vehicle, then?
11 A. After I reported to the gate, I proceeded to a car parking across
12 the road from the brigade HQ, left -- parked the car there and went back
13 through the gate.
14 Q. Did the military policemen enter your name into the log of
15 visitors, the ones who were manning the reception booth as you entered
16 the gate?
17 A. I don't know that. I gave them the ID I had containing all my
18 personal details. I told them that I was a security organ from the
19 Bratunac Brigade. Whether they copied my details somewhere, I can't tell
21 Q. From the reception booth, from the gate to the brigade building,
22 did you pass that particular distance alone or with someone?
23 A. There was an individual, whether he was a military policeman or
24 somebody else, who escorted me into the building and on.
25 Q. Would you be so kind as to draw the two circles on the
1 photograph, to put number 1 and place the date and your initials at the
3 A. What did you say? What am I supposed to do?
4 Q. In the lower right-hand corner, or left-hand corner, whatever you
5 prefer, place the date and your initials.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. And if you don't mind, Ms. Nikolic, we can
7 stop here for today because there are a few matters, housekeeping matters
8 that we need to deal with, and also give an oral decision. Thank you.
9 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I agree.
10 We can continue on Monday. Thank you.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, madam.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Marks]
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer, earlier on you addressed the Chamber
14 requesting some time to address us on scheduling matters.
15 Yes, in the meantime, Mr. Nikolic can withdraw.
16 Mr. Nikolic, you have the weekend to rest a little bit, and then
17 we continue on Monday and hopefully try and finish on Monday. Thank you.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
19 [The witness stands down]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer.
21 MR. THAYER: Yes, Mr. President. We wanted to give the Trial
22 Chamber an idea of what we might have available for you next week.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. We were going to ask you anyway.
24 MR. THAYER: The -- we have the two witnesses, Mr. Parsons and
25 Mr. Janc. I've been in touch with three teams who are I think
1 particularly interested in those witnesses to see if there is any
2 preference for the order. My understanding is that there is a slight
3 preference to have Mr. Parsons after Mr. Janc. Unfortunately,
4 Mr. Parsons' schedule is pretty tight as I understand it. We have him
5 available to testify next Wednesday and then Friday. As I understand it,
6 Thursday is a holiday, so he is available to be here, to be ready to go
7 on Wednesday. If he takes less than two days, we're ready to start with
8 Mr. Janc as soon as Mr. Parsons is done. My understanding is that that's
9 okay with at least the three teams with whom I've spoken, and that's
10 pretty much where we are. We've tried to get a better idea of whether
11 there is any flexibility on Mr. Parsons' part, but we haven't been able
12 to determine that. He is currently scheduled to be here to testify next
13 week, though.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. In other words, what you're suggesting
15 amounts to, bottom line, not sitting on Monday and on Tuesday.
16 MR. THAYER: Well, Mr. President, given the schedule that we've
17 got, that was based on that. We're -- Mr. Parsons is not available to
18 testify prior to Wednesday, so --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: To Wednesday. All right. Okay. In any case, we
20 have got Nikolic Monday and on Tuesday, so -- all right. That's fine
21 with us.
22 Next, Mr. Zivanovic, earlier on this week we asked you to contact
23 Mr. Stojkovic and let us know when he's available.
24 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Unfortunately, I didn't manage to establish
25 contact with him until this point in time, but I'll try to do that during
1 this day.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Mr. Zivanovic, please try to make an
4 effort because this is somewhat annoying us. We understand that you do
5 encounter problems sometimes, but the feeling is that you should have
6 checked on Mr. Stojkovic's availability when you first thought of asking
7 for his recall. Anyway, but we'll give you up to Monday to come back to
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes. I will do that, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
11 Next, yesterday the Prosecution filed a confidential -- let's go
12 into private session for a short while.
13 [Private session]
11 Page 33228 redacted. Private session.
7 [Open session]
8 JUDGE AGIUS: So this is an oral decision or two oral decisions,
9 basically. The Trial Chamber is seized of accused Popovic's two requests
10 for certification to appeal, first, the Trial Chamber's decision on the
11 motion for the production of documents pursuant to Rule 54, which was
12 filed on the 25th of February of this year; and secondly, the further
13 decision on the Prosecution's motion to admit evidence in rebuttal and to
14 reopen its case filed on 3rd April. We'll deal first with the
15 certification to appeal the Trial Chamber's decision on the motion for
16 the production of documents pursuant to Rule 54.
17 The Prosecution filed a confidential response to Popovic's
18 request for certification to appeal the Trial Chamber's decision on the
19 motion for the production of documents pursuant Rule 54 on the
20 11th March, 2009
21 request for leave to reply and reply to the Prosecution response.
22 The Trial Chamber considers that the issue, that is the
23 production of documents to verify ICMP's underlying raw data, is in fact
24 a way of challenging the reliability of and weight to be given to the
25 ICMP's Srebrenica-related identifications. The narrow nature of the
1 issue is such that it will not significantly affect the fair and
2 expeditious conduct of these proceedings, nor the outcome of the trial.
3 Furthermore, given that the decision relates to one discrete issue, its
4 immediate resolution by the Appeals Chamber will not materially advance
5 the proceedings especially in these final stages of the trial.
6 For the foregoing reasons, the Trial Chamber grants leave to file
7 the reply but considers that the requirements of Rule 73(B) have not been
8 met and denies the request.
9 Our second decision, which relates to the motion on certification
10 to appeal the further decision on the Prosecution's motion to admit
11 evidence in rebuttal and to reopen its case.
12 The Prosecution responded confidentially on 8 April. The Trial
13 Chamber notes that Popovic is challenging the clarity of the impugned
14 decision and is arguing its merits. As this Trial Chamber has stated on
15 a number of occasions, the test for certification has nothing to do
16 whether a decision was correctly reasoned or not. The Trial Chamber is
17 not persuaded that a case for certification has been made.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Thank you for slowing down.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. The Trial Chamber is not persuaded that
20 a case for certification has been made and consequently denies the
22 Thank you, and my apologies to the interpreters. My gratitude,
23 also, to everyone for having stayed with us for a further five or six
24 minutes beyond the scheduled time. And please, Mr. Registrar, do
25 communicate the reason to the next Trial Chamber who is supposed to sit
1 at 2.15 with our due apologies. Thank you.
2 Have a nice weekend.
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.50 p.m.
4 to be reconvened on Monday, the 27th day of April,
5 2009, at 9.00 a.m.