1 Wednesday, 14 April 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning to everybody in the courtroom. I
6 hope you have had a good time during Easter, and we start again with this
7 case. First of all, we are sitting only with two Judges today because
8 Judge Mindua is not present due to another commitment, and we are sitting
9 pursuant Rule 15 bis.
10 The next witness, I think, is available and could be brought in.
11 [The witness entered court]
12 WITNESS: PW-022
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning, sir. You are here as a witness.
15 You are welcome to the Tribunal, and you must know there are some
16 protective measures in place like the last time.
17 Would you please read aloud the affirmation on the card which is
18 shown to you now.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
20 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Please sit down.
22 Mr. Thayer --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, for the Judge.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer is starting the examination-in-chief,
25 and please, both parties should be reminded that you should always switch
1 off the microphone when the witness is answering because of the
2 protective measures.
3 Mr. Thayer.
4 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning to you, and
5 good morning to everyone.
6 Examination by Mr. Thayer:
7 Q. Good morning, sir.
8 A. Good morning.
9 Q. Before we get underway, I would just ask with the assistance of
10 Madam Usher if you look at the sheet that's being shown to you, and
11 without stating any information that's on the sheet, can you confirm that
12 you see your name on that document, please.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. THAYER: I'd ask that that be handed up to the Chamber.
16 Mr. President, the Prosecution would tender the pseudonym sheet,
17 65 ter number 6207, at this time.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: That will be received.
19 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P95 under seal, Your Honour.
20 MR. THAYER:
21 Q. Sir, I just want to ask you a couple of questions to affirm your
22 testimony from the prior trial. Do you recall testifying, in fact in
23 this very courtroom, a little over three years ago in another trial?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 Q. And have you recently had an opportunity to listen to your
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And, sir, if you were asked the same questions today as you were
4 asked in that other trial would your answers be the same?
5 A. Of course.
6 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, at this time the Prosecution would
7 offer 65 ter 6202, which is under seal, the witness's testimony in the
8 prior case, as well as 65 ter 6203, the public redacted version of that
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. Both will be received, the first
11 under seal.
12 THE REGISTRAR: 6202 will be Exhibit P96 under seal. 6203 will
13 be Exhibit P97, Your Honour.
14 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, if we may go into private session for
15 the only question I have for the witness.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Private session.
17 [Private session]
11 Page 1084-1086 redacted. Private session.
9 [Open session]
10 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. We had a longer period of
12 private session as expected because of some technical problems here in
13 the courtroom.
14 Mr. Thayer, please continue.
15 MR. THAYER: The witness was born and raised in the Zvornik
16 municipality. In May 1992, Serb shelling forced him to the Cerska area.
17 The witness was able to return to his village, but in January 1993, a
18 Serb offensive forced him to flee again to the Cerska area from where the
19 offensive pushed him to Konjevic Polje, and then to Srebrenica.
20 With respect to events in Srebrenica in 1993, the witness
21 described the humanitarian conditions in March and events concerning
22 General Morillon, the departure of civilians on empty UNHCR trucks, and
23 the shelling of a playground that killed approximately 60 people at
24 around the time Srebrenica was declared a safe area.
25 The witness also described the humanitarian conditions prevailing
1 in Srebrenica in 1995, the decrease in aid convoys, and the wounding of
2 civilians by sniping and shelling prior to the fall of the enclave.
3 With respect to the Serb attack on Srebrenica in July 1995, the
4 witness testified about soldiers and civilians being wounded and killed,
5 shelling that damaged the hospital, the movement of civilians towards
6 Potocari, and the column of Muslim men, which he joined on 11 July.
7 The witness testified that his small group became separated from
8 the column and spent several days moving in the woods until they reached
9 the area of Snagovo. As they prepared tea for a sick member of the
10 group, Serb soldiers appeared, surrounded them, and ordered them to put
11 their hands up. The witness and his group were bound behind their backs,
12 taken a short distance where they were thrown to the ground and beaten.
13 The Serb soldiers had insignia stating something to the effect of, and I
14 quote, "police of Republika Srpska."
15 The witness did not have any identification documents, so when
16 his captors questioned him about his particulars, he lied about his
17 family and his age so that they would think that he was much younger than
18 he was.
19 One of the Serb soldiers was assigned to be with the witness at
20 all times. The witness and this Serb soldier walked a short distance
21 further, after which the witness heard a burst of gunfire and individual
22 shots. The witness was panicked and shaking, so the soldier tried to
23 console him and later gave him food and water. The witness never saw or
24 heard from the other men in his group again after their capture.
25 While with the Serb soldiers, the witness slept among them and
1 was restrained, but not the entire time. He was then bused to a command
2 building, interrogated and sent to the Batkovic camp where he stayed for
3 several months.
4 That concludes the summary, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. No more examination-in-chief?
6 MR. THAYER: And I've concluded the examination-in-chief,
7 Mr. President.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. Sir, now it is the right of the
9 accused to put questions to you.
10 Mr. Tolimir, please start your cross-examination.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. God help
12 everybody in the courtroom and everybody who is following my case. It is
13 my wish for this case to end, God willingly.
14 Cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir:
15 Q. [Interpretation] Sir, I will have a few questions for you. When
16 I say "thank you," could you then start answering, this in order to avoid
17 overlapping as a result of the fact that we both speak the same language.
18 First of all, do you want to explain the reasons for protective
19 measures? Why did you insist on testifying under protective measures
20 both in the Popovic case and in this case?
21 A. For my own security.
22 Q. You confirmed in your testimony in the Popovic case on pages 40
23 to 43, lines 18 and 19 that you moved into the country where you now
24 reside as an illegal immigrant; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. When was it? What year? When did you leave Bosnia-Herzegovina
2 and enter the third country illegally? I don't want to mention its name.
3 A. It was some 15 years ago.
4 Q. Some 15 years ago therefore. Thank you. Could you please
5 describe the illegal residence in the country where you arrived? I
6 insist on you telling me who assisted you in arriving there, and how did
7 you manage to enter that country illegally?
8 A. This is my own private matter. It was not easy to travel
9 illegally, and I took care of my travel arrangements myself.
10 Q. Thank you very much. I have the right to answer. I suppose the
11 Trial Chamber will be interested in learning the details, and I leave it
12 to them.
13 When you -- when did you enter the third country where you now
14 reside, and did you immediately request asylum?
15 A. Yes. As soon as I entered the country, I requested the asylum
17 Q. Thank you. When did you apply for residence, and what reasons
18 did you give for applying for residence?
19 A. I can't remember the date. I don't think it's even important.
20 And the reasons are stated was the things that happened during the war
21 and the consequences that I suffer. Those were the main reasons why I
22 left my place of birth and why I decided to live in a third country.
23 Q. Thank you. You know that when you apply for residence you have
24 to state some reasons for that, and -- and when you travel, even
25 illegally, you had to state reasons for travel. Maybe you travelled as a
1 tourist, but even if that was the case, you had to state that as well.
2 Did you provide any statements to the government of the country in which
3 you arrived?
4 A. Those statements were very short because I travelled illegally,
5 without any ID.
6 Q. Thank you. I'm asking you because every country where an illegal
7 immigrant arrives wants to know what they think and what they intend to
8 do, and I'm sure that they want to hear the reasons.
9 A. Of course they wanted to have my statement. First of all, they
10 wanted to know how I travelled, and second of all, the reasons for which
11 I left my country after the war. They wanted to hear what had happened
12 to me and to my family, and those are the reasons that I stated for
13 wanting to remain in that third country.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I interrupt you very shortly. Please pause a
15 little bit more after a question because of the translation. They can't
16 catch your full answer if you start answering too fast. Thank you.
17 Please continue.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Witness, at the time when you arrived as an illegal alien, were
20 you in contact with anybody from the Prosecutor's office, either openly
21 or also illegally?
22 A. No, not at that time. Not during that period.
23 Q. When was it that you got in touch with the OTP for the first
24 time, and when did you provide your first statement to them?
25 A. I would put it the other way round. It was them who got in touch
1 with me. I can't give you the exact date because I don't remember, but I
2 believe that it was in May 2006.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could the witness now be shown
5 1D68. Thank you.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
7 MR. THAYER: And just to be double sure, Mr. President, this
8 needs to not be broadcast.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think the registry will do everything what is
10 needed for that.
11 Mr. Tolimir, now we have it on the screen, and the witness can
12 see the document. Now you can ask your questions.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
14 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Did you have an occasion to look at this document during your
16 proofing session?
17 A. Yes. I saw this document, but this document does not bear my
19 Q. Very well. Thank you. Did the OTP ask you to sign a statement,
20 which is customary?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Thank you. In the Popovic case, on page 3987, you confirmed that
23 you had refused to testify before you were granted permanent residence.
24 Is it true that -- did it have an impact on you providing your statement?
25 A. Of course I insisted on permanent residence before I appeared
1 before this Tribunal. I wanted to be granted permanent residence first.
2 Q. The fact that the document does not bear your signature has
3 something to do with the fact that you insisted on permanent residence in
4 the third country in which you had resided at the time?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You applied for permanent resistance [as interpreted] in 2001,
7 and you were only granted that permanent residence when Mr. McCloskey
9 A. I can't answer the question as to what was instrumental to me
10 being granted permanent a resistance [as interpreted]. I can't tell you
12 Q. Can you not answer because you don't know or you are not allowed
13 to tell?
14 A. When I was given permanent residence, I read it but there were
15 there were no -- there was no statement of reasons as to why I had been
16 granted permanent residence, but it does say in that decision that
20 (redacted). They sent me a decision on permanent residence in
21 which they stated that between the year 2003 and 2006 I was a resident,
22 but I was never handed the decision on permanent residence. And in the
23 decision it also stated what legal remedies I had at my disposal, that I
24 had the right to appeal. I never appealed. I didn't launch an appeal.
25 There were some games behind all that, and it happens a lot of times.
1 It's not an uncommon situation.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: First of all, I would like to remind you again to
3 pause between question and answer, and please slow down a little bit.
4 Everything has to be interpreted, and the interpreters don't catch
5 everything what you are telling us.
6 Mr. Thayer.
7 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I understand we went into open
8 session, and we're going to need a redaction at page 13 of our LiveNote,
9 anyway, line 15. I know there are slightly different pages for the
10 Chamber, but there's a reference there to a location. I would just ask
11 that that be redacted.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. You are right. That will be
14 Mr. Tolimir, please continue, but slow down.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Witness, can we then conclude that it was only after you were
18 provided documents in the country where you resided, it was only that --
19 then that your problem with the statement and its signing before the OTP
20 was resolved?
21 A. When I appeared before this Tribunal last time, I still had not
22 been provided with any documents. However, after a short while I was
23 provided with permanent residence documents.
24 Q. Did you openly say to the OTP that you would not testify before
25 you were granted permanent residence in a European country?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And what did the OTP say to that? Can you just tell us briefly
3 in one sentence? Thank you.
6 (redacted) and they're the only ones who can do
8 Q. Thank you. Please tell us, at the time --
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Just a moment. Please don't repeat again the
10 name of the country. You again mentioned that. We have to redact that.
11 Please bear that in mind.
12 Mr. Tolimir, please continue.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
14 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Witness, could you please tell us, while you were waiting for a
16 decision on permanent residence in a European country, did the OTP
17 contact you either formally or informally? Did they take statements from
18 you without signature?
19 A. No. The first time they came in touch with me, as I've already
20 told you, was in May 2006, not before.
21 Q. But you told us just a while ago that you said that you would
22 only testify if you were granted a residence in a European country. Did
23 I understand you properly?
24 A. I repeat that my first contact with the OTP was in 2006.
25 However, at that point in time it didn't -- I did not have a permanent
1 residence in any European country.
2 Q. Okay. Let me put it this way: Did the OTP help you in any way
3 to become a resident in a European country?
4 A. I can't answer that question now because I don't know. I don't
5 know whether they exerted any influence or not. It would be the ministry
6 that provided me with the residence who would be able to tell you that.
7 They would be the best suited to answer that question.
8 Q. But you told them that you would not testify before you were
9 given residence. Were you first provided residence and then came to
10 testify or the other way round? What happened?
11 A. No. I did not have permanent residence when I came to testify.
12 I decided to testify in the hope that in a short while I would be
13 provided a permanent residence.
14 Q. I apologise. In the Popovic transcript, you said that you became
15 resident on Mr. McCloskey's intervention; is that correct?
16 A. No, it is not.
17 Q. Did you then provide a wrong statement? Did you misspeak?
18 A. I became resident when I finished that testimony in The Hague
19 when I returned home. A couple of days later I became resident. I was
20 provided with permanent residence.
21 Q. You say you returned home. What do you mean, when you returned
22 here? When you returned where?
23 A. In the country where I resided.
24 Q. In any case, can you please answer. When you said in the Popovic
25 case that you would not testify before you were granted residence, did
1 the Trial Chamber or the OTP help you get residence?
2 A. Well, they did try. They probably wrote a letter and sent it.
3 Whether that had any influence on the decision to grant residence, I
4 don't know.
5 Q. Thank you. Now, please just tell me this: Did you consider it
6 your duty to testify regardless of the help that you expected in order to
7 resolve this issue of residence? Is it every citizen's duty to testify?
8 A. No, it is not every citizen's duty. It is a personal decision.
9 Q. Thank you. So you don't consider testifying before a court an
10 obligation, either legal or moral?
11 A. No. It is my own personal decision.
12 Q. Did you actually make it conditional on testifying to obtain this
13 residence permit? Thank you.
14 A. Well, could you please repeat your question one more time.
15 Q. Did you make it a condition when you talked to the Prosecution
16 that you would testify it on condition that you would get a permanent
17 residence, yes or no?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Could you describe what kind of conditions you set?
20 A. Well, of course --
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think -- I think both speakers should really
22 slow down and pause between question and answer. The interpreters can't
23 catch everything. There's always an overlap. You can see that sometimes
24 on the screen.
25 Mr. Thayer, you wanted to raise something?
1 MR. THAYER: I did, Mr. President. The witness answered the
2 question, but I think we've had about 15 minutes, I think, worth of
3 questioning on this same issue, and the witness's answers have remained
4 the same no matter how many different ways the question has been asked.
5 I think it's beginning to cross the line of utility for the Trial Chamber
6 in fairness, frankly.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. That was also the concern of the
8 Chamber. Mr. Tolimir, I think what you wanted to know you got from the
9 witness. Please continue, perhaps with another topic.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Since
11 Mr. Thayer does not want us to explore this any further, whereas it was
12 part of his statement, I will now move on to my next question.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. In the summary of your statement the Prosecutor briefly mentions
15 your statement regarding General Morillon's presence in Srebrenica in
16 1993, and it was stated here in public session that you've testified
17 about that as well. On page 3293 of the Popovic transcript, in answer to
18 the Prosecutor's question whether you were present in person when
19 General Morillon arrived in March 1993, you said, "Yes, I was present."
20 You said that he was by the post office building, and, "I was there in
21 front of it with a mass of people who were seeking to obtain some help,"
22 but then when they asked you whether you were in any contact with --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Could the -- could the accused please repeat
24 the last portion of the question.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. [No interpretation]
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, we don't receive English translation
3 at the moment. You were asked by the interpreters to repeat the last
4 portion of your question. Perhaps you did it, but we didn't receive
5 English translation. Could you repeat that, please.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I asked
7 the witness whether he was present in person when General Morillon
8 arrived in March 1993, and he said that he was. That's what he said in
9 the Popovic case, and I quote:
10 "I was present. He was by the post office, and I was next to it
11 in a mass of people who were seeking assistance from Morillon."
12 But in answer to the question whether you personally participated
13 in any operation -- in any action that had to do anything with
14 General Morillon while he was in Srebrenica, he briefly replied, "No."
15 So this was my quotation of his earlier testimony, so that now I
16 can move on to my question. Do you allow me to put that question?
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Carry on, please.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Witness, tell us, please, how did it come about that this group
20 of people, mass of people, gathered in Srebrenica when General Morillon
21 arrived there in March 1993, and were you told to gather there by anyone,
22 and were you informed that General Morillon would be coming? Thank you.
23 A. In March 1993, when Morillon arrived, of course all the people
24 were in Srebrenica. They were gathered there. Srebrenica is a small
25 place. There is one main street. It is -- it was full of people from
1 several surrounding municipalities, and at the time when it was -- when
2 we were wondering whether it would fall or not, at that point in time
3 General Morillon appeared, and the people there saw the only -- the only
4 way they could save themselves in General Morillon, and of course they
5 gather there expecting to hear what the outcome would be and what to do
6 next, and this means that I, too, walking there, walking by, saw this
7 huge group of people. I asked them, because I was interested what was
8 going on, and then I learned that Morillon was there and that he was the
9 one who would actually take the final decision on Srebrenica and its
11 Women, children, and younger people actually surrounded the post
12 office building, the facilities where he was, until he took a decision
13 that would be satisfying for that people, which means that I was there in
14 the immediate vicinity, and I, too, was awaiting to hear what the
15 information would be, whether it would be good or bad for us.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could we now please see
17 document 1D69 on the screens. This is an OTP document from the proofing
18 notes of the 14th November 2006, preceding his testimony in the Popovic
19 says. Thank you.
20 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Can you see the document before you, Witness? Can you see it
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Please take a look at the third paragraph. Can you see it? In
1 the third paragraph it reads, I quote:
2 "He was present when General Morillon arrived, and he was among
3 those who blocked the APC
4 Have you found that? Have you seen it?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. However, in the Popovic case, on transcript page 4000, you said,
7 I quote:
8 "I was in the immediate vicinity of the building where he was,
9 although I did not get in any kind of contact with him."
10 And then on page 4003, 17 through 19, you said, I quote:
11 "I was with a group of people there, but the women and children
12 had blocked Morillon so that he would remain there until some kind of
13 resolution was found in terms of the declaration of Srebrenica as a safe
15 And when it says here in the proofing notes that you were in a
16 group of people who blocked Morillon and his APCs, you said that that was
18 "I was in the immediate vicinity of the place where Morillon
20 Is all of this what I've just mentioned here correct?
21 A. Well, yes. I've tried to explain in answer to your question that
22 I was not a participant or an organiser of this event. I repeat, these
23 were women and children. But I was in that large group of people
24 awaiting the final solution and response. So there was no action. I
25 didn't take any action. I just stayed there as a passer-by.
1 Q. All right. I don't have any problem with that, but I would like
2 you to explain both to me and to the Trial Chamber where this difference
3 in your statement actually is coming from. First you said that you were
4 in the group of people that had blocked General Morillon, and now you're
5 saying that you weren't in the group, that you just happened to be there.
6 So tell us which is true? Thank you.
7 A. Well, in addition to the group there was this large long column,
8 if I may call it that.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
10 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I think we need to make clear that
11 we're not talking about a statement of this witness. As the general
12 knows, what he is referring to is a proofing note of which I am the
13 author. This is not a witness statement, and that should be made clear
14 to the witness and not posed to him as if there are two statements out
15 there. What we have is a proofing note and the unsigned information
16 report that General Tolimir has already questioned the witness about,
17 again which is not a signed statement.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, take that in mind and please carry
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I had
21 that in mind, and I said that I was quoting the document, and I called it
22 a Prosecutor's report. I was just reading a quote to the witness, and I
23 also quoted a portion of the witness statement in -- of the witness
24 testimony in the Popovic case. I don't see that there is any problem
25 there. Thank you.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Just carry on.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Witness, please don't be concerned about this. This has really
4 nothing to do with you.
5 Could you please tell us who organised this gathering when
6 Morillon came to Srebrenica in March 1993? Thank you.
7 A. I couldn't really answer your question, because I was not an
8 employee of any of the state institutions, but I think -- my assessment
9 is that this was probably a spontaneous gathering of the people, because
10 they were hungry, cold, and I think this initiative just came
11 spontaneously from -- by these people and these refugees.
12 Q. Thank you. Now, tell us, please, when General Morillon went to
13 Srebrenica were there only Srebrenica people there or were there people
14 from other towns around Srebrenica?
15 A. No. There were a lot of people, displaced persons from the
16 surrounding villages, towns, the municipalities of Zvornik, Vlasenica,
17 Gorazde, people from those areas. So there were people from several
18 different municipalities there.
19 Q. Thank you. Now, this was also reported in the media, so let me
20 ask you this: In this group of people who were outside the post office
21 building, were there any representatives of the official government
22 authorities or the party? Was there anyone there to meet
23 General Morillon, or did they just let the citizens and villagers meet
24 General Morillon?
25 A. Well, when he arrived, I didn't really see him, and the talks
1 were held behind closed doors. Now, who was with him, who met him, who
2 saw him off, I really don't know. I didn't see it, and I can't answer
3 that question.
4 Q. Thank you. So you've already answered the question, actually.
5 It was organised, but you don't know who the organisers were. Have I
6 understood your answer correctly?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Thank you for your answer. We were overlapping, and let me just
9 repeat that your answer was, "Yes." I'm saying this for the benefit of
10 the interpreters. Thank you.
11 Do you know by any chance that General Morillon testified before
12 this Tribunal in the Milosevic case, transcript page 31975, on which
13 occasion he explained that the events in Srebrenica in 1995 were a
14 reflection of the events that had transpired there up until 1993, and he
15 was referring to the activities undertaken by -- from the surrounding
16 villages in the protected zone against the Serbian military? Do you know
18 A. No, I don't.
19 Q. Thank you. Do you know anything about the massacres committed by
20 Muslim armed groups against Serbian civilians in 1992 and 1993? Thank
22 A. No, I don't.
23 Q. Do you know that there was a Muslim attack on the village of
24 Kravica on the 7th of January, on which occasion about 60 people were
1 A. Yes, I do know. I know about Kravica.
2 Q. Do you know that before the attack of the Serbian Army on
3 Srebrenica there was an attack on Visnjica and the villages in front of
4 the front line in the part -- in the area of Zeleni Jadar?
5 A. Well, I'm sorry, the questions you're putting are too difficult
6 for me. I can't really answer them. I'm not a military person. I can
7 only tell you about information and things I heard about. I heard about
8 Visnjica and its fall a few days before Srebrenica. Now, how the whole
9 thing evolved, whether it had been planned or not, I really don't know,
10 so I can't give you any further information because I did not belong to
11 the group of people, the insiders, who would know that. Maybe a military
12 person, a soldier, or a military strategist could tell you more about
14 Q. Thank you. Now, do you know whether there were any casualties
15 among the BH Army in those operations that they conducted against these
16 villages in Republika Srpska? Because you worked in a hospital, do you
17 know whether there were any wounded soldiers?
18 A. Well, of course there were wounded people on a daily basis. They
19 were brought to the hospital, and the number was growing. And because of
20 the enormity of the work that we had, I had no time ask these wounded
21 people how and where they had been wounded. My job was to help them in
22 that situation.
23 Q. Thank you. You've told us what you know. And now I would like
24 to switch to the third group of questions that Mr. Thayer had already
25 mentioned, and it relates to humanitarian convoys. He mentioned that he
1 knew that you had already testified about humanitarian convoys and that
2 you mentioned them in your statements. We're still in 1993.
3 In your testimony in the Popovic case, you said that your mother
4 and sister had left Srebrenica in -- on a UNHCR truck. This was in 1993.
5 Is that correct? Would you like us to switch to private -- to a private
7 A. No, but that's how it was, exactly as you said.
8 Q. Thank you very much. So your answer is yes.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Thank you. On page 3934, lines 16 through 18 in the Popovic
11 case, you said:
12 "They left with convoys that had brought food. Since trucks were
13 empty, people got on and they left for the free territory. Those are
14 UNHCR trucks."
15 Did I quote your words properly? Thank you. Does this reflect
16 the truth? Thank you.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Thank you. You say they went to the free territory, which means
19 that you did not deem Srebrenica to be free. Is that what you meant when
20 you said free territory? What did you mean?
21 A. In the beginning of 1993 -- what I saw in January 1993, the
22 situation was unsafe, unstable, and it became more difficult by the day.
23 So I and all the others felt that Srebrenica was a very risky area for
24 all of us.
25 Q. Thank you. You provided a very broad answer to my question, but
1 could you please explain. Did everybody believe the same? Did everybody
2 share that opinion, the military and the civilian leaderships, that the
3 area was not safe for families and that the only people who could stay
4 there were soldiers?
5 A. To -- I according to what I think, able-bodied men were safer,
6 and especially when their families were in a safer place, when their
7 wives and children were in a place where their safety was guaranteed.
8 Even if something happened, they thought that they would be able to save
10 Q. Thank you. So you're saying that it was common practice among
11 everybody, among soldiers and the structures of authorities, as you said
12 in the Popovic case, it was deemed to be safer for the families and
13 children to live in the Bosnian federation? Is it true? I don't want to
14 quote your words from the Popovic case. Thank you.
15 A. Yes, that's correct.
16 Q. Thank you. Just by way of example, could you please tell us do
17 you know that some of the leaders or army members sent their families
18 away? You don't have to give us any names. Just tell us whether you
19 know about such instances.
20 A. You know what? Those who got on those trucks and left were
21 lucky, I would say. It was not easy to reach those trucks. It was not
22 easy to get on them, and it was not easy to arrive in their destinations.
23 To be honest, I wasn't present when my mother and my sister got
24 on one of the trucks, but I heard from the others that while the trucks
25 were being loaded that a selection process was going on, that some got
1 lucky without anybody -- anybody's assistance. They did not need to be
2 supported by any leaders.
3 Q. Thank you very much for your lengthy answer. Who was it who
4 carried out that selection process that you had mentioned? Thank you.
5 Was that UNPROFOR or was that another body that were authorised to do so
6 in Srebrenica?
7 A. I repeat, and I can only tell you what I heard, none of the UNHCR
8 personnel was in charge. I suppose that it was the authorities of
9 Srebrenica who were engaged in that. I don't know.
10 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us whether soldiers left on
11 those convoys as well, or was it just women or children?
12 A. Honestly, from what I heard, among the women and children and
13 elderly there were also some able-bodied men. That's what I heard.
14 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us just approximately, you said that it
15 was common practice when you spoke in the Popovic case whenever a convoy
16 arrived, and we know how those lorries arrived, according to your
17 estimate, how many people got on one truck? What would you say? Thank
19 A. I really can't give you the exact figure. I only heard that
20 there were some people who suffocated. So the lorries were overloaded.
21 Many died before reaching Tuzla
22 don't know. This is what I heard.
23 Q. So you're talking about 1993 or some other year?
24 A. No. I'm talking about 1993. I'm talking about humanitarian aid
25 and -- humanitarian aid and the transport of refugees from there to
2 Q. Thank you. Thank you. I thought that you were talking about
3 1993, because that's what you were recorded as saying in the Popovic
4 transcript. We don't want to dwell upon that any longer. I'm happy with
5 your answers so far.
6 Tell me, am I right in saying that those convoys usually
7 transported women and children, as was the case in your case, but there
8 were also able bodied -- but that able-bodied men mostly stayed in
9 Srebrenica unless they were really lucky to got on one of those lorries?
10 Did I understand you properly?
11 A. Yes, you understood me absolutely well.
12 Q. Thank you very much. Could you please tell us, while you
13 personally did not leave Srebrenica with the rest of your family when you
14 looked younger? As you yourself said, you were-- you were younger. Why
15 didn't you take the opportunity and leave at that time?
16 A. Are we still talking about 1993?
17 Q. 1993, yes.
18 A. Well, I didn't even try. And even if I had tried, I would not be
19 able to get on any of those trucks. I would be automatically eliminated
20 from there. I was not even present when those people were leaving. I
21 went there.
22 Q. Thank you. So I understand that you didn't stand a chance, that
23 you didn't have anybody among the selection committee to put you on the
24 truck. Thank you.
25 Thank you, Witness. And now I would like to move on to another
1 group of questions. I believe that we have exhausted the topic of
2 convoys, departures, and we have dealt with the ambiguities in the
3 Popovic transcript.
4 If you don't mind, maybe -- maybe you think we should go into
5 private session, because I would like to hear the year of your birth.
6 A. Private session, please.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we please move into private
8 session for the witness to tell us the year of his birth.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Private.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 1974.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Just a moment please. Just a moment.
13 [Private session]
2 [Open session]
3 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sorry. Mr. Thayer.
14 MR. THAYER: Quite all right, Mr. President. I think out of an
15 abundance of caution that should have been in private session. So I
16 would ask, unless the witness feels comfortable with that information
17 being in the public domain, that we go in closed session for anymore of
18 these details which might possibly identify him, and I think we'll need a
19 redaction if he obviously does have concerns.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sir, is that the case, that you have concerns
21 with the last answer you gave?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would like all of that to be
23 redacted, please.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Okay. That will be done.
25 Mr. Tolimir, will you go on with these kind of questions? You
1 may -- you may decide that during the break. We will have our first
2 break now.
3 The court officer will assist you during the break.
4 And we will redact the portion between line 6 and 11 of page 31.
5 We adjourn and resume at 11.00.
6 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
7 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please continue your
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Witness, let's not repeat the year of your birth and so on and so
13 forth. Could you please answer the following question. I'm going to sum
14 up all those questions without going into private questions. Since you
15 were at an age which, pursuant to Alija Izetbegovic's order, included you
16 among the able-bodied men, were you subject to mobilisation? Were you a
17 conscript? Thank you.
18 A. I was not subject to mobilisation. I was not a conscript. I was
19 a health-care worker who helped the wounded.
20 Q. Very well. Thank you. Could you please tell us, health-care
21 workers, were they listed as conscripts or those under work obligation,
22 and did you as such enjoy some benefits, some monies in respect of that,
23 anything? Thank you.
24 A. Some health-care workers were conscripts, as it were, and as far
25 as financial benefits are concerned, there were none. While I worked, I
1 received a somewhat bigger quantity of humanitarian aid. I received more
2 staple foods than others.
3 Q. Did everybody receive payment in kind, everybody working in that
4 hospital, or were they paid in money by municipality or by some other
6 A. At that time, we did not have our own currency in Srebrenica. I
7 don't know if anybody received any financial assistance expressed in
8 German marks or some other European currency. I don't know. I don't
9 know. I didn't receive anything.
10 Q. Thank you very much for your answer. And what about those who
11 worked in the hospital before the war? Did any of them stay in the
12 hospital during the war? Thank you.
13 A. Since I was never in Srebrenica before the war - the first time I
14 arrived in Srebrenica was in January 1993 - I don't know who worked in
15 the hospital before the war. I can only assume that there were such
17 Q. Yes. This is what I'm asking you. There are people who say that
18 they -- they worked there before the war. Some were almost nearing
19 retirement. Did any of them receive any financial benefits or salaries?
20 A. I don't know. I can't answer your question. I'm not sure. I
21 can't give you a proper answer.
22 Q. I wanted to avoid -- avoid closing the session and quoting the
23 transcript. I'm going to show a document which does not indicate your
24 name. This is 1D75. This is a payroll, a list of all the employees, and
25 that list does not contain your name.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
2 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I think it would be better to redact
3 the question and place this -- this entire questioning in closed session.
4 I think we were nearing the line in some of the prior questions with
5 respect to potentially identifying the witness, but I think reference to
6 this document in any form crosses that line.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: For the following questions we go into private
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I don't see a reason to go into
10 private session. I didn't say anything --
11 [Private session]
11 Page 1115 redacted. Private session.
17 [Open session]
18 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. We are in open session. I will have no further questions about
22 that subject. I would like to ask you this, Witness: In the Popovic
23 case you said --
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, Judge Nyambe has a question to the
25 last issue, and then you can continue with another point.
1 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you. I just have a question for you,
2 Mr. Witness. You have just said, correct me if I'm wrong, that when you
3 worked in the hospital you are paid in kind. Is that correct?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. During that period while I
5 worked there, as far as I remember, I received two pairs of boots. And
6 as far as food is concerned, I received a few kilos of flour and some
7 other staple foods.
8 JUDGE NYAMBE: Another -- a follow-up question. Was this the
9 normal practice? Was everybody else paid in this way?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, of course. Everybody else was
11 paid in the same way. I don't know whether there were any exceptions to
12 that. I don't know whether anybody received more than I did. I wouldn't
13 be able to tell you that.
14 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Witness, the Prosecutor said that in your testimony you spoke
19 about the shelling of the playground in Srebrenica when 60 people were
20 killed, and he also included that in the summary. This was on page 3934,
21 lines 2 and 3 of the Popovic case transcript, and I am going to put a few
22 questions to you about that incident.
23 You said on that occasion while testifying in the Popovic case --
24 can you see it? The page number is 3936, 3936, lines 7 and 8, and I
1 "According to some unofficial information, some 60 people got
2 killed, and some 60 were either slightly or seriously wounded."
3 However, on page 4045 of the same transcript, lines 5 and 6, you
5 "This is information that I heard from the -- at the hospital
6 when those people were admitted to be looked after in the hospital."
7 Thank you. My question is this: If you worked at the hospital
8 from 1994 and that incident took place in 1993, allegedly during the
9 celebration of the day of Srebrenica, how come you could hear in the
10 hospital how many dead and wounded there were? Thank you.
11 A. Some five or ten minutes before that I was in the clearing near
12 the school playground, and there were a lot of young people there. Among
13 them there were also my acquaintances. A few shells fell, and the
14 information leaked that a tragedy had struck. That's when I returned to
15 the scene to see whether I could recognise some of my acquaintances among
16 those people, and I also wanted to check what had really happened.
17 At first in the playground you couldn't really tell how many
18 people were dead and wounded. However, a few hours later I went to the
19 hospital, and I received information. I inquired, and I was told how
20 many killed and how many wounded. I was told that about 60 people had
21 been killed and that over 60 people had been either slightly or seriously
23 Q. Thank you. Was that information from an official source or did
24 you just hear it from somebody working in the hospital? You yourself did
25 not work in the hospital at the time, as you have told us yourself.
1 A. I heard that from a group of people who were at the very entrance
2 to the hospital, and I believe that one of their own had been wounded,
3 and that's how I learned about the figures. They were the ones who gave
4 me that information. I did not receive the information from an official
5 surgeon or somebody of that kind. Any officials were really very, very
6 busy at the time. The hospital was understaffed anyway, so there was no
7 time for any of them to talk to laypersons hanging around the hospital
8 before they had been able to treat the wounded adequately.
9 Q. On page 3944 of the Popovic transcript case, you spoke about the
10 period after the departure of General Morillon from Srebrenica, and you
11 said that you had witnessed the consequences of the shelling in
12 Srebrenica which had taken place during the celebration of the
13 proclamation of Srebrenica as a protected area. And then on page 3936,
14 you say, and I quote:
15 "Let me put it this way: Serbs in the observation points were
16 obviously supposed to notice the group of people who were gathered there.
17 I don't know what happened. Some five or ten minutes later I passed the
18 area, and I could see the dismembered human bodies, heads, and legs
19 hanging -- thrown around. According to some unofficial information, some
20 60 people were killed and over 60 were either slightly or more seriously
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please slow down, Mr. Tolimir. The interpreters
23 don't catch it.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Do I have to repeat anything?
25 Thank you.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No, it's not necessary. I think the witness
2 understood your question.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I was just reading something,
4 a quotation, and now comes my question.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. My question is: Where was this observation post or position that
7 you're talking about here, and could Serbs actually -- were they able to
8 observe the position of the place where these people had been killed?
9 Thank you.
10 A. Well, you see I assume that people actually assumed where the
11 shells could have come from, and I think that it came from Bratunac or
12 some -- I don't know exactly what that elevation is called. And of
13 course they did reach Srebrenica, which means that Serbian soldiers were
14 able to observe from an elevation the mass of people who were there
15 gathered, and in this way they actually fired I don't know how many of
16 these shells which unfortunately killed the number of people that I
17 mentioned there, of young people.
18 Q. Thank you. Now, did you have occasion to travel the
19 Bratunac-Srebrenica road? Thank you.
20 A. I did not take the Bratunac-Srebrenica road, but I did to
22 Q. Thank you. Now, did you hear from someone that the lower-lying
23 areas, for instance the Yellow Bridge
24 hills were on a higher, slightly elevated ground? Thank you.
25 A. Well, I did hear of the Yellow Bridge
1 that it is in the foothills of those hills around there, but around
2 Srebrenica there are a lot of hills. And I also have to point out that
3 the Republika Srpska Army was deployed on these favourable, as it were,
4 elevations from where they could control and reconnoiter and observe the
5 situation in the town itself.
6 Q. Thank you. If I understood you correctly, this is your own
7 assessment and the assessment of the civilians, citizens there, that the
8 army could have seen or observed from somewhere that group; correct?
9 Thank you.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Thank you. In your testimony in the Popovic case you talked
12 about the observation post of the Republika Srpska Army at length, but
13 now we see that it was actually something that you just assumed and
14 concluded. But now -- and when you asked whether -- when you were asked
15 whether there was in Srebrenica the 28th Brigade -- Division of the
16 BH Army, you said, I quote:
17 "That was a question that you should have put to someone from the
19 So on page 4043 you say, from lines 21 through 25 you say in
20 answer to the question -- to the following question:
21 "Do you know that the 28th Division of the BH Army was in
23 To which you reply, I quote:
24 "That is the question that you have to put to an army officer. I
25 am just a health worker, and I really cannot answer that question."
1 My question for you is this: If you're not competent to answer
2 questions that relate to the military, can we then conclude that this is
3 just your lay-conclusion as to where the positions could have been or
4 something that you heard from another person or third persons, because in
5 order to determine whether something was an observation post or not, you
6 need to have military experience, and you couldn't even answer the
7 question about the 28th Division. So could it be that you did not
8 perhaps understand the question that was put to you then or not? Thank
10 A. Well, there were some troops in Srebrenica, but what those units
11 were called I really don't know. Some people had some camouflage
12 uniforms on, but you couldn't really read. It didn't say who they were
13 and what their unit's name was, so I don't know what the name of the unit
15 Q. Thank you. Did you ever have occasion to be in the hospital when
16 some wounded were brought in from the front line? Did you have occasion,
17 perhaps, to fill out a form about those wounded and such information as
18 to what their names were, what units they came from and so on?
19 A. I never filled out any forms myself, but there were cases where,
20 of course, military personnel was also admitted to the hospital, and of
21 course they were provided medical assistance.
22 Q. Thank you. Could you tell me, please, were the people who had
23 been killed, were they buried publicly, and did you attend the -- their
24 burial? Thank you.
25 A. I never attended any burial myself.
1 Q. Very well. Thank you. Now, were the people who had been killed
2 both able-bodied men and civilians? Can you answer that?
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
4 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I just want to make clear for the
5 record what exactly we're talking about here. Are we still talking about
6 the shelling of the playground in April of 1993, or are we talking
7 generally about admissions to the hospital at some other time. I fear
8 the record is a little unclear on that -- on that point.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: So, Mr. Tolimir, could you please clarify this
10 for the proper answer you want to get.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I think
12 that the witness understood me. We are talking about the individuals,
13 the people who were killed on the field or in the playground, and I was
14 asking the witness whether among those killed there were civilians and
15 military personnel, and I haven't received an answer yet. Thank you.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes. The place where these
17 people were killed, at that place most people who were killed were
18 civilians, but there were among them people also wearing camouflage
19 uniforms, which probably points to them being conscripts or able-bodied
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Thank you. Perhaps I can assist you here. Was this an organised
23 gathering? Was there some occasion for this gathering, and who were the
24 participants and who organised it? Thank you.
25 A. I don't know who organised that gathering, but I know that young
1 people attended this gathering. They gathered there, the youth, because
2 there was a cease-fire, and it was a kind of celebration. There was a
3 bit of dancing, some music playing, and so on.
4 Q. Thank you. I am not going to quote the Popovic transcript again,
5 but you said this was a celebration on the occasion of Srebrenica having
6 been declared a safe area. Did I understand you correctly, and is that
7 how it was? Thank you.
8 A. Yes, you understood me well. Most probably the cause for this
9 celebration was the declaration of Srebrenica as a safe zone, and because
10 of all the suffering that people had been through before that. They
11 wanted to celebrate this event, and they probably wanted to start their
12 life -- restart their life again and try and live a normal life.
13 Q. Thank you. If I understood you well, then that would mean that
14 that gathering must have been organised by the civilian or military
15 authorities, because people don't just go out and celebrate anything. So
16 this was a celebration on the occasion of the declaration of Srebrenica
17 as a safe zone. Did the army also participate in this celebration?
18 Thank you.
19 A. Well, in my assessment, and I believe that most of these people
20 were young people, there was a school there and young people were in the
21 school, and they were probably the ones who organised this celebration.
22 They got some music playing. And for that kind of gathering you really
23 didn't need any approval by any authorities, and I assume and I suspect
24 that at that time the authorities weren't really functional.
25 Q. Thank you. I'm not sure I understood you clearly. Could you
1 please tell me whether the army also participated in this celebration? I
2 apologise for repeating my question. Thank you.
3 A. As far as I could see, most of those present were young people.
4 There were boys 13 years old who had camouflage T-shirts on. I can't
5 really say or confirm that they were military personnel. They may have
6 just worn those T-shirts as kind of propaganda, but there were some
7 soldiers there, too, but at that time a lot of people actually found
8 pieces of clothing, military clothing, and sometimes would wear them. So
9 I can't really say for sure whether there were military personnel or not,
10 but most of the people there were in civilian clothes.
11 Q. Thank you. So this was a celebration organised by the
12 authorities, and some people had uniforms on, but whether the army
13 participated, whether the authorities participated when the celebration
14 or if it was a spontaneous gathering, can you tell us anything?
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I think your quotation was not
16 correct. You said, "So this was a celebration organised by the
17 authorities." The witness has told you that he doesn't know anything
18 about the involvement of official authorities. And the other parts of
19 your last question are already answered, I suppose. Please continue.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the Prosecutor said
21 here, and also in the Popovic case, they talked about the celebration of
22 this day when Srebrenica was proclaimed a safe zone, and I just wanted to
23 know who organised this, whether it was the authorities, the civilian
24 authorities, the military. I never actually got an answer. I don't know
25 if you understood the witness, but I did not. Thank you.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: At the end of the day this is a question we have
2 to give some weight to this examination, of course, but I think you
3 repeatedly put this question to the witness, and you got the answer he
4 can provide you with. Please carry on.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I was
6 just looking for a yes or no answer, but I accept your suggestion, and I
7 will ask the witness this:
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Can you actually differentiate between a military person, a
10 civilian, a conscript, a person on work obligation? So was this
11 something that you could actually tell in Srebrenica? How did you
12 actually -- how could you tell who was a civilian, who was a military
13 person, who was a police officer, who on work obligation in Srebrenica?
14 Can you tell us? Thank you.
15 A. As for Srebrenica, and whether I was able to conclude who was a
16 military person and who was a civilian, I have to say that it was
17 difficult to give an answer to that question, but as for me, when a
18 person wore a uniform, I considered that person to be a military person,
19 a soldier. However, there were minors who had pieces of camouflage
20 uniform on them. So military personnel had full camouflage uniforms, but
21 it was really difficult to tell there at that time who was a soldier and
22 who wasn't.
23 Q. Thank you. I will not dwell any further on this question, but
24 could you please tell us, in the Popovic transcript, on page 3540, in
25 answer to the Prosecutor's question you said that there were people
1 wounded by sniper bullets. My question for you is: Did you have
2 occasion to see such wounded people or people wounded in that way, and
3 did you have occasion to treat them? And how could you tell whether they
4 were wounded by a sniper bullet, because a sniper would have to be nearby
5 in order for the bullet to actually hit the victim. Thank you.
6 A. Until 1995, there wasn't much sniper fire, but in early 1995, as
7 the security situation deteriorated in Srebrenica and in view of the
8 large number of refugees and lack of heating materials or firewood,
9 people were forced to actually go into the hills and forests around
10 Srebrenica and cut some firewood to prepare for the winter. And as time
11 went by, people actually ventured further and further out in search for
12 firewood. Some of them also went far afield looking also for some food,
13 blueberries and so on, so that some of them, as I heard, were wounded by
14 snipers. Some were killed. As far as I heard, there were some
15 individual instances.
16 Q. All right. Thank you. Now I understood you better. So people
17 actually went close to the snipers. It's not the other way round. The
18 snipers did not -- the sniper or the marksman did not come towards the
19 people. They actually went out and got close to them, and that's how
20 they were hit; correct? Thank you.
21 A. Well, yes. People actually reached pretty close. They got
22 pretty close to the front line, and that's how they got wounded or
24 Q. Thank you. Were there any army members who took part in sabotage
25 activities from the safe area who were then wounded in those operations
1 and you had occasion to give them medical assistance? Thank you.
2 A. Could you please repeat your question?
3 Q. Were there any wounded treated at the hospital who had been hit
4 in combat operations on the front line or in operations that they were
5 engaged in against the Serb territory and who became victims of sniper
6 fire, and did you actually determine the type of wounds that these people
7 had so that you could provide proper treatment? Thank you.
8 A. These individuals who came close to the front lines, most of
9 them, as far as I could observe in the hospital, were civilians. There
10 was a soldier here and there.
11 Q. Thank you. In the Popovic transcript, on page 3941, lines 20
12 through 23, you say, I quote:
13 "There were also wounded people in ambushes, and many of them in
14 the end thought that Srebrenica was unstable and they tried to get to the
15 free territory, and then they would run into ambushes. "
16 You were testifying here about the period before July 1995.
17 Could you tell us now, please, how frequent these attempts to leave
18 Srebrenica were by those individuals that you described there? Thank
20 A. Well, I just said a moment ago that in early 1995, the
21 humanitarian and security situation in Srebrenica deteriorated so that it
22 was reminiscent of 1992 and 1993 when there was hunger and people even
23 died of starvation so that they were forced to find food somewhere. In
24 order to obtain some food, many people ventured out towards Zepa, and as
25 far as I was informed, the Zepa authorities had reported to the UNHCR a
1 larger number of refugees than there actually were so that they received
2 larger quantities of humanitarian aid, and they had some food stocks.
3 But as far as I learned, these people then had to cover a territory that
4 was under the control of the Republika Srpska Army, scavenging for food
5 or looking for food so that many of these people actually ran into
6 ambushes or minefields in search of food.
7 Another group of people or category of people, in view of the
8 deteriorating humanitarian and security situation, tried to leave the
9 enclave on their own initiative. They would find a group of like-minded
10 people, and some of them then were wounded on the front lines. Whether
11 in ambushes or in minefields, I'm not sure.
12 Q. Thank you. As far as I could understand from your answers, can I
13 conclude that you are actually here referring to woundings in combat
14 operations, ambushes, illegal crossings of territories and so on? Did I
15 understand you correctly? Thank you.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you, Witness. On page 3943, you spoke about some wounded
18 officers. That was in the Popovic case. Those men were brought to the
19 hospital where you worked. Had they been wounded in fighting on the line
20 or in a different situation? Thank you.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
22 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I'm sorry to be somewhat late to my
23 feet. I just was able to read the prior question. We haven't been
24 objecting to compound questions to this point. We've let, I think, most
25 of them slide. I think this particular compound question may merit just
1 breaking it down, because there are a series of questions over a number
2 of topics about wounded people being treated, and then there was a
3 summary compound question with a single yes, and I think that would be
4 important to break that down.
5 General Tolimir asked the witness about woundings in combat
6 operations, ambushings, illegal crossings of territories and so on.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, I'm very sorry. Could you leave it
8 for your re-examination perhaps?
9 MR. THAYER: Certainly, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Okay. Thank you.
11 Mr. Witness, did you recall the question of Mr. Tolimir?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you please repeat?
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Witness, I don't intend to go back to the same questions or to
15 break them up. I asked you at the beginning about the sniping incidents
16 when they were killed, and your answer that they were -- that they
17 were -- that they were killed on the front line, in the ambushes and so
18 on and so forth, and then I quoted document 3D43, when the Prosecutor
19 asked you about those officers. I always refer to the transcripts from
20 your previous testimony. I'm talking about transcript page number 3D43
21 when the Prosecutor asked you whether those wounded were civilians,
22 soldiers, officers, or somebody else. If you would care to answer,
23 please go ahead.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Tolimir please be asked to speak
25 slower, because half of his questions will not be interpreted and
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, did you receive the comment of the
3 interpreters? You should slow down with your questions. Otherwise, some
4 of the parts of your questions will not be translated and recorded.
5 Thank you.
6 Witness, the question, in fact, was:
7 "Those men were brought to the hospital where you worked. Had
8 they been wounded in fighting the line, or in a different situation?"
9 That was the question. Could you answer that?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Are we talking about July 1995 or a
11 period preceding July 1995?
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. July 1995 is the period, and the page number is 3943, transcript
14 from the Popovic case. That's what the Prosecutor asked. The Prosecutor
15 asked you whether those were civilians or soldiers or both were brought
16 to the hospital, and you answered both, and my question is how did you
17 make a distinction between civilians and soldiers, because your answer
18 was, "Both." Thank you.
19 A. Both. That's the answer. Soldiers arrived who had tried to stop
20 the attack launched by the Army of Republika Srpska, and in addition to
21 the shells that fell all over the city, there were a lot of civilians who
22 were wounded by the shells who fell in the upper and central part of the
23 town, and the military, the troops, arrived from the lines where they had
24 been trying to stop the attack.
25 Q. Thank you. And in the same transcript, on page 3943, line 8, you
1 speak about officers who had been wounded and brought to the hospital.
2 Could you please tell us which officers were wounded and brought to the
3 hospital? Can you remember their names? If not, just tell us whether
4 they were killed in combat or whether they were killed in other
5 situations and under different circumstances. Thank you.
6 A. Those soldiers were obviously wounded in defence.
7 Q. Thank you. Thank you. So you're saying that they were wounded
8 in combat.
9 And now we will move on to another group of questions. I believe
10 that the Trial Chamber now understands that there could have been no
11 sniping from the Serbian positions, that in order to launch sniper fire
12 they had to move closer to Srebrenica. So there were no snipers close to
13 Srebrenica. Srebrenica was in the depth of the territory. Thank you.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please put questions to the witness.
15 You are not the witness. You made a statement now. Please put questions
16 to the witness.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I asked the witness when he spoke
18 about sniping incidents and people being wounded from snipers. I quoted
19 that, and I said if they were wounded by snipers, where were they
20 wounded, on the front line, in Srebrenica? Whether the sniping fire
21 could reach Srebrenica from the front line. And that was the period that
22 we had already discussed and to which Mr. Thayer reacted. Thank you.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wouldn't agree with you, perhaps,
24 when you say that snipers could not open fire on Srebrenica. When you
25 look how far it is as the crow flies, I believe that they could. I even
1 know that some of the Serb troops came as far as the town of Srebrenica
2 They could reconnoiter the situation that prevailed at such moments.
3 Q. Thank you. I just wanted to say that those lines were further
4 away from Srebrenica, or perhaps they were not, and I was asking whether
5 the -- from the positions of the Army of Republika Srpska you could
6 actually reach or target Srebrenica. Thank you.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Tolimir please be asked to speak
8 slower, otherwise he will not be interpreted.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Again, please slow down, Mr. Tolimir, if we want
10 to have a good and convenient hearing. And again, this was not a
11 question but your statement. You are not the witness. Please carry on.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Witness, on page 3943 of the Popovic transcript, you spoke about
15 wounded military officers who were brought to the hospital. Could you
16 please tell us anything about that situation? When was that, and who
17 were those individuals, and what were the circumstances of their
18 wounding? Thank you.
19 A. Three or four days before the fall of Srebrenica a large number
20 of soldiers arrived from the defence lines. They arrived in the
21 hospital. Some of them were slightly and others seriously wounded.
22 Whether they were officers, whether they had any ranks, I don't know. I
23 don't know anything about that.
24 Q. Thank you, Witness. You also spoke about the circumstances of
25 your leaving the hospital. You said that you left in a white coat and a
1 first aid kit. That's on page 3943 of the transcript. So there you
2 speak about the circumstances of your departure from the hospital. You
3 left of your own accord. Can you tell us something about it? Thank you.
4 A. At the moment when I decided to leave the hospital, the state of
5 chaos reigned among the health-care workers, as well as among the wounded
6 who were hospitalised in large numbers. The hospital did not have enough
7 capacity. People were lying all over the place, in the corridors, in the
8 rooms, in the cellars. We had not received any orders from the
9 authorities of the hospital. We didn't know what to do. So the
10 health-care workers were forced to make their own executive decisions as
11 if -- as it were. I stayed there until the moment I felt I was safe.
12 However, at the moment when I realised that the moment was no longer
13 safe, that the situation was no longer safe, when I heard shells and
14 bullets falling on the hospital roof, then I decided to use my white coat
15 that was bloodstained. I actually decided to take it off and leave it
16 behind, and I just took a first aid kit, and that's how I left the
18 Q. Thank you. In the Popovic transcript you said that you did take
19 the coat, the first aid kit, and that without any documents you left the
20 hospital, and you said that you were following all the other staff who
21 worked there. That's on page 3943 in the Popovic case.
22 Could you please answer the following question: Did everybody
23 from the hospital left the hospital and left together with you where you
24 went, or maybe you followed them, or did you follow anybody's orders?
25 Did you have anybody's guidance? Did you follow some insider information
1 or any such thing? Thank you.
2 A. Most us were moving in the direction of Kazin Kutlici and further
3 on, up to the front line, but fewer of us or fewer of them, rather, went
4 in the direction of Potocari.
5 Q. So you're saying that some went to Potocari and the others joined
6 those who were trying to reach Tuzla
8 A. Yes, you did.
9 Q. Thank you. Did any of you have any markings or insignia showing
10 that you were affiliated with the hospital, the region, any unit? Any of
11 us who had coats, did those coats show any markings of affiliation?
12 Thank you.
13 A. I have to go back a little. You're mentioning white coats. As
14 I've already stated and I repeated today, I had taken my coat off. God
15 forbid for me to keep the coat on. There was no need for us to wear
16 white coats. All the health-care workers that I could observe wore
17 civilian clothes.
18 Q. I will not go back to page 3943. I leave it to the Prosecutor
19 and the Court to look at that. I'm just asking you whether you in the
20 hospital had any markings on the coats. Did you have your name tags or
21 any IDs that would show to any interested parties that you were
22 health-care workers? Thank you.
23 A. You mean while we worked at the hospital? Most of us had
24 nothing. I believe that only general practitioners had name tags on
25 their coats.
1 Q. Thank you. Did you have IDs or maybe Red Cross markings or any
2 such thing?
3 A. I didn't.
4 Q. Thank you. Did you have an ID while you were in Srebrenica at
6 A. No.
7 Q. So if the MPs stopped you, how would they know that you were a
8 hospital employee without any documents? How come that you were not
9 afraid that they would take you to the front line, because the
10 mobilisation was on. How come you were not afraid?
11 A. There were no controls. There were no curfews. Nobody ever
12 stopped me during my stay in Srebrenica. Nobody controlled me. The
13 hospital had my details and information. Everybody knew I worked there.
14 Nobody ever controlled me.
15 Q. Since you graduated from the nursing school and the rest were
16 doctors, did you know that Red Cross markings or markings of affiliation
17 to a health-care institution should be worn if you wanted to have and
18 enjoy privileges in the territory or when you were called for emergencies
19 or when you wanted to prove your status in case you were imprisoned?
20 According to Geneva Conventions, you would have been entitled to some
21 privileges if you had sported such insignia or markings. Do you know
23 A. The MSF or the Red Cross was there, and I was in an MSF car. I
24 travelled to Suceska, to a school where we were supposed to inoculate
25 children. I didn't have any IDs. The only thing that we had was
1 markings on that car, the Red Cross markings which enabled us to travel
3 Q. Thank you. In transcript on page 3945 you spoke about -- on line
4 6 [as interpreted] and 21 and I quote:
5 "The exit from Srebrenica in the vicinity of Kazan there was a
6 valley, and in that valley there were ham operators who had managed to
7 send the last report and ask for assistance because Srebrenica had
8 already fallen in the Serb hands. However, they received information to
9 wait and that NATO Air Force would act and that people should not leave
10 Srebrenica yet."
11 Do you remember that you stated that on page 3945, lines 16
12 through 21 in the Popovic case? Thank you.
13 A. Yes, I do remember.
14 Q. Could you please tell us who these ham radio operators were and
15 whether they belonged to some radio -- amateur ham radio operators
16 association, or whether they belonged to some military unit? Thank you.
17 A. They belonged to the amateur ham radio operators, and this
18 enabled them in view of the blockade of Srebrenica to maintain contact
19 with their loved ones who were in some other country or whatever. I
20 don't think they had any influence or any impact on the military.
21 Q. Could you tell me, then, where they got the information from
22 about NATO air-strikes and that they shouldn't leave Srebrenica yet?
23 Thank you.
24 A. Well, I actually caught up with a large group of people there,
25 and that's where I also met the hospital director. This was in Kutlici,
1 and that's where all these amateur ham operators were, and they told us
2 that we should wait a little longer, that the upper parts of the town
3 were already under Serb control. They had sent out that report, but as
4 they said, we should wait a little longer, that there would be NATO
5 air-strikes, and that this was on the final reckoning. However, indeed a
6 few minutes later we heard NATO aircraft overhead. Some of them did drop
7 a few bombs, at least that's what I heard, but then after a while they
8 disappeared, which to us was a signal that we should wait no longer and
9 that we should set off on our journey.
10 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us whether these amateur radio
11 operators, as you said, provided information to the NATO Air Force, and
12 how did they actually prevent this from getting actually intercepted by
13 the Republika Srpska Army? Thank you.
14 A. Of course they had no contact with NATO, with the NATO Air Force.
15 They didn't send such information to them. I assume that they were in
16 touch with the state institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina
18 sent them all this information.
19 Q. Thank you. On page 3945 of the Popovic transcript, in your
20 testimony at line 25 you said that:
21 "On the outskirts of Srebrenica," I quote, "I saw a large group
22 of prominent people."
23 And on page 3947, you said that there were, I quote:
24 "People such as the hospital director, radio operators, people
25 from the municipal authorities who were actually planning on the route to
1 take and whether they should wait for NATO aircraft or just try to reach
2 the free territory."
3 A. Of course I remember that.
4 Q. Well, as you see, then, the group that you were in also included
5 all these people who would decide on who would leave, those people who
6 decided on who would be actually selected to leave Srebrenica or not, and
7 that these people were actually in the group with you and they were
8 waiting for the outcome of NATO air-strikes; correct?
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
10 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, again if we can have some citation to
11 the record, because I'm not familiar with it, where there was testimony
12 about selecting who would be able to leave Srebrenica.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, can you help us with the correct
14 quotation, with the reference in the transcript?
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. That's page 3945,
16 line 25, of the Popovic transcript. And the witness in his testimony
17 then said the following that on the outskirts of Srebrenica, I quote:
18 "I saw a large group of prominent men."
19 And on page 3947, he said that there were there such people as, I
21 "The hospital director, ham radio operators, municipal
22 authorities members who planned the route on which we were to proceed and
23 whether we should wait for NATO air-strikes or continue on our way,
24 uncertain way towards the free territory."
25 And this witness confirmed that this is what he said during his
1 Popovic testimony. If there is any other matter that needs to be
2 cleared, I'm prepared to repeat my question. Thank you.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
4 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, so I would ask that the question --
5 the questions reference any selection of people who would be permitted to
6 leave Srebrenica be removed since that is not part of the record and it's
7 a misstatement of the record.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you repeated now -- you quoted now
9 the transcript in the Popovic case correctly. What is now the question
10 to the witness?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] My question is this:
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Who in this group decided on the route to take, whether they
14 should go to Potocari or try to break through to the free territory, the
15 Muslim federation territory towards Tuzla
16 individual or a group which by way in their official capacity actually
17 stood or were behind that decision?
18 A. Well, in the general chaos that prevailed there, no one could
19 really determine the route that we should all move on. However, there
20 were prominent men from state institutions at the head of that group, and
21 they decided that we were to take this route via
22 Konjevic Polje-Cerska-Kamenica and on to the free territory. However, I
23 repeat, we were all left to our own devices. We all tried to find a way
24 to protect ourselves. Many people actually followed different paths or
25 different routes. So it was really an individual decision that people
1 made there.
2 Q. Thank you. I'm grateful. Now you just said that these were
3 people who were from government authorities or municipal authorities and
4 that they were waiting for NATO air-strikes, that you should wait for
5 NATO air-strikes. Now, this could not have been said by just an average
6 Joe. Did I understand you correctly?
7 A. The order to wait for the NATO air-strikes came from the
8 leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina, not from the chief of the
9 Srebrenica municipality. This came from the state, from the government
10 authorities, and they were waiting to hear what was going to happen next,
11 and then that channel of communication with the state authorities was
12 disrupted so that there was no further communication.
13 Q. Thank you. I understood your answer.
14 On page 3948, you mention a group that head towards Potocari, and
15 you say that it was a mixed group, that there were civilians, able-bodied
16 men, women, and elderly people in it. This is on page 3948 in the
17 Popovic testimony.
18 Now, my question for you is: Did you get an order to move
19 towards Tuzla
20 this convoy or go towards Potocari? Thank you.
21 A. This was left to everyone to decide on for themselves.
22 Q. Thank you. In the column that you were in, was there a special
23 medical unit, or were you professional medical staff the only ones who
24 provided medical assistance to people, or was there a military medical
25 unit there who were part of those units there? Thank you.
1 A. Well, there were also nurses, male nurses there, who were members
2 of those units and who also worked in the hospital, and there were
3 members of those military medical units. However, we did not belong to
4 that medical unit, Medical Corps unit. We were separate and independent.
5 But in the event of a serious wound, someone being seriously wounded,
6 they couldn't really do much. And in those cases, then there would be
7 the involvement of general practitioners and professional medical staff
8 and nurses.
9 Q. Thank you. So units did have these medical units, and they were
10 part of military units, whereas you were just hospital staff. Is that
11 correct or not? And you were separate.
12 A. Yes, that's correct.
13 Q. Thank you. Did you get, receive any instructions, requests,
14 orders regarding medical assistance that you were going to provide?
15 Thank you.
16 A. On this journey of death, as I call it, I personally did not
17 receive any information or instructions. However, if somebody was
18 wounded, I would be informed of that, and of course I would go and
19 administer medical assistance.
20 Q. Thank you. Now, you said here that you were at the forward end
21 of this convoy; is that correct? Thank you.
22 A. When we left Srebrenica, I was at the forward end of the convoy.
23 Q. Thank you. You mention later on that you returned and went back
24 to join the very end of the convoy; is that correct? Thank you.
25 A. No, I did not go to join the back end of the convoy, because it
1 was not possible to actually get through to the back end of the convoy,
2 which had actually been cut in half for security reasons.
3 Q. Thank you. There is nothing at issue here, and it has nothing to
4 do with you personally, but on transcript page 3955, you say the
5 following, I quote:
6 "The medical staff received orders to go back and take care of
7 the wounded and the dead. However, after we went back for some 500
8 metres or so, we were unable to move forward to the dead and wounded
9 because of the shelling."
10 My question to you is: Who issued this order to the medical
11 staff to return, and who issued this order to -- for you to move back
12 towards the end of the convoy and take care of the wounded and the dead?
13 Thank you.
14 A. I don't know who issued that order, but these -- such orders came
15 from almost anyone. We would say, "Well, come on. Let's go back to the
16 end of the column." The column was cut off. There were a lot of dead
17 and wounded. So we tried to go back and tried to break through and reach
18 them, but because of the shelling we were unable to do so, and we went
19 back to the place where we were stationed.
20 Q. Thank you. Did this end of the convoy actually run into an
21 ambush or was it -- did something else happen there? Thank you.
22 A. Well, whether there was an ambush or whether this was called by
23 the shelling, I don't know, because I never reached the spot where that
24 happened, so I can't really answer your question. We just heard that
25 there were many casualties, dead and wounded, but whether they had run
1 into an ambush or whether they were shelled, we don't know.
2 Q. Thank you. But can you tell us, did you learn how many
3 casualties there were, how many dead and how many wounded? Thank you.
4 A. We never received the exact number. We were just told that there
5 were a lot of casualties. There were many wounded and dead, but we
6 didn't -- we weren't told the exact number.
7 Q. When you say "a lot," is that over a hundred, under a hundred, a
8 hundred people? How are we to understand that? Thank you.
9 A. Well, I don't know how to answer specifically. I really can't
10 give you a figure. I'm not sure what they went by "many." I really
11 don't know whether they meant in the tens or in the hundreds. I really
12 don't know. But this was a long convoy, some 7 to 8 kilometres long.
13 I can just say that I wasn't there, and I don't really know the
14 number of those people who were killed on that first occasion.
15 Q. Thank you. Did you ever hear from anyone an approximate number
16 of casualties in this incident? Thank you.
17 A. I did not, because soon thereafter there was another major
18 tragedy and so that I never heard about any figures about that first
20 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us, please, about that second major
21 tragedy that you mentioned? What did you hear about that, and what are
22 you referring to? Thank you.
23 A. We were in a valley among the hills. The names of the hills I
24 don't know because I'm not familiar with the area. In any case, we were
25 somewhere above Kravica, and that road or that corridor was not far from
1 there. I heard bullhorns and Serbian soldiers calling up to the Muslim
2 population who were hiding in the forest to surrender. Actually, it was
3 an ultimatum, and according to that ultimatum if they didn't surrender
4 until I don't know when, I can't remember, whoever was found in the
5 forest would be killed.
6 Q. Thank you. Could you give us the date? Was that on the 12th or
7 the 13th of July, 1995? Thank you.
8 A. That was on the 12th of July.
9 Q. In the Popovic case, on page 3975, you spoke about that, and you
10 said that the column that you were moving in came under artillery fire
11 and that you had a lot of casualty in the column. There were a lot of
12 wounded and dead.
13 My question is this: Firstly, do you remember that; and
14 secondly, did you provide assistance to any of the dead and wounded? How
15 many did you register? Were there any dead and wounded falling in your
16 vicinity so as to allow you to assist them?
17 A. As soon as we started moving there were dead and wounded, but I
18 don't know how many. These people were not tended to. We were waiting
19 for nightfall in order to cross the corridor, in order to cross an
20 asphalt road. At that moment I had a feeling that a huge tree trunk fell
21 upon us, and from that moment there was chaos, wailing, screaming.
22 People were falling. Some others were shouting, "Don't leave the wounded
24 It was dark, and it was very difficult to assess the number of
25 wounded and dead in that opening. I stepped over the dead. The
1 information reached us to go back, not to leave the dead and the wounded
2 behind. We did not have any stretchers. There were some blankets,
3 though, and with three other friends I grabbed a wounded by the legs in
4 order to carry him. It was night. The terrain was not easily
5 accessible. At that moment a burst of fire slayed my two friends. At
6 that moment around me shrapnel was falling and the particles of earth.
7 That's why I had to throw myself on the ground and roll myself down a
8 valley up to a brook.
9 Q. When was that? What date was that? What month? What date? The
10 event that you just described, when did that happen?
11 A. On the 12th, in the evening.
12 Q. Thank you. You also spoke, on page 3958 in the Popovic case,
13 lines from 1 through 5, that on the 13th of July, and I quote:
14 "We received information from the front of the column, I believe
15 from the military leadership. I don't know exactly. In any case, we
16 were told to go back because according to that information the last part
17 of the column had been cut off and there were a lot of wounded and dead."
18 Is this the second instance or was that the first instance when
19 you were told to go back? Were there two such instances of you being
20 told to return?
21 A. That referred to the first part of the column.
22 Q. Thank you. And can you tell us the name of the place where that
23 part of the column was where there were a lot of wounded and dead? Close
24 to which place was that part of the column?
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
1 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, this may be a interpretation or some
2 other issue, but the witness's answer doesn't seem to correspond with the
3 question that was asked by General Tolimir. Just so we have can have a
4 clear record, I would ask that the question and the answer -- the
5 question be asked again, because the question had to do with were there
6 two instances, two events, in other words, and the witness referred to a
7 part of the column as opposed to answering the question, so I just want
8 to clarify that.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could you answer the question, Witness?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you please repeat the
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Thank you. I'll repeat the question. On page 3955 in the
14 Popovic case you said, and I quote:
15 "After a while, we received information that the last part of the
16 column had been cut off and that the column came under heavy shelling and
17 that there was a lot of wounded in that part of the column."
18 And then you continued and I quote again:
19 "The health-care personnel received an order to go back and tend
20 to the dead and the wounded. However, when we returned some 500 metres,
21 we could not reach the dead and the wounded as a result of heavy
23 You said that that happened once the column started moving. Was
24 that on the 13th, or was that on the 11th? Thank you.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I think this was actually a
1 different question now. This was actually the third question, in fact.
2 I think -- just a moment.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The situation is quite confusing for the witness
5 at the moment because we have different instances, different occasions,
6 and the questions are slightly different, and you quoted now another part
7 of the Popovic transcript, not that one on page 3958.
8 I think it is now a convenient time for the second break, and you
9 should prepare your further questions so that you can hopefully close
10 your cross-examination quite soon. What is your indication, Mr. Tolimir?
11 How many time is needed for the finishing of the cross-examination?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. But here
13 we're talking about two different places where the column was shelled and
14 cut off in two.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sorry. Sorry. This was not my question. Can
16 you indicate how much time do you need for further cross-examination.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I believe that I have
18 about 40 more questions according to my plan, and I'll try to finish all
19 of them by the end of the day, but I would kindly ask the witness to
20 provide shorter answers. All of the things that I'm referring to were
21 said during the Popovic case, and I have to identify all of those things.
22 I have to refer to every date, every event. Thank you.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is your right. This is very clear, but the
24 answers of the witness are very short and to the point.
25 We have our second break now, and we will resume at 1.00, and
1 then there are 45 minutes left, and hopefully we can finish for today,
2 and it's not very -- I think it's not possible to start with the next
3 witness after this indication.
4 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. With that said, may we
5 release the witness who has been waiting for some time? Thank you.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. We adjourn and will resume at 1.00.
7 --- Recess taken at 12.36 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 1.05 p.m.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Witness, in order to cut the long story short and comply with the
13 Presiding Judge's request, could you please tell us how many times did
14 you stop as a result of ambushes and combat activities as the convoy
15 moved from Srebrenica to Tuzla
16 and stopped in its advance? Thank you.
17 A. The first time the column was cut in half was on the 12th of
18 July, and it no longer looked like a convoy. It -- the people dispersed
19 and the convoy looked like groups of people. Many times the convoy was
20 no longer a convoy. There were just groups of people, and different
21 groups faced different ambushes, different problems, and so on and so
22 forth. In other words, there were no two groups that proceeded in the
23 same way and that had the same journey to the free territory.
24 Q. So the first time it happened on the 12th, and that's when you
25 suffered a certain amount of losses, but you don't know how many
1 casualties you had on that occasion.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And did it happen on the 13th for the second time where you
4 returned to the end of the column on the 13th? Yes or no?
5 A. On the 12th in the evening there was a major exodus, and the
6 people were then dispersed once and for all. It was my turn, there were
7 a lot of wounded, and I assume that the Serb soldiers got mixed up with
8 that group of people, and from that moment on there was no longer convoy
9 to speak of.
10 Q. Could you please tell us how many groups did the column break up
11 into, and how many people remained walking towards Tuzla after that?
12 Thank you.
13 A. On the 12th of July, in the evening, I was cut off from the
14 column. I stayed behind, and the column continued advancing towards the
15 free territory. How many people there were in the first column I can't
16 tell you exactly. I can't give you a -- even a rough estimate.
17 According to some unofficial information, there may have been a thousand
18 or so people.
19 Q. Thank you. Are you talking about the thousand who remained or
20 the thousand who kept on moving forward?
21 A. I'm talking about those who kept on moving forward.
22 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us -- are you saying that that
23 was a smaller part of the total number of people who had set out from
24 Srebrenica? Thank you.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Could you please tell us how many ambushes did you encounter in
2 that part of the convoy where you were?
3 A. I've already told you. The first time the column was ambushed
4 and cut in half, and from then on there was no convoy to speak of. There
5 were just groups of people who gathered and tried in their own ways to
6 find exits and to find their own directions.
7 Q. And the part where you stayed until the moment you were captured,
8 did that group encounter ambushes? Did it encounter combat activities on
9 its route?
10 A. As we were walking towards the place where I was arrested for
11 over 11 days, I walked with some dozen groups. For example, you were in
12 one group, and then shells start falling or you're ambushed, then the
13 group disperses. Some people get killed. Some are left behind wounded.
14 Some survive, and those who survive, they continue on their own tracing
15 their way through the forests, across the brooks, and on that route
16 encountering others with whom they then form groups of some 10 or 15, and
17 again they encounter ambushes. The group disperses again and are
18 reassembled again. That's how I changed some ten or so groups until the
19 moment when I was captured.
20 Q. Thank you. Can you tell me whether there were any losses in
21 those groups? Did you see suffer more losses, and did the number of
22 casualties surpass the number of those who reached a final destination?
23 Thank you.
24 A. Yes. The number of casualties surpassed the number of those who
25 reached the final destination.
1 Q. What are you saying? Were there more people who were killed,
2 captured, alive, ambushed, what?
3 A. More people were killed in ambushes.
4 Q. Thank you. Judging by the number of survivors, could you please
5 give us an estimate how many people were killed in the convoy moving
6 towards Tuzla
7 A. I'm sure that there is an exact figure. I can't give you that,
8 but I would say that the total number was 7- to 8.000.
9 Q. What 7- or 8.000, killed or what?
10 A. Killed, yeah.
11 Q. Thank you. Thank you. How many survived if 7 to 8 were killed?
12 A. I don't know how many survived. I believe that there are
13 statistics. I can't give you any answer. I don't know. Many people
14 ended up in camps. Some were exchanged or not. I can't give you the
15 exact number of those who started moving with the convoy. So it's
16 impossible for me to say how many survived. And as far as I know,
17 according to what I hear, there were 7- or 8.000 of those who were killed
18 and who never made it to the free territory.
19 Q. Thank you. You're talking about the figure mentioned by the
20 media. I'm just asking you about what you saw about the part of the
21 convoy that you moved in, the ambushes, the combat activities that you
22 witnessed yourself. How many people were killed there while the column
23 was moving from Srebrenica to Tuzla
24 A. The situation was horrendous. There was no way for me to count
25 all the killed and wounded. And when we had to cross asphalt roads, we
1 did that during the night. So as we were crossing the road, I would be
2 stepping over dead bodies, and there was no way for me to see how many
3 there were, to count them. I was trying to survive, and I just kept on
4 moving. I don't know how many people got killed. In any case, I
5 encountered a lot of bodies on my way.
6 Q. Thank you. And as you were trying to avoid the ambushes, the
7 combat activities, could you give me an approximate number of the bodies
8 that you saw, encountered, or mentioned? You say that there were a lot.
9 How many, approximately?
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, he said that it was dark, he
11 couldn't see the whole number of bodies, and therefore he is not able to
12 gave an estimation. I think you should leave it with that. You got an
13 answer already.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President, but I'm
15 not referring just to the night when it was dark. I'm referring to the
16 entire period when the witness spent on the way in this convoy until he
17 was captured. Thank you.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can you give an estimation, Witness?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I will give you an
20 approximation, but how accurate that will be, I really don't know, but
21 what I was able to determine in that state of mind that I was in, there
22 were certainly a few hundred, maybe 2 or -- 200 or 300 bodies that I had
23 occasion to find.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Thank you. This was on the stretch of road between Srebrenica
1 and Snagovo - am I correct? - while you were in the convoy?
2 A. Yes, exactly. Up until the moment when I was captured.
3 Q. Thank you. Could you now tell us, please, how many armed men
4 were there in the column around you? Thank you.
5 A. Well, first of all, I said that there was no convoy or column any
6 more. These were just scattered groups of people. You know, like a pack
7 of wolves or a group of sheep. The column was broken up. There were
8 groups being formed in the woods. Part of the column continue on the
9 road, but others remained behind.
10 Q. Thank you. Can you now tell us, please, what date it was when
11 you were captured? Thank you.
12 A. Of course I can. I remember that date very well. That was on
13 the 22nd of July, 1995.
14 Q. Thank you. How many men were you with when you were taken
16 A. There were five people with me.
17 Q. Thank you. You say on page 3970 in the Popovic transcript that
18 you spent two days and two nights in the rooms together with the soldiers
19 who had captured you, and I quote, you said:
20 "We slept on mattresses on which the soldiers also slept so that
21 I was with -- among them."
22 Did I quote what -- your words correctly? Thank you.
23 A. Yes. I was with them, but this was not a room. We were in open
24 air, lying by a gravel road.
25 Q. Thank you. What I'm trying to find out is whether you were
1 sleeping in the same conditions that they were sleeping in, because you
2 said that you were sleeping side by side with them. Thank you.
3 A. Whether I had the same conditions that they had, I really can't
4 confirm that. I only spent the first night there, and later on they put
5 me -- they kept me separate and they tied me. I slept on the first night
6 by the road, but of -- and then on the second night I slept side by side
7 with them, but I was mistreated, and I was humiliated by them, so the
8 conditions that I was in were not quite the same as theirs.
9 Q. Thank you. But the conditions that was sleeping was -- the
10 sleeping conditions and food, did you have the same food that they had?
11 A. As for food, I have to be fair and say that indeed I did receive
12 enough food while I was there.
13 Q. Thank you. In your testimony in the Popovic case, you said that
14 you were in Zlatna Voda near Zvornik. That's where you were captured,
15 after which you were sent to Zvornik. Am I correct?
16 A. Well, I would like to correct you. I wasn't sent to Zvornik.
17 What do you mean sent to Zvornik? How? I don't know anything about
19 Q. Well, I said you spent that time together with those soldiers in
20 the so-called Zlatna Voda near Zvornik. Is that correct or not? Thank
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. Were you sent to Zvornik after that -- or, rather, to Ugljevik?
24 A. Yes. Together with them I left on a bus to -- for Ugljevik.
25 Q. Thank you. So you went to Ugljevik. Were you taken there by the
1 same soldiers who had captured you or by someone else? Thank you.
2 A. The soldiers who captured me and with whom I spent those two days
3 and nights there -- and the reason for staying there for those days was
4 that the buses could not reach them, could not get to them. And as we
5 were getting -- or driving through Zvornik and getting closer to
6 Ugljevik, people got off the bus when they reached their destination so
7 that by the time we reached Ugljevik, there were some four or five
8 soldiers left of the group who had captured me, and then together we went
9 to the command.
10 Q. Thank you. So you went together to the command in Ugljevik, and
11 how much time did you spend there? Thank you.
12 A. Some 10 to 15 minutes, me personally.
13 Q. Thank you. Were you asked for your personal details then as you
14 said in the Popovic case? I quote:
15 "In fact, they asked me for my personal details."
16 Thank you.
17 A. Yes, of course. They asked for my personal details, my first and
18 last name, the date of birth, place of birth, and so on.
19 Q. Did they ask any other information of you in those 10 or 15
20 minutes? Thank you.
21 A. Not at that point in time, but that's probably because they
22 received information from the soldiers who had captured me, because we
23 arrived there in late afternoon.
24 Q. Thank you. Is it normal to ask a prisoner of war for their
25 information? I mean, was it better for you that you had been asked about
1 these things or not? Thank you.
2 A. Well, up until the moment when the police are -- the policemen
3 who arrested me told me, when they said that they couldn't really tell me
4 anything about what was going to happen to me next and what my future was
5 going to be, that my life was still not safe, and for that reason we
6 would have to go to the command where I would get an answer to that. So
7 there was no talk about me being taken to a camp. That decision was to
8 be made at the command where they would decide whether I would be killed
9 or sent to the camp and so on and so forth. And after I provided my
10 personal details I was sent back, and the group of policemen who had
11 captured me came out a few moments later and told me that I would be
12 taken to the Batkovic camp.
13 Q. Thank you. So you were taken to the same place where other
14 prisoners of war were taken; correct? Thank you.
15 A. Yes. I arrived in Batkovic in -- late in the evening. I arrived
16 at the hangar where there was only one bulb, light bulb, by the door, so
17 I couldn't even see how many people there were inside or what it meant to
18 be in a camp. However, in the morning I was able to see a number of
19 people and recognise a number of people who were from Srebrenica, and I
20 could also see that there were some people, wounded people, who had been
21 treated at the Srebrenica hospital.
22 Q. But can you tell me, were these wounded actually people who had
23 been treated at the Srebrenica hospital, or were they wounded immediately
24 preceding your setting off on this journey? Thank you.
25 A. These were wounded people who had been wounded on the eve of the
1 fall of Srebrenica and who remained in the hospital. Now, how they were
2 transferred from the hospital to the camp, I don't know.
3 Q. Thank you. Do you know that a number of wounded people from
4 Potocari were transferred to the territory, towards Tuzla?
5 A. I don't know that.
6 Q. Thank you. The reason I'm asking is that I'm surprised that they
7 didn't join that group, because they must have been lightly wounded if
8 they were in this convoy with you that had tried the breakthrough. Thank
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I was waiting for the answer, Mr. Thayer.
11 MR. THAYER: Again, Mr. President, the witness has made clear in
12 his prior answers about where these wounded men from Srebrenica had come
13 from, where he had seen them last, and now the general is incorporating a
14 misstatement of the witness's testimony into his question. So I'd ask
15 that the question be rephrased.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think this witness is capable to deal with this
17 question as well. Please answer the question.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The wounded people that I found in
19 Batkovici camp were those wounded who had remained after I had left at
20 the ward, hospital ward, who had been wounded preceding the fall of
21 Srebrenica, and until I came to Batkovici camp I hadn't known anything
22 about their fate.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Thank you. Now, tell me, do you know were you still at the
25 hospital when wounded people were sent from the hospital towards Potocari
1 and then from Potocari on to Tuzla
2 Thank you.
3 A. I know that a large number of wounded were transferred to
4 Potocari. However, where the other wounded ended up, I don't know. I
5 don't know how they had been transferred to the free territory and
6 whether they had. All I can confirm is that there were wounded in the
7 camp and that they had remain in the hospital behind me and that they
8 were later on exchanged.
9 Q. Thank you. So these wounded actually were in the column with
10 you, moving onward. Am I correct or not?
11 A. No, you're not correct, or maybe you misunderstood me. These
12 were the wounded who had been wounded two or three days before the fall
13 of Srebrenica and who had been admitted into hospital and then
14 transferred to Potocari. What happened with them from that point on, I
15 don't know. So how could they have gone on this journey? They were
16 wounded. They were waiting for someone to save them.
17 Q. Thank you. That's what I was asking you about. So they were
18 actually transferred from the hospital to Potocari and then to the
19 Batkovici camp. Am I correct?
20 A. Yes. Most of the wounded had been transferred to Potocari, and
21 the group that I found was sent to the camp. However, that was just a
22 small number of wounded people. What happened to the rest and what their
23 fate was, I don't know.
24 Q. Thank you. Now, who transferred these wounded from Potocari to
25 the Batkovic camp? Thank you.
1 A. I cannot answer that question either very accurately, because
2 these people were unwilling to provide any information. They were afraid
3 that we were being actually -- that somebody was listening in on them,
4 and they were afraid that they would divulge information. They weren't
5 willing to do that.
6 Q. Thank you. But do you know how they were transferred there?
7 Were they transferred by the UNHCR or by the army, because this is a long
8 trip. It's a four-hour drive, Srebrenica to Batkovici. Thank you.
9 A. Of course they must have been transferred or transported by some
10 vehicle. Who organised the transport, however, whether it was the Red
11 Cross or the Army of Republika Srpska or a third organisation, I don't
12 know. I did not ask them about this, so I can't answer your question.
13 Q. Thank you. So you cannot answer my question. So they were
14 wounded soldiers in Srebrenica, and now all of a sudden they were in
15 Batkovici camp; correct? Thank you.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. In the course of your testimony in the Popovic case
18 you spoke about the situation in Zepa, about the departure of some of the
19 people from Srebrenica towards Zepa. Could you tell us something more
20 about that?
21 A. I spoke about people who went to Zepa for humanitarian reasons.
22 There was food there and other staples there. What is it that you want
23 to know? What is your specific question?
24 Q. I'm asking you this: Is it possible to embark on humanitarian
25 travel from Srebrenica to Zepa during the war? Those were two separate
1 territories both enjoying protection, but you had to cross the Serb
2 territory. Were those departures legal/illegal, organised, not
4 A. Those departures were not organised. People went on their own.
5 Individuals crossed the territories. Why they did it. Try to
6 understand. When you are hungry, when there is no food. I felt hunger
7 on my own skin. I survived hunger, and I fully appreciate why people
8 embarked on those journeys. There was no choice. They had to find food.
9 Q. But you spoke about them as wounded and as your patient. People
10 who were wounded on such journeys, do you think that they were legitimate
11 military targets? Was it somebody's intention to injure them or kill
12 them on such humanitarian quests?
13 A. Of course that nobody dared to embark on such a journey in
14 groups. Those were individuals who lacked food. They didn't have much
15 choice. They were between a rock and a hard place. It was either to
16 find food or get killed.
17 Q. Okay. But I'm asking you when they were crossing the terrain
18 illegally, did they come across soldiers, minefields, ambushes, and were
19 they injured as a result of such encounters? Thank you.
20 A. Yes.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, we must -- we must have a look on
22 the time.
23 Mr. Thayer, how many minutes do you need for re-examination?
24 MR. THAYER: None, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. Mr. Tolimir, you have three minutes
1 left. You should try to finish. There are some procedural matters, for
2 instance, with exhibits. Please.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. In that
4 case, I would like to thank the witness for his answers and for being so
5 specific in providing answers to my questions. And I would like to thank
6 everybody who have assisted us. And I would like to apologise on my
7 behalf and on behalf of the witness to the interpreters who have been
8 exposed to some difficult times during the witness's testimony today.
9 Thank you.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, thank you very much for your words,
11 but you must understand the witness has to leave the Tribunal today and
12 can't come back as the Chamber was informed, and therefore you had your
13 full time. You have given the estimation of two and a half or three
14 hours, and I think the witness was at your disposal.
15 Thank you very much. In the presence of the witness I would like
16 to ask you, you used three documents, one statement which was not signed,
17 one proofing information, and the list of employees. Do you tender them
18 as exhibits?
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, no, not necessarily. I don't
20 need to tender those documents into evidence because the witness is
21 protected, but if it's all right, well, I don't mind.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: If you don't tender them, they will not be
24 We learned that the Prosecution has listed several documents, I
25 think five documents, which were not used in examination-in-chief.
1 Perhaps you can -- you have asked with your motion to tender the
2 transcript, and therefore perhaps we can do it in the following way: You
3 send an e-mail to the registry, and of course to the Defence, with a list
4 of these exhibits. Then they will be received with separate exhibit
6 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. If we can proceed in that
8 way also in future that would be very helpful, and we have it on the
9 record to be identified.
10 Sir, the Chamber would like to thank you that you came to The
11 Hague again --
12 Mr. Thayer, I understood you correctly, you don't have any
14 MR. THAYER: That's correct, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
16 Mr. Witness, the Chamber and all others present in the courtroom
17 would like to thank you that you were able to come to The Hague again to
18 give your account, and we are grateful for this. Now you are free to
19 return to your normal life and your normal activities. Thank you very
20 much again, and the Court officer will help you and assist you leaving
21 the courtroom when we rise.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We adjourn now for the day and resume tomorrow
24 morning at 9.00 in this courtroom. Thank you very much.
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.43 p.m.
1 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 15th day
2 of April, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.