1 Monday, 23 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 in the courtroom and
6 outside listening to these procedures.
7 At the outset of today's hearing, the Chamber would like to raise
8 three matters. The first one is an explanation of the position of the
9 Chamber in regards to the Prosecution's addendum of the 29th of June,
10 2010, to its 94 bis notice regarding Witness Kathryn Barr and the
11 response of the Defence of 5th of August.
12 The Trial Chamber wishes to explain its position on the
13 Prosecution's addendum to its 94 bis notice of disclosure. The
14 Trial Chamber will not be issuing a formal decision in relation to it.
15 In the Prosecution's addendum, the Prosecution sought leave from
16 the Trial Chamber to supplement its Rule 94 bis disclosure with the
17 addition of an expert report by Kathryn Barr, the Witness 9.
18 On the 5th of August, 2010, the Defence filed a response in which
19 it requests that the Prosecution's addendum be denied and that if the
20 Trial Chamber finds that the Prosecution's addendum should be granted, it
21 gives notice that it wishes to cross-examine the expert witness
23 In the 92 bis decision of 7th of July, the Trial Chamber decided
24 to provisionally admit the evidence of Kathryn Barr, pursuant to
25 Rule 92 bis subject to her appearing for cross-examination.
1 Rule 94 bis gives the Trial Chamber the discretion to allow the
2 admission into evidence of an expert report or a statement without
3 calling the expert to testify in person, if the opposing party accepts
4 it. Where, as here, the opposing party does not accept the expert
5 report, the issue of admissibility pursuant to Rule 94 bis does not
7 The Trial Chamber therefore is not rendering a decision with
8 regard to the additional expert report by Kathryn Barr disclosed in the
9 Prosecution's addendum. This is without prejudice to any motions that
10 the Prosecution might make in regard to it in the future. This was the
11 first matter.
12 Now the Chamber would like to issue an oral decision. The
13 Chamber is presently seized of the remainder of the Prosecution's motion
14 for leave to amend the witness list, admission of evidence pursuant to
15 Rule 92 ter and protective measures, which was filed confidentially on
16 the 15th of July, 2010
17 As it was the case for the other part of this decision which was
18 rendered last week, this motion was prompted by the Prosecution's recent
19 review of its intercept evidence, wherein it was noted that the
20 conversations intercepted by this proposed witness are, in the view of
21 the Prosecution, sufficiently proximate to the acts and conduct of the
22 accused to warrant his appearance in court for the purposes of
23 cross-examination. He recorded six intercepted conversations which were
24 admitted through a different witness during the Popovic case and he was
25 interviewed by telephone on the 30th of June, this year.
1 On the 18th of August, 2010, the accused responded. This
2 response was filed confidentially. The parties made oral submissions on
3 the motion on Thursday of last week, the 19th of August, this year.
4 For the sake of brevity, I will not reiterate the submissions of
5 the parties here.
6 The first question before the Chamber is whether it is in the
7 interests of justice to add the witness to the Rule 65 ter witness list.
8 The Chamber appreciates that the motion is aimed to give the
9 accused the opportunity to challenge the evidence of this witness.
10 Although the accused rightly points out that his evidence will largely
11 focus on the authentication of the intercepts, it is precisely this
12 authenticity that the accused has repeatedly challenged.
13 The Chamber notes that the Prosecution proposes that the witness
14 testify pursuant to Rule 92 ter and encloses a draft witness statement,
15 which is only one page long and contains nine short paragraphs. As for
16 the intercepts proposed for admission through this witness, the Chamber
17 notes that they were included on the Prosecution's Rule 65 ter exhibit
18 list, were proposed for admission and were provisionally admitted through
19 another witness who was the subject of the Prosecution's Rule 92 bis
20 motion. Under these circumstances, the Chamber considers that the
21 accused would not be prejudiced by the witness's addition to the
22 Rule 65 ter witness list at this stage of the proceedings.
23 However, not surprisingly, as regards the timing of this
24 witness's testimony, the Chamber reiterates its concern that the
25 Prosecution's practice of scheduling a witness to appear before the
1 Chamber has taken a particular decision which is a precondition for the
2 witness to appear at all; and the Chamber would prefer that the
3 Prosecution schedule the witness for later this week in order to permit
4 the accused to have sufficient time to prepare for cross-examination.
5 The Chamber trusts that this unfortunate scheduling situation will not
6 occur again.
7 The Chamber will now address the portion of the Prosecution's
8 motion which relates to the admission of the witness's witness statement
9 as well as the intercepts pursuant to Rule 92 ter.
10 The accused submits that the draft statement in appendix C to the
11 motion does not meet the requirements of admission pursuant to
12 Rule 92 ter because it is a draft statement which does not bear the
13 signature of the proposed witness.
14 The Chamber notes that, unlike Rule 92 bis (B), Rule 92 ter does
15 not set out requirements for the written statements and, as noted by the
16 Prosecution, the witness will attest to his statement under oath.
17 Accordingly, the accused does not provide a sufficient reason to deny the
18 Prosecution's motion to admit the witness's statement pursuant to
19 Rule 92 ter, provided that the witness appears in court and complies with
20 the conditions set out in Rule 92 ter.
21 In relation to the intercepts themselves, however, the Chamber
22 notes that they are not mentioned in the witness statement and therefore
23 cannot be admitted as exhibits associated with it. The Prosecution, of
24 course, remains free to use these intercepts with the witness when he
25 appears in court.
1 For these reasons, the Prosecution's motion to admit the evidence
2 of this witness is granted in relation to the witness statement, pending
3 the fulfilment of the Rule 92 ter conditions upon this witness's
4 appearance in court. However, the motion to admit the intercepts
5 pursuant to Rule 92 ter is denied.
6 Finally, the Chamber notes that on the 18th of August, 2010, the
7 Prosecution filed a confidential motion seeking the protective measures
8 of a pseudonym and facial distortion for this witness. The motion may
9 not yet have been translated into B/C/S.
10 Mr. Tolimir, are you aware of this motion?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Presiding Judge.
12 I'd like to greet you and, yes, I am aware.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And do you intend to respond to this motion and
14 are you prepared to do that orally today?
15 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could Mr. Tolimir's
16 microphone be turned towards Mr. Tolimir, please.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It is my opinion and that of my
18 attorney that the Chamber should decide on that because I believe you
19 will also take our interests into account.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. The interpreters asked you
21 to move a little bit further to the microphone.
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The Chamber grants this motion, although it's not
24 officially necessary to have a decision by the Chamber. The protective
25 measures shall continue as in the previous trial.
1 We have now another witness available for today, and there's a
2 request for continuation of protective measures. I think in this case,
3 again, it is not necessary to have an official and formal decision on the
4 protective measures, as they continue like in the last trial according to
5 your motion we have received this morning.
6 The witness should be brought in.
7 The screens are -- will be closed for this procedure, that the
8 witness can enter the court and will be opened after that again.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon, sir. First, thank you for your
11 patience. We start a little bit later. We had some procedural matters
12 to discuss.
13 Would you now please read aloud the affirmation on the card to
14 tell the truth which is shown to you now.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
16 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Please sit down.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It is not the first time that you are giving
20 evidence in this Tribunal. You know the procedure and you must know that
21 the protective measures granted by another Chamber are still in place for
22 you. Mr. Thayer for the Prosecution has, I suppose, some questions for
24 Mr. Thayer, please.
25 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon to you and
1 Your Honours. Good afternoon to the Defence. Good afternoon, everyone.
2 WITNESS: HAMDIJA TORLAK
3 [Witness answered through interpreter]
4 Examination by Mr. Thayer:
5 Q. Witness, good afternoon to you.
6 A. Good afternoon.
7 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, if we may go into private session for
8 just a couple of biographical details for some moments.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Private.
10 [Private session]
25 [Open session]
1 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session.
2 MR. THAYER:
3 Q. At some point, sir, did you move from your native village?
4 A. Yes, I did. Sometime in early June there was a clash or the
5 conflict broke out. My village, as well as a number of surrounding
6 villages, were taken over by the Army of Republika Srpska and torched.
7 Basically all of the residents, including myself, left the village.
8 Q. And where did you go, sir?
9 A. For a while we lived on a nearby mountain. It is Mount Brloska
10 Then we went to a settlement in the municipality of Srebrenica
11 Zeleni Jadar. We found some sort of accommodation there. I think it
12 used to be a factory that had to do with wood processing. I spent most
13 of my time there until my mother died, which was in late February 1993.
14 Q. Why did you move all the way over to the area of Zeleni Jadar in
15 the Srebrenica municipality, sir?
16 A. Well, since we had no place to stay anymore and we did not have
17 food, there was greater possibility to find food in Srebrenica at the
18 time and one could also find accommodation. That was the reason why we
19 went there. Most of the population did the same thing, the people of my
20 and surrounding villages.
21 Q. Let's for a moment go back a little bit 1992. Do you recall the
22 VRS launching an attack from the area of Han Pijesak; and if you do,
23 would you describe, please, for the Trial Chamber the directions of that
24 attack and just briefly what happened during that attack?
25 A. To the best of my recollection, although it's been a while, the
1 Army of Republika Srpska launched an attack from the direction of
2 Han Pijesak, whereupon they took over the following villages, Krivace,
4 read in error "Stoponi, and Glodjane"], and perhaps a number of villages
5 in the municipality of Rogatica
6 Vrtoce. This is where they established the new front line or a new line
7 which was as far as we could go.
8 Q. I'm looking at the transcript, sir, and I see one of the villages
9 that -- actually, two of the villages you've identified as being Stoponi
10 and Glodjane. Were those the correct names, sir, or are they known by
11 other names?
12 A. No. Stoborani and Godjenje as well as Laze instead of Klaze.
13 Q. Okay. I think sometime in the future the Trial Chamber will have
14 an opportunity to look at some maps, maybe with you, maybe with another
15 witness. The -- your native village, sir, you testified was torched. I
16 just want to call your attention to another village by the name of Borak.
17 Can you describe what happened to that village?
18 A. As far as I recall, that village remained intact until July 1995.
19 The local residents lived there normally. After the take-over of Zepa in
20 July 1995, I suppose the village was occupied. I don't know whether the
21 houses were burned, though, because I did not see it. Borak, I think.
22 Q. And the front line or confrontation line, as you described it,
23 formed by these villages that you've named, was that confrontation line
24 more or less in place in July of 1995?
25 A. Generally speaking, yes, although I cannot recall all of the
1 details or micro-locations. Generally, however, the line remained as
2 such from early 1992 to July 1995. I should also add that it was the
3 southern side of the then-Zepa enclave.
4 Q. Okay. You told us a few moments ago, sir, that you arrived in
5 the Srebrenica area in 1993. Please tell the Trial Chamber what was
6 going on.
7 A. First I'd like to make a small correction. I think I arrived in
8 Zeleni Jadar and Srebrenica in the fall of 1992, and I stayed there until
9 the spring of 1993. My basic problem there, which was shared by most,
10 was how to come up with food. In that period of time, i.e., in early
11 1993 and late 1992, I went to the town of Srebrenica on a number of
12 occasions looking for food. At our place of accommodation in
13 Zeleni Jadar there were many refugees who mainly hailed from the
14 municipality of Han Pijesak. In any case, the situation was quite grave.
15 We lacked the basic necessities, the living conditions were poor, there
16 was no food, and life was truly hard.
17 Q. So did you leave the Srebrenica area at some point, sir?
18 A. I left the area of Srebrenica after my mother died in early March
19 or in the first half of March. I cannot recall exactly. I then began
20 living in Zepa, in the village of Stitkov Dol, with a local who had not
21 left his house. I stayed there until July 1995.
22 Q. And when you arrived in Zepa in early March or the first half of
23 March 1993, can you tell the Trial Chamber what was going on there and
24 what the conditions were like.
25 A. I visited Zepa a few times during my stay in Zeleni Jadar
1 already. The situation in Zepa wasn't much better than in Zeleni Jadar.
2 There were more refugees there than there were locals. The basic problem
3 in Zepa, too, was food at that time as well as medication and other
4 necessities. Generally speaking, that was the context in Zepa in the
5 spring of 1993.
6 Q. And were there any military activities during this period of
7 time, sir?
8 A. During this period of time, during the winter, there were no
9 significant military activities. Come spring, I think it was April,
10 there was an operation or an action of the Army of Republika Srpska aimed
11 at Zepa. Following that operation, Zepa was declared a safe area by
12 virtue of UN resolution. It is then that military activities in the area
13 of Zepa ceased.
14 Q. Let's spend a little bit of time, Witness, describing the
15 geography and terrain of Zepa. Would you describe, please, for the
16 Trial Chamber what people mean generally when they speak of the Zepa
17 enclave. Is it a city? Is it a village? A group of villages?
18 A. The enclave of Zepa is a small location in Eastern Bosnia. It is
19 situated at the River Drina, at the Drina River
20 somewhat larger than a simple village. When referred to as such, Zepa
21 comprises a number of villages around the centre of Zepa. So the term
22 "the Zepa enclave" includes a number of villages.
23 Before the war, administratively Zepa had been a local commune of
24 the Rogatica municipality. It wasn't a municipality as such.
25 Geographically speaking, the centre of Zepa is at an altitude of some 5-
1 to 600 metres above sea level. To the north of Zepa itself, there's a
2 high mountain exceeding 1500 metres in height. On the northern side --
3 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- at the southern side there's a
5 plateau which is around 1.000 metres above sea level. Geographically
6 speaking, Zepa is in a depression. As such, Zepa can be more easily
7 defended in military terms as opposed to, say, some other locations which
8 did not have such features around it.
9 MR. THAYER:
10 Q. And how close, roughly speaking, is the enclave of Zepa from the
11 Srebrenica enclave?
12 A. The Srebrenica enclave is north of the Zepa enclave, and the
13 distance between the centre of Zepa and the city of Srebrenica or the
14 town of Srebrenica, rather, I would estimate -- of course I can't tell
15 you precisely, but I would say that it is about 40 kilometres as the crow
16 flies, 35, 40.
17 And if we're talking about the entire enclave, for a while the
18 two enclaves bordered on each other or actually relied on each other, and
19 you could go from Zepa to Srebrenica on foot, not by car. And when I say
20 that you could go from one enclave to the other, I have in mind the
21 villages which bordered on the general area of the Zepa enclave.
22 Q. When you arrived, sir, in 1993, what type of civilian authority
23 existed there?
24 A. As I've already stated, before the war Zepa was just a local
25 commune and it belonged to Rogatica municipality. In principle, it did
1 not have any organised institutions. When I finally arrived in Zepa,
2 there was a War Presidency there. It existed in some shape or form and
3 it tried as much as it could to control the situation. Although, in view
4 of the overall developments, hunger and the rest, at that time the four
5 or five people that constituted the War Presidency could not really have
6 any influence on the organisation of life or the organisation of normal
7 life at that moment.
8 Q. So what happened then, sir?
9 A. Well, when Zepa was declared a protected area or a protected
10 enclave, the situation changed completely. UNPROFOR entered Zepa and the
11 troops belonged to the Ukrainian Battalion. Zepa started receiving
12 humanitarian aid through the UNHCR from the logistical centre, and as far
13 as I know, that logistical centre was in Belgrade. Military observers
14 also arrived, as well as Medecins Sans Frontieres. I don't know whether
15 the latter arrived before the Red Cross, that also arrived. And in some
16 way the situation became more stable, as it were.
17 There was also a reorganisation of civilian authorities, or
18 rather, their numbers of staff was increased. An Executive Board was
19 established, and that body was supposed to look after the civilian
20 population, the organisation of schools, health care, and finally,
21 they're also supposed to look after the distribution of humanitarian aid.
22 I was proposed and finally selected as the president of the
23 Executive Board. From early May 1993, as far as I can remember, until
24 April 1995, I discharged the duties of the president of the
25 Executive Board.
1 Q. You told us a few moments ago that at the time of your arrival
2 the War Presidency was not functioning, basically. Would you describe
3 for the Trial Chamber whether the War Presidency was reconstituted or did
4 become functioning; and if so, what was its relationship to the
5 Executive Board?
6 A. Well, look, let me explain. The War Presidency - I
7 apologise - was a body which had been set up pursuant to the laws which
8 were still in effect, and those laws had been adopted from the former
9 Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia
10 of the current mayor or the president of the municipality, the president
11 of the Executive Board, and maybe I should say what the Executive Board
12 is. It's an executive body which corresponds with the position of a
13 prime minister in a state. Of course there's no real comparison, but
14 that would be that. And then another member of the Executive Board is
15 also the head of the civilian protection or whatever his title was, and
16 also the highest-ranking military commander. And if my memory serves me
17 well, that would be that. I don't know if there was anybody else.
18 In other words, the establishment of the Executive Board at the
19 time meant that all the necessary functions were completed to organise
20 the civilian life in Zepa. In other words, that was one thing that was
21 lacking because before that there was no municipal organisation as such.
22 Q. And in 1993 when the War Presidency was reconstituted or made
23 more functional, was there an actual president of the War Presidency; and
24 if so, who was it in 1993?
25 A. Yes, there was a president. It was a long time ago, but I
1 believe that three men occupied that position. But at that moment the
2 first one that I remember was Mr. Benjamin Kulovac and he was the one who
3 proposed that I should become the president of the Executive Board.
4 Q. And we'll hear more about Dr. Kulovac later, sir. In 1995, and
5 specifically in July of 1995, who was the president of the
6 War Presidency?
7 A. In July 1995 the president of the War Presidency of Zepa - I
8 apologise - was Mr. Mehmed Hajric.
9 Q. And what was Mr. Hajric's occupation?
10 A. Mehmed Hajric was a religious official. He was a hodza. If you
11 will allow me to use the jargon. That was the title of his function or
12 the position for which he had been educated and which he discharged at
13 the moment.
14 Q. And I'll ask you some more specific questions about Mr. Hajric
15 and his role in the community later, sir. But just very briefly, if you
16 could describe what a hodza is. You've described him so far as a
17 religious official, but what are the duties or functions of a hodza?
18 A. Well, in the organisation of an Islamic community, the main
19 person or the number one person in a mosque that covers a certain area
20 and a certain number of followers is a hodza. He is the one who is
21 performing religious services in that mosque and he has an area to cover
22 and a certain number of people to administer to. And as in all other
23 religions, a hodza is a man whom people respect and trust, at least those
24 people who believe in God, who are church-going or mosque-going people.
25 Q. And in July of 1995, what were the duties of the war president --
1 or I should say the president of the War Presidency?
2 A. The president of the War Presidency?
3 Q. Yes, sir.
4 A. Well, the president of the War Presidency by virtue of his duties
5 and function maintained contacts with the representatives of UNPROFOR and
6 other international organisations. He also discharged all the other
7 duties that the position entailed. Perhaps I was not clear enough, sir.
8 Q. I think we can keep moving, sir. Thank you.
9 The Trial Chamber may hear reference from witnesses to the mayor
10 of Zepa. And in 1995 if somebody referred to the mayor of Zepa, who
11 would that have been?
12 A. Well, that would have been the president of the War Presidency.
13 The mayor equalled that position because the mayor was also the president
14 of the War Presidency, and in this specific case during that period of
15 time that was Mr. Mehmed Hajric. He was the number one person in Zepa.
16 Q. And if there's a reference in the testimony to a deputy mayor,
17 who would that have been in July of 1995, sir?
18 A. The deputy of a mayor was the president of the Executive Board,
19 and that would be me.
20 Q. Now that you've generally described some of the tasks of the
21 War Presidency and Executive Board as including the distribution of aid
22 and the establishment of a school, can you give the Trial Chamber just a
23 little bit more detail on the real nuts and bolts of what the
24 War Presidency and its Executive Board was fundamentally responsible for
25 in Zepa.
1 A. The main duties and functions of the Executive Board as a basic
2 organisational unit of civilian authorities in Zepa were to organise
3 education and relaunch education in the centre of Zepa as well as into
4 regional schools that had stopped working for a year due to war
5 activities. Secondly, to the largest extent possible, to organise the
6 system of health care, and that could not have been done without help
7 from outside, without medicines delivered by the Red Cross and the
8 organisation of Medecins Sans Frontieres. Last, but certainly not least,
9 was to organise distribution of humanitarian aid and that aid arrived in
10 Zepa from the logistics centre of the UNHCR in Belgrade. I've already
11 emphasised that.
12 There was also something else. As developments ensued, since
13 about 60 per cent of the total population of Zepa which resided there at
14 the time consisted of refugees or displaced persons, in other words,
15 those people who had arrived from the municipalities of Han Pijesak,
16 Visegrad, Rogatica, and from some other municipalities such as Vlasenica,
17 but their numbers were smaller. It was necessary to try and organise
18 additional accommodation capacities for them. That's why with the
19 assistance of the UNHCR we launched an operation. The UNHCR delivered
20 the necessary material and people built little houses where they could
21 accommodate their families. Those were the basic activities of the
22 Executive Board.
23 Within the War Presidency, there also existed the civilian
24 protection as one of its organisational units. In certain matters the
25 civilian protection was supposed to lend a hand to the population. They
1 were particularly engaged in the construction of those small residential
2 dwellings. Within the framework of the War Presidency as an independent
3 organisational unit, there was also the civilian police. Its chief was
4 also a member of the War Presidency by virtue of his position. Another
5 member of the War Presidency was also the main military commander in
6 Zepa. In organisational terms, those were people who constituted the
7 War Presidency. The War Presidency composition covered all the
8 organisations that existed in Zepa at the time. So much about that.
9 Q. Now, let's put some names to some positions. Who was the head of
10 civilian protection, sir, and I should add in July of 1995?
11 A. The head of the civilian protection and a member of the
12 War Presidency was Mr. Amir Imamovic.
13 Q. And we'll certainly hear more about Mr. Imamovic later today.
14 Did the civilian protection organisation have any police or military
15 duties, sir?
16 A. No, they were not incorporated into that part of the
17 organisation, either the police or the military organisation.
18 Q. And you, in fact, did refer to the civilian police. Who headed
19 that organisation, sir?
20 A. The civilian police was headed by Mr. Hurem Sahic throughout the
21 entire war, I believe.
22 Q. You also referred to the main military commander being a member
23 of the War Presidency. Who was that in July of 1995?
24 A. That was Avdo Palic.
25 Q. The name of the organisation being the War Presidency and having
1 a member of the board or of the War Presidency being the top military
2 commander in the area, did the War Presidency or the Executive Board have
3 any military functions, sir?
4 A. The War Presidency was supposed to decide on all matters
5 concerning life in the enclave. Most probably there was a problem that
6 existed. When the military became active, as it were, the brigade was
7 part of the military system and they had their own lines of command. It
8 may have happened that the interests of a local population did not tally
9 completely or did not agree with some of the military actions that were
10 undertaken at the time.
11 Q. So was Mr. Palic and his military chain of command independent or
12 part of the Executive Board and War Presidency? And you've already told
13 us Mr. Palic sat on it, but was there a regular -- any type of regular
14 communication or consultation or involvement of yourself, the
15 Executive Board, with Mr. Palic's military decision-making, for example?
16 A. There were lines of communication. The most important things
17 were also presented to the War Presidency. However, some of the key
18 things and the commands to the military organisation is something that
19 the commander, Palic, received along the lines of his own command, not
20 from the War Presidency in Zepa.
21 Q. And how informed were you - "you" meaning the
22 Executive Board - of Colonel Palic's day-to-day military activities and
24 A. No, not on day-to-day military activities, no.
25 Q. Just a couple more questions before we take the first break, and
1 then I'll move to a new area, sir. When you arrived in Zepa in 1993,
2 approximately how many people, to the best of your recollection, lived in
3 the area that you've been talking about as comprising Zepa?
4 A. When the first convoy of humanitarian aid arrived, we had to try
5 and establish the approximate number of people who resided in the area.
6 As far as I can remember, that number was slightly over 7.000 people in
7 the entire territory of the Zepa enclave.
8 Q. And by July of 1995, did that number go up or did it go down?
9 A. It is possible that between the initial period and July 1995
10 there were population migrations, and that number probably fluctuated and
11 increased at times. However, in July 1995, as far as I can remember,
12 there were approximately 7.000 people living in Zepa. I would like to
13 emphasise that that situation changed depending on the food situation.
14 There were times that during that period of two years that number did go
15 up and surpassed the initial 7.000.
16 Q. And just explain for us, please, what the relationship is or was
17 between the food situation and the numbers in Zepa going up.
18 A. Could you please be more precise. You're asking me about the
19 food situation and the increase of the population numbers in Zepa? Is
20 that what you're asking me?
21 Q. Exactly, sir. You testified that:
22 "... the situation changed depending on the food situation.
23 There were times that during that period of two years that number did go
24 up and surpassed the initial 7.000."
25 Why would the number be increased depending on the food
2 A. Yes, yes. Now I understand your question. The Srebrenica
3 enclave was next to Zepa and Srebrenica had a much larger population
4 number. And what happened? I suppose that the humanitarian aid that
5 arrived in Srebrenica did not meet the basic needs of the population
6 there, and that's why the refugees who found accommodation in Srebrenica
7 came to Zepa where the food situation was better. What did it mean? It
8 meant that every week that they received a few more kilogrammes of flour
9 more than if they had stayed in Srebrenica, and that is the main reason
10 why the number of 7.000 people fluctuated, or rather, why it went up
11 during one particular period of time.
12 Q. You told us a little while ago that approximately 60 per cent of
13 the population in Zepa was comprised of refugees or displaced persons.
14 Please tell the Trial Chamber why those people went to Zepa. What was
15 the cause of them becoming displaced or refugees?
16 A. In order to understand why they came to Zepa or in order to make
17 everybody understand that, I had described the geographic position of
18 Zepa. At the beginning of 1992 war in Bosnia started, and as I've
19 already stated, there were municipalities in which residents had been
20 forced to leave their places of residence and they were looking to
21 physically move to a territory where they would feel safer. In other
22 words, Han Pijesak, where I was living, had a number of villages
23 inhabited by Muslims. A line was established at the very beginning. The
24 VRS occupied those villages, and the only place where the population
25 could go was towards Zepa. In geographical terms that was the only place
1 where they could find shelter, the only place where they could go. And
2 the same applied to the municipalities of Visegrad, Rogatica, where
3 combat had taken place and the population from those municipalities and
4 villages ended up in Zepa as refugees or displaced persons.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, before you continue, we would like to
6 clarify one term. Is the War Presidency the same body as the
7 Executive Board or are these different bodies?
8 MR. THAYER:
9 Q. Can you field that question for His Honour, sir, please?
10 A. Of course. The Executive Board or an Executive Board is a
11 special organisational body which looks after different aspects of
12 civilian life in an area. Its number one person, according to the
13 then-prevalent laws, was a member of the War Presidency. In other words,
14 one can say that the Executive Board is one of the organisational units
15 or one part of the War Presidency. Maybe that is the best answer.
16 In addition to the Executive Board, there's also an independent
17 civilian police, there's also an independent civilian protection, there's
18 also military with its proper organisational units, and all the number
19 one men of those bodies constitute another body known as a
20 War Presidency. I hope that I've been of assistance and that I've
21 clarified the situation.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: If I understood you correctly that the
23 Executive Board is one part of the -- or under the supervision of the
24 War Presidency; is that correct?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Another question by Judge Nyambe.
2 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you. At the relevant time you were the
3 president of the Zepa Executive Board; right?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Right.
5 JUDGE NYAMBE: Who was then the president of the Presidency at
6 that same time?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] During that same time, there were
8 three presidents of the Presidency. And throughout all that time, I was
9 the only president of the Executive Board. In other words, when the
10 Executive Board was set up, or rather, when the War Presidency was
11 constituted properly, the first president of the War Presidency was
12 Benjamin Kulovac, as I've already stated. And he stayed in that position
13 for a year, so I can't remember exactly. The next one who succeeded him
14 was Mr. Ago Podzic, I believe. And the third president of the
15 War Presidency was Mr. Mehmed Hajric. During those two years they
16 changed, whereas I remained as the president of the Executive Board all
17 that time. I hope my answer was clear.
18 JUDGE NYAMBE: It's clear, but I just need some further
19 clarification. At page 20, line 14 to 17, of today's transcript, you
20 state that:
21 "... some of the key things and the commands to the military
22 organisation is something that the commander, Palic, received along the
23 lines of his own command, not from the War Presidency ..."
24 From whom then did Palic receive his commands? In other words,
25 who was his commander?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Here's how it was. During the
2 relevant time, in 1995, the BiH army was organised - and I'm only talking
3 about the Zepa area, that's what I'm talking about - it was organised in
4 the following way. In Srebrenica there was the 28th Division as an
5 organisational unit of the 2nd Corps, I believe, but I'm not sure, and I
6 believe it was based in Tuzla
7 And in Zepa there was the 1st Light or 285th Zepa Brigade on the strength
8 of the 28th Division, and the commander of that brigade in Zepa was
9 Mr. -- Colonel, actually, Avdo Palic. And along the military line of
10 command, he was part of the line that started with the corps and ended
11 with the corps. He did sit on the War Presidency, but his orders arrived
12 along his chain of command. I hope that I've been able to clarify the
14 When I interpreted the situation the first time, I may have
15 confused all of you who have not previously come across this case and
16 this matter.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, some minutes left before the break.
18 MR. THAYER: If I may follow-up on Honourable Judge Nyambe's
20 Q. So do you know who in July of 1995 was Colonel Palic's immediate
21 superior officer? To whom within that military chain of command? You've
22 described the 2nd Corps being based in Tuzla, the 28th Division being
23 based in Srebrenica, and Mr. Palic's Zepa Brigade being subordinated to
24 the 28th Division. Can you tell us, if you know, to whom did Mr. Palic
25 directly report as his immediate superior?
1 A. I'm not a military expert; however, my logic tells me that he was
2 supposed to be subordinated to the commander of the 28th Division.
3 Although, however, I believe that he had a lot of direct contacts with
4 the General Staff of the BiH Army, which means in other words that he was
5 directly subordinated to Srebrenica.
6 Q. And in July of 1995, do you know the name of the commander of the
7 28th Division?
8 A. I don't know exactly. The commander of that division, as far as
9 I know, was Naser Oric. Sometime before he left the area of Srebrenica.
10 I don't know whether he was replaced or whether that duty was discharged
11 by the Chief of Staff. I really can't tell you because I don't know. I
12 don't know whether anybody was appointed after Naser Oric or whether the
13 Chief of Staff continued discharging those duties. I really can't tell
14 you. I can't answer that question.
15 Q. Okay. Thank you.
16 MR. THAYER: I see we're at the break, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
18 We must have the first break now. The Court Officer will assist
19 you during the break, but please be seated on safety reasons, please stay
21 We adjourn quarter past 4.00 -- resume quarter past 4.00.
22 --- Recess taken at 3.47 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 4.19 p.m.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Thayer. Please continue.
25 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Q. Good afternoon again, sir.
2 A. Good afternoon.
3 Q. You were telling us about the refugees and displaced people from
4 the various municipalities who wound up living in Zepa. Describe,
5 please, for the Trial Chamber, during this period of 1992 and 1993 when
6 they went to Zepa from these other municipalities, what were the
7 circumstances of their departure? What was happening to their homes and
8 their mosques? Can you tell the Trial Chamber, please, about that.
9 A. I'll do my best and I'll share at least the things I'm familiar
10 with. I will go back to 1992 now, when Bosnia and Herzegovina
11 recognised as a separate state. As far as I recall, it was the
12 5th or 6th of April, 1992. At that time the conflict broke out in
14 the eve of Bosnia
16 After Bosnia
17 Eastern Bosnia
18 developed in the municipality of Pijesak
19 there. All village residents within the municipality of
20 Han Pijesak - and I mean Muslim villages - worked in two different wood
21 processing plants in Han Pijesak. One was a sawmill and another was a
22 furniture plant.
23 In early May, around the 10th of May, when I attempted to go to
24 work or when people attempted to go to work, two buses, if I'm not
25 mistaken, carrying Muslim workers were stopped at a check-point just
1 before entering Han Pijesak. All of them were returned to their
2 villages. They were told to go back on foot. All road communication was
3 cut off between those villages inhabited by Muslims and the municipal
4 centre, i.e., Han Pijesak. One could no longer go to Han Pijesak. I
5 think there were only a few instances on -- when ill people were let to
6 pass through.
7 The first military-type clash occurred in early June, on the
8 4th of June, if I remember correctly, when a column of what I still --
9 believe still at the time was the JNA attempted to reach a certain
10 location called Zlovrh over Zepa. There was a clash with the Muslim
11 side. By that time there was a certain degree of military organisation
12 in existence on the side of the Bosnian army.
13 Following that, there was a lull, and in late August and early
14 September the army - which I don't know whether by that time was the
15 Army of Republika Srpska - undertook a larger operation. Once the
16 operation began, this offensive, people fled as would one expect. In
17 this case they went to the mountainous terrain in the rear of those
18 villages. All of the houses were torched, including entire villages.
19 And the new lines that were established following that were located in
20 such a way that people could no longer return to their villages. That
21 population was left without anything, including food, medicine,
22 et cetera. They lived literally in the forest. In my area I believe
23 there were some 2.000 people in that situation. It was in the summer of
25 During the fall, cold began setting in and people had to find
1 accommodation to spend the winter. I presume similar happened in other
2 municipalities, although I am not at liberty to discuss that since I was
3 not there and I don't know how things developed. It is a fact, though,
4 that a lot of people from other Muslim villages of the municipality of
5 Rogatica as well as the Muslim villages in the Visegrad municipality
6 ended up in Zepa in much the same way.
7 This would be a short description of the background and of the
8 things I went through in that area.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Nyambe would like to put a question to the
11 JUDGE NYAMBE: Yes, I just need a clarification. From -- on
12 page 27, from line 16 to about line 22, you described a situation in a
13 village, Han Pijesak, and you describe how two buses carrying Muslim
14 workers were stopped at the check-point just before that village. I --
15 the situation you described here of just Muslims being in these buses,
16 implying that in this village only Muslim lived there, was this a typical
17 situation in Bosnia
18 Muslims all lived in these villages and there were no other ethnic groups
19 in these villages?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will try to explain. Han Pijesak
21 is a town which is the centre or the seat of that municipality. Within
22 the municipality, as in any other municipality, there are other
23 settlements covering the whole territory of the municipality. In this
24 instance those settlements were villages. In this part of the country
25 towards Zepa, which is on the eastern side of the Han Pijesak
1 municipality, there was a rather clear ethnic line dividing Serb and
2 Muslim villages. Since your question is aimed at that, I can tell you
3 that both ethnicities, of course, worked in those factories.
4 As for the buses which drove the Muslims to work functioned in
5 such a way because of the geographical characteristics. It just so
6 happened that in a particular area there were all Muslims. However, this
7 was not typical of Bosnia
8 villages as well as larger settlements and cities. However, this was the
9 case in our area. We would look into the geographical layout and perhaps
10 after that you would get a better picture.
11 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
13 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Thank you, Judge Nyambe.
15 Q. Sir, you described the homes being torched by the Serb forces,
16 the Muslim homes being torched. Do you know what happened to the mosques
17 in these various municipalities after the Muslims were forced to leave?
18 A. As far as I know and as far as I could see in the village
19 neighbouring mine, was that the mosques, depending on the way they were
20 constructed, were either brought down or torched. In this specific case
21 I think that mosque was destroyed by explosives.
22 Q. And you were there at the time, sir. Can you tell the
23 Trial Chamber what your understanding of the purpose of this campaign by
24 Serb forces, which torched the Muslim homes and destroyed their mosques,
1 A. To tell you the truth, at first I couldn't understand why it was
2 being done. Later on I realised that this meant putting preconditions in
3 place so that people could not return to the area; in other words, to
4 cleanse the area of Muslims.
5 Q. You've told us already about the Ukrainian peacekeepers arriving
6 in Zepa after it was declared a safe area. Just share with the
7 Trial Chamber where they were based in Zepa and where they were deployed
8 and approximately how many of them were there. My apologies for the
9 compound question, but it might be a little quicker that way.
10 A. I will try to follow the order in your question. After UNPROFOR
11 entered Zepa and following the demilitarisation of Zepa which has not
12 been mentioned so far, UNPROFOR set up its headquarters in the centre of
13 Zepa in the elementary school.
14 UNPROFOR was organised along the following lines: All entry
15 points into the enclave had their respective check-points manned by
16 UNPROFOR soldiers. I think at the outset there were about ten such
17 check-points. I don't know whether the figure varied in different
18 periods of time, but at each of those check-points, as far as I remember,
19 there was an armoured personnel carrier as well as a group of soldiers.
20 As I said, the headquarters was in the centre of Zepa in the elementary
21 school. In such a way, UNPROFOR could control all exit and entry in
22 Zepa. Basically only UNPROFOR was to -- was allowed to exit or enter
24 Q. And approximately how many peacekeepers were there and who was
25 their commander on the ground there, in Zepa?
1 A. Initially I think - and I heard this information along the
2 way - there were some 120 Ukrainian Battalion UNPROFOR soldiers. Their
3 commander was Mr. Sejmon Dudnjik, a colonel, I believe.
4 Q. And by July of 1995, did that number of 120 Ukrainian
5 peacekeepers -- was that number increased or decreased, to your
7 A. No, I think it decreased. I don't know for certain, though.
8 Only UNPROFOR knew that precisely. Towards the end, given all the events
9 which took place, it seems to me that their numbers were far less than
11 Q. You referred to demilitarisation a few moments ago, so let's talk
12 about that a little bit. When you use that term, just tell the
13 Trial Chamber, please, what are you talking about, especially in the
14 context of the creation of the safe areas in spring of 1993?
15 A. In 1993 through one of UN's resolution, among other areas, Zepa
16 was declared a safe area too. As far as I remember, it also included an
17 additional or local agreement signed by, I believe, General Mladic and
18 the then B&H army commander Sefer Halilovic at Sarajevo airport in the
19 presence of UNPROFOR.
20 It was arranged that the Bosnian side was to hand-over all of its
21 weapons, and I mean the fighters in Zepa, to UNPROFOR. The weapons were
22 to be kept by UNPROFOR. I believe the Bosnian side -- the Serb side
23 undertook to withdraw all heavy weaponry surrounding Zepa. Once UNPROFOR
24 arrived, the demilitarisation process took place, otherwise there weren't
25 all that many weapons. It was done in early May or mid-May 1993.
1 Following that, the military organisation or structure ceased to exist in
2 Zepa, nominally speaking. All protection functions were taken over by
3 UNPROFOR from that moment on. That is what I know.
4 Q. Now, you -- I see you were careful to use the term "nominally
5 speaking." Did Colonel Palic continue in his position and role as
6 commander of the Zepa Brigade following the signing of the
7 demilitarisation agreement?
8 A. Well, I can share what I remember with you. The first year
9 between May 1993 and onwards, UNPROFOR prohibited any carrying of
10 weapons. It was not tolerated for anyone in Zepa. Organisationally
11 speaking, there was no mention of any army. The real situation was as
12 follows: All military activities ceased, people no longer went to the
13 lines in the sense of any defensive lines, and there were no people
14 standing guard there. After May 1993, such a thing no longer existed in
15 Zepa. Nominally speaking, the commander remained in his position. Some
16 strengthening of positions occurred in mid-1994. The year before that
17 was the year when there was no activity in that field. The army was not
18 officially organised, they did not go to the lines, and that is what I
19 can recall from that period.
20 Q. So do you recall the period when things changed? You just
21 referred to a strengthening of positions in mid-1994. Do you recall a
22 period during which there was more than nominal constitution and
23 involvement activities by the Bosnian Muslim army in Zepa?
24 A. I believe I meant to say in the second half of 1994. In any
25 case, as far as I remember, there were no new organisational attempts
1 that year either, but what I can recall is that from Sarajevo from the
2 General Staff of the then-Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina some activities
3 were initiated - and I'm careful to use diplomatic terms. This included
4 forwarding weapons to Zepa. Certain preparations seem to have been
5 undertaken for new potential clashes in Zepa and its environs.
6 Q. There's no need to be diplomatic right now anyway, sir.
7 Please --
8 A. Very well.
9 Q. -- tell the Trial Chamber in more detail what you're talking
10 about when you say that weapons were forwarded to Zepa and certain
11 preparations were made, to the extent that you were aware of them at the
12 time. What was happening?
13 A. At the time, as far as I know, on several occasions some weapons
14 and ammunition was brought in by helicopters and perhaps such shipments
15 also included other things the army in Zepa may have needed. I know that
16 it was in the second part of 1994 and the first half of 1995.
17 Q. And in your official role as a member of the War Presidency and
18 president of the Executive Board, were you notified or made aware ahead
19 of time that these helicopter deliveries of weapons, ammunition, and
20 materiel would be made or did you learn about it in some other way?
21 A. In some other way. Officially I knew nothing about that
22 beforehand. Such information was not supposed to be passed on to me and
23 I wasn't aware of it before it happened.
24 Q. And why wasn't it supposed to be passed on to you, sir?
25 A. I tried to explain that at the beginning. It was within the
1 system of army command of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Under the
2 organisation as it existed at the time, such information only went as far
3 as the brigade commander.
4 Q. And just tell us, please, how did you become aware of these
5 helicopter deliveries?
6 A. Well, those helicopter deliveries happened by night mostly. It
7 didn't take the Serbian side long to notice the helicopter fly-overs and
8 they opened fire at the helicopters, so every citizen in Zepa could
9 assume what that was all about. There were several such fly-overs, and
10 that's also I knew when and how a helicopter arrived carrying something.
11 Let me say once again that the helicopters didn't always bring
12 weapons. They were also used to transport officers to Kakanj, Tuzla
14 flights did not have anything whatsoever to do with the military
16 Q. And at any time prior to July 1995, sir, did you become aware of
17 any specific military operations which were undertaken by the Armija, the
18 Muslim forces, operating out of Zepa?
19 A. A slight correction. We were the Army of the Republic of Bosnia
20 and Herzegovina
21 Yes, I can confirm that there was an action or an operation which was
22 undertaken. I believe that that was in June 1995. I believe that the
23 operation took place - let me just try and locate that operation in
24 geographical term - I believe it was in the north-west of the enclave.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Nyambe and I, we both have an additional
2 Judge Nyambe.
3 JUDGE NYAMBE: I just need some clarification. At page 34,
4 lines 21 into page 35 to line 4, you are talking about those helicopter
5 deliveries happened by night. Whose helicopters were these and who
6 delivered them to Zepa?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Those were helicopters of the
8 BiH Army, of the then-BiH Army. And those deliveries of weapons and
9 everything else were undertaken by the BiH Army, or the Army of the
10 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to supply its units in Zepa and
12 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And myself, I would like to take you back to
14 page 35, line 8. It is stated here:
15 "We were the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
16 Have you at this relevant time been a member of the army?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I was a member of civilian
18 authorities, and when I said "we" I meant the entire enclave of Zepa,
19 because the enclave of Zepa belonged to those parts which were under the
20 control of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That
21 would be that.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
23 Mr. Thayer, please carry on.
24 MR. THAYER:
25 Q. Let me just, again, follow-up on one of Honourable Judge Nyambe's
1 questions. The night-time flights that occurred and that drew the Serb
2 fire, did you ever yourself observe such an incident, sir?
3 A. I believe so, at least once.
4 Q. And to your knowledge, were any of these helicopters brought down
5 by Serb fire?
6 A. Yes. In early May 1995 one helicopter was brought down. It had
7 probably been hit when fire was opened on it. It almost reached its
8 landing place and that's where it crashed. At that time the helicopter
9 did not carry any weapons but, unfortunately, officers on their way back
10 from Kakanj. And as far as I know, of the 22 passengers, 11 or 12 of
11 them were killed as well as a medical team on its way from Tuzla to
12 Srebrenica. After that event, the flight operations were discontinued
13 and after that there were no other helicopter flights on the part of the
14 Army of Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
15 Q. You were speaking about a particular military operation conducted
16 by the ABiH forces operating out of Zepa, you said, to the north-west of
17 the enclave. Do you recall any of the details about that operation?
18 A. Well, I can't provide you with many details because it was a
19 different line of command, but I know that the order for that attack had
20 come -- or it would have been logical for it to have come from the
21 command of the 28th Division, i.e., from Srebrenica. And they themselves
22 were supposed to receive that order from the 2nd Corps in Tuzla
23 explanation was that help was to be brought to the Sarajevo theatre of
24 war to bring relief to the troops there, and the operation was carried
25 out. As far as I know, it did not have any significance from the
1 military point of view but it could provide and it probably did provide
2 the Serbian side with an alibi or with an excuse for the future attacks
3 on the enclaves. In this specific case the enclave was Zepa.
4 Q. Now, we understand that you're not a military officer, but based
5 on your understanding at the time, what was the purpose of attacking a
6 location to the north-west of the Zepa enclave in terms of helping out
7 the Sarajevo
8 at the time, sir? Or if you didn't I can move on.
9 A. Can we please move on. I'd rather talk about something else.
10 Q. Okay. Let me ask you a couple of related questions not about the
11 objective of the operation. Were you told about it beforehand?
12 A. Yes. As I think back, I can tell you that we were told about
13 that operation beforehand. As far as I can remember, that operation was
14 preceded by a meeting of the War Presidency. We discussed that order,
15 and it was Commander Avdo Palic who told us that he had received that
16 order and that it had to be implemented. As far as I can remember, most
17 of the War Presidency members were against that operation, myself
18 included. But Avdo said that he had received the order and that he would
19 carry it out because that operation in any case was counter-productive in
20 terms of the overall situation of our overall situation and the situation
21 that we were in. That operation had more bad sides there than good
23 Q. And in July of 1995, sir, can you estimate how many approximately
24 able-bodied men there were in the Zepa enclave?
25 A. According to my estimate, about 1200 able-bodied men. Let me
1 just say that they were not all combatants and could not be considered
2 combatants. As future developments showed, there were not enough weapons
3 for all of them but also when you're talking about able-bodied men, you
4 imply men between the ages of 18 and 60 and there were about 1200 such
6 Q. And this ties in to a question from the Honourable
7 Presiding Judge. You told us that you were not a member of the army.
8 During the war did you ever carry a gun, sir?
9 A. No, I never carried any weapons. At the beginning of the war,
10 sometime in 1992, Avdo Palic, the then-commander, provided us with some
11 communication means; and later on I learned that he had formally
12 appointed me the chief of communications. That was a position in the
13 military organisation. However, after the VRS offensive those
14 communication means remained in the houses where the troops were
15 billeted. Therefore, no communication means existed in Zepa as such up
16 to the second half of 1994. Later on, I saw those reports drafted by
17 Colonel Palic in 1994. When I provided my first testimony, I saw that I
18 had been appointed as chief of communications. But let me tell you once
19 again, I never carried arms and I never served in the army, in the former
20 JNA, due to health problems.
21 Q. Okay. Let's clarify just a couple of things that I see in the
22 transcript, sir. The first was you referred to a VRS offensive and the
23 communications means that you were talking about. Can you just tell us
24 what you were referring to, such that there were no communications means
25 existing in Zepa up to the second half of 1994. What were the
1 communication means? How long did the ABiH have them and how did they
2 become no longer available to the ABiH?
3 A. As far as I can remember, in 1992 a military operation was
4 carried out. One of the detachments of the BH army launched an attack on
5 a location in the vicinity of Zepa, and that location was controlled by
6 the then-JNA -- or I don't know whether the military was still the JNA or
7 something else. And in any case, they captured some hand-held radio sets
8 which are normally used for communication between the troops of an army.
9 When I said that, that's the communication means that I had in mind. I
10 believe that those were RUP radios, it's the so-called Rupovka sets which
11 were used by the former JNA as the communication means. After the VRS
12 offensive, those went missing; in other words, they were no longer
13 available. I suppose that they had stayed behind in Krivace village
14 where Commander Avdo Palic had them stored.
15 Until the second half of 1994, the army did not have any
16 communication means, and then a group of people went to Kakanj on foot.
17 I believe that they went to Kakanj and brought back new communication
18 means, primarily the packet communications means. It's a protected radio
19 communication line which was later used to communicate both at Srebrenica
20 and Kakanj. I believe that several hand-held radio sets were brought
21 back on that occasion, and that's what I had in mind when I provided my
22 previous answer, sir.
23 Q. Okay. And focusing on that first group of RUP radios that the
24 ABiH had for that limited period of time, what did Colonel Palic ask you
25 to do with respect to those?
1 A. Well, I don't know whether I actually ever saw all of them.
2 Rumours had it that they had to be made usable. I am an electrical
3 engineer and I suppose that Colonel Palic thought that I might be of some
4 assistance there. As far as I can remember, I never actually saw them.
5 I just discussed them on one occasion with him, as far as I can remember.
6 Q. And you referred in one of your prior answers to later on seeing
7 reports drafted by Colonel Palic. Can you just tell us what you're
8 referring to there when you said a few moments ago, and I quote:
9 "Later on I saw those reports drafted by Colonel Palic."
10 What are you talking about there?
11 A. I'm talking about the following thing. During the relevant
12 period or maybe five or six months after that, I did not have any
13 communication with Colonel Palic. I spent most of the time in
14 Zeleni Jadar searching for food mostly. There was no organisation in
15 place to speak of. There was no base location or any such thing, and
16 when I said that I saw things later or subsequently, I saw that report
17 three or three and a half years ago. I had not seen it before. I had
18 not been informed about it. The report was written in 1994, and in that
19 report Colonel Palic had provided a history of the Zepa brigade, the
20 names of the people who discharged certain duties during certain periods
21 of time. And one of the positions that he mentions is my position as the
22 chief of communications. That's what I meant when I said that I saw
23 things thereafter.
24 Q. So during the relevant time-period, were you aware, sir, that
25 Colonel Palic had appointed you chief of communications?
1 A. When I think back, I believe that I knew that. I can't deny the
2 fact, but let me just say that for almost six months, there was almost no
3 communication between me and him and I didn't take that whole thing
4 seriously. And already in 1993, either in April or early May, I became
5 the president of the Executive Board.
6 Q. And during your entire period of service on the Executive Board,
7 did you ever provide any further service or consultations of any kind
8 with respect to communications for the army?
9 A. Well, look, Palic and I are friends. We went to the same
10 elementary school. We are the same generation. We saw each other almost
11 every day. We at least said hello to each other every day. However, in
12 terms of other activities, primarily military activities, I didn't have
13 any. I didn't have any activities related to new communications means.
14 A new person was appointed as chief of communications, and he's the one
15 who had gone to bring back the radios. And while he was in Kakanj, he
16 was trained to use the equipment. So there was no need at all for
17 assistance to be provided locally.
18 Q. Do you know that person's name?
19 A. I believe that his family name is Gusic and I'm afraid I can't
20 remember his first name. Gusic is his family name.
21 Q. In your testimony just back up a page on page 41, you referred to
22 your first testimony in 1994. Was 1994 the year of your first testimony,
23 sir, or did you first testify during another year?
24 A. No. I would like to see that page. I believe that I just said
25 in my previous testimony. I didn't mention any years. I didn't testify
1 in 1994, of course.
2 Q. Okay. Can you just tell the Trial Chamber approximately when you
3 first testified in this Tribunal?
4 A. Here? You mean here?
5 Q. Yes.
6 A. That was three or three and a half years ago, in 2007, late
7 March/early April.
8 Q. Okay. Now from the spring of 1993 when you arrived in Zepa, I
9 think you told us you arrived in March, but from, say, the spring of 1993
10 until the spring of 1995, how would you describe the level of VRS
11 activity in the Zepa area?
12 A. During that period, as far as I can remember, there was
13 occasional shelling but there were no infantry attacks against the Zepa
14 enclave. I believe that the shelling in question always came in response
15 to some of the events outside of the Zepa enclave, and I'm speaking from
16 memory. In other words, there were no attacks, no infantry attacks.
17 Every now and then from time to time there was shelling.
18 Q. And when you say that you believed that this shelling came in
19 response to events outside the Zepa enclave, what do you mean, sir, and
20 what was struck by the shelling? What were the targets of the shelling
21 on those occasions?
22 A. I said I had -- it had to do with certain events outside the Zepa
23 enclave, I meant to say that they were probably retaliating for
25 Q. And again, what were the targets? What was struck by this
1 retaliatory shelling?
2 A. In Zepa itself for the most part there were no military targets.
3 There were villages in the area. During that period of time there was no
4 intensive shelling; however, in the period before that, they mainly
5 targeted settlements, houses, Zepa itself and the houses in it.
6 Q. Now turning your attention to 1995, prior to the VRS attack in
7 July, do you recall any particular shelling that occurred?
8 A. I think I recall the shelling of the village of Pripecak
9 came from the other side of the Drina
10 were positions of the Visegrad Brigade there, of the Army of Republika
11 Srpska. If asked to define the period, I'd say the latter part of June.
12 It was a very extensive and intensive shelling.
13 Q. Now, prior to the VRS attack in July of 1995, do you recall any
14 shelling that you perceived to be tied - to use your phrase - to events
15 outside of Zepa?
16 A. Yes. I think once they targeted the centre of Zepa. Speaking
17 from memory, I believe it was the response of the VRS to NATO bombardment
18 of certain targets at Jahorina. I think I can tie these two things
20 Q. And can you give us a month, please, that shelling occurred?
21 A. It's possible that it was in May 1995.
22 MR. THAYER: Your Honours, I'm going to turn to the events of
23 July 1995 now, and I just wanted to double-check, see if there are any
24 questions from the Trial Chamber on all the events that we've been
25 talking to -- here to.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Your expectation was correct. Judge Nyambe has a
3 JUDGE NYAMBE: Yes, I just need a clarification from the witness.
4 I can't point out exactly the page of the transcript, but
5 somewhere in your testimony you've said that you were appointed chief of
6 communications by Palic, correct, at some point for six months --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll answer this way: The
9 appointment came from Palic. I tried to clarify. That appointment,
10 nominally speaking, was valid for a period of six months, although during
11 that time I basically had no contact with Palic. Perhaps this explains
12 it to a certain extent. Palic appointed me and it was in place for about
13 six months.
14 JUDGE NYAMBE: For what period was this? Which six months?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I remember, it was in
16 September 1992 until March 1993 more or less.
17 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. -- another question by Judge Mindua.
19 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, Witness, I have a question.
20 I was planning to put this to you when you talked about this at length,
21 but I'm going to do it now before the break. If you look at the
22 transcript page 30, line 10 to 12, page 30, line 10 to 12, I'll repeat,
23 you talked about the destruction of your village and the surrounding
24 villages. And you also pointed out that mosques were burned down or
25 destroyed. And those which were destroyed, or rather, what you are sure
1 of is that those buildings were destroyed by explosive devices. So I
2 have two questions to put to you. The first one is the following. I
3 would like to know whether you personally saw those mosques being burned
4 down or destroyed in the surrounding villages or have you heard of this
5 happening? That was my first question.
6 As for the second question: As for the mosques that were
7 destroyed by explosive devices, I would like to know, given that you said
8 you had no military knowledge and given that there were military
9 operations that were underway, I would like to know whether those
10 explosive -- I'm going to rephrase this. I would like to know whether
11 those mosques were destroyed during the course of military operations or
12 whether explosive devices were set willingly to destroy those mosques but
13 that was not part of military operations? So that's my second question.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have to go back to the first part
15 of your question. I'm just looking for it on the screen.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The question was if you eye-witnessed such a
17 destruction of the mosques.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that was the first part. I
19 didn't see it personally. I didn't see the destruction itself, but I
20 could see such locations a few days following that. Specifically I have
21 in mind the mosque in the village I was born in. That was the first
22 part. The second, perhaps you could assist me?
23 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] The second question is mosques
24 that were destroyed by explosive devices. I wanted to know whether they
25 had been set willingly but whether it was part of military operations or
1 whether it wasn't part of military operations.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe at the beginning when I
3 discussed the cases I am aware of, I explained it somewhat. I am aware
4 of other incidents from the press. There may have been cases when such
5 things occurred during military operations or clashes, but most of the
6 cases were of the other kind, that is to say, that the mosques were
7 destroyed following the take-overs of locations, places. I believe that
8 should be the answer.
9 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, would it be convenient for everybody
11 to have the second break now before you turn to the next set of
13 MR. THAYER: Certainly, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Then we will adjourn now and resume at 6.00.
15 --- Recess taken at 5.33 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 6.02 p.m.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Thayer, please carry on.
18 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Q. Good afternoon again, sir.
20 A. Good afternoon.
21 Q. Do you recall the date Srebrenica fell?
22 A. I do. The 12th of July, 1995.
23 Q. Following the fall of Srebrenica, were there any contacts between
24 the VRS and the Zepa authorities?
25 A. Following the fall of Srebrenica on the 12th of July, 1995
1 the same day, the War Presidency of Zepa through UNPROFOR, through
2 Colonel Sejmon Dudnjik, the commander, received a call or a request to
3 conduct talks with the Serb side.
4 Q. And who or what party originated this call to conduct talks with
5 the Serb side?
6 A. Perhaps I should clarify. The War Presidency received that
7 request through UNPROFOR. Colonel Sejmon Dudnjik, as far as I recall,
8 forwarded that call to Colonel Palic, saying that he or somebody else who
9 would be chosen to do so had to meet with representatives on the Serb
10 side. Perhaps I can carry on in explaining the sequence of events.
11 That request arrived later on the 12th of July, 1995, later in
12 the day. After that, all members of the War Presidency met to discuss
13 the request. In principle, local authorities without an approval of the
14 military and political authorities at the level of Bosnia-Herzegovina
15 cannot engage in any local talks, specifically in Zepa in this case. In
16 keeping with that, the War Presidency tried to establish communication by
17 packet communication, which we discussed earlier, in order to discuss
18 this request together with a question to continue or not conveyed to the
19 leadership, specifically in terms of military command. Independently of
20 that, the War Presidency also tried to view all aspects of the situation.
21 The meeting took most of the night between the 12th and the 13th of July.
22 We decided to attend the talks. When we were discussing who was
23 to go, it was decided that I should go with another War Presidency
24 member, Mr. Mujo Omanovic.
25 Q. Okay. Let me just back up and ask a couple of questions to
1 clarify two quick issues. The first is - and this may seem blindingly
2 obvious to you - but can you explain who or which party it was that
3 contacted Colonel Dudnjik originally to get ahold of Colonel Palic? Who
4 reached out to Colonel Dudnjik in the first place?
5 A. The Serb side. I don't know who specifically, though, whether it
6 was the commander of the Rogatica Brigade of the VRS or someone else. I
7 don't have that information.
8 Q. Okay. And you referred to the local authorities, meaning
9 yourself, needing the approval of authorities at the level of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina. What are you referring to when you speak about
11 authorities at the level of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
12 A. I can't tell you exactly what level it is and from what level the
13 answer should have arrived. In any case, we were in contact with
14 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, the then-president of the Presidency of B&H. At
15 that moment in time we awaited his response, be it an approval or denial.
16 That is in terms of political authorities. As for the military ones, the
17 then-B&H army commander was Rasim Delic. I don't have sufficient
18 information about how the request was conveyed, whether it went through
19 the 2nd Corps or the General Staff. I can't tell you anything about
21 Q. And do you know where President Izetbegovic and Commander Delic
22 were based at this time, sir? Where were they located?
23 A. At this time and generally speaking, President Izetbegovic was in
25 was in Kakanj with the General Staff. I don't know where they were at
1 that specific point in time, but these were the general locations of both
2 of them, where they usually performed their duties.
3 Q. Okay. So the decision is made that yourself and Mr. Omanovic
4 will attend. What did you do next?
5 A. Mr. Omanovic. Next we informed UNPROFOR, specifically
6 Colonel Dudnjik, who had said earlier that we were to go in an UNPROFOR
7 vehicle and that the meeting was supposed to take place at check-point
8 number 2 of UNPROFOR. The check-point was located at Boksanica, which is
9 on the southern side of the Zepa enclave coming from Rogatica. At that
10 point in time that was the border of the Zepa enclave.
11 Q. So what did you do?
12 A. As far as I recall, although it's been a while, sometime before
14 and went to check-point number 2 at Boksanica. Speaking from memory, I
15 can tell you that on the Serb side we were greeted by General
16 Zdravko Tolimir as well as Lieutenant-Colonel Rajko Kusic, who was the
17 Rogatica Brigade commander of the VRS. To tell you the truth, I didn't
18 know then who General Zdravko Tolimir was because we were under a media
19 blockade and had no electricity; therefore, we couldn't follow any media
20 in Zepa.
21 Q. Okay. Let me back up a moment. You described getting in an
22 UNPROFOR vehicle and going to the Boksanica check-point. My first
23 question is: From where did you depart?
24 A. We started in the centre of Zepa from UNPROFOR HQ, which, to
25 repeat, was in the elementary school building in Zepa.
1 Q. And what is your best recollection of what time it was when you
2 set out from the centre of Zepa to go to this meeting?
3 A. It's difficult to say. Let's say it was between 10.30 and 11.30,
4 that's when we left. I believe it was just before noon or so. That's
5 when we left the centre of Zepa. I do have to say that it was a long
6 time ago and it's difficult to be precise, specifically because I kept no
7 notes at the time.
8 Q. And what's your best estimate as to how long it took you to get
9 to Zepa? And if you can describe just generally again what the terrain
10 is in order to get there.
11 A. I think we should be specific. You probably mean the distance
12 between Zepa and Boksanica?
13 Q. You're absolutely correct. I misspoke. How long did it take you
14 to get from the centre of Zepa up to Boksanica? Thank you, sir.
15 A. I'll give a brief description. Boksanica is south of the Zepa
16 enclave. From the centre of Zepa, one needs to follow a local, narrow
17 road with many bends. To the best of my estimate, given that I had never
18 travelled that route before, in such conditions a ride between the centre
19 of Zepa and check-point number 2 of UNPROFOR at Boksanica took around
20 half an hour.
21 Q. Now, prior to this meeting you told us that you didn't know who
22 General Tolimir was. Had you ever heard the name of either him or
23 Colonel Kusic prior to this meeting?
24 A. I said I didn't know who General Tolimir was or what his position
25 was. I may have heard his name on the radio or on TV, but I couldn't say
1 that I remembered much about him. And as for Rajko Kusic, who was either
2 colonel or lieutenant-colonel, I knew who he was. He was the commander
3 of the Rogatica Brigade of the VRS, which effectively manned the lines in
4 front of Zepa. I can also say that I had never met him before, I mean
5 Colonel Rajko Kusic.
6 Q. So please tell the Trial Chamber what happened after you met
7 General Tolimir and Colonel Kusic.
8 A. As far as I can remember, at that meeting the Serbian side was
9 represented by the -- by Zdravko Tolimir, Colonel Kusic. UNPROFOR was
10 represented by Colonel Sejmon Dudnjik, and there was also myself and
11 Mujo Omanovic. At the outset of the meeting, General Tolimir told us
12 something along these lines: Srebrenica has fallen and now it's Zepa's
13 turn. We can go about it in two ways. What I'm offering you is for all
14 of you to leave Zepa, to be evacuated, get on the buses and leave. Then
15 I asked him, "Does this mean that, for example, a 35-year-old man can
16 join his family in getting on the bus and leave to the territory under
17 the control of the BiH Army?" And General Tolimir answered, "Yes, of
19 After that, if we decided not to accept that first option, the
20 second option or the alternative was a military solution or, in other
21 words, a military occupation of Zepa. The meeting did not last too long,
22 as far as I can remember. I said to General Tolimir that we were not
23 authorised to make any decisions on the spot there and then. We were
24 only there to listen to the demands or whatever that was that the Serb
25 side had to tell us. We agreed that we would convey the Serbian side
1 demands to the other members of the War Presidency in Zepa and that an
2 answer to the Serb side would be conveyed via UNPROFOR. And in that
3 particular case, I believe that the agreement or the arrangement was for
4 that answer to be conveyed Colonel Sejmon Dudnjik.
5 Speaking from memory, I repeat, the meeting wasn't long and we
6 embarked on the UNPROFOR vehicle again and returned to Zepa. May I
7 continue, please?
8 Q. Let me just follow-up with a couple of questions. What is your
9 best estimate, sir, of how long this meeting lasted?
10 A. It's very hard for me to tell, but I don't think that the meeting
11 lasted any longer than 60 minutes, an hour. But let me repeat, it's very
12 difficult to speak from memory. It was a long time ago, as you know. It
13 may have been a minute or two longer, I suppose, but that is my best
14 recollection and my best estimate of the time that the meeting took.
15 Q. You described this as a meeting that was not very long. Can you
16 tell the Trial Chamber why it was a meeting that was not very long.
17 A. Speaking from memory, according to General Tolimir that was the
18 only item on the agenda, the only topic that had to be discussed, and he
19 said that there was nothing else to talk about. And since we said we
20 were not authorised to discuss any details of a possible evacuation, we
21 left it at that and the meeting ended on that note.
22 Q. Now, do you recall being asked in the last trial about a
23 document - and this is at transcript page 9852, just for the record - a
24 document that had a time written on it of 10.50 in the morning,
25 ten minutes before 11.00, a document dated the 13th of July? Do you
1 remember noting, and I quote, about the document:
2 "I see this is the 13th of July at 10.50. I think by then we had
3 already left for the -- to attend the negotiations. If the time
4 indicated is correct, as far as I can remember, by then we were already
5 at the negotiations."
6 Do you remember giving that answer, sir, in the Popovic trial?
7 A. Yes, I remember. And I believe that the document presents the
8 position of the army authorities regarding the legality of our presence
9 at the meeting. I don't know if I'm correct.
10 Q. That's the document I'm speaking about, sir. My question is:
11 You noted, when you saw that document, that the time on the document that
12 it was received in Zepa was --
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. -- ten minutes to 11.00 in the morning. And you testified in the
15 prior trial that:
16 "... as far as I can remember, by then we were already at the
18 So my question to you, simply, sir, is: Having heard this
19 excerpt from your prior testimony, can you tell the Trial Chamber which
20 you think is more accurate, that you were already at the negotiations a
21 little before 11.00 on the morning of the 13th or that you departed from
22 the centre of Zepa shortly before noon
23 A. Well, look, I don't know if I have commented upon this before;
24 however, as far as I can remember, we did not wait for any answers as to
25 whether we should go or not. I believe that a decision was locally made
1 for us to go and see what the whole thing was all about. So that this
2 document may have arrived when we were already on the way, but before
3 that decision had been taken to go irrespective of the positions of
4 either the military or political leaders in Sarajevo. That's how I
5 account for this. We did not wait for the document to arrive. The
6 document probably arrived either when we were already on the way or
7 already in the meeting. It's very difficult to tell 15 years after the
8 event. So we were either on the way to Boksanica or already there in the
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, we have a request. Could we have
11 this portion of the Popovic transcript perhaps on the screen? That would
12 be helpful to understand the context.
13 MR. THAYER: Certainly, Mr. President. And if I could just ask
14 that it not be broadcast because it does have his name at the top.
15 Again, this is from the 2nd of April, 2007, transcript page 9852.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, you are aware that in the today's
17 transcript at the outset we have the name of this current witness?
18 MR. THAYER: Yes, I am aware of that, Mr. President, and we just
19 live with that reality, but thank you for that pointing that out.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And another question, you put it to the witness
21 in that way that he said, "Just before noon we left Zepa," but in fact I
22 remember that he provided us with two different answers. One was
23 approximately between 10.30 and 11.30, and the other -- the first one was
24 shortly before noon
25 explanations of the timing.
1 MR. THAYER: Yes, thank you, Mr. President. You're absolutely
3 Q. So we -- and that's exactly what I'm getting at. We have an
4 outer limit, shall we say, of a little before noon; we have what the
5 Honourable Presiding Judge just indicated; and now we have your testimony
6 that your recollection was that at the time that this document was
7 received in Zepa at 10.50 in the morning --
8 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I was told that there are technical problems
10 because this part of the Popovic transcript is not available in e-court
11 at the moment so that we will lose the Tolimir transcript.
12 MR. THAYER: We can run it from Sanction, Mr. President.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We have now another version on the screen which
14 will not be broadcast. Can you help us and indicate which part of the
15 transcript you're referring to?
16 MR. THAYER: The answer is at lines 8 through 14, and he is being
17 shown an exhibit, as we can see, dated 13th of July, with a time of 10.50
18 in the morning.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Microphone not activated].
21 [Interpretation] Thank you. I would like to welcome everybody
22 present in the courtroom, including the witness. May God's peace reign
23 in the house and may God's will be done.
24 The document hasn't been shown to the witness, he doesn't know
25 what the document is about, and it's up to you to decide whether the
1 document will be shown or not. Thank you.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer was referring to this document. He
3 has it now on the screen in the courtroom so that Mr. Thayer should deal
4 with it with the witness.
5 Mr. Thayer.
6 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 Q. Sir, I think you've just gotten the transcript page that we've
8 all been talking about on the screen. Do you see the portion that I
9 referred to -- to which I referred in my question, where you say:
10 "... I see this is the 13th of July at 10.50 ..."
11 And then I'll just let you read the rest.
12 A. I need help with the translation of the document.
13 Q. Okay.
14 MR. THAYER: Could we have the document translated from the
15 screen, if the interpreters have it in front of them on e-court?
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, in that case -- Mr. Thayer, sorry, I
17 apologise. I think in that case it would be easier if you read this --
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What line is that?
19 MR. THAYER: Then I will certainly do that, Mr. President.
20 Q. We're at line 8 and I'll be reading from line 8 to line 14.
21 A. Yes, okay.
22 Q. "I see this document for the first time. Could you please roll
23 it down so that I can see the top of the page? But what I have said
24 stands, there was a lot of confusion. Someone said we could go, someone
25 else that we couldn't. I see this is the 13th of July at 10.50. I think
1 that by then we had already left for the" and there's a pause "-- to
2 attend the negotiations. If the time indicated is correct, as far as I
3 can remember, by then we were already at the negotiations."
4 I think in one of your prior answers, sir, you've already
5 testified that you generally recall what this document was. If you need
6 to see it, I can dig up a copy and we can put it before you, but my
7 question is really focused, I think as you can gather at this time, on
8 the time.
9 A. Yes. If possible, I would like to see the document again.
10 Q. Certainly.
11 A. I ...
12 [Trial Chamber and Legal Officer confer]
13 MR. THAYER: With the Trial Chamber's permission --
14 Q. And, sir, when you say you want to see the document, you're
15 referring to the actual exhibit and not the trial transcript; is that
17 A. Yes, yes. Precisely so. The actual document, not the
18 transcript. That's what I need. I would need to see the document that I
19 saw previously.
20 Q. Okay.
21 MR. THAYER: With the Trial Chamber's permission, we need to do a
22 little freelancing here. This wasn't on our list of exhibits, but it was
23 shown to the witness in the prior trial, as we can all see. I have a
24 copy of the original B/C/S. I can hand it up to the Trial Chamber and
25 then the accused to look at, and then we can place it on the ELMO so we
1 can all see what we're talking about, if that's acceptable to the
2 Trial Chamber.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is, I think, the best way to deal with it,
4 but we would like to know the right number of this document so that we
5 have it on the record precisely. But if we can see it on the ELMO,
6 that's fine. Give it to the Chamber and to Mr. Tolimir and the Defence.
7 MR. THAYER: Okay. For the record, it is in the Popovic case
8 Defence Exhibit 5D275, and we'll see the ERN in a moment.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, do you have a number of your 65 ter
11 MR. THAYER: No, Mr. President. This was a Defence exhibit that
12 was used and was not put on our 65 ter list. It was, as I said,
13 obviously shown to him by the Defence during the Popovic trial, but it's
14 not something that we included on the 65 ter list.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, would you agree with this procedure?
16 Mr. Tolimir, I would like to ask you again if you agree with this
17 procedure proposed by Mr. Thayer, to put it on the ELMO so that everybody
18 can see it on the ELMO and it could be read out and then be part of the
20 [Defence counsel confer]
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
22 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe that I have a
23 solution. I don't know whether the documents the Defence is going to be
24 using have been loaded up in e-court, but let's try with the document
25 65 ter 1D247. That's a Defence document.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
2 [Prosecution counsel confer]
3 MR. THAYER: I'm being told, Mr. President, it's not uploaded
4 yet, though I thank Mr. Gajic for the effort.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I take I didn't understand correctly what you
6 were proposing, Mr. Gajic. The question stands if Mr. Tolimir is in
7 agreement with the procedure Mr. Thayer was going to use?
8 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, of course. There's no problem
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In this case, Mr. Thayer, no objection by the
11 Defence. We can see this document on the ELMO and the witness should
12 perhaps read out the relevant portion so that we have it on the record.
13 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Q. Witness, if you would take a moment. Fortunately it's a
15 relatively short document. And if you could read into the record the
16 document starting from the heading on the far left, where it says
17 "Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina."
18 A. Very well. Can I start?
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The text of the document reads --
21 may I continue, please?
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, please.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Heading:
24 "The Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 "The army General Staff."
1 In the right-hand side corner:
2 "Republican defence, military secret, strictly confidential
3 number 1 [as interpreted], date 13 July 1995." I have to go back to the
4 number, 1/825-1135.
5 "Date: 13 July 1995
6 "Op.vr," probably stands for operational time, "10.50 hours.
7 "Response to request to be sent to.
8 "The command of the 285th Light Mountain Brigade Zepa (to be
9 forwarded to the president of the War Presidency of Zepa).
10 "With regard to the message sent to the president of the
11 government of the republic R/F BiH by the president of the War Presidency
12 of Zepa, we have received the following answer from the Presidency:
13 "We inform the president of the War Presidency of Zepa that there
14 should be no negotiations with the aggressor.
15 "What you can expect from the aggressor is an unconditional
16 ultimatum for surrender.
17 "The people and combatants of Zepa must continue their
18 preparations for an organised resistance to the aggressor and prevent an
19 onset of panic, and they have to take a decisive action to convince the
20 population about the possibility of a successful resistance against the
22 "The Presidency and the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina
23 invested maximum effort on international, military, and political levels.
25 Signed by the Chief of Staff, General Enver Hadzihasanovic.
1 And that's the entire text of this document.
2 Q. Okay. Thank you, Witness. Now, having read that document
3 back --
4 MR. THAYER: And if we can have that transcript page back up on
5 the screen, please.
6 Q. In your answer in the last trial you testified, and this is at
7 line 11:
8 "I see this is the 13th of July at 10.50."
9 And as you just read out, the operational time was 10.50 on the
11 "I think that by then we had already left for the -- to attend
12 the negotiations. If the time indicated is correct, as far as I can
13 remember, by then we were already at the negotiations."
14 So back to the question. You've testified today that you recall
15 a time of shortly before noon
16 from the centre of Zepa sometime between 10.30 and 11.30. And we see
17 here that your recollection when you saw this document in 2007 --
18 A. [No interpretation]
19 Q. -- was that by ten minutes to 11.00 you were already at the
21 So the question just simply is: Can you provide the
22 Trial Chamber with any clear recollection of when it was that you think,
23 let's say, you arrived at Boksanica?
24 A. In my view, judging on the -- by the time I believe we left, the
25 arrival could have taken place between 11.00 and 12.00, the arrival at
1 Boksanica, that is. As for the time shown on the document, in my
2 previous testimony I said that, as far as I recall, we left to attend the
3 negotiations regardless of the opinion of our political authorities, and
4 we see here that it was a negative one. This is what I can remember, and
5 I hope you understand that it's been 15 years, which is a long time for
6 someone to try and put things in the right order and exact time.
7 So perhaps the answer to your question is that if we had left
8 between 10.30 and 11.30 and if it had taken 30 minutes to travel, we
9 would have been at Boksanica in relation to the estimated starting time
10 between 11.00 and 12.00 on the 13th of July, 1995.
11 Q. Thank you, Witness. And we certainly don't take it for granted
12 the taxation we're placing on your recollection here. And before we
13 break for the night, just one other effort to test your memory a little
14 bit. You testified that you believed that the meeting was short, that it
15 might have lasted an hour or a minute or two more. Do you recall in the
16 Popovic trial - and this is at page 9725 - saying that you think it
17 lasted between 40 minutes and an hour? Do you recall that testimony; and
18 if so, does that affect your testimony today at all?
19 A. It does not. I can generally remember without referring to any
20 notes that it took around that time. What I have said, that it was
21 probably between 40 minutes and one hour, is basically what I can recall
22 about that meeting, its duration, and our arrival and departure.
23 Q. Now, back to the meeting, sir. Just for one last question about
24 the meeting itself. You testified - and I think you used the words when
25 you were just characterising what General Tolimir told you - you said
1 when he gave you the choice of -- between the two options, he said "all
2 of you." When he said "all of you," what did he mean?
3 A. Well, the whole population of Zepa, including the military-aged
4 men. In any case, "all of you" meant the entire population of Zepa.
5 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, if -- with the Court's permission,
6 I'm about to go to the next chapter and I sense that the -- this might be
7 a good time to call it a day a couple minutes early if that's all right.
8 And I do actually have a proposal that I can make to the Trial Chamber in
9 the absence of the witness, if the Court permits, concerning the witness
10 that the Trial Chamber issued its decision on earlier today that we have
11 available to testify.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
13 Before we do that, we have questions for the witness.
14 I would like to ask one question, sir. We were looking at
15 document, the response from your authorities of the state of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina to your request how to deal with this request to meet
17 for negotiations. Did you receive this response before you left Zepa for
18 this check-point 1 and for the negotiations?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe I said that, that as far
20 as I recall, I do not remember having received it before our departure to
21 attend negotiations. However, independently of that, we locally decided
22 to attend them. Even if we had received it by that time, I don't think
23 it would have changed anything; we would still have left.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: But you decided to attend this meeting with
25 Mr. Tolimir and the other lieutenant-colonel without having received a
1 response from your superiors, from the higher authorities?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I remember, it was
3 precisely so.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
5 Judge Nyambe has a further question.
6 JUDGE NYAMBE: I think I may have three clarifications. The
7 first one, immediately here you have said -- you have said something to
8 the effect that General Tolimir said you were to leave the area of Zepa
9 and that in a question from -- I want to get it exactly. Yeah. It is
10 page 63, lines 10.
11 "... between the two options he said 'all of you.' When he said
12 'all of you' what did he mean?"
13 And your answer has been:
14 "The whole population of Zepa, including military-aged men."
15 My question is a clarification. Was the entire population of
16 Zepa Muslim or mixed?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The entire population of Zepa save
18 for a single lady was Muslim.
19 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you. Then I have another question. This
20 comes -- okay. Yeah. I have another question. This comes on page 38 of
21 today's transcript, lines 14 to 16. In answer to the question from the
22 Prosecution you state:
23 "According to my estimate, about 1200 able-bodied men." In Zepa,
24 were present in Zepa at that particular point.
25 You go on to say:
1 "Let me just say they were not all combatants ..."
2 Are you able to give an estimation approximately how many were
3 combatants and how many were not combatants? That's the first question.
4 The second one: How were you able to tell who was a combatant
5 and who was not a combatant? Thank you.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In response to your first question,
7 the estimation of how many combatants there were -- well, I think there
8 were some 600 of them who were directly participating in the work of the
9 brigade. As for who was and was not a combatant, well, that mainly has
10 to do with their engagement in the previous period in the army. Those
11 who had weapons were considered combatants, if I can use that term.
12 Those who did not and yet fell within that age category, between 18 and,
13 say, 55 years of age, that was the rest of that group, in my view, it was
14 600 of them as well. So one group had 600 and the other had 600.
15 Of course, I have to note that it is mainly based on my
16 estimation and is not founded on any exact lists or documents. I don't
17 have any and I don't remember ever having seen such documents in Zepa.
18 JUDGE NYAMBE: Just another follow-up question. Your estimation
19 is based on documents or on observation of the group that was in Zepa at
20 that time?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My estimate is based on the
22 knowledge I had while I was in Zepa. What does that mean? Perhaps I can
23 try and explain. I may have heard from, say, Avdo, the commander or one
24 of his associates that approximately 600 men had weapons. I base my
25 estimate on that, not on any documents. I did not see any lists of those
1 who were or were not there. I believe I stressed already that what I'm
2 telling you was based on the information I had that was gained either by
3 speaking to someone who was in the know or by what I could observe. Zepa
4 is a small location. It all took place in a geographically small circle.
5 The centre of Zepa is perhaps 50 metres in diameter, and this is how I
6 learned things.
7 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you very much.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir wanted to say something.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Presiding Judge. I
10 wanted to say the following, that there was a misinterpretation of my
11 words by the witness. I told him that I -- that anybody could leave
12 Zepa. He asked me: Does that mean a soldier with his family? And I
13 responded positively. It is in lines 8 to 11. I just wanted to reflect
14 accurately what I said and what the witness responded without any
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We heard that, Mr. Tolimir, but in fact you are
17 not giving evidence. You are -- we have a different position, we in the
18 Trial Chamber, and you may deal with it in the cross-examination.
19 Mr. Thayer, we are really over time now, but what about the
20 documents we have recently seen? Are you tendering any of them?
21 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, I had not intended to show or
22 anticipated showing that to the witness, but I think it would be a
23 good -- well --
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You may consider this question --
25 MR. THAYER: Thank you.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: -- and you have time to come back to that
3 MR. THAYER: Excellent suggestion, Mr. President. Thank you.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The witness, for today we are at the end of your
5 examination. It will continue tomorrow in the afternoon. I would like
6 to remind you that you are not allowed to get in contact to either party
7 about the content of your testimony. The Court Officer will assist you
8 while leaving the courtroom. The windows should be -- screens should be
9 brought down so that Mr. Thayer is able to address something, procedure
10 matters to the Court.
11 Thank you and we continue tomorrow.
12 Mr. Thayer.
13 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, with respect to the witness number
14 205, PW-076, about who the Trial Chamber issued its oral decision earlier
15 today, I think as we notified the parties, that witness is here and he is
16 available. He will be, I think, a relatively brief witness.
17 [The witness stands down]
18 MR. THAYER: What I have proposed to the Defence and which the
19 Defence has accepted, so that that witness isn't sitting here during the
20 entirety of the current witness's testimony, which I think will be
21 extensive, I think it will take us through the last sitting of this week
22 and possibly more, would be to interrupt this witness's testimony briefly
23 to lead that witness's testimony, cross-examine, and then be able to send
24 him home. He does face some employment repercussions the longer he is
25 here, and we would propose that we just call a brief timeout from this
1 witness and be able to put that witness on and then resume with the
2 current witness shortly thereafter. And he is available any time should
3 the Court desire to do so.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, what is your positio? Or Mr. Gajic?
5 Mr. Gajic.
6 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I spoke with
7 Mr. Thayer before this sitting, and we agreed that that witness should
8 start his testimony tomorrow morning and that he would probably be
9 concluded tomorrow, whereupon Mr. Thayer would resume his
10 examination-in-chief of the current witness.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The Chamber appreciates this proposal so that the
14 witness has not to stay too long in The Hague.
15 But, Mr. Gajic, we can't resume with this witness tomorrow
16 morning but only in the afternoon. We are sitting in the afternoon.
17 So that we are really over time now but at the end of today's
18 hearing we will first have the witness PW-076, if I'm not mistaken, and
19 then we'll resume tomorrow in the afternoon in this courtroom. We
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.12 p.m.
22 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 24th day of
23 August, 2010, at 2.15 p.m.