1 Tuesday, 2 November 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 listening and watching to us. We have a delayed start because of some
7 transportation problems of the Dutch police, as I was told. At the
8 outset, I would like to raise two procedural matters.
9 The first is an oral decision. The Chamber wishes to return to
10 the pending issue concerning the admission into evidence of document 65
11 ter 03484, an intercepted communication dated 19th of July, 1995,
12 between a certain person named X and Milovanovic. This intercept was
13 used by the Prosecution during its re-examination of the witness
14 Erin Gallagher last Friday the 29th of October.
15 The Chamber reviewed this intercept, the witness's testimony as a
16 whole, as well as the examination of both parties. The majority, with
17 Judge Nyambe dissenting, is satisfied that it is prima facie relevant and
18 probative under Rule 89(C) of our Rules of Procedure and evidence and
19 that sufficient indicia of reliability exist. Therefore, the majority
20 decides the admit this document 65 ter 03484 into evidence.
21 Judge Nyambe dissents for the reason that although the intercept
22 may be prima facie relevant, she is of the view that the accused's
23 objections should be sustained for the reasons stated by the accused.
24 Additionally, this intercept should be formally tendered by the
25 Prosecution through the person who produced or transcribed it and not a
1 secondary witness. In her view, the intercept may be marked MFI until
2 such time that the Prosecution would tender it through the appropriate
3 witness. Should the Prosecution fail to produce the witness who
4 transcribed the intercept, the Chamber, in accordance with the Rules of
5 the Tribunal, will still have the possibility to call this witness as a
6 Chamber witness.
7 That was the reasoning, the oral ruling. I would like to ask the
8 Prosecution if there is a translation of this intercept already available
9 in the meantime.
10 MR. THAYER: Yes. Good afternoon, Mr. President. Good
11 afternoon, Your Honours.
12 We do have an English translation and a -- well, obviously, the
13 B/C/S already exists, but we do have an English translation which should
14 be uploaded into e-court soon for that, if -- it should be on its way, if
15 not already there.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: That may be checked immediately but if that is
17 not possible, we will mark this document for identification pending
19 The second matter is the request of the OTP for additional time
20 to compile a list of exhibits in relation to the Rule 92 bis decision of
21 July -- 7th of July of this year. The Chamber reviewed the arguments and
22 the information given by the Prosecution in the meantime and is giving
23 now an additional time until the 17th of December to comply with the --
24 the order of the Chamber.
25 If there is nothing else -- Mr. Thayer.
1 MR. THAYER: My microphone seems particularly powerful today.
2 I'll stand back a little bit.
3 Just to let you know, Your Honours, by the end of this week we
4 should have completed approximately ten of those 92 bis packages that are
5 the subject of the ruling Your Honour just issued, so we are moving
6 forward and we should be able to meet that dead-line for which we thank
7 the Court.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. The witness should be
9 brought in, please.
10 In the meantime, I would like to ask the Prosecution about the
11 arrangements with the Dutch translator, interpreter. We are not sure if
12 we can finish with this witness today. What are the arrangements?
13 [The witness takes the stand]
14 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, it appears that we will not be able
15 to proceed tomorrow. The language folks here tried very hard to secure
16 some Dutch interpreters for tomorrow, but we were not successful in that.
17 My understanding from speaking with the Defence is that they will need
18 more time than is available today, so unfortunately, I think, unless we
19 finish today, we will have to reschedule for a date in the future to
20 bring Colonel Egbers back. It's unfortunate, but finding Dutch
21 translators, surprisingly enough, is difficult to do in the Netherlands.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. The Court Usher is asked to
23 assist the witness with the chair.
24 THE WITNESS: Can you help me with the chair? Thank you very
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And please tell me, is it high enough?
2 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: First of all, good afternoon again.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And I have to remind you that the affirmation to
6 tell the truth you made at the beginning of your testimony still applies.
7 WITNESS: VINCENTIUS EGBERS [Resumed]
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And Mr. Tolimir is continuing his
11 Mr. Tolimir.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Presiding Judge. May
13 there be peace in this house. I greet everybody present, especially the
14 witness, and I wish that today's proceedings conclude in keeping with
15 God's will and not mine.
16 Cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir: [Continued]
17 Q. [Interpretation] We shall presume where we left off yesterday.
18 Yesterday we left off where you were saying on the first page, you were
19 describing a situation, and I am quoting. That is the last paragraph of
20 page 2 of document 1145.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Can that be brought up on the
22 screen. It is Exhibit P1145, page 3 in the Serbian language. In actual
23 fact it is page 2 in the Serbian language, the last paragraph which is
24 the fourth one. And it is page 3, the first paragraph in the English
25 version. Thank you. We now see in English -- we should be seeing page 3
1 in English, the first paragraph, and page 2, paragraph 4 in the Serbian
2 version, lines 9, 10, and 11. Thank you.
3 Q. This is a situation where you state, describe, what you saw, and
4 I should like to quote it but I still cannot see it on the screen. You
5 can but I cannot -- well, now, yes. Well, we now cannot see the English:
6 "There were between eight and ten Muslims there. At a certain
7 point they -- at a certain point we were shot at by a tank or artillery
8 coming from a south-easterly direction. They fired in succession.
9 "The Bosnian Serbian soldiers might have been shooting at the
10 Muslim fighters. The attack took place about five or ten metres away."
11 Then you go on to say that:
12 "The Muslim commander was seriously wounded in the shooting and
13 was hit by a piece of shrapnel in his tarmac, and two of the Muslims were
14 slightly wounded, one got a shrapnel in his neck and the other in his
16 Please be so kind as to clarify this, you say they fired in
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
19 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, just -- we all have the document in
20 front of us, but just for the sake of the transcript, I think
21 General Tolimir misread the portion. It's not two of the Muslims were
22 slightly wounded, but "two of my men," that is, UN peacekeepers, were
23 slightly wounded, just so there is no confusion if one is reading the
24 record later on.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Thayer, for
1 correcting the transcript. The last sentence which I quoted was:
2 "Two of my men were slightly wounded, one got a shrapnel in his
3 neck and the other in his arm."
4 And that's how I read it.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. And now I would like to ask you this: In this paragraph which I
7 read out, you said that there was firing in succession. Do you think
8 that that was fire exchanged between you and the Serbs or the Serbs and
9 the Muslims? What exactly did you refer to when you say there was firing
10 in succession?
11 A. What I intend to describe there is that we were at a spot that
12 was clearly visible to everybody, also for the crew of a Serb tank that
13 was firing in our direction. As for the question of whether I was 100
14 per cent certain that the shooting was at me and at my people or whether
15 the shooting was at the Bosnian warriors in our surrounding, I can't tell
16 you exactly with respect to that moment.
17 The tank was firing at us, the grenades hit, and we took up a
18 different position. At the time, I wasn't certain whether they were
19 shooting at us or at the Muslim warriors. This became clear only later
20 when the route to the point where we positioned ourselves concealed
21 the -- was also shot at, but at that other moment I was not sure.
22 Q. Thank you. In this part which I quoted, you said that the
23 Muslims were 5 metres away from you. Was the gunner on the Serbian
24 army's tank able to discern from what point he was being fired at from
25 the 5 metres' point away from you or from your firing ordinance, from
1 your weapons?
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
3 MR. THAYER: Again, Mr. President, I didn't object yesterday when
4 General Tolimir made this misstatement, but -- and we have the statement
5 in front of us. But, again, for the record, that is not what the
6 statement says. That is a misstatement. The Muslim fighters were
7 clearly positioned at a different distance which is recorded here, and
8 General Tolimir needs to cite the paragraph correctly in his questions
9 and not misstate the clear language of the paragraph.
10 I understand Colonel Egbers was there and he's an experienced
11 officer, but we simply need to make sure that this transcript is accurate
12 and not being misstated.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Thayer, for your
15 assistance. Thank you, Presiding Judge.
16 Can we now look at page 3, second line. Page 3, first paragraph,
17 second line.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. It says:
20 "The attack took place about 5 or 10 metres away from where we
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And where is it --
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Where is this part in the English translation?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] That is in the first paragraph on
1 the page which is now on the screen at the top.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
3 MR. THAYER: Again, Mr. President, that is misstating what is
4 clearly in the paragraph. He did this yesterday, and Colonel Egbers
5 corrected him yesterday as well. Colonel Egbers was clear that the
6 Muslims were at a position, as you can see in the statement, 40 metres to
7 the north-west. He said again yesterday that they were perhaps 50 to 60
8 metres from there and that the shells were landing at that distance
9 that's indicated here. The reference to the attack is, as Colonel Egbers
10 said yesterday, where the shells landed, not where the Muslims were.
11 This is the third time that General Tolimir is trying to imply
12 that the Muslims had positioned themselves 5 metres from the DutchBat
13 position which is clearly not the case. Again, it is misrepresenting
14 both what's in the statement, it's misrepresenting what Colonel Egbers
15 clearly clarified yesterday. That is why I am making this objection,
16 because we cannot have this transcript distorted by misstatements of
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Egbers, perhaps you can help us. I am also
19 referring to the sentence:
20 "The attack took place about 5 or 10 metres away."
21 What does that mean in your understanding? Could you please
22 explain it again.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was a distance between the
24 Dutch and the Bosnian warriors. That distance was, say, 50 metres. The
25 hits that injured us were 5 to 10 metres away, so the shells fell very
1 close to our vehicles but because there were Bosnian warriors 50 metres
2 away, I was unable to say that the firing was only at me. That's why I
3 wrote it down and explained it this way, so the attack was directed at my
4 position and the Bosnian warriors were 50 metres away from that.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And when you say "Bosnian warriors," you are
6 referring to Bosnian Muslim fighters; correct?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were indeed men dressed in
8 civilian attire armed with rifles pertaining to the Muslim group within
9 the enclave.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
11 Mr. Tolimir, please continue.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Witness, can you tell me this: Can a soldier aboard a Serbian
15 tank know whether he was being shot at by the Muslim positions or by you?
16 Was he suppose or was he able to exactly determine the firing line in
17 order to be able to return fire, meaning the firing line from which shots
18 came at him?
19 A. I was taught that such a tank cannot fire further than about 1500
20 metres, direct fire, but this Serb tank targeted its barrel upward and
21 was able to fire fairly accurately at our location. I am not sure how
22 good the Serb tank crew was, but the shells hit very close to us. I am
23 not sure whether it was his intention to hit us or the Muslims, the only
24 thing I can tell you is that the shells landed 5 to 10 metres away from
25 our position.
1 Q. Thank you. So you were not hit directly by this tank shell which
2 fell a few metres away from you?
3 A. I was not personally hit directly, but several soldiers sustained
4 minor injuries. All I had was damage to my hearing. We were very lucky
5 that morning.
6 Q. Thank you. So I got as part of the answer: You were not
7 directly hit, but how far was the Serbian tank which fired this shell
8 which landed near you?
9 A. In a previous testimony, I stated about the Serbian tank. It was
10 certainly a few kilometres away from my position near an altitude of, off
11 the top of my head, on the map known as 757, 15 years ago. The tank was
12 in that area and it was not directly emitting fire, but the barrel of the
13 tank was pointing upward so that an artillery fire was emitted by the
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I would like to take you back to
16 your last question, page 10, line 1. You said, and that was the
17 interpretation we received:
18 "So I got as part of the answer: You were not directly hit."
19 Were you at this question referring to Mr. Egbers personally and
20 only to him or to the UNPROFOR, the DutchBat soldiers present at this
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Presiding Judge.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Please clarify for us: Were UNPROFOR soldiers then in the
25 vehicle in which you were, and was that vehicle hit at that point by the
1 shell which was fired from Serbian position, from a tank on Serbian
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, the witness said:
4 "I was not personally hit directly, but several soldiers
5 sustained minor injuries. All I had was damage to my hearing."
6 You got the answer that some of the soldiers were, indeed, hit,
7 and sustained injured. I just wanted to make clear because in your next
8 question you said:
9 "... you were not injured directly."
10 This can only refer to the witness personally and not to the
11 other soldiers.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Earlier I noticed, and you can correct me, that the shell landed
15 by you, near you. This shell from the tank. Did it land among the
16 soldiers, UNPROFOR soldiers, on the vehicle or on the ground around you?
17 Thank you.
18 A. The armoured vehicles were not hit directly, only a bit of
19 shrapnel from the grenade hit them. The Muslim warriors did not have the
20 protection of armoured vehicles, and some of them were seriously injured.
21 We sustained only minor damage, the UNPROFOR soldiers sustained minor
22 injuries. Muslim warriors sustained serious injuries. We had armoured
23 vehicles, APCs, they did not have those.
24 Does this answer your question sufficiently?
25 Q. Thank you. Yes, this is a sufficient answer. Tell me, from --
1 did you see the wounded Muslims from your vehicle or did you get off the
2 vehicle in order to establish what wounds the Muslims had sustained?
3 A. I saw the injuries only later on. When the shooting started,
4 everybody fled. We drove away as quickly as possible. Later, when the
5 firing stopped and we returned to the original position, I saw the
6 injuries among the Muslim warriors.
7 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 2 on page 3, in Serbian, you first say
8 that you took up positions about 400 metres further on. What does this
9 "further on" refer to, towards the Serbian positions or in some other
10 direction? Thank you.
11 A. At the time I was on a road with two 180 [Realtime transcript
12 read in error "280"] degree turns. The road from Srebrenica to OP Alpha.
13 I stood 400 metres further down protected in the -- proceeded in the
14 direction of Srebrenica outside the view of the tank.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
16 MR. THAYER: Just a quick correction. I don't think there will
17 be any dispute about this. In the witness's answer, at page 12, line 6,
18 it reads:
19 "I was on a road with 280 degree turns."
20 I think he said "two 180 degree turns," not "280 degree turns."
21 So I think that needs to be corrected and we can perhaps confirm with the
22 witness, but I am pretty sure we all heard two 180 degree turns.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Egbers, is that correct?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct. Perhaps if the
25 General has a map, I could point it out to him.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. There is no need to belabour this point. Please be so kind as to
3 take a look at page 3, paragraph 2, line 5 where then you say:
4 "I then received an order to support the other four vehicles in
5 Srebrenica. We left our positions and the Muslim fighters started
6 shooting at us. About 30 metres below the arm of the gunner, a bullet
7 hit the turret of our vehicle. Metal splinters flew into his arm. I
8 think that the Muslim fighters shot at us out of fear because they
9 thought that we were abandoning them."
10 Are you able -- can you see this text in the English version
11 which I've just quoted?
12 A. I listened to what you told me. I know exactly what you are
13 talking about, but I don't know exactly what I have in front of me
14 because I don't see any line or page numbers. But I understand it should
15 be all the way at the top of the page.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It is on the left side of the screen. One
17 moment, Mr. Tolimir.
18 It is on the left side of the screen, second paragraph, and the
19 first half of the second paragraph. You see there a small sign.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I see it clearly. Do you have a
21 question about this paragraph?
22 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
23 Q. I do have a question for you: Did you return fire when Muslims
24 had opened fire on you, representatives of UNPROFOR? Thank you.
25 A. At that moment, I did not fire back.
1 Q. Thank you. Did there come a moment when you returned fire and
2 opened fire on the Muslims who had shot at you?
3 A. We were fired at already when we were driving toward the city of
4 Srebrenica, and only 100 metres after we were out of the view of the
5 warriors did I hear that the gunner had been injured. I did not return
6 to become involved in the exchange of fire.
7 Q. Thank you. Could you please look at page 3, paragraph 3, line 1.
8 It is below the paragraph that is now marked for you. You say:
9 "In Srebrenica, I saw many armed Muslims."
10 The cursor is next to that paragraph now.
11 "I recognised anti-tank weapons RPG 7 and nonautomatic firearms
12 such as the AK-47. Some pointed their weapons at us and through arm
13 movements made it clear to us that we should continue in a southerly
14 direction. We drove to another four vehicles which belonged to us and
15 which were under the command of Captain Hageman. He told me over the
16 radio that he was under fire by the local Muslim combatants and therefore
17 he could not move his vehicles."
18 My question to you, sir, is this: Was that a large-scale
19 attack launched on all members of UNPROFOR on that day, and the day is
20 the 9th? Did all the other soldiers, UNPROFOR soldiers, telephone you
21 just as Colonel Karremans did, that they had come under Muslim fire?
22 Thank you.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could the name Karremans be changed
24 into Hageman. I said Hageman because the witness, in his statement,
25 stated that it was Captain Hageman who had telephoned him to tell him
1 that he had come under fire by the local Muslims. Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I drove to the city of
3 Srebrenica I arrived on the square which was filled with people in a
4 state of utter panic. There I saw armed men and while the Bosnian
5 Serbian troops were approaching the city from the south, the Muslims
6 hoped that we would protect them there. They wanted us to drive as much
7 as possible to the south of the square to take up positions there. It
8 was a state of chaos that day. And only one of them might have shot at
9 us and the consequences would have been disastrous. That's why I stood
10 on top of my vehicle to let them know that I needed to pass. Because of
11 the total chaos, several of them ensured that our APCs remained there.
12 They also did this by physically restraining Captain Hageman there and
13 they also tried to restrain my vehicle there, because in their eyes we
14 were the only hope of rescue for them. There was total chaos. There was
15 no attack on our vehicles.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Thank you. Could you please look at paragraph 3, line 5 -- or,
18 rather, line 4 and 5 where it says:
19 "We drove to another four vehicles which belonged to us and which
20 were under the command of Captain Hageman. He told me over the radio
21 that he was under fire, under fire by the local Muslim fighters and
22 therefore he could not move his own vehicles."
23 Thank you.
24 Does this mean that he was physically blocked or was he only
25 blocked by the fire that was opened on them?
1 A. My impression on the square at that time was that there was no
2 shooting at him physically but that he was physically threatened by
3 weapons. If weapons are aimed at you then you receive the message loud
4 and clear. There was no shooting at my vehicle. Captain Hageman told me
5 over the radio that he was stuck and he was afraid to move anywhere
6 because around him there was total panic and people were armed and that's
7 why I drove to him to help him there. These people were in such a state
8 of panic that they even climbed onto my vehicle to keep me there. They
9 wanted us to act to stop the approaching Bosnian Serb tanks. Among all
10 those armed men were women in utter panic. I remember that the day was
11 very, very hot. It was a very hot day and that made a deep impression on
12 all of us.
13 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us very clearly for the record
14 was Captain Hageman exposed to the fire by the local Muslim fighters, as
15 it says here in the text, or not?
16 A. I didn't see anybody shooting at his vehicle. I do note that he
17 told me that he was threatened and that's why he was stuck and could not
18 take up a different position. That's what I remember. But there was no
19 attack. There was panic, and the population was trying to keep us there.
20 Q. Thank you. I couldn't know that this statement is not correct.
21 Does it mean that this statement is not correct or, at least, this part
22 where Captain Hageman is referred to and what he allegedly told you over
23 the phone? Let's not waste anymore time if the statement is incorrect.
24 Thank you.
25 A. Well, I might be able to make a remark about that, even though
1 you're not asking me a question. There it reads that: "He told me over
2 the radio that ...," and that's all there is. I didn't perceive it so I
3 can't determine whether or not that happened.
4 Q. Thank you. Let's not waste any more time on this. Let's now
5 look at the next paragraph, again on page 3, you say:
6 "We stayed there the whole night."
7 The cursor is next to that line now:
8 "The promised air-strike did not take place."
9 And then you say:
10 "A mortar shell hit the ground that night about 10 metres away
11 from the vehicles. Nobody was wounded. The rest of the night was calm."
12 My question is this: You say here the promised air-strike did
13 not take place. Please, who was it who had promised you that there
14 would, indeed, be an air-strike and who was supposed to be the target of
15 that air-strike? Thank you.
16 A. In such a situation, I speak only with my commander, and my
17 commander promised that there would be air support to ensure that the
18 Bosnian Serb tanks did not advance any further.
19 Q. Thank you. Tell us, please, who your commander was in that case?
20 Thank you.
21 A. I was under the direct command of Captain Groen, and I
22 communicated with him.
23 Q. Thank you. Did Captain Groen ever tell you who it was who had
24 told him that the air-strikes would happen and why they didn't happen?
25 A. All I can do now is reason that his commander, the battalion --
1 the battalion commander would have told him that, but at the time I
2 didn't know who said that and I don't know, to answer the second part of
3 your question, why this didn't happen. I don't know.
4 Q. You say here, "We stayed there the whole night." Is that night
5 the night between the 9th and the 10th? Thank you.
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. Thank you. Had you already received an order for the so-called
8 Green Alert? Thank you. Green order? Had you already received the
9 green order from your Captain Groen? Thank you.
10 A. He didn't give me the direct instructions, but we had to use all
11 means to ensure that the -- that additional advances by the Bosnian Serbs
12 were stopped, and I assumed that air support was essential in this
13 process. We couldn't do anything on the ground with our weapons. At the
14 time, we were on a market square surrounded by houses with hills around
15 us, and behind the hills the Bosnian Serb troops were advancing
17 Q. Thank you. Tell us, please, on the 9th in the evening and during
18 the night, was the so-called green order in effect?
19 A. I assume so.
20 Q. Thank you. In that case I don't have to remind you what
21 Major Franken said about that as he testified before this Trial Chamber.
22 Let's move on to the follow paragraph.
23 It says here:
24 "The next day, Monday, the 10th of July, 1995, I returned with my
25 group to a safe place in the vicinity of our original location. The
1 forward air control in my vehicle received instructions to prepare for an
2 air-strike again. Once again, nothing happened."
3 Thank you. Could you please tell us, where did you return and
4 where was it that you were instructed to prepare for another air-strike?
5 Thank you.
6 A. When I was on the market square, I was instructed to return to
7 blocking position 1 because from that position we had a clear view of the
8 south of the enclave where Bosnian tanks and other units were situated.
9 We had to mark our vehicles so that we would be clearly visible from the
10 air. And we were preparing for air support.
11 Q. Thank you. Did the VRS launch attacks from behind the hill where
12 their tanks were? Were there any attacks on that morning?
13 A. I wasn't fired at on that day by the Bosnian Serb tanks. I don't
14 remember whether those tanks did fire at other locations at that point.
15 I will speak for myself.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Egbers, on page 18, line 22, you are recorded
17 to having said:
18 "Where the Bosnian tanks and other units were situated."
19 You are referring to Bosnian Serb tanks or what you are talking
20 about? Because on page 19, line 2, you use the term "the Bosnian Serb
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The only army with tanks was the
23 Bosnian Serb one, so in this case I use the words Bosnian Serb army, BSA.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
25 Mr. Tolimir.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. You said that in the course of the 10th, fire was not opened on
4 you personally. And now, in paragraph 5, beneath that, it says:
5 "We then got the order to return to our original positions. We
6 were in full view of Bosnian Serbian soldiers. Ten minutes later, we
7 came under tank and mortar attack. Our escape route to a safe place was
8 also under fire. We did, however, manage to return to our safe place.
9 Our vehicles had been hit several times."
10 If we look at this paragraph 5, can you please tell us why were
11 you ordered to return to your original position where we were -- where
12 you were in full view of the Army of Republika Srpska whom you refer to
13 as Bosnian Serbian soldiers?
14 A. I believe now that conceivably they wanted to be 100 per cent
15 sure that we were being shot at.
16 Q. Thank you. I didn't understand you. Did they want to be certain
17 or did they want to expose you to fire? Did they want to have you in
18 full view and is that why they had told you to change your position?
19 Thank you.
20 A. A hypothetical line had to be drawn that could not be crossed by
21 Bosnian Serb troops. I was on that hypothetical line and I had to stand
22 there with my vehicles and people, even though I was in full view and was
23 being fired at. At that moment we had to draw a hypothetical line that
24 could not be crossed by the Bosnian Serb army. I was part of that border
25 in full view and that's why I was fired at.
1 Q. Thank you. Talking about that hypothetical line that you drew,
2 can you tell us where the Muslims were with regard to that hypothetical
4 A. The Muslims were north of that line; the Bosnian Serb army south
5 of that line.
6 Q. Thank you. How far were the Muslims from that line? Were they
7 armed, could they open fire at you? Thank you.
8 A. I noticed that many men were already north of this hypothetical
9 line, and perhaps they were preparing to go to Bosnian area, Muslim
10 area, on foot. At that time not many Bosnian soldiers, Bosnian warriors,
11 were in my surroundings.
12 Q. Were there any Bosnian combatants around you at all around that
13 hypothetical line? Could they open fire, did they open fire at you?
14 A. No. What we did see was a Bosnian Serb tank to the south, we
15 heard a bang, we saw smoke, and we saw the hits near us. That was also
16 the information that we transmitted later that day to the F-16s.
17 Q. How did you receive information about the positions of the Muslim
18 forces and they were -- and where they were at that moment? Thank you.
19 A. At that point, all I could do was look around me and did not see
20 many people in my surroundings anymore. So exactly where they were
21 north of the enclave, later on I heard that they were in the surroundings
22 of Observation Post Alpha. But I didn't know that at this time, and all
23 I saw was a tank in the south firing at me.
24 Q. Thank you. How far was Observation Post Alpha away from you, and
25 you say that Muslims were gathered around that observation post, how far
1 was it from you?
2 A. A few kilometres.
3 Q. Again, let's go back to the hypothetical line that you drew.
4 Where did you draw it? Did you draw it somewhere in the centre or did
5 you draw that line somewhere between the Serbs and the Muslims?
6 A. That hypothetical line is a line in between the blocking
7 positions. So I could remain standing in blocking position 1. I've
8 testified about this in previous trials and pointed it out on a map.
9 Q. Thank you. Since you drew a hypothetical line on the ground, how
10 did you do it and how did you make it visible to the Serbian forces?
11 Could you please explain that.
12 A. I did that by making myself visible with my white vehicle. For
13 our own aeroplanes I placed a cloth on top of the vehicle that was
14 visible from the air.
15 Q. And how did you make the Serbs know that there was, indeed, a
16 hypothetical line there?
17 A. That must have been agreed at your level between UNPROFOR and the
18 Bosnian Serb army, not at my level on the ground as lieutenant.
19 Q. Thank you. When was that agreed, do you know anything about
20 that? When was it agreed with the Army of Republika Srpska that there
21 would be a hypothetical line drawn? A hypothetical line would be
22 something as a hypothetical assumption, wouldn't it? Thank you.
23 A. I was told by my own commander that a large aeroplane from the
24 air would be firing at the armoured positions of the Serbs that were
25 located south of the blocking positions. It was not a hypothetical line
1 on the map. It was very easy to draw on the map, and I was part of it,
2 as blocking position number 1 with my white vehicle. Basically, I was a
3 target for everybody and, nonetheless, we stood there to indicate that
4 that was where the line was.
5 Q. Thank you. You said that the Muslims were about 2 kilometres to
6 the north of that line and that the Serbs were to the south of that line.
7 How far were the Serbs from that line?
8 A. The Muslims were very close to that line because the entire
9 marketplace at Srebrenica was still filled with people, thousands and
10 thousands of people. The Bosnian Serb tanks drove about a kilometre
11 south of me and were firing at me. Exactly where the largest number of
12 men was exiting the enclave on foot, I couldn't tell you at that time.
13 At that time I didn't know.
14 Q. Thank you. Tell us, how far were you from the marketplace where
15 these people, these civilians were in Srebrenica when you were drawing
16 this hypothetical line?
17 A. I'd point that out to you on the map, but I didn't draw a
18 hypothetical line. I had to take up blocking position 1 in the middle
19 of the road with the white vehicle to ensure that it was clearly visible
20 to everybody that UNPROFOR was there and that that line could not be
22 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us, as this is the 10th, how could the
23 VRS know that you had --
24 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not understand the speaker.
25 Could the speaker please be asked to repeat his question.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The interpreters didn't catch your last question.
2 Could you please repeat it.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Presiding Judge.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. So, please tell me, how did you shift from a position of someone
6 who had been given the green order to open fire on the Serbs to the
7 position of someone who is going to be neutral and be seen by everyone
8 standing on the road with a white sheet which was to be a signal for the
10 A. I was told that the Bosnian Serb army was informed that the
11 hypothetical line could not be crossed and that if that happened
12 aeroplanes would be used to neutralise the armoured vehicles of the
13 Bosnian Serbs. If we were to operate in green surroundings, we would not
14 be clearly visible. But in the idea of giving the Bosnian Serbs a final
15 warning not to cross that line, I could understand that, and I basically
16 used my -- I placed my men in the armoured vehicles, basically, as
17 targets on the road as a signal to the Bosnian Serb army so that they
18 would go no further than the positions that we had taken up.
19 Q. Thank you. But I have understood you -- but tell me who informed
20 you that the Bosnian Serb army had been informed that they were not to
21 cross that hypothetical line?
22 A. I don't know that yet. At high level the battalion commander, or
23 perhaps even higher than that, that was communicated with the Bosnian
24 Serb army. I can't say who did that. All I was told was that it had
1 Q. Thank you. Did Colonel Franken play any commanding role in that
2 chain of command? Was he above you in that chain?
3 A. Major Franken was deputy battalion commander at that time and was
4 above Captain Groen.
5 Q. Thank you. Let me remind you what Mr. Franken said on the
6 1st of July, 2010, on the transcript page 3473, line 6. Asked when he
7 had issued the order, he said, and I quote:
8 "That must have been in the evening of the 9th of July."
9 And on page 3453, he explained what the issuance of a green order
10 meant in this way. That is in line 16 to line 19, and I quote:
11 "The rules of engagement that we had been issued as a
12 United Nations unit, according to them one of our problems was that we
13 could use weapons only for self-defence. Those rules were no longer in
14 force and we returned to the rules governing the engagement of troops in
16 And in lines 23 to 25, he says the following, and I quote:
17 "Since the issuance of the green order, we were in combat with
18 the VRS, with the Army of Republika Srpska. The Army of Republika Srpska
19 was a target for us and vice versa and that was realistic and true."
20 And on page 3484, lines 1 to 3, he says the following, and I
21 quote, and I'm quoting Colonel Franken:
22 "My mandate changed substantially since the moment when the
23 United Nations issued the order to me to defend Srebrenica. That was the
24 reason why I issued the green order. Following that rule of engagement,
25 et cetera, all restrictions on the use of weapons were lifted because
1 that is consonant with an order to defend something."
2 Thank you. My question is: If all the rules as Mr. Franken
3 states had been revoked following the issuance of the green order, had
4 such rules also been eliminated in respect of the Army of Republika
5 Srpska also if they had been lifted in respect of UNPROFOR troops?
6 Thank you.
7 A. That sounds like an excellent question for Colonel Franken.
8 Q. Thank you. But did he tell you, you who were in combat, that
9 all rules had been cancelled by the very issuance of the green order and
10 by engaging in combat with the VRS and that now, or from that point on,
11 you had to act in accordance with the green order rules?
12 A. I did not see that order, as I mentioned earlier. All I said was
13 that, should we be in a position to stop the advance of the Bosnian Serb
14 tanks, we should about accordingly. Still, I was instructed to draw a
15 hypothetical line there and I did so. And that's what I have to say
16 about that.
17 Q. Thank you. In view of the fact that you had been ordered, that
18 for you, as Mr. Franken, your superior states here, that you had been
19 ordered that the VRS would be your target and you would be -- were their
20 target, did you then have to adapt on the ground, your conduct on the
21 ground, to the rules of combat of rules of engagement, combat with an
23 A. The answer is no. We were still driving in our white vehicles.
24 We still wore our blue helmets. We were still positioned in the middle
25 of the road until on July 10th, 1995, a tank fired at me. And I took up
1 a position elsewhere. Nothing changed for me. The bearing of the arms
2 was 800 metres. I didn't have any anti-tank shells with me -- excuse me,
3 the range of the arms was 800 metres. All I could do was speak with
4 aeroplanes if there were any.
5 Q. Thank you. You said that you comported yourselves as if you were
6 still members of UNPROFOR, you wore blue helmets, you were in white
7 vehicles, et cetera. But if you had been issued a green order to open
8 fire on the Army of Republika Srpska, as Colonel Franken says, didn't
9 that mean that in self-defence the Army of Republika Srpska would return
10 fire, would also open fire at you? Thank you.
11 A. I have no idea what I could have used to shoot at tanks.
12 Q. Thank you. But why did you go to a position where you were in
13 full sight of the VRS, as you say in paragraph 5? Why did you leave your
14 shelter and went there where you would be in their full sight? Can you
15 explain that to me.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I remember that that was very well explained by
17 the witness why he was visible at that point. I think half an hour ago
18 he explained that in detail.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Presiding Judge. Then I
20 shall rephrase my question.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Did you place yourself in full sight of the VRS in order for them
23 to open fire at you as you were already at war with them, and was the
24 order that you received such that you were to provoke fire on the part of
25 the VRS by placing yourselves in that position?
1 A. We were not at war with the VRS at that moment. That's what
2 you're referring to. I received my orders at that moment from
3 Captain Groen, and he told me to return to that position to indicate to
4 them, and by "them," I mean the VRS, that a line was drawn on the map
5 that they were not supposed to cross. That's why I was standing there
6 with my vehicle.
7 When we talk about this 15 years afterwards, I understand clearly
8 that we were very, very fortunate that we were not hit head-on with the
9 tens of soldiers being killed.
10 Q. Thank you. Can you say here, now, was it maybe foolish from a
11 soldierly aspect to place ones self in a position which is unsheltered,
12 unprotected, and which is in full sight of the other side's fire?
13 A. No. If my instructions were to destroy the Bosnian Serb army,
14 or, in any case, to make such an attempt, I would have acted differently.
15 In this case, my instructions were to return to that blocking position to
16 indicate clearly to the Bosnian Serb army that UNPROFOR was there, would
17 remain there, and that there was a line that they were not allowed to
18 cross. If I had thought green, as you're describing, then we would have
19 acted differently. And I would not have positioned myself in the middle
20 of the road, wearing a blue helmet in a white vehicle.
21 Q. Thank you. You said that ten minutes later you came under mortar
22 and tank fire. Then in paragraph 5 you say:
23 "The escape route also came under fire; however, we returned to a
24 safe place. Our vehicle was hit several times."
25 Why did you return to your safe place if everything was the way
1 you have just explained to us?
2 A. Of course I was aware that it was not safe to return. Still, I
3 was explicitly instructed to return to make clear that we were staying
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think it is time for our first break. Before
8 we do that, I have to give the floor to the Registrar to assign an
9 exhibit number to document 65 ter 3484. We are dealing with that at the
10 outset of today's hearing.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honours. This will be
12 Exhibit P1304.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Marked for identification, pending translation.
14 We adjourn and resume 20 minutes past 4.00.
15 --- Recess taken at 3.52 p.m.
16 [The witness stands down]
17 [The witness takes the stand]
18 --- On resuming at 4.21 p.m.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Egbers, I was told that it was not quite clear in the
23 transcript where this marketplace that you spoke about was in Srebrenica.
24 Where exactly near your base was it, how far was that marketplace from
25 your base, or how far was your base from that marketplace, if you would
1 be so kind to tell us?
2 A. I can. There was a marketplace in the city itself, in the city
3 of Srebrenica, about 1 kilometre from the compound of the Bravo Company,
4 that was also the UNHCR's storage site. Have I explained that
5 sufficiently that way?
6 Q. Thank you for your explanation. How far was that in kilometres
7 from the position which you took up on the road where you charted the --
8 what you referred to as the hypothetical line?
9 A. I was at blocking position 1 at that moment en route from
10 Srebrenica to Observation Post Alpha in a hairpin turn, perhaps 2
11 kilometres, but I would have to check that on the map, from the position.
12 In any case, the road went sharply upward. On the map it looks closer.
13 Q. Yes, but please tell us how far was that from your base in
14 Srebrenica in kilometres?
15 A. In Srebrenica we had the Bravo Company compound, and it would
16 probably be 2, perhaps 3 kilometres - again, I would have to check that
17 on the map - away from it.
18 Q. Thank you. We should take a look at page 3 of your statement.
19 We shall take a look at the last paragraph on page 3 where you refer to
20 the aircraft attack on VRS tanks. You say, and I quote:
21 "The Dutch F-16s, they knocked two Bosnian Serbian tanks out of
22 action. This made it possible for us to return to the compound of the
23 Bravo Company in Srebrenica."
24 Thank you:
25 "At that moment there were dozens of people on the road in
1 Srebrenica. We directed them towards Potocari. Chaos reigned," et
3 My question is: Bearing in mind what you say here, who actually
4 showed the target to these aircraft, who on the ground actually pointed
5 the targets to the aircraft?
6 A. Forward air controllers did that.
7 Q. Thank you. I did not receive a translation. Thank you. Were
8 the forward air controllers in the vehicle which you placed on the road
9 and which flew a white flag, this armoured personnel carrier that you
10 referred to?
11 A. No. At that moment I had one forward air controller on my crew,
12 but he was difficult to deploy, and from different positions others
13 guided the F-16s to the tank.
14 Q. Thank you. Were -- where were these different positions that
15 from which the aircraft were guided to the Serbian tanks?
16 A. One position was with me, we included this in the net, and two
17 other commands -- commandos did this from a position that at the time was
18 not visible to me. I couldn't point it out on the map.
19 Q. Thank you. Could you please --
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: One moment, please. Judge Mindua has a question.
21 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, I apologise to the Defence.
22 Witness, I have a question for you. I would like you to clarify
23 something that I didn't quite understand. On page 32 of today's
24 transcript, line 11, that's where your witness statement is quoted and
25 you are talking about an F-16, about the Dutch -- the Dutch F-16, which
1 destroyed two Serb tanks. Did that F-16 belong to the Dutch Battalion or
2 to UNPROFOR or to NATO? Could you please clarify this distinction and
3 let's look at the command chain in that military structure that was on
4 the ground.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, perhaps a misinterpretation. Judge Mindua
6 was referring to page 30 and not 32.
7 Now, please answer this question, if possible.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The F-16 that was deployed was a
9 NATO F-16. Coincidentally, it was a Dutch F-16. And this makes
10 communicating in Dutch between the pilot and the people on the ground
11 much easier, but the -- it was a NATO F-16 that was deployed. It could
12 have been a different F-16 or a different fighter plane. Ordinarily, we
13 communicate with them in English.
14 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to thank Judge Mindua
17 for clarifying this very significant issue.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Could you please tell us whether the communication between the
20 Dutch soldiers who were on their positions and the F-16 aircraft was
21 exclusively in Dutch? Did they communicate in Dutch or in English?
22 Thank you.
23 A. I listened in with the forward air controller at my position, and
24 he started in Dutch -- excuse me, he started in English and subsequently
25 spoke in Dutch with the pilot. There may be audio recordings of that.
1 Q. Thank you. It is true that there is an audio recording. Do you
2 remember the contents of their communications, if you remember, please?
3 Thank you.
4 A. I can't remember that.
5 Q. Thank you. Did NATO get involved as a third party in the
6 conflict between the Serbs and the Muslims when they opened fire on the
7 positions of the VRS? Thank you.
8 A. What I understand is that the concept of the safe area of
9 Srebrenica could not exist without the airforce. We were very poorly
10 armed, could not shoot at anything, and all we could do was to request
11 close air support. That was an essential element of the concept. When
12 we were fired at in the enclave, we asked -- we requested that air
13 support via the line. The battalion did that. It was not done by me on
14 the ground. I was fired at and I reported that. Afterwards, F-16s
15 arrived, and I'll leave it at that. That's what I can state.
16 Q. Thank you. Do you know whether on the 11th of July a massive
17 air-strike or a massive air support was expected? Were there rumors that
18 all targets are -- 1 kilometre around Srebrenica would be destroyed by
19 those air-strikes? Thank you.
20 A. I was promised many, many times that air support would arrive,
21 and I prepared for that. All I saw were the F-16s. There was a rumor
22 that there would be more air support from larger planes, but they were
23 never seen and they never flew.
24 Q. In your statement you said that you had never received the
25 expected air support. Did you have in mind the large-scale air support
1 when you said that?
2 A. I spoke about any type of air support. The only thing that came
3 was at the very last moment two F-16s, and that was far too little and
4 far too late to stop the Serb advance.
5 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us whether you heard that
6 Colonel Karremans had informed both the Muslims and your officers alike
7 that there would be an air support that destroy all targets within an
8 area of 1 square kilometre around Srebrenica? Did you ever hear of any
9 such thing? Thank you.
10 A. Yes. It was said that a gun-ship would arrive that would
11 neutralise armoured targets in the south of the enclave; however, that
12 was never carried out.
13 Q. Thank you. And now tell us this: Those aircrafts that would
14 have arrived on that gun-ship, were they on the strength of UNPROFOR or
15 on the strength of NATO? Thank you.
16 A. When I mentioned a gun-ship, it was explained to me that that was
17 an aeroplane, a gun-ship from which armoured vehicles could be destroyed.
18 Because UNPROFOR units were being fired at, we could expect air support,
19 close air support, or other forms of action from the air. How it was
20 organised above me, UNPROFOR or NATO, I have no idea. What I do know is
21 that we stood there waiting, helplessly, were fired at multiple times
22 waiting for air support that never arrived.
23 Q. Did UNPROFOR have aeroplane carriers on its strength that could
24 undertake a number of sorties and that could destroy an area of 1 square
25 kilometre around Srebrenica?
1 A. At that time I didn't know and I still don't know whether
2 UNPROFOR had its own combat planes. That didn't matter to me. We were
3 promised that if we were fired at on the ground support would be provided
4 from the air.
5 Q. Thank you. When it comes to the engagement of NATO and aeroplane
6 carriers, was that a air support or a large-scale use of NATO airforce?
7 A. All I can say in response to this question is that after repeated
8 reports by us on the ground in blocking position 1, two F-16s appeared on
9 the horizon. That's the only thing that was deployed. So there was no
10 massive deployment of multiple planes, only two.
11 Q. Thank you. We are talking about announcements that you would be
12 supported by an aeroplane carrier, and if that had materialised, if an
13 aeroplane carrier had been engaged, you're a colonel, you certainly know
14 what an aeroplane carrier has on it. So if such a device had, indeed,
15 been deployed, would that constitute an air support or a large-scale
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
18 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I don't quarrel, I think, with the
19 gist of General Tolimir's question, but there may be a translation
20 problem that's complicating matters. I don't know how this term
21 "gun-ship" is getting translated to General Tolimir. I think the witness
22 tried to explain that he was referring to a single aeroplane with the
23 capability of destroying multiple armoured targets. That is my
24 understanding, and I think we are all agreed, that that is how
25 Colonel Egbers defined his use of the term "gun-ship," because in his
1 response to his first use of that term as we saw it, General Tolimir
2 began speaking about what I think he may have perceived to be aircraft
3 carriers which we all know are deployed at sea.
4 Now, if, in fact, General Tolimir is referring to aircraft
5 carriers, we have no problem with him asking those kind of questions. I
6 think the Trial Chamber has already heard testimony from a couple of
7 witnesses and will hear more testimony from other witnesses, such as
8 General Smith, about NATO's capabilities, about the fact that aircraft
9 carriers were available to NATO, among other resources. But I sense that
10 there may be some speaking at cross-purposes presently where
11 General Tolimir is insisting on this idea of aeroplane carriers and
12 insisting that Colonel Egbers has been referring to aeroplane carriers or
13 aircraft carriers. I think the transcript could bear some clarification
14 on that point before we go any further.
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Egbers, you could perhaps help everybody by
17 telling us what is your understanding of the word "aircraft carrier" and
18 of the word "gun-ship"?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would be happy to. I never used
20 the word "aircraft carrier." I did use the word "gun-ship." And in
21 1995, I was told that that was an aeroplane, not an F-16, but a large
22 plane from which armoured vehicles, tanks, could be destroyed. So it's a
23 single aeroplane that would fly over the enclave. I am not referring to
24 massive actions and massive planes. And what, in fact, came were two
25 F-16s. I hope that it's sufficiently clear that way.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you should carry on your
3 My problem with the last question before the intervention of
4 Mr. Thayer was that it is really a hypothetical question, and I am not
5 sure if this witness is in the position to explain what your
6 understanding could be or the understanding of those who are in the
7 position to order such an action by aircraft. But you have received an
8 answer from this witness what happened on the ground from his point of
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I am not
11 interested in who could have issued that order. I am only interested in
12 who was it who informed UNPROFOR that there would be a large-scale use of
13 a NATO airforce.
14 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Could the witness please answer, who was it who informed them
16 that a large-scale NATO airforce exercise would be carried out?
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would prefer to receive, first, the affirmation
18 by the witness if he got information that there would be a large-scale
19 NATO airforce exercise. Did you, at that time, receive such an
20 information and, if so, from whom?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not receive that at that
22 time. All we did was report that we were being fired at, that there was
23 a tank at a maximum of 2 kilometres distance firing at us, and
24 subsequently two F-16s arrived and contacted our forward air controllers
25 and tried to neutralise that tank.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, carry on, please.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Egbers, I asked you if you had heard that a large-scale NATO
5 operation was announced for the 11th and that Colonel Karremans told both
6 the Muslims and the UNPROFOR that an area of 1 square kilometre around
7 Srebrenica would be destroyed and that he demanded the withdrawal of
8 certain forces. And did that also apply to UNPROFOR forces? Thank you.
9 A. I did not know that there was a NATO exercise, an exercise of
10 NATO aeroplanes in 1995 in the area of Srebrenica. All I was told was
11 that a large aeroplane might come that could destroy armoured vehicles
12 and tanks. That large aeroplane never arrived. All that came were two
14 Q. Thank you, sir. I understood your question and I proceed. If
15 that large plane had, perchance, arrived and destroyed all those targets
16 around Srebrenica, would that be -- would that have been a large-scale
17 NATO operation or would that have been close air support for the forces
18 that had come under threat? Thank you.
19 A. You're asking me to give an answer about a situation that never
20 took place. I don't even know whether we have such a plane in the air.
21 All I obtained was close air support, and you need to ask such questions
22 at your own level, to generals, who do indeed take those actual
23 decisions. I was standing on the ground, I was fired at and reported
24 that to my captain.
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Egbers. You were on the ground. Did you receive
1 instruction to leave such an area that would be a designated target
2 because such instruction was provided to the Muslims, and Captain Egbers
3 [as interpreted] said that the ship returned, and so on and so forth. I
4 could quote him if you wish. I am just asking if you received an order
5 to withdraw from the area that was designated as the target of an attack
6 and did the Muslims also withdraw from that area? Thank you.
7 A. I was only at blocking position 1. I was at the market in the
8 city of Srebrenica, and I was never south of that hypothetical line. I
9 was on that line, so I was never removed from an area south of Bravo 1.
10 So I cannot give you an answer that is any different from this one. I
11 don't know - because you're suggesting that - I don't know that Muslims
12 had to withdraw from a certain area. I don't know whether that happened.
13 You would have to ask Colonel Karremans.
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Egbers. We will ask him when he comes to testify.
15 But you should know this. Did you know on the 10th that the Muslims had
16 left and had gone through the forest? Thank you.
17 A. I was not in contact with the Bosnian Muslims in the enclave at
18 that time. I was on the market in the city and later in blocking
19 position 1.
20 Q. Thank you. Could you please look at page 3, in the statement
21 that is on your screen now, line 14 which is the last line in the Serbian
22 translation where it says -- or, rather, you say, and I am quoting your
24 "Many people had already been -- had already fled through the
25 forest in the direction of Tuzla."
1 That will be on the next page in English. Thank you, Aleksandar.
2 You can see the first paragraph in English where it says "of Tuzla."
3 That's the activity which took place on the 10th, an activity that you
4 speak about. In the next paragraph, you already speak about the 11th.
5 I repeat my question: Did you learn from somebody, did you hear
6 from somebody on the 10th that many people had already fled through the
7 forest, through the woods, in the direction of Tuzla? Thank you.
8 A. This statement was drafted in October 1995, sometime after I had
9 returned from the enclave. Then additional information was available
10 that is also set forth in writing, but at that moment when I was there I
11 did not know that large groups of men were gathering in the north-west of
12 the enclave.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
14 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. And I would note for the
15 record, and I think we can save a little bit of time, or at least I hope
16 we can, that the portion of the witness statement from which
17 General Tolimir just quoted is part of the witness statement that deals
18 with events that occurred on 11 July. And there, again, is no dispute
19 among any of the parties that the close air support about which
20 Colonel Egbers has been testifying at some length now occurred on
21 11 July. That is not nor can it reasonably be placed in dispute. It is
22 a matter of historical record and I do not think that the Defence is
23 disputing that part of the Prosecution's case.
24 And if we look at the statement, the events that are described in
25 the paragraph from which General Tolimir just quoted all concern events
1 on 11 July: The F-16s arriving, the F-16s taking out the VRS tanks, the
2 witness returning to Potocari, the column of civilians fleeing from --
3 pardon me, from Srebrenica to Potocari, that is all happening on the 11th
4 of July and there is no dispute between the parties among that.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Presiding Judge. We
7 shall now ask the witness a very simple question without any suggestions.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Does he know when the Dutch F-16 actually opened fire on the two
10 tanks? Was that on the 10th or on the 11th of July? I shall repeat my
11 question: When did the Dutch F-16 fire at the two tanks of the VRS, was
12 it on the 10th or on the 11th? Thank you.
13 A. It was on the 11th.
14 Q. Thank you. Did you state in your statement that it was on the
15 10th as you said and that you wrote it immediately after the event?
16 A. If you have such a horrible experience involving many, many
17 emotions, it's difficult to pin-point it on a time chart. I don't have
18 any notes as to when that happened. Later on in an interrogation you
19 start reconstructing it for yourself when exactly -- what happened. And
20 let me tell you --
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please continue.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me tell you that the refugees
23 gathered, the women, children, old men, and young boys at the
24 Bravo Company, the F-16s arrived, carried out their attack. That's why I
25 was able to proceed to the Bravo Company, together with thousands of men,
1 women, and children, to proceed from Srebrenica to Potocari to receive
2 the refugees there. That happened in succession and I've stated about
3 that before.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Page 3 of the statement in Serbian,
7 paragraph 4, where the witness says, and I quote --
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please give us the reference -- please give us
9 the reference on the English page as well, for the sake of the witness.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's paragraph 4 in Serbian and
13 paragraph 5 in the English version, on the previous page relative to the
14 one that we now have on the screen. Because here he follows a
15 chronology. Thank you. It is the third paragraph from the top where it
16 is stated the 10th of July, 1995, and it also says the next day. There
17 the witness describes events which took place on the 10th of July, and he
18 does so until all the way into the next page up to the events which
19 transpired on the 11th of July.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. My question is: Is this statement incorrect relative to the
22 events that you are talking about here or is there a possibility that it
23 might have been otherwise? Thank you.
24 A. As I said, and I stand by that, perhaps the date is indicated
25 incorrectly here but the attack of the F-16s was on the date that we
1 proceeded from Srebrenica to Potocari. Several times before that we were
2 promised air support and that never arrived. So are you concerned about
3 the date or the events?
4 Q. Thank you. Let us move on to the next page where events were
5 described which took place on the 11th and 12th. Thank you. Can you see
6 where it is stated:
7 "On Tuesday 11 July 1995 ..."
8 It is the second paragraph in English, and it is also the second
9 paragraph on page 4 in the Serbian version.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: What is your question, Mr. Tolimir?
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. My question is -- or was whether the events of the 11th have been
13 faithfully recorded or reflected in the witness's statement or not? In
14 which case my question would be superfluous. My question is: Did you,
15 on the 11th, on Tuesday the 11th of July, help refugees to the base?
16 A. On 11 July, 1995, we proceeded from Srebrenica with thousands of
17 men and women to Potocari and they were received at the DutchBat
18 headquarters. Is that your question?
19 Q. My question is: On the 11th of July, did you help the refugees
20 at the base and at what time were you engaged on that task?
21 A. What I remember is that thousands of people were in Srebrenica
22 were unable to move one way or another. They were fired at in the south.
23 Our entire column walked 5 kilometres to the north. In the afternoon it
24 was about 35 degrees centigrade. I saw old men pushing forward their old
25 wives in a wheelbarrow, I was given a baby by a mother asking if I would
1 take care of the baby. I saw total panic and everybody was climbing over
2 everything. I was given the sick and the injured from the hospital, and
3 together we proceeded from Srebrenica to Potocari. And I drove near the
4 front of that column, and I dropped off all the sick and injured that
5 afternoon, at the hospital that afternoon. Does that answer your
7 Q. Thank you. In your statement, you say that on the 10th in the
8 evening around 1700 hours you dropped off the wounded to the first aid
9 station at the base in Potocari. Is this statement of yours incorrect in
10 terms of the date?
11 A. All this happened on the 11th, and it does, indeed, appear
12 incorrectly in the statement and that's unfortunate. But the events that
13 I described obviously did take place. The attack by the F-16s and the
14 flight of the women and children and older men from Srebrenica to
15 Potocari took place.
16 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us whether on Wednesday, the 12th of
17 July, 1995, you received an order to help evacuate the refugees as you
18 state on page 4, paragraph 3, line 1? You can also see it on the screen
19 where it is dated Wednesday, the 12th of July. Thank you.
20 A. It's true that I escorted the very first convoy of refugees.
21 Q. Thank you. That's not what I asked. I asked whether it was on
22 the 12th that you escorted refugees and whether it was a Wednesday.
23 A. The day after the attack on the enclave we escorted the first
24 columns with buses. The first column with buses I escorted that, whether
25 you are asking what time it was on Wednesday or was it on the 12th, do
1 you have a substantive question about how that happened or are you trying
2 to carry over the aforementioned error in the time-line?
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Egbers, do you recall the date when this
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I assume that it was Wednesday the
6 12th, but I could check this in previous and different testimonies if
7 the -- if General Tolimir wants me to.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
9 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, the reason I rose a moment was, and
10 hopefully again we can save a little bit of time. The witness testified
11 very clearly about all of this subject matter and the dates in his prior
12 testimony in the Popovic case at transcript page 2716 to 2719. All the
13 events that are contained in this paragraph that was unfortunately not
14 properly dated, all the events that are described in the subsequent
15 paragraph, and all the events that are described in this paragraph that
16 General Tolimir is currently questioning him on. It is all described in
17 his prior testimony, transcript page 2716 to 2719.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Egbers, it is really of no consequence to me on what date it
21 was or whether it was a mistake or not. What matters to me is to
22 actually correlate the events that you are talking about with the
23 participants in those events. As we cannot speak about exact dates, I
24 will ask you this: You say here that on the 12th, as you say, you follow
25 the route which was taken by the refugees, the road taken by them, you
1 follow the buses, that one bus broke down, and that a Serb officer helped
2 you gets the refugees off this bus that had broken down and into a bus in
3 good repair.
4 And then you go on to say that you were stopped, you were
5 intercepted in the evening, that you had to spend the night at a school
6 where there was a unit of the Army of Republika Srpska, that Muslims
7 actually broke through the woods and that you saw a number of captured
8 Muslims and that they opened fire at the school in which you spent the
10 Did all these events that you describe happen on -- in the night
11 between the 12th and the 13th? Did all these events happen that you
12 describe in your statement on page 4 as having happened on the 12th?
13 A. The very -- I escorted the very first transport of refugees. I
14 drove via Bratunac to Kladanj, and every hundred metres I tried to
15 maintain contact with UNPROFOR to report where we were going. I stated
16 earlier about unloading the buses, and I've stated earlier that that
17 evening I drove back to Srebrenica again.
18 The next day I received instructions to escort another transport
19 of refugees. I've told you that men were separated from women, that I
20 was in the house with the men, that I told the men that they would be
21 going to a Muslim area as well, and, later on, with that transport 4 once
22 again, via Bratunac, I drove to Kladanj again. Along my return, I was
23 stopped at Nova Kasaba.
24 Have I given you a better chronological account of what happened?
25 Q. Thank you. In order for us to establish what happened on the
1 12th and what on the 13th, I will read page 4, paragraph 6, that's lines
2 1 to 3 in Serbian and in English it is page 5, the first paragraph. In
3 fact, it is the last paragraph that we now see in English. I apologise.
4 Actually, now it is the first one.
5 "There were more buses near Kladanj. Refugees got out at the
6 stop, three buses at a time. From this point they were allowed to walk
7 to freedom. I saw some ten Bosnian Serbs at the stop, but I did not see
8 them treat anybody badly."
9 Then it goes on to say:
10 "I stayed at Kladanj for an hour or so, then I went back with
11 Lutke and another vehicle followed. I radioed in saying that there the
12 refugees were still sitting in the football field in Nova Kasaba. The
13 situation along the road remained unchanged."
14 Tell me, does this refer to the first day of evacuation, the 12th
15 of July, and was that the end of July, the 12th?
16 A. That was on the first day of the evacuation at the end of the
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. On page 5, the first paragraph in line 1, that is in the Serbian,
21 you say that:
22 "... on Thursday, the 13th of July, 1995, I had to report to
23 Captain Melchers at 0600."
24 My question is: Was that the beginning of the 13th of July, in
25 terms of your activities for that day?
1 A. Yes, that was indeed on the second day I was escorting convoys,
2 and I was expected to report to Captain Melchers at 6.00.
3 Q. Thank you. Please tell us who this captain was and was he a
4 member of UNPROFOR?
5 A. That was indeed a Dutch UNPROFOR captain.
6 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 1 you described how you went to the
7 house where men were separated from the women to check out the situation,
8 and so on and so forth. We shall now move on to paragraph 3, on page 5,
9 to look at lines 10 from 14 which I shall quote. In fact, just the
10 penultimate and the ultimate lines, 13 and 14. You say that you saw a
11 black Volkswagon and a man in black:
12 "And I asked him whether he could stop an empty bus for me so
13 that we could actually take the refugees in them and he did so, and I
14 took that bus to Kladanj."
15 My question is: Was that the last bus that you dispatched to
16 Kladanj on that 13th of July or were there any others or any other
17 activities following that?
18 A. On the second day I escorted convoys, I did not see a black but a
19 red Volkswagon with a colonel on board who was able to help me arrange a
20 different bus to replace a bus that broke down. Presumably, the bus had
21 broken down and something else had to be arranged for those people. I
22 drove behind that bus up to Kladanj. Does that answer your question
24 Q. Thank you for your answer. Was this the last day that you
25 escorted refugees or sent the refugees to Kladanj, since later refer to
1 being stopped together with Captain Lutke, if I am right?
2 A. On the return journey from Kladanj I was stopped at Nova Kasaba
3 by a roadblock. A gun was pointed at me, and I had to surrender my
4 vehicle. And you mentioned Captain Lutke but it was Sergeant Lutke.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, on page 47, line 22 and 23, you were
6 recorded to have said:
7 "You say that you saw a black Volkswagon and a man in black."
8 The witness answered that he didn't refer to a black but to a red
9 Volkswagon, and just for the sake of the record I would like to note in
10 the document on the screen we can see there, and I quote:
11 "Shortly thereafter, a red Volkswagon wagon stopped. A man
12 dressed entirely in a black uniform got out."
13 Just to clarify the situation about the colours.
14 Please carry on.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. My next question: On the 12th and the 13th, these last two days
18 when you escorted this column to Kladanj, did you take to Kladanj all the
19 people that you had actually taken in Srebrenica?
20 A. I spoke with Major Franken about the escorts for the buses. He
21 wanted to have an UNPROFOR soldier on each bus. He told me that that was
22 prohibited by the Bosnian Serbs. The very first convoy of buses was
23 escorted by UNPROFOR from the front and the rear, that was allowed, but
24 later on only by a vehicle that would drive behind the buses.
25 Transport 3, which transported the men from the white house, according to
1 Lieutenant Versteeg, did not arrive in Kladanj. The two transports of
2 women and children I escorted were, as far as I saw, they did arrive in
3 Kladanj. Later, when I was detained in Nova Kasaba in the school, all
4 buses rode without escorts, and I can't say anything about them.
5 Q. Thank you. I asked you about these first two days, whether all
6 the buses transported all the people and came back up to the point when
7 you were stopped. Did the buses return to Srebrenica in order to
8 continue with the evacuation on the next day as well, the third day? And
9 I'm not mentioning any dates because of the chronology which is lacking
10 in your statement. Thank you.
11 A. Well, I can give you a brief answer. On the two days that I
12 performed these escorting duties, the first day, the very first
13 transport, something happened to one of the buses. One of those buses
14 was broken down by the side of the road. I talked about that. When a
15 replacement bus arrived, I drove behind that bus to Kladanj. All other
16 buses were there and the people alighted, and then I drove back in my
17 vehicle along the football field in Nova Kasaba back to the compound in
19 The next day the transport with men was number 3. They were not
20 escorted. I did the fourth transport. These buses arrived in Kladanj.
21 I drove back in the direction of Potocari but was stopped at the school
22 of Nova Kasaba.
23 Does this answer your question sufficiently?
24 Q. Thank you, thank you. Is there a written report on behalf of
25 UNPROFOR soldiers who escorted convoys from Srebrenica to Kladanj? Thank
2 A. Immediately upon my return from the school of Nova Kasaba where I
3 spent the night with my 12 colleagues, I compiled an internal report and
4 I presented that to the head of the section 2/3 as entered here
5 yesterday. There were no instructions regarding escorting the buses.
6 The situation was as follows: We saw all those people standing and
7 waiting in the burning Sunday, and all of a sudden 12 buses showed up
8 from Zvornik and other places, and we were expected to follow them. I
9 didn't even know where those buses were headed. I couldn't tell those
10 people what was going to happen with them and where they would be
11 brought, so there were no written instructions.
12 Q. Thank you. Did those people know where they were going? They
13 knew the area, they were familiar with the communications, did they know
14 where they were going? Did they ask you where they were going?
15 A. Of course they wanted to know, and they asked me, but I didn't
16 know. Only the bus drivers knew where they were going. Not until the
17 second day could I tell them that I had been near Vlasenica.
18 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us whether those people who
19 attended the meeting on the 12th at the Fontana Hotel, did they make
20 arrangements as to where those people would be taken? Did they know
21 where they would be taken, and did they inform you about that?
22 A. I don't know. All I know is that I didn't know.
23 Q. Those who transported the people, were they supposed to tell
24 every UNPROFOR soldier what was going on, or were they only supposed to
25 convey that to Karremans and depend on him to inform his soldiers what to
1 do? Thank you.
2 A. I asked the captain that you just mentioned. He was instructed
3 to assign the transport on the first day, and he told me, that's
4 Captain Melchers, he told me that he didn't know where the transports
5 were headed. I -- in any case, I had to bring enough food, drink, and
6 sleeping bags along.
7 Q. Thank you. So you didn't know what had been agreed by the
8 representatives of the Muslim community and the representatives of the
9 VRS about that evacuation? Please answer by just saying yes or no.
10 Thank you.
11 A. I can't say yes or no to that because I don't know whether -- I
12 don't know whether those agreements were reached, all I can say is that I
13 didn't know that at the time.
14 Q. Thank you. Yesterday you answered Mr. Thayer's question and you
15 spoke about a woman who had died on one of the buses and you spoke about
16 the others leaving the bus and walking through the forest. Bearing in
17 mind what had happened, was that a forcible death or was the death of
18 that woman the result of the temperatures, the high temperatures in the
19 bus and the heat on the bus?
20 A. I would have to guess what the cause of death was, and I am not
21 in a position to do that. All I can say is what I observed, and I
22 described to you yesterday what the conditions were and what the
23 temperature was.
24 Q. Thank you. Also you told us yesterday that the others had been
25 chased out of the bus and that they had been forced to walk through the
1 woods. What can you tell us about that?
2 A. I didn't say that others were chased out of the bus. In fact, it
3 was very orderly. The buses were all stationary. The first three buses
4 drove up, the doors opened, and people were allowed to walk down a
5 certain road. Once those buses were empty the next ones arrived and the
6 ones after them. They didn't know exactly where they were walking, and
7 later on it turned out that they were walking to the Muslim area of
9 Q. Thank you. Thank you for the explanation. Thank you for
10 clarifying the situation for us. And now could you answer another
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Can the Court please produce
13 Exhibit P1143. Thank you.
14 Q. The document describes a situation on the 13th of July, Thursday,
15 as you say, in Nova Kasaba. Some of the people were loaded on the busses
16 and left in the direction of Tuzla. I am going to read from the
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We need --
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's page 18 in English and 27 in
20 Serbian. The paragraph number is 287. Thank you.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. We will see the paragraph shortly. The paragraph is 287. Now we
23 see it on the screen. You say this:
25 And I quote, I quote what you said:
1 "No. But one thing about Nova Kasaba is mentioned. I have it
2 here before me. It says, 'Thursday, 13 July, at least one of the convoys
3 was stopped at the football field in the surroundings of Nova Kasaba.
4 The Army of Bosnian Serbs,'" as you call it, "'set up a place there where
5 able-bodied men were gathered. A number of men were allowed to get on
6 the buses and they were transferred to Kladanj.'"
8 And now I'm reading from paragraph 288:
9 "Yes. That was another convoy. I was not with it. But I did
10 indeed hear that -- the story that some men were allowed to get on the
11 buses. Maybe they were friends or acquaintances or something like that."
12 My question is this: In these two paragraphs, 287 and 288, you
13 speak about a certain number of people who had gathered in Nova Kasaba
14 who were allowed to board the buses and leave for Tuzla. Do you have any
15 more information about the stories that you had heard? Can you tell us
16 how many people boarded the buses, and so on and so forth? Thank you.
17 A. As you see, the question under paragraph 287 appears in italics.
18 This was information from the investigator of the Dutch Institute for War
19 Documentation. He probably obtained that information elsewhere and was
20 asking whether I can tell him anything about that. In 1999 when this
21 report was drafted, all I could say was that I had heard about it at the
22 time but that I was not present there. All I can say is that that didn't
23 happen on my transports. I can't tell you anything more about that.
24 What I say, starting with maybe, is, of course, an interpretation of an
25 interview question because you start thinking about what could possibly
1 be the reason. In retrospect, that's an awkward addition. It would have
2 been better for me to say that I didn't personally experience that, only
3 heard about it.
4 Q. Thank you. In order to complete this information, bearing in
5 mind what the Dutch institute asked you, let's look at paragraph 292
6 where you say:
7 "No. Yes. Precisely so. When we stopped by the burning bus,
8 you could see also that the Muslims and the Serbs who had lived together
9 for a number of years before that and knew each other and were still on
10 friendly terms. They hugged each other. I can very well imagine. It
11 was a state of chaos. And I can very well imagine somebody stopping
12 buses and crying, 'These Muslims have to stay alive.' And that's quite
14 And now let me quote the other paragraphs, but before that did I
15 quote the Dutch investigator's words correctly? Did I quote their
16 question correctly? Thank you.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: What I take from this document is that was the
18 answer of the witness and not the question by the Dutch representative.
19 Mr. Thayer.
20 MR. THAYER: Yes, precisely, Mr. President. And just to
21 follow-up on Colonel Egbers's previous answer, he tried it himself and
22 said that perhaps his answer was a little clumsy. But if General Tolimir
23 is going to be quoting from this document then I think the record should
24 reflect that, in fact, the following question at 289, paragraph 289, is:
2 And Colonel Egbers responds:
3 "But I wouldn't know who did that."
4 Which I think is precisely what Colonel Egbers was trying to
5 communicate in his last answer.
6 And then furthermore, in fact, General Tolimir did not read the
7 question at paragraph 291 into the record. He simply quoted
8 Colonel Egbers's answer. And the question is, from the NIOD interviewer:
9 "I don't know who reported that either, but I found that really
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. And now your next question,
12 Mr. Tolimir.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Since
14 I've been asked to read everything, let me read paragraph 296, the last
15 one on page 18.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. It says here:
18 "Yes, but in the beginning there was no selection. In the
19 beginning they let everybody in. Only later did they start to select
20 people. On the second day."
21 My question is this --
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Thayer. Go ahead.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
24 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. Honestly, this is
25 atrocious. General Tolimir well knows that the next question, if we turn
1 the next page in English, paragraph 297, is:
2 "It really only started on the second day."
3 And the witness's answer is:
4 "Yes, as far as I know. Don't hold me to that. I wasn't there."
5 And I just point that out for the record to save a little bit of
6 time in potential redirect because this is nonsense and it's misleading
7 cross-examination. General Tolimir just claimed that he was being forced
8 to read all of the paragraphs, and we will require him to place these
9 paragraphs in the fair and accurate context in which they should be
10 placed by an Officer of the Court, in this case, a self-represented
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think you shall take that into consideration,
13 but we have our second break now and we will resume at quarter past 6.00.
14 --- Recess taken at 5.48 p.m.
15 [The witness stands down]
16 [The witness takes the stand]
17 --- On resuming at 6.18 p.m.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir. Go ahead, please.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. On page 2906, lines 15 to 20 from Popovic case, it says and I
23 "Q. Were you taken hostage by the Muslims while you were in
24 the enclave?"
25 Your answer to that was this, and I quote:
1 "I was in the Bandera Triangle when we entered the enclave in
2 January 1995."
3 I'll skip a few questions because they are illegible, and now it
4 says, and I quote, the question by the Defence:
5 "Is it fair to say that the person who took you hostage was under
6 the command of a person called Zulfo?"
7 And your answer was this:
8 "That's correct. That's what I was told.
9 "Q. Muslim forces under Zulfo's command, were they responsible
10 for the area between observation posts Alpha and Charlie?"
11 Your answer was this:
12 "That was something that we thought, that Zulfo was one who was
13 superior to those who were he in the enclave."
14 My question, based on what I have just quoted, is this, and the
15 question is to you, sir -- I have just been informed that something was
17 "You said that's what I was told, that Zulfo was in charge of the
18 men who were in that part of the enclave."
19 I apologise to the interpreters for speeding up. I believe that
20 that was the cause of the error.
21 My question to you, sir, is this: Zulfo, who is referred to in
22 here in this transcript, is that Zulfo Tursunovic? Thank you.
23 A. In reading out your -- reading out the statement, there is
24 another small error. In -- I hear that in July 1995 I was in the
25 Bandera Triangle, but now once again were you talking about a time at the
1 start of the enclave. Yesterday, at the request of the OTP I responded
2 that upon entering, as a new Dutch battalion, we faced advancing Serbs.
3 We are talking about the period January and February 1995 and not during
4 the fall of the enclave.
5 I was told that in that period, if that's what you mean, somebody
6 named Zulfo was responsible for Muslim operations in that
7 Bandera Triangle. I don't know his surname.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I take it that you quoted from the
9 Popovic transcript, that was P1142. We have another document on the
10 screen still and this is not the right one. I just wanted to make that
11 clear for the record.
12 Mr. Thayer.
13 MR. THAYER: And just so the record is completely clear on this
14 point. At page 2906, line 12, the witness's answer was, in fact:
15 "I was at the Bandera Triangle in the west of the enclave as we
16 entered the enclave in January 1995."
17 That was the witness's answer in the Popovic case.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to thank everybody for
19 supplementing. I would not waste anymore time.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. My next question is this: Did the OTP ask you to recognise this
22 man, Zulfo, who is referred to herein? Did they ask you to recognise him
23 in a photo? Thank you.
24 A. No, I did not meet him.
25 Q. Thank you. Why were you taken as hostage in January 1995 in the
1 Bandera Triangle? Thank you.
2 A. As I said yesterday, we were denied access to that triangle on
3 the argument that we were not acting as UNPROFOR against the Serbs or
4 Bosnian Serbs, that with each new battalion commander took away a section
5 of the enclave, according the view of the Muslims.
6 In January 1995 in the surroundings west of the enclave, known as
7 the Bandera Triangle, that was said to be the case. There the Serbs were
8 said to have advanced in the direction of the enclave without any action
9 by UNPROFOR. When we entered that triangle nonetheless, in our vehicles,
10 the roads were blocked by the Muslims.
11 Does that answer your question sufficiently?
12 Q. Thank you. Yes, you've answered my question. We know that
13 UNPROFOR's movements were restricted in the Bandera Triangle. Did
14 UNPROFOR react to that? Did they announce that there would be
15 air-strikes because of that? Did they ever say that to the Muslims?
16 A. At the time we were not fired at, the roads were blocked and the
17 rank of the battalion of Major Franken led this operation to enter that
18 area, nonetheless, with UNPROFOR troops. At that level, negotiations
19 were conducted with representatives of the Bosnian Muslims who lived in
20 the enclave, and those negotiations led to restoring freedom of movement
21 for the Dutch groups.
22 Q. Thank you. Do you know if UNPROFOR informed Serbs about the
23 restriction on their movements in the so-called Bandera Triangle?
24 A. I was told later that the observers were in contact with the
25 Bosnian Serbs and spoke about this in Bratunac, but at the time I didn't
1 know that.
2 Q. Thank you. Did UNPROFOR ever try to secure the freedom of
3 movement in the zone demilitarised according to the agreement with the
4 help of one of the sides that were guarantors to that agreement, and that
5 was the Serbian side? Thank you.
6 A. I don't know whether that happened. All I know is that there
7 were UN observers and they spoke with both the Muslims and the Bosnian
9 Q. In the Popovic case on page 2907, lines 14 through 17, you speak
10 about Zulfo Tursunovic, the organisation that he had established in the
11 Bandera Triangle area, and about him as a person, that everybody was
12 afraid of.
13 My question is this: Did you see Zulfo Tursunovic after the
14 events in the Bandera Triangle? Did you see him in Srebrenica?
15 A. I read what you are referring to.
16 Q. Thank you. Did you ever see Zulfo later, either in Srebrenica or
17 while discharging your tasks?
18 A. I'd like to get back to the surname that you use in line 16,
19 Tursunovic, you make it appear as if I mention that name in the Popovic
20 case. Well, I just explained that I don't know that surname. And as I
21 re-read lines 14 through 17, the surname doesn't appear there. But let
22 me tell you which stories were being told about Zulfo. At the time we
23 heard that he was said to be a criminal. He may have served time in
24 prison. Those were the stories we heard, a criminal. I did not meet
1 Are we talking about the same Zulfo?
2 Q. Thank you. We are talking about the same Zulfo. I refer to the
3 surname for the transcript. Was he in prison whilst -- while UNPROFOR
4 was -- [B/C/S spoken on English channel] Zulfo?
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
6 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. I apologise. Obviously
7 some of the interpreters have not switched off their microphones in some
8 of the booths so that we have some strange input in our earphones.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Was Zulfo, on account of his criminal activities, in prison
12 before the war or during the war?
13 A. All I can tell you is that there was a rumor, and I don't know
14 whether it was true, but rumor had it that he was said to have served
15 time in prison before the war. During his stay in the enclave, there was
16 no prison.
17 Q. Thank you. Will you please tell us whether the UNPROFOR command
18 demanded from the Muslim political leadership for the military commanders
19 who were organising the army in the enclave to leave the enclave as a
20 demilitarised zone?
21 A. Could you please reformulate this question more clearly so that I
22 know exactly what you mean, because I have read this twice now and I
23 don't understand exactly what you want from me.
24 Q. Thank you. Did the UNPROFOR command ask the military Muslim -- I
25 mean the political leadership of the Muslims in Sarajevo and Srebrenica
1 that any of the military commanders leave the enclave on account of
2 activities which were in contravention of the agreement?
3 A. I don't know. You would need to ask the UNPROFOR generals who
4 might have spoken with you about this subject.
5 Q. Thank you. According to the agreement were not all military
6 activities prohibited in the Srebrenica enclave, was that not the case?
7 A. All I can tell you is what I saw in the enclave. I did not
8 observe any military activities except that the weapons were allowed to
9 be maintained in the weapon collection point. I don't know -- I don't
10 understand exactly which activities you mean that would not be prohibited
11 in the enclave. Could you perhaps clarify that?
12 Q. Thank you. Did you meet with military representatives in the
13 enclave or did other officers of the UNPROFOR meet with them or liaison
15 A. I know that Naser Oric was in the enclave. He called himself a
16 commander. Ramiz was there. He held a military rank as well. And
17 locally in the area of Observation Post Alpha, I was in contact with a
18 local authority, somebody who spoke on behalf of the people. But I was
19 not in contact with other superior military representatives or liaison
21 Q. Thank you.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now have called up in
23 e-court D66. Until it is brought up on the screen, I should say that it
24 is a document which Naser Oric signed as his report which he dispatched
25 to Tuzla and the chief of the General staff to Enver Hadzihasanovic, a
1 brigade general. We now see it on the screen in the Serbian. I believe
2 it is there now in the English as well, yes it is. I shall now quote a
3 portion of this report which was sent on the 28th of January, 1995, to
4 the addressees indicated in Kakanj and Tuzla.
5 Q. I quote:
6 "Due to the situations in the area of Podgaj village on 9 January
7 1995 of which you were informed in a timely manner, the command of the
8 8th Operations Group has restricted the movement of the -- of UNPROFOR
9 forces in the wider region of Suceska and Podgaj.
10 "At about 1100 hours today, the commander of the Dutch Battalion
11 in Srebrenica ordered his patrols to enter the movement restriction area.
12 In co-ordination with the commander of the 8th Operations Group,
13 respecting the agreement reached with the UNPROFOR liaison officer, after
14 the warning was issued not to move in the aforementioned area, the
15 commander of the 281st Eastern Bosnia Light Brigade blocked all UNPROFOR
16 patrols and is still keeping them blocked. It was requested from the
17 Dutch Battalion commander that this area be immediately visit by the
18 UNPROFOR commander for the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the
19 representatives of the General Staff of the Army of the Republic of
20 Bosnia and Herzegovina and the 2nd Corps command all with a view to
21 finding a peaceful solution to the situation which has arisen in the
22 Podgaj village sector and the General area of Suceska, i.e., the area of
23 responsibility of the 281st Eastern Bosnia Light Brigade.
24 "Please give us immediately instructions for further steps to be
25 taken regarding UNPROFOR.
1 "Commander Brigadier Naser Oric."
2 My question is: It is obvious from this document that UNPROFOR
3 had been issued a warning. It had been prohibited movement in the area
4 of Bandera Triangle. My question is whether Enver or Evert Rave, who is
5 referred to in this document, was the liaison officer at the time?
6 A. Your question is, because I have read this document together with
7 you, you're asking whether there is a liaison. Can I find the same name
8 in the document that you just mentioned?
9 Q. Thank you. That is not what I asked. But thank you for
10 commenting on it. Was, at that time, Mr. Evert Rave the liaison officer?
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think the name should be Evert Rave.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think you mean -- the name Rave
13 rings a bell. That's a colleague from UNPROFOR in the lower ranks and
15 THE INTERPRETER: "Wachtmeester," interpreter apologies, checking
16 translation of "wachtmeester."
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's a sergeant-major. Whether
18 he was the one who remained in contact with Naser Oric, I don't think so.
19 I think it would have been Karremans's responsibility to maintain that
20 contact, but all I can tell you is that I was there at that point and was
21 unable to proceed. I've never seen that document before.
22 Q. Thank you. The document proposes that the commander of UNPROFOR
23 for Bosnia and a representative of the General Staff; namely, a
24 representative of the Army of the BH and the commander of the 2nd Corps
25 should meet in order to bring about an early resolution to the situation,
1 to the problem. Are you aware -- do you know that they indeed did meet
2 in order to deal with the situation?
3 A. At any rate, not in the enclave.
4 Q. From this document of Naser Oric that's sent to Tuzla and the
5 General Staff, is it obvious that the Muslim army in Srebrenica was --
6 maintained an organised link with representatives of the Army of Bosnia
7 and Herzegovina and the General Staff of the Army of Bosnia and
9 A. Is that question directed at me or is that for the Judge?
10 Q. Thank you. I have no right to ask the Judges. I put this
11 question to you.
12 A. Then I would have to interpret this document and, as I read this,
13 it appears that there is a link between Naser Oric, the sender of this
14 letter, and the General Staff to whom the letter is addressed. I can't
15 say anything else about it. That was way above my level in 1995.
16 Q. Thank you. Do you know whether the Serbs knew or had been
17 informed that the Muslims were prohibiting your movement in the
18 Bandera Triangle area?
19 A. As I told you earlier, I heard that our observers in Bratunac
20 spoke about this with the Bosnian Serbs. I even believe I remember that
21 the Bosnian Serbs offered their assistance, but I don't remember that
22 very clearly.
23 Q. Thank you. Was this restriction of movement, in a zone such as
24 the Bandera Triangle was, was it -- sorry, I made a mistake. Was the
25 prohibition on UNPROFOR's movement in a sector which was called the
1 Bandera Triangle, was it contrary to the provisions of the
2 demilitarisation agreement?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Thank you. Did the Muslims conduct any illegal activities in the
5 Bandera Triangle that they did he not want UNPROFOR to be aware of, and,
6 if so, and if you know that that was the case, can you tell us what it
8 A. There were no indications to that effect.
9 Q. Thank you. Did there exist a possibility that the Muslims did
10 conduct any illegal prohibited activities there which representatives of
11 UNPROFOR and UNPROFOR patrols were to have sanctioned?
12 A. The activities and shooting incidents were in the area of
13 Observation Post Alpha, north of the triangle. We had patrols in the
14 area and looked around the area with binoculars, but we had no reason to
15 assume that other activities, illegal activities as you describe them,
16 were taking place. Otherwise, I assume that the Bosnian Serbs would have
17 notified our observers in Bratunac so that we would have been able to
18 take action.
19 Q. Thank you. You have frequently referred to observers in your
20 answers. Did you mean UN observers in the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina
21 or UNPROFOR observers who were part of the Dutch battalion? Thank you.
22 A. Our people who were regularly outside the enclave were the UN
23 observers. We also had people from other countries, African nations
24 carrying out these duties. I don't remember their names clearly, but I
25 am sure they are in the file. They would leave the enclave and were in
1 contact with both the Bosnian Serbs and with the Muslims in the enclave.
2 You'll find them as UNMOs, United Nations Military Observers.
3 Q. Thank you. Please tell me whether at any time after that
4 incident you had a right to move around the -- or within the
5 Bandera Triangle?
6 A. I wasn't there after that and I don't know for certain whether
7 other UNPROFOR soldiers were there later on, but I assume that Zulfo, in
8 his section, did not allow the UNPROFOR patrols. I would have to check
9 that in previous statements, but if you are asking me I was -- I did not
10 go back there.
11 Q. Thank you. Were you able to disarm armed Muslims within
12 so-called Zulfo's zone or brigade when you observed such -- any armed
14 A. That was not there anymore because it was not in my company's
15 sector. It was Captain Groen's area. I was responsible with my company
16 for the northern part of the enclave, but when you can't get there you
17 can't confiscate arms either, if that's the answer you want.
18 Q. Thank you. That is the answer which I wanted. Colonel Franken
19 certainly knew the answer to what I am interested in. In 1995 he was
20 Karremans deputy. And in June 2010, on page 338 --
21 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter cannot follow the speaker. He
22 should slow down, please, please.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you are much too fast again. The
24 interpreters can't follow you.
25 What is your question?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. My question was: Were you allowed to disarm Muslims when you
4 found yourselves outside that zone, in any area outside Zulfo's zone?
5 A. We were entitled to confiscate weapons from Muslims throughout
6 the enclave and store them in the weapon collection point.
7 Q. Thank you. If you saw a Muslim going into a house and carrying
8 weapons, were you entitled to follow him into that house?
9 A. I know that that happened. I don't know specifically whether
10 that was officially regulated.
11 Q. Thank you. I shall quote what Mr. Franken said on the 30th of
12 June, 2010, 3384, lines 12 to 15 of the transcript. And he said this,
13 and I quote:
14 "We had a minor problem. The moment we entered a house we were
15 not authorised to enter that house, and we were to call the local police
16 in order to search that house so that that was not very effective."
17 My question is: Was this actually the practice, the procedure
18 throughout the Srebrenica zone as described by Mr. Franken in what I have
19 just quoted?
20 A. That sounds like a good question for Major Franken. All I know
21 is that special forces did go after the people, also into their house, to
22 confiscate weapons. I understand based to Major Franken's statement that
23 they weren't entitled to do so.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think there's a correction necessary. On page
25 68, line 20, you quoted Mr. Franken in the following way, I quote:
1 "We had a minor problem. The moment we enter the house."
2 It should read, "They entered the house."
3 Mr. Thayer.
4 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I am standing now just so we don't go
5 over time too much. I just wanted to raise one proposal with the
6 Trial Chamber and, frankly, with the witness. As I mentioned at the
7 outset, we do not have the Dutch interpreters available for tomorrow, but
8 I wanted to at least provide the alternative to Colonel Egbers, if he so
9 chooses, and this is without any indication of any preference on the part
10 of the Prosecution, because we have none with respect to this issue, for
11 him to return tomorrow if he desires to testify in English.
12 Obviously he has chosen to testify in Dutch, and we understand
13 that, and again we have got no position. But if Colonel Egbers is
14 available tomorrow and would prefer to get the completion of his
15 testimony accomplished tomorrow, that is an option. Not a satisfactory
16 one, I expect, but I just wanted to put that out there because the
17 alternative is that he has to come back on another day when we can
18 schedule the Dutch interpreters which, again, is fine with the
19 Prosecution as well.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much, Mr. Thayer. I note that the
21 cross-examination lasted up to now around four hours. Mr. Tolimir, you
22 indicated earlier that you will need seven hours altogether. Can I take
23 it that you need again three hours for cross-examination?
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. That is
25 the time within which we could conclude with our questioning, given the
1 situation that we are in. Thank you.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And before I ask the witness if he would be able
3 to testify in English, I would like to know, Mr. Thayer, there is another
4 witness from abroad scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday. Would that not
5 cause another problem if we will continue with Mr. Egbers?
6 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, my understanding from the Defence is
7 that the best estimate is that that other witness's testimony can be
8 completed in one day.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You are referring to Mr. Baraybar?
10 MR. THAYER: Affirmative.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Is that the case, Mr. Tolimir?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. If that witness comes,
13 we will finish him. And if Colonel agrees to come tomorrow, we will
14 finish him as well. That's the position of the Defence.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Egbers, you have followed the discussion
16 about the different options how to conclude your testimony. One is that
17 you testify in English tomorrow for around three hours and some more
18 time, or that you come back at a later day when the Dutch interpreters
19 will be available. What is your position on that?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At previous trials I testified in
21 English, but I often had to search for words. For example, when I
22 explain that a man is pushing forward his wife in a wheelbarrow to
23 Potocari, then I have to describe the word "wheelbarrow" which I don't
24 often use in English. And now I can speak my own language, I am able to
25 be clearer about what I mean, and I think that both Mr. Tolimir and the
1 Prosecutor are best served by that. So I propose that we set a new date.
2 I live in this country so I can come at short notice when interpreters
3 are present. I think that this trial is too important.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much for that. I think this is a
5 clear position we have received from the witness so that we have to
6 conclude your testimony at another day, that will be discussed between
7 the parties and you will get the invitation in due course.
8 First of all, the Chamber has to thank you for your attendance
9 yesterday and today, and we are sorry that you have to come back at a
10 later stage. Please be reminded that it is not allowed to have contact
11 to either party about the content of your testimony during the break.
12 Thank you again. And we have to adjourn now and resume tomorrow
13 in the afternoon at 2.15 in this courtroom.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.06 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the
16 3rd day of November, 2010, at 2.15 p.m.