1 Tuesday, 17 August 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.21 p.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon to everybody --
6 [B/C/S on English channel]
7 We are all looking forward to the next stage of our trial and
8 hope that -- the Chamber hopes that we will be able to proceed in the
9 same constructive way as we did before the summer recess. And we hope
10 that you were able to enjoy the break we all had, but now we are back to
11 our business as usual, and we will proceed in the appropriate way.
12 Before the witness we know already could be brought in, we would
13 like to deal with a specific problem.
14 But first of all we have to turn to private session.
15 [Private session]
11 Pages 3962-3968 redacted. Private session.
20 [Open session]
21 THE REGISTRAR: We're now in open session.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
23 There's another problem we have to discuss.
24 Last Friday, the 13th of August, the accused filed a reply to the
25 responses of the Trial -- and the Prosecutor and a request regarding the
1 trial schedule. This contains a request for a redaction in the trial
2 schedule from four days to three days per week. The Chamber would like
3 to ask the Prosecution when it could file a response.
4 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I'm prepared to respond orally if the
5 Court wants to save a little bit of paper and time. I think our -- I can
6 say that our response -- our position is the same as it was, I believe,
7 back in June when the accused challenged the Trial Chamber's decision to
8 increase the number of sitting days in June.
9 There accrue severe difficulties in scheduling witnesses on a
10 two-day-a-week schedule. There's -- and three days a week isn't much
11 better, frankly, in terms of trying to have people arrange their lives
12 from far-flung parts of the world to come here for three or even four
13 days a week, particularly when the sitting days aren't necessarily
14 contiguous, like from a Thursday/Friday to Monday/Tuesday. If it's a
15 Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday sitting and then the following week is
16 Wednesday/Thursday/Friday, they end up being here for close to two weeks,
17 typically, at a minimum.
18 So three days a week is also and has been very arduous on the
19 witnesses. We're -- and again, we're having problems even on a
20 four-day-a-week schedule, frankly. That is not so hard, but what
21 compounds the problem - and this is our own little quibble that's
22 somewhat related to the issue but I'll throw it out there anyway - is
23 when we do not have a monthly court calendar. And I understand all the
24 Trial Chambers have to provide their input to Registry and then we get
25 the final calendar for each month, roughly around the 15th of the month.
1 It makes it very difficult to schedule witnesses because we don't know
2 whether we're sitting on a Monday or a Friday of the week. And then they
3 don't -- we can't make even the simplest travel arrangements to get them
5 All that to say, our position remains what it was back in June.
6 We understand that the accused complains of continued waking every
7 30 minutes by the Detention Unit. Our position remains the same. We've
8 seen the effects that that -- that has on our own witnesses in terms of
9 their concentration and their well-being. And unless there is some
10 justifiable, penological, health/medical reason for it, we can't see how
11 it's justified. So our position on that issue. And I understand that's
12 a component of the accused's most recent request to go down to three
14 The bottom line is: We'll live with whatever the Trial Chamber
15 tells us will be the number of sitting days. Two days would be too
16 difficult. I don't think the accused is even asking for two days. Three
17 days we can live with, but I would just ask the Trial Chamber to
18 recognise the problems that it creates for our witnesses. And as we
19 said, I think, in our June filing, we trust the Trial Chamber to adjust
20 the number of sitting days consistent with the accused's mental and
21 physical health situation and his rights to self representation. And
22 I'll leave our position at that, but I think that's it in a nutshell.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The Chamber will make a decision very soon.
24 There are other decisions pending, and we will render them in the next
25 days. But we have to decide about this week. Taking into account the
1 arrangements that have already been made for this week, the Trial Chamber
2 is inclined to sit as planned on four days this week. But the general
3 problem will be dealt with in the decision, written decision, quite soon.
4 Is there anything else by the parties to raise now? Then the --
5 Mr. Tolimir.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Since
7 you have just emphasised the decision that you delivered in written
8 form - I don't want to influence that - I would just like to remind you
9 that I should be ensured equal conditions during the trial, and I should
10 be allowed to prepare just like in the past. I don't intend to obstruct
11 the trial. If you so decide, I can decide not to cross-examine the
12 witnesses and shorten the duration of the trial from four to three days.
13 But I don't want to obstruct the trial, but I would like to emphasise
14 that it is very difficult for me to prepare for the four days of the
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. The Chamber will take that
17 position into account.
18 The witness should be brought in, please.
19 MR. THAYER: Mr. President --
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
21 MR. THAYER: -- while that's happening -- they can continue; I
22 have just another housekeeping matter with respect to ongoing
23 translations which are now in e-court.
24 For the record, I can say that the following have been uploaded
25 into e-court: P162C, P132, P143, P188, P189, P268, P424, P499, P519,
1 P521, P522, P525, and P589.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. They will be now exhibits,
3 no longer pending translation, marked for identification.
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon, sir.
6 THE WITNESS: Good afternoon.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Welcome back again to the Tribunal. I think
8 there's a translation into Dutch provided.
9 THE WITNESS: That's correct.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: So that we can now continue with your examination
11 after a long break during the summer.
12 May I remind you that the affirmation to tell the truth you made
13 at the beginning of your testimony still applies. And Mr. Tolimir has
14 some more questions for you.
15 Mr. Tolimir, please continue your cross-examination.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
17 I would like to greet everybody in the courtroom as well as
18 Mr. Nicolai, and I wish him a pleasant stay amongst us here in the
19 courtroom. And may this trial end according to God's will.
20 WITNESS: CORNELIS NICOLAI [Resumed]
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir: [Continued]
23 Q. [Interpretation] As we continue, I would like us to look at the
24 statement that you provided on the 18th November 2006 [as interpreted].
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And the exhibit number is D70, and
1 the page number is 2. Thank you.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. While we are waiting for the document to appear on the screen, I
4 would like to remind you that in the statement you spoke about the
5 preparations you underwent at the Dutch Institute for International
6 Relations, and there you learned about the background of the conflict and
7 that you were trained during a course or a seminar. And we will now look
8 at page 2 so you can see what you actually stated there. You said that
9 that had transpired about a month before you assumed your duties with
10 UNPROFOR. Is that correct or not? Thank you.
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. Thank you. My question is this: Before you were educated during
13 the courses you mentioned on page 2, had you had any information about
14 the history of the conflict in the territory of the former Yugoslavia?
15 Thank you.
16 A. Yes. In any case, because the Netherlands was represented in the
17 mission in Yugoslavia for quite some time, so of course as an officer I
18 was interested in the nature of the conflict and how it came about and
19 what our role would be in that. And before I became Chief of Staff, I
20 was on a visit to Yugoslavia for several months in another capacity as a
21 deputy director of staff.
22 Q. Thank you. Was that within UNPROFOR or within your own military?
23 A. The previous visits were in the context of my own military.
24 Q. Thank you, General, sir. Do you think that a month was enough
25 for you to prepare for such a responsible duty and such responsible tasks
1 that you discharged in the course of 1995; or perhaps you think that the
2 course should have taken longer than that?
3 A. No. I think that was sufficient. The office that I served in
4 was a purely military office. I wasn't going there as a Yugoslavia
5 expert, but as the Chief of Staff of the military headquarters. And
6 given the specific nature of the mission, of course it's always good to
7 examine the material a bit more. But I believe that the additional
8 information I received was sufficient to equip me for my office as Chief
9 of Staff.
10 Q. Thank you. You are discussing two institutions, one was the
11 institute and the other was the course for peacekeeping forces. What do
12 you think; where did you gain more knowledge? Was it at the institute or
13 at the course for peacekeeping forces? And when you answer that, could
14 you please brief us about the contents of the education that you received
15 at both these institutions. Thank you.
16 A. Well, it was a long time ago. I learned the most from the course
17 at the Clingendael Institute. Two subjects were the most important, as
18 far as I was concerned. First something was taught about the background
19 and origins of the conflict and the involvement of the Security Council
20 and the Security Council Resolutions that applied to that conflict. Of
21 course, that was very useful knowledge. And then we were also trained in
22 negotiation techniques and worked with an interpreter, and I greatly
23 benefitted from that in practice as well.
24 Q. Thank you. And what about the other members of DutchBat, did
25 they also have to undergo the same training courses that you undertook
1 before being dispatched to Yugoslavia, or was attending such courses
2 reserved only for the highest-ranking officers of UNPROFOR? Thank you.
3 A. The courses that I attended were primarily intended for
4 higher-ranking officers, not only for generals but also for the rest of
5 the team that travelled with me to the headquarters. At any rate, the
6 officers from that headquarters attended the same course. DutchBat had
7 an entirely different role. And for the record, I was not part of
8 DutchBat. DutchBat went there as a military unit, a peacekeeping force,
9 and they were trained in entirely different way. They certainly wouldn't
10 have had enough training in one month, so they were given almost a year
11 to prepare for the tasks they would be performing in Yugoslavia.
12 Q. Thank you. Just briefly, can you tell us about the picture you
13 gained about the conflict in the territory of the former Yugoslavia based
14 on the education. And then when you actually came to Yugoslavia, did
15 that picture change, in view of the duties that you discharged?
16 A. Well, that's a difficult question. I believe that the impression
17 conveyed during the course of the conflict corresponded well with what I
18 found in practice; some population groups that had great trouble
19 co-existing, and that had to be resolved. At that time, the solution was
20 to keep them separate as much as we could and to ensure that they didn't
21 bother each other.
22 Q. Thank you. Did you peruse any special literature during those
23 courses which provided you with an insight into the background of the
24 conflict and the history of the territory where you were deployed?
25 A. Yes. Well, I didn't have that much time to prepare, so I believe
1 I read two books about the history.
2 Q. Thank you. Any title that you can remember? Any book that you
3 can remember?
4 A. No. I could check for you because I still have them at home, but
5 I don't know it off the top of my head.
6 Q. I apologise for having asked you this, but the answer would have
7 clarified the matter.
8 In your statement you said that you sent -- or, rather, that you
9 were provided with daily reports and log-books. That's what you stated.
10 Could you please tell us what log-books, what daily reports those were
11 that were given to you to peruse during the education course? You can
12 find this in the last sentence of the second paragraph, briefing papers
13 and sitreps on the current situation.
14 A. Yes. As I believe is standard practice in every military in the
15 world, during a conflict daily sitreps are issued, summing up the events
16 of the day; and generally at the end an assessment is added to assess how
17 the situation might develop from there or a recommendation about
18 advisable courses of action. We received the daily reports from the
19 sector commanders. There were three sectors in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
20 the commanders reported daily to the headquarters in Sarajevo.
21 The same happened with the UNMOs, the military observers, that
22 also reported to the UNMO head that was also part of the staff in
23 Sarajevo. And there was another reporting system within UNHCR which --
24 that's not a military unit, but the representative UNHCR did attend our
25 daily morning meetings. And if anything special had happened within
1 UNHCR, that was mentioned there as well. And as for the -- we didn't
2 receive official reports from the International Red Cross, but in their
3 morning briefing -- at the morning briefing they always had a
4 representative present. So if anything noteworthy had happened, then
5 that would be mentioned at that morning briefing as well.
6 Q. Thank you. Can you at all remember -- you said that you received
7 reading material including briefing papers and sitreps before you even
8 went to Bosnia. Could you please tell us what kind of reading material
9 did you receive, what kind of briefing papers and sitreps? Thank you.
10 A. Before I was deployed, I did not receive reports. I was only
11 briefed upon arrival by my predecessor. And before my departure, I was
12 briefed by that predecessor who was the deputy commander at -- with the
13 armed forces at the time.
14 Q. Thank you, General, sir. Before you were deployed in Bosnia, did
15 you receive any political instructions or guidance from the UNPROFOR
16 police or from the Dutch government about the conflict in the area where
17 you were being deployed?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Thank you. Did you receive just information about UNPROFOR in
20 the entire territory of Bosnia or the entire territory of the former
21 Yugoslavia, or just in the territory specified in your statement?
22 A. Yes, I had some information. And during my term we received some
23 information about Croatia or what was happening in Croatia, but the bulk
24 was focused on Bosnia-Herzegovina. And that's what I received the most
25 information about. And we followed the course of events the closest
1 there, too.
2 Q. Thank you, General, sir. My following question concern passage
3 number 4, the last sentence in that passage where it says that your duty
4 was to brief the commander about the entire situation. What do you mean?
5 And what information, what intelligence, did you convey to General Smith
6 when you refer to the current situation that the commander had to be
7 fully aware of?
8 A. Well, basically, the staff followed exactly what was happening
9 that day, and throughout the day incidental reports would arrive and
10 regular reports at agreed times. And based on that we were able to
11 ascertain what was happening on the Bosnian-Herzegovinian territory. At
12 the end of the day, we always had an evening meeting chaired by
13 General Smith with his most important staff, officers, where he would be
14 informed about the main events of the day. In the course of the evening,
15 he would then receive written reports. But basically the idea was to
16 provide additional details. And the most important things had already
17 been brought to his attention orally.
18 Q. Thank you, General, sir. You're mostly referring to written
19 reports and also what was mentioned at those meetings. Could you please
20 explain, for the benefit of the Trial Chamber, who sent you information
21 about the current situation from the field? And when you conveyed that
22 information to General Smith, was it only orally or did you also have to
23 submit written reports to him?
24 A. Well, I'll basically repeat what I stated earlier. At regular
25 times, written reports were drafted daily. This happened at every level
1 of command. Each level reported to the level above. So in Sarajevo
2 every day at fixed times we received written reports from the three
3 sector commanders, and they would be compressed into one comprehensive
4 report that we would convey to Zagreb. But before that report was sent
5 to Zagreb, of course it had to be approved by the commander,
6 General Smith.
7 Aside from that written information, every evening at those staff
8 meetings the most important staff officers and the heads of the different
9 sections reported what had happened under their area of responsibility.
10 That was discussed. And based on that, a joint assessment was made as to
11 how the situation would develop from there and how we as UNPROFOR staff
12 in Sarajevo should anticipate. And at the end, agreements were reached
13 regarding what we would disclose to the media, and that ended the
15 And in the morning something similar happened with all the
16 reports that had arrived during the night; they would be processed as
17 well at the morning meeting. Many staff officers attended that morning
18 meeting so that everybody was brought up to speed at the start of the day
19 about the current situation and what important things would be happening,
20 at least as far as the UNPROFOR staff could tell.
21 So that way, twice a day, everybody was brought fully up to
22 speed. Nonetheless, if something really important happened, information
23 would be supplied during the interim either to the high-ranking staff
24 officers or to the commander, but then it had to be something exceptional
25 that it was so important that it couldn't possibly wait until the regular
1 staff meeting.
2 Q. Thank you, General, sir. When it comes to daily reporting and
3 daily written report, did those include reports about Zepa and
4 Srebrenica, especially during those critical days in the month of July?
5 A. Yes, of course. At that point, from our perspective, the most
6 important events were taking place, and they were obviously subject of
7 conversation at every daily meeting.
8 Q. Thank you, General, sir. Were those descriptions, or was that
9 reporting about the events that transpired every day? What did you
10 include in your daily reports?
11 A. Well, of course what had happened in those areas, any hostilities
12 that had taken place, shootings, whether there were injuries or whether
13 anybody had been killed, whether existing agreements had been violated,
14 how the supplies were. Basically anything that was relevant on the one
15 hand for the military units in those areas to perform their duties, as
16 well as the well-being of the local population and the course of the
17 parties that were fighting each other. It takes little imagination to
18 figure out that these would be the topics of conversation. And, of
19 course, depending on what happened, afterwards it was discussed how we
20 should respond as UNPROFOR.
21 And I've already said, ordinarily we had two meetings a day, but
22 when the situation became very serious, especially in Srebrenica, from
23 Sunday the 9th General Gobillard went from his headquarters to our
24 headquarters in Sarajevo and he was present basically throughout the day
25 to keep track of the situation. Through 12 July, multiple meetings took
1 place each day and the course of events was very closely followed.
2 Q. Thank you, General, sir. I have one more question so that we can
3 round off this subject. Your command, the UNPROFOR command in Bosnia,
4 did it have an intelligence service; and if so, what were its tasks and
5 assignments, and in what way did it provide you with daily information
6 and reports? Thank you.
7 A. As UNPROFOR, we did not have a specific intelligence service.
8 Every unit has an intelligence officer, though, who tries to gather
9 information in all possible ways. And the intelligence officer at the
10 Sarajevo headquarters was in touch with other levels, including the air
11 force, the headquarters in Naples, and other sources such as satellite
12 information and photographic reconnaissance were available to him.
13 Q. General, since you spoke about anticipating events - or that's
14 how I understood it in your previous answer - could you use the
15 intelligence information, the intelligence you were getting from the
16 headquarters in Naples, for example, or the facilities you had for
17 interception, in compiling your prognosis of events? Thank you.
18 A. Well, that would be the -- can you hear me? That's the standard
19 procedure, to gather all information from whatever sources and to compare
20 and to review whether the information is sufficiently reliable for
21 decision-making on that basis. And I'm certain that General Tolimir,
22 with his background in intelligence, knows exactly how this works.
23 Q. Thank you, General. It's not my intention to ask you anything
24 which would enter into any professional part of your life, but I just
25 wanted to know how you could arrive at information that are relevant for
1 this trial and how I can now get the information I need to conduct my
2 defence case at this trial, but thank you.
3 Now, would you take a look at paragraph 6 of your statement,
4 which is on page 2. And there you talk about the new aspects. You say:
5 "A new aspect for me in my position was dealing with politicians
6 and NGOs."
7 And you go on to say that you had to negotiate with them. Now,
8 my question to you is as follows: Those negotiations with the
9 politicians, did they deal with daily reports on the basis of which later
10 on you informed one another at the meetings with General Smith and the
11 reports you sent further on to Zagreb, and what weight did they carry
12 with respect to the other events that were happening on the ground?
13 Thank you.
14 A. When there were negotiations with politicians, these negotiations
15 could be about various issues: They could concern our restoration of
16 infrastructure and either UNHCR and/or NGOs might be involved in those
17 and sometimes UNPROFOR served in a mediating capacity; they could also be
18 about supplying areas that were isolated, for example, through supply
19 flights or convoys; they could also relate to exchanges of POWs between
20 the different parties or exchanging casualties or injured or transporting
21 injured. There could be a range of topics, ranging from very basic daily
22 events that needed to be resolved. And that sometimes required decisions
23 at very high levels through negotiations about signing treaties between
24 the different parties. So there was a wide range that covered
1 Q. Thank you, General.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now for me to be able to ask my
3 next question, may we turn to page 3 of this statement so that the
4 General can take a look at what it says in the last paragraph on page 3
5 in both the Serbian and English version. Thank you.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Here's what you say. I'll quote just a portion:
8 "I learned that the situation was not always what it seemed. The
9 shelling could be provoked by the Muslims or could be an act of
10 retaliation. Sometimes the BH army would fire mortars from their own
11 barracks near the Ice Stadium. I saw the Bosnians firing mortars from
12 near our headquarters using a small-calibre mobile mortar mounted in a
13 vehicle with an open roof. This enabled it to move around the city and
14 to fire from different positions. Very often these locations were very
15 close to UN positions, i.e., the PTT building (the HQ of Sector
16 Sarajevo) ... and the Zeta Ice Stadium, the Tito barracks, and so on.
17 One mortar does not really give protection. Besides, if one wants to
18 fire a mortar accurately, this takes time. One has to measure the
19 position and such."
20 Then you go on to say:
21 "This could only be classed as provocation, and the acts could be
22 seen by the Bosnian Serbs who would respond by shelling these positions
23 in the city ... and the Bosnian Serbs would fire at the city many more
24 shells in response."
25 Now, my question to you is this: Since the situation that you've
1 just described speaks of something quite different from what you were
2 shown by one or the other side - it was what you observed yourself, and
3 you were able to conclude this and describe it on the basis of what you
4 saw. So the reports of the politicians whom you talked to, were they
5 mostly based on reports of that kind, about the activities that were
6 designed to provoke an action, or were they based on true and real
7 events? Thank you.
8 A. Well, I can certainly confirm the latter. These were actually
9 observed facts, true and real events. And I observed something like that
10 myself only once and that's logical, because I was generally at
11 headquarters so I wasn't in a position to see it for myself. But most of
12 those reports came either from the UNMOs, the military observers that
13 were stationed throughout the city, or from the military Sector Sarajevo
14 that were positioned throughout the city. And wherever possible, they
15 would act against such violations. The UNMOs didn't, but the military
16 units did to the extent they were able. But those reports were reliable,
17 and the reports came from the UNPROFOR organisation.
18 Q. Thank you, General. My second question linked to that same issue
19 is the following: While you conducted your duties, were you able to
20 observe and conclude that one of the sides, Serbian or Croatian, used
21 every opportunity to include UNPROFOR and NATO into the conflict, and did
22 they use provocation to achieve that end and paint that picture? Thank
24 A. Well, that question is difficult to answer. You see events, but
25 the background to those events - you're not told about that background.
1 So then it becomes an assessment of what the intention was of what was
2 happening. But, quite honestly, I can't exclude that now and then
3 situations arose out of provocation, based on the hope that UNPROFOR
4 would intervene, for example, by using air force. And, of course, that
5 was a serious risk, and it was a trap that we at UNPROFOR consistently
6 tried to avert. We tried to end the incidents without becoming involved.
7 Q. Thank you, General. Now we're coming to a topic that is
8 essential. Were there any such situations in Srebrenica, that is to say
9 as you said where NATO and NATO air support could take the part of one
10 party, take the side of one party, in the conflict? Could you see that
11 in view of the activities going on on the ground? Did that come about?
12 A. Well, again, a difficult question. To demonstrate how reluctant
13 UNPROFOR was in trying to avoid becoming involved -- excuse me, how
14 reluctant UNPROFOR was to become involved in this conflict, it's best to
15 describe that from 8 to 11 July, despite repeated incidents such as
16 shelling by the Serbs, that according to the rules of the
17 UN Security Council in their resolutions, we had been empowered to use
18 air force for a long time, but we kept postponing that to try to
19 de-escalate the conflict and to delay using the extreme measures until
20 the very last minute. But, clearly, when you deploy something such as
21 air force against one of the two parties, then basically as a
22 peacekeeping force you've already become involved in the conflict and
23 you're no longer impartial.
24 Q. Thank you, General. And staying with that question, could you
25 tell the Trial Chamber and all of us -- or, rather, could you describe
1 the situation as you saw it, in view of the fact that the NATO forces
2 were always the -- or, rather, the NATO air force always acted against
3 the Serbs, not the Muslims. Could you tell us whether there was any --
4 whether there was an opportunity where you threatened the Muslims and
5 said that they would come under NATO air force attack if they failed to
6 do such and such?
7 A. Yes. Once during a meeting around mid-May in the government
8 building in Sarajevo with representatives of the Bosnian government - as
9 you know, in May the number of acts of violence had increased
10 considerably compared to the preceding period and we wanted to stop
11 that - and one point the Bosnians suggested in that meeting that NATO
12 should use air force, and I mentioned that they should understand that if
13 they were the ones starting the provocations they could also be the
14 target of air attacks and they should bear that in mind. And that
15 certainly made an impression on them.
16 Q. Thank you. As you're speaking about the events in Sarajevo,
17 could you tell us whether from Sarajevo there were any attacks carried
18 out, and in view of the fact that your forces were controlling the area,
19 attacks against the surrounding areas controlled by the Serbs? And
20 because of that, did you ever issue threats and say that you would deploy
21 your forces or prevent the situation from escalating? Thank you.
22 A. Well, in the period that I served there, I didn't experience
23 actual attacks, but I did experience periods -- especially in May and
24 later on in June, there were days that both sides exchanged heavy
25 gun-fire. And from Sarajevo the Muslims tended to use small-calibre
1 arms. They didn't have other arms except occasionally they might have a
2 mortar that they'd hidden somewhere. But they didn't have any structural
3 means of attack. But the Serbs did have heavy arms, and they used them
4 now and then.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nicolai. Now, General, sir, we heard testimony
6 here before you by a member of the staff of the command of
7 General Gobillard, and he said that for 20 days on a daily basis the
8 Muslims attacked from Sarajevo the surrounding positions of the Serbs
9 facing Ilidza and other places. And I'm asking you this because it has
10 to do with an order issued by the BH army forces in Zepa and Srebrenica
11 to join forces with the other forces and to act against the Serb forces.
12 So do you have any information about that? And do you have
13 information that from the Srebrenica and Zepa zone there was conjoined
14 action from Sarajevo along different axes moving towards the positions
15 held by the Army of Republika Srpska? Thank you.
16 A. No, I am not aware of any of that. Nothing was reported to me
17 about that. And given the extent of those armed forces and the means
18 available to them, I can't exclude that they would have been able to
19 carry out a raid or attack a village. But as for focused actions from
20 those enclaves on Serb positions, I never received any reports of that.
21 Q. Thank you. Now, while my assistant is looking for the statement
22 registered by this military assistant and while we find reference in the
23 transcript so that you can see that I am not lying, I'd like us to look
24 at document 1D179 in the meantime. And there you can see the order that
25 I'm referring to, issued by the General Staff of the BH army to the
1 enclaves to open fire at Serb positions. I'd like you to see that in
2 Serbian and in English. Thank you.
3 THE REGISTRAR: For the record, this is Exhibit D53.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. If you look at the left, you'll see the document. And here it is
6 on the right-hand side in English as well, because you speak English. It
7 was issued on the 16th of June, 1995, and it says:
8 "Preparation for offensive combat operations" and "order."
9 It says:
10 "To the command of the 28th Division" and is issued by the
11 General Staff of the BH army.
12 And I quote the contents:
13 "Pursuant to a verbal order issued by the command of the
14 General Staff of the BH army, army general Rasim Delic, and on the
15 occasion of the great success achieved by units of the BH army in the
16 wide area around Sarajevo and Gorazde of which we notified you in our
17 document, et cetera, as well as the basis of intelligence of the
18 'Protection Regiment' in Han Pijesak, it's holding part of its units in
19 reserve to intervene in the event of an attack by our forces from Zepa, I
20 hereby issue the following order:
21 "1. Execute all preparations in the command of the
22 28th Land Army Division, to execute offensive combat operations with a
23 view to liberating the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, overextending the
24 A/S and inflicting losses on them, co-ordinating action with the BH army
25 forces, carrying out operations in the broader Sarajevo area.
1 "2. Plan realistic tasks which will ensure certain success on
2 the basis of an accurate assessment and the potential of our forces in
3 Srebrenica and Zepa.
4 "3. The General Staff of the BH army will regulate by an order
5 the commencement of offensive combat activities in the area of
6 responsibility of the 28th Army Division.
7 "Chief of Staff of the 2nd Corps Brigadier Sulejman Budakovic."
8 And it is sent to the following addresses: --
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: [Previous translation continues] ... Mr. Tolimir.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: [Previous translation continues] ... again, it is
12 very difficult for the interpreters and the record. Please slow down
13 while reading. Thank you.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you.
15 General, I thought they had translations of this document.
16 But I'll try and do my best to comply with your guide-line.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Now, my question is as follows. I think you've had time to read
19 through this order.
20 A. Yes, I've had that time.
21 Q. Then please, General, tell us whether you had reports about the
22 activities of the Muslim forces from the protected areas of Srebrenica
23 and Zepa which they conducted immediately prior to the operation that
24 took place in Zepa and Srebrenica. And we're talking about the month of
25 June and July. Thank you. So did your command have that? Thank you.
1 A. When Muslim troops tried to carry out actions outside the limits
2 of the enclave and it was observed by UNPROFOR, then of course it would
3 be reported. Now, we did receive some incidental reports about that, but
4 except for noting that they had -- we couldn't do anything besides note
5 that they crossed the borders of the enclave because we had no means to
6 observe outside the limits of the enclave because we were denied access
7 to the Serb territory. So we couldn't see what they were doing there.
8 And as I've stated at previous hearings, the means and
9 opportunities for UNPROFOR units to observe properly were greatly
10 complicated by, first, the lack of fuel which made it impossible to carry
11 out motorised patrols; and because some of the UNPROFOR soldiers were
12 blocked by Serb troops and unable to return from leave, which had
13 seriously compromised the numbers of the troops, and they were no longer
14 able to perform their duties properly. So the number of observations was
15 therefore undoubtedly more limited than what was actually happening.
16 Q. Thank you, General. I just asked you whether you had information
17 about those activities in the protected areas.
18 But before I go on to my next question, I'd like us to have
19 called up on e-court D52, please.
20 While you have time to look at it in the English - it's just
21 appeared in the Serbian on the left-hand side, but I'll give you a chance
22 to look at the English. And I'm interested in paragraph 2. It is
23 information about the combat results achieved by the units of the command
24 of the 28th Division, and it is reporting on the situation. And the
25 2nd Corps, on the basis of that report, is carrying it on. It says:
1 "60 Chetniks were liquidated. And according to unconfirmed
2 reports, the aggressor suffered even greater losses and had many
4 So this was written on the 8th of July, as we can see, 1995. Did
5 you have information, whereby as UNPROFOR commander, that action of this
6 kind was being carried out in the protected areas and that such heavy
7 losses were being suffered in the rear by the Army of Republika Srpska
8 within this demilitarised status that Srebrenica and Zepa had? Thank
10 A. No, I did not receive information of this scope.
11 Q. As you can see, these aren't sources of the Republika Srpska
12 army. You know what they wrote in their protest notes about Muslim
13 action in those zones. A letter by General Mladic was quoted where he
14 informed you that that was going on.
15 All I want to ask you is whether you were objectively informed.
16 And here you see the Muslims themselves saying what losses they
17 inflicted. So could there have been differences in the information
18 coming in because you didn't have reliable information? Thank you.
19 A. I'll be the first to admit that the information that UNPROFOR had
20 regarding what was happening on Serb territory was extremely summary, but
21 that related directly to the restrictions on our freedom of movement in
22 that territory. So we sometimes received complaints from the staff of
23 the Bosnian Serb armed forces, but we were rarely in a position to verify
24 that information.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, would that be a convenient time for
1 the first break this afternoon?
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
4 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, if I could prevail on the
5 Trial Chamber and everybody who's helping with the interpretation and --
6 for just a couple moments before we break. We do have the requested
7 documentation that we discussed earlier. I'll try to keep it in open
8 session. I can hand copies up to the Court and to Defence counsel. It
9 needs to be treated with the utmost confidentiality. These, I don't
10 think, are routinely disclosed, although certainly the content, as the
11 Trial Chamber will see, was summarised almost verbatim in our motion to
12 add the witness to the 65 ter witness list. So I have these ready to
13 hand up to the Trial Chamber, Defence counsel.
14 The other matter, Mr. President, relates to the forthcoming
15 motion, whatever form it takes, for rescission or amendment of the
16 protective measures in place for that proposed witness. The witness is
17 here, and I understand we're operating on a tight time schedule if we
18 want him to follow this witness. We are right now looking into the legal
19 question of in whose lap this decision reposes, and I will liaise with
20 Mr. Gajic to make sure that we can get whatever the motion is to
21 whichever the hearing Chamber is as soon as possible so that hopefully we
22 can have a decision in time before the conclusion of General Nicolai's
23 testimony so that if we do proceed this week we can because the witness
24 is here.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you, Mr. Thayer. The Chamber would
1 appreciate to receive this documentation, as well as the Defence, and you
2 should indeed liaise with Mr. Gajic about, yeah, how to proceed and to
3 send the application to which Chamber who is seized of this decision.
4 We must have our first break now for technical reasons, and we
5 resume quarter past 4.00.
6 --- Recess taken at 3.49 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 4.19 p.m.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir, please proceed.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Could the Court please produce 1D180. It's a document issued by
11 the BiH army and the General Staff of the BiH army on the
12 17 of February, 1995.
13 Q. We see it in B/C/S version, and in a minute you're going to see
14 it in the English version. We're looking at the second paragraph,
15 line 4, and in the English version it is the third paragraph, where it
17 "On the 16th of February, 1995, the aggressor filed a request
18 with UNPROFOR to declare Zepa a 'non-demilitarised zone' with the
19 following rationale:
20 "BiH army and helicopter flights supplying weapons and ammunition
21 have been registered.
22 "Movements of the BH army have been registered in the Zepa
24 "Accusing members of the Ukrainian Battalion that they are
25 covering up the activities and intentions of the BiH army which is why
1 they no longer guarantee their safety.
2 "On the night between 15 and 16 February 1995, our helicopters
3 were seen flying over, and infantry fire was opened on them.
4 "On the basis of the aforementioned, the aggressor informed the
5 Sarajevo Sector UNPROFOR command that unless Zepa was declared a
6 demilitarised zone they would start offensive combat operations within
7 seven days.
8 "The ultimatum is for 23rd February 1995."
9 And there's something else that I'm going to read from this
10 order, where it says:
11 "Measures should be taken to cover up the helicopter and to put
12 in place security measures."
13 This finishes the quotation. I apologise to the interpreters if
14 I was too fast.
15 My question is this: This document was issued in
16 mid-February 1995. You were already there in Sarajevo. So do you
17 remember this document, and do you remember that the Army of Republika
18 Srpska very often reported activities from the Srebrenica and Zepa zones;
19 and if they did so, do you remember that you had to convey those messages
20 to General Gobillard? Thank you. Good luck.
21 A. No. I don't remember this document for the very simple reason
22 that at the time I was not yet in Sarajevo. I arrived at my post only at
23 the end of February, and this order is dated 17 February, which is about
24 two -- well, in any case, over a week before I arrived, and I never saw
1 As for your remark that --
2 Q. Thank you --
3 A. -- we received regular reports about such matters, that -- I deny
5 Q. Thank you. Do you deny the authenticity of this document because
6 this document was not provided by the Army of Republika Srpska but,
7 rather, by the BH army? That's their document. And in the order they
8 say that the helicopter that was reported to UNPROFOR by the VRS should
9 be masked. Did your predecessor tell you anything about helicopter
10 flights in the protected areas as well as armed activities originating
11 from protected areas?
12 A. He told me nothing about the helicopter flights concerned. He
13 did tell me that now and then actions took place from the protected
14 areas. But at this time I can't provide a more specific answer.
15 Q. Thank you, General, sir. I don't want to make your life hard.
16 I'm going to jog your memory by showing you documents. I'm going to move
17 on to the issue of communication.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] But before that, could I please
19 tender this report of the BiH army into evidence. We have it on the
20 screen, 1D180. Could it please be tendered into evidence.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. And now let's move on to communication.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, have you any comment to tendering
25 this document into evidence?
1 MR. THAYER: No objection to its admission, Mr. President,
2 observing, of course, that I think the witness's familiarity with it is
3 very limited.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: That's a nice explanation, very limited. We
5 understood the witness that he doesn't know this document, that he hasn't
6 seen it before today, and that he was not in the region at that time,
7 17th of February, 1995.
8 The Chamber is inclined to mark it for identification. It may be
9 used and tendered with another witness who can say something about the
10 authenticity and the content of the document. The document will be
11 marked for identification.
12 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter 1D180 would be Exhibit D76, marked for
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
15 Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Please
17 bear in mind that this document speaks about the continuity of the
18 activities performed in the protected areas that later on came under
19 attack. And I wanted General Nicolai to talk about it because I believe
20 that he had been informed about such activities from -- by his
21 predecessors. I've never seen this document before. I must tell you,
22 this is a document issued by the BiH army. Thank you very much.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, there is no need for such an
24 explanation after the Chamber has ruled on it. You may use this document
25 with another witness and then tender it. Please carry on.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. But
2 witnesses who drafted these documents will not be called here. Please
3 bear that in mind. But, in any case, I will abide by your decision.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Sir, could you please look at D70; that's your document, sir.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Page 6 in D70, that's
7 General Nicolai's statement.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I'm very sorry I didn't see you. Mr. Thayer.
9 MR. THAYER: Not at all, Mr. President. I always like to get off
10 my chair during these sessions.
11 Just a quick correction for the record: I think when -- now that
12 we're returning to this statement and I don't know whether
13 General Tolimir will actually tender the statement. So if it's not going
14 to come in for the Chamber to see, I would just note for the record that
15 the date of the interview is 18 November 1996, not 2006, as I think was
16 recorded at the beginning of the General's examination of
17 General Nicolai. Just so we have an absolutely correct record on that.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you for this correction.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Thayer, for the
20 explanation. This is D70, a Defence exhibit.
21 Q. Could the Court please produce page number 6, the first passage,
22 in which you say that you mostly spoke to your peers, chiefs of staff,
23 and with generals who were authorised on behalf of the VRS to make
24 decisions. Is that correct? Thank you.
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. Thank you. In order to make things very clear for the
2 Trial Chamber, let's say that there is a contradiction here. You mention
3 your peers and also generals, but not all generals were chiefs of staff
4 or chiefs of sectors. So kindly explain to the Trial Chamber whether it
5 is customary in the military in the diplomacy and in the police to talk
6 at the decision-making level and also to talk to your peers, to those who
7 are on a par with you, at the same level as you?
8 A. For the record, when we're talking about those on a par with me,
9 we're talking about functioning at the same level within the
10 organisation. So they needn't be equal in rank. And the agreement was,
11 to avoid confusion, that at the sector level within UNPROFOR they
12 interacted with the army corps at the battling parties, from the
13 headquarters in Sarajevo, the UNPROFOR headquarters, they liaised with
14 the headquarters of the armed forces of the battling parties. So with
15 the BA [as interpreted] army and the Bosnian Serb army.
16 Q. Thank you. My question is this: Was it possible at all to talk
17 to those levels as well outside of Sarajevo representing all the three
18 warring parties, given the fact that the UNPROFOR command was in
19 Sarajevo? Were you able to talk with BH army as well as the VRS and the
20 HVO? The VRS and the HVO commanders were not so close to you as the
21 representatives of the BiH. If you wanted to talk to the latter two, did
22 you have representatives or envoys who could represent you in the talks
23 with the other two armies?
24 A. Well, first I'd like to be clear about the remark that we were
25 not as close with the other parties as we were to the BiH. Our relation
1 to the battling parties was the same -- on the same order. We had no
2 preference. We didn't favour any party. I want to say that first.
3 Regarding opportunities to communicate with parties, there was a
4 distinction there. Clearly, wherever there were representatives of the
5 headquarters of the -- from the headquarters of BiH army in Sarajevo,
6 because that's where they had their headquarters, it was very easy to
7 communicate. We could do this by telephone. But sometimes we could also
8 have face-to-face contact. And I regularly negotiated face-to-face, for
9 example, with General Oralovic [phoen]. And there were also
10 representatives of the Croatian army present in Sarajevo. I don't know
11 whether they were there continuously, but often they were and often I
12 had -- was in direct contact with them.
13 When we wanted to negotiate with representatives from the
14 headquarters of the Bosnian Serb army, then we had to make arrangements.
15 We could always contact them by telephone or by fax, but if we wanted to
16 negotiate with them face-to-face then we had to agree on a meeting-place.
17 And if it was on Bosnian Serb territory, then we had to be authorised for
18 that occasion to travel there with protection. And obviously that was
19 trickier than contacts with other parties, especially in the period under
20 the aegis of my predecessor that happened regularly. I know that he
21 negotiated regularly with you.
22 Q. Thank you, General, sir. In order for us to make things clear
23 for the Trial Chamber, let's first quote from the transcript and then
24 I'll have a question for you. First of all, in the transcript in the
25 Popovic case on page 3847 in lines 1 through 4, you said:
1 "It was pointless to talk to the VRS army officers who were below
2 the rank of general because apparently only generals were authorised to
3 make decisions in the VRS."
4 The second quote is from page 18.499, lines 10 through 16.
5 You're talking about the protocol that existed in the UNPROFOR, and you
7 "Yes, there was a protocol. There was an agreement according to
8 which the personnel was supposed to contact people at their own level.
9 The commander of sector was talking to this" --
10 THE INTERPRETER: The accused is kindly asked to read slowly in
11 order to be interpreted.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Thayer, go ahead.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, that was again a request to read
15 Mr. Thayer.
16 MR. THAYER: Yes, Mr. President. Just again for an accurate
17 record: The two pages from which General Tolimir is quoting from the
18 Popovic testimony are transcript page 18.448 and transcript page 18.449.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. That was my concern as
21 Carry on, please.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Thayer, for this
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nicolai, for your patience. I apologise for the
1 confusion if you couldn't see things on the transcript. After my
2 question things will become clear.
3 Since you were not always in a position to talk to a person who
4 was your equal, who was on a par with you, was there a rule in place for
5 the warring party to delegate representatives for meetings with you and
6 that those representatives later on conveyed what was said at those
7 meetings to their commanders who would be your equals? Were those
8 representatives authorised to make any decisions, or did they have to run
9 things by their commanders before any decisions could be taken? Do you
10 understand me? If not, I will repeat and clarify and rephrase in order
11 to make things as clear as possible to the Trial Chamber. Thank you.
12 A. I'll answer and then you may infer from my answer whether I
13 understood you correctly or not.
14 In my day, not that many negotiations took place between the
15 battling parties -- well, with one party at once but never with all
16 parties at the same time. They did under my predecessor. Those
17 negotiations always took place with representatives at the headquarters
18 who were authorised to negotiate and obviously had received directives
19 from their commanders, and they could negotiate freely within those
20 directives. And to the best of my knowledge, that never caused any
22 What I'm also referring to in my statement here is that when we
23 contact them by telephone, occasionally we had somebody at the other end
24 of the telephone who was apparently lower in rank and was apparently
25 manning the phone lines and was able to take a message but was not
1 authorised or was apparently not authorised to take a decision
2 independently. And apparently he had to present that to one of his
3 superiors first. And if there was no other option then, we made do. But
4 clearly that caused delays and was less effective than when your
5 counterpart on the telephone was authorised to take decisions.
6 Q. Thank you. I am happy with the answer. I wanted to say that you
7 were not always able to talk to your counterpart, but when you spoke to
8 somebody else that person was authorised to convey a message or to make
9 decisions -- or let me put it this way: Did you some time talk to people
10 who were not authorised to make any decisions before running things by
11 their superiors who were then able to make decisions on behalf of their
13 A. Yes. I remember that at one point I requested a medical
14 evacuation from Bosnian Serb territory -- or, rather, from an enclave
15 across Bosnian Serb territory, and my counterpart on the telephone said
16 he would convey the message and I would be called back with a response.
17 So apparently at that point I was talking to somebody over the phone who
18 was not authorised to take decisions, and sometimes those answers took a
19 long time. And I remember specifically in this case that it was such a
20 long wait that it cost the victim his life. That's why I remember this.
21 Another specific case when I did not have a general at the other
22 end of the phone was the evening of July 10 - and there's a report of
23 that telephone conversation - when I mentioned that UNPROFOR had
24 requested air support. All I could do was leave a message, and I was not
25 able to converse with a commanding general. But, in any case, I was able
1 to leave the message, and I assume that the message was transmitted,
2 given its importance.
3 Q. Thank you. Now, for us to be quite clear -- well, I understand
4 what you're talking about and you're very proper in your answers, but
5 let's look at page 5 of your statement. And it's page 5 both in the
6 Serbian and in the English. And I'd like us to focus on the last
7 paragraph on page 5. You say that there was no point in talking to the
8 VRS officers under the level of general. However, on page 5 in the last
9 paragraph in Serbian and in English you state the following: That in the
10 Lukavica barracks you frequently talked to officers from the
11 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. And you say, and I quote:
12 "We co-operated with this corps, and they were always in
13 contact -- we were always in contact with representatives at a higher
14 level. Mr. Mladic insisted on that."
15 THE INTERPRETER: May we have a reference for this quotation,
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It appeared that he had extensive
18 control in the area and everybody reported to him. If there were any
19 problems, then he had to be contacted.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. So on the basis of what I've just read out --
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, we don't know where you found this
23 part you were quoting. Can you indicate where -- from which part of the
24 statement you quoted.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President. It's on
1 page 5, last paragraph on that page in the Serbian version.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not in the English text.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Page 6, first paragraph of the
5 May I go ahead with my question now while you're reading that
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Are you sure that that is the right paragraph?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've read it.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. It begins with, "Lukavica
10 barracks ..." as it does in the Serbian where it says, "Kasarna Lukavica"
11 is Lukavica Barracks. And my question, since General Nicolai knows what
12 this is about:
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Can you explain to the Trial Chamber that Major Ilic had the role
15 de facto of an officer, liaison officer, and he had to convey your
16 positions and the command's positions to you; but it wasn't up to him to
17 make any decisions. It's only the commander with the authority to make
18 decisions to do so; isn't that right? So did Ilic have decision-making
19 powers, or did he have to follow the proposals and orders of his
20 commander or Chief of Staff? Thank you.
21 A. Lieutenant-Colonel Indjic was, as we would call it, an LSO, a
22 liaison officer; so he was the liaison between the Sarajevo sector under
23 the command of General Gobillard and the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. An LSO
24 is by definition not somebody with decision-making authority but somebody
25 who conveys messages or takes messages. And that was the role of
1 Colonel Indjic in this case. He was also the counterpart for
2 General Gobillard's staff, and he was -- he was not a counterpart for the
3 UNPROFOR staff.
4 Q. Thank you, General. You have answered my question very properly.
5 So we shouldn't ascribe to Mr. Indjic the powers that he did not have.
6 Now let me ask you this: Having this situation in mind, that is
7 to say, in Sarajevo there were command Sector Sarajevo meetings and
8 also --
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Just a moment, Mr. Tolimir. We have a --
10 [Microphone not activated] ... we don't have anything on the screen at
11 the moment, after line 11. Please repeat. Please repeat your question.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you. Let me repeat my
14 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Since Colonel Indjic was a liaison officer of the
16 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps with the UNPROFOR sector in Sarajevo and since he
17 was not authorised to make any decisions, all he could do was to convey
18 your requirements and demands and the requirements of his command to you;
19 would that be right? Is that the only thing that he could do?
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. Thank you. I think that it's been properly recorded now.
22 Let me ask you this: The staff command or the staff's -- the
23 command of the staffs on all three warring sides, did they have their
24 authorised representatives who attended meetings where decisions were
25 made without having -- themselves having the power of decision-making on
1 certain issues but that they just conveyed to their commands the
2 positions and conclusions made at those meetings? And did the Main Staff
3 have its representatives there too who were in a similar position to
4 Indjic, without their representatives being able to decide; they didn't
5 have the power of decision-making in other words?
6 If we're experiencing problems in any area, let me ask a short
7 question: Was the situation similar and did the staff commands have
8 their representatives at meetings and contacts with UNPROFOR
9 representatives who were not authorised to make decisions; they were not
10 your counterparts, they only conveyed positions and decisions to your
11 people? So was that the case as you know it?
12 A. Well, to be clear: Unfortunately, that happened rarely during my
13 period, but it certainly happened during the period of my predecessor.
14 When negotiations took place, they were conducted by negotiators at a
15 level who, within the directives they had received from their commander,
16 were authorised to negotiate and to reach agreements. Otherwise, there's
17 very little to discuss. So they had some leeway to interpret or to
18 propose, but what was usual was that when at a certain point an agreement
19 had been reached, a treaty would be drafted and signed by the commanders
20 to actually ratify it. And that's the standard procedure, not only in
21 the military but also in politics.
22 Q. Thank you for your answer. My next question is this: Was it
23 custom -- is it customary in armies, especially in war time in the Dutch
24 army, for example, as in the VRS, that at certain positions officers can
25 issue -- can be banned from making decisions, can be prohibited from
1 making decisions themselves, unless they're given specific authorisation,
2 but that it is their job just to convey the situation to their superiors
3 and ask them for instructions? So do you know of that? Thank you.
4 A. Well, to go back to the example earlier, one of those liaison
5 officers, by virtue of his office, is somebody who takes and transmits
6 messages but does not take decisions himself. So that does happen.
7 Q. Thank you, General. And to wind up this set of questions, let me
8 ask you this: That means that it would always be advisable for
9 representatives at a higher level that they negotiate with their
10 counterparts, people on an equal footing as themselves; is that right?
11 Would that be best? However, because of the conditions that exist in war
12 time, were there situations whereby lower-level individuals would discuss
13 a problem on behalf of higher levels? Let me give you an example: That
14 the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, for example, could talk to you about the
15 problem that you -- the problems you were dealing with with the
16 Main Staff?
17 A. No, I can't imagine that. I stated very clearly that it was
18 explicitly the agreement that negotiations would take place at the same
19 level of command. So Sector Sarajevo dealt with the Romanija Corps and
20 not the UNPROFOR headquarters to prevent different levels from
21 simultaneously dealing with a single counterpart. So you need to keep
22 that separate. Otherwise, when we're talking about negotiations, it's
23 not about being equal in rank; it's about somebody's level of authority.
24 You need to negotiate with somebody who has decision-making authority,
25 and that works. And we always tried to do it this way, but there's a
1 very clear example of when that did not happen. When the Srebrenica
2 enclave fell, General Mladic, the supreme commander of the Bosnian Serb
3 army, was negotiating with the DutchBat battalion commander Karremans.
4 But those were people in positions that could not possibly be compared.
5 At UNPROFOR we found that situation highly undesirable, and we urged that
6 a representative of a higher level negotiate with General Mladic, and
7 that should be either somebody from the UNPROFOR staff in Sarajevo - and
8 they offered me for that purpose - as well as our head of civil affairs,
9 or somebody from Zagreb. But General Mladic himself rejected that
10 because he did not consider that to be necessary.
11 Q. Thank you, General. I'm just talking about hypothetical,
12 possible situations. Now, in the Popovic trial you said - and this was
13 also presented in the summary of the Prosecutor - that there was little
14 point in talking to officers of the VRS underneath -- below the rank of
15 general. Now, in your report you say that when there were problems, for
16 example, with the -- in Sarajevo, you could contact Colonel Indjic in the
17 VRS. So can you explain to the Trial Chamber whether some colonel in the
18 UNPROFOR command could make a decision without consulting
19 General Gobillard, and could he negotiate with the other side below the
20 rank of general, unless given specific instructions and authority to do
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
23 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I -- number one, if we could have the
24 portion of the witness's statement that's being referred to shown to the
25 witness so we have a better understanding of exactly what we're talking
1 about. I understand that General Tolimir is trying to press the
2 point - and he's entitled to do that with this witness - that there,
3 hypothetically, as he has said, may have been -- could be an occasion
4 where somebody from one rank was dealing with somebody from another rank.
5 I think the witness has been very clear in his answers to those
6 questions, but I think it's important for the witness to be shown this
7 portion of the witness statement so that we don't have anything taken out
8 of context or misunderstood. And, again, I think this is at the top of
9 page 6 in the English of the witness's OTP statement.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: That is on the screen.
11 MR. THAYER: Oh, my apologies.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Witness, do you remember the question?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't understand where
14 General Tolimir is going. I'd like to emphasise once again that from the
15 UNPROFOR staff where I worked there were no negotiations with
16 Lieutenant-Colonel Indjic. The representatives of the Sarajevo staff did
17 do that. And if you're talking about the colonels' level, the deputy
18 commanders at the Sarajevo sector were colonels and I'm sure that they
19 negotiated with Colonel Indjic. But whether Indjic was the man with
20 decision-making authority on site, I doubt that for the reasons I
21 mentioned earlier. But I can't provide any more information about that
22 because I was never there.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Thank you. I'm satisfied with your answer. And to be very
25 precise, nobody on behalf of General Gobillard on his staff could make a
1 decision without him agreeing to it or issuing specific orders, and the
2 same was true vice versa in the other staffs. Isn't that right?
3 A. Well, I can imagine that if General Gobillard sent one of his
4 deputies to attend negotiations, that person would have some
5 decision-making authority within the directives provided to him by
6 General Gobillard, just as this held true for negotiations at other
7 levels as I stated previously in my response.
8 Q. Thank you. General, can you tell the Trial Chamber what position
9 General Brinkman [Realtime transcript read in error "Brigman"] occupied
10 in the command, in the command for BiH, and what his responsibilities
12 A. I assume that the name has been misspelled here and that you're
13 referring to General Brinkman. Brigadier-General Brinkman was my
14 predecessor at UNPROFOR. So in the six months before I arrived, he was
15 the Chief of Staff of UNPROFOR, which at the time was known as
16 BiH command.
17 Q. Thank you. Yes, you have made a proper assessment of that. I
18 was referring to Brigadier-General Brinkman, but I might have been wrong.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now can we see 65 ter 6012. Thank
20 you. Thank you. That's the right document, 6012, 65 ter document. May
21 we have the last page of that document displayed, please, for the witness
22 to take a look at it.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. And you see there, the signature of the general in question,
25 Brigadier-General Brinkman, he was your predecessor, and
1 General Tolimir's signature. So they weren't counterparts, but Tolimir
2 was authorised to sign this agreement on unrestricted passage. So that
3 was the real situation. So this was a case in which somebody was
4 authorised to sign the agreement, although he wasn't the counterpart of
5 the other participant.
6 A. Yes. And that does not conflict with what I stated earlier. I
7 said that the representatives did not necessarily need to be of the same
8 rank but needed to operate at the same level of command. And if their
9 commander authorised them to take certain decisions, then the rank is
10 basically irrelevant. And in this case it's not strange for a
11 brigadier-general to reach an agreement with a general-major.
12 Q. Thank you, General. Can you tell us -- well, we've dealt with
13 opposite numbers and counterparts and so on and so forth and what their
14 authority was, but do you know -- are you aware of the contents of this
15 agreement, the one I signed together with Brigadier-General, your
16 predecessor, General Brinkman, in view of the fact that the agreement was
17 in force both in June and July and March and following on during the
18 events that are of interest for us here? Thank you.
19 A. Yes. I know this document well because it was a major obstacle.
20 Because if you read the document properly, it concerns the principles of
21 freedom of movement; but if you read the agreement, you'll find that
22 these are mainly restrictions to freedom of movement. And I found this
23 document difficult to work with because it imposed a lot of restrictions.
24 And I can also confirm in retrospect that General Smith was also
25 particularly unhappy about this negotiating outcome.
1 Q. Thank you, General. Now, can you tell the Trial Chamber whether
2 this document, which regulates, as you said, the movement of UNPROFOR on
3 the territory of Republika Srpska, is it an agreement that UNPROFOR
4 agreed to and was signed by your predecessor and therefore stating that
5 they agreed to it?
6 A. Yes. It's an agreement and it's signed, so we observed it. But
7 I can tell you that we did so very reluctantly because basically every
8 displacement on Bosnian Serb territory required advanced permission. And
9 to be honest, that undermines the purpose of a force that is required to
10 supervise compliance with the agreements. If you want to do your job
11 properly, you need the freedom to move around any part of the area any
12 time, and this restriction compromises that. But because that was what
13 was agreed, we had no choice but to stick to that agreement.
14 General Smith asked me to try to get the parties to renegotiate this
15 agreement, given the fact that in my period of duty acts of violence were
16 merely on the rise. Unfortunately, I didn't get around to that.
17 Q. Thank you, General. You've given us a very proper answer,
18 describing the situation as it was. Now let's look at paragraph 2.c of
19 this same agreement. It's on the previous page. We have it now. Point
20 2.c states:
21 "Approval for convoy movement will be given by the Serbian Army
22 HQ. In case of disapproval of a convoy, the Serbian authority is obliged
23 to give a proper explanation, stating the reason or reasons of refusal of
24 the particular convoy."
25 My question is as follows. We'll come to the next section,
1 "control," in just a moment. The agreement or some subsequent agreement,
2 did they regulate the legitimate reasons for withholding free passage for
3 the convoy or not, approval for the convoy or not? Thank you.
4 A. I'm not sure I understood your question perfectly, but if we're
5 talking about implementation of this paragraph, 2.c, well, it was
6 particularly unsatisfactory. Very frequently approval for convoys was
7 denied or their size was restricted without a legitimate reason. In
8 fact, there were even cases where permission was granted and while the
9 convoy was being carried out restrictions were imposed because -- parts
10 of the convoy were blocked at a check-point.
11 Q. Thank you, General. This agreement was based on certain
12 principles then and procedure for approval for convoys held back or
13 allowed to pass through by the sides; right? Tell me briefly, did both
14 sides have to adhere to the agreement and the stipulations in the
15 agreement? Thank you.
16 A. Well, when there's an agreement between two parties, then both
17 parties are required to observe that agreement. But, in practice, the
18 only party bothered by this was UNPROFOR. At any time desired, the
19 Bosnian Serb army could restrict the size or content of convoys; and
20 whenever they desired, they could block our movements. Conversely, we
21 couldn't and didn't want to block anybody else.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could this document, 65 ter 6012,
24 please be tendered into evidence. Thank you.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
1 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D77.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
4 Q. General, you know from practice that there were UNHCR and
5 UNPROFOR convoys. Were UNPROFOR convoys primarily intended for the
6 supply of UNPROFOR troops, and were UNHCR convoys primarily intended for
7 the supply of the civilian population? Thank you.
8 A. That answer [as interpreted] is basically correct.
9 Q. Thank you, General. We will see what the difference was through
10 my next questions.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could the Court please produce
12 P689. This document is part of 92 ter materials, and this is a decision
13 of the president of Republika Srpska on the establishment of the state
14 committee for co-operation with the United Nations and international
15 humanitarian organisations. And the second document is the decision of
16 the appointment of the president, vice-president, and members of this
17 state committee. Both decisions were issued on the 14th of March, 1995.
18 Could we please look at Article 6 of this decision. Thank you.
19 Can this be blown up a little. You see it in English as well as in
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. This is a -- the decision on the establishment of the state
23 committee. In the B/C/S version it's on page 3. Article 6 says:
24 "Permits for the movement of convoys and employees of the UN and
25 humanitarian organisations on the territory of Republika Srpska shall be
1 issued by the co-ordinating body for humanitarian operations, pursuant to
2 committee decisions."
3 I don't think that we are seeing the same documents. I can't see
4 Article 6 that I've just read from.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could you please display page 2 or
6 the second page.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I see it's another Article 6.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now we can see it on the screen.
9 Q. And it says:
10 "Permits for the movement of convoys and employees of the UN and
11 humanitarian organisations on the territory of Republika Srpska shall be
12 issued by the co-ordinating body for humanitarian operations, pursuant to
13 committee decisions."
14 Did I read this properly? And do you know that of the nine
15 members of this committee only one was a member of the VRS and that was
16 Colonel Milos Djurdjic? The president of that co-ordinating body
17 would -- was Dr. Nikola Koljevic. Do you know all that; yes or no?
18 Thank you.
19 A. The answer is no.
20 Q. Thank you. Does the name Nikola Koljevic ring a bell? Does the
21 name Milos Djurdjic ring a bell? If those names do ring a bell, what was
22 their position while you were in Sarajevo?
23 A. The first name sounds vaguely familiar. I never spoke with him
24 personally, but I believe that the head of civil affairs at my staff was
25 in touch with him, although I can't remember any of the details. And I
1 was never personally in touch with him, and I don't know what his exact
2 position was within the Bosnian Serb political structure.
3 Q. Thank you. Was the co-ordinating body in charge of regulating
4 the movement of UNHCR convoys? I spoke about that just a minute ago. I
5 and your predecessor signed an agreement on the movement of UNPROFOR
6 convoys. Did this apply to the movement of convoys, this decision that
7 I've just spoken about, did this apply to the movement of UNHCR convoys?
8 Was the co-ordinating body in charge of the movement of those convoys as
9 well? Did you have a representative in that committee just like the VRS
10 had its own representative, Colonel Djurdjic?
11 A. No. I wasn't even aware that this committee existed, let alone
12 that we had a representative on it.
13 Q. Thank you. Did you know, for example, that that was not
14 regulated by the agreement that I and your predecessor signed, that that
15 had to be regulated by another agreement? I'm showing you a document
16 that the president of Republika Srpska turned into a decision on the
17 establishment of a body for co-operation with the UNPROFOR and
18 co-ordination of the work of humanitarian organisations. That's what
19 I've just shown you. Thank you.
20 A. What I find strange is that in January 1995 an agreement was
21 reached between General Brinkman and you, General Tolimir, and a few
22 months afterwards a committee was formed to deal with criteria for
23 admitting convoys. Basically, it's not my concern. We had to register
24 when we wanted to send convoys, and we were to be given an explanation
25 when such a permit was denied. And who held final responsibility for
1 that decision within the Bosnian Serb structure didn't really matter to
2 us. What mattered was whether or not we were given permission. We had
3 only one point of contact and that was your headquarters.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
5 MR. THAYER: And, Mr. President, just to make sure there's no
6 misunderstanding potentially left in the record, going back up to
7 General Tolimir's question at line -- page 55, line 10 of my LiveNote,
8 the question:
9 "Did you have a representative in that committee just like the
10 VRS had its own representative, Colonel Djurdjic?"
11 I would like to know if there is an actual factual basis behind
12 that question to suggest that there ever was anybody from the UN that was
13 part of this RS committee. If General Tolimir truly doesn't know and
14 he's just basically fishing, then that's fine as well; but if there is a
15 factual basis to support that question, I'd like to know what it is
16 because as far as Prosecution is aware there was never any involvement by
17 the UN in that committee.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, I think the witness answered this
19 question very clearly.
20 "No, I wasn't even aware that this committee existed, let alone
21 that we had a representative on it."
22 I think it's a clear statement of the witness.
23 MR. THAYER: Understood, Mr. President. I just wanted to make
24 sure that the question itself didn't leave some ambiguity. But that's --
25 I take the Trial Chamber's point.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes. That happens sometimes that questions leave
2 some ambiguity.
3 Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Thayer, for pointing
5 this problem out.
6 In any case, an UNPROFOR representative could not be a member of
7 a body of Republika Srpska on which a decision had been taken by the
8 president. My question was misinterpreted. My question was whether the
9 UNHCR had a body that decided on sending convoys to Republika Srpska.
10 The general answered my question, and I'm satisfied with that answer. I
11 can repeat that question and ask him whether UNHCR had its
12 representative, whether they were in contact with him, whether UNPROFOR
13 co-ordinated its activities with the UNHCR with regard to this body that
14 was established by Republika Srpska.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Again, I find this question
16 somewhat confusing. I've told you that a UNHCR representative
17 consistently attended our staff meetings, and, of course, we consulted
18 regularly with each other. And, as needed, we tried to reach agreements
19 with each other, despite the fact that we had no command authority over
20 UNHCR. It made sense to reconcile our activities. If the question is
21 whether we were aware of contacts with UNHCR, with a committee that you
22 just mentioned, then clearly I'll have to deny that because I wasn't even
23 aware that such a committee existed, and I certainly wasn't aware of
24 contacts between UNHCR in that committee. That's obvious.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Thank you, General. Could you answer my next question very
2 briefly. Did you control UNHCR convoys? Did you ever establish that
3 there was any abuse and that those convoys also carried military
5 A. I understand what you're asking. No. As UNPROFOR, we had no say
6 over UNHCR's convoys. We didn't inspect them. I do believe that when --
7 as far as requesting permission for the convoys, we had a mediating role.
8 I believe I remember that, although I can't say it with 100 per cent
9 certainty, but I think that was the case. UNHCR was an independent
10 organisation that could decide independently when and what it wished to
12 Q. Thank you. We'll now move on to very concrete things. For
13 example, 3863 is the page in the transcript, lines 23, through page 3864.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Which transcript are you referring to?
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] From this case. Thank you.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Thank you. We see that you say, In special cases, the advantage
18 of Srebrenica was that they could be supplied with fuel by UNHCR, and
19 that was not intended for members of the armed forces but, rather, for
20 the locals. However, we managed to convince the personnel in UNHCR that
21 it was necessary for part of the supplies to be used by the troops in the
23 This is a quote from the transcript. I don't know whether you've
24 found it or not. If you have, then you can confirm whether I quoted your
25 words correctly or not. But, in any case, my question is this: When was
1 it that the UNHCR delivered fuel --
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Wait a moment, please. You are referring to a
3 previous hearing before the summer recess, I suppose? I would like to
4 know which date, and I would like to have it on the screen. The witness
5 doesn't have it, the transcript. And I don't find the page number
6 because it was -- in my version I don't have the page number yet.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Microphone not activated]
8 THE INTERPRETER: The microphone is off.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] This was on 12 July - now we can
10 see it on the screen - page 3863. And I will repeat.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Look at line 23 and down to page 3864, ending with line 338 --
13 the page number is 3864. My legal assistant has just corrected me.
14 Thank you.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We have it on the screen, and please put the
16 question to the witness.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. General, sir, please, when was it that UNHCR delivered fuel to
20 the servicemen in the enclave? And when I say "the servicemen," I mean
21 both UNPROFOR soldiers and soldiers of the BiH army.
22 A. When UNHCR supplied that fuel, I can't tell you exactly when that
23 was because during my period not a single fuel convoy was admitted into
24 Srebrenica. So this is fuel that was already in storage. Within the
25 enclave, the fuel was in storage on the compound in Potocari but belonged
1 to UNHCR and was intended for the local population. Because at a certain
2 point things became so desperate that there was a danger that UNPROFOR
3 wouldn't even have enough fuel left to keep the communications devices
4 going, we told the UNHCR representative that this would lead to an
5 unacceptable situation because that would jeopardise UNPROFOR's
6 performing its tasks. So that's why UNHCR allowed fuel from its storage
7 supply to be used by UNPROFOR.
8 Q. Thank you. Is it true that there were cases - and I'm basing
9 this on your answer - that UNHCR declared fuel as fuel for the civilian
10 population, but it was used by the troops, either by UNPROFOR or by the
11 Muslim army? Were there such cases?
12 A. Well, the latter is too ridiculous for words. We did not supply
13 fuel to battling parties; that should be clear. It would be entirely in
14 conflict with the UN principles. And the only example of UNPROFOR using
15 UNHCR supplies, as far as I know, is the case we just discussed
16 concerning the situation in Srebrenica.
17 Q. Thank you, General. Let's make things clear for the record. I
18 didn't ask about UNPROFOR; I asked about the UNHCR. And I asked you
19 whether the UNHCR supplied the militaries as well as the civilians in the
20 enclaves. Thank you.
21 A. The fuel was intended for the civilian population living in
22 Srebrenica. Whether any fuel was given to the soldiers, I don't know
23 about that. But I can't imagine how it would benefit them because they
24 had hardly any means of transport. So there was no direct supply by
25 UNHCR the Bosnian Serb forces [as interpreted].
1 Q. Thank you, General. And now we'll look at the transcript,
2 page 3545, lines from 1 through 12, again the transcript is from this
3 case. This is Mr. Franken's transcript.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
5 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, can -- I'm looking at my LiveNote at
6 page 60, lines 22 and 23, and I think the last sentence of the witness's
7 answer is -- I'm not sure if that was recorded correctly, translated
8 correctly, or maybe I'm -- I just have jet-lag, but it doesn't -- it's
9 unintelligible to me as it stands. The line:
10 "So there was no direct supply by the UNHCR the Bosnian Serb
12 In the context of the question and the answers, I'm just not sure
13 if that's what the correct answer is.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sir, could you look at the transcript. Is that
15 what you were talking about? That's page 60, line 22 and 23.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that there was no direct
17 supply of fuel by UNHCR to the Bosnian forces. I didn't say Bosnian Serb
18 forces. None of the Bosnian forces was supplied directly with fuel.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You are referring to the BiH forces, BiH army?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Basically I was referring to
21 the BiH forces.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
23 Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Can we look at the transcript of this case, page 3545, lines from
1 1 through 2. This was evidence by Mr. Franken on the
2 6th of June, 2010 -- I apologise, 6th of July, 2010.
3 Let me read. Have you found it, Mr. President? Mr. President,
4 can you follow?
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, we have it on the screen. We are waiting
6 for your question.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. To a question put to Mr. Franken, which was:
9 How did they manage to acquire fuel? Was there any legal channel
10 supply with fuel that could be used to supply the army?
11 And Mr. Fraken's answer -- and I -- answer -- then I quote:
12 I don't know how they satisfy their need for the fuel. "There is
13 a possibility, but we checked that regularly, we supplied fuel for the
14 bakery in the town so it would be possible to make bread for the civilian
15 population in that bakery."
16 Thank you. My question is this: Were you aware of the fact that
17 UNPROFOR provided fuel for the civilian population and for the purposes
18 of keeping that bakery in operation? Thank you.
19 A. No. I was unaware of this specific example, and I didn't need to
20 be aware of it. But it seems very plausible that fuel from UNHCR was
21 used to keep a bakery going that was feeding the population. It sounds
22 very logical.
23 Q. Thank you, General. My question is this: Did the DutchBat in
24 Srebrenica ever participate in the distribution of humanitarian aid to
25 the local population or in the establishment of criteria to be applied
1 when the local population was supplied with humanitarian aid?
2 A. Yes. Perhaps you should have asked the DutchBat representatives
3 this question; for example, Colonel Franken or Colonel Karremans. But I
4 know that generally UNPROFOR sometimes assisted UNHCR in distributing
5 goods to the local population. But authority to distribute those goods
6 rested with UNHCR. And as for the -- we had no part whatsoever in the
7 criteria for the distribution. And the only aid provided directly by
8 UNPROFOR to the local population in Srebrenica concerned medical
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, would that be a good point for the
11 second break?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Yes, we
13 can do that.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We will have our second break now and resume
15 quarter past 6.00.
16 --- Recess taken at 5.46 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 6.19 p.m.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir. Please carry on.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
20 May we have 1D231 called up next, please. It's a regular combat
21 report dated the 8th of June, 1995, of the 1st Infantry Light Brigade
22 sent to the command of the 13th Corps. Now, I'm interested in item 3
23 there, so may we zoom in to item 3.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. And it says there:
1 "The check-point at Rogatica -- the Ukrainian convoy number
2 07-012/07 comprising three vehicles from Sarajevo to Zepa passed through
3 the check-point in Rogatica. The UNHCR convoy from Karakaj to Zepa which
4 arrived at the check-point yesterday is still in Rogatica undergoing a
5 detailed search since ammunition for infantry weapons was found
7 So that's the report sent by the brigade command in control of
8 that check-point, and they discovered some ammunition. Now, may we --
9 well, before I ask my question, can we look at 1D232, please. It's an
10 order issued by the president of Republika Srpska, Radovan Karadzic, on
11 the 13th of June, 200 -- and sent to the Main Staff. And I'm just
12 quoting point 2. And you can look at item 2 in English.
13 "On account of the incident concerning the ammunition found in
14 the UNHCR convoy for Zepa and Gorazde, a detailed investigation should be
15 allowed for the commission involving Milos Djurdjic, Momcilo Mandic, and
16 Dragisa Mihic. The task of the commission is to submit a detailed report
17 to the State Committee for Relations with the United Nations and
18 international humanitarian organisations."
19 That's the committee that I mentioned earlier on and said that it
20 had been established.
21 Point 3:
22 "A positive opinion should be immediately given for all the
23 notifications that arrived through the co-ordination body for
24 humanitarian operations attached to the state committee, referring to the
25 weekly plan of deliveries of UNHCR from the 10th to the 17th of June that
1 have already been examined by the committee."
2 And now my question: General, at your daily meetings and in
3 other ways through reports and so on, UNHCR ones or those from your
4 units, were you informed about the fact that in an UNHCR convoy in
5 June 1995 some infantry weapons were found? Thank you.
6 A. No, I'm not aware of that. And it surprises me because that
7 would be a serious infringement of standard procedure within the
8 United Nations, and it would certainly have instigated measures. And it
9 also surprises me that I don't remember a complaint on that subject from
10 the Bosnian Serb army. And if something like that had happened, I would
11 certainly remember it.
12 Q. Thank you, General. Tell me now, were any measures undertaken to
13 prevent any abuse of the UNHCR convoy by UNPROFOR members? Thank you.
14 A. No. In response to a previous question, I already said that we
15 did not do that; that was the responsibility of the UNHCR, and UNPROFOR
16 was not involved in that. If, however, there had been a report of abuse
17 of the authority of UNHCR, then the UN certainly wouldn't have taken --
18 the UN certainly would have taken measures to prevent any such
20 Q. Thank you. General, since we dealt with these two questions and
21 to confirm whether this is -- what is said here is true - although you
22 said you didn't know - as confirmation of what I said, let's look at what
23 happened on the 8th of June and let's look at a video.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The video is 1D3234 [as
25 interpreted]. The transcript of the video is 1D234. It's 65 ter 1D23 --
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. And in order to confirm the authenticity and to establish that
4 these are events that took place on the 8th of June, 1995, I'd like us to
5 freeze the tape at the 14th second because this shows additional
6 documentation for the UNHCR convoy which sees the date and destination on
7 the convoy. Otherwise, the footage lasts a little over two minutes. So
8 may we now play the video, thank you. You see where it says the
9 7th of June, that date there. It's the Karakaj border crossing. And it
10 says, as you can see, Srebrenica and Zepa -- cursor there.
11 [Video-clip played]
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. We can now see the convoy and the attending documents where it
14 says "Zepa" and "Srebrenica."
15 And there we see the ammunition uncovered by the soldiers hidden
16 in the flour.
17 We can't hear anything.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May we have the audio, please, so
19 that we can hear what is being said.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
21 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon to everybody. I'd
22 just like to make one request. Could the technical booth put the volume
23 up because we can't hear it properly. On my computer, it's working
24 normally. But for the purposes of the courtroom, could we increase the
25 volume. Thank you.
1 [Video-clip played]
2 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I was told that there's no possibility to have
4 another volume. This is the technical situation of the booth.
5 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think that the video
6 speaks for itself. So once we've viewed the video, we'll be able to
7 continue with the cross-examination of the witness. We'll be asking him
9 [Video-clip played]
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Here we can see the protest that
11 the Army of Republika Srpska and General Mladic sent to the command of
12 the UNHCR, the UNHCR office, regarding the latest abuse of the
13 humanitarian mission of the United Nations, the food convoy, to the
14 Muslim enclave of Zepa when in the convoy - and he mentions a date
15 there - when a routine check was carried out and ammunition was found
16 intended for the Muslim army.
17 Now we're going to see a representative of the UNHCR.
18 [Video-clip played]
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And we see the people who were
20 taking the humanitarian aid to the Zepa enclave. And in the cabin we --
21 some ammunition was found as well, 7.9-millimetre bullets.
22 [Video-clip played]
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 Now, since we haven't got the audio and can't hear the UNHCR and
25 army representatives talking about the incident, we do have two documents
1 written by the president of the republic and General Mladic as a protest
2 to the UNHCR. And having seen that, could you tell us, please, whether
3 it was possible whether ammunition was found in the flour. Did cases
4 like that exist, and convoys in Sarajevo and other regions did -- were
5 weapons found in UNHCR convoys? Is that what happened?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember any report on the
7 subject. And specifically regarding the munition, I don't remember any
8 report by the UNHCR representative at our staff meeting. And in the
9 event of such a serious violation, there should have been one. But those
10 are all assumptions because I don't remember this incident. But if it
11 happened this way, I'm not sure how rigid the inspection was of the UNHCR
12 representatives; for example, in filling bags of flour. I don't know
13 that -- UNPROFOR was not involved in that. But I do know
14 Mrs. Karen AbuZayd, the senior representative of the UNHCR in Sarajevo,
15 if she had been aware of such a case she would certainly have got to the
16 bottom of it. And if UNHCR staff were involved in this incident, then
17 I'm certain that it would have led to their immediate termination.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Thank you, General. This was public footage. It was broadcast
20 on television, made public on television. And it was the subject of a
21 dispute in the co-ordinating body dealing with humanitarian aid. And the
22 president of the republic wrote these two orders, questioning the
23 commission and asking the convoys to be released. So those people who
24 conducted the distribution must have known about it because the convoy
25 was stopped while it was being established what had happened and while
1 this case was being solved. So I'm sure someone in your command was
2 involved in this whole process. Thank you. Do you know anything about
3 that? Thank you.
4 A. I'll repeat what I stated earlier. I can't remember this.
5 Q. Thank you, General. Do you remember a single case that was
6 reported to you as the UNPROFOR command which occurred where UNHCR
7 supplies included ammunition or fuel or anything else like that? Do you
8 remember of any such footage or any such case?
9 A. No, definitely not. And that surprises me because if I had known
10 something about that then I'm sure that it would have been taken very
11 seriously indeed because it is at odds with the operating principles of
12 UNHCR and the same holds true for the International Red Cross. They
13 would have undermined their own position and work, and that's the very
14 last thing they want.
15 Q. Thank you, General. Now, do you know that after this incident,
16 the incident where ammunition was found in the UNHCR convoys, that over a
17 period of time the UNHCR convoy was controlled by DutchBat and that in
18 one instance the fact that the UNHCR refused DutchBat from exercising
19 control, one of the UNHCR convoys did not reach its destination with its
20 deliveries, and that destination was Srebrenica? Thank you. So do you
21 remember that incident?
22 A. I don't remember that.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now I'd like 1D231 and 232 and 233
25 and 244 to be tendered into evidence. Thank you.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer --
2 [Defence counsel confer]
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: -- what is the position of the Prosecution?
4 MR. THAYER: No objection, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, the Chamber has a problem. The
6 first two documents, 1D231 and 1D232, we have seen on the screen, but the
7 witness couldn't say anything about the content. He told us that he
8 doesn't know about this incident and the background. And I think this
9 witness is not the right one to admit this -- these two documents. So
10 these will be marked for identification.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And after that, we will deal with the other two.
13 THE REGISTRAR: 1D231 would be Exhibit D78 marked for
14 identification. 1D232 will be Exhibit D79 marked for identification.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And, Mr. Tolimir --
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: -- and the video. I was told that this is already
18 part of the document D72 marked for identification. What is now the
19 purpose of tendering it again without hearing the text of the video?
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. Then that can be MFI'd
21 along with the other MFI documents.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is already MFI'd as D72. And the document
23 1D234 is the transcript of the video, but I don't see it and we haven't
24 seen it. So that can be perhaps provided at a later stage.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We will
1 supply it in due course because it's already on e-court. Thank you.
2 [Trial Chamber and Legal Officer confer]
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I was told the transcript is already part of
4 D72 marked for identification. All these documents are now marked.
5 Please carry on. And I was told that the Prosecution needs some
6 minutes before we break so that we should -- you should continue until
7 five minutes before 7.00 or something like that. Please go ahead.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 May we now have 1D235 displayed, please. It's a document of the
10 BH army dated the 5th of June, 1995, and it is entitled, "Records of
11 Donations," which the chief of the Department of Defence in Srebrenica
12 Suljo Hasanovic sent to the Secretariat of Defence in Tuzla. The
13 signatory, Professor Suljo Hasanovic, sets out the humanitarian aid he
14 has received. And the last sentence in that document, which you can read
15 in the English, says:
16 "Part of these quantities arrived through the Dutch Battalion.
17 "Till our ultimate victory!
18 "Chief of the defence sector,
19 "Professor Suljo Hasanovic."
20 So do you see that there in English?
21 "Contingent which arrived and was obtained from the
22 Dutch Battalion"?
23 A. Yes, I've seen that.
24 Q. Thank you. Now, were you aware of the fact that DutchBat
25 provided certain equipment to the BH army, as Suljo Hasanovic writes here
1 in his report?
2 A. I'll stand by the statement I made earlier. I said earlier that
3 occasionally UNPROFOR assisted with food distributions by UNHCR. And I
4 assume that's what's meant here in this text as well.
5 Q. Thank you, General. One more question: Did you ever, during
6 your mandate, issue any orders, whether oral or written, that control and
7 checks should be conducted of humanitarian convoys by -- sent by UNPROFOR
8 to the civilian population and to prevent it from coming into the hands
9 of the BH army? Thank you.
10 A. No. At least during my period the UNPROFOR staff never issued
11 such an order, but it's perfectly possible that a local commander had
12 reason at a certain point to perform inspections, especially if there was
13 an incident of abuse I would imagine that the local commander would take
14 measures to prevent any such recurrence.
15 Q. Thank you, General.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could 1D235 please be admitted.
17 Thank you.
18 And can the Court now please produce P595, page 4.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I think we are on the same position.
20 I didn't hear any answer of the witness about the content of this
21 document, so it will be marked for identification.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I believe that he said that it was
23 possible and that it was possible that the local commander did check all
24 that for abuse. Thank you.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would like to quote previous witness who said
1 "everything is possible," but this is not a confirmation of the content
2 or anything else. It will be marked for identification.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. And
4 can --
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please wait a moment. We need the number.
6 THE REGISTRAR: 1D235 will be D80 marked for identification.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Now please carry on.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President.
9 Could the Court please produce P595, page 2, paragraph 2, both in
10 English and B/C/S. The document is entitled "Delivery of Analysis of the
11 Fall of Srebrenica and Zepa," sent to Rasim Delic.
12 On page 4, paragraph 2, both in English and in B/C/S, it is
14 "Among the citizens of Srebrenica, there is an increasing
15 mistrust towards the military. Naser Oric and municipal official
16 Osman Suljic, Adem Salihovic, and Hamdija Fejzic are brought into
17 connection with the smuggling of humanitarian aid, arms, oil, and similar
18 things, and that they co-operated with members of UNPROFOR and even with
19 the aggressor."
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. My question to you, sir, is this: Did you receive reports or did
22 you have any information about the fact that members of military or
23 political leaderships in the enclave co-operated with members of UNPROFOR
24 in their smuggling, as it is stated here in the document drafted by the
25 BiH army?
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, we have a problem. We don't see the
2 relevant part you are quoting. Can you help us?
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Page 4, paragraph 2.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. We have, now, the right page.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 My question to the witness:
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Did you receive any information or reports about the smuggling of
9 commodities involving military and political officials who co-operated
10 both with UNPROFOR members as well as the aggressor? Thank you.
11 A. No, I received no information whatsoever about that.
12 Q. Thank you, General. My next question is this: Did you have any
13 information about the trade and smuggling of goods and humanitarian aid
14 in the enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa?
15 A. No. The only case known to me where UNPROFOR troops sold goods
16 took place in Gorazde by the Ukrainian unit. And in this case, at the
17 time, the goods were sold to the Bosnian Serb army. And I know that very
18 severe measures were taken leading in part to the English Battalion
19 commander to which the Ukrainian company reported, giving the Ukrainian
20 troops supplies for only one day at a time to prevent them from being
22 [Defence counsel confer]
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Thank you. Do you know that members of your battalion in
25 Srebrenica here before this Tribunal stated that they did have
1 information about smuggling operations involving humanitarian aid, that
2 they mentioned certain individuals? Is it possible that they did not
3 report to you about that, that they kept that information to themselves?
4 Thank you.
5 A. That's the only explanation I would have because I know nothing
6 of that. But if something so serious happened, it certainly should have
7 been reported.
8 Q. Thank you, General. The Trial Chamber has heard testimonies of
9 some commanders who may have not reported to you. I would like to show
10 you an excerpt from the transcript, but our working day is almost over.
11 We will continue tomorrow. I will show it to you. You will see that I'm
12 not lying, that I'm just telling you the truth.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, you told me to bring
14 my cross-examination to an end for today. This is where I would like to
15 stop, and I will continue tomorrow. Thank you.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much, Mr. Tolimir.
17 Mr. Thayer, you have indicated to -- you wish to raise something.
18 MR. THAYER: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President. And the issue can
19 be raised in the absence of the witness if the Chamber chooses to dismiss
20 him for the day.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: That's very helpful.
22 Sir, that doesn't conclude yet your examination, as you are
23 aware. We have to continue the cross-examination tomorrow morning at
24 9.00 in the same courtroom, and you are now free to leave without contact
25 to the parties in the meantime. Thank you very much for your attendance
2 THE WITNESS: [Microphone not activated]
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
4 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, on the issue of the forthcoming
5 protective measures rescission/amendment motion, we've done a little bit
6 of homework to try to answer the question of before which Chamber this
7 motion may fall.
8 [The witness stands down]
9 MR. THAYER: I have prepared a small packet for the
10 Trial Chamber. I've already distributed it to my learned friend. We
11 don't need to spend time looking at it now. I'll just alert the Trial
12 Chamber to the contents of the packet and, if I may, make a proposal to
13 the Trial Chamber for potential course of action to resolve the issue.
14 For the record, what I've distributed is a decision of
15 22 June 2010 in the Karadzic case which dealt with protective measures of
16 a witness in that case and a request for rescission of protective
17 measures in that case. This is a public decision.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
19 MR. THAYER: Yes.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Would it be appropriate to go into private
21 session to deal with this problem in a more simple way?
22 MR. THAYER: We can. We can. Thank you, Mr. President. That
23 will make things a little easier.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think it's better.
25 We go into private session.
1 [Private session]
11 Pages 4040-4041 redacted. Private session.
24 [Open session]
25 THE REGISTRAR: We're now in open session.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We adjourn and resume tomorrow at 9.00 in this
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.06 p.m.,
4 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 18th day of
5 August, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.