1 Tuesday, 31 August 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.27 p.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon to everybody in the courtroom and
6 outside the courtroom. Everybody will have noticed that we had to start
7 later than usual because of technical problems, and I hope they will be
8 resolved. Some people are still working on it.
9 Before the witness is being brought in, we should deal with three
10 matters raised by the parties yesterday and I would like to start with
11 the remark of Mr. Tolimir he made yesterday about the nightly monitoring.
12 It was very late yesterday and the other trial had to postpone its
13 commencement because we were running overtime so that we couldn't discuss
14 it yesterday. In the meantime, Mr. Tolimir, you will have received, as
15 the Chamber and the Prosecution did, a submission by the Registry,
16 so-called Rule 33(B) submission. We would like to take the opportunity
17 to ask both parties for their oral submissions on that matter. The
18 Chamber is dealing with that problem and would like to render a decision
19 as soon as possible so that we will not ask both parties for written
20 submissions, but if you are in the position to tell the Chamber about
21 your position we would appreciate that.
22 Mr. Tolimir wants to hear the Prosecution first. Are you
23 prepared to comment on that? Mr. McCloskey.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President. I read that and I was
25 frankly shocked by it, that they did not follow your order. And I don't
1 see any justification in requiring an accused to see a psychiatrist for
2 something this simple, and I don't understand their resistance to it.
3 And we would fully support your original order and have this waking up
4 stop as soon as possible. I think it's -- as you know the Prosecution
5 position, we have seen how this affects people, and I can't imagine any
6 medical excuse for it and I don't understand their response, not
7 following your order. And I better stop there because I -- the whole
8 issue I find shocking.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you, Mr. McCloskey.
10 Mr. Tolimir.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. May the Lord bless this
12 house and may the divine providence bring justice not according to my
13 wishes but according to God's will. I would like to greet everyone and I
14 would like to thank Mr. McCloskey for his words. I believe he spoke from
15 the heart. I wanted to say that I wrote a number of occasions about this
16 problem. This is not only the fact that they keep waking me up, but this
17 is harassment which goes on round the clock. I want to make a public
18 statement since they keep sending me to the physician, but they never
19 abide by the physician's opinion. Therefore, I would like to state the
20 following. In keeping with the decision of the Chamber of the 25th of
21 August, 2010, I, Zdravko Tolimir, refuse to be under the treatment of
22 waking me up during night-time because this is in violation of my human
23 rights. I also refuse to be submitted to this way of treatment, to which
24 I protested a number of times.
25 Given that the Chamber ruled against this practice and wanted to
1 take appropriate statements for those -- from those involved, I would
2 like to have this handled in public hearing.
3 Signed by me, Mr. Zdravko Tolimir, and my counsel, Mr. Gajic. I
4 believe after everything I have said there was basically no need for it,
5 especially in view of Mr. McCloskey's words because I believe he said
6 everything that needed to be said.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much for your submissions.
8 Mr. Gajic.
9 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] I would just kindly ask the usher to
10 take the document, which is the statement read out by Mr. Tolimir.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And if the usher takes it, is it then part of the
12 record or what is your intention?
13 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] We wanted to treat this as a
14 submission, a statement that would be tendered as much as any other
15 submission would be if submitted by this Defence.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In principle, there is no problem with that.
17 But, Mr. Gajic, we have it already on the record, in the transcript, if
18 Mr. Tolimir read out the whole text and I think now we have it on the
19 record. We don't need the hard copy, if you would agree with that.
20 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] I perfectly agree, but we also
21 invested an additional effort to benefit not only the transcript but the
22 Chamber and anyone else who may be interested in these proceedings so as
23 to enable everyone to have access to this public statement.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Would it be possible to file it electronically so
25 that then it will be distributed to all the usual recipients? I think
1 it's more practical.
2 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we are doing precisely
3 that. We make submissions by having Mr. Tolimir sign it, and then I
4 handed it over to the Registrar. Or Mr. Tolimir gives that to the -- in
5 the Detention Unit to the appropriate services. Therefore, we handle our
6 submissions in this way and if we are sitting in a courtroom we simply
7 hand over our submissions to the Registrar.
8 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please give it to the Court Usher. If it's
10 signed by Mr. Tolimir it's fine, and then it will be distributed to all
11 other recipients. Let's have a short look on it. Thank you.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be distributed to all relevant parties.
14 We have heard the oral submissions by both parties and will
15 render a decision as soon as possible.
16 Now I would like to turn to the matters raised by the Prosecution
17 yesterday. The first is the Prosecution's ongoing compliance with the
18 Chamber's 92 ter bis decision rendered on the 7th of July.
19 Yesterday the Prosecution stated that it has been taking a lot
20 longer time than it anticipated when they asked for the additional 30
21 days in July to compile lists of exhibits in relation to the Rule 92 bis
22 decision. For this reason, the Prosecution proposes that it provide the
23 Chamber and Registry lists of exhibits concerning a minimum of five
24 witnesses per week. The Prosecution envisages that it will require about
25 another four months to complete the entire task. I have to say the
1 Chamber expresses its concern over the delay of the Prosecution's
2 compliance. The Chamber would like to ask the Prosecution to provide
3 more detailed explanations as to why it is taking time in compiling the
4 lists. We are really not satisfied with the information we got yesterday
5 because we can't understand why it is so time-consuming to compile the
6 exhibits in a -- just in another way as the Prosecution has done before.
7 Mr. Thayer.
8 MR. THAYER: Good afternoon, Mr. President. Yes, the lack of
9 detail was owing to the lack of time yesterday, and I'm happy to provide
10 that now. The primary reason is that the task initially rests, as many
11 tasks do, on Ms. Stewart's shoulders as well as that of another member of
12 the trial team. If it were a simple matter of just listing all the
13 exhibits, we wouldn't have this problem, but what we have to do in
14 dividing everything up into the categories and compiling everything
15 physically requires a lot of time by Ms. Stewart to go back and track
16 through sometimes these exhibits through several cases so that we can
17 figure out the route that some of these exhibits took; for example, from
18 Krstic to Blagojevic to Popovic to here, particularly for not only the
19 exhibits that form part of the witness's testimony, that is, that were
20 introduced through the witness, but exhibits which were shown to the
21 witness but were not admitted through the witness, or documents and
22 exhibits that were shown to the witness but never admitted. Those
23 categories additionally become very time-consuming. The only method we
24 have available to us rests with Ms. Stewart, who is frankly the only
25 person at this stage, after 15 years since Krstic - other than
1 Mr. McCloskey - who has the technical knowledge and I think she's unique
2 in that respect on how to navigate through the various databases and
3 indices that we have set up to ensure that these exhibits are being
4 categorised adequately. And that is the first stage of the review in
5 order to create these lists in the proper categories that we have been
6 doing, for example, for the 92 ter witnesses.
7 From there, the task then falls on the attorneys to go through
8 the transcripts of these witnesses, whether it's a trial transcript or
9 just an OTP witness statement, and make sure that we are capturing all of
10 the documents correctly. The only reason why we're able now to have a
11 sense of what the documents were that were simply shown to a witness but
12 not introduced, because e-court doesn't catch those, is that Ms. Stewart
13 during the Popovic trial was maintaining her own list. But what we have
14 to do to make sure that we're catching them all is have the attorneys go
15 through the volumes of testimony to make sure when somebody's shown a
16 document, determine whether it came in; maybe they were shown the
17 document but it wasn't tendered. In which case, for e-court purposes,
18 it's almost like it doesn't exist. So again, there's a second layer of
19 review that becomes very time-consuming, and it's something that in order
20 to have any meaning at the end of the day -- I mean, what we're trying to
21 do is produce lists that everybody can rely on. And believe me, I've
22 been involved in projects where we hurry things along to comply with a
23 dead-line and then you wind up with a product that no one can use and it
24 doesn't make sense and it's so riddled with mistakes that no one touches
25 it again. What we are trying to do is produce lists that everybody can
1 rely on, that you can go back to and if you're looking at a document you
2 can count on it being showing at a particular page on a transcript. But
3 the second stage relies on us attorneys to go through. Some of that
4 stuff, some of that task we've been able to task to, for example, some
5 new interns that we just got on our team, but fundamentally some of these
6 witnesses are so critical that it's important for the trial attorneys
7 themselves to be on top of this, particularly for the 92 bis with cross
8 witnesses who are coming. Because in essence what we're doing is we're
9 creating the 92 ter exhibit lists. For these 92 bis with cross
10 witnesses, we anticipate that there may be a brief summary that we want
11 to provide to the Trial Chamber. For all we know, there may be some
12 additional discussion with the witness ahead of time. So the attorney
13 who has been assigned to that witness is accountable for going through
14 Ms. Stewart's list, having that in hand, going through the transcript,
15 double-checking, and adding any additional exhibits that kick out.
16 That's the explanation for why it's so time-consuming. And just
17 to give you an idea, when we're getting ready for the 92 ter witnesses,
18 it saves a lot of court time but the process is one that is very, we've
19 found already, time consuming and we're experienced with that, but
20 there's no way to get around it, there's no shortcut we can take
21 unfortunately, otherwise we're going to wind up with exhibits that have
22 been lost, frankly.
23 So I hope that's sufficient detail. I'm sorry to sort of show
24 you how the sausage is made, but that's how it's made.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much, Mr. Thayer.
1 Mr. Tolimir, do you want to respond to this request by the
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We are
4 familiar with this problem because it took us four submissions to respond
5 to their submission according to Rule 92. We want them to be as prepared
6 as possible. We want them to come up with whatever there is in this
7 courtroom, and it is to our benefit. Ultimately, it is up to you to
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. The Chamber will consider
10 this situation and the submission by the Prosecution and we will come
11 back to both parties. It is more clear now what you are talking about,
12 but we have to consider if there are -- you are talking about a shortcut
13 and there is no shortcut in your opinion, but perhaps we can -- before we
14 decide on this topic, we should take into account if there's any
15 possibility that the staff of the Chamber, the Registry, and the staff of
16 the Prosecution and the Defence could liaise for the best practical way
17 to find out and for -- yeah, for closer time to finish this duty of the
18 Prosecution in fact for the sake of the whole proceedings and the
19 preparation of every court day, including the cross-examination for
20 Mr. Tolimir. We will come back to that topic very soon after having
21 reviewed your oral submission.
22 The third question should be dealt with in private session. We
23 are going into private session.
24 [Private session]
22 [Open session]
23 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: If there is nothing else to discuss, the witness
25 should be brought in.
1 [The witness takes the stand]
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon, sir. Welcome to the courtroom
3 again after a long time --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: [Previous translation continues]... examination.
6 I have to remind you that the affirmation to tell the truth still
7 applies, and Mr. Tolimir is continuing his cross-examination.
8 WITNESS: HAMDIJA TORLAK [Resumed]
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I would
12 like to greet the witness. We will continue where we left it off
14 We had document 1D261. We were in the process of discussing it,
15 so I would like to re-call it now, please.
16 Cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir: [Continued]
17 Q. [Interpretation] If you recall, it was drafted by
18 General Gobillard's assistant based on the report of the
19 Ukrainian Battalion's commander. First of all, let's look at the
20 document. Following page 1, could we please move to page 2 in both
21 versions, in particular paragraph 8. Thank you. We can see paragraph 8.
22 Underlined just above that it says:
23 "The CO Ukrainian Battalion joins the meeting and adds the
24 following points after a discussion with his company commander in Zepa."
25 So he wasn't at the meeting but he informed -- passed on the
1 information. Paragraph 8:
2 "The CO of the Rogatica Brigade accompanied by General Tolimir
3 and local Bosnian authorities met at Ukrainian check-point 2 at noon
4 today. The Serbs asked the Bosnians in the Zepa pocket to drop their
5 weapons, after which the civilian population may either leave or stay.
6 The Bosnian authorities were due to meet immediately after in the village
7 to discuss their options. The Serbs gave them until 1530 to decide. At
8 1830 an answer was still awaited. The Bosnians indicated they needed
9 until noon tomorrow."
10 We can see here what was written by Mr. Gobillard's assistant
11 based on the information by the battalion commander. It was rather
12 unusual for something of that nature to have happened in a demilitarised
13 zone. My question is this: Given that this was forwarded by the
14 Ukrainian Battalion commander, who had received his information from
15 Dudnjik, can you please comment on this, particularly in view of the fact
16 that I also referred to it in my report.
17 A. Very well. Yesterday in my testimony, I told you I don't
18 remember this, but if one looks at it logically, the first document, your
19 report, you forwarded to your superiors as well as the agreement I
20 signed, both these documents basically reflect what you said at
21 check-point number 2 at Boksanica.
22 Q. Thank you. We will move on to my next question. It is still in
23 this document. We see paragraph 9 which reads in its last sentence:
24 "The Serbs want to capture the pocket without a fight if
1 My question is this: Based on this sentence, which is also based
2 on the information forwarded by the Ukrainian Battalion commander, my
3 question to you is this: At the meeting with me and Colonel Dudnjik, did
4 you -- were you under an impression that the Serb army wanted to capture
5 the enclave without fighting?
6 A. Not at that time. We focused on other things in our discussions.
7 Q. Thank you. At the time on that day, could you have arranged a
8 meeting with me at any time of day if you wanted to or did you have to go
9 through Dudnjik alone?
10 A. Well, that contact could have been established through
11 Colonel Dudnjik, I believe; however, once the meeting was over we went
12 back to Zepa and we spent all of our time there at the meeting of the
13 War Presidency of Zepa. And I believe Dudnjik went back to Zepa as well
14 at that moment. So we could have been in contact.
15 Q. Let's move on to the next document.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] But before that I would like to ask
17 for 1D261 to be admitted into evidence.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We have seen earlier part of this document, I
19 think, if I'm not mistaken. Can you tell us how many pages does this
20 document have or are you only tendering this page?
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The document contains two pages and
22 it was translated. We would like to tender this page alone, but if you
23 want to admit the whole document that may well be.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No, I thought it would be a big book or something
25 like that, but only two pages no problem. It will be received.
1 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D101.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 Can we please now have Exhibit P491 in e-court.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. While we are waiting I'm going to tell you that this is a
6 document dated the 13th of July, 1995, entitled: "The situation in the
7 Zepa enclave" that I, Zdravko Tolimir, sent to the Main Staff, my
8 superior command, of the sector of the Drina Corps to which I belonged
9 and its zone of responsibility and the forward command post where
10 General Krstic was. His superior Kust [phoen] was at this meeting. Can
11 we please go through this document paragraph by paragraph. We can see
12 both pages and I quote:
13 "On the 13th of July, 1995, at 1200 hours we contacted
14 Hamdija Torlak, the president of the Zepa Executive Committee and
15 Mujo Omanovic a member of the Zepa War Presidency regarding the
16 demilitarisation of the enclave and free movement for the civilians in
17 accordance with the Geneva Conventions from the 12th of August, 1949."
18 This is what I'm writing to my superior command. Now I'm asking
19 you: Did we ask explicitly for military -- for able-bodied men to
20 surrender their arms?
21 A. Based on my recollection I'm going to repeat what I said in my
22 previous evidence, when asked whether everybody was allowed to leave
23 including those who were 35 years of age and you said: Yes, of course.
24 Now, while I'm reading this document --
25 Q. Let us go paragraph by paragraph, and I would like to discuss
1 this document with you in that way in order to refresh both our memories.
2 Thank you.
3 A. Shall I repeat what I already answered? So as far as I can
4 remember, I know that I asked you whether those fit for military service
5 were also allowed to go. You said: Yes, of course. And this is carved
6 in my memory as something very characteristic and I repeat that in all my
8 Q. Thank you. We were discussing the freedom of movement for the
9 civilian population, and I can cite here what you said and it goes as
10 follows. On page 5629 I'm going to read your exact words. I cannot find
11 this page. I'll get back to it later.
12 So we are talking about the freedom of movement, and it is true
13 that I told you: Yes, of course, even those 30 years of age can go.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So when we spoke about the freedom of movement, we understood by
16 that that it included soldiers as well; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Let us now look at paragraph 2. In the original document it's on
19 page 2 and it reads as follows. Paragraph 2 reads as follows:
20 "The Muslim representatives said that they were authorised to
21 solve the problem of Zepa in a peaceful manner by providing the following
23 "1. To enable them within three days to consult with the
24 population of Zepa and the leadership in Sarajevo about the decision to
25 leave Zepa and move to the destination of their own choosing.
1 "2. To enable them to relocate all civilians and able-bodied
3 "3. To carry out the evacuation" --
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you are again really much too fast.
5 The interpreters have really a problem to interpret you correctly.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I apologise to the
7 interpreters. I'm going to repeat.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Number 2 reads -- or maybe I can repeat number 1 if that was too
10 fast to avoid mistakes. So your first request was:
11 "To enable them within three days to consult with the population
12 of Zepa and the leadership in Sarajevo about the decision to leave Zepa
13 and to move to the desired destination ..."
14 So while we are at this first paragraph, is it something that was
15 discussed at this meeting, that you want to consult the population?
16 A. Yes, that's correct, and that was the key issue.
17 Q. Thank you:
18 "2. To enable them to relocate all civilians and able-bodied
20 Does that mean you didn't want to separate the two; is that
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. "3. To carry out the evacuation from Zepa in the presence of
24 UNPROFOR, UNHCR, ICRC and military observers."
25 Is this correct?
1 A. Yes, these are the guarantees that we asked for.
2 Q. "4. To have guarantees from the RS and Main Staff of the VRS
3 leadership for the safe transportation across RS territory."
4 Was that one of your requests?
5 A. Yes, however, the previous requests were more important to us.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I stop you again. You are not only
7 too fast while reading but you are overlapping. Both speakers should be
8 reminded just to wait. You can follow the transcript and then you can
9 see when it is not finished recording. Please, it is very difficult for
10 everyone to follow.
11 Go ahead, please.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I have a
13 problem because it's impossible for me to look and follow the transcript.
14 I want to look at the document. That's how it works.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It is very simple that you just read more slowly.
16 You don't -- must have a look at the transcript.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I'm going to repeat
18 item 4.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. "To have guarantees from the Republika Srpska and the Main Staff
21 of the VRS for the safe transportation across the RS territory ..."
22 That had to be conveyed to the population and that what happened?
23 A. Yes, that was one of the guarantees, and I remember that you
24 mentioned before that UNPROFOR, UNHCR, ICRC, et cetera -- however, the
25 main guarantee in the whole process was provided by the Main Staff and
1 the political and military leadership of Republika Srpska.
2 Q. And number 5:
3 "To enable them to stay in the territory - meaning those who
4 choose to do so."
5 Do you remember that?
6 A. Yes, although I don't remember too many details, but it only
7 makes sense that that was one of the requests.
8 Q. Thank you. So therefore can we conclude that those were the
9 preconditions that you asked for and that I included in my report?
10 A. Generally speaking, yes. As I said, I don't remember all the
11 details and how it was all phrased, but basically that was it.
12 Q. Thank you. Can we please now look at the following paragraph.
13 In English these are paragraphs 2 and 3 and in B/C/S 3 and 4.
14 This is what I reported to my command:
15 "We rejected their first request and made a condition that all
16 necessary consultations be completed by 1500 hours and that the
17 evacuation commence at that time. We have conditioned this with an
18 alternative solution - military force. We guaranteed the evacuation of
19 all the civilian population and military-aged men who surrender their
20 weapons, as well as the safety for the civilians who decide to stay and
21 accept the RS authority."
22 I have undertaken all these obligations, and therefore I had to
23 inform my command about the undertakings that I made. Would you say that
24 this is correct?
25 A. Yes, that's one of the conditions, but yes. This is all correct.
1 I didn't know that the dead-line was 1500 hours, but I know that it was
2 on that particular date.
3 Q. Thank you. Now look at the next paragraph, which begins by:
4 "We have also requested that all able-bodied men be registered
5 and exchanged for our prisoners of war in the Muslim prisons. This was a
6 tactical move so that during the follow-up discussions, which they
7 conditioned with consultations with their leadership in Sarajevo, we
8 could turn down any possible counter-argument. We promised to fulfil all
9 other requests."
10 Is it consistent with what you and I agreed at this meeting on
11 the 13th of July?
12 A. Well, probably yes, but this has not been particularly emphasised
13 in your statement but it is highlighted in a way.
14 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us whether I had accepted all
15 your conditions and whether I promised you the fulfilment of all your
17 A. Yes, that's what you promised -- or rather, you offered this.
18 Now, I cannot remember whether we came up with these requests or whether
19 all these requests were finalised during the meeting.
20 Q. Now, in order to refresh your memory tell me, for example, did
21 you ask for UNPROFOR, UNHCR, ICRC, and military observers?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did I comply with that request?
24 A. Yes, you did.
25 Q. Later after the agreement was implemented, were all these
1 international organisations included?
2 A. Yes, they were.
3 Q. Did I put any prerequisite forward for the stay of population
4 because I remembered that there were ten families who wanted to stay
6 A. No, you never treated this as a problem.
7 Q. Yes. We said whoever wants to stay only has to accept our
8 authority and our government. Now, whether one of my requests was to
9 compile records of able-bodied men for exchange?
10 A. I already said that. Yes, but this complex matter was dealt with
11 at the very end because at the beginning - how to put it? - we dealt with
12 some more pleasant issues about people being allowed to leave, et cetera.
13 But I think this came at the very end.
14 Q. I also reported to my command to the effect that all refugees in
15 Zepa and part of the local population agreed to move out. Was that
16 correctly reported to my staff?
17 A. I don't remember that because I don't know whether at that stage
18 we were without the required additional consultations with Sarajevo.
19 Please let me read the document.
20 Can you help me locate this particular section?
21 Q. It's the last paragraph. The last sentence which says that:
22 "All the refugees in Zepa chose to move out as well as part of
23 the local population. We accept that some Muslim soldiers will abandon
24 the defence line in order to prepare their families for moving out."
25 This was my assessment.
1 A. I cannot either remember or confirm that at that stage we said
2 that. I believe that since it was the 13th we were probably able to
3 confirm that on the 19th. I don't remember this being said precisely
4 like this by our side.
5 Q. If you look at the last paragraph, I started by saying "we
6 believe ..." I didn't say that that was an accurate assessment.
7 A. I'm sorry. I didn't notice that that is how you began your
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, Judge Mindua would like to put a
10 question to the witness and we should go back in the English version to
11 the previous page, please.
12 Judge Mindua.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Judge.
14 JUDGE MINDUA: [No interpretation]
15 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters cannot hear Judge Mindua.
16 Just a second, please.
17 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] I would like to ask you to tell us
18 about the fact that people had to move, and please correct me if I'm
19 wrong. The first paragraph speaks about the delay that's given to the
20 leadership of the Zepa population and also to the leadership of Sarajevo
21 to give a quick response within three days and it talks about the
22 evacuation of the population. So when I read this paragraph I'm under
23 the impression that it's the people who are the leaders of the community,
24 that it's up to them to decide whether these people should leave all
25 together. However, when I read paragraph 5 we can see that it says that
1 those who wish to stay - and we're talking about the Muslim population,
2 so the persons who choose to stay - they can do so within and on the
3 territory, and I suppose that they're talking about the Zepa territory.
4 So I'm under the impression here that the Muslim people did not
5 really have the obligation to leave the territory. And in response to
6 one of the questions put by the Defence, you confirmed, indeed, that
7 there were ten Muslim families who had decided to stay and there was no
8 problem at that point with regard to their decision. So let me try to
9 understand one thing.
10 Were they compelled to go? Did they have to leave? Or did they
11 decide on their own to leave? Could they just simply decide whether they
12 could stay or leave at that moment, at that point in time?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, look. My answer to this
14 question means that this document refers to a meeting held on the 13th of
15 July. This was the first meeting between representatives of Zepa and
16 representatives of the Army of Republika Srpska. In this paragraph 5 an
17 offer is being defined, so to say, which was expounded and clarified
18 during talks with Mr. Tolimir, because that was what the Serbian side was
19 offering us at that point. Now, these ten families mentioned by
20 General Tolimir were discussed later at a meeting held on the 19th of
21 July which was attended by Mr. Benjamin Kulovac and myself, and it was he
22 who told this, I think, to General Mladic. So that was -- let's call it
23 an offer that was worked out together by General Tolimir. The later
24 developments, as I explained in my previous testimony, the reasons for
25 that not happening and I also explained the arguments and the reasons for
1 everybody leaving the Zepa enclave eventually.
2 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Very well. I will have to deal
3 with your answer. Thank you very much for now. Thanks.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President, and thank
6 you to Judge Mindua.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. I would now like to clarify this issue completely. Now, did you,
9 Witness, or anyone from the War Presidency contact the civilian
10 population in order to find out whether they wanted to remain in Zepa or
11 whether they wanted to leave Zepa once they surrendered their weapons?
12 Thank you.
13 A. I don't know if I've already said this before during my testimony
14 here, but I was an outsider, as it were, in Zepa, I was a newcomer. So I
15 did not really have close contacts with the local people. As far as I
16 can remember, after the discussion at the War Presidency which followed
17 on the same day, these conditions were, I believe, conveyed in this same
18 shape and form, they were sent on. And as for the contacts with the
19 population, I don't know whether Mr. Kulovac who was a local man or some
20 other people did anything in that direction and whether there were any
21 discussions with the locals about whether they wanted to stay there or
22 leave. I really don't know, so I can't say either way. I can't confirm
23 it but I can also not deny it. In any case, the situation was such that
24 everyone really had to think about their own lives and their own
25 situation, so I don't know if there was anything that came from elsewhere
1 but I -- and I can't recall any activities to that effect by members of
2 the War Presidency.
3 Q. Thank you. Now we shall move to another topic.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please pull up P734.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. That is General Hadzihasanovic's reply that he sent to the
7 command of the 275th Light Infantry Brigade in Zepa at -- on the 13th of
8 July at 1000 hours. Could you please just enlarge this a little bit so
9 that the witness can see it.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 1050 hours.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Now, we see the first paragraph of this document which was also
13 drafted on the 13th, where the Chief of Staff of the BH Army,
14 General Hadzihasanovic, writing to the commander of the Zepa Brigade says
15 the following:
16 "In response to the message sent to the Prime Minister of the
17 Republic Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina by the president of the
18 War Presidency of Zepa, we received the following reply from the
19 president of the Presidency ..."
20 In other words, from Alija Izetbegovic.
21 "We hereby inform the president of the War Presidency of Zepa
22 that there should be no negotiations with the aggressor."
23 That's the first paragraph. Second paragraph:
24 "You can expect unconditional ultimatums and requests for
25 surrender from the aggressor."
1 Third paragraph:
2 "The people and fighters of Zepa should continue preparations for
3 an organised resistance against the aggressor and prevent any emerges of
4 panic by their resolute conduct convincing the people of the possibility
5 of success in resisting the aggressor."
6 And the last paragraph:
7 "The Presidency and the government of BH are investing the utmost
8 effort at international military and political level."
9 Signed Chief of Staff Brigadier-General Enver Hadzihasanovic.
10 Thank you.
11 Now, my question is this: Did you have occasion to see this
12 letter before you headed for the negotiations, although you said you
13 hadn't although it had been sent at 1050 hours?
14 A. Well, I can just repeat that I hadn't seen it. I may have seen
15 it during my testimony here, but I did hear of this document. However,
16 before I set off for Boksanica for my talks with you, I did not see this
18 Q. Very well. Thank you. Now, in the third paragraph, as we could
19 see, he was demanding that you organise armed resistance. My question is
20 this: Was the Zepa army at the time capable, in terms of weapons and
21 personnel, to actually resist the Army of Republika Srpska without some
22 additional assistance from the BH Army or some international factors, as
23 he mentioned here? Thank you.
24 A. Well, look, I've already said this a number of times during my
25 testimony here. There was a number of troops there, there were some
1 weapons too; but in everyone's view, that was not even close to what we
2 really needed in order to defend the enclave successfully. And this
3 document actually is a recommendation or an order, you can read it the
4 way you please. There was -- there had been an order that we should
5 organise. This was the 265th --
6 THE INTERPRETER: 285th, interpreter's correction.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- Brigade. These were armed
8 people. And I believe that we saw a document yesterday that was drafted
9 by, I think, Indjic, an officer of the Serb army, where he said that
10 there were some 300 weapons. I'm not sure that that was true, but in any
11 case the assessment of most members of the War Presidency, in view of the
12 overall situation at that time and in view of the fact that the
13 Srebrenica enclave had fallen, although it had been six times as large as
14 the Zepa enclave in terms of the number of inhabitants, it was clear to
15 us that we would not get any assistance from anyone and that we could not
16 defend ourselves. We could maybe put up a defence, but in the end we
17 would be defeated. And that was the position of the majority of the
18 members of the War Presidency. Because, as I said, Srebrenica had, I
19 believe, some five brigades, whereas we only had one. And the territory
20 that we had to defend was approximately or about the same. In other
21 words, it was not possible. And we could not really expect assistance
22 from anyone outside because it was clear to us that no one would really
23 want to get involved. It was clear.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Thank you. [Microphone not activated]
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Now, based on this document which probably had some sway and some
4 influence on the situation in Zepa, could you tell us how did they try to
5 persuade the population that they could successfully defend themselves
6 and that they should arm themselves while we were trying to resolve this
7 in peaceful negotiations?
8 A. Well, I remember a session of the War Presidency where
9 Colonel Palic said that we should organise a defence and that surrender
10 was out of the question and surrender of weapons and troops and so on,
11 and I think that that was it, that there was no more talk on this issue
12 at the War Presidency.
13 Q. Thank you. Now please tell us, is this letter from the command
14 of the BH Army and his Chief of Staff, did that actually have an
15 influence on the position taken by Colonel Avdo Palic and generally,
16 overall, did it actually affect the decision on whether to proceed with a
17 peaceful -- with seeking a peaceful solution or not?
18 A. Well, you see, Colonel Palic probably had this document already
19 on the 13th of July, in the afternoon. He was probably aware of its
20 content and it's possible that that too had an impact on his position on
21 the further developments and attempts to resolve the situation in Zepa.
22 Q. Thank you. Tell us, please, on the 13th you actually postponed
23 this whole issue and you received -- you sent us a letter on the 14th of
24 July, saying that it was decided to postpone this whole. So tell us, did
25 the War Presidency take any particular decision on this issue, bearing in
1 mind also the letter that was sent by Hadzihasanovic because he
2 represented and spoke for the government?
3 A. Well, as far as I can remember, the answer that was sent - and I
4 can't recall the wording - was handed over -- was handed to Dudnjik on
5 the 13th, late in the afternoon, maybe at 6.00 or 7.00 p.m. I don't know
6 exactly when Dudnjik reached check-point 2, but as far as I can remember
7 there were no decisions taken as to what to do next, at least not at that
8 time. I believe that we had another meeting on the next day where we
9 decided who was to do what, but as for any strategic decisions taken on
10 that same day, whether we should fight to the last man or something to
11 that effect, as far as I can recall there were no such decisions.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we now please see 1D269.
14 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
15 Q. While we're waiting, let me ask you this: The general
16 mobilisation that was proclaimed, was that something that was within the
17 competence of the Zepa War Presidency? Thank you.
18 A. Well, you see, in view of the way things worked, how large that
19 community was and so on, as far as I can remember the War Presidency did
20 not -- was not involved in that. I think all of that was really within
21 the powers of Colonel Palic. Because as I've already said, this was a
22 small community and the entire developments, the organisation, all of
23 that was spontaneous in a way so that I don't remember the War Presidency
24 taking any such decisions.
25 Q. Here we can see this document. You can take a look too. It's
1 not very legible, but I'm sure you can make it out. This is a document
2 sent from - as we see in the heading - the Republic of Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina, war time Presidency, dated -- the date is not really clear.
4 A. 14th July 1995.
5 Q. Yes, we see the number of document above the date and then the
6 date 14 July. And then it says:
7 "At the session of the War Presidency of Zepa municipality held
8 on the 14th of July, 1995, it was decided as follows ..."
9 And then under I we see:
10 "General mobilisation shall be declared on the territory of Zepa
12 Can you see it?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. "II. All available assets shall be put at the disposal of the
16 "III. All able-bodied people shall be placed at the disposal of
17 the Zepa War Presidency.
18 "IV. All military and able-bodied men shall be placed at the
19 disposal of the 85th Light Infantry Brigade, except members of the
20 War Presidency of Zepa who shall remain to carry out their normal duties
21 and other workers as decided by the War Presidency Zepa.
22 "V. Members of the Zepa" --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's request: Could the witness --
24 could the accused please repeat point number 5.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, could you please repeat number 5, it
1 was not heard by the interpreter.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. "V. Members of the CSB of Zepa shall act upon orders for the
4 defence of the free territory."
5 In other words, the -- they are placed under the command of the
7 "VI. The population owning any fire-arms shall put them at the
8 disposal of the brigade or they are at risk of being prosecuted.
9 "VII. This decision shall come into force immediately."
10 Signed the Presidency of the War Presidency of Zepa municipality
11 Mehmed Hajric.
12 Thank you. Now, my next question: This decision was adopted on
13 the 14th of July, 1995, as we see above, after the negotiations on the
14 13th of July, 1995, and following receipt of the letter from
15 Enver Hadzihasanovic which he conveyed as the position of the
16 president's, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic. My question is this: Was this
17 decision taken on orders from Sarajevo, pursuant to the letter we saw a
18 moment ago, or was it taken by the War Presidency on its own initiative?
19 A. Well, I can only repeat what I've already just said. I really
20 don't remember this decision being taken, but if there is a valid
21 document to that effect and whether this document was drafted by some of
22 the members of the War Presidency, maybe the president of the
23 War Presidency or some others, I don't know. But I -- because I don't
24 remember it. I do remember the meeting of the 14th, that was on the next
25 day, where we discussed what we were to do next. That's what I do
1 remember, but I do not remember the document from Sarajevo but it's
2 possible that it did have an effect and that it actually contributed to
3 this kind of decision being taken, mobilisation, and so on and so forth.
4 Q. Thank you. Does this document reflect what was being discussed
5 at the War Presidency because it was constantly in session?
6 A. Well, I have to stress again that the role in organising the
7 defence was taken by Colonel Palic and whoever drafted this document,
8 it's possible that it was the president of the War Presidency with
9 someone else, I really don't remember. But what I can confirm is that it
10 was on the 14th and that was following very intense attacks on the night
11 before, the 13th in the evening, so that the situation was extraordinary
12 and everything was directed at defending ourselves and organising our own
14 Q. When we take a closer look at the document we see that this
15 document was sent to Sarajevo and Zepa, and we can see the initials of
16 Alija Izetbegovic confirming the fact that he was acquainted with this
17 information. Can you recognise that?
18 A. Could we please scroll up so that we can see the bottom of the
19 page. That is sufficient. Thank you. I think these are the initials of
20 President Alija Izetbegovic and I believe I recognise his handwriting.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we please now go back to the
22 top of the document because it seems that it was sent to him for
23 information purposes.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. It says: "Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
1 Can you see it?
2 A. Yes, I can. In the second paragraph, I believe.
3 Q. Thank you. We can see here that it is clearly stated that all
4 military-aged men and people who can perform work duties should be
5 included in this. Can you tell us what the difference is? That is
6 paragraph 4.
7 A. This includes the people who were within certain age limits who
8 could serve the army but who could also do other things, not necessarily
9 fight. For example, they should help in the organisation and
10 distribution of humanitarian aid and civil protection, et cetera. They
11 could be assigned certain work tasks. It was called work duty. The
12 other category were the fighters.
13 Q. [Microphone not activated]
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Tolimir, please.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Thank you. In the category of those of military age, does this
17 only include military conscripts or can somebody else be included in this
18 category once the general call-up has been issued?
19 A. Military-aged people can be engaged for the needs of the army but
20 need not necessarily be.
21 Q. Thank you. The president of the War Presidency in this decision
22 refers to certain sanctions. Were such sanctions envisaged and were they
23 actually carried out against anyone who did not abide by these provisions
24 or refused the call-up?
25 A. I don't remember any sanctions being levied. It's a small
1 environment and it was otherwise difficult to implement such sanctions.
2 I can only tell you that I do not recall any.
3 Q. Thank you. As the president of the Executive Board, were you
4 familiar with the then-regulation about general call-ups, whether the
5 Presidency actually had such sanctions in mind? What sanctions were
6 there in the existing legislation at the time?
7 A. Well, this paragraph of that decision invokes the then-regulation
8 which also included certain sanctions for refusing draft calls or
9 conscription with the army in case of war time activities. I believe
10 this is what they had in mind.
11 Q. Thank you. They probably had in mind the legislation in the
12 territory of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
13 A. I presume as much.
14 Q. Thank you. We see that he also made a decision that the
15 War Presidency remain in permanent session. What did he mean by that?
16 What did it mean to you, for example, as a member of the War Presidency?
17 A. As far as I remember, we were in permanent session anyhow. Out
18 of the standing members, perhaps I was the one who was present the most.
19 Colonel Palic for the most part did not attend such meetings because I
20 believe he was in the communications centre or at least I believe it to
21 be the case. We split the two functions, and I was in charge of UNPROFOR
22 relations in case there were any further talks. Most of my time was
23 spent in the building in the centre of Zepa where I had been before as
24 well. In the course of those few days, there was a lot of heavy shelling
25 and intensive military activities. I believe I went to see some people
1 in UNPROFOR a couple of times and I believe I was in touch to the extent
2 possible with the communications centre of the army. Civilian police
3 were also engaged in the defence of the town, but I'm afraid that is as
4 much as I can tell you speaking from memory.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I think it is time for the first
7 break. Is that convenient for you?
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I will
9 have only two more questions concerning this topic, but I can put them
10 after the break as well.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Then continue your questions through this topic.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Did the War Presidency, when the general call-up was put in
15 place, receive a new role and did the president of the Presidency receive
16 any additional competence or authority vis-a-vis other organs in the
18 A. Well, it should have been like that because a war time situation
19 should mean switching to a different mode of operation.
20 Q. Thank you. Does that mean that the War Presidency was the only
21 body authorised to decide on, say, trying to break out or to evacuate the
22 population or any other such activities within the demilitarised zone?
23 A. Well, they had that competence before as well. There were no
24 changes in that regard when the situation changed. That was the main
25 body authorised to make such decisions. This was the case earlier as
1 well, and in that situation the War Presidency was the body to make such
3 Q. Thank you.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I'd like
5 to thank all those who assisted us. I am finished with this topic and I
6 am about to move to the next one.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. We have to adjourn now and we will
8 resume 20 minutes past 4.00.
9 --- Recess taken at 3.50 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 4.24 p.m.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. In order to move to the next topic, I would like to have 1D269
15 admitted into evidence. Thank you.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be -- Mr. Thayer, would you comment on
17 this? Yes, please.
18 MR. THAYER: I do have a question, Mr. President. I'll say at
19 the outset, we have no objection to the admission of the document. It
20 just doesn't have any ERNs on it. It very well may have been disclosed
21 to the accused by the Office of the Prosecutor, but I don't see any ERNs.
22 It doesn't look familiar to me. There's some writing, as we can see,
23 that goes diagonally across the document which is unusual in my
24 experience. So my question is if we can have a little bit foundation as
25 to the source of the document. Again, no objection, but just some
1 foundation, because I don't recognise it, frankly. And as I said, we
2 could have disclosed it, and it's just not ringing a bell. But there's
3 no ERN, for example, on it.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
5 Mr. Thayer [sic], can you help the Chamber and the Prosecution --
6 oh, I misspoke again. Very sorry. I shouldn't mix up Mr. Thayer.
7 Mr. Tolimir. Mr. Tolimir, have you additional information for
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I do. This document was collected
10 during a court investigation of Mr. Mehmed Hajric before national courts.
11 It was admitted into evidence in the proceedings before a domestic court.
12 It was collected by domestic organs. This is the origin of the document.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And was it given to the Prosecution earlier?
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] My assistant is telling me that the
15 document is a public document. It was the result of an investigation.
16 If this does not suffice, we can ask for an official confirmation of
17 this, although I don't think it should be necessary since the document
18 seems to have been signed by Mr. Alija Izetbegovic and the witness
19 recognised his signature as such.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, one point I would like to mention is
21 it has number 1D269. Does that mean it was used by the Defence in
22 another case?
23 Mr. Thayer.
24 MR. THAYER: No, Mr. President. 1D269 is the Defence 65 ter
25 number assigned to it in this matter. This, as far as I know, was never
1 used in a prior case, otherwise we would see an ERN on it. We would see
2 other markings that would identify it as such. Again, I'm curious as to
3 which national jurisdiction we're talking about, what kind of proceeding
4 we're talking about, because I think the evidence is -- strongly suggests
5 that Mr. Hajric is dead as of August 1995. So I'm not sure what
6 proceedings we're talking about, this document being collected in
7 connection with this. If we could have just some information as to
8 whether we're talking about national proceedings in Serbia, in Bosnia,
9 you know, what -- we have no idea. Allegedly it's a public document, but
10 I have no idea in what forum or in what matter.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think it's a very important document,
12 Mr. Tolimir, and in order to understand it more properly and the context
13 of this document I would suggest that we mark it for identification and
14 you could provide the other party and the Chamber with more details about
15 the source and the background of this document. That would be helpful,
16 especially because we don't have a translation.
17 Mr. Tolimir.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. We will forward all
19 detail about the document. If you look at the document it says
20 Semir Halilovic across the page, and it also says state secret, which
21 attaches great importance to it. This document was part of an
22 investigation conducted against Semir Halilovic. We can ask the witness
23 perhaps if he's familiar with that name.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I truly don't know who this
25 Semir Halilovic is. The last name, Halilovic, is a last name one
1 encounters in Zepa, but Semir Halilovic is somebody I'm not familiar
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The document will be marked for identification
4 and we will decide about the admission after having received additional
5 information from the Defence.
6 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter 1D269 will be Exhibit D102 marked for
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Could we please have 1D275 on the screens. It is dated the 15th
11 of July, 1995, the title is: "Situation in Zepa." It was sent by
12 Mehmed Hajric to the president of the Presidency of Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina. The document reads:
14 "The War Presidency of the municipality of Zepa sent to the
15 Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina personally the
17 I would like to ask the witness to have a look at the document.
18 We can see here that there is a direct link established between the
19 War Presidency in Zepa and Mr. Alija Izetbegovic. It is stated:
20 "Today, as in the course of the previous few days, the aggressor
21 carried out artillery and infantry attacks."
22 The second paragraph:
23 "The aggressor keeps amassing manpower and equipment."
24 The third paragraph states that:
25 "There were contacts with Sarajevo UNPROFOR representatives
1 probably by packet radio."
2 The fourth paragraph:
3 "All human and technical resources are put at the disposal of the
5 The fifth paragraph:
6 "Work obligation and civil protection are at the disposal of the
7 Zepa Brigade."
8 Here it seems to be referring to the decision of the general
9 call-up. The next paragraph:
10 "Members of the public security station are placed at the front
11 lines together with the brigade."
12 We have a reference here of the police.
13 Next it says:
14 "We are carrying out a comprehensive operation of gathering
15 quality food for the fighters as well as blankets, et cetera."
16 Next he seems to be referring to the morale.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. My question is this: Did Mr. Hajric as president of the
19 War Presidency send such daily reports on a regular basis to
20 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic once the general call-up was declared after the
21 Presidency assumed the wider scope of authority in which it had powers to
22 decide on a number of extended issues?
23 A. This report was sent by the president of the War Presidency of
24 Zepa. This is the first time I see this document. For a while
25 Mr. Hajric was not present in the centre of Zepa. I think he was up in
1 the mountains where the communications centre was. I have no specific
2 comment to this. He probably put on paper what he was going through at
3 the time as well as the information he had at the time. When I look at
4 it, it doesn't seem to reflect the overall situation in full, but it's
5 just a report sent from Zepa to the president of the B&H Presidency,
6 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, personally.
7 Q. Thank you. Can you please look at paragraph 3 where he says that
8 he had established contact by mediation of UNPROFOR and its Sarajevo
9 sector and that he informed them about the situation. Can you tell us,
10 did you have frequent contacts with Sarajevo sector via UNPROFOR or was
11 that just occasioned by a specific need?
12 A. I think that in my previous testimony I said that I personally
13 had one meeting with -- I believe it was the commander of UNPROFOR for
14 Sarajevo sector. I know that he was a French officer, whether he was a
15 general or a person with a lower rank I don't know. So we communicated
16 through UNPROFOR communications system in Zepa, that was a radio
17 communications system, and I recall that I received a reply that this
18 general was only interested in UNPROFOR troops and that the solution
19 relating to Zepa was in the sphere of political decisions and that he
20 wouldn't want to become involved in that. This report is dated the 15th
21 of July and maybe he's confirming this contact with me, but I can here
22 confirm that I did have contact with this general in Sarajevo, or rather,
23 UNPROFOR commander for Sarajevo sector. This probably refers to this
24 communication that I have, and in this document it has been communicated
25 to the president of the Presidency, Alija Izetbegovic.
1 Q. Can you please explain us in more detail about this contact. Who
2 initiated it and what was the contents of this communication?
3 A. I believe that this contact was initiated by our side, possibly
4 by someone from the military command in Sarajevo, or rather, Kakanj to
5 the effect that we were asking for assistance or something like that. As
6 far as I can remember, that is what I already told you. We asked for
7 help in thwarting the Serbian attacks and the response I received, as I
8 said earlier, was that Sarajevo UNPROFOR was only interested in the
9 security and safety of UNPROFOR troops, whereas the solving of the
10 problem of Zepa was a political matter. This is as far as I can remember
11 as being highlighted in this conversation.
12 Q. Thank you. Can you please look at the next paragraph, which
14 "All manpower and materiel have been engaged for the defence and
15 the work obligation and the civilian protection were placed at the
16 disposal of the brigade."
17 My question is: Does that mean that all the people who were
18 capable of working were obliged to perform work on orders by the army
19 within the enclave?
20 A. Look, I don't remember all the details. I think that the
21 limiting factor for someone to be engaged by the army was weapons.
22 Therefore, it couldn't have applied to all the residents as potential
23 members of the army. So under such circumstances one should bear that in
24 mind. We have reports written by the president of the War Presidency,
25 and of course it has a certain form which as I said did not fully reflect
1 the true situation in Zepa but that was what was characteristic of such a
2 situation, and that's the nature of things. I have no special comment on
3 this. I know that members of the public security, that is to say the
4 civilian police, were manning the front lines and they were all armed.
5 Q. Thank you. The War Presidency says here that through its members
6 and its commissioners distributed to the people with --
7 THE INTERPRETER: Could the accused please repeat what he said.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Do you know who these representatives and commissioners were and
10 who was in charge of directing them?
11 A. I said that Mr. Hajric, during that period between the 15th and
12 the 20th, he -- we were not together for most of the time. I believe
13 that he was the one who organised this, but I don't know any details as
14 to how this was organised. I remember that after the meeting of the 13th
15 and the 14th, I saw Mr. Hajric perhaps once on the 20th, and I don't
16 remember seeing him later -- yes, I did see him on the 25th as well when
17 the evacuation started. But for the rest of the time, we were not
18 together. What I can read here is something that I don't remember and
19 I'm not even sure if I knew anything about that because at that time we
20 did not have any communications means. We were 4 to 5 kilometres apart.
21 Q. Thank you. Please, can you tell us what you were doing. You
22 were a member of the Executive Board. Did you have any specific
23 assignment after the call-up was declared and which activities you were
24 engaged in? Thank you.
25 A. I spent most of my time in the centre of Zepa, and I was in
1 charge of liaising with UNPROFOR. I remember that at times other members
2 of the War Presidency would come over and I received certain information
3 from them. For example, the chief of police told me about the situation
4 on the front lines that were under his control. Then Mr. Benjamin -- I
5 think he was the one with whom I talked most often, he spoke about the
6 wounded people, and since he was a local man he probably had a better
7 insight and more connections with the local population. And thanks to
8 that we discussed all these issues. But I don't remember any specific
9 things from that period, apart from the fact that I was in the centre of
10 Zepa and that I occasionally contacted with UNPROFOR and other members of
11 the War Presidency. This is what I can remember.
12 Q. Thank you. Please, you will certainly remember this. You may
13 have noticed that he's talking here about good-quality food and blankets
14 and things. Was the Executive Committee involved in any activities
15 relating to this and how these problems were solved on the front line?
16 A. No, I definitely wasn't involved in these activities. This was
17 probably taken care of by Mr. Hajric, if at all. In the centre of Zepa,
18 it was very dangerous for people to stay because it was constantly being
19 shelled, so if any such activities were being conducted that was
20 organised by Mr. Hajric. He probably had contacts with Colonel Palic,
21 who was stationed on the mountain, whereas I was down in the centre of
22 Zepa. And as I said, we did not have any means of communication so we
23 just heard stories by people who came to see us. That is what I can tell
24 you about providing materiel and other items to members of the military.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to offer this
2 document, 1D275, into evidence and then I would like document P124 to be
3 called up.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
5 MR. THAYER: No objection, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received -- no, sorry, it will be
7 marked for identification pending translation.
8 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter 1D275 will be Exhibit D103 marked for
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 Can we please now have Exhibit P124. Thank you. Here it is on
12 our screens. This is a document which speaks about the situation in
13 Zepa. It was sent at 1045 in the morning from Zepa by myself, and it
14 says "assistant commander Major-General Zdravko Tolimir." It was sent to
15 the Main Staff of the Drina Corps command, forward command post of the
16 Drina Corps and to the command of the 65th Protection Motorised Regiment.
17 So I am the author of this document and it reads in paragraph 1, and I
19 "On the 14th of July, 1995, at 0800 hours, a meeting was held
20 with Lieutenant-Colonel Dudnjik, commander of the Ukrainian unit in Zepa.
21 He informed us that the Muslim side had refused to come to a meeting
22 scheduled for 0900 hours. The reason they refused to come is that the
23 leadership from Sarajevo had not approved the evacuation from Zepa."
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. So I've read this first paragraph to you and my question is:
1 This information that in the morning hours was the reason for you not to
2 come to these negotiations and it has to do with the information that you
3 passed on to UNPROFOR?
4 A. I think that it was somebody else, whether the president of the
5 War Presidency or Colonel Palic, I don't remember. But we said maybe
6 that we were afraid, that we didn't feel safe, or maybe there was some
7 other reason, perhaps the one stated herein. I have no reason to suspect
8 that, but I would like to emphasise again that as far as I can remember
9 this information, which was called refusal of the conditions that had
10 been put forward for the evacuation of Zepa, were conveyed to Dudnjik on
11 the afternoon of the 13th. So maybe this was passed on to you on the
12 14th of July in the morning hours. I honestly don't remember which
13 reason was cited because I did not take part in drafting this final
15 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 2 you can see that it says the
17 "According to UNPROFOR information, the Muslim troops are at the
18 front line and the population took a refuge outside the inhabited places.
19 They are probably expecting our combat activities."
20 This was according to what UNPROFOR knew. My question is: Was
21 the information conveyed here correct and did you already know in the
22 morning that the population was outside of the inhabited place?
23 A. First of all, I don't know whether it is true or not that the
24 population immediately took refuge somewhere. I can confirm that later
25 on when combat activities became more fierce and when Zepa was attacked,
1 I know that the population living on the right-hand bank of the Zepa
2 river took to the mountains. But quite simply, I don't have enough
3 information. I don't know whether this happened specifically on the 14th
4 or in the days that followed.
5 Q. Please, can you tell us, was it easy to find these people who
6 took refuge from the right-hand river-bank, as you said, later on after
7 the 14th and can you briefly describe for the Trial Chamber how these
8 refugee places looked like, what was the terrain like, and what you know
9 about that?
10 A. As far as I know, the people from the right river-bank mainly
11 went to the Zepa mountain which is to the north of the centre of Zepa.
12 Whether up there they had some shelters or any other facilities I don't
13 know because I didn't go there at the time. It is possible that somebody
14 had some shelters, but apart from very few houses or small houses up
15 there, there was nothing else where people could be accommodated and
16 living normally. I assume that the majority of the population initially,
17 if they had relatives on the other side, went there first, and then right
18 before the fall of the Zepa they went to the mountain.
19 Q. I'm going to remind you of paragraph 6 in the statement you gave,
20 in which you say the following in line 2:
21 "In the spring of 1993, the local peasant provided shelter to
22 refugees. Later on, we were able to build wooden houses for those who
23 didn't have any places of residence. This was done in the area which
24 used to be an urban zone before the war."
25 If you remember your statement, I would like you to confirm
1 whether it's correct or not.
2 A. Yes, it's correct.
3 Q. Did you build these kind of houses on the Zepa mountain?
4 A. I cannot say that generally yes we did. There may have been some
5 facilities that were built, but most of them were built in the urban
6 quarters of Zepa, or rather, in the areas where there were already
7 settlements or farm-houses. I cannot say because I cannot remember
8 whether there were any such facilities, but, as I said, as far as I can
9 remember, most of these houses were built in the built-up part of Zepa.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer -- okay.
12 Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Witness, please tell us: What were the characteristic features
16 of the terrain in the area? Were there any natural features or any
17 elevations or anything of that sort?
18 A. As far as I can remember, that was a mountain plateau and some
19 areas were wooded where there were tall trees and there was also a
20 portion barren without any vegetation used by the people of Zepa to work
21 the land, or rather, they cut the grass there so that this mountain
22 plateau which was at an altitude of perhaps some or almost 1.000 metres
23 from the centre of Zepa. It was very rugged terrain and difficult to
24 reach. There was a road but people could not use their cars because
25 there was no fuel at the time to get there. They actually used mountain
1 paths and they walked up there. It was not very far in geographic terms,
2 but it was difficult to actually climb up to the plateau.
3 Q. [Microphone not activated]
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. For the record, my question was: How long would it take you to
7 get from the centre of Zepa to the plateau?
8 A. Well, I think it was probably at about an hour that you needed.
9 Of course for a person who was fit, physically fit, because it was rather
10 steep terrain, maybe it would take you a bit shorter. But approximately
11 it would take about an hour of very arduous climbing.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we now please see 1D258 in
14 e-court, 1D258. This is a document that we hope to get. Now we have it.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. This is a document sent to Zepa War Presidency,
17 Mr. Mehmed Hajric, by Brigadier-General Fikret Muslimovic. He was one of
18 the chiefs of departments in the Main Staff of the BH army. We see it
19 says there Brigadier-General Fikret Muslimovic, the press centre of the
20 BH army and he title of the document is: "Suggestions for radio
21 interview with international journalists in Germany."
22 Could we please now pull the document up a little bit. We see
23 that it is entitled "Suggestions." Now, if you would care to peruse this
24 document so I can put some questions to you. It says:
25 "In the free Zepa area today there is no house or apartment where
1 Serbs lived up to the war, and therefore there are no Serbs living here.
2 The aggressor's army cannot justify its actions as being aimed at
3 liberating somebody. Its military operation aims exclusively at
4 destroying the Bosniak Muslims.
5 "2. The UN and NATO cannot justify their inaction by claiming
6 that their UNPROFOR soldiers are under threat, since they are among our
7 people and have no physical contact with ...
8 "3. Ask for NATO strikes at specific targets of the
9 aggressor - the artillery and armoured equipment with an indication of
10 specific types and locations.
11 "4. Ask for deliveries by air of food, medicines, medical
12 supplies, clothes, and footwear."
13 And now could we move to page 2. Thank you. Thank you. We see
14 now page 2 and I won't read it. Perhaps you can read it to yourself. I
15 just want to refer you to the portion where he says what is to be
17 Could we also pull up page 2 in English, please.
18 [Microphone not activated]
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. We see a subtitle where it says:
22 "Things that should be avoided at all costs."
23 And then under 1:
24 "Do not mention the military formations in Zepa, Srebrenica, and
25 Gorazde ..."
1 Under number 2:
2 "Claim that everything that is done in the area by the army is
3 done by the people."
4 And 3:
5 "Do not mention any kind of evacuation under any circumstances."
6 I will stop here and my question is: These instructions, were
7 they bounding for all those who had contacts with representatives of the
8 international community or the press and who communicated with the media
9 because this is -- this has the form of instructions?
10 A. As far as I can recall, there were no official instructions
11 relating to those contacts, and in any case we did not really have
12 occasion to be in contact with anyone much. This is the first time that
13 I see this document, I'm not familiar with it, and I really can't comment
14 really on it. This was at about the time at hand the situation -- the
15 overall situation was as represented here. Mr. Hajric was probably
16 instructed what to say and these were bullet points which he was supposed
17 to used for those interviews. I don't know exactly when that was
18 supposed to be. And really, I can't comment on it. These three points
19 that are particularly stressed that should be avoided at all costs,
20 generally speaking as I explained during my testimony, the level of
21 military organisation and whether you could actually call it true
22 military organisation, at least what we had in Zepa, from this second
23 paragraph the suggestion here is that we shouldn't use the word "army,"
24 but that the people are mounting a defence. As for the third one, I
25 really can't say anything. I understand the first two because I know
1 what the situation was like at the time.
2 Q. Thank you. As a person who was the liaison person for UNPROFOR,
3 were you supposed to -- were you bound by these instructions and were you
4 supposed to act in accordance with them?
5 A. Well, I can't really recall that there were any special
6 instructions, that there was anything we should specifically bear in mind
7 because the UNPROFOR was on the ground and they were aware of the
8 situation. And as far as they were concerned, these instructions were
9 really quite unnecessary.
10 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us then why the army commands here
11 suggest that you should actually cover up the activities that are
12 conducted within the enclaves that were supposed to be demilitarised?
13 A. Well, yes, that's what that is a reference to.
14 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us whether in reality the
15 War Presidency and others did, in fact, conceal the fact that there was
16 military presence in Zepa from the media?
17 A. Well, I can't really recall. Most of this communication -- most
18 of these communications were actually done by the people at the top, and
19 whether they described the situation as it -- really it was or not, I
20 really don't know. We didn't have any communications with the CNN or the
21 BBC or whatever. We had no means of communication, so that I don't
22 remember that there were any such interviews. So these instructions
23 probably were meant for those who had the technical facilities to
24 actually convey the information about the situation in Zepa, but we did
25 not have them.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I seek to tender this document so
3 that we can move on to document 1D260. Thank you.
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you know the procedure of this
6 Chamber. The witness didn't identify this document. He was not in the
7 position to comment on the content, even not about similar orders from
8 the centre in Sarajevo, about presence of journalists in Zepa. So that I
9 think for this witness this document can't be admitted. We will mark it
10 for identification and you should think about tendering it with another
11 witness. It will be marked for identification.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Document 1D258 would be Exhibit D104 marked for
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please carry on.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Could we
16 now please pull up 1D260. Thank you.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. This is a letter sent from Avdo Palic, the commander of the Zepa
19 Brigade, and we see now the English version, sent to
20 Brigadier Asim Dzambasovic on the 16th of July, 1995. I would like to
21 refer you to line 10 where it says "UNPROFOR":
22 "We are disarming UNPROFOR in accordance with the directive
23 received earlier."
24 What directives is Avdo Palic referring here to and who was it
25 who issued those directives to disarm UNPROFOR?
1 A. I think I've already mentioned this in my earlier testimony
2 because it was mentioned in one of the other documents that were put to
3 me. As you know - and I've said this on numerous occasions - I did not
4 have access to any of these documents, so I can neither confirm nor deny
5 that there were indeed some activities undertaken. I don't know. But --
6 so I can only speculate whether Avdo Palic was the one who actually
7 developed that plan to disarm UNPROFOR, but in any case I don't know that
8 it ever actually happened that anything was -- any steps were taken to
9 disarm UNPROFOR that were later then taken over by the BH Army. That's
10 all I can say about this document.
11 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us who this document was sent
12 to. It says:
13 "Please forward this urgently to Dr. Heljic!!"
14 Do you know, and perhaps you can tell us who Dr. Heljic was and
15 did the directive perhaps come from him because he was communicating with
17 A. Well, officially this document was sent to
18 Brigadier Asim Dzambasovic personal, and then there is the remark and the
19 request to forward it to Dr. Heljic. Dr. Heljic was a man from Zepa, a
20 local man who lived and worked in Sarajevo and he organised the
21 activities to help Zepa in Sarajevo. So in a way he was the Zepa point
22 man in Sarajevo. So that's about it. I believe that Dr. Heljic still
23 resides in Sarajevo. He is a professor at the medical school of the
24 Sarajevo University, and Avdo, I know that, had direct contacts with
25 Becir. That's all I can say.
1 Q. Thank you. Since military questions are discussed here, did
2 Becir have any military role in the Sarajevo government or within the
4 A. As far as I know, he did not have any official functions, either
5 in the government or the Presidency of the then-Republic of Bosnia and
7 Q. Thank you. Was there a club or a caucus -- a Zepa caucus or a
8 club within the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo and did he
9 have any role in that?
10 A. Yes, I do -- it does seem to ring a bell. I think there was
11 something called a club of people from Zepa, and it was actually a club
12 where people from Zepa came. They conducted certain activities in order
13 to try and collect some aid for Zepa and they were actually trying to
14 organise assistance for Zepa. Now, whether this was some -- whether the
15 work entailed publishing information about the situation in Zepa in the
16 press or some other activities -- but in any case the president of
17 that -- the club of the people from Zepa was the professor, the
18 university professor, Dr. Heljic that we were discussing.
19 Q. I'm waiting for the transcript. Let's move to the next group of
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, before you do that, I would like to
22 ask the witness if he has any explanation what the following sentence in
23 this document we have on the screen means. Just a moment. The third
24 paragraph from the bottom:
25 "I received certain instructions earlier from you ... everything
1 is going according to plan."
2 Have you any explanation for such a sentence which should be
3 forwarded to Dr. Heljic?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Obviously -- well, I will try to
5 put together an explanation. Obviously this was not their first contact
6 between the two men. There is mention made here of certain instructions
7 I'm not familiar with, but apparently Avdo was supposed to follow the
8 plan. I don't know how though. It seems that there had been earlier
9 contacts where Avdo or Colonel Palic received certain instructions and he
10 is now saying that everything is going according to plan.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
12 Mr. Tolimir.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Whatever that means.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please have D260 admitted
15 into evidence.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Before we do that --
17 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] I would like to ask the Defence
18 to -- I would like to ask the Defence to give me just a few minutes to
19 figure something out. Before the document is admitted into file, I would
20 like to ask a question.
21 Sir, this document seems to be a telegram. There is no
22 signature. We don't know if it's an original or a copy. What can you
23 tell us about it? Is it normal to have a document without a signature?
24 Was this something that was regular practice at the time?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All documents which were sent or
1 received by the communications centre in Zepa do not have a signature.
2 None of them could have a signature because they used the following
3 principle in terms of that communication. A text is typed out as if in a
4 computer, and then it is encrypted and sent by radio communication to
5 reception point where they print out the received encrypted message
6 without the code. So this is not an original, hence it cannot be signed.
7 No sent or received document by the centre in Zepa can have an original
9 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The document will be received.
11 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D105.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Q. In the transcript of the 24th of August, this year, at page 4343,
15 line 19, to page 4344, line 5, you said the following, and I quote:
16 "The attack continued. The lines of defence did not move. As
17 far as I recall, as long as the 19th of July, 1995, the situation
18 remained as such. On that day the Serb attack ceased. There was a lull.
19 What followed was a new imitation through UNPROFOR to conduct talks at
20 check-point 2 in Boksanica. I want to point out another thing. At that
21 time, we had frequent contacts with the military and political leadership
22 in Sarajevo. We never received a clear answer as to what needed to be
23 done to preserve Zepa. That is why we realised that it was all up to us
24 and that we were left to our own devices. There was no other way out, no
25 other possibility. There was no one we could expect help from."
1 First of all, have I quoted you correctly?
2 A. Yes, you have.
3 Q. Based on what I have just read out, can you tell us who you were
4 in contact with when you say the political and military leadership and
5 what answers or responses did you receive in Zepa from Sarajevo and
7 A. What I said has to do with the information I received verbally
8 from individual members of the War Presidency. This did not happen
9 frequently, though. Until or before the 19th of July, I never directly
10 communicated with either Sarajevo or Kakanj. What I said here is based
11 on the information I received from other War Presidency members which I
12 occasionally received either by directly contacting them or by way of
13 information which eventually reached me. Before the 19th I was never in
14 direct contact with Sarajevo.
15 Q. Thank you. The next question: In the quote you say that you
16 never received a clear answer of Sarajevo. Can you clarify this for us?
17 A. In such a situation a clear answer to us would mean knowing what
18 was supposed to have been done either to defend Zepa to avoid its fall or
19 what the people were supposed to have been doing once Zepa fell. So
20 whether Zepa could be assisted militarily so as to avoid its fall,
21 whether it would be done by the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina doing some
22 specific things, or another response could have been: The army's unable
23 to help you but NATO will intervene in order to stop the Serbs from
24 carrying out their attacks. This could have been one of the answers we
25 expected, although we were quite aware that both these outcomes were
1 unrealistic at the time; hence, the question of what needed to be done
2 after Zepa fell remained. For example, that the civilians be brought to
3 the centre of Zepa and what had to be done with the soldiers. That would
4 have been a clear answer which we had not received.
5 Q. Thank you. [Microphone not activated]
6 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Given that an order arrived from Sarajevo to the War Presidency
9 to put up resistance and to defend Zepa at any cost and that the
10 War Presidency also carried out the general mobilisation, did you not
11 expect an answer from them on how exactly to put up your defence, given
12 that there was a disbalance of forces? Was that also an answer you
14 A. Well, most probably. I don't know whether it was openly
15 discussed with the military leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but it
16 was clear to all of us - and I seem to be repeating myself - that in
17 military terms it was only a matter of time when Zepa would fall. It was
18 only a matter of time for how long we could defend ourselves because it
19 was clear to all of us that it was impossible to defend it for a lengthy
20 period. As for the rest of the communication with the military
21 leadership, some of it I wasn't aware of, for example these documents I
22 see for the first time. They seem to have this standard non-committal
23 approach of: Yes, do go on fighting, et cetera. But it was clear to us
24 that in military terms we could not defend ourselves without help from
1 Q. In the transcript of the 24th of August, at page 2021 --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 2010.
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
4 Q. -- to page 6352, line 2, you say the following -- it is page
5 4351, line 24, actually. I quote:
6 "I wanted to stress yet again that in Zepa at that time,
7 especially after the 20th, staying in Zepa was not a realistic option and
8 no one took it seriously. We were all aware that Zepa had to be
10 Based on what you said, please clarify, did you consider the
11 issue of remaining in Zepa before the 20th or after the 20th at any
12 level, be it inside the enclave or in Sarajevo where the central
13 authorities were, and was it considered as a realistic option?
14 A. You quoted my words. Concerning the activities in Zepa, I
15 repeat, I was not familiar with that. Perhaps I was in the margins when
16 it came to that. I am also unaware of any instructions by the political
17 authorities in Sarajevo. In any case, on the 19th and the 20th, the
18 situation was very tense, difficult, it was a war time situation. And as
19 far as I know - and I stand by what I said previously - the situation was
20 such that no one considered the possibility of remaining in Zepa any
22 Q. Thank you. In your statement and in your testimony today and
23 earlier, you said on a number of occasions the following. I quote:
24 "The only true support we could have hoped for was that the
25 international community ordered the Serbs to stop. It was only a matter
1 of time when Zepa would fall. We wanted to have a decision made on how
2 to resolve the situation."
3 This is directly connected to my previous question. Did Sarajevo
4 have in mind such a realistic assessment of the situation as you did, and
5 did you ever discuss that with anyone from the army or the state
7 A. I did not attend any such discussions where this was said.
8 Whether it was clear to those in the political and military circles in
9 Sarajevo is something that is difficult to say, but logically speaking it
10 should have occurred to me, especially after the fall of Srebrenica which
11 had six times more inhabitants as well as fighters. From the military
12 point of view, Zepa could not defend itself. Such discussions where I
13 was present, for example, with Mr. Alija Izetbegovic on two occasions,
14 did not have that on the agenda. We discussed operational things which
15 had to do with the current situation. When I say that, I have in mind
16 the discussions after the 19th and the 24th of July. We discussed then
17 if we surrendered what the Serbs would do, et cetera. I believe I
18 referred to some such documents in my previous testimony.
19 Q. Thank you. Were you ever promised any assistance? You were told
20 to defend yourselves, but were you ever promised any assistance by the
21 state leadership which told you to put up a fight?
22 A. I'm not certain whether Mr. Palic received some instructions or
23 promises of help, and even if he had, I don't know what those promises
24 could have entailed. At least in the direct contacts I had, which was
25 rather late, I never had anything promised to me on what would be done to
1 help Zepa. Although, as I say, I don't know whether Colonel Palic did
2 have some promises made to him. This is a military matter.
3 Q. Thank you. Why did you interrupt the talks between the 13th and
4 the 19th, when they were again picked up by Mladic over the phone? Was
5 it because you received some other instructions from Sarajevo or were you
6 hoping for some international assistance? Did you interrupt the talks we
7 initiated on the 13th for that reason?
8 A. All I can say is that that was not a sole reason. It might be a
9 combination of two things. One was a negative reply from Sarajevo on the
10 one hand, and on the other, there was fear of whether everything was
11 going to happen as it had been presented in the document that you have
12 shown us, that is, the report of the 13th of July from Boksanica. I
13 believe from that point on the 13th, these two issues were combined. As
14 I said, there was fear and it was further enhanced by the document that
15 came from Sarajevo. So this is how I perceived the situation in Zepa on
16 the 13th.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 Can we please have on our screens your statement. Can I have the
19 number, please. It's 1D248. And let's go to page 6, paragraph 4, lines
20 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13th, that is to say from line 8 through to line
21 13th. So page 6, fourth paragraph, and that's actually the end of that
22 paragraph, the last five lines.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think this document should not be broadcast for
24 the sake of the safety of the witness.
25 Please carry on.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Microphone not activated]
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. But on
4 this specific page there is no mention of the witness's name or any
5 activities that he was involved.
6 Can we please look at page 6, paragraph 4, and we have seen this
7 page before.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: There seems to be no reason not to broadcast it.
9 Please carry on.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Can you please look at the fourth paragraph which begins:
13 "At that time ..."
14 And I'm going to read the last sentences:
15 "The only support that we could have hoped was for the
16 international community to order the Serbs to stop. It was only a matter
17 of time when the fall would occur. We wanted to have enough time on the
18 decision how to resolve the situation."
19 That's the next page in English.
20 "Our concern was how to have the population get out from the area
21 alive. I was very much aware that Zepa would fall."
22 Thank you. Have I cited this correctly, what you said on page 6?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Now, my next question is: Did you know about this or did the
25 War Presidency have this kind of assessment prior to the talks with
1 General Mladic that would follow at Boksanica?
2 A. Yes, we did. Yes. My answer is: Yes.
3 Q. Thank you. At the time, was the only concern of the
4 War Presidency how to get the population out alive?
5 A. Let me just add that when I say "the population" in this specific
6 context, I include the able-bodied persons as well.
7 Q. So the entire population?
8 A. Yes, the entire population.
9 Q. Let us now move to the topic of the talks with Mladic that you
10 and Palic conducted over the phone. You remember that, that you talked
11 with General Mladic on the phone?
12 A. That was erased from my memory, but after I have seen the footage
13 provided by the Prosecution, I remember that Avdo and I were there. And
14 I also think that Dr. Benjamin Kulovac was present too. So at least the
15 three of us were there. There may have been someone from the
16 War Presidency as well, but I can confirm that in the communications
17 centre of UNPROFOR in Zepa the three of us were present there.
18 Q. Thank you. I'm not going to ask you about the contents of the
19 talks because it is hard to remember. All I'm asking you is: How did it
20 come about that an agreement was reached and that you came for a new
21 round of talks again? Was that decision made by the War Presidency?
22 A. I believe so. I think that the majority of War Presidency
23 members came who were physically able to come, and we contemplated this
24 idea even before, that is to say what to do under the circumstances. And
25 I would say that that is a follow-up of the answer that I gave in the
1 statement that you quoted. If my memory serves me well, suddenly the
2 stops and the shelling stopped on the 19th, and a kind of eerie silence
3 set in. This was followed by an invitation of UNPROFOR to come and hold
4 talks. I don't know whether General Mladic or you or some other officers
5 from the Army of Republika Srpska were mentioned in that context.
6 Q. Thank you. Please, can you tell us, before you arrived at
7 Boksanica to have talks with Mladic, did the War Presidency authorise you
8 to negotiate the evacuation of the entire population and the entire army?
9 A. I clearly remember that as far as the civilian population was
10 concerned, we already knew at that point that there was no other way out.
11 However, as far as the military is concerned I would like to say that at
12 that time there was no authority capable of, for example, ordering every
13 single soldier to go and surrender themselves to UNPROFOR, and least of
14 all to the Army of Republika Srpska. I'm talking about any authority,
15 not in Zepa alone, but in Bosnia in general because that was a struggle
16 to survive because people believed once they surrendered themselves to
17 the Serbs they wouldn't survive. That is how it was. We had already
18 agreed to try and to make arrangements for the civilian population to get
19 out and then to see how to resolve the issue of able-bodied men. I don't
20 know and I don't remember whether before the 19th any talks were being
21 held with Sarajevo concerning the exchange which later featured in all
22 these talks that involved the exchange of all captured Serbian soldier
23 for the able-bodied men of Zepa or if that idea maybe came up after the
24 talks held on the 19th of July. So on the 19th, we already had an
25 agreement among ourselves to try and reach an agreement with the other
1 side concerning the evacuation of civilians. And as for the military, we
2 wanted to wait to see how the Serbian side perceived that matter. And I
3 would like to say that on that day when we went to attend these
4 negotiations, the defence lines in Zepa were still stable, that is to say
5 that none of the key points had fallen.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we please now look at the
8 footage that we saw on the 24th of July of this year, this is 06417,
9 page 13.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Before we do that, Judge Nyambe would like to put
11 a question to the witness.
12 JUDGE NYAMBE: I think in view of the question that the accused
13 wants to put, maybe I better wait. I might have my answer in the
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think that would take some time to deal with
16 this footage. We must have our second break now and come back to that
18 We adjourn and resume quarter past 6.00.
19 --- Recess taken at 5.47 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 6.18 p.m.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Since we
23 have little time left, I would like this video footage to be played
24 immediately. There are two segments in it, and then based on that I'm
25 going to ask the witness a number of questions. Therefore, can we please
1 have the transcript of the video that we saw on the 24th of July, this
2 year, that's 65 ter 06417, page 3 -- 13, and this conversation took place
3 at a meeting of the 19th of July, 1995, in Zepa. Thank you. Can we
4 please play the video.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The booths do not have the
6 transcript of the audio recording that accompanies the video.
7 [Video-clip played]
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I ask you, Mr. Tolimir, what is the purpose
9 to see that again? We have seen it with this witness already and we know
10 about that. I think it -- my question is only how to use the court time.
11 What is the purpose of this?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to see the original
13 statements by those who participated in this conversation, and then I'm
14 going to ask some questions regarding that.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: But you can't hear any original statement on that
16 video. This is a problem. If you want to see the transcript, you should
17 call up the transcript rather than the video.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Last
19 time we saw this video. This is Prosecutor's number 06417, but there is
20 no sound. I don't know what the problem is.
21 Because when we saw this footage before, there was sound. No
23 Obviously this is worthless because we have these technical
24 problems. We're going to show this material tomorrow. I'm going to ask
25 the questions now and I hope that the witness will be able to see it
1 tomorrow if we cannot see it now.
2 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, all these video-clips
3 are perfectly operable on all the computers, especially this one. So
4 last night I spent nearly an hour checking each and every frame.
5 Obviously there is something wrong with the sound system in this
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: That may be the case, especially because we had
8 some technical problems at the outset of today's hearing, but it's not
9 worth to continue with this video without sound, I think. Please discuss
10 the problem with your client.
11 [Defence counsel confer]
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I have
13 already proposed that we postpone the viewing for tomorrow. I will put a
14 few questions to the witness, hoping that he will be able to recall some
15 of the things in the footage, and by tomorrow we hope to have it right.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Before you do that, Mr. Thayer.
17 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, we can throw the dice a little bit
18 and try to play it off of the CD that we had to resort to in the
19 Prosecution's examination-in-chief. We encountered some similar
20 audibility problems and then we regained it when we ran it off the CD.
21 So if we have the times or if someone can give us the times, Ms. Stewart
22 can try to run it off the CD right now and see how that works.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I recall that at the beginning of your -- or
24 during your examination-in-chief, we had really the same problems.
25 MR. THAYER: Precisely.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, Mr. Gajic, would you accept this
2 proposal by Mr. Thayer?
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. If we
4 could go straight ahead, then that is fine. Otherwise I'll be left with
5 less than 30 minutes. Perhaps I may be allowed to continue with the
6 questions and once we have it in court, we'll view the footage.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: [Previous translation continues]... proposal you
8 should proceed like that.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Do you recall the beginning of the conversation when you and
11 Kulovac arrived at the location to General Mladic, escorted by the man
12 with a moustache?
13 A. Yes. It refreshed my memory to see the footage a few days ago.
14 Q. Kulovac said that you were his senior. I don't know whether this
15 should be broadcast publicly, but were you indeed Kulovac's senior in
16 terms of position?
17 A. Well, I'm trying to recall what his position was. He was also a
18 War Presidency member. In terms of hierarchy at that moment, it was so;
19 however, one must bear in mind that Mr. Kulovac was a local and he had
20 more influence over the local population, irrespective of my position
21 which may have seemed senior.
22 Q. Thank you. When you viewed the footage, do you recall Kulovac
23 saying first, and I quote:
24 "We decided that the entire population leave Zepa."
25 That was at the very beginning.
1 A. Well, looking at the subtitles, you seem to be right.
2 Q. Then in the 26th minute of the footage, following his remark
3 about hierarchy, you say that you had agreed that the entire population
4 should leave Zepa?
5 A. I think that's what it says. If I did say that, then that's the
7 Q. Following that, when you said that, General Mladic slowly,
8 without any pressure, addressed you. He was explaining the sequence of
9 the evacuation. Do you recall that from the footage?
10 A. Yes. Whatever's in the footage is what happened. There's
11 nothing to add or take away. You can hear it clearly.
12 Q. I'm only interested in this: Did both you and Kulovac arrive
13 there with the position accorded to you by the War Presidency?
14 A. Yes, this was arranged before our departure from Zepa and it
15 refreshed my memory to see the footage and remember all the details.
16 Q. Can we take this decision as a serious one, since you presented
17 it as the people representing their population in the talks, or was it
18 just a ploy or a tactical move?
19 A. This was no tactical move when we're discussing civilians. We
20 were, however, interested in the other category, which is the able-bodied
21 men. Our position was that the evacuation of civilians should take
22 place. As for the surrender of the army, I think I saw Benjamin say that
23 we had agreed on something, although I think that at that point in time
24 the situation of surrender was not clearly decided upon.
25 Q. Can you tell the Chamber what it was that Benjamin said that you
1 referred to?
2 A. As far as I could read the English subtitles -- well, of course
3 this can be checked. I think General Mladic asked that the army
4 surrender, and I think Benjamin said something to the effect, "Yes, they
5 will." But before I comment on anything further, I want to see the
6 footage with the audio, so as to be able to recognise the voices.
7 Q. Could we next have 1D273, which is the transcript of the video,
8 since it is of importance.
9 [Video-clip played]
10 THE ACCUSED: [Microphone not activated]
11 [Interpretation] Could we please have the transcript 1D273. We
12 have it now.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Since we don't have it in English, I will read out the Serb
15 version. Ratko Mladic is asking those present:
16 "Is there anyone who wishes to stay?"
17 Benjamin Kulovac says:
18 "This is what I wanted to tell you, there are some interested in
20 Benjamin Kulovac says:
21 "What we know for now is that this includes about ten whole
22 families; however, I personally think that that number could be even
24 Ratko Mladic says:
25 "Are you ready to surrender your weapons?"
1 Benjamin Kulovac says:
2 "Yes, we are."
3 [Microphone not activated]
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. I think this was the part of the conversation you wanted to see
7 to comment. Could you please now comment on Benjamin's statement when he
8 says "yes, we are," he obviously meant both the civilians and the army.
9 A. The first part of the conversation between General Ratko Mladic
10 and Mr. Benjamin Kulovac about those who wished to stay -- well, I don't
11 know whether Benjamin told me anything about that before the meeting, but
12 obviously an option was considered for some to stay. As for the
13 surrender of weapons, to tell you the truth I do remember that, or
14 rather, I recall that following the footage being shown last week. I
15 cannot remember, though, that anything was specifically arranged in Zepa
16 about the army being willing to surrender their weapons. This could not
17 have been decided upon without Colonel Palic. Otherwise, whatever we
18 said would be worthless.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I was told that the video would now
20 be ready to be played with audio, but perhaps it's too late now to start
21 with that.
22 Mr. Gajic.
23 [Defence counsel confer]
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. My
25 assistant is telling me that it will only take half a minute or a minute,
1 but before that, I have another question of the witness.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Given that this was uttered by one of those participating in the
4 talks when he answered Mladic's question, he said, "Yes, we are ready."
5 Then was it not reasonable of Mladic to ask later on that the weapons be
6 surrendered in the sequence of events?
7 A. Well, one would think so.
8 Q. Thank you, sir. We will now see the footage.
9 [Video-clip played]
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. We heard Benjamin say, "Yes, we are ready." Based on what we saw
13 and what we heard from the transcript, was it not a clear indication to
14 the other side, to Mr. Mladic, of the willingness of your Presidency to
15 surrender weapons?
16 A. Yes, although, as I tell you, I don't remember having made that
17 decision back in Zepa prior to meeting. Of course I speak from memory,
18 but if one of the people officially participating in the talks said that,
19 then that must have been the position.
20 Q. Tomorrow, since we'll have more time, we'll see the rest of that
21 footage and we will see that General Mladic calmly - at times even
22 quietly - speaks of the plan for the surrender of weapons and departure
23 of civilians. He was addressing the sequence of the procedure which was
24 then put into the agreement; is that correct?
25 A. Yes, it is -- well, perhaps we should wait to see the sequence
1 tomorrow, but as far as I remember and from what I could see in the
2 footage, this was so.
3 Q. Thank you. Was Benjamin pressured in any way to say that it was
4 decided that everyone should leave and that the army should surrender
5 their weapons or was it simply not an answer of his to a very simple
7 A. As regards the civilian population, there was a clear arrangement
8 and a clear decision. As for the weapons, I have to put a hedge. As I
9 said, I don't remember any prior arrangements for the surrender of
10 weapons. To tell you yet again, there was no authority in Zepa which
11 could have secured the implementation of such a decision.
12 Q. Thank you. We still see the footage and General Mladic asked,
13 "Are you ready to surrender your weapons?"
14 And Benjamin Kulovac said:
15 "Yes, we are."
16 Was there any pressure put on Mr. Kulovac or was he completely
17 free to say that?
18 A. Well, you can all see it in the footage. There's nothing for me
19 to say. It is as it is. What does it mean, "pressure"? The whole
20 situation is -- amounts to pressure.
21 Q. Well, I did not have that in mind. During examination-in-chief,
22 there were implications that you had to sign the agreement under
23 pressure, but here we see him saying that the army was ready to hand-over
24 weapons. It means that they were accepting the conditions of surrender
25 and it was only logical that Mladic would spell out the sequence of
1 events following that and the movement through the territory of the RS.
2 A. Well, yes, that was the basis for what followed.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 Could we please have in e-court your statement which is 1D248,
5 page 8, paragraph 1, lines 4 and 5. Paragraph 1, lines 4 and 5, page 8
6 of your statement in the Serbian. This is the English one. I will
8 "Then I returned to Zepa where we agreed that we should start
9 with the evacuation of civilians."
10 That is in the first paragraph.
11 "Then we returned to Zepa where we agreed that we should start
12 the evacuation. In the meantime, the Serbs attacked again," et cetera,
13 et cetera.
14 "However, we were unable to contact them any further through
16 A. What paragraph?
17 Q. The first paragraph.
18 "Then I returned to Zepa, where we agreed that we should start
19 with the evacuation."
20 The same is in the English version.
21 A. I found it. I read it.
22 Q. Yes.
23 "At the check-point, the Serbs had asked me to get in touch with
24 Avdo Palic to stop our alleged provocations. However, I could not make
25 contact with him with the UNPROFOR communication."
1 Have I quoted this correctly?
2 A. You have.
3 Q. My question is this then: Did anyone among the members of the
4 War Presidency object to the plan of evacuation? You, yourself, say that
5 on your return you agreed to start the evacuation the next day. Was
6 there anyone in the War Presidency who was against it?
7 A. No. I do have a remark, though. May I continue? The footage
8 and this part of my statement do not correspond. The footage reflects
9 the first meeting with General Mladic on the 19th of July, whereas this
10 part of the statement is about the meeting I attended alone, when the
11 agreement was signed on the 24th. I don't know whether you're making a
12 direct link between the two or are these two things completely apart? So
13 the footage is the meeting of the 19th of July where Benjamin Kulovac was
14 present as well on the Bosnian side. And this part of the statement you
15 quoted has to do with the events following my arrival at the meeting
16 alone when the agreement was signed on the 24th, that is to say five days
17 later. This is just what I wanted to tell you.
18 Q. This is exactly what I wanted to ask you. Both on the 19th and
19 on the 24th, you on the War Presidency had this decision ready made that
20 you mention in the statement, that is to say that we had agreed to start
21 evacuation; is that correct?
22 A. Yes, it is.
23 Q. So was there any pressure on both meetings vis-a-vis evacuation
24 if you already had adopted that position?
25 A. I'm talking about the evacuation of the civilian population, and
1 we reached a decision on that only. And in that respect there was no
2 pressure. I mean, the whole situation was totally clear to us and that
3 is what we agreed in Zepa.
4 Q. Thank you. We are going to talk about this issue of civilian
5 population. In paragraph 2, line 2, you say:
6 "During the night of the 24th and 25th July, we informed the
7 population about the agreement that we had reached. As the hospital with
8 those who were seriously wounded were not in the centre of Zepa, we went
9 to prepare them for the evacuation. On the morning of the 25th of July,
10 the Serb representatives, headed by Tolimir, came to the centre of Zepa.
11 He was accompanied by some low-ranking officers. I do remember that ICRC
12 representatives also arrived at Zepa to monitor the evacuation. I
13 believe there were some French UNPROFOR officers arriving as well. At
14 the meeting that morning we agreed on the technical issues regarding the
16 Have I quoted this correctly?
17 A. Yes, you have.
18 Q. Tell me, was there any resistance on the part of the population
19 when you informed them on the night between the 24th and the 25th about
20 the evacuation and how they reacted?
21 A. I personally did not take part in this process, therefore I
22 cannot offer you any details. All I can tell you is I can describe the
23 atmosphere that prevailed and I testified to that earlier. People were
24 afraid, bordering on panic, and I believe that the first day of
25 evacuation, the number -- or actually, this began rather cautiously,
1 which means that a relatively small number of the inhabitants of Zepa
2 were evacuated on that day. Later, after we had received some feedback
3 information to the effect that the convoys had reached their destination
4 without any problems, on the second day the majority of the population
5 came to the centre of Zepa.
6 Q. Thank you. You already answered the question that I wanted to
7 ask you. So once the wounded had arrived, the certainty became stronger
8 and it demonstrated that the Serbian side had fulfilled their obligation
9 concerning the wounded?
10 A. Yes. I already responded to that question. As I told you, the
11 following day, that is, on the 26th of July, a large number of Zepa
12 residents arrived.
13 Q. On the 26th of July, the inhabitants gathered in Zepa, whereas
14 the soldiers were leaving Zepa and going to Mount Zepa. Is that correct
15 interpretation of the situation?
16 A. Yes, precisely. Quite a few members of the military also came to
17 the centre of Zepa to see their families off.
18 Q. Thank you. Speaking about this particular issue, was this
19 evacuation organised and were the lists compiled by members of the
20 War Presidency and others who were helping Zepa without any interference
21 from the Army of Republika Srpska? They were only there to guarantee
22 with their presence their safety; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, these lists were compiled by representatives of Zepa. I
24 don't know. Mehmed Hajric was involved in that process for a period of
25 time, if I remember correctly.
1 Q. Yes, you remember correctly. There was Mehmed Hajric and there
2 was civilian defence representative Mr. Imamovic. Now, was anyone
3 removed from the bus transporting the civilians from Zepa to the
4 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that included the wounded? Was
5 anyone taken off the buses?
6 A. Not up until that time, and there was no harassment either. And
7 the last bus had about 40 people on board.
8 Q. Thank you. Can you please look at page 8 now, the fifth
9 paragraph, line 5.
10 A. Paragraph 5, line 5.
11 Q. We can see it now. Can you read it? This is in this long
12 paragraph which begins: "In Zepa ...," and it says here Mladic was quite
13 benevolent towards me. Do you see that?
14 A. Yes, I do.
15 Q. Is that how you felt about Mladic's attitude towards you
16 throughout your stay?
17 A. Well, I mentioned that on several occasions and in a number of my
19 Q. Does that mean that he did not exert any pressure on you, as was
20 stated in examination-in-chief? Was he fair?
21 A. I explained that all the way through to the afternoon of the 27th
22 of July, his attitude was fair, there was no pressure in terms of
23 surrender of the military and the like.
24 Q. Thank you. We are going to continue tomorrow our conversation
25 about this subject that you mentioned involving these buses and your
1 arrest. I would only like to accentuate what was relevant.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now see 1D277. It's a
3 letter written by Alija Izetbegovic to Efendi Mehmed Hajric. Thank you.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. We shall have enough time just to look at this document, and this
6 is what he says Mehmed Hajric, the president of the War Presidency, in
7 this letter. And I quote:
8 "After today's letter signed by Hajric and Palic, I believe that
9 we must prepare a plan for the withdrawal from Zepa. The plan shall be a
10 reserve option. The first option is to continue the resistance, and the
11 moment when this is going to be implemented will depend on the
12 development of the situation, but nevertheless the plan has to be in
13 place. We must try to save the people and the army if possible. The
14 withdrawal should be conducted in an organised manner and the only way is
15 to use the paths through the forest that we used before for
16 communications. The pullout plan, pending your approval, shall be made
17 by Commander Palic. There should be several groups. Elements of the
18 army should remain on positions and some should accompany the column.
19 Dr. Heljic believes that about 10 per cent of the population will stay
20 behind because they did not want or were unable to leave. I propose that
21 UNPROFOR remains with them as a sort of protection. From our side, from
22 the direction of Kladanj, they should be met by elements of the military
23 equalling a brigade, the 1st Podrinje Brigade, if possible. We would
24 need good guides for both sides."
25 And they are mentioning here Nuno Krluc and Cardakovic on our
1 side, and Palic will know who to choose from their side. But we would
2 need a number of them.
3 "It seems that this is a matter of hours, not days, unless this
4 is an issue of psychology, please tell me urgent what you think.
5 "The people of Zepa, Dr. Heljic and others, are offering to come
6 there to help you with the implementation of the plan. I think that they
7 can be of assistance, particularly with receiving about 5- to 6.000
9 "I pray to God that we will manage to defend Zepa and that this
10 plan will not remain on paper only."
11 My next question based on this letter is: Does this letter speak
12 about a peaceful solution or does this describe a plan for the
13 breakthrough to be made by the army and about the army securing the
14 column? And were you familiar and aware of this letter at the time when
15 all of this was happening?
16 A. As I see this letter, it reflects total ignorance about the
17 situation that prevailed in Zepa at the moment. Secondly, I heard about
18 this letter from the president of the Presidency, which means that I
19 didn't have an opportunity to actually read it. And I think that the
20 joint position of the War Presidency was that this was unfeasible, that
21 this plan could not be implemented, and that we shouldn't do any --
22 anything further along the lines of these instructions or whatever you
23 prefer to call them. Because to try to make a breakthrough and to
24 pullout people from Zepa, I think that was an impossible mission at that
25 point in time.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, before you get the floor, this letter
2 seems to be from the 18th of July, 1995, what we can see on this document
3 on the bottom.
4 Mr. Thayer.
5 MR. THAYER: Just a quick clarification, Mr. President. At
6 line 12 of page 79, the transcript reflects the following in the answer:
7 "Secondly, I heard about this letter from the president of the
8 Presidency, which means that I didn't have an opportunity to actually
9 read it."
10 I just want to make sure we're using the precise terms. We have
11 the president of the Presidency, Mr. Izetbegovic, sitting in Sarajevo; we
12 have the president of the War Presidency, Mr. Hajric, in Zepa. I just
13 want to make sure we understand which president we're talking about here.
14 That's all.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Would you please clarify.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise. I wasn't precise. I
17 was referring to the president of the War Presidency of Zepa,
18 Mr. Mehmed Hajric. So this is what I heard from him, that there was some
19 kind of instruction that came from Sarajevo to try and breakthrough along
20 side women and children, et cetera.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
22 Mr. Tolimir.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you,
24 Mr. President.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. This was written on the 18th of July at the time when meetings
2 were being held at the Boksanica check-point; is that correct?
3 A. The meeting was held on the 19th and this was written on the day
4 before. I don't know when Mr. Mehmed Hajric received it, whether on the
5 same day, the 18th of July, or maybe the next day. But anyway, the
6 document is dated the 18th of July, which is one day before the meeting,
7 the first meeting, with General Mladic.
8 Q. My question is: You knew -- or did you know about this document
9 that was held on the 20th of July --
10 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters are not sure which date was
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot be very precise. I cannot
13 rely on my memory because I don't remember having any contacts before the
14 19th. I know that on the evening of the 19th, after the meeting, just
15 like all the other members of the War Presidency, we all met with the
16 War Presidency president, Mr. Hajric. But obviously this document and
17 the instructions contained therein have not been taken seriously by
18 anyone in Zepa.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, could you perhaps continue tomorrow
20 morning? We have reached the end of today's sitting.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 Can we please have 1D277 admitted into evidence, and then later
23 we are going to look at another document which confirms the activities
24 described in this letter.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The document will be received -- will be marked
1 for identification pending translation.
2 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D106 marked for identification.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to thank the witness
4 and the interpreters and everybody who helped, including the Prosecution.
5 The Defence will continue tomorrow and will try to be more efficient.
6 Thank you.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
8 We have to adjourn now, and again you have to come back. But I
9 think more and more we are approaching the end of your evidence. We
10 adjourn and resume tomorrow at 9.00 in Courtroom III.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.02 p.m.,
12 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 1st day of
13 September, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.