1 Friday, 10 December 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning to everybody. As you can see, only
6 two judges are present. Judge Nyambe can't be with us today and in the
7 next week, so the Chamber decided to sit pursuant to Rule 15 bis, only
8 with two judges these five hearing days.
9 Yesterday, I mentioned the urgent motion of the Prosecution for
10 leave to file an amended Rule 65 ter summary for Witness Erin Gallagher
11 and for addition of one document to the Prosecution's Rule 65 ter exhibit
12 list. This is a confidential motion and I would like to ask the Defence
13 if they are in a position to express their position to this motion.
14 Mr. Gajic.
15 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, there are no
16 objections to raise on our part. Thank you.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In this case, the motion is granted. The amended
18 Rule 65 ter summary and the addition of one document is permitted.
19 The witness should be brought in, please.
20 Mr. Gajic.
21 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I think the only
22 question that remains at issue since yesterday is P1224. That exhibit,
23 it has been MFI'd, and the Defence asked for the exhibit to be admitted,
24 but if I remember well, you raised the issue of whether that document
25 should be assigned a P number or a D number. Therefore, we would just
1 like to reiterate our motion for that document to be admitted.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: There are some documents remaining to be
3 discussed, and we will come back to that later. Thank you for your
4 intervention, Mr. Gajic.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning, sir. Welcome back to the
7 courtroom. I have to remind you that the solemn declaration to tell the
8 truth still applies. Mr. Tolimir is continuing his cross-examination.
9 Mr. Tolimir.
10 WITNESS: MIRKO TRIVIC [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir: [Continued]
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Peace to
14 everyone in this house and may God speed us on our way to a successful
15 conclusion of today's session. May God bless you all.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Good morning, Witness. The last thing we talked about yesterday
18 is you coming under attack by anti-aircraft guns and machine-guns when
19 you were in Srebrenica. My question: Was there a single attack that you
20 came under or did that continue throughout your clashes with the Muslims?
21 Thank you.
22 A. I have to admit that the first time an attack occurred was on the
23 10th, after the unit changed its direction of engagement. That was just
24 past the village of Slapovic. It was perhaps an hour before the entry
25 into Srebrenica that the firing came from a variety of firing points and
1 positions, and my unit came under attack as a result.
2 Q. Thank you very much. Could you please tell us whether at the
3 time you were in direct combat contact with the Muslim forces or did you
4 simply come under fire without knowing who was firing at you? Thank you.
5 A. As far as my units are concerned, I wasn't really there in direct
6 contact with the soldiers who were seizing territory and directly engaged
7 in the fighting. I was observing all of this from certain points that
8 had a clear view of the whole combat arena. Nevertheless, based on the
9 reports that I was receiving and the communication I had with those
10 officers who were in charge, especially the reconnaissance officers, it
11 was definitely this unit that came under attack.
12 Q. Since you told us that the first time you came under attack was
13 on the 10th, at least as far as you were able to specify, could you
14 please tell us this: Did you know that there were armoured units and
15 UNPROFOR weapons also firing at you in keeping with an order that they
16 had been given? Thank you. If you're not clear about the nature of this
17 question, I can explain.
18 A. No, I do believe I've understood the question.
19 It wasn't the UNPROFOR units firing at us. Not this attack. My
20 unit and I met them directly, the UNPROFOR people. They crossed over to
21 our side, if I can put it like that, in the Slapovici sector, and that
22 was my area of operation. I don't know about anybody else, but as far as
23 my unit was concerned, we did not come under attack by the UN forces.
24 Q. Thank you. When he testified here, the deputy battalion
25 commander of UNPROFOR Nastrani [phoen] or, rather, at page 3454, lines 23
1 through 25, the date was the 1st of July, said as follows, and I will
2 quote this for you. We don't have the transcript in the Serbian language
3 in front of us:
4 "Ever since the green order was issued, we were engaging the VRS.
5 The VRS was our target. And this applied the other way around as well."
6 So he's saying this and he's talking about this order, and then
7 he goes on to say this in 3473, lines 5 through 6. I asked him, When was
8 the green order issued? and he said:
9 "That had to be on the 9th of July and continued to apply
10 throughout until the 11th, when the events in Srebrenica were over."
11 Bearing this in mind, is there a possibility that there were some
12 UNPROFOR weapons that were firing at you, in keeping with this order that
13 came from their superiors? Thank you.
14 A. I'll try to be as precise as I can. As far as I remember, from
15 an earlier statement, I said myself that they had a crew there with an
16 officer in charge, and an APC. They drove down to the Slapovici sector,
17 but it wasn't before the 10th. We had reached Slapovici, the village
18 itself, on the 9th. The morning of the 10th we actually entered the
19 village. We went around the village and realised there were no people
20 left there. As we were walking around, they came down from somewhere
21 around Zivkovo Brdo and Vogan. There is a path that crosses the saddle
22 between the two hills and they went down as far as the small bridge
23 there. There is a creek there in Slapovici and a small bridge that
24 crosses it. They were scared, they got out of the vehicle, raised their
25 hands and surrendered, placed themselves under our control. Or that was
1 the impression that I had at the time. They had probably been scared by
2 rumours about Serbian soldiers killing people there. One of them in fact
3 was so scared that he wet his pants when he set eyes on me and the
4 soldiers who were with me. They left with me. I persuaded them that
5 there was no reason to fear. One of the men who were with me was able to
6 use the English language to some extent to communicate. They went with
7 me as far as the command post. They had lunch there. They each had a
9 I informed the corps command that I had three or four men with me
10 there, the crew that I told you about, and an officer who was with them.
11 I'm talking about the UNPROFOR APC and an UNPROFOR crew. Someone from
12 the command took over, I don't remember who it was that came for them.
13 He took them away and the APC was driven by their own driver in the
14 presence of another soldier who was from the corps command. Was it the
15 corps staff? I can't remember anymore. That was the last I saw of them.
16 But I can't say whether it was them firing at me. It was quite obvious
17 they were scared. Maybe they were not willing to open fire when they saw
18 us. We just met there and we found our own way to communicate and settle
19 the situation as normal human beings, and then we parted ways.
20 Q. All right. Thank you very much. When did this event occur and
21 where did these people go? Did they go back to the Muslim side or
22 elsewhere? Just for the record, sir. Thank you.
23 A. They were with me at the command post, therefore I informed the
24 corps command and handed them over to the corps command. Handed them
25 over. All right, I informed the corps command and then someone from the
1 corps command came over and took them away.
2 Q. [Microphone not activated]
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Thank you very much. For the record, we state that the UNPROFOR
6 men went away with representatives of the Drina Corps command after
7 surrendering to Mr. Trivic.
8 Mr. Trivic, could you please go to your own logbook now, page 5.
9 That's how you marked it. That's 782, the copy that's been distributed
10 to us. Could we please have ERN number 0648-6782 shown on our screens.
11 This is Exhibit P1444. Thank you. We are waiting for it to come up.
12 This is page 5 of your logbook. You record some bullet points
13 there. Two bullet points relate to contact with the UNPROFOR people.
14 First bullet on page 5 -- we are waiting for this to come up on our
15 screens. You see what you said there, the second bullet point and the
16 third bullet point on page 5. Have a look, sir, and I'll ask you my
17 question as soon as it comes up. Thank you.
18 Could we have that in e-court, please, P1444. Thank you. Page
19 11 in e-court, please. Thank you, Aleksandar. We see the English.
20 Could we please have the Serbian, too.
21 You see, sir, there is an entry that you made on page 5, line 4,
22 second bullet point:
23 "At around 1400 hours, the UN compound was seized (around 1.000
24 huts) in the Slapovic village sector.
25 The compound extends from the north slopes of Zivkovo Brdo to the
1 east of the Vagan feature - Orahovica village."
2 That's what we explained a while ago. Thank you very much.
3 Next bullet point, you say:
4 "In the sector of the UN compound, the brigade commander and a
5 group of soldiers from the brigade and a group which they had engaged as
6 scouts captured a UN APC with five soldiers of the Dutch Battalion."
7 Could we please go to the next page so that we can see what it
8 says and I can ask my questions.
9 Next page, 783, line 4, you say:
10 "A BG, a combat group led by Captain Pajic reached Kostur and
11 Alibegovac. Ten UN soldiers were taken prisoner at Alibegovac."
12 Sir, bearing this in mind, your entries as well as what you told
13 us a while ago about those men surrendering to you and you asking the
14 corps command to take charge of them, tell us this: Were they really
15 arrested or taken prisoner, as the wording here suggests, or did they
16 simply surrender, as you just told us?
17 A. I was not engaged in fighting the UN. I said taken prisoner
18 simply because they raised their arms in surrender. It was about their
19 own body language, not my assumption. As for the section that you just
20 read back to me, if you look at bullet point 3 on page 5, it's quite
21 obvious what can be concluded. In the UN compound sector, commander of
22 the -- I said arrested, or seized, because they raised their arms in
23 surrender because when we came down they had reached that small bridge in
24 their APC, and when they saw us they were probably surprised.
25 Nevertheless, I believe it's quite important in relation to previous
1 question about the fighting, the security between Zivkovo Brdo and Vogan,
2 a very important saddle from which one protects the access to Srebrenica,
3 and that's where the firing came from. They fired at us. We were around
4 the small bridge, and that included the UN men. We both came under fire,
5 which led me to conclude that it wasn't their men firing at us. The APC
6 was quite easy to spot. It was white. It was quite clear that that was
7 a UN APC, therefore the firing came from the forces of the 28th Division,
8 not the UN.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Trivic. This is very significant and we should
10 know it. Even if you had arrested us, it wouldn't mean anything since
11 their commander said that from the 9th on they were engaged against the
13 Could the e-court please produce P590. This is a document, for
14 the record, issued by the command of the Drina Corps which was sent from
15 the IKM of the Drina Corps in Pribicevac on the 9th of July. It was
16 signed by General Radislav Krstic and we are going to look at page, or,
17 rather, paragraph 4 or bullet point 4, which says, "Conduct of UNPROFOR
18 forces." Indeed we see it both in English and in our own Serbian
19 language. It is now going to be blown up and you can read with me.
20 General Krstic writes to the Main Staff:
21 "The UNPROFOR forces at the check-points in Slapovic village and
22 Bucje village surrendered fully to our forces with all their weapons and
23 equipment and asked for our protection. Ten (10) UNPROFOR soldiers from
24 the UNPROFOR check-points in Bucje village, in Bucje village, have been
25 sent to and billeted in Milici, or accommodated in Milici, while five
1 soldiers from the check-point in Slapovic have been accommodated in
2 Bratunac. UNPROFOR forces from the base in Potocari village did not
3 intervene at the check-points or attack our forces."
4 This was signed by General Krstic. Could you please answer my
5 following question: Bearing in mind that General Krstic informed the
6 Main Staff in the way that we have just seen, would it be logical, based
7 on that and based on what you have told us, for the Main Staff to
8 conclude that they had surrendered, as General Krstic says in his report
9 and as you testified here? Do you have any comment with this regard?
10 A. No, there are no comments in this regard. I believe everything
11 is clear and self-explanatory. I gave you an example of what was going
12 on when we came in contact with the UN crew in the Slapovici sector.
13 Obviously, there were other check-points where UN soldiers approached the
14 VRS forces and surrendered, as it were, in order to escape areas exposed
15 to fire. And you can see from here that they were fully protected, that
16 they were evacuated from the theatre of war where active combat was going
17 on. They were evacuated from that area and fully protected, as you can
18 see in this report.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Trivic, I would like to put a question at
21 this point in time. We have heard different words during your
22 conversation and the interrogation by Mr. Tolimir. We have heard the
23 words "arrested," "taken prisoner," "captured," and "surrendered." Could
24 you explain the different -- the meaning of the different words and
25 descriptions of effect which has taken place? And in addition, can you
1 explain why you use the word "captured" and "taken prisoner" in your
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll try to explain. Although this
4 is my diary, this is not a combat report. I'm sure that in that combat
5 report I would use a more adequate word. And here I only noted what was
6 going on. I noted facts. I was not giving too much thought as to how
7 significant this might be in a legal proceedings, so I was not really
8 careful in choosing my words, as I would normally be. I described and
9 I related how all that had transpired. And what can one conclude based
10 on that? Did they surrender or not? Since we were not engaged against
11 each other, then it wouldn't be fair to use the term that I did use, and
12 that was that I arrested or captured somebody. But it is obvious that
13 the people bumped into me. It was a chance meeting. I'm sure that they
14 didn't expect that there was anybody among those houses, and I suppose
15 that they were on their way to Zeleni Jadar because the road through
16 Slapovic leads to their -- one of their bases in Zeleni Jadar, and all of
17 a sudden they bumped into men from the VRS. And when they raised their
18 arms, I just simply linked that with people being arrested. They just
19 raised their arms, they surrendered to us. And then they lowered their
20 arms, we collected their weapons, but we sent everything with them when
21 the corps command representative came to take them over. And I used that
22 term in that sense, not to describe one part of combat activities.
23 To put it simply, I had might and they surrendered to me. They
24 surrendered and I thought that I could use the term because that term was
25 used after they had raised their arms, and that's a term which is used
1 when two militaries come in contact and when they engage. And if one
2 side, if soldiers on one side raise their arms, that means that they
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
5 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Trivic, in the order that I just quoted from, signed by
9 Radislav Krstic, does he treat them as prisoners or does he say they
10 surrendered? How did the command treat them and what kind of a report
11 was sent to the Main Staff in respect of those men?
12 A. Allow me, if I have the right to do so, to suggest that that was
13 not an order, it was an interim combat report. And if that's the
14 document that we are talking about, the one that is on the screen now,
15 the corps command treats UNPROFOR troops as men who had surrendered to
16 our forces, and who had sought our protection.
17 Q. Thank you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for correcting
18 me. This is not an order. It is indeed a combat report. Could you
19 please tell us, what happened to those men next? Where were they
20 accommodated? Were they accommodated in a prison? Were they kept in
21 custody? Were they accommodated somewhere else? Were they treated as
22 prisoners of war? Thank you.
23 A. As far as I know, they were not in a prison, they were not kept
24 in any kind of custody, they were not remanded in custody. As far as
25 I heard, I believe that they linked up with their forces and they
1 continued carrying out their tasks, given to them by the battalion
2 commander but they did not remain in the area. They were moved from the
3 area and they continued working as soldiers until the moment they left
4 the sector altogether.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Trivic. Do you perhaps know that they were
6 accommodated in the Bratunac Hotel and that an UNPROFOR representative
7 inspected their accommodation when he came to negotiate?
8 A. I really don't know where they were accommodated.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Trivic.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, could this document
11 -- I apologise, I've just received information that it has been admitted
12 into evidence. Thank you. I withdraw that.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Mr. Trivic, in view of the situation that you described in your
15 diary surrounding Zeleni Jadar, for the transcript, we have to say
16 whether you arrested any UN troops in that settlement. You call it a UN
17 settlement. Was that indeed a UN settlement or was it something that was
18 constructed by the Swedish government for refugees and was it under
19 protection of the UN?
20 A. Well, I called it that because I believe that it was built with
21 donation of the Red Cross, so instead of going at great length describing
22 what it was, I just called it a UN compound or settlement. But it was
23 not where UN forces were billeted; it was a refugee settlement of
24 prefabricated houses. I believe that the donation had come from Norway.
25 It was a very huge plain field with houses, so as I was looking at it
1 from the hill top I don't think that there were more than 500 houses.
2 Here in my diary I mention the figure of 1.000, but ...
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer?
4 MR. THAYER: Good morning, Mr. President. If it assists the
5 Trial Chamber, I think the Prosecution - I don't think there will be any
6 dispute from the Defence - can represent to the Court that the location
7 we are talking about, this settlement, is known as "the Swedish shelter
8 project." I think the Trial Chamber has heard reference to this location
9 from a number of witnesses, I don't think there is any dispute, but just
10 to perhaps help orient everyone and for the record in the future, I think
11 that's what we are talking about and perhaps we can just come to an
12 agreement so we know exactly what this location is.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you for this suggestion. Do you agree with
14 that, Mr. Tolimir?
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I agree.
16 I don't object. Can we see a photo of that project, if it will only take
17 a minute and not longer? We simply don't have time to watch a lengthy
18 video clip. I have one minute, so could Mr. Thayer provide a reference
19 number to the e-court? But only one minute. Not longer. There is
20 simply not enough time to watch a long video clip.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This was not the request of the Prosecution, as
22 I understood Mr. Thayer.
23 MR. THAYER: In any case, Mr. President, I'm not aware of any
24 video footage of the Swedish shelter project. Perhaps the Defence is
25 aware, but I'm not aware of any video of that location. Certainly not
1 from this -- from July of 1995.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Trivic, have you ever heard this term,
3 "Swedish shelter project"?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. To be honest, I've never heard
5 of a Swedish shelter project, but I believe that I understand
6 Mr. Thayer's intention. If he refers to a shelter as a refugee
7 settlement where people were sheltered in prefabricated houses, then yes,
8 I agree that this term can be used. It was a Swedish project for
9 refugees houses. Obviously at that time I didn't know that. I thought
10 that that was a UN settlement, not necessarily a Swedish settlement. But
11 I believe that the prefabricated houses had come from Swedish -- Sweden,
12 hence the name.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I hope this clarified the situation. I was a
14 little afraid that the assistance of Mr. Thayer would confuse everybody,
15 but I think we can leave it like it is and Mr. Tolimir should continue.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Trivic, you have just told us that fire was opened by Muslim
19 units from Srebrenica on your troops and on UNPROFOR troops, and that
20 happened in Slapovici village. And you also spoke about human shield,
21 what the meaning of that was. And you said that UNPROFOR used Muslims as
22 human shields. What can you tell us about that? Were there indeed such
23 situations and was their fire a response to that?
24 A. I believe that yesterday I spoke about that term when I said that
25 people were used as shield to cover activities of the enemy side. I
1 believe that they continued to pursue that practice and those activities,
2 and that could be observed in Srebrenica and later on in Zepa, from a
3 check-point that was in the Borak sector. Other forces were there, but
4 also UNPROFOR forces were there, but I never claimed that UNPROFOR opened
5 fire on my unit. However, the two check-points were so close to each
6 other that they made use of the situation and opened fire from a close
7 vicinity on our forces just to create an impression that we came under
8 the fire of the international community. That's how they tried and
9 managed to disguise their own activities.
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Trivic. I'll repeat: You said a human shield.
11 That's your reference. Your words, not mine. At page 1188 of the
12 transcript from the Popovic trial, the question was, why were they scared
13 and why did they surrender to you? The UNPROFOR men. Your answer, I'm
14 quoting your answer:
15 "I think they said they were scared of the men of the 28th
16 Division who had been using them as a human shield. It was for that
17 reason that they moved over to the VRS."
18 That was what my question was about when I asked you whether you
19 remember being told that. You said so yesterday and I just wanted you to
20 state that for the transcript. Thank you.
21 A. I think that can be concluded from what I said a minute ago, just
22 worded differently.
23 Q. Thank you. You spoke a minute ago about the fact that you never
24 fired at UNPROFOR. Do you know whether the corps command at the Main
25 Staff ever issued an order to any of the subordinate units to attack
1 UNPROFOR for as long as you were engaged in combat and in close contact
2 there, throughout the situations on the 9th and 10th, which is what
3 you're talking about. Thank you.
4 A. Not that I heard of. I don't know whether such orders were given
5 to anyone else, but if I was given no such orders, it's quite likely that
6 no one else was either. No such orders were issued at any of the
7 meetings that I attended. That much is certain.
8 Q. Speaking of UNPROFOR and combat operations, in the Popovic trial
9 you spoke about Muslim acts of provocation vis-a-vis UNPROFOR. It was
10 about air-strikes against VRS positions, at page 11D00, line 25, and then
11 11D00, line 5, you said, and I quote you, since neither of us speak
12 English: "At the time, based on intelligence --"
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I interrupt you? It is absolutely unclear
14 which part of the Popovic transcript you are referring to. Please say
15 the number, the page number again, and I would like to mention that the
16 Popovic transcript is P1197. Please repeat the page number.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We didn't receive any interpretation at the
19 moment. Please repeat.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Again, Popovic transcript 11900 is
21 the page number, line 25, and then 11901, line 5, where the witness said
22 as follows. Here, we can see that in English on our screens and I'll
23 read to the witness what he said at the time.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. "At the time, based on the intelligence that arrived from
1 superior commands, and based on the intelligence that we received from
2 our men on the ground, there was some mention of it. Later on, as
3 I studied some documents, I came to know, based on General Smith's
4 statement, that he, in fact, proposed it to the UN units themselves, or
5 rather, the UN representatives, who were to convey this to the Security
7 As far as I understand, all this is about is how to provoke a
8 decision on the use of NATO forces. Is my understanding correct, sir?
9 And can you please explain for the transcript. Thank you.
10 A. Yes. We did mention that in the Popovic trial. Also about
11 sorties made by the helicopters flying over VRS positions. There were
12 two statements that were made, one in the capacity of an expert, the
13 other in the capacity of a witness. General Smith, at least in the
14 Serbian translation, claims that he initiated for the sorties to be
15 approved in order to provoke VRS action, fire on those helicopters
16 carrying humanitarian aid, which would have effectively given a green
17 light for the NATO air force to be used to attack VRS positions. And
18 that was as much as I could glean from the statements that I looked at.
19 Q. Thank you very much. We are embarking on a group of questions to
20 do with the use of NATO air force. This is something that you described
21 at page 9, the ERN number is 0648-6791. This is Exhibit 1444. Could we
22 please have that in e-court and shown to the witness. Thank you.
23 Page 9 in the Serbian.
24 The last three ERN digits, 791.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It is on the screen. Please put your question to
1 the witness.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Let me just read what
3 he wrote there, the first line on this page, and I'll base my question on
4 that. Thank you.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Line 1 on this page, sir, you wrote:
7 "At around 1330 hours --" and that is line 4 in the English --
8 "General Mladic gave notice to us to get ready and use camouflage (troops
9 and combat equipment, as well as materiel and technical supplies) because
10 of the threat of NATO air-strikes."
11 Next bullet point same page:
12 "At around 1400 hours --" half an hour after General Mladic's
13 warning --" aircraft flew over three times, attacking the road on which
14 my command group, the hardware we used, were on."
15 Thank you. Based on this entry in your diary, sir, my question
16 would be: First of all, after General Mladic's order, did you use all
17 the camouflage methods, such as burning stacks of hay in order to create
18 sources of heat to fool the radars and all other methods of camouflage
19 warfare? Thank you.
20 A. The units were in a number of different positions. I'm talking
21 specifically about my own unit. The position of my command group and me
22 was along an asphalt road between Bojna and Srebrenica. There were some
23 trees, a forest there, and people tried to disguise or camouflage their
24 vehicles, their combat and command vehicles, or supply vehicles even.
25 The men who were on that road, and that included me and my group, took
1 shelter under a huge tree that was next to that road. This was all on a
2 slope. The units on the front line, the units engaged in the fighting
3 further off from the road, we had conveyed that signal about the
4 air-strikes and they did what they could, depending on their positions.
5 Nevertheless, all of the air-strikes targeted that road with so many
6 vehicles and commands along it. Somebody made an accurate assessment
7 that that road was a primary target because so many things were there.
8 The command groups would have found it impossible to be set up or settle
9 in any other area but along that road.
10 Q. Sir, before the air-strikes, this particular attack that occurred
11 at 1400 hours that you describe, did you have any contacts with any APCs
12 or soldiers belonging to UNPROFOR who were in the Srebrenica protected
14 A. I believe I've answered that question. That was the previous
15 day, the 9th of November.
16 Q. You're quite right. My question, what about the 11th? On that
17 day did you have any contact with the UN in that area?
18 A. No, no, none at all.
19 Q. Thank you. Bearing all of this in mind, then what you said about
20 your contacts with the UN, the NATO air-strikes, do you know about
21 anything indicating that the NATO air-strikes were provoked, that they
22 attacked you because of something else that was going on on the ground
23 that provoked them to take steps?
24 A. I don't remember anything specific that would lead me to make
25 that conclusion. The only thing is the direction had been changed so the
1 NATO forces, and probably also the monitoring equipment used to monitor
2 the movement of units throughout that area, perhaps that was in contact
3 with General Mladic at about 1330, and maybe that blocked -- that was
4 blocked by the NATO air-strikes, if you head down that road in that
5 direction at the time, but not that anyone told me.
6 Q. Thank you. Yes. Thank you very much. And do you perhaps know
7 that NATO later justified their use of air-strikes because allegedly five
8 UN soldiers were taken prisoner in that village? Did you ever learn that
9 that was what triggered the NATO attack, as witnesses in this trial have
10 testified? Thank you.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer?
12 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I would ask for a specific reference.
13 If it's being put to this witness that the alleged justification for NATO
14 air-strikes was this particular taking prisoner of five UN soldiers as
15 being the reason for the NATO air-strikes, I think it's incumbent upon
16 the accused to provide exactly what he's talking about. I think the
17 Trial Chamber is familiar with the testimony on this general topic, and
18 I'm curious as to what the general is referring to here as being the
19 basis for this particular question.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, can you give a reference?
21 Mr. Tolimir, are you able to give a reference for this --
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: -- for the way you put this question?
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And thank you, Mr. Thayer. Until a
25 reference is found, I can assume that Mr. Egbers said it in his evidence.
1 He dispatched a reconnaissance patrol to look for our forces. They
2 called back to say that they had been captured in such and such a
3 village, where the Swedish settlement was. My legal assistant will
4 locate the reference during my examination, and will be providing the
5 details soon enough. Nevertheless, he said that UNPROFOR men had been
6 captured at Slapovici. Until the exact reference is found, we can go on
7 and talk about some other topics.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: [Microphone not activated] ... your question
9 without this reference, and the question was did you ever learn that that
10 was what triggered the NATO attack? Would you please give us your
11 opinion, what was the trigger for the NATO attack?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I never heard anyone say --
13 I personally never heard anyone say that the capture of the five DutchBat
14 soldiers in the Slapovici sector was what triggered this operation on the
15 11th of July. There could have been threats being made at the time all
16 this was going on, on the 9th, but now we are looking at the 11th, and
17 I see no link between the 9th, the capture of those men, and the
18 air-strikes. I'm unable to establish a link between the two. So I don't
19 think that's what triggered it. I gave you my own reflections a while
20 ago. My personal conclusion, based on General Mladic's warning, a
21 circular communication to each of the commanders, he personally addressed
22 us, telling us to be ready for these strikes and to start camouflaging.
23 It is quite obvious that he had been in touch with someone or other. My
24 conclusion is the threat stemmed most probably, and I can't be certain,
25 from the change of direction and the process of getting closer to
1 Srebrenica itself.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Mr. Tolimir, please
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Mr. Trivic, could you please tell me whether NATO forces and
7 UNPROFOR forces had a task to protect Srebrenica if resistance was put up
8 from there and if it refused to be disarmed, or was NATO used to stop the
9 activities of the VRS? In other words, what was the reason to use NATO?
10 A. They didn't have a task to protect Srebrenica in the sense of any
11 prevention. Their main task was to separate the two forces, and their
12 presence was meant to prevent both sides from attacking. At the moment
13 when this task was carried out on the 11th, their role was still to
14 protect both sides. I suppose that that's the general role of the United
15 Nations, to take measures to prevent unnecessary losses. And I believe
16 that the unnecessary losses could have been caused by NATO air-strikes,
17 if they were the ones that called for NATO air-strikes. My units did not
18 open fire on the town, on the areas where people had already started
19 gathering. Nobody fired a single bullet.
20 Q. Thank you. You're saying that you didn't open fire either on
21 Muslims or the UNPROFOR but still you came under a NATO attack. You were
22 targeted by NATO. My question is this: Based on what you've told us
23 about what you know why you became targeted, do you know that on the
24 11th, in the evening, the UNPROFOR commander held a meeting with Muslim
25 armed forces and that he informed them that on the following morning
1 there would be NATO air-strikes on that axis, that he asked them to
2 withdraw from that axis, and his explanation was that there would be NATO
3 air-strikes and he warned them to withdraw unless they wanted to become
4 targets of those NATO air-strikes?
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer?
6 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, just a correction. I think
7 General Tolimir misspoke. We are talking about, I think he's referring
8 to the evening of the 10th, not the 11th.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir? Are you referring to the evening of
10 10th or the 11th of July?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Thank
12 you, Mr. Thayer. I mentioned the night between the 10th and the 11th.
13 The witness has testified here about the meeting between Colonel
14 Karremans and Muslim military leaders. Thank you.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It's not necessary to go further. It was just a
16 correction of page 22, line 11. You were recorded having said the 11th
17 in the evening, but, in fact, you mean the night between the 10th and the
18 11th. That's enough. Go ahead, please.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
20 I misspoke. I used the word 11 first and then I corrected myself and
21 I used the words 10 and 11, so I misspoke.
22 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Trivic, do you know that Karremans met with Muslim military
24 leaders and civilians and that he told them that NATO strikes would occur
25 on the 11th?
1 A. At the time, I was not aware of that. Nobody ever informed me
2 about that. Nobody was duty-bound to inform me, as a matter of fact, in
3 view of my role. However, later on, I read in some statements and
4 documents, in some publications, and a book which was published by one of
5 the DutchBat officers, that a meeting did take place, however, I did not
6 have any contemporaneous knowledge.
7 Q. Thank you. Bearing in mind all those things that you've read and
8 what I have just told you and the fact that at that meeting Karremans did
9 announce that everything around one kilometre area around Srebrenica
10 would be destroyed, including all the military positions and
11 check-points, would you be able to conclude, based on that, why you and
12 your unit was targeted without ever having opened fire either on UNPROFOR
13 or the civilian population? Thank you.
14 A. Yes. Precisely so.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
17 1D2D9 [as interpreted], and in the meantime, perhaps Mr. Thayer can say
18 what he has to say.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed. Mr. Thayer?
20 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I just note that General Tolimir
21 asked the witness a question that the witness simply agreed with, yes,
22 but didn't actually answer the question. And I think to make the record
23 clear, rather than just simply agreeing with General Tolimir's question,
24 there is actually a question there that needs to be answered. I think if
25 you just read the question, you'll see what my intervention is about.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Trivic, did you understand what Mr. Thayer
2 said? And I would like to repeat: Would you be able to conclude, based
3 on that, why you and your unit was targeted without ever having opened
4 fire either on UNPROFOR or the civilian population? That was the
5 question of Mr. Tolimir. Why, is the question. And to say yes is not an
6 answer to the question why. Have you any idea about that?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you will excuse me, I'm
8 completely confused now. What question am I now supposed to answer?
9 What did I not answer? Perhaps General Tolimir or perhaps you,
10 Mr. President, could define the question completely. I certainly don't
11 want to be perceived as somebody who just says yes, who just agrees with
12 what they hear.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The question of Mr. Tolimir was why -- would you
14 be able to conclude, based on that, what Mr. Tolimir put to you, why you
15 and your unit was targeted without ever having opened fire either on
16 UNPROFOR or the civilian population? Why were you targeted?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand. I have to say that
18 it was not just me but all the command groups that were on that road as
19 well as combat vehicles and units along the road. Not only my unit but
20 also my -- the units of my right flank neighbour. If it is true that the
21 meeting took place on the 10th of July and that UNPROFOR command indeed
22 suggested that the forces should withdraw as far away as possible from
23 the area which would be targeted by the air -- NATO air-strikes the
24 following morning, I'm sure that all of the previous activities of the
25 VRS and the change of our axis of attack had been used as a pretext for
1 air-strikes, and I suppose that the Muslim forces were advised to
2 withdraw in order to avoid becoming victims. If indeed the Muslim side
3 was warned, it is obvious that nothing but a pretext was sought to enter
4 the city and to target the city, and if all that happened on the 10th of
5 July in the evening.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is your answer. And now Mr. Tolimir should
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Mr. Trivic, when we are talking about NATO and UNPROFOR, do they
11 have the right to change the balance of powers? You said that the main
12 reason was to prevent you from entering Srebrenica and changing your
13 course of action. Do they have the right to engage in activities that
14 will change the balance of powers on the ground?
15 A. I don't think that they have the right. I don't think that they
16 should have -- should be -- behave the way they did, if there are indeed
17 indicia that they behaved for a reason in that way.
18 Q. You have just told us that if it is true that the NATO strikes
19 were announced and that's why they behaved the way they did, could you
20 please look at the document which is now in front of you, which speaks
21 precisely about that. That is a transcript from the Srebrenica's Death
22 Fields documentary, produced by radio television of Serbia, and broadcast
23 on 9 July 2010. And the guests were those that speak on this page.
24 Thank you, Aleksandar. Their statements were broadcast during that show.
25 Here you can see Hakija Meholjic, a member of the Srebrenica War
1 Presidency, who in the period between 1993 and 1995, and he says: "In
2 the meantime, Karremans arrived --" and I'm quoting him and I'm repeating
3 for the benefit of the record. Hakija Meholjic says, and I quote:
4 In the meantime, Karremans arrived, requesting a meeting, and
5 I told him five more minutes, we can agree first because we have no
6 reason to trust you anymore. We arranged everything, then we received
7 him --" and I mean Karremans --" for a talk and he said that NATO had
8 informed him that that zone had been set around a Srebrenica for tomorrow
9 at half past five. Everything that moved on two, four or 100 feet, or on
10 a hundred wheels or on one wheel or two wheels, would be destroyed. And
11 get -- then he repeats, it would be destroyed.
12 And then the second participant in the meeting, who was the
13 interpreter at that meeting, Hasan Nuhanovic, and I quote Hasan
15 "The Serbian side was given an ultimatum to withdraw by
16 0600 hours to their starting position, in other words, Zeleni Jadar, to
17 go back six kilometres or they would be bombarded at 0600 hours. And
18 they said that the number of aircraft that would come for the air-strike,
19 they told me, would be between 40 and 70. That's what they said."
20 Mr. Hasan Nuhanovic was Mr. Karremans' interpreter at the
21 meeting. Bearing all of this in mind, bearing in mind what I have just
22 read out to you, and I'm not suggesting an answer to you -- in other
23 words, my question should have followed after this. Let me ask you
24 again: Do NATO forces have the right to change the balance of powers,
25 the military powers of the opposing side by any of their actions? That
1 was the goal of my question and that was the reason why I quoted what
2 I did. But you have already answered that question and you told us that
3 they don't have the right to do that. If you want to do so, you can
4 repeat that question or say something else in response to my question,
5 which is the same as the one before.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, that was indeed a very long question
7 and I'm quite confused now. You should try to put a very clear question
8 to a witness. I didn't understand that. And in fact, I don't know which
9 document we have on the screen now because that was not recorded properly
10 on page 24, line 1. Could you, for the sake of the record, please repeat
11 the number. And it's better to put a question to a witness instead of
12 giving a long explanation and then say you have answered this question
14 Please, again, the number of this document and then your question
15 to the witness in a very short way.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
17 This is 1D238, for the record. And this was a programme publicly
18 broadcast on the 9th of July 2010, on Radio Television of Serbia.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I was only asking you for the number because that
20 was not recorded. Thank you, and now put your question to the witness in
21 a way which is not confusing the witness and the Chamber.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Witness, in view of the fact that Mr. Karremans, through his
25 interpreter, at the meeting with the Muslim military leadership said that
1 NATO had informed him about the air-strike that would happen the
2 following day and that that indeed happened on the following day, on the
3 11th, could you have been targeted, bearing in mind the words of the
4 witnesses who had attended that meeting? Thank you.
5 A. Yes. If these statements are correct, and if it is true that
6 that was discussed, and if reference was made to an area of six
7 kilometres around Srebrenica, I'm sure that my unit and the other units
8 of the VRS would have been exposed to the air-strikes. And in the
9 document currently on e-court I can only say or, rather, I can add to
10 that that Meholjic has been saying these things for years during election
11 campaigns in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In those campaigns, he has publicly
12 spoken about what was going on in Srebrenica during the war, and the
13 policy of the government in Sarajevo towards Srebrenica, according to
14 him, when he was running for a member of the Presidency of -- of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina, he stated that Alija Izetbegovic wanted to sacrifice
16 several thousand people in order to provoke NATO air-strikes against the
17 Serbs. And similar things happened in other republics while Yugoslavia
18 was breaking up, and this is an ongoing theory and these statements have
19 already been heard many times from Hakija Meholjic.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you said that this is 1D238, but
21 I was told by the Registry it is 1D239, for the sake of the record.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President, for
23 drawing my attention to that. I misstated the number.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Witness, did NATO act without a decision by the Security Council
1 when they used the air force in the Srebrenica enclave? Do we have
2 anything by the Security Council on the air-strikes against the VRS in
3 Srebrenica? Thank you.
4 A. I don't know for certain whether there is anything or not.
5 Nevertheless, because of their actions, throughout the break-up of
6 Yugoslavia, leading up to the last air-strikes carried out during the
7 operation known as the Merciful Angel aimed at Serbia, I don't think the
8 Security Council actually okayed any of those air-strikes or operations.
9 Q. Was NATO signatory to the demilitarisation agreement, and was it
10 entitled to shift the balance of powers pursuant to that agreement?
11 A. I'm not privy to the detail of that agreement and therefore not
12 willing to commit on that.
13 Q. Thank you. Let's talk about Zepa. You were no longer involved
14 in combat activities later on, after Srebrenica was taken. You were sent
15 to Zepa. May I remind you of page 11903, lines 17 through 22, the
16 transcript from the Popovic trial, you talked about the assessment of --
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Again, P1197.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. I quote your words, 11903. P1197 is the document number. "There
21 was an assessment --"
22 THE INTERPRETER: Could the accused please repeat the number.
23 The interpreter didn't understand the number. Thank you.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] "The assessment said between 500
25 and 700 men arrived from the Srebrenica enclave after our forces had
1 entered Srebrenica. There were some elements of their forces that
2 refused to be disarmed. And they were on their way from Srebrenica to
3 Zepa. Therefore, I assume there were between 2.000 and 2.500 members of
4 the BH Army there."
5 My question, based on what I've just read to you, can you tell us
6 whether you have anything else to base your assessment on? And did this
7 assessment prove to be correct eventually? Thank you.
8 A. I've nothing to add to the statement I made. I think the
9 accuracy of this assessment was proved on the ground, and also everything
10 that happened in the Zvornik Brigade defence area proved it. I stand by
11 my previous statement.
12 Q. Thank you. We'll see later that you also speak about operations
13 conducted by APCs. What about the ratios that you address here in terms
14 of weapons and combat capacity? Would that not increase if one obtained
15 the information indicating that the Muslim forces in Zepa were using the
16 combat equipment and technology made available to them by UNPROFOR?
17 Thank you.
18 A. If UNPROFOR combat technology was used, it certainly increased
19 their fire power, the firepower of the Muslim forces. I don't think
20 I ever stated that this was confirmed. The assumption certainly was that
21 they were using the combat technology of the Ukrainian Battalion from
22 UNPROFOR, or that at least they were operating under their protection, as
23 I said earlier today. During your first questions, I talked about the
24 fact that they were operating under UN protection.
25 Q. Thank you very much. Could we please now have D105. D105.
1 Thank you. Could we please have that on our screens. Before that comes
2 up, let me say that this is a BH army document. It's 285th Light
3 Mountain Brigade from Zepa. The document was signed by Avdo Palic.
4 Could we please look at line 11, which says:
5 "We are disarming UNPROFOR in accordance with the directive we
6 received earlier on. This was produced on the 16th of July 1995 and was
7 signed by the commander of the forces in Zepa, Colonel Avdo Palic."
8 What does this indicate? Does it not indicate the same thing
9 that you were saying, sir, that APCs in the possession of UNPROFOR in
10 Zepa were firing at you? Thank you very much. I'll provide a quote
11 later on, but you did say that, didn't you?
12 A. Yes, I confirm that. And this confirms my earlier statement and
13 my assumptions regarding the fact that observations were made about those
14 APCs firing machine-guns and other guns, whatever types of weapons were
15 mounted on the APCs at the time.
16 Q. 11868 is the page, lines 15 through 18, of the transcript in the
17 Popovic trial. You said as follows:
18 "I was not informed about the progress of the negotiations on the
19 19th. We were told that we were to stop all activities because a
20 cease-fire had been signed, or maybe it wasn't signed yet but had been
22 Earlier on, you said they were using UNPROFOR weapons and
23 equipment to attack your unit.
24 I just wanted to remind you of the date. What can you tell us
25 about that event when they used anti-aircraft weapons to fire at your
1 units, your men? Thank you.
2 A. There is nothing special to say about that. You try to put up
3 with it but you try to take shelter, you try to inform your superior
4 commander what's going on. Obviously, I was criticised for that. It was
5 very difficult. I failed in completing that mission. I couldn't take
6 that elevation, I couldn't take the trig point that we wanted to take,
7 and there was this white APC -- the firing did not occur immediately
8 after the unit had started engaging the enemy, and several days later
9 I suppose the report went there about the disarming of these forces.
10 Here UNPROFOR forces, I think that was several days later on, and then
11 taking over all this combat equipment, and it wasn't before they actually
12 took that APC that fire was opened. And when I link it all up in this
13 context, one thing leads to the other, and then there was one of the
14 previous documents, the reports of Avdo Palic. And now I can put two and
15 two together and tell you what the picture adds up to. It was exactly
16 like this, so this has now proved to be true.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, we must have the first break now,
18 but before we break, I would like to ask you, are you tendering the
19 document you have used, 1D239? We have seen one page of that.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Yes
21 indeed. Thank you for reminding me. We are tendering that document,
22 thank you.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We have seen only one page. How many pages does
24 this transcript of a documentary encompass?
25 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I'm sure you will
1 remember this has been shown twice in court. It's a very short video
2 clip. It's an excerpt from a documentary for Republic of Serbia TV.
3 What we saw here on our screens is the document. Just a single page, in
4 other words.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
6 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit number D00137, Your Honours.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: At this point in time, the Chamber admits the
8 document 65 ter 00108, which was previously assigned P1225 and marked for
9 identification, and I will leave it in the hands of the Registry to
10 assign a P or a D number.
11 Mr. Registrar?
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, for consistency of the records, I
13 believe we should maintain the P number, which is P1225, but it will
14 technically be a document that is admitted via the Defence. Thank you.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. We must have the first
16 break now. We will resume at 11.00.
17 --- Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 11.03 a.m.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Before
21 we broke, the witness wanted to have back D1005. If he could see that in
22 e-court, the witness would like to have another look. Thank you.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This must be a mistake again. I think it should
24 be D105.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. That is
1 indeed right. Thank you. Thank you.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. You see the document, Witness, so you can tell us whatever you
4 wanted to say about this document.
5 A. I was just trying to establish a link between my previous
6 assertion and this document. If all of this is true, then the fire that
7 came from a UN vehicle really did occur. We see that Avdo Palic informs
8 someone that they were disarming UNPROFOR in accordance with the
9 directives that they had received. It is quite obvious that they didn't
10 do that for the first couple of days, they didn't carry out their task in
11 that area, and then an APC was used for operations holding a crew of the
12 Muslim army.
13 Q. Thank you very much. The date here is the 16th. We can use that
14 as a reference point.
15 My next question: It's about the cease-fire that you mentioned.
16 The document number P1444, ERN number 821, page 50 in e-court. You
17 talked about the cease-fire. Can you please have a look and then I'll
18 ask you my question. Thank you. We don't see you reporting here that
19 there was a cease-fire. Can you please tell us what you had in mind when
20 you said you were asked on the 19th, on the 18th and the 19th, your
21 entries to the logbook, the cease-fire? Can you tell us, was that the
22 first cease-fire? And how exactly were you requested to make that order?
23 I'll try to find the exact page of your diary in e-court. I'm facing
24 some difficulties finding my way around.
25 A. My original reflects the 19th of July. The -- if you flip page 9
1 on the other side.
2 Q. Can you give us the ERN number?
3 A. I don't have the ERN number on my original copy.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, can you be of assistance?
5 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. Perhaps if we were able
6 to hand up the ERN'd version. I'm happy to make the transition but for
7 etiquette purposes we needs the assistance of the court officer.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed.
9 MR. THAYER: Thank you very much.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. It was handed over to the witness.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is page 9, 0648-6828. That's
12 the ERN number for you. The other side, 6829, the other side of that
13 page. No, no.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: One speaker at a time,
15 please. Thank you.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The first paragraph reads the
17 cease-fire was signed that evening, the Zepa people surrendered. At
18 about 1900 hours a cease-fire was ordered.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Thank you. My question is, I find it very difficult to find my
21 way around your entries. What is the date for this entry and what date
22 is the entry in relation to? Thank you.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer?
24 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, if we go back one page to 6828, we'll
25 see where Colonel Trivic began with his answer, which he said was his
1 handwritten page 9, and there is that entry for 19 July, Wednesday. And
2 since we are at the Zepa section, we are working our way backwards
3 through the notebook. If we go back one more page to the flip side of
4 this page, which is 6827, at the top of the page, we'll see the
5 continuation of his entry from the 19th of July, at the top of this page,
6 which is 6827. "In the evening, a truce was signed." That was the
7 portion he was just reading, and that continues from 6828. That's just
8 the flip side of 6828 because we are, again, working our way backwards
9 through the document. And I presume the witness can confirm, but I think
10 that's what he was more or less saying.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Trivic, could you confirm that this was a
12 correct introduction into your diary?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. That is correct. The general
14 asked me a question about how I made these entries. On the first day, I
15 believe, Mr. Thayer and I explained how I drew up a summary of the 25th
16 of July. I summed up everything, I updated the strength of our unit, the
17 number of injured, and the progress of combat operations up until the
18 24th, and then on the 25th I made these entries in relation to the
19 several days just before. So it wasn't in reference to that day, this
20 entry. It was just by way of a summary.
21 If you look at list number 7, that is exactly what it shows. ERN
22 832. It goes from 832 backwards to the 26th. And it is from there on
23 that the regular records resume. At 1900 hours on the 26th, I again
24 updated everything in relation to that date. That is in answer to the
25 general's question.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Trivic. You have now clarified this for
3 us and the information is in relation to the 19th, as Mr. Thayer just
4 said. There is something that I'd like to read to you, what Alija
5 Izetbegovic told them on the 19th, the evening of the 19th, after the
6 cease-fire that was signed.
7 Could we please have D54, D54 in e-court, please. Thank you.
8 Mehmed Efendija Hajric, Zepa president, encrypted conversation
9 with Alija Izetbegovic. He says: "Dear Mr. President. Here are my
10 answers to your questions of last night."
11 Now let's skip to paragraph 3. We see this is Efendija Hajric
12 from Zepa. He's answering Alija Izetbegovic and addressing him as Dear
13 Mr. President. Paragraph 3 reads:
14 "My plan. Move out as many of my civilians as possible and all
15 of them, if possible. The troops stay on and continue to resist. We
16 will do everything we can to help you by supplying MTS. Volunteers and
17 offensive action in your direction, I believe this is starting today. If
18 we do not succeed in this, you try to push your way through along those
19 roads, you know which, but now without the burden of women and children
20 who would in the meantime have been pulled out already. In addition to
21 this plan, there is another plan on the joint withdrawal across the
22 mountains prepared by Dr. Heljic and his team. I think that plan is much
23 more difficult. Delic thinks it's unrealistic. I'm sending you a
24 shortened version and you will get the idea."
25 If we look at the signature, we see My Salaams to Avdo and all
1 the others. So Alija Izetbegovic is sending this to the president of
2 Zepa, war president of Zepa, Mehmed Efendija Hajric on the 19th of July.
3 This person was involved, as we are about to see later on, in the
4 disarming process.
5 My question: If you read paragraph 3 where they talk about the
6 evacuation of the Muslim army, based on the 19th, when we signed the
7 cease-fire, can one not see that the Muslim representatives have no
8 commitment to actually pull their army out along with the civilians
9 without passing through the woods and fighting their way out? Thank you.
10 A. Yes. This obviously arises from the text. They were adamant not
11 to surrender their weapons. And they opted for other ways to retreat
12 from Srebrenica under arms.
13 Q. Thank you. Bearing in mind that several cease-fire agreements
14 were signed later on, which you recorded in your diary on the 24th, for
15 example, and so on and so forth, please tell us this: Did the Muslim
16 side negotiate only to buy time for the retreat of the army, as described
17 in this document, and all they wanted to do was to send their women and
18 children away?
19 A. Yes, that was the objective, in my view, and you can see it in
20 paragraph 3. It says here that everything will be done by supplying MTS,
21 volunteers and offensive action in their direction so as to allow them to
22 continue fighting.
23 Q. Thank you. As the commander of the unit, or one of the units
24 that was moving towards Zepa, marching towards Zepa, did you feel on the
25 ground that the Muslims behaved in keeping with the instructions that
1 they had received from their president, irrespective of the fact that
2 they had signed the cease-fire agreement and that their wives and
3 children had been released by us?
4 A. Yes. That was obvious. The fighting continued, and in keeping
5 with that, when the cease-fire had been agreed at the corps level,
6 I received the task to continue putting up resistance and fight those
7 that were still fighting us despite the fact that we had signed the
8 cease-fire agreement.
9 Q. Thank you. In your notebook, you recorded, on the 24th, that
10 women and children were being evacuated. Maybe you can find it. I've
11 lost my bearings in your diary. Can you find that entry and can you tell
12 us whether, after the 24th of July, the Muslim forces continued fighting
13 the VRS despite the fact that their women and children were being
14 evacuated across the VRS territory into the territory under the control
15 of the Federation army? Thank you.
16 A. Yes. Precisely so. On the 24th of July, we experienced a
17 crucial event for my unit.
18 Q. Thank you. Sorry to interrupt you. What side of your diary are
19 you reading from? And what is your -- the ERN number?
20 A. 6823 is the ERN -- are the four digits, the last four digits.
21 Q. You mean the last three digits?
22 A. Yes, 823, the last three digits.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I was told we have again a problem with e-court.
24 The document can't be loaded up.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. It is page 52 in
1 e-court. Maybe you can locate that page under that number. Page 52 in
2 e-court, and the document number is P1444. Thank you.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The technical problem is resolved.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Can you go to the following page of the document, where there is
7 a reference to that cease-fire agreement. Thank you, Mr. Trivic. Could
8 you please answer my question? We don't want to waste any more time in
9 locating all the different pages and finding our bearings. Thank you.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: [Microphone not activated]
11 MR. THAYER: All we need to do, Mr. President, is just go back
12 one page, to 6822, and there will be an entry, I think, for the 25th of
13 July. I believe that's the entry to which General Tolimir is referring.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. On the 25th I recorded that
16 there was no combat, the cease-fire order was being honoured, we are
17 monitoring the evacuation of the enemy civilians and the wounded.
18 Organisational replenishment with MTS and ammunition, and so on and so
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Based on what you just said and based on my previous question,
22 did Muslims continue fighting even after the 25th, after the evacuation
23 -- their Muslim -- their women and children had been evacuated across the
24 VRS territory to the territory under the control of the Federation?
25 Thank you.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Thank you. Does this indicate that they behaved in keeping with
3 the instructions that they had received from the government in Sarajevo
4 and that was to try to organise the retreat of their troops and not of
5 their surrender?
6 A. Yes. One might be inclined to conclude that in addition to the
7 evacuation of the civilians and the wounded, that they continued to
8 adhere to their plan, and that plan was to break through fighting.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Trivic, I am slightly confused in the moment.
11 The entry we have on the screen now, 6822 is the ERN number, you wrote
12 down, "There were no combat operations," and then the next line, "The
13 order to cease-fire and fortify line reacheds (sic) is being observed."
14 Was there fire or was there not fire? I don't know what you're talking
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Just a moment. Let me find that in
17 the original. This is page 13.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I'm referring to page 12. Your entry about the
19 25th of July.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well. I've missed that. Page
21 12, 25th of July, when I said a while ago that they continued fighting
22 while pulling out members of the brigade under arms from the area, you
23 can see from the diary that there were days without any action or
24 operations, and as soon as one batch of civilians and wounded was pulled
25 out, once it was left, the action and the operations continued. Hence,
1 the confusion. On the 24th, there were actions after the cease-fire was
2 signed and observed, and we protect the lines reached. When I said we
3 protect the lines reached, that means we were digging shelters, finding
4 places where we would wait for the night. This is a military term which
5 implies manning positions to avoid any unpleasant surprises and losses.
6 The third bullet point for the 25th is: Work on evacuating enemy
7 civilians and wounded, organisational replenishment with MTS, and so on
8 and so forth. I believe that you can now understand.
9 And on the 26th of July, the situation was somewhat different.
10 On the 26th of July, with your leave, this is on the next page, or,
11 rather, on the flip page -- flip side of page 12, the ERN number is 821,
12 the whole day, until the evening, there were no operations. And then on
13 the 26th, at 1900 hours, I recorded the following: The evacuation is --
14 of civilians from Zepa is proceeding according to plan. So far, around
15 two-thirds of inhabitants have been evacuated, the rest are boarding now.
16 Some other problems have appeared. Fear of what the civilians might do,
17 of their actions.
18 This is just a little note to record the things that were
20 Order to search the area that is now under the control of my
21 unit. My unit had taken that territory and established its control in
22 the area. We ordered them -- the troops to search the area, to scour the
23 ground to prevent any unpleasant surprises from the remaining elements of
24 the Zepa Brigade. And that is why there were days without any action or
25 fire, but as soon as the activities surrounding the evacuation was
1 finished, the actions started and fire was opened, and that's how I --
2 I ended up wounded on the 29th of July.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Mr. Tolimir.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Trivic, you've answered made next question. Or
7 rather, my next question is this: Despite the numerous violations of
8 cease-fire, after the civilians left from Zepa, did Muslims continue to
9 organise active operations, inflicting damages on the VRS? And you've
10 just told us that you were wounded in that period. Do you want to answer
11 that again? Do you have anything to add to what you've just told us?
12 A. No, I have nothing to add to that.
13 Q. Thank you. In your diary, on ERN number 0648-61 [as interpreted]
14 of the same document that we have on the screen, the document number is
15 819, can this please be shown in e-court? And in e-court this is 45, I
16 believe, but I'm not sure. I believe that that's the case. I really
17 can't find my bearings again. I can't find the thing again.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The ERN number is incomplete.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] 819. ERN number is 0648-6819, page
20 48 in electronic court. Thank you, Aleksandar.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness (sic) please slow down for
22 the benefit of everybody in the courtroom.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. You noted next to the exclamation mark -- we could say that this
25 is the third paragraph. This is what you noted: "I strictly prohibit
1 torching of houses!" Who is it who prohibits that? Whose order was that
2 that you recorded in the diary? Was that your order or the order of your
3 commander? Thank you.
4 A. As you can see, this is the continuation of the contents that
5 begins on the 26th of July on page 821 in e-court. That's at 1900 hours.
6 Then it continues on 820, and we come to 819. I recorded, and
7 highlighted this: "I strictly prohibit torching of houses." This was a
8 task issued by the corps commander. Obviously my arrival at the unit
9 implies the conveyance of that order to my subordinates.
10 Q. Thank you. If we now look at something in e-court, if we look at
11 the document at 0648-6816, which is number 15 in your diary, we will see
12 that this is an entry which was made on the 25th, or, rather, the 26th
13 and it's page 45, and we'll see where you say in the second paragraph,
14 and I'm going to read it, and I quote your words: "From the IKM I was
15 asked --"
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please slow down. The interpreters really have
17 to work very hard to follow your reading and your explanations. And the
18 same applies to the witness.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. I'm reading from this page that we can see on the screen,
22 paragraph 2, from the IKM of the Drina Corps, I was asked to take
23 measures to prevent torching of houses and that I was responsible for any
24 such actions.
25 The following bullet point: I visited the unit and I established
1 the following: That it was done by a company of the Bratunac Brigade
2 which had come as reinforcements the night before.
3 Thank you, end of quote and my question is this: Did the corps
4 command take any measures against those who disobeyed the order not torch
5 houses? Was it done by the corps command? Can we see that from your
6 notes, from the document in front of us?
7 A. Yes. That was done. The measures undertaken by the corps
8 command and which I recorded and highlighted with a -- with the
9 exclamation mark, that means that on the 25th, in the evening, there was
10 a problem of houses being torched during the night. You can see that
11 I tried to investigate who had done that, and then on the 26th, the
12 commander again highlighted all that and that's why I put the exclamation
13 mark next to my entry. He asked me to discuss that with my officers and
14 to report back to the corps command on what had happened, and you can see
15 from the contents that it was the Bratunac Brigade, or one -- some of the
16 elements of the Bratunac Brigade that came on my strength when I had
17 asked for reinforcement, after we had crossed the bridgehead and I wanted
18 to reinforce the security of the area that I had taken. Measures were
19 indeed taken against the men who were behaving in an irresponsible way
20 and destroyed property without any need whatsoever.
21 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Trivic. A while ago you said you were
22 wounded. Can you tell us when and where? And when, what day? Thank
24 A. I was wounded on the 29th of July, that afternoon, at the Zepske
25 Kolibe plateau. There was firing there. There was an elevation there
1 called Zlovrh with a communications hut. Just before reaching that
2 feature, at a distance of about 200 or 300 metres, fire was opened on a
3 group that I was with. I received a gunshot wound. It came from a
4 rifle. There was group of us, between 10 and 15 officers. Another
5 soldier was killed, one received a wound to the arm, and I too was shot.
6 That was on the 29th. Combat operations had been announced. I found
7 myself in the area after the cease-fire on the 26th of July, and the page
8 in my diary is 0648-6817.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, Judge Mindua was a question for the
11 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed, I do have a question.
12 It's a clarification question for you, Witness. On page 45 of the
13 transcript, line 21 to 23, you said that measures were taken against
14 soldiers who were setting the houses on fire. Could you please explain
15 which measures were taken exactly, and who took those measures exactly?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Measures were taken by unit
17 commanders, direct superiors of those carrying them out. What measures
18 did they take? I don't know. Some things were forbidden and there was
19 the need to control certain things, which means that measures were being
20 taken against individuals. Probably the commander took measures against
21 individuals to keep this sort of thing from happening. I don't think
22 they pulled anyone from the front line for that reason, but why am I
23 saying this? The reason is it was established that certain members of a
24 unit within my composition did this but not individually in the sense of
25 burning houses and in a disciplinary sense.
1 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes. I understand. Now, you said
2 that measures were taken because some rules were imposed according to
3 which it was forbidden to burn houses. Yes, of course, we agree on this.
4 But the fact that you talk about this in your note a lot, you talk about
5 the measures that were taken against soldiers who were burning houses, so
6 it was repeated that the behaviour of these soldiers was also a
7 repetitive behaviour, measures were often mentioned in your reports. But
8 what was said specifically? Which measures were taken specifically?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would like to make sure we
10 understand each other fully. In the regular activities that occur in the
11 life of an army, an organised system, an organised institution with a
12 hierarchy, and with certain rules of behaviour that are prescribed, there
13 are disciplinary measures, there are disciplinary infractions, that are
14 what have you, infractions of military discipline, and so on and so
15 forth. Amid combat operations, there is one thing that I would like to
16 highlight here: I didn't say taking measures against Soldier Marko or
17 Soldier Petar. Rather, I was given an assignment and I too was taking a
18 measure. My measure was to go there, surveying the scene; was it really
19 true, was this house really on fire? and establishing which unit, whose
20 unit the men came from who did that. And then once I had a picture of
21 the situation, I was to issue an order to the effect that such things
22 should not be done anymore. Where was the responsibility? There were no
23 rules governing conduct along the front line. He's supposed to go left,
24 he's supposed to go right; you understand that? So that's what I mean
25 when I say measures, measures that you can take instantly right there and
1 then. I as a commander got an assignment from my commander, I took some
2 measures or undertook some activity, because this is really more of an
3 activity. It's not like cautioning someone, it's not like reprimanding
4 someone or putting someone in remand. I'm not sure if I'm making myself
5 any clearer now.
6 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes. Very well. I understand
7 very well. Thank you very much. Thank you. In fact, I was expecting,
8 of course, that some measures, disciplinary measures regarding specific
9 soldiers, for instance, was taken, but you're actually -- these measures
10 were taken for specific soldiers, but you're basically just mentioning
11 that there was a prohibition and there was a general mention that this
12 kind of crime should not happen in the future. This is what you said; is
13 that correct?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. It was prohibited and one was
15 not allowed to treat property like that for no need at all, to destroy
16 property or buildings. Did the unit commander take any measures; what
17 measures? Did he simply advise, did he simply move the soldiers?
18 I didn't get -- I didn't go into that because I didn't make it in time
19 for a proper analysis. I ended up in hospital after Zepa and Srebrenica.
20 I never analysed the behaviour and conduct of soldiers, nor indeed what
21 happened at the time. I did not, myself, propose any disciplinary
22 measures or any commendations. I spent nearly the whole of the next year
23 in hospital.
24 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Witness.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I take it that you don't know anything about
1 concrete measures taken against the men who were behaving in an
2 irresponsible way and destroyed property; is that correct?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I assume that this incident is of
4 relevance to you. The taking of measures is a normal activity. Measures
5 being taken by somebody's superiors in terms of how these people treated
6 property and homes and buildings. I tried to start my answer to what
7 extent we were provoked into continuing these operations, what the need
8 was to continue fighting, but given the fact that you have now repeated
9 your question about measures being taken, I told you about the measures
10 I was taking. And the corps commander took measures too, to go there, go
11 where all of this was happening, to draw up a report on what was being
12 done, and that's all I have to add to that question.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Mr. President.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Mr. Trivic, during your attack in your unit, were any other
17 houses burned? Thank you.
18 A. No. There were no burnings and there was no cautioning people
19 anymore after that. But I do have to say there were hay stacks that were
20 set fire to. I recorded that. But in order to mark exactly a certain
21 direction or reach a certain line in an area that is quite peculiar in
22 terms of the lie of the land, in order for me to understand where a
23 certain unit was or another unit, we used what we referred to as Indian
24 marking, smoke signals, we used a system of smoke signals to mark certain
25 lines that our units had reached. So no houses were set on fire but we
1 used hay stacks to mark the positions that we had reached by plumes of
2 smoke, smoke signals.
3 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Trivic. The entry in relation to the
4 26th of July, it's on our screens in e-court. Order and announcement
5 from the forward command post of the Drina Corps. Be prepared to
6 continue the attack, is the first thing that it says. Second bullet
7 point: There are indications that the Turks want to leave with UNPROFOR
8 or attempt a breakthrough in certain directions or along certain axes.
9 Third bullet point: Be prepared to continue the attack.
10 Did you receive a telephone call about this, or a telegram,
11 perhaps, and who told you about this?
12 A. In the previous question we talked about the fact that on the
13 26th at 1900 hours, orders were issue at the command post of the Drina
14 Corps. Among others orders, also those forbidding the burning of houses,
15 in the strictest of terms. Having returned to my own forward command
16 post, or shall I call it an observation post? That would be more
17 precise, I think. I was there with my soldiers, and the forward command
18 post was further into the territory in relation to where the soldiers
19 were deployed, those actually involved in the fighting. A telegram
20 arrived, encrypted, an order, at 2145 hours, from the Drina Corps forward
21 command post:
22 "Be prepared to continue the attack. There are indications that
23 the Turks want to leave with UNPROFOR or attempt a breakthrough along
24 certain axes. Be prepared to continue the attack."
25 This corroborates what we've been saying for the last couple of
1 questions. At one moment there was a cease-fire, an evacuation. In this
2 case there was a two- or three-day lull, but as late as the two hours
3 before this happened, everything was pointing to the possibility that
4 there would be no firing and no fighting, but if you look at this, you
5 can see the progress of things and you can see what the days before my
6 wounding were like and what was happening.
7 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Trivic. Can we please have the
8 following document in e-court: P736. P736. Thank you.
9 As we are waiting for that document, I will read to you, sir,
10 what the document is and what the Main Staff command took, what steps
11 they took, in order to keep the fighting from recommencing.
12 Nevertheless, all this led to your wounding later on. The Main Staff and
13 the corps command even sent members of the War Presidency of Zepa
14 municipality over to the Muslim army or the brigade that was there in
15 Zepa. There, you have in front of you a document that says:
16 "War Presidency of the Zepa municipality, at its meeting held on
17 the 27th of July, attended by Mehmed Hajric, president of the War
18 Presidency, Hamdija Torlak, president of the Executive Committee, and
19 Ismetovic Amir, commander of the civilian protection staff, hereby adopts
20 the following."
21 I'm reading the decision they adopted:
22 "All able-bodied men from 18 to 55 years of age shall surrender
23 their weapons to the representatives of the Army of Republika Srpska in
24 the presence of UNPROFOR at the UNPROFOR base in Zepa. All able-bodied
25 men shall be registered by the International Committee of the Red Cross
1 and shall be guarded by the farces of the VRS, in the presence of
2 UNPROFOR in Zepa, until an agreement to have an exchange has been
3 reached. All able-bodied men being registered by the International
4 Committee of the Red Cross, following the reaching of an agreement on
5 exchange and exchange of prisoners of war, shall be safely escorted by
6 UNPROFOR and evacuated to a territory of their free choice. Urgently
7 inform the Muslim authorities in Sarajevo of this decision. Zepa, the
8 27th of July."
9 Signed by, on behalf of the VRS, Rajko Kusic, endorsed by General
10 Ratko Mladic and the War Presidency of Zepa municipality, Mehmed Hajric,
11 Hamdija Torlak, he was the president of the Executive Board, and Amir
12 Imamovic, as stated above.
13 Bearing this in mind, can you say whether this indicates that, in
14 addition to the fact that it was superior in military terms and that it
15 was more powerful, or despite that fact, the VRS had no intention of
16 crushing the Muslim army in Zepa. Bearing in mind the fact that there
17 had been an evacuation of civilians and women, what would this document
18 indicate against that backdrop? And we see that the whole thing is still
19 ongoing on the 27th of July, whereas the evacuation had been completed by
20 the 25th. Thank you.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, are you putting a question to the
22 witness or are you giving evidence? I'm just indeed a little bit worried
23 about the way you are putting your position to the witness in many
25 Another observation: Your quotation from this document was not
1 completely accurate because there are differences between what you have
2 read into the record and the document we have in front of us. I think
3 it's quite confusing, this way of questioning. Put a short, clear
4 question to the witness. It's much more helpful, for the witness and for
5 the Chamber.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you, Mr.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Trivic, this document was produced on the 27th of 1995 [as
10 interpreted] following the evacuation of women and children and elderly
11 persons from Zepa. What does this indicate, in terms of the intentions
12 of the two warring sides?
13 A. This document clearly shows the intention of the War Presidency
14 of Zepa municipality, and the officers present there, the intentions of
15 the VRS to complete the operations, to stop the operations, and to
16 evacuate all of the remaining soldiers there, on the condition that they
17 were prepared to hand over their weapons. Guarantees are provided here
18 in this decision that lists would be drawn up and all of their names
19 would be recorded by the International Committee of the Red Cross. It is
20 quite obvious that all of these developments indicate one thing and one
21 thing alone: Compliance with the document sent by Mr. Alija Izetbegovic,
22 the president, to the authorities to try and organise an evacuation of
23 civilians and to continue to resist until the area was vacated. Quite
24 honestly, having seen this and having seen what Mr. Izetbegovic defined
25 as the task, which he then dispatched to the men in Zepa, perhaps I'm
1 asking myself a question here -- maybe this is not the best place for it,
2 but I have to ask myself: Where is the responsibility of the commanders
3 in the War Presidency vis-a-vis the people and everything that went on
4 there, given what the situation was? They were losing the battle, but
5 were still unwilling to admit the fact, sign a cease-fire and hand over
6 their weapons. They simply continued to do something else instead of
7 protecting their own fighters and the population. Instead of that, they
8 opted to plunge further into all this uncertainty headlong.
9 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Trivic. Could we please have D51, which
10 is the agreement on disarming the able-bodied men in the Zepa enclave,
11 again signed by representatives of the VRS and representatives of the
12 local authorities in the Zepa enclave.
13 You see that on your screen, sir, do you not? I'll read
14 paragraph 8, please. Could we please zoom in on that so the witness
15 might see what I'm reading, because we don't have time, really. This is
16 an agreement that was signed on the 24th of July. Further towards the
17 bottom of the page you see who signed it: Kusic, Dunjic on behalf
18 UNPROFOR, General Ratko Mladic, and Hamdija Torlak, president of the
19 Executive Board on behalf of the Zepa War Presidency. Paragraph 8 reads:
20 "The able-bodied population of Zepa shall be registered and
21 accommodated in a holding centre which is to be under the control of the
22 ICRC until the release of all captured members of the VRS and other Serbs
23 who are in prisons in territory controlled by the army under the command
24 of Rasim Delic."
25 My question, sir: Bearing in mind this agreement dated the 24th,
1 which we have on our screens now, and the one signed on the 27th, the
2 decision signed on the 27th which you had on your screen a minute ago,
3 does that not clearly indicate, or rather, what does that indicate? I'll
4 phrase it like that. Please go ahead and answer, sir, thank you.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer?
6 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I don't have an objection per se. We
7 are happy to have Colonel Trivic act in the capacity as a Defence
8 witness. He's done so in prior trials as an expert. My only question is
9 if we can have some clarity. For example, with the last document Colonel
10 Trivic was shown, he basically gave what sounded like an expert opinion.
11 If it's based on personal experience at the time, I think it would be
12 helpful to know that; if it's based on documents he's reviewed since
13 then, in connection with being engaged as an expert for various defence
14 teams; if it's based on his military experience, that's fine, but I think
15 it would be more helpful for the Trial Chamber when assessing Colonel
16 Trivic's testimony to have a better, clearer picture of what the
17 foundation is for these answers. Again, no objection if he's being
18 thrown hypotheticals by the Defence or asked to provide his opinion as an
19 expert or simply as an experienced military officer, but I think it's
20 important to distinguish what he knew at the time from what he's learned
21 subsequently and what's based on his experience or expertise in the
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I take it this kind of proposal for examination
24 of this witness, you could do that in re-examination as well, but I think
25 we should -- don't want to waste time. I would like to put a question to
1 the witness. Have you ever seen this document before?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I've not had an occasion to
3 see the document. I'm looking at it for the first time ever.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. That clarifies the situation,
5 I think. Could you answer the question of the -- of Mr. Tolimir, if you
6 recall it.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The question put to me by
8 Mr. Tolimir is based on the previous document, which is the decision of
9 the War Presidency dated the 27th of July. I've stated that I've not
10 seen either of the documents before. However, we were informed about the
11 developments, about the hot and cold situations in the negotiations with
12 the Muslims during that period, and during the couple of days while we
13 were there and when the first rounds of evacuation started. The hot and
14 cold situation had to do with the fact that they accepted some conditions
15 and rejected others. As a participant in the developments and somebody
16 who was informed about developments, as far as I can remember, but
17 I still remember the most important things in addition to the ones that
18 I recorded in my diary regarding the specific tasks of my unit, I believe
19 that these two documents illustrate or corroborate a very important
20 conclusion in my view. One of the first developments on the cease-fire
21 and disarming took place on the 24th, and the VRS had somewhat bigger
22 demand and that was to the release of all Serbs that were detained in the
23 territory under the control of the army under the command of Rasim Delic.
24 That's bullet point 8. And then on the 27th, the tone was somewhat
25 different, somewhat milder, and that was in the demands of the
1 representatives of the VRS and the -- that was that there were no
2 conditions, in other words the VRS wanted all the operations to end, and
3 the two documents illustrate that perfectly. And my conclusion at the
4 end of the day, Mr. Thayer said it, I have been engaged in analysis and
5 expert testimony in other cases and in other trials, so that would be my
6 answer to Mr. Tolimir's question.
7 The VRS did everything in their power to stop operations. They
8 even gave in, they caved in or changed their original conditions despite
9 the fact that they were in a position to block the other force and there
10 would be losses and casualties on both sides.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Trivic. Tell me, were you wounded after the
14 signing of the document that we have before us and after the decision
15 that we saw just a while ago in P736, a document signed by the War
16 Presidency of Zepa? Thank you.
17 A. Yes. The two documents precede my wounding. They were signed
18 before I was wounded, and I was wounded on the 29th of July.
19 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us whether the Muslim military
20 leadership refused to carry out the decisions that were signed by the
21 representatives of their civilian authorities such as Torlak, such as
22 Mehmed Rajic and Amir Imamovic? Thank you.
23 A. As I'm looking at the decision, and as I remember what was
24 happening on the ground, I can say that it is obvious that they refused
25 to implement the decisions.
1 Q. Thank you. After you were wounded, were you returned to the unit
2 that you had commanded before? And that unit was pretty much connected
3 with Zlovrh. You can tell us perhaps what other connections there were
4 between your unit and Zlovrh.
5 A. After the treatment, I returned to the military hospital in
6 Sokolac for a day, for regular checkups, and I also visited my in-laws in
7 Lukavica and Sarajevo. And whenever I did that, I would pay a visit to
8 the command post of my brigade, but in my unofficial capacity. I had
9 been out of service for 11 months when I had undergone treatment, so I
10 don't know what was going on in the meantime. I know that the operations
11 were continued and that on the 30th, as far as I know, and as far as
12 I was told during the first few days of my treatment, the operations went
13 on for the next couple of days, for the next two days, and I believe that
14 Zlovrh, as the communications centre, remained within the sphere of
15 interest of the signalsmen of the brigade, as it were. The municipality
16 of Han Pijesak and that area was under the military organisation in terms
17 of military features, and under the control of the 2nd Romanija Brigade,
18 but I did not continue to participate in all that, and after the
19 treatment I took a different position in a different corps, different
20 garrison, so I don't know what was going on in the area. I never checked
21 and I never directed any of the activities in that area.
22 Q. Thank you. Please, I already asked you before about the military
23 significance of Zlovrh. Was Zlovrh significant only for -- and let me
24 put my question to you. Was it significant only for the Army of
25 Republika Srpska, for all corps, or was it also important and significant
1 for the former Yugoslav People's Army, bearing in mind the developments
2 when soldiers from your brigade were killed? Let's look at document D91.
3 Can this be displayed on the screen? Thank you.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Both speakers are reminded again to slow down
5 while speaking and while reading. It's very difficult for the
6 interpreters and the Court Recorder.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Can we
8 look at page 2.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. On page 1 we can see a criminal report which was filed with the
11 Prosecutor in Sokolac. This is where the headquarters of your brigade
12 was. And can we now look at page 2. Can the statement of reasons be
13 blown up. Reasons to be blown up. Page 3 in English, thank you.
14 And we can see here that on the 4th of June 1992, in the early
15 morning hours, a VRS battalion with combat equipment and several army
16 vehicles under the command of Major Dragan Suk started off from Pale
17 through Han Pijesak in the direction of Zepa with objective to deliver
18 food, water, medical --
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please slow down. Nobody can follow at this
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
23 Q. With the objective to deliver food, water, medical supplies, and
24 other equipment to members of a VRS platoon, who were securing in the
25 Zepa area a military feature and TV relay on the Zlovrh hill. In spite
1 of the agreement on the free movement of the column to the military
2 feature and the Zlovrh relay reached beforehand with the Muslim
3 leadership in Zepa, which means that in spite of that, in spite of the
4 previous agreement with the Muslim leadership in Zepa about the free
5 movement to the military feature and Zlovrh relay, the Muslims who were
6 at the time organised in the so-called Patriotic League and the Green
7 Berets treacherously took the column in a gorge in Zepa. On that
8 occasion, the following 45 VRS members were killed.
9 And then there is a list of the names, which is where I end my
10 quote and I put my question to the witness: Bearing in mind all of the
11 developments on Zlovrh hill and the activities which took place in 1992
12 as well as the activities towards the end of the operations, could you
13 please tell us why was that radio relay centre at Zlovrh important both
14 for the Muslims as well as the VRS? Thank you.
15 A. I believe that that hilltop which bears the name Zlovrh, I don't
16 know what its altitude above the sea level is, but it is a prominent
17 feature in the Drina valley, the features there were within the system of
18 communications of the former state, which helped communication with the
19 command post of the Supreme Command of the Socialist Federative Republic
20 of Yugoslavia, in other words the Yugoslavia which had broken up. That
21 feature was part of that system of communications. You can see relay
22 here. When I say that it was organised, well organised, that means that
23 there was a concrete platform, there was equipment, there were
24 switchboards that were connected with all the capitals of the former
25 Yugoslavia. In other words, that feature provided lines for protected
1 conversations and exchange of information with all the capitals of all
2 the former republics, with all the command posts, as they were organised
3 within the system of All People's Defence in the former state and in the
4 former army and it was of major significance for both the area and the
5 population in the area because it provided a window into the wide world
6 through the relay communication. Let me not go any further. I believe
7 that you have understood me so far. It was a very significant feature
8 within the system of the features that were organised in the former
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Trivic. Can the Court please produce P106, which
11 was shown to you, Witness, in the examination-in-chief. Several
12 questions were put to you based on that document. When it appears on the
13 screen, I will have my own questions for you based on that document.
14 Thank you.
15 You can see this here and you will remember that on Tuesday, on
16 the first day of your testimony, on the first day of your
17 examination-in-chief, on page 58, line 12, you were shown this map, and
18 Mr. Thayer asked you about the four S letters and the cross and who was
19 it who put the mark of this cross on the map. Do you remember that?
20 A. Yes, I remember all the questions about that.
21 Q. Could the e-court please blow up the part where it says,
22 "Srebrenica." Can it be blown up just a little bit further? We are
23 interested in the stamp next to Radovan Krstic's signature. I apologise,
24 I said Mladic before but, no, it's Krstic. We are interested in this
1 A. This is a stamp of the Drina Corps command. That's the
2 inscription on the stamp.
3 Q. Could you please tell us whether you can see what is in the very
4 centre of this stamp, and what is the shape or, rather, the form of the
6 Could the e-court please blow it up even further?
7 Now you can see it fully blown up. Can you tell us what the
8 stamp contains?
9 A. Yes. I can see that, and this is, in the centre of the stamp,
10 there is a two-headed eagle, which is the coat of arms of Republika
11 Srpska, topped with a crown. And in the centre there is a coat of arms
12 with a cross and the four Ss.
13 Q. Thank you. Can we please have a close look at the markings made
14 by General Krstic on the map, by hand. Thank you. What can you see
15 here? The handwritten bits, what exactly does it say? How is General
16 Krstic's handwriting different from the handwriting of the person who
17 produced this map? Thank you.
18 A. I think General Krstic wrote this text, signed it, and he
19 authored the cross with the four Ss as well.
20 Q. Thank you very much. I'll read what it says just for the
21 transcript. "Srebrenica was Serbian and it is now Serbian." The date
22 being the 12th of July 1995. He put a stamp on it with a cross, the coat
23 of arms of the Republika Srpska, and the four Ss. Thank you.
24 Now the map of Zepa, please, if that can be shown, but could we
25 zoom out ever so slightly so that we can take it in on our screens? Does
1 Zepa have the same thing on it? Does it also have a stamp and does it
2 not say the same thing, "Zepa is Serbian, the 27th of July 1995," and is
3 it not signed by General Radislav Krstic?
4 A. Yes, indeed, it is.
5 Q. What about right in the middle, the stamp there, the right-hand
6 field of the cross, if you like? Thank you.
7 A. Yes. Because of the way the different sections of the map were
8 glued together here, I assume.
9 Q. Thank you. Could we please now have D22. D22, please. Thank
11 We have a colour image here, a cross with a letter S in each of
12 the fields between the arms of the cross. This is the same depiction
13 that we find on the maps that we were looking at; is that not right, sir?
14 A. Yes. This is a somewhat stylised image. And that was simplified
15 to some extent, the ones on the maps.
16 Q. And what about the topographical markings? Are those also not
17 simplified, marking certain features and buildings on a map; is that not
18 right, sir?
19 A. Yes, that's exactly right.
20 Q. Thank you. Again, something in e-court, page 2 of this document,
21 please, D22, the one that's already on our screens. Thank you. Thank
23 What can you see here on the screen right in front of you?
24 A. This is the coat of arms of the Republic of Serbia.
25 Q. The four Ss are there, a crown, two-headed eagle, and the cross,
2 A. Yes, that's exactly what we are looking at. This is the coat of
3 arms of the Republic of Serbia; a two-headed eagle with a shield, a coat
4 of arms, the four Ss, the cross right there in the middle, and a crown
5 right above.
6 Q. Page 4 of this same document, please, that being the last page of
7 the document. Thank you.
8 I'm trying not to lead you on this, sir, so please, you tell us
9 what you see on the screen in front of you and what is it, what does it
10 mean? Thank you.
11 A. The coat of arms of Republika Srpska: A two-headed eagle against
12 a red background, coat of arms in the middle, the cross, the four Ss, and
13 a crown above the eagle's two heads.
14 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell me whether the two coat of arms,
15 that of Serbia and that of Republika Srpska, both have the four Ss and
16 the crown, based on what you've seen?
17 A. Yes, indeed. They share that feature.
18 Q. Could we please have the page before this one in e-court, which
19 is page 3 of the present document. Thank you.
20 Could the witness please tell us what he can see right in front
21 of him in e-court. Thank you.
22 A. This is the coat of arms of the Socialist Republic of Serbia,
23 dating back to 1963.
24 Q. Thank you. Can you please just read the numbers on this coat of
25 arms, and what do these numbers mean? What does it say?
1 A. 1804 on the left-hand side, the lower left-hand corner, and on
2 the right-hand side, 1941.
3 Q. What do these figures bring to mind, 1804, for example? Please
4 answer, if you can. And what about 1941? Thank you, sir.
5 A. 1804, the first Serbian uprising against the Turks. Serbia
6 became a Duchy. In 1941, the people in Serbia stood up to fascism and
7 tried to thwart the fascists in World War II.
8 Q. Is this a coat of arms, the coat of arms from the Republic of
9 Serbia from 1963 and was Bosnia-Herzegovina not a member of the same
10 Federation with Serbia at the time?
11 A. Yes, that's what it says. This is the Socialist Republic of
12 Serbia coat of arms from 1963. It has the five-pointed star and the four
13 Ss. At the time, Bosnia-Herzegovina was also a member of the Federation.
14 Q. Thank you. Do these figures not mark a continuity there between
15 1804 and this very day? All of the coats of arms of anything to do with
16 Serbia always had the four Ss. We can see that by looking at this coat
17 of arms and all the others that we've seen.
18 A. Yes. This coat of arms marks a continuity. There is one
19 observation, though: I assume the authorities at the time would not
20 allow for the cross to be depicted, just the four Ss.
21 Q. Thank you very much. Can we please go back to the first image
22 that we looked at. Thank you.
23 Image number 1, the cross and what we call the four Ss. To make
24 sure the Trial Chamber understands, it says exactly what the four Ss
25 stand for. Are these four beta letters?
1 A. As I said the other day, I'm no expert. I can't analyse this
2 myself. I see that these are four Bs, the Greek letter beta from the
3 Paleology dynasty from Byzantium.
4 Q. Can you read on, please.
5 A. "Bazilues bazileom bazilenom bazilenovius," meaning "The emperor
6 of the emperors rules over the emperors."
7 Q. My question: What about each of these letters in each of the
8 field of the cross, each letter beta, does it not stand each for a word,
9 for one of these words, "The emperor of the emperors ruling over the
10 emperors"? Thank you.
11 A. Yes. That is indeed true. These are initials standing for each
12 of the words used in the motto.
13 Q. Thank you. Is that why you refused to comment when you said,
14 well, this is not something that I wish to comment on? It's not the kind
15 of thing that one comments on? Is that what you had in mind? Because
16 this is something that is sacred to us, the coat of arms? Is that what
17 you meant, sir? Thank you.
18 A. My reason was quite simple. I don't consider myself qualified to
19 pass judgement on this kind of thing. This is something that is very
20 typical of Serbdom. Our history, our continuity, the continuity of our
21 beliefs, our faith in our coat of arms.
22 Q. Thank you. Could we please have back on our screens P106. Thank
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It is not possible to continue. We need our
25 second break. I would like to ask Mr. Thayer about the amount of time
1 you need for re-examination. Can you give an indication? A true
3 MR. THAYER: Perhaps I should be given the attestation or the
4 oath to read, Mr. President. I have four short areas. I think half an
5 hour to 45 minutes is what I'll need. I can try to make it shorter but
6 I really think it's going to be half an hour to 45 minutes and not
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic indicated yesterday that the
9 cross-examination will finish today and enable the Prosecution to
10 re-examine the witness. How much time do you need in addition to what
11 you have done, Mr. Tolimir?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, if the Defence has
13 promised to leave enough time for the OTP, if Mr. Thayer wants 35
14 minutes, we will be more than happy to provide the time that he believes
15 he needs. Thank you.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yesterday, at the end of the hearing, the Defence
17 used the document P1224, but didn't tender this document. Perhaps you
18 can consider your position during the break and we come back to that
20 We must have our second break now and resume at 1.00.
21 --- Recess taken at 12.33 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 1.01 p.m.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: During the break, I was told that I made a
24 mistake, that I mixed up the two documents, P1224 and P1225. I was told
25 that P1225 was admitted during the direct examination on Tuesday, and
1 that the Defence has tendered P1224 yesterday. That will be admitted
2 into evidence with this number.
3 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Could we
5 please have D106 -- P106. Thank you. For the record, this is a diagram
6 of a decision on a map about Zepa and Srebrenica. The witness was shown
7 this by the OTP. Thank you. Signed by General Krstic on the 12th of
8 July and 27th of July. Thank you.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Witness, do you see a piece of handwriting by General Krstic on
11 this map? I asked you about this the last time around. Do you see a
12 cross there and the four Ss?
13 A. Yes, I do.
14 Q. Are these the four betas, The emperor rules, or reigns, over the
15 emperors, meaning Jesus Christ? And is that something to do with the
16 cross which stands for Jesus Christ?
17 A. During the previous question when we discussed and I was
18 answering your questions about those documents with the coat of arms,
19 I think we talked about this, and I think this is a simplified image,
20 representation of that same cross. It's a coat of arms containing a
21 cross and the four Ss.
22 Q. Thank you. Please, could you say whether the handwritten entry
23 by General Krstic, where it says, "Srebrenica was Serbian and is Serbian
24 again," and then continued with "Zepa is Serbian," does this reflect what
25 was in the past and what is the present on the 25th of July, 1995?
1 A. Yes, I can say yes to that.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can the Court please produce P1443,
3 which is so-called Zivanovic's map, provided to the OTP by General
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. The Prosecutor showed it to you. Thank you.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I was told that this is not the
8 correct number. Perhaps you should check it again.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] 65 ter 5519.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. While we are waiting for the map to appear on the screen I wanted
12 to ask you this: When General Krstic wrote "Srebrenica was Serbian and
13 is Serbian again," did he utter a historical lie or, rather, does that
14 reflect what was in the past and what is true again? Thank you.
15 A. He didn't utter a lie. What he said reflects the situation,
16 although I believe that this is just a statement, purely a statement, in
17 view of the problems that had accumulated in the area over years, and
18 those were military problems in terms of sustaining losses and things
19 like that, and it is a statement that both enclaves are now completed. I
20 believe that that was the motive but also this is a reflection of the
21 historical situation in the area.
22 Q. Thank you. Please look at the map and tell us whether the map
23 depicts a cross with four Ss or is that just a sign of cross or something
24 being crossed out?
25 A. I'm not clear. Can you blow up? Yes, there are no Ss, this is
1 just a cross showing that something was ruled out.
2 Q. When something is crossed, when a map is crossed in this way,
3 what does that mean for a soldier?
4 A. This should mean that the enclave stopped existing as such, and
5 you can see that described in words. And I believe that the words read,
6 "Finished." This is how that text begins, as far as I can remember what
7 I saw on the map. And that was also on the 12th of July. Something that
8 was completed and finished on the 12th of July.
9 Q. Thank you. The act of crossing, does this mean that this map is
10 no longer valid because some of the elements from the map stopped
11 existing, like you've already told us?
12 A. Yes, this is a statement, that the enclave is being crossed out,
13 and the accompanying text say it all.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could the Court please produce P106
15 again. Thank you.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. While we are waiting for the document to appear, I would like to
18 ask you this: From the Nemanjica state to the fall of the empire of the
19 holy Emperor Lazar, did every Serbian state have a cross, and was that
20 cross reinstated by Karadjordje? Do you know that?
21 A. I've never studied history, but I would say that a cross always
22 featured as a symbol of Serbian statehood.
23 Q. Thank you. When you visit any Serb in Serbia, will you hear from
24 them that the father of Serbian religion and spirituality is Nemanja
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. He came into power -- or, rather, did he come into power after
3 the break-up of the Byzantine empire or, rather, the eastern Roman
4 empire? Thank you.
5 A. I really don't want to talk about history. I've not done my
6 homework, I've not refreshed my history lessons. I'm not saying that
7 I never read it and that I might perhaps be able to answer your question
8 but I've not did -- I've not done any repetitions before this testimony,
9 so I'd rather not.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: At least after this answer of the witness I would
11 like to know the relevance of this kind of questioning and dealing with
12 these documents with this witness. Taking into account the limited time
13 we all have in this trial, you should consider if this is really
14 necessary to put this kind of question to this witness. Perhaps you can
15 move to another topic, if there is any.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. In the
17 examination-in-chief, Mr. Thayer was recorded as saying on the 9th of
18 December, on pages 58 through 78, and his questions were as follows, and
19 I will finish in three minutes, if you'll allow me.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I remember quite well what Mr. Thayer was doing
21 but he didn't went -- didn't go too much into the history of the state of
22 Serbia. Please carry on.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Mr. Thayer asked you, if you remember, whether that means that
1 there were no longer Muslims there? And you said that you didn't want to
2 comment. I'm not going to ask you the same thing. I'm going to ask you
3 this: Did Muslims reside in Srebrenica and in the territory of the
4 Balkans before the Turks arrived in the Balkans after the Battle of
5 Kosovo? Thank you.
6 A. As far as I know, they didn't. They conquered Bosnia in 14th
7 century and they conquered Serbia even before that. I don't know when
8 exactly. So I really don't want to comment upon that.
9 And as for my answer to Mr. Thayer's question, I said that
10 I don't want to talk about whether there were Muslims here or not because
11 there were also Muslims in the Army of Republika Srpska. In other words,
12 there were Muslims who remained there, who had been there, who worked
13 there at the time, and we are talking about the period during which
14 combat operations were taking place. This is not -- this is something
15 that I didn't want to belabour with Mr. Thayer.
16 Q. Thank you. I asked you this and now I have another question to
17 ask you. Do you know that in Srebrenica, during the time of the rule of
18 Vladislav, a descendent of St. Nemanja, there was a factory or mine of
19 silver in the same Sus mine where silver coins were produced?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Can you tell us whether there were other ethnic groups in
22 Srebrenica in addition to Serbs? Thank you.
23 A. As far as I know, there weren't any, but that's what I read in
24 the history books, and the history is written by those who win wars.
25 Q. Thank you. Is it then a lie, what General Mladic and Krstic
1 wrote on the maps in their own hands, in their own handwriting?
2 A. I've already said that this reflects a historical truth, and
3 that's what they recorded on the maps.
4 Q. Thank you, Mr. Trivic, for the answers you provided. Thank you
5 for coming here to testify here in The Hague. I apologise for all the
6 awkward questions I put to you, but I had to. I had to ask you questions
7 about what the topics that I had on my list. I would like to thank
8 Mr. Trivic on behalf of the Defence.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I would
10 like to thank the interpreters, and I apologise for going very fast at
11 times. And I would like to thank the OTP in finding certain documents.
12 The Defence thanks everybody on behalf of the Defence, and I am now happy
13 to say that my cross-examination has now been finished well in time and
14 that I have left 35 minutes to the Prosecutor. Thank you.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Mr. Thayer? Your
16 re-examination, please.
17 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Re-examination by Mr. Thayer:
19 Q. Good afternoon, Colonel.
20 A. Good afternoon.
21 Q. You referred, in your answer to one of General Tolimir's
22 questions, to being at an observation point. You said -- you had first
23 referred to it as, I think, an IKM, but then you said it's better
24 described as an observation point. And you recalled that you received an
25 encrypted telegram at that location at 2145 hours and that that telegram
1 came from the Drina Corps forward command post. Do you remember giving
2 that answer earlier today, Colonel?
3 A. Yes. I remember.
4 Q. Okay. Can you tell the Trial Chamber where this observation
5 point was? Just give us a -- as precise a location as you can.
6 A. I'll try and be as up to the point as possible. When we are
7 talking about a combat deployment of any unit, including mine, we
8 professional soldiers that developed command posts doesn't mean that the
9 commander is always there. People who are there are services, logistics,
10 the communications centre is developed at that place, and the commander
11 doesn't have to be there at all times while the operations are going on.
12 Since I am very a responsible person and I understood my mission very
13 responsibly, I spent the least of my time at that place, which is far
14 away from the other side. I developed for myself a small tent in the
15 close vicinity of soldiers who were engaged, and that was my own
16 observation post. "Observation post" is the Anglo Saxon term, is it not?
17 I found that in literature. So that was my observation post from which
18 I could observe the developments once the operations started, and at the
19 same time, it was sheltered enough for me not to be exposed to fire. So
20 I did not go to my real command post after the end of the operations.
21 I was trying to get as close to my officers, to check what they were
22 doing and to be at their disposal whenever they wanted to consult with me
23 about any military matters. So that was my answer.
24 Q. Okay. My time is a little limited so if I could just ask you,
25 and this is really a simple question: Where were you when you received
1 that telegram? You described being at an observation post. Were you at
2 that observation post when you received that telegram? If not, where
3 were you? That's all I'm trying to find out. Where were you when you
4 got that telegram? Where was that observation post, if that's where you
5 got it?
6 A. I've just told you, at my own observation post. That's where
7 I stayed. And I tried to explain the position of the observation post.
8 My signalsman was the one who maintained my communications. He was
9 always next to me.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Where was this observation post?
11 MR. THAYER:
12 Q. Can you give us a feature, Colonel, or just a general area?
13 Where was it? That's what we're trying to find out. Was it near
14 Purtici, was it near Borak, was it near Godjenje? Where were you at the
15 time? Can you tell us that?
16 A. It was at a place to which the command post was later moved,
17 close to Godjenje. Where you see the word "Godjenje" on the map, that's
18 where my units were deployed. Their axis of movement was later changed
19 and the command post was at that moment moved to that place where my
20 observation post was.
21 Q. And you just referred to your signalsman maintaining your
22 communications and always being next to you. Can you tell the Trial
23 Chamber mechanically, physically, how did this telegram arrive? You said
24 it was encrypted. So can you just tell us how that worked?
25 A. From the forward command post of the corps, after the 1900 hours
1 meeting, a telegram was sent to my command post, containing what
2 I explained to you, and what was said to me is something that I had to
3 record because a telegram as a piece of paper did not reach me. I got a
4 message from the command post to my observation post, my signalsman got
5 the message, and he dictated the contents of the telegram to me. And
6 that's why I recorded things in the way I did.
7 Q. And when you say that this was an encrypted telegram, can you
8 tell us -- and again this is -- I know it sounds to you like a basic
9 question, but can you tell us, when your signalsman is standing next to
10 you, and you made a motion as if he's speaking on some kind of a
11 telephone receiver or some kind of receiver, when you say it was an
12 encrypted telegram, when I think of a telegram I think of a piece of
13 paper. What is he receiving and how is he translating it to you? Is it
14 reduced in writing at any point along this process that you've described
15 for us?
16 A. I want to provide my answers in the simplest possible way, but it
17 seems that we have a problem. The command post of the Drina Corps sent a
18 telegram to my command post, and at my command post the signalsman uses a
19 communications means that I have and that is also at the command post.
20 That's the radio set that my signalsman had but he was the one who
21 received the message. And the encryption device number 2 was used so we
22 could open freely, and he received the message but he insisted that
23 I would be the one to listen in, and the -- my signalsman gave me the
24 headset to listen to what was being transmitted, I listened to that and
25 I recorded that in my diary. I took down the gist of the message of that
2 Q. Okay. Now, your signalsman is standing next to you and he's
3 receiving this communication in the headset, and you referred to
4 encryption device number 2. Is that sometimes referred to as a KZ 2 or
5 something to that effect? Is there a technical abbreviation for that
6 device that you're aware of?
7 A. Yes, yes.
8 Q. Okay. And is that verbal communication itself being encrypted
9 somehow into that or over that headset?
10 A. No. It was an open conversation. The device itself modifies the
11 voice so you can't listen to it.
12 Q. So that's what keeps it protected, is that this device changes
13 the voice so that it can't be intercepted; is that what you're telling
15 A. I don't know the exact technical solution, but if you use this
16 protection device, it was possible to speak openly except it couldn't be
17 understood apart from those who used KZ 2 on both ends of the
18 conversation. They could listen.
19 Q. Okay. Let me go to my next area, Colonel. General Tolimir asked
20 you some questions early on today in his cross-examination about the
21 Muslim army using UNPROFOR peacekeepers as human shields. Do you
22 remember that series of questions?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Is there anything wrong, in your mind, about military forces
25 using people as human shields?
1 A. As far as I remember, I did not really accept that they were
2 being used as human shields. I think what I answered was Muslim forces
3 occasionally operated under protection, specifically the protection of
4 the UN, and they were carrying out operations using that protection and
5 the existence of that protection. I'm not sure how it was interpreted.
6 If it was interpreted as me saying they were being used as human shields,
7 then I'd like to see that corrected because my understanding is entirely
8 different and I think my answer was different. I have a different
9 understanding of using certain forces as human shields. That is an abuse
10 of humans: We make them walk ahead of us through minefields, we are
11 using them as a potential target in order to protect ourselves.
12 Q. And, sir, I think in the last trial and perhaps as you've
13 reviewed documents, did you become aware that during the operation in
14 Zepa that you were a part of, that the Muslim forces in Zepa threatened
15 to use the UN peacekeepers there as human shields, in effect, threatening
16 to kill UN peacekeepers if certain demands weren't met? Did you receive
17 that information?
18 A. Yes. That information, that would be before that, was there.
19 That assertion. But did I say they were being used? No. I certainly
21 Q. And again, if that had happened, if those threats were made, that
22 would be an abuse; is that correct?
23 A. By all means.
24 Q. Sir, you're no doubt familiar with the air-strikes that NATO
25 executed in May of 1995 at the end of that month, are you not? And the
1 reaction that it caused by the VRS?
2 A. Could I please be reminded what air-strikes, what reaction?
3 There were several air-strikes, and different reactions each time.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir?
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. This
6 question goes beyond the scope of cross-examination, and that's why the
7 witness couldn't remember what the Prosecutor was asking. Thank you.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer?
9 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, this question and the next couple of
10 questions indeed go directly to issues raised by General Tolimir on
11 cross-examination. He put, on a number of occasions, this idea that
12 Muslims were -- Muslim forces were using the UN as human shields, and at
13 the same time he was contrasting that with the way that he alleges that
14 the VRS was correctly treating the UN peacekeepers during this period of
15 time, and my question and the follow-up questions go directly to that
16 issue, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please carry on.
18 MR. THAYER:
19 Q. Sir, to refresh your recollection - I'm sure you'll recall this -
20 at the end of May 1995, NATO executed some air-strikes, particularly at
21 an ammunition dump near Pale. In response to that, I think most people
22 can remember the television images of UN peacekeepers and UN military
23 observers being chained to various VRS facilities; satellite dishes,
24 warehouses, ammo facilities. Do you recall that series of events, sir?
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, during my
2 cross-examination, I only asked the witness about the events in
3 Srebrenica. I never mentioned the air-strikes outside Srebrenica or, for
4 that matter, those in May, which means this exceeds the scope of
5 cross-examination. One can ask questions about the air-strikes on
6 Srebrenica and what went on in Srebrenica. That's about it. Thank you.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer?
8 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, General Tolimir asked, in fact,
9 whether there had ever been any Main Staff order to attack UNPROFOR, and
10 I think that the evidence has shown, and I'm going to get very soon to
11 the exact dates in question here, but I think, in order to properly place
12 General Tolimir's questions in context, and the witness's answers, it's
13 absolutely fair to provide some examples of the VRS, in fact, treating UN
14 peacekeepers and UNMOs in a particular manner. And I'm simply asking
15 whether this witness recalls, number 1, in May, this series of events.
16 If he doesn't that's fine. And then I'll move on to events in the
17 Srebrenica enclave and in the Zepa enclave.
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, it would be helpful, to avoid any
20 conflict and to use the Court time in the best way, to focus on really
21 the events in Srebrenica. That would be very helpful.
22 MR. THAYER: Indeed, Mr. President. If I may just get an answer
23 from the witness to see if he will confirm before this Trial Chamber that
24 the VRS did indeed chain these peacekeepers to these facilities. It's a
25 very simple question, if he remembers or not. That's all.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir?
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Could
3 Mr. Thayer please do the following: State the exact reference so I can
4 look at my question and see whether I ever asked whether the VRS, in the
5 middle of an operation in Srebrenica, ever ordered for those soldiers to
6 be fired at. I want to see a reference. As far as May is concerned,
7 I think that is beyond the scope of cross-examination and I would like to
8 ask Mr. Thayer to stick to what exactly is the extent of
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I tried to avoid this kind of conflict.
11 Mr. Thayer, have you a reference for us?
12 MR. THAYER: For this question from General Tolimir about whether
13 he ever asked, in the middle of an operation in Srebrenica, for soldiers
14 to be fired at? That's not my reference, Mr. President. My reference is
15 the question that General Tolimir asked and the series of questions he
16 asked about whether the Main Staff ever ordered an attack on UNPROFOR
17 and, indeed, how the UNPROFOR peacekeepers were treated. I think we all
18 remember that series of questions. That is the area I'm getting at in
19 this series of questions. And again, I'm just asking for a very simple
20 question -- answer to a very simple question about what this witness
21 remembers. And we have -- part of the theory of this case,
22 Mr. President, is that this -- the activities leading up to Krivaja 95
23 didn't start in July, they started much earlier. And there is a pattern
24 that the Prosecution has spoken about and written about and is part of
25 this case, of the VRS targeting UNPROFOR. It's not the first time it
1 happened, in July of 1995, and that is the proper context I'm attempting
2 to place the witness's answers in and to see what he will acknowledge or
3 not acknowledge before this Trial Chamber.
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The Chamber is of the view that you are permitted
6 to put this question, but then after this you should really focus on the
7 events in Srebrenica.
8 MR. THAYER: That's all I asked for, Mr. President. Thank you.
9 Q. And if you can just -- if it's easy to do with a "yes" or "no,"
10 please "yes" or "no," and I'll move on to my next question.
11 A. Yes, yes. I know about that event.
12 Q. Now, did you also become aware that the VRS attacked the UN
13 observation post Echo at the Zeleni Jadar location in early June of 1995
14 and used force to remove the peacekeepers from that location? Did you
15 know about that?
16 A. I think I answered this in the Popovic trial. I don't remember.
17 I think you can find the answer there.
18 Q. I respectfully disagree, but if I've forgotten, forgive me about
19 that. Now --
20 A. I think it was there.
21 Q. You -- well, let me just go to my last question. I'll skip a
22 couple of others, sir. Could we have P129 on e-court, please.
23 Take a moment, sir, and acquaint yourself with this. As we can
24 see, it's a report dated 14 July 1995. It's emanating from the command
25 of the Rogatica Brigade, sent to the Main Staff, Drina Corps command, and
1 to General Krstic personally at the Drina Corps forward command post.
2 The heading is "Placing the UNPROFOR check-points under control." And
3 when you're ready to go to the bottom of the document, because it's a
4 one-page document, please let us know and we'll scroll down.
5 A. I've tried to read it and understand it. Please go ahead.
6 Q. Okay. In this document, General Tolimir reviews the various UN
7 check-points around Zepa and indicates that the VRS has taken full
8 control over check-point 2 in Boksanica. And if we go to page 2 of the
9 English, he indicates that they have wire connection with Boksanica, that
10 they planned to direct the work of other UN check-points through it, and
11 that they have instructed UNPROFOR to issue instructions to their
12 check-points not to open fire on VRS units and to instead simulate the
13 action by shooting in the air if forced to do so by the Muslims.
14 He further notes that the UN peacekeepers will report to the VRS
15 on the activities of the Muslims. And then we see part of this report
16 where General Tolimir says, "We plan to keep the UN check-points at
17 current locations in order to protect our combat formation from NATO
18 aviation." Do you see that sentence, "We plan to keep the UN
19 check-points ..."?
20 A. Yes, yes. I've seen that.
21 Q. General Tolimir, in this sentence, what is he talking about, sir?
22 Keeping the UN there to protect the VRS from NATO aviation.
23 A. Well, could I please see the beginning of this document to see
24 the heading? Placing under control UNPROFOR check-points. It's obvious
25 that positions were requested from the intelligence and security
1 department, General Krstic and all of the other addressees, their
2 positions were requested, as to whether they agreed with this plan to,
3 among other things, place under control these check-points to secure the
4 presence of UNPROFOR as something that should divert any potential
5 air-strikes against forces in our vicinity.
6 I'm surprised, to be frank, because I hadn't come across this
7 topic before. Perhaps I should link it up to something else that
8 happened. Here it says, Please inform us whether you agree with our
9 proposal. Therefore this is a working proposal concerning UNPROFOR, work
10 with UNPROFOR. We plan to keep the check-points at their present
11 locations, and so on and so forth. It is quite obvious that they have a
12 clear overview of who was where, how many check-points, how many men at
13 each of them, so placing under control, I assume that means being able to
14 see at every point in time who was coming and who was going and how many
15 men, but the last sentences talk about the past tense, and then finally
16 they seek agreement and also others' opinions on whether they should do
17 what is being planned.
18 Q. Well, my question, I think, is, as you understand, Colonel, is
19 not about the plans for the other check-points. It's this language here,
20 and maybe you're surprised about this language, where General Tolimir
21 says, in black and white, "... in order to protect our combat formation
22 from NATO aviation." He's talking about using the UN peacekeepers as
23 human shields, isn't he, Colonel?
24 A. Well, he worded it like this. He was probably thinking about
25 talking to them. But the last sentence says, Inform us whether you
1 agree, so I don't know what happened later on. Maybe you have another
2 document or you know of some developments that can confirm or deny this.
3 But it's quite obvious that this is his reasoning, to be perfectly
4 definite on that, and he is seeking the opinion of the people that he
5 addresses this document to.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. This is
8 a very leading question that the witness is being asked here. It has no
9 foundation in the text itself or indeed in my cross-examination. I asked
10 him -- I asked the witness about developments concerning UNPROFOR in
11 Srebrenica, not in Zepa. And Zepa was the other way around, the Muslims
12 and their operations concerning the VRS. Thank you.
13 MR. THAYER: I just have one follow-up question, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No, no, sorry, your last question was, indeed,
15 putting your conclusion to the witness. And you said, "He is talking
16 about using the UN peacekeepers as human shields, isn't he, Colonel?"
17 That was your conclusion, your interpretation, of this document put to
18 the witness. That was not necessary but we got the answer.
19 MR. THAYER: We have an answer, and I'd like to just follow up.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Bear that in mind, please.
21 MR. THAYER: I'll follow up on the witness's answer,
22 Mr. President.
23 Q. Where you said, "It's quite obvious that this is his reasoning,
24 to perfectly definite." What are you saying is quite obvious is
25 General Tolimir's reasoning? What is obvious to you in this language
1 where he is saying, "... in order to protect our combat formation from
2 NATO aviation"?
3 A. The question is addressed to me. The disposition, yes, that's
4 what I said. The very existence of these eight or ten check-points,
5 given the composition of the forces of the VRS, meant that NATO would try
6 to avoid air-strikes in that area in order not to accidentally target
7 their own check-points manned by UNPROFOR. That's what it means. I did
8 not conclude that activities would be pursued on the part of the VRS in
9 terms of inflicting losses on the Muslim side, saying, we shall protect
10 ourselves, we shall just use this presence so that we could do what we
11 like. It was by their very presence that they would protect, and that's
12 what the last sentence suggests when it talks about the formation. It's
13 not about us using them as a human shield; it's their presence that would
14 then shield us from any air-strikes, not us using them.
15 MR. THAYER: Thank you. I have no further questions, Colonel
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Trivic, you will be pleased to hear that this
18 concludes your examination. I think you will be happy to realise that
19 you are free to return to your normal activities before the weekend, and
20 the Chamber would like to thank you that you came to The Hague again and
21 were able to assist us. Thank you very much again, and you are free to
22 go home.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you everyone.
24 [Witness withdrew]
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We have to adjourn for the day and we will resume
1 on Monday in the afternoon, 2.15 in this courtroom. We adjourn.
2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.52 p.m.,
3 to be resumed on Monday, the 13th day of December,
4 2010, at 2.15 p.m.