1 Tuesday, 1 March, 2011
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon to everybody in the courtroom. If
6 there is nothing to raise before the witness enters the court, the
7 witness should be brought in, please.
8 [The witness takes the stand]
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Excuse me, we were dealing with some technical
10 matters here on the bench. Welcome back to the Tribunal. May I remind
11 you that the affirmation to tell the truth still applies. And
12 Mr. Tolimir has further questions for you.
13 Mr. Tolimir, please continue your cross-examination.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. May
15 there be peace in this house and may God's will be done in these
16 proceedings, and may the outcome be as God wishes and not as I wish it.
17 And I wish you a pleasant and comfortable stay in this courtroom.
18 WITNESS: EDWARD JOSEPH [Resumed]
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 Cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir: [Continued]
21 Q. Yesterday, we left on talking about the agreement of the 24th of
22 July, 1995 and you voiced certain suspicions about Mr. Hamdija Torlak
23 being the authorised person to sign the agreement and the agreement that
24 then would be binding on the army; is that correct? Thank you.
25 A. The answer to the question is: I can't answer affirmative to the
1 word "suspicions." I don't know if that was translation but I wouldn't
2 use the word "suspicion". What I would say is when Viktor Bezruchenko
3 and I left Sarajevo, we did so understanding that there was some sort of
4 capitulation by the Bosnian or Bosniak side. That's clear in the reports
5 from David Harland when he said, I sent them. I then sent them. It was
6 after getting that news.
7 Second, we stopped by Lukavica barracks and met with the Serb
8 liaison officer Major Indjic, who further conveyed the terms of that the
9 agreement, so we were aware of that agreement, but I repeat what I said
10 yesterday, that while we were aware that there was some form of
11 capitulation, we were not acting pursuant to that document or in
12 implementation of that document and I underscore what I said yesterday
13 that specifically with respect to the demilitarisation provision, we --
14 that was not our priority and that was not on our agenda. Absolutely
15 not. The priority was to address this safe movement of the population,
16 and further, the reporting shows that both the document and the question
17 of modalities for handing over weapons were -- continued to be a source
18 of dispute among the parties in Sarajevo.
19 And finally, just if the Chamber would permit, just to clarify
20 this, to make it very simple. It all makes a great deal of sense. The
21 priority had to be, first, the modalities for moving the population
22 before you could get to weapons, because no armed group was going to
23 surrender its weapons until it was assured of its security. So it was --
24 it simply could not have been an issue. Then, finally, to just
25 completely wrap it up, this question, at no time, while we were in Zepa,
1 do I recall now anyone, either Serb or Bosnians or Bosniak or UN, ever
2 raising or discussing the issue with us of, oh, well, gee, where are
3 their weapons, we need to start collecting weapons. I simply do not
4 recall that. We were focused again, Your Honours, we were focused on
5 this safe movement of the population. Thank you.
6 Q. Thank you. Yesterday in one of your answers, or maybe it was a
7 misinterpretation for me, that was on page 26, lines 17 through 25, and I
9 "What has to be stressed here is that the provision on
10 demilitarisation, as far as I know, is not valid. It was an agreement
11 that was signed by a civilian representative, at least that was my
12 understanding, and he was not authorised to take upon himself any
13 obligations that had to do with armaments."
14 And then you go on to say:
15 "The person who was authorised in Zepa to agree with
16 demilitarisation and handover of weapons was Colonel Pavic [as
17 interpreted], who was a soldier as I was."
18 So based on what I've just read, that the priority for you was
19 not the agreement and the demilitarisation itself, my question then would
20 be whether this agreement on demilitarisation of 1993 was actually the
21 basis for all the subsequent agreements that were signed between Serbs
22 and the Muslims in Zepa and Srebrenica, and did they contain a provision
23 that there should be no military presence whatsoever in order for a zone
24 to be considered demilitarised? Thank you.
25 A. Thank you, General Tolimir. I believe I understand the question,
1 and my answer to that is I don't know that I'm a competent witness to
2 state definitively what document was the basis for the UNPROFOR effort in
3 Zepa. If you consult the reports that I -- from David Harland that have
4 been entered into evidence, it reflects the continuing dispute in
5 Sarajevo about the validity of this document, which was reported to
6 General Smith, David Harland states that clearly that he reported this to
7 General Smith. And as I mentioned, I further reported on my own to
8 General Smith my own questions about validity of a surrender of military
9 forces by a local civilian leader.
10 So it's a fair question and it's a very legitimate question what
11 document was the basis for our operation there. I understand we were
12 there because we knew that this UN declared safe area had fallen and we
13 knew that there had been conversation between General Mladic and
14 General Smith, that as in Srebrenica, there was going to be an outward
15 movement of the population. And there was keen interest on our part to
16 do as much as we could to ensure it would be done in a humanitarian way.
17 That's the best I can answer that question.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Let us now take a look at D21 in
20 e-court. This is a demilitarisation agreement for Zepa and Srebrenica in
21 1993, and they contain certain issues that relate to your remit,
22 civilians and the movement of the population in that area that you
23 mentioned. Thank you.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. We see here that this is an agreement on a cease-fire on the
1 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina concluded between
2 Lieutenant-General Ratko Mladic and General Sefer Halilovic. And it was
3 concluded and signed on the 8th of May, 1993, and if we can please just
4 see where it says that it was signed.
5 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter could not hear the date.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] We should have the second page in
7 Serbian and we can keep the same page in English. Thank you.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Well, there's some error here. Thank you. Now, can you see here
10 in paragraph 1 where it says that demilitarised zone, Article 1, "To
11 demilitarise the areas of Srebrenica and Zepa." And then below:
12 "The demilitarised areas will include the area within the current
13 lines of conflict. The UNPROFOR commander will mark the precise
14 boundaries on the ground after consultations. At a later stage,
15 contracting parties can agree verbally, or in writing, to enlarge the
16 demilitarised zone."
17 And so on and so forth.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now, can we see page 2 of this
19 agreement, please, and can we show the next page to the witness as well.
20 Thank you.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
22 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 Q. Now, let's take a look at Article 3, you can see it on your
24 monitor, and it's the one on the top where it says:
25 "Every military or paramilitary unit will have either to withdraw
1 from the demilitarised zone or submit/hand-over their weapons.
2 Ammunition, mines, explosives, and combat supplies in the demilitarised
3 zones will be handed over/submitted to UNPROFOR."
4 Thank you.
5 "After submission/hand-over of all weapons, ammunition, mines and
6 combat supplies in the DMZ, the contracting parties will declare that the
7 demilitarisation is complete."
8 Now, let's take a look at Article 4. "UNPROFOR shall take the
9 handed-over/submitted weapons into custody." In other words, the weapons
10 will be handed over to UNPROFOR and that will be their responsibility.
11 And then it says:
12 "UNPROFOR shall take the handed-over/submitted ammunition into
13 custody separately." And so and so forth.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now have the next page,
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation].
17 Q. Article 5: "UNPROFOR shall control the demilitarised zone." So
18 we see from Article 4 that the UNPROFOR was the body that was supposed to
19 control the demilitarised zone.
20 Now, let's see the last two paragraphs in Article 4, and it says:
21 "Noncombatants, who are in or who are willing to enter the
22 demilitarised zone, except members of UNPROFOR are not permitted to have
23 in their possession any weapons, ammunition or explosives. Weapons,
24 ammunition and explosives in their possession shall be seized by
25 UNPROFOR. Combatants will not be allowed to enter or to be in the
1 demilitarised zone." Can we now see the next page, please, to see the
2 section that deals with the freedom of movement. Thank you.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, at a certain point in time, you
4 should come to a question. It takes a very long time to go through the
5 whole document without putting any question to the witness. It will be
6 difficult for the witness to answer a question.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Well, I will put a
8 question now.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Did -- was it the UNPROFOR's responsibility and task to make this
11 area demilitarised and was it supposed to keep in its custody the weapons
12 that were surrendered rather than leave them with the soldiers?
13 Thank you.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you should add that this document
15 was signed in 1993.
16 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 General Tolimir, the document speaks for itself and you've read
18 out those core obligations and they are what they say and they do,
19 absolutely, impose obligations on the parties and an obligation on the
20 part of UNPROFOR and that is correct. I would just add that when
21 Viktor Bezruchenko and I arrived in Zepa in July of 1995, this document
22 was not -- was no longer in force. This had been completely superseded
23 by the events. Because as you know, General, the safe area was no longer
24 demilitarised, because there was a presence of your forces there,
25 including with heavy weapons and, I readily acknowledge, weapons on the
1 Armija side as well. So we know that the terms of this document were
2 completely and utterly superseded by events on the ground when Viktor and
3 I arrived on the scene. Thank you.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Thank you. So it is your claim that this agreement was not
6 valid, however, you always referred to it. Now, tell me this: Was the
7 agreement on demilitarisation of 1993 binding on Colonel Pavic and did
8 he -- was he obliged to remove or withdraw his personnel from the enclave
9 based on this agreement on demilitarisation of 1993.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Colonel Palic.
11 THE WITNESS: To answer the question, let me first clarify, I did
12 not say that this document was not valid in the sense that -- I wouldn't
13 compare this to the other document, for example. There's a question of
14 the validity of the other document. This document was valid, perfectly
15 valid. When it was signed, it was signed by a competent military
16 authority on both sides, Mladic and Halilovic. So this document I do not
17 say was not valid. I say it was completely superseded by events on the
18 ground. This document was written at a time of a completely different
19 military context and it requires demilitarisation. I say again when the
20 two civil affairs officers arrived, myself and Viktor Bezruchenko, this
21 was completely superseded by events on the ground. Serb forces,
22 including with heavy weapons, had entered, and General Tolimir is
23 absolutely correct, and the Armija had not demilitarised and yes, General
24 Tolimir, you are correct, that was a obligation, and those obligations do
25 speak for themselves in the document.
1 Now, I'm not competent to explain why the provisions of this
2 agreement signed in 1993 were not fulfilled. It would -- another witness
3 would have to explain what transpired after 1993 up to 1995 and explain
4 why the document and what happened on both sides that made this. So I
5 can't answer that, I am afraid. Thank you.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, during your last question you said,
7 "however, you always referred to it." I don't understand this statement,
8 could you explain it further?
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, my apologies for being
10 imprecise. What I meant was that the UNPROFOR always referred to this
11 agreement. I didn't really mean the gentleman here, the witness.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please carry on.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Thank you. Now according to what you knew while you were in
15 Sarajevo, did UNPROFOR at any point in time take a serious position on
16 this problem of the enclaves in Zepa and Srebrenica? Did it ever try to
17 actually enforce the demilitarisation in Zepa? Thank you.
18 A. General Tolimir, I understand the question and I think that is a
19 legitimate question, but this witness is not really able to respond to
20 that. The question of the demilitarisation of the safe areas was always
21 an issue and it was a question of dispute for some time, and I simply did
22 not then, nor now, have the particular background or experience with
23 respect to what were isolated enclaves, both Srebrenica and Zepa, and our
24 own UN access to these through Serb-controlled territory was always
25 difficult and I simply cannot respond, but it's a fair question.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Can we now please see
2 1D195 in e-court. This is a document produced by Mustafa Hajrulahovic
3 also known as Talijan and it was sent to General Hadzihasanovic in the
4 Zepa Brigade. We will see it in a moment. Thank you.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. We can see the document now before us, can we just zoom in a bit.
7 Now, you can see this document is dated the 17th of February, 1995. It
8 was sent from the Kakanj command to General Hadzihasanovic, who was the
9 Chief of Staff of the BH army. So General Hajrulahovic is sending this
10 to the Chief of Staff, Hadzihasanovic, and he is also ceasing the Zepa
11 Brigade and he says the following:
12 "In view of the deterioration of the situation around the
13 protected zone of Zepa, we have learned the following: The aggressor has
14 requested from the UNPROFOR that Zepa be proclaimed a non-demilitarised
15 zone. This request came from the aggressor and is justified by the
16 aggressor with the fact that in the past two weeks, on several occasions,
17 there were helicopter flights bringing weapons into Zepa. The aggressor
18 has reported several movements of BH Army units in the general area
19 around Zepa. The aggressor accused members of the Ukrainian Bat and
20 UNPROFOR, who are deployed in Zepa, of concealing the activities and
21 intentions of the BH Army in that area."
22 And then bullet point 3: "On the 16th of February, 1995, the
23 aggressor informed the command of Sarajevo sector of the UNPROFOR that,
24 in the event that Zepa is not proclaimed a non-demilitarised zone, they
25 would launch an attack within seven days. The countdown for the
1 ultimatum is, as UNPROFOR said, begun on the 16th of February and it will
2 expire on the 23rd of February, 1995."
3 Now, were you aware that the VRS, and its Main Staff, as the
4 other side is claiming here, repeatedly demanded that this zone be
5 demilitarised so that we wouldn't have to do it ourselves? Is that clear
6 from this document? Thank you.
7 A. General Tolimir, I'm not here to dispute your proposition and
8 what you state. However, I cannot attest to this because my involvement
9 in Zepa began only over this period of July 1995, and in general terms, I
10 was aware that the demilitarisation of safe areas was a chronic sore
11 point, but the explanation for that is one, is a wider and more complex,
12 requires a more complex and longer discussion as to why that is the case,
13 but this witness cannot answer the question of awareness of this, because
14 my awareness of Zepa and involvement in Zepa began in July of 1995.
15 Q. Thank you. Did the UNPROFOR command in Sarajevo have the
16 obligation to be aware of this since it reads here that the aggressor
17 forwarded the request to UNPROFOR? In other words, should not UNPROFOR
18 have been aware of such a request having been sent to the staff? The
19 document is dated the 17th of February, 1995. The author is the Muslim
20 side. I didn't want to put a document to you authored by the Serbian
21 side. I don't want to misrepresent the facts, as it were. Thank you.
22 A. I understand, General Tolimir, and UNPROFOR command may well have
23 been aware, but this witness cannot confirm that and I believe there
24 would be other witnesses that might appear before this Chamber who could
25 better answer that question.
1 Q. Thank you for your frank answer. Let us look at the legality, or
2 lack thereof, on the part of Hamdija Torlak on the to sign the agreement
3 on behalf of those soldiers, as you put it. In other words, did he have
4 the requisite authority to sign the agreement, because this was an
5 agreement enveloping military issues such as weaponry. So my question
6 for you is, do you know what sort of role was played by Hamdija Torlak
7 within the local authorities in Zepa who in July of 1995 negotiated with
8 the VRS on behalf of the army of Zepa and on behalf of the Zepa enclave?
9 Thank you.
10 A. The answer to that question is no, I and my colleague
11 Viktor Bezruchenko did not really know the role he played. And to put
12 it in context, we have to remember these isolated eastern enclaves,
13 Srebrenica, Zepa, Gorazde, UNPROFOR had very little access to, so even if
14 I had had reports from colleagues, other than Gorazde, we really had very
15 very limited contact and understanding of the actual situation. It's
16 possible someone else knew, but neither Viktor nor I understood exactly
17 the structure there in Zepa, as, for example, we did in other places in
18 Bosnia where we were permitted and had more regular access.
19 Q. Thank you, I understand your point.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now show in e-court P740.
21 I'm only interested in 25.25 to 25.50, and from 34.4 to 35.5. This is
22 footage featuring Mr. Torlak as having been sent for negotiations by the
23 Muslims in Zepa. Let's look at the video. I apologise, of course you
24 needn't have known him, but let's see here whether he was a
25 representative of Zepa or not.
1 [Video-clip played]
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Your microphone was off, Mr. Tolimir.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I can see that the
5 witness has interpretation here, I was speaking up simply because we
6 didn't have the audio. Can we have the volume a bit higher up, please.
7 Thank you.
8 [Video-clip played]
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Witness, did you hear -- the individual in the white shirt, that
12 was Hamdija Torlak, did you hear what he said?
13 A. Not exactly. What did he say? I didn't -- I was looking more at
14 the visual, I'm sorry.
15 Q. Thank you. He appeared there as a part of the Muslim delegation
16 that we didn't have anything to do with and he said, "We agreed that the
17 entire population should leave the safe area of Zepa."
18 That was the line he uttered. "We agreed that the entire
19 population should leave the protected area of Zepa?"
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we see the relevant clip yet
21 again, and then General Kukanjac says, "We will ensure that you have safe
22 passage across the Serb-controlled territory."
23 This is video footage that was tendered by the Prosecution, not
24 by me. Can the relevant part of the footage be shown to the witness
25 again, please.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It would be appreciated, because we didn't hear
2 the voice either, it was very low voice and we would like to see the
3 relevant part again.
4 Mr. Thayer.
5 MR. THAYER: Good afternoon, Mr. President. Just two quick
6 points, so the record is clear and correct. The first is I see we have a
7 reference to General Kukanjac at page 13, line 13. I'm sure General
8 Tolimir said something else, we just need to correct that. I think we
9 should also add, for clarity of the record, there is no dispute of about
10 this, that this is video footage shot on the 19th of July.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. Mr. Tolimir, the name of which
12 general was mentioned by you?
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I mentioned
14 General Mladic. I don't know how it came to me mentioning
15 General Kukanjac. I don't even know him.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you for this clarification.
17 Mr. Gajic.
18 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] I think I know where the problem
19 lies. The individual we can see right now in e-court is called Kulovac,
20 not Kukanjac, and we seem to have seen the name in the transcript quite
21 by chance, the name is Benjamin Kulovac.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Let's see the relevant part of the video again
23 with hopefully a good audio recording.
24 [Video-clip played]
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I do hope that
1 audibility was better this time. If not, we can do it once more.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. This was the Muslim representative, Hamdija Torlak, wearing a
4 white shirt, who said we agreed that under the circumstances, the issue
5 of Zepa is best resolved by having the entire population of Zepa leave
6 the area safely. And General Mladic replies to that by saying, I don't
7 want to cause any more suffering to you, we will allow safe passage to
9 So this is my question: Based on this footage can it be seen
10 that the gentleman wearing a white shirt over which he slung this jacket,
11 so he is to the right of the man serving drinks, did Hamdija Torlak say
12 that they had agreed that, under the circumstances, the most expedient
13 solution would be for the entire population of Zepa to leave the area
14 as -- did it not happen as Mr. Thayer said on the 19th of July?
15 A. In answer it to your question, I was not present at this meeting
16 and my testimony is limited to the video that this Court has seen and I
17 can only say that I saw, watched the same video everyone else saw and it
18 reflects what you are saying. This doesn't go to the point raised
19 yesterday about the validity. These gentleman could have spoken in
20 English, in legal Latin, and said it five times. The question is were
21 they competent to enter, to surrender military forces. That's the
22 question that we raised, and we know in Sarajevo that there were
23 continuing disputes about their competence and their validity and that's
24 all I can say. But I did watch this video and it is indeed, as you say,
25 General Tolimir.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now have only the individual
3 to the right of Mr. Torlak shown. He is wearing a uniform. We can see
4 the star and the insignia of the United Nations. Thank you.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Tolimir, please.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Your microphone, please.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. We see an individual wearing the UNPROFOR uniform with the UN
9 insignia, who escorted the gentleman from Zepa to the venue where
10 negotiations took place, otherwise, they couldn't have passed on their
11 own. And we can see the negotiations are taking place in an area where
12 UNPROFOR was providing security. My question is this: Does the presence
13 of UNPROFOR soldiers attest to the fact that authoritative negotiators
14 were brought over to these negotiations, and as a follow-up, an agreement
15 was made? Thank you.
16 A. To answer the question, again, I'll repeat, I was not present at
17 this meeting and, yes, we can see both in this photograph the presence of
18 the UNPROFOR Ukrainian, and I believe it was, I'm grateful it was pointed
19 out to me yesterday that the other individual, Dudnjik, was perhaps this
20 officer, perhaps, who is in the photograph now. I acknowledge all that,
21 we all see that. What I'm saying is, despite that, despite that, there
22 still could be a question as to the validity of the document, but
23 General Tolimir, I absolutely acknowledge we see the visual evidence of
24 the presence of UNPROFOR.
25 Q. Thank you. Would you perhaps know what the capacity was of
1 Mr. Torlak when he came from Zepa to attend to these negotiations, and
2 did he have any sort of contact or communication with Avdo Palic or any
3 other members of the BH Army? Do you have any knowledge of that at all?
4 Thank you?
5 A. No, I do not have any knowledge about that.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now have 1D201 shown. It's
8 a letter sent by Alija Izetbegovic to Avdo Palic. We would only like to
9 see the way in which Avdo Palic treats Hamdija Torlak and his role in
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. While we are waiting for this to appear, I will be quoting the
13 basis for my question to you. Yet again, the document was not authored
14 by the VRS but by the Muslim side. As I said, it was sent to Avdo Palic
15 by Alija Izetbegovic. Or actually, sorry, the other way around, it was
16 sent from Zepa, from Avdo Palic, to Sarajevo to Alija Izetbegovic. We
17 don't have it yet. It's 1D201. There we have it.
18 Avdo Palic writes to Alija Izetbegovic on the 27th of July. You
19 have the English version there. It was sent on the date I mentioned at
20 7.00 a.m. It reads:
21 "Mr. President, we've received both your letters and the
22 agreement you sent us. I would like to ask you, just between the two of
23 us, if we could keep it for our own internal use. And are you prepared
24 to exchange all of us from Zepa, who number around 2.500, together with
25 the people who came from Srebrenica, for all the Chetniks? Let us stress
1 that more than half of these men do not have weapons and we have no
2 chance of making a break-through. Please could we have your reply by
3 0800 hours this morning so that we may know what we are to do next,
4 because the criminal Mladic and our representative Hamdija Torlak are
5 still at Boksanica. One more question: Would you be prepared to pay for
6 the helicopters needed to evacuate us should the UNPROFOR agree to this?"
7 Signed commander Colonel Avdo Palic.
8 This is my question, based on what I've read out to you: How
9 does the military commander of Zepa treat Hamdija Torlak if he refers to
10 him as our representative, and perhaps even if we find out that he was on
11 the War Staff and I have a document to that effect. So would it not
12 transpire, based on what I've just read out to you, that Avdo Palic is
13 seeking instructions for the sake of his negotiator? Thank you.
14 A. General Tolimir, reading this letter, that may well have been the
15 case. It may have been the case that Mr. Torlak was operating in close
16 co-ordination and even at the direction of Colonel Palic. I'm telling
17 you we did not know that then, nor are we certain now what that was and
18 I'm simply repeating the point that a military surrender, a surrender of
19 military assets, that was there was a significant question as to whether
20 it could be done by a civilian official. And furthermore, that there was
21 a dispute raised on one side as to the authority. But it may well have
22 been that the two of them were operating in close communication.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we have 1D201, the telegram
24 admitted into evidence, please.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Document 1D201 receives number D171,
2 Your Honours.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could we now have P736
4 shown in e-court for the benefit of the witness. I promised to show this
5 document because it sets out the duties performed by Hamdija Torlak in
6 Zepa. Thank you.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Thank you. This is also a BH Army document issued by the
9 285th Zepa Brigade. It was issued on the 27th of July 1995 at 7.00. Oh,
10 I'm sorry, I've been reading the previous document. So can we strike
11 that from the record. I started reading what I thought was a new
12 document on the screen.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I was told it takes quite a long time because it
14 is a very big document, if that is the case. Now we have a document on
15 the screen. Is it the right document?
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President, that's
17 the document. It's a one-page document, which reads:
18 "The War Presidency of the Zepa municipality, at its meeting held
19 on the 27th of July, 1995, attended by Hajric" - and first name being
20 Mehmed I believe - "president of the War Presidency; Hamdija Torlak,
21 president of the executive committee; and Amir Tomanovic - Imamovic,
22 sorry - commander of the civilian protection staff, hereby adopts the
23 following decision."
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. So this is a decision that they adopted as War Presidency. It's
1 binding on all those present in Zepa. It reads:
2 "All the able-bodied men from -- aged 18 to 55 years shall
3 surrender their weapons to the representatives of the Army of Republika
4 Srpska in the presence of the UNPROFOR at the UNPROFOR base in Zepa. All
5 the able-bodied men shall be registered by the ICRC and shall be guarded
6 by the forces of the Army of Republika Srpska in the presence of UNPROFOR
7 in Zepa until an agreement on an exchange -- until an agreement on the
8 disarmament has been reached."
9 Paragraph 2, which reads:
10 "Urgently inform the Muslim authorities in Sarajevo about this
11 decision and set about its implementing it forthwith. Zepa, the 27th of
12 July, 1995. The first person signed is Rajko Kusic, who is the Rogatica
13 Brigade commander of the VRS. It's certified by Mladic and signed on
14 behalf of the War Presidency, by Mehmed Hajric as president of the Zepa
15 War Presidency; Hamdija Torlak, as we said he is the member of the
16 executive committee, and ex officio member of the War Presidency; and
17 Amir Imamovic, as member of the War Presidency and commander of the
18 civilian protection staff. So please answer this question I have for
19 you: Was this document not signed by authorised individuals from Zepa
20 and did there exist in Zepa at the time anybody who would have had higher
21 authority than them to sign such a document? Thank you.
22 A. Thank you, General Tolimir, I understand the question and here is
23 my answer: The document is as it reads exactly, as you say, on its face
24 and I would have no basis to dispute this document. What I'm saying is
25 that first of all, we didn't know the exact structure until we got there.
1 When I said I didn't know who Hamdija Torlak was, I meant until we
2 arrived there. We did meet with, I recall, a meeting with Mr. Torlak in
3 which he probably told me his function and title, but this is after
4 that -- the agreement, the one that you are referring to earlier about
5 demilitarisation. So, yes, this document is signed by the civilian
6 authorities, that's absolutely true. What I'm simply stating is that we
7 had a question about the validity of that document, whether or not we
8 were correct. Maybe we were not correct, maybe the law provides that
9 civilians are allowed to surrender and even local civilians, not the
10 central authority of a country. Maybe the law does provide. I doubt it.
11 I would be surprised if that were the case because military assets are a
12 federal national state asset and it would be surprising if a local mayor
13 in any country could either surrender his assets or command them to go on
14 an attack. But we could say we were wrong. Perhaps we were mistaken in
15 that belief.
16 The point and the value of this witness is that this question of
17 this document was not in our minds. That's not what we were focusing on.
18 We certainly were not focusing on any demilitarisation provision, because
19 as you know, this was not a demilitarised zone. There were Serb weapons,
20 heavy weapons in there as well as army weapons. So we were not looking
21 at that. And our preoccupation and focus was with the safe onward
22 transport of, first, the women and children, and second, if the agreement
23 could be reached on how we would have modalities for the safe transport
24 of the men. That's what this witness can bring to light. I was not
25 present and really can't bring anything of value about these documents.
1 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us whether the demilitarised zone in
2 Zepa that you just mentioned contained Serbian weapons or whether those
3 weapons were outside that zone? Thank you.
4 A. It would depend -- the answer to that would depend on what the
5 actual perimeter was of that area, but, General Tolimir, you yourself
6 were in the centre of Zepa. I don't recall whether you were carrying a
7 side-arm or not, but you certainly had, at times, your soldiers with you
8 who were armed, and so we know for a fact that your soldiers were there
9 and we also mow that you had various artillery positions in there. I
10 don't know now that the exact boundary, but we certainly know for a fact
11 that there were Serb weapons inside this what would have been the
12 demilitarised zone. And I'm acknowledging that presumably there were
13 Armija weapons inside the zone as well.
14 Q. Thank you. Sir, can you consider me to be armed, together with
15 my escort, if I came there after the cease-fire agreement was signed?
16 That's one question. And the second question is, does this agreement
17 envisage that the VRS should in any way disarm or remove their forces
18 from the zone? Thank you.
19 A. I didn't listen to the original Serbian, so I know we have very
20 high-quality interpreters here, and I doubt that there was a translation
21 issue, but taken literally, the first question is, Can you consider me to
22 be armed if I came after the cease-fire. General Tolimir, you are armed
23 if you are carrying arms. It's irrespective of what the agreement is.
24 And the second question, does the agreement envisage, I don't
25 know which agreement -- if you are talking about the original agreement,
1 the 1993 agreement, the one that you showed with -- signed between
2 General Mladic and General Halilovic, yes, that clearly called for a
3 demilitarised zone and demilitarised means demilitarised.
4 Now, as I said, that was superseded, because your forces had
5 entered Zepa and these -- these were new terms and new documents, but I'm
6 saying again, repeating, this document and these agreements were not what
7 we had in our minds of what we were trying to do. We were concerned,
8 first and foremost and always, with the safe transport of, first, the
9 women and children of Zepa, and then second, assuming there was an
10 agreement on the men.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now have D51. And then when
13 we have it on the screen, I'm going to ask you a question based on what
14 you just said.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Does the UNPROFOR have the right to change any of the paragraphs
17 in an agreement that was agreed upon by the warring factions? Thank you.
18 A. I don't understand the question. I'd have to have an explanation
19 of what that question is about.
20 Q. Thank you. Here we can see the agreement on the disarmament of
21 the able-bodied population in the Zepa enclave. So we are now talking
22 about the able-bodied population of the Zepa enclave. So this was an
23 agreement about them disarming. My question is, can the UNPROFOR change
24 anything that is written in this agreement, I'm being very specific here.
25 Thank you.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And this is the agreement of the 24th of July,
3 THE WITNESS: Yes, Mr. President, thank you for intervening
4 because I was about to appeal to you and Your Honours there. I've
5 repeated what my -- what I'm able to speak to and I'm simply not able to
6 speak to these documents or the issues that the accused is trying to
7 raise. I simply can't. I've testified repeatedly that our mindset, what
8 we were focused on was the -- this movement of safe, as safe and humane
9 as possible movement. And the validity or non-validity of these
10 document, yes, there was a question in our minds, but I can't speak to
11 what UNPROFOR can change or not change. I cannot really attest to
12 validity of communications between the Armija. I just simply state that
13 for the Chamber.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. After having received this
15 answer several times, I think you should move to another part of your
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. You stated yesterday about that the agreement dated the 24th of
20 July, you said that you returned to Zepa on the 25th of July, 1995, which
21 is the day after the signing of this agreement. Can you answer this
22 question: What was the purpose of your arrival to Zepa? Thank you.
23 A. My understanding of what our mission was, was to help co-ordinate
24 the movement of the population of Zepa and to do so, of course, in as
25 safe and humane way co-ordinating with all the relevant parties, that
1 would be the Serbs and the VRS of course; the Bosnians or Bosniaks, the
2 Armija and their civilian leadership as well; and plus the UNPROFOR
3 assets that were there, the Ukrainians, and the UNPROFOR assets that
4 would come; and any other humanitarian organisation that would come, such
5 as ICRC, and normally UNHCR, but UNHCR refused to participate in this.
6 So that was our role.
7 I do not recall that we had specific instructions or directions
8 and I certainly do not recall that we had the instruction to implement
9 this agreement that Torlak had signed, and I don't recall any
10 conversation at all including before we left about the demilitarisation
11 provision. I don't recall any conversation about that which is unusual
12 because had there been -- had that been something that was appreciated as
13 a real obligation, then of course we would have had discussions about
14 that, but we had none. So it was really the focus, General Tolimir, was
15 on this safe movement of the population, co-ordinating that.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now have D55. That is the
18 report drafted by Viktor Bezruchenko entitled, "The fall of Zepa."
19 Mr. Bezruchenko was there together with Mr. Edward. We are interested
20 in 98 and 99, paragraph 98 and paragraph 99. Can we have it on the
21 screens. Okay. Now I think we are going to get it on the screens. It's
22 page 27 in Serbian and 26 in English. Thank you, Aleksandar.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Just for the record, the current witness is
24 Mr. Joseph. Mr. Edward Joseph and not Mr. Edward.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. All right. Now we can see the paragraph that I'm interested in.
3 It goes as follows, I quote: These are the words of Mr. Bezruchenko:
4 "The UNPROFOR updated situation report for 24th and 25th July
5 confirmed that the negotiations between the parties were completed at
6 1930 hours on the 24th July. The report describes the negotiations and
7 agreement as follows."
8 Now I'm going to quote what it says in English:
9 "At 1930, the negotiations between both WFs were completed, it
10 was agreed to evacuate children, women and old men and injured Muslims
11 from the Zepa pocket to the safe areas. Wounded people are to be
12 transported to Sarajevo by UKRCOY trucks. The UKRCOY. At 2030, BiH side
13 accepted the following BSA demands: 1, to put all equipment and weapons
14 under UNPROFOR control. 2, to clear all the roads from mines. To
15 evacuate the local population from Zepa town. UNPROFOR representatives
16 from SHQ Sarajevo are going to arrive at Zepa town on the 25th of July at
17 0800 hours."
18 So this is what Mr. Bezruchenko says. Further on, in paragraph
19 99, he says:
20 "The agreement was validated by signature block of General
21 Mladic. The full text of the agreement was sent to the VRS Main Staff by
22 the 1st Podrinje Light Infantry Brigade commander Kusic on the 24th of
24 So having read this, we can see that you and Viktor knew of this
25 agreement and that you arrived there pursuant to provisions of this
1 agreement in order to perform certain tasks. Did the UNPROFOR try to
2 negate this agreement in any way or did they try to change any of the
3 provisions of the agreement, the provisions as they were stipulated in
4 the agreement itself? Thank you.
5 A. General Tolimir, first we can see that my colleague
6 Viktor Bezruchenko is quoting reports and he is presumably correctly
7 quoting these reports, so it's not Viktor is not saying when Ed Joseph
8 and I entered Zepa, we had it in our mind to work on demilitarisation.
9 He is not saying that, he is simply citing the record presumably
10 correctly, that's number 1. Number 2, it's already been entered into the
11 record that Viktor and I did know about this agreement. We did know
12 this. Remember? We were briefed on this by Major Indjic, your liaison
13 officer back in Sarajevo, Serb Sarajevo before we went back there. And
14 our colleague, David Harland, had also been made aware, so yes, we were
15 aware of this and with respect to UNPROFOR negating or not negating, I
16 can only tell you it's moot issue, or it was not a ripe, issue because we
17 could never get, it was never any question for us of demilitarising at
18 that point, because we had to first establish the basis for safe
19 transport of the women and children and then to figure out what would be
20 done with the men. And at no point do I recall - Viktor and I, we were
21 in close proximity there throughout this period in Zepa - do I ever
22 recall a conversation with Viktor about, Gee, how are we going to take
23 care of mines, and, Gee, where are we going to collect the weapons. It
24 just simply never came up, as far as I can recall 15 and a half years
1 Q. Thank you. So if you and Viktor only took care of the evacuation
2 of the population, does that mean that the military commander or somebody
3 else should have taken care of those weapons? Then who was in charge of
4 the weapons, when I say weapons, I mean the weapons that belonged to the
5 warring parties? Was it then in the hands or jurisdiction of the
6 civilian sector or of the military sector? Thank you.
7 A. General Tolimir, hopefully you'll have a chance to pose that
8 question to a leadership of the then UNPROFOR military command. I can
9 recall, and this would be very unusual for us as civil affairs officers
10 not to be aware of such a development, but I don't recall within UNPROFOR
11 having any conversation about it. And further, General Tolimir, I don't
12 recall you and I ever having a conversation about it or General Mladic
13 and myself and Mr. Bezruchenko having a conversation about it.
14 Although, we did at times, certainly with General Mladic, discuss the
15 question of the potential movement of the men of Zepa.
16 Q. Thank you, Mr. Joseph. Was I under any obligation to discuss
17 those issues with you? I or General Mladic? We are talking about an
18 agreement here, does that mean that we had a duty to brief you on it?
19 A. No, you had no such obligation.
20 Q. Thank you. This agreement dated the 24th of July, which was the
21 basis for your arrival for performing civilian tasks was signed by
22 Mr. Dudnjik, he was the commander of the Ukrainian company of the
23 UNPROFOR stationed in Zepa. My question is: Was anybody else in Zepa in
24 a more authorised position than him to sign this agreement and to take
25 upon himself the obligations that pertained to the UNPROFOR? Thank you.
1 A. The question of his authority to witness or be a party to such an
2 agreement certainly where there were obligations on UNPROFOR, the
3 question of his authorisation is one you would have to check with
4 military -- members of the military chain. That's first of all.
5 Second, is to put it in some context, let's have some sympathy
6 for this Ukrainian officer who is in the middle of a very difficult
7 situation, and where there is bombardment and bullets flying around, and
8 it's quite possible for them, whether targeted or not, to become
9 casualties. And so let's have some sympathy here, perhaps I have no idea
10 whether he gained authorisation or had authorisation, but one can readily
11 understand in the difficult environment in which they were in, that they
12 would move and seek any chance to advance any kind of calming of the
13 situation and of course that would -- if it would achieve some, a
14 cessation in hostilities, of course, that is to the good. That's in the
15 overall objectives of the UN.
16 Q. Thank you. Do you know whether Mr. Dudnjik, as the UNPROFOR
17 commander in Zepa, whether he contacted his commander in Sarajevo in
18 order to appraise himself of whatever was agreed and whatever his tasks
19 were? Do you maybe know that and whether -- do you maybe know whether he
20 was supposed to do something like that? Thank you.
21 A. I don't know whether he did that. I would presume that he would
22 and should notify his chain of command particularly when there would be
23 obligations and responsibilities on the part of UNPROFOR and one would
24 presume, assuming he had the means, that he would have done so. Perhaps
25 he did, perhaps he did not.
1 Q. Thank you. A moment ago I quoted the words of Mr. Bezruchenko
2 who was there with you. He said that the Ukrainian battalion confirmed
3 it and then you arrived based on this information that came from Zepa.
4 So does that mean that you were invited by the Muslim side or did the
5 UNPROFOR inform you of this agreement and invite you, I'm talking about
6 your command who then actually sent you in the field? Thank you.
7 A. I believe the record shows that David Harland sent us back, and I
8 recall as well that General Smith had initially wanted civilian affairs
9 and directed us to go. Now, whether that was the first time we went or
10 the second, I can't be sure. But the key point here and the key player
11 in our going to Zepa is, of course, General Tolimir, your side, because
12 without the agreement and the approval of the Serb side, it was
13 impossible for UN personnel such as myself to - and Viktor Bezruchenko,
14 it was impossible for us to cross through Serb lines and many many Serb
15 check-points without that permission from your side, which is one reason
16 why these enclaves were so isolated.
17 Q. Thank you. Mr. Joseph, can you now take a look at 65 ter 07203.
18 That's your statement. I would like to see paragraphs 10 and 11. Thank
19 you. Okay. Now we have the paragraphs I'm interested in, 10 and 11.
20 You can read it for yourself, I'm not going to read it out.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I interrupt you for a short moment. I would
22 like to clarify something in the record in the last answer, page 30, line
23 1. I would like to read the sentence and ask the witness if he feels
24 himself recorded correctly. "But the key point here and the key player
25 in our going to Zepa is, of course, General Tolimir, your side because
1 without the agreement and the approval of the Serb side it was impossible
2 for UN personnel and so on to move." Is that what you said?
3 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Mr. President. And the key player was
4 not literally General Tolimir - I was addressing General Tolimir - it was
5 the Serb side. The key player -- the key player in our being able to
6 reach Zepa was the Serb side because they controlled the access and we --
7 these isolated Srebrenica Zepa Gorazde, our access was totally 100
8 per cent at the behest of the Serb side. That was the point, but I was
9 not, thank you for pointing this out, I was not trying to place that in
10 the person of General Tolimir.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: If we would put a comma after the words, "is of
12 course, General Tolimir, your side," would that be a correct recording of
13 your words?
14 THE WITNESS: That would be correct. This is a deficiency in the
15 English language. In Serbian, they have the vokativ, so it would have
16 been clear, but we don't have that in English. Thank you, Mr. President,
17 for clarifying that.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Now, Mr. Tolimir, your
19 question to the document on the screen.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. When you arrived in Zepa, were you accommodated in the Ukrainian
23 Battalion base in Zepa? Thank you.
24 A. Yes, we were.
25 Q. Thank you. And did the evacuation of the wounded people and the
1 part of the population begin even before you arrived there? Thank you.
2 A. It's possible some individuals had already been moved out, but
3 the main part of the evacuation did not start until the following morning
4 after we had arrived the day prior.
5 Q. Thank you. Now, let us take a look at paragraph 14, I will
7 "Evacuation started the same morning when several Serb-owned
8 buses and trucks arrived to the centre. We started to organise the
9 civilians boarding in the vehicles. I, Viktor, and at least one French
10 officer, were very active on this as well as some of the Muslim civilian
11 leaders. I can recall seeing also General Smith there observing the
13 My question is as follows: Did the VRS, in any way, limit the
14 evacuation of civilians stipulated by the agreement and monitored by
15 Viktor and, as you put it here, another French officer and the
16 representatives of the Muslim civilian leadership? Thank you.
17 A. The answer to the question is we had no interruption or
18 interference with respect to the -- to the movement of the women and
19 children of Zepa, that's number 1. Number 2, I just to point out for the
20 Chamber that it says the same morning. This would have been using the
21 reconstruction of the record, this would have been the morning of the
22 26th of July. We would have arrived on the 25th. So this is reaffirming
23 what I said was my memory that the main movement started that morning,
24 early that morning of what I understand now was the 26th of July. But to
25 answer your question, General Tolimir, no, there was no interference to
1 the movement of the women and children. Again, this proceeded for us, at
2 least, perhaps not for you, but for us proceeded without reference to
3 any -- to this written agreement.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, we must have our first break. We
5 are over time already. We must have our first break now and we will
6 resume quarter past 4.00.
7 --- Recess taken at 3.46 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 4.19 p.m.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir, please continue your
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Before the break we talked about paragraph 14 and you said that
14 the evacuation had begun on that very morning and you so on and so forth.
15 Now, let's take a look at paragraph 16 of this statement of yours which
16 reads as follows:
17 "We compiled lists of all evacuees, and as far as I can recall,
18 we had a separate list for each vehicle. I handed over those lists later
19 on either to the UNHCR or someone from the UNPROFOR. We also tried to
20 place one UNPROFOR soldier on each vehicle, but I'm not sure that we
21 managed to do that all the time during the evacuation."
22 Then paragraph 17:
23 "The evacuation lasted probably three days or a little longer.
24 The atmosphere was very tense throughout but we managed to get all those
25 people on board who had come to the centre and were willing to go, and I
1 estimated that approximately 7.000 people were evacuated."
2 My question is this: Did any member of the VRS in Zepa or on the
3 roads out of Zepa try to prevent the evacuation or the way that people
4 were put on board buses with escorts and so on? So did anyone try it to
5 restrict your actions or prevent you from doing any of this? Thank you.
6 A. To answer the question, General Tolimir, if the question focuses
7 just on within the village there in Zepa, the answer is no, no member of
8 the VRS impeded us in our work or impeded the movement. You mentioned on
9 the outside of Zepa, if I understood correctly, and you know, of course,
10 there were the men that you and I had discussed, lightly wounded, and my
11 understanding, I wasn't present, of course, but my understanding was that
12 that vehicle, that bus was stopped by Serb military personnel and that
13 those men were taken off. I wasn't present for that, but that's my
14 understanding. But the first part of the question, no, there was no
15 interference in the movement of the women and children from there in the
17 Q. Thank you. This is the second time that you mention the bus with
18 the lightly wounded, or the wounded men. Let's clear something up here,
19 do you recall whether these people were sent -- whether these people were
20 returned from Zepa or actually from the line of separation? Thank you.
21 Whether they were sent back?
22 A. I don't know where they were removed from the bus. My -- what I
23 was later told was, and I presume this was someone who told me from
24 UNPROFOR military, I can't remember that specific detail, but what I
25 recall being told is that at some point in the movement of that vehicle
1 from Zepa towards the line, at some point they were stopped by Serb
2 military personnel who boarded the vehicle and despite the presence of
3 UNPROFOR soldier and presumably the UNPROFOR APC that I had asked to
4 follow the vehicle, that despite that UN UNPROFOR presence, these men
5 were pulled off. That is what I was told. Of course, I wasn't there.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now, let's see paragraph 19 of this
8 statement that we have before us. Please take a look at it and I would
9 appreciate if we were shown the same paragraph in the Serbian version as
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. You say the following:
13 "The previously mentioned group of lightly wounded Muslims
14 boarded probably the last bus. I recall them being a group of 12 men.
15 As they were of military age, and therefore falling within the group of
16 problem evacuees, I and Viktor went to VRS, General Tolimir was in the
17 centre, down-town area. I asked him if he allowed these 12 men to go
18 through the Serb controlled territory without being disturbed and he very
19 emphatically replied with a yes."
20 Now, tell us please, is this the incident that you mentioned,
21 that you actually referred to when you spoke a little earlier about these
22 men being taken off? Thank you.
23 A. This is in that context. This is those individuals, yes. These
24 are the individuals that I'm speaking about.
25 Q. Thank you. Later, you go on to say that:
1 "The bus departed with the wounded men and because I was still
2 concerned for their safety, I asked a French officer, probably a major,
3 to follow the bus with his APC which he did. Later on I heard from a
4 source, which I cannot identify, that the bus had been stopped and the
5 wounded men arrested."
6 Thank you. Now, is this a reference to this same incident that
7 you spoke about a little earlier?
8 A. Yes, it is.
9 Q. Now, this officer who escorted the bus, did he report to you
10 after the fact and did he tell you where the bus was intercepted and
12 A. I don't recall that detail. I only recall being told that it was
13 stopped by Serb military and Serb military personnel boarded the bus and
14 took them off. That's what I recall being told.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now see P736, please. We
17 had seen it a little earlier, this is a decision of the War Presidency on
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. While we wait for it to come up, let me say that it was signed on
21 the 27th of July and the authorities in Sarajevo were supposed to be
22 briefed on its contents and it was to be implemented. That is what is
23 said in paragraph 2. Now, my question based on what you had occasion to
24 see and we see that this is a document that was signed on the 27th of
25 July, was this incident with the wounded men, did that happen on the 27th
1 of July? Thank you.
2 A. It might well have been the 27th of July. I don't understand the
3 connection to this document, but it might well have been the 27th of July
4 that this occurred. It's quite possible that that was the date.
5 Q. Thank you. Are you aware that the president of the
6 War Presidency, Mehmed Hajric took this document immediately, as stated
7 in paragraph 2, to the mountains, the Zepa mountain, to brief or inform,
8 on the content of the document, the soldiers, the troops who were
9 deployed there? Were you aware of this, in view of the fact that you
10 were in Zepa?
11 A. No, I don't believe I was aware of that.
12 Q. Thank you. Were you aware that Mr. Mehmed Hajric came back from
13 the Zepa mountains and that he then advised the Serb side that the Muslim
14 soldiers were not willing to surrender? Were you advised of this and --
15 you and the UNPROFOR representatives who were at the Zepa compound?
16 A. I cannot recall whether or not we were advised of this. What I
17 recall is that we were very clear that there had been no agreement
18 reached on this prisoner exchange in Sarajevo that would permit this
19 movement. That's what I recall.
20 Q. Thank you. Do you know that the commander of this operation
21 after the soldiers decided that they wouldn't act in agreement with this
22 decision, that the commander then decided that everyone who was found on
23 the buses should be sent back and exchanged because the brigade was not
24 willing to surrender, that the evacuation was thereby actually
25 terminated? Thank you.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sorry, I didn't see you. Mr. Thayer.
2 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. It may be helpful if
3 General Tolimir has a name in mind when he refers to "the commander of
4 this operation," to just specify who he is talking about.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Mr. Thayer
7 had the same remark and the same question when I referred to the same
8 operation and I was referring to the Zepa commander who was in charge of
9 the overall operation and he was --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could the accused kindly repeat his question.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I have to interrupt you. At the
12 moment you are -- your words are not interpreted. There was a mistake
13 and the interpreters asked you to repeat your question. Please do that.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Sir, were you aware while you were in Zepa as well as the
17 UNPROFOR commander, that because of the breaches of the agreement by the
18 combatants, the implementation of this agreement was terminated and was
19 this related -- relayed to you and to the Muslims and everyone who was in
20 Zepa at the time? Thank you.
21 A. General Tolimir, I think I've testified here repeatedly that we
22 were not under the impression that we were acting in furtherance of this
23 specific agreement or -- to the contrary, we understood that there was to
24 agreement, no agreement about the fate of the men of Zepa. That's what
25 we understood. We did not believe that when we went in there, quite to
1 the contrary, that we had a step-by-step understanding between the sides
2 and we UNPROFOR would monitor and carry out our obligation to see that
3 this step-by-step comprehensive understanding would be fully realised.
4 No, to the contrary, we understood the crucial component of this,
5 the fate of these men and its linkage to a prisoner exchange was
6 undecided and so that was a huge question mark. So when I approached you
7 to ask permission for these men, it was simply on the basis of an -- that
8 we had an on-going movement of the women and children that had proceeded
9 well and that, yes, that without as I've testified, without interference
10 from the Serb military and it was in that context that I approached you
11 and sought your permission because these lightly wounded men had asked
12 me, repeatedly, to be moved out along with the women and children.
13 And it was in that context and it was without reference to this
14 document or some other obligation or something like that. And it was in
15 that context, General Tolimir, that I approached you about that.
16 Q. Thank you. You said a moment ago "men", why do you keep using
17 the term "men"? Why don't you say soldiers of the Zepa Brigade, because
18 they were soldiers, they were armed as we will see from Bezruchenko's
19 report and Bezruchenko was with you?
20 A. I think it's reasonable to say -- to raise the point as to who
21 was a soldier or, under Geneva Conventions, a combatant and who was a
22 male civilian non-combatant. For us, as UN personnel, what was our
23 primary concern? Our primary concern was the safety and security of
24 everyone and we knew that any male would be presumed by your side, any
25 male Bosniak would be presumed by your side to be a military soldier
1 simply by being a male of military age. And, of course, it's quite
2 ironic you mention this document signed by Mr. Hajric who was the -- both
3 the hodza and the mayor, and, of course, that would suggest he was a
4 non-military and a non-combatant, and my understanding is, of course, he
5 went missing, and his body was only recently discovered to have been
6 killed and located not too far from Zepa.
7 Q. Bless his soul. I'm not happy that he was found murdered. But
8 can you see from this document that he signed this document as a
9 vice-president of the War Presidency and did you know that in Bosnia,
10 Alija Izetbegovic, as the president of the Presidency, was the
11 Commander-in-Chief and that he issued commands to the military commander
12 and that he had powers over the military forces there? Did you know
14 A. I would presume that Alija Izetbegovic as president of what was
15 then known as the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina would have had those
16 powers. I don't believe Mr. Hajric would have had those powers, but
17 that's an issue that other lawyers can debate. My concern was for the
18 safety of all of those men of Zepa, and as well the women and children.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Can we now see D54,
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Because I would like you to believe what you are saying that you
23 doubt because -- well, as we wait for this to come up, I would like to
24 show you this document where we see the name of Mr. Hajric mentioned as
25 the president of the War Presidency. So this is D54. We can see on the
1 top of the page Mehmed Effendi Hajric, president of Zepa, protected. He
2 is sending this to Alija Izetbegovic on the 19th of July, 1995, in other
3 words, he is addressing him directly, and he says, "In response to your
4 questions of last night," which would suggest that he the president had
5 put some questions to him, and then under 2, it says:
6 "An evacuation is possible only by land under the supervision of
7 UNPROFOR. I am in contact with General Smith every day. The Chetniks
8 are dragging out the talks on purpose. General Smith is guaranteeing the
9 security of women and children." And so on and so forth.
10 So that's paragraph 2, but my question will be this for you: Can
11 you infer from this paragraph 2 that Mr. Izetbegovic had told Hajric that
12 he was -- he accepted and agreed to the evacuation and that he was
13 informing him of that decision in this?
14 A. Doing my best to answer this question, I am afraid I can't make
15 that same inference, but I am not disputing that President Izetbegovic
16 had overall authority of his forces, but I don't see the inference
17 reflected in paragraph 2, I am afraid.
18 Q. Thank you. Is this addressed to Palic or Hajric, and who is it
19 to whom he is saying, "An evacuation is possible only by land, and I am
20 in contact with General Smith every day. The Chetniks are dragging out
21 the talks on purpose. General Smith is guaranteeing the security of
22 women and children," end of quote. Can you please comment on this?
23 A. I understand now, thank you, General, you are underscoring the
24 fact that this communication is from President Izetbegovic to Hajric and
25 I understand, I understand. It does appear on its face that
1 President Izetbegovic is aware. Now, I have not studied this in detail
2 and I certainly was not aware of this communication at the time, so
3 that's really as much as I can say. I'm just -- was raising the question
4 of the men and our communication about them. This -- I was completely
5 unaware of this communication between these two gentlemen.
6 Q. Thank you. Is it not the case that Alija Izetbegovic is herein
7 giving his consent to Palic -- Hajric, that evacuation may commence and
8 that guarantees are given for the safety of women and children? Thank
10 A. Okay. Reading this document it appears that
11 President Izetbegovic is acknowledging here the, where is it, is
12 acknowledging that General Smith of UNPROFOR guarantees the security of
13 the women and children, that he is acknowledging that he has an assurance
14 from General Smith, the commander of the UNPROFOR BH command about the
15 women and children, yes.
16 Q. Thank you. Does this mean that once an overall assessment was
17 made, both Alija and Hajric were able to make a decision to evacuate
18 women and children, and was this decision then relayed to Hajric or
19 Palic? Thank you.
20 A. This communication is to Hajric and pertains to the women and
21 children, yes. I don't see anything in there about approval of
22 demilitarisation or other things that we've talked about, but, yeah, this
23 communication is from President Izetbegovic to Hajric about -- and it
24 mentions Smith's approval of the -- Smith's assurances about the movement
25 of the women and children.
1 Q. Thank you. My question didn't have to do with demilitarisation,
2 perhaps the interpretation was wrong. What I said was: Was it Alija who
3 gave his consent for the evacuation of women and children and not
4 demilitarisation, because it clearly says that men should not surrender
5 themselves? I think that's clearly stated in item 3.
6 A. It does appear -- what it's saying literally, we are all reading
7 the same document. I had no awareness at the time and I'm not able to
8 provide any special knowledge than any of us here together reading this
9 document. And, yes, this document, as I read it, as anyone here can read
10 it, the writer of this document, President Izetbegovic is acknowledging
11 that he has assurances from General Smith, UNPROFOR commander, about the
12 security of women and children, and one can infer that he has no
13 objection to the women and children being moved out. I think we can all
14 see that.
15 Q. I do understand your point. You don't want to use this first
16 word in item 2 which is "evacuation". But let's look at item 3 to see
17 what Alija Izetbegovic had to say. I'm quoting from item 3:
18 "My plan, move out as many civilians as possible, all if
19 possible. The troops stay on and continue to resist. We will do all to
20 help you by supplying materiel and technical equipment, volunteers, and,
21 three, offensive action in your direction. I believe that this is
22 starting today. If we do not succeed in this, you try to break out along
23 those roads, (you know which), but now without the burden of women and
24 children who would in the meantime be taken out."
25 My question for you, does Mr. Izetbegovic not state clearly here
1 to Mr. Hajric that women and children should be pulled out of Srebrenica
2 and Zepa, whereas the soldiers should try and break through and by
3 stating this, did he not give his consent for the evacuation of women and
5 A. First of all, with respect to your comment that I don't want to
6 use the word "evacuation", I'm fine with using the word evacuation as
7 long as its understood in this Chamber that that does not connote an
8 operation that did not have a military objective to it. In other words,
9 it's fine. I'll say evacuation, exclusively, as long as its understood
10 that that purpose was not humanitarian in nature as I testified
11 yesterday, because our role was humanitarian in nature, the UN role was
12 humanitarian. That is, in this difficult situation to preserve human
13 life and to try to make it as humane as possible, but I do not believe
14 that the actual movement was humanitarian in nature. To the contrary.
15 But I'm happy to use that word, as long as that's understood, and it
16 doesn't connote something else.
17 To your second -- the other part of the question, does he give
18 his consent? One can infer that President Izetbegovic is giving his
19 consent to this movement or if you insist, the evacuation of the women
20 and children. One can infer that reasonably. Again we didn't know this,
21 had no awareness of this at the time.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
23 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I wanted to give the witness a chance
24 to answer that question so the General would have an answer, I want to
25 point out that is the third time the witness was asked the same question
1 and answered, yes, that's what we can see from this document. So we are
2 really reaching the limits of the utility. Again, he has asked for 7 to
3 8 hours, it's up to him how to use that. But we've heard the same
4 question three times about whether Alija Izetbegovic gave his consent to
5 have the civilians removed and he has asked that three times.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, problem of repetition in questioning occurs
7 several times in this courtroom.
8 I think, Mr. Tolimir, this witness is very important for you, you
9 should use him and his knowledge and his recollection as much as possible
10 for your purposes. Go ahead, please.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Please, Mr. Joseph, tell us was General Smith aware of
14 Alija Izetbegovic's plan set out in this telegram to Hajric? Thank you.
15 A. I can't answer that. I don't know whether or not General Smith
16 was aware.
17 Q. Thank you. The proposal put forth by Alija Izetbegovic, which he
18 refers to as his plan to move out as many civilians as possible, was it
19 ultimately materialised in the enclave of Zepa? Thank you.
20 A. General Tolimir, you are asking me to characterise too many
21 things here as a plan and so forth. I really want to be responsive to
22 you. I really do, I just don't know that I'm really in a position to
23 assist on this.
24 What I'm -- can tell you is, yes, and I've stated, these women
25 and children, yes, they were moved out and your side did not impede that.
1 To the contrary, your side helped by providing vehicles and even though
2 you are not asking me, I'll tell you affirmatively, your side helped and
3 assisted in providing vehicle, sometimes with drivers and all. We had
4 our concerns and our caution, and that's why we were there and why I
5 tried to keep an UNPROFOR soldier, if we could have had enough and spare
6 one on each one, and we tried our best to keep good accountability. But
7 you are taking me into things about Izetbegovic and his plans and things
8 like this which I honestly, General Tolimir, I respectfully don't believe
9 I can shed too much light on.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Please, let's look at document
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. It's a document sent by Akashi to Kofi Annan, Stoltenberg and
15 Smith at UNPROFOR Sarajevo which sets out the policy of the peace forces
16 and recommendations for the Security Council?
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Before we move to this document, I would like to
18 ask you if you were tendering two previous documents you have used and
19 which are not in evidence yet. One is is 1D195 and if I'm not mistaken,
20 and the other is 65 ter 7203. You used them with the witness, are you
21 tendering them?
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. For
23 reminding me that, yes, we do wish to tender them into evidence. Thank
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The document 1D195 will be received as an
2 THE REGISTRAR: 1D195 receives number D172, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And the other document, the statement of the
4 witness to the OTP, 65 ter 7203 will be received as well.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Document 7203 receives number D173, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. Carry on, Mr. Tolimir, please.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation].
9 Q. Can we look at paragraph 1, line 3. It's the second word in line
10 3 and I'll be quoting Mr. Akashi's words:
11 "I've just concluded a meeting with my senior military and
12 political advisors, and with the UNHCR special envoy, at which a general
13 consensus was reached on the policy that the United Nations Peace Force,
14 UNPROFOR and UNHCR will pursue with regard to Srebrenica in the coming
15 one to seven days." I wanted to read this out because it refers to the
16 policy and to the UNHCR. You mentioned the UNHCR a moment ago in the
17 content of its refusal to carry out the evacuation from Zepa. So this is
18 my question: The policy of the United Nations as set out by Mr. Akashi
19 to Annan and other members of the United Nations which was copied to
20 Sector Sarajevo and Mr. Smith, was it also binding on the UNHCR? Thank
22 A. General Tolimir, my best answer to this question is I am
23 genuinely not sure whether Akashi had overall authority and direction of
24 UNHCR. It's possible that he did. He is, in this document, is
25 reflecting agreement of UNHCR, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he
1 actually had formal authority, and it's equally possible that UNHCR then
2 and still does in other context retains its independent authority outside
3 of what Mr. Akashi, who is in the DPKO chain, had. So again, I'm not the
4 best witness here. There's others who can shed light on this, but again
5 this document didn't -- was not something that was guiding us in Zepa, in
6 any immediate sense.
7 Q. Thank you. In this document, did Mr. Annan inform all those
8 listed here, including Mr. Smith, about the position of the peace forces,
9 UNPROFOR, and UNHCR, vis-a-vis Srebrenica in the coming period? Thank
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: If I'm not mistaken, you were asking if
12 Mr. Akashi informed these people and not Mr. Annan as you are recorded.
13 Thank you.
14 Sir, please, your answer.
15 THE WITNESS: I would just like to, again, state that I am not in
16 a position here, as a former member of UNPROFOR, to speak in any
17 authoritative way about what Mr. Akashi was doing and who he was
18 informing and whatnot. My value here is that I was on the ground in
19 Zepa, General Tolimir, you and I were there together, but I -- I
20 understand, if you want to introduce these in evidence, you know, the
21 Court and the Chamber has its procedures for doing that. But I'm really
22 not able to shed much light on this or communication from
23 President Izetbegovic to Hajric anymore than, for example, if there were
24 communication from President Karadzic to the equivalent in Rogatica
25 stating whatever the intentions were with respect to Muslims in Zepa. I
1 couldn't provide any special insight into that communication either, if
2 it were presented into evidence.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
4 MR. THAYER: And thank you, Mr. President. And again,
5 Trial Chamber may not have seen this for a few days, but General Smith is
6 scheduled to testify. We have reserved an entire trial week for his
7 testimony, just to remind everybody that he will be here and available
8 just for the types of questions that -- many of which are being put to
9 this witness, but he will be here for a full week in March, the week of
10 March 21st.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think we are all aware of that. Thank you very
12 much. I take the opportunity to correct one discussion about a document.
13 1D195 has not a translation yet, therefore 1D -- sorry, D172 will be
14 marked for identification, pending translation. Please carry on.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Thank
16 you to Mr. Thayer.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Can you please tell us when this document was authored, if you
19 can have a look? Were you in Sarajevo or in Zepa at the time?
20 A. I was probably en route or in Tuzla at the time, if memory
21 serves. Very soon into that as soon as we anticipated the fall of
22 Srebrenica, I was sent to Tuzla. Whether it was on the 11th of July, I
23 can't say right now.
24 Q. Thank you. Since below the date it reads, the policy of the
25 United Nations Peace Force, would you as a political advisor have had to
1 know something about it, and to be acquainted with this document by your
2 superior? Thank you.
3 A. Again my role was a civil affairs officer which at times included
4 political advice. We wouldn't necessarily know. The answer is no, we
5 wouldn't necessarily be privy to this specific document but what we would
6 be privy to, we might be privy to it, but we might not be. Absolutely
7 what we would know and what would be communicated to us was a relevant
8 policy decision, so if a decision had been taken and we were in a
9 position to -- that that decision was relevant to us, yes, we would be
10 informed about that. Yes.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we have page 2 of this
13 document, please.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I put a question to the witness in the
15 meantime. Sir, did you ever see this document which is on the screen
17 THE WITNESS: Mr. President, I don't recall this document. It's
18 theoretically possible that I did, but to answer your question, sir, at
19 this time I don't recall this document.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
21 Mr. Tolimir.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Can we have the bottom of the document visible because we'd like
24 to look at the last page and then move on to the next page. So I'm
25 quoting from the last line on this page.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. "UNPROFOR shall, with the support of the UNHCR, also try" and can
3 we now have the next page, please. Then page 3, line 1, "try and
4 achieve -- try and reach an agreement with the Bosnian Serbs about
5 providing escorts for all the refugee convoys from Srebrenica to Tuzla."
6 This is my question: Does it not clearly follow from this that
7 UNPROFOR had an obligation to participate in evacuations and policies
8 carried out by United Nations contingents in these areas? Thank you.
9 A. You'll have to permit me a chance to read this and again I'm
10 not -- now because this is electronic, I'm not able to read the whole
11 document, but if you are referring to, is it paragraph (b),
12 General Tolimir, that I'm supposed to be focusing on?
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The relevant part Mr. Tolimir was quoting from is
14 just in the middle of the page. You see the abbreviation UNPROFOR just
15 in the middle of the page, that is on the bottom of paragraph (b) indeed.
16 "UNPROFOR with the support of UNHCR will also endeavour to reach
17 agreement." Just in the middle of the page. Do you see it?
18 THE WITNESS: Yeah, I do, thank you, that's very helpful.
19 Mr. President. Yes, I do see that, it appears Mr. Akashi, if this is
20 still the Akashi document is assuming an obligation on the part of
21 UNPROFOR and he is anticipating that UNHCR is going to have the support,
22 that is correct.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Thank you, Mr. Joseph.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation], I do not need this document any
1 longer. Although you can see that it goes on to say about UNPROFOR and
2 UNHCR taking part in evacuations, et cetera, I wish to tender this
3 document into evidence.
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't understand whether
5 Mr. Tolimir wants the document to be admitted or not.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, the last part of your sentence was
7 not interpreted and recorded. Could you repeat that, please.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, yes, I wish to
9 tender the document into evidence since the witness said what he had to
10 say about this document also in answer to your question. Thank you.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I would like to ask you if you
12 intend to use this document with the witness Rupert Smith? In that case
13 it would be more helpful to use it with that witness and to tender that
14 at that point in time, because obviously from the face of this document,
15 he received a copy of it and I didn't understand this witness to comment
16 on this document. When I asked him, he said he doesn't recall ever
17 having seen it.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. But because he said
19 that it is possible that he was acquainted with the document, would it be
20 possible to mark it for identification. This document is relevant for
21 the topic that we have been discussing, the evacuation. Thank you.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is a good proposal. Indeed, it will be
23 marked for identification and may be used at a later time in this trial.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Document 1D600 receives number D174, marked for
25 identification, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
2 Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Joseph, during the evacuation of the population, women and
6 children, did you report to your command about the evacuation -- did you
7 report to Sarajevo about the evacuation? Thank you.
8 A. General Tolimir, this document is referring to modalities for
9 Srebrenica. Are you asking me about Srebrenica and in Tuzla or are you
10 asking me about when I was in Zepa?
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Joseph. We have left that topic behind. We are
12 not going to discuss that document and now we are talking about Zepa. So
13 my question is, did you report to your command about the evacuation from
14 Zepa? That's what I'm asking you about, not the previous document.
15 A. The answer to that is yes, I did as we had means and time to
16 report, affirmative, I -- Viktor and I did make sporadic reports that
17 would have been voice.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, then, can we have 65 ter
20 7208. Thank you.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. I want the witness to see what the topic of my questions is going
23 to be. It's a report dated the 26th of July, 1995, drafted by
24 Tony Banbury. While we are waiting for it, yes, we have it, can you tell
25 the Trial Chamber, who is Tony Banbury, what was his function in the
1 UNPROFOR at the time?
2 A. Tony was an advisor to -- in Mr. Akashi's cabinet, he was an
3 advisor to Mr. Akashi.
4 Q. Thank you. The first two paragraphs that we can see on the
5 screen say the following:
6 "At around 15.15 today, Ed Joseph called from Zepa (the UNPROFOR
7 political and humanitarian affairs officer) using a French satellite
8 phone. He passed on the following information."
9 And then under number 2 he goes on to say:
10 "The evacuation of the civilian population is proceeding: 24
11 Serbs buses with approximately 50 people each, and seven UNPROFOR and
12 Serb trucks with similar and smaller numbers are loaded in Zepa, and
13 expected soon to depart for Kladanj. At least one UNPROFOR soldier will
14 travel on each vehicle. The people are not being forced to leave, but
15 decided to do so as part of the total evacuation of the enclave. Those
16 departing are being registered by UNPROFOR political and humanitarian
17 affairs officers to the extent possible. The town's mayor and his staff
18 are also involved in registering the departing population."
19 My question is as follows: Does this document correctly reflect
20 the information you passed to the command that Mr. Tony Banbury was a
21 part of? So he was the chief of protection force of the UN?
22 A. This document does not completely and accurately reflect the full
23 nature of the information that -- that we had on the ground. No, it does
25 Q. Thank you. Does it reflect the message that you sent from the
1 field to the UNPROFOR staff? Does it reflect the essence of your
2 message? Thank you.
3 A. I would say today I doubt that it does in one important respect.
4 In respect of the statistics, I presume that I conveyed that information
5 and that Tony accurately reflected that in the -- in his report. With
6 respect to the point that the people are not being forced to leave, I
7 doubt that that was part of my message. To the contrary, per previous
8 testimony I noted, and this is quite fundamental for the Chamber, that
9 because we were acting without UNHCR, basically in place of UNHCR,
10 because they refused to participate in an operation that they deemed
11 ethnic cleansing, so we, for humanitarian purposes, were forced to do
12 this without the assistance of UNHCR, and I and Viktor had consulted
13 UNHCR as to what -- how does one do this? What are the laws and rules
14 about how you conduct such an operation? And the first thing that they
15 told me, the essential point, they said, is, under humanitarian law, you
16 have to determine the volition that these people are doing so willingly
17 and it's not under duress, they are not being forced to leave. That's
18 what you have to, that's your first obligation. And per my previous
19 testimony, which I understand been entered in now, I said that Viktor and
20 I implemented that. That's what we were implementing. We weren't
21 implementing some deal between Torlak. We were implementing this onward
22 movement, and as we were suggested to do by UNHCR, and the very first
23 thing that Viktor and I did that morning of the 26th of July, 1995, the
24 very first thing we did was start to consult those women who were
25 gathered in the centre of the town and we went one by one to say to them,
1 do you agree to willingly leave and go on the bus, and the first one said
2 yes and the second one until we got past a dozen or so, maybe it was
3 later on than that down there, and then it was not very far, and one of
4 them said after the others had prior to her had said yes, I voluntarily
5 she said, no, I don't go voluntarily, I don't want to go. I want to stay
6 here in my home, but who will protects me? And she began to cry and with
7 that as soon as she began to cry, they all began to cry, and it was very
8 clear to Viktor and me that it was less humanitarian for us to continue
9 to proceed with this inquiry, that was just putting these women who were
10 obviously very distressed to put them under more stress simply to put a
11 tick in a box. It was very, very ample and evident to us that these
12 women were going out and leaving their homes under duress, that this was
13 an overall context of duress in which they feared that if they were to
14 stay alone that they would be in very great risk for themselves and for
15 their children. And that, that is the context.
16 And so this report stating that they were not forced to leave
17 might have a narrow meaning in that there wasn't a person with a bayonet
18 at their back doing it, but it was the overall presence of Serb forces
19 and the fact that they no longer had any -- any defence and were now in
20 the control of Serb forces which put them in extreme apprehension and
21 fear and it was in those circumstances that they boarded those buses and,
22 General Tolimir, I'm confident that you understand what I'm saying.
23 Q. Thank you. Before I respond to this, did you give any
24 information to this Tony Banbury about the dilemma of these women or did
25 you tell him what he quoted in his report, did you apprise the UNPROFOR
1 command about the situation with those women in Zepa, about their
2 dilemmas and fears about the pact that the Zepa Brigade was not there
3 anymore? Thank you.
4 A. I probably -- Viktor and I were quite aware of the mental state
5 of agitation of the population and it is likely, we use the word
6 "likely," that we did report that and then further I can recall the
7 specific event that reinforced this viewpoint that we had and that was so
8 plainly evident was when, after the severely wounded men had been
9 evacuated, were being evacuated, there were no buses at that time in the
10 centre, and these women went into a mass panic because they felt that
11 this was the last convoy and that they were going to be left there. They
12 felt that they were going to be abandoned there and this was not the
13 reaction of a population that is sort of, yeah, gee, you know, we'll make
14 it through okay, some of us will go, some of us will stay. No, this was
15 the absolute panic of women who were thinking that they had -- that they
16 were about to miss the last chance to get out and would be left in a
17 situation at the mercy of their adversaries and I'm quite confident that
18 we reported that.
19 Whether -- you have to remember one thing too for Tony. Tony was
20 in Zagreb with Akashi and our main direction of reporting was to Sarajevo
21 and David Harland, so it's possible that Tony may not have gotten that,
22 but this characterization in this report is contrary to what Viktor and I
23 witnessed in Zepa.
24 Q. Now, what you just said a moment ago, that they first told you
25 they went of their own free will and later that it wasn't the case, and
1 what you told us a little while later that they were afraid they would be
2 left there, isn't that contradictory? What is in the end their will and
3 what are their emotions and how did that influence their behaviour?
4 Thank you.
5 A. General Tolimir, that is really a very interesting question and
6 I'm confident that we both know that, having both been in the war there
7 in Bosnia, that not only Muslims, but Serbs also had great fear at times
8 when in a minority situation, and I would say with UNPROFOR we were also
9 very attentive and concerned about that, as did Croats as well. I think
10 we all know that.
11 And for -- I don't think there is a contradiction. If the
12 general understanding of what free will is that one does something in a
13 state of relative choices and one makes rational choices, sure, it's a
14 rational choice to leave your home where your family has lived, and maybe
15 your forefathers, for literally centuries. It's, in some sense, a
16 rational decision to leave that all behind if you believe that if you do
17 not do that you'll lose your life and put your children as well in
18 jeopardy. So I would just turn it back to the Chamber to determine what
19 constitutes free will.
20 All I will tell you is I'm convinced that these women were
21 absolutely terrorised and petrified and their concern was if they
22 remained in that town, their survival was something subject to serious
23 question. I'm quite convinced of that.
24 Q. Thank you. Mr. Joseph, does that mean that the VRS was not
25 supposed to disarm the demilitarised zone simply because of the strength
1 of the emotions of the civilian population? Thank you.
2 A. I don't say that. Those two -- I don't say that. I thought we
3 were addressing ourselves to the question of whether or not the women
4 getting on the bus was free will. I think I said before this question of
5 demilitarisation was a long-standing one, went back to Srebrenica in 1993
6 with General Morillon, and Zepa and the other safe areas, and I think
7 it's a quite legitimate concern, for the Serbs, of demilitarisation, and
8 I said before that this is -- as to why these safe areas were never fully
9 demilitarised, I said that's a long and lengthy explanation and I think
10 other witnesses can get into that.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Nyambe has a question for the witness.
12 THE WITNESS: Please.
13 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you. Just some clarification at page,
14 excuse me, at page 58, lines 11 to 12, you have just said, "All I'll tell
15 you is I am convinced that these women were absolutely terrorised and
16 petrified." Can you just elaborate who terrorised these women, in the
17 context of your evidence?
18 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Judge Nyambe, for the opportunity to
19 clarify this. What I meant was, and I can give -- I'm grateful for a
20 second reason, in that I can give you a concrete example, why this isn't
21 just inference on our part. What I mean is that they were in a state of
22 apprehension as to -- after the bombardment that had occurred and this is
23 now approaching three -- it is after three plus years of war, that they
24 were in great fear as to what their fate would be were they to remain
25 there seeing many of their kindred leave, that they were in a state of
1 absolute intense anxiety that I would say is terror. I would say they
2 felt terror. And I'll give you the concrete example.
3 In general the -- as I testified, the Serb forces were
4 co-operative and kept their distance from where we were, but occasionally
5 they would come in and at one point there was a Serb military vehicle
6 with a Serb flag, Cetiri S on it that came through and the women
7 absolutely shrieked in horror and fear and recoil from that. So this is
8 another example of this state of very intense anxiety in which they were
9 about what would befall them. And for the accused and his attorney, I
10 just want to emphasise that this might well have been a similar thing for
11 Serb civilians or Croats in a similar situation. And so we know that the
12 fate was not kind to isolated and minority vulnerabilities and we were --
13 tried to be equally sensitive I think to that for Serbs who might have
14 been in a similar position.
15 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you for your answer.
16 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Joseph. While you were in Zepa did you see any
20 soldier or officer who came to the place where civilians were boarding
21 buses and tried to compel anybody to leave Zepa or to interfere with the
22 activities that you and the civilian authorities are engaged in? Thank
24 A. No, I did not.
25 Q. Thank you. Tony Banbury calls you, in this document, "political
1 and humanitarian affairs officer". Could you tell us, were you really a
2 political and humanitarian affairs officer? Thank you.
3 A. And thank you, General Tolimir, for calling attention to that,
4 because that is, in fact, another inaccuracy in this document. I do not
5 recall that such a position existed. We were civil affairs officers,
6 that was our title. Viktor Bezruchenko and I were civil affairs
7 officers. David Harland was senior civil affairs officer, John Ryan was
8 civil affairs co-ordinator. That was our title formally, informally, and
9 I don't ever recall such a term being used and I think it's interesting
10 that it all of a sudden would appear here when the common and constant
11 usage was always civil affairs officer, both formally and informally.
12 Q. Thank you. When we talk about the civil affairs, does that also
13 include political and humanitarian issues in the zone or the region where
14 you were active? Thank you.
15 A. It does, absolutely. Those were political and humanitarian
16 issues were of course in the writ of civil affairs officers, but I just
17 note that this is inaccurate to use this term and it's not only
18 inaccurate, it's unconventional. It's unusual, and therefore, curious as
19 to why it would appear.
20 Q. Thank you. A moment ago we discussed the situation that arose in
21 Zepa. Are the Serbs to blame for this situation or is it the guilt of
22 the Muslims because they were active in this protected zone that had been
23 accorded to them earlier and they even engaged the Main Staff, so did you
24 have any information that the Muslims were active from within that
25 demilitarised zone? Thank you.
1 A. General Tolimir, this is a central question. Unfortunately, I
2 can't answer it, either in the narrow sense and to get into the larger
3 sense as who was really the responsible party we would have to have a
4 longer and wider discussion than I think the Chamber is interested in. I
5 really want you to understand our mindset when Viktor and I went in
6 there. It was operational in nature, operational. We were there with
7 the mindset to effect, to use the term he insists upon, evacuation of the
8 women and children in a safe and humane way as we could and potentially
9 the men of Zepa as well. We were not there briefed or mindful or
10 preoccupied with who had caused whom to be in this situation. That, at
11 that point, this is a crisis situation, and that was not our
12 preoccupation, and of course, addressing that, General Tolimir, we would
13 have to look at many wider issues as to the conduct of the war and the
14 many, many wider issues.
15 Q. Thank you. I showed you a document written by Hajrulahovic in
16 February, sent to his Main Staff, saying that General Mladic is
17 protesting and requesting to demilitarise the zone, saying that he will
18 do it himself, because the Zepa zone is being used for the collection of
19 armaments. Do you remember that? It was today during your today's
20 testimony? While I was conducting my cross-examination today.
21 A. Sorry document written by whom?
22 Q. Mustafa Hajrulahovic, aka Talijan, he sent it to Zepa and also
23 the Chief of Staff in Kladanj. Do you remember that document where
24 General Mladic said he himself will perform the demilitarisation if the
25 UNPROFOR will not demilitarise Zepa?
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, it would be helpful to put this
2 document on the screen again to help the witness to recall that.
3 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Can we
5 have in e-court 1D195, thank you.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is now D172 marked for identification.
7 While this will be brought point up, we have to adjourn for the second
8 break and I would like to ask you, Mr. Tolimir, to consider if you are
9 tendering the last document, 65 ter 7208, which is on the list of the
10 Prosecution, and after the break I would like to ask the Prosecution if
11 there's a translation. But that should be considered by both parties
12 during the break. We have to adjourn and resume quarter past 6.00.
13 --- Recess taken at 5.45 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 6.18 p.m.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. The
17 witness requested that he be shown document D172. Could we have it in
18 e-court for his benefit. Now we have it before us and this is the
19 document we discussed this morning.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. This document was sent by the chief of the intelligence
22 administration on the 17th of February, 1995, to the command post in
23 Kakanj to the -- General Hadzihasanovic personally, and to the Zepa
24 Brigade and we saw this morning that he warns them that the aggressor had
25 forwarded their request to the UNPROFOR, that Zepa be proclaimed a
1 non-demilitarized zone, that's the first sentence, and then in the third
2 paragraph, it says, "On the 16th of February, 1995, the aggressor
3 informed the Sarajevo UNPROFOR command that if Zepa is not proclaimed a
4 non-demilitarized zone that they would begin combat operations within
5 seven days."
6 So my question for you is this: In the meetings that you
7 attended and the Joint Commission meeting the Serb side proposed that
8 UNPROFOR disarm the men who were engaging -- who engaged in combat
9 operations from within the zone.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: What is the question, Mr. Tolimir.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. My question, Your Honour, was whether the UNPROFOR command was
13 aware and whether the witness was aware that the army, on several
14 occasions, at various meetings that he attended, the meetings of the
15 joint military commission, demanded that combat operations against the
16 territory where Republika Srpska units were, which were launched from
17 within Zepa, be terminated? Thank you.
18 A. General Tolimir, today here on the 1st day of March in 2011, I
19 can't say for sure whether I was aware about this specific demand about
20 attacks from Zepa. I can't. It's possible that I was. It's possible
21 that I was in a meeting and that this came up and I am simply not
22 recalling it now. On the lead-up to your question, you mentioned
23 demilitarized zone again, and I just would call to your attention that
24 not only was I aware that this was a chronic issue, but David Harland and
25 I had proposed our own concept for a demilitarized zone for Zepa. So
1 again I am very acutely aware of the importance of that.
2 Q. Thank you. Since you were aware of how important this issue was,
3 did you know, you and the UNPROFOR headquarters, that Muslims frequently
4 left the territories, the protected areas and launched attacks against
5 Serb units outside of them?
6 A. I would say this, General Tolimir, we knew that there were
7 often -- that problematic relations; this was a state of war. What I
8 can't tell you and I'm being again as responsive as I can, I cannot tell
9 you whether this was the case in Zepa. To the contrary, I was under the
10 impression that compared to Srebrenica, the Zepa area was a lot more
11 quiet. It's a lot smaller than Srebrenica, and the commander there,
12 Palic, you might have your own opinion as to how he compared to
13 Naser Oric in Srebrenica, my understanding is favourably. But I don't
14 have specific information about the nature of Armija attacks, I'm not
15 saying that they didn't happen, but I really can't shed light on that.
16 And again that was not our preoccupation. We were operational there. We
17 were not in a point of assessing blame. We were trying to save lives at
18 that point.
19 Q. Very well. Tell us, please, did UNPROFOR commands within
20 enclaves and the headquarters in Sarajevo and Tuzla have information
21 about the military activities launched from within the so-called
22 protected zones of Srebrenica and Zepa?
23 A. I would presume they would have some information. Whether it
24 would be perfect information, I don't know. Again, UNPROFOR movements in
25 Serb-controlled territory were, as you know, very limited, and therefore
1 the ability to observe might have been constrained, but I presume that
2 there was some information about that.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Now, since we saw this document, could we now see D77 because you
6 have requested it for a number of times now and you said that there were
7 certain restrictions imposed by Serbs in the territory.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation]So could we have D77 in e-court,
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Here we have the document before
11 us, it's a UN document.
12 Q. The BH command headquarters, forward command headquarters in
13 Sarajevo, 31st January 1995, "Principles for freedom of movement." And
14 then under 1, it says:
15 "These principles define the appropriate procedures regarding
16 freedom of movement as stated in paragraph 5 of the agreement on complete
17 cessation of hostilities signed on the 31st December, 1994. These
18 principles specifically refer to UNPROFOR movements on Serb-held
19 territory." And then it goes on to explain and to say that "UNPROFOR
20 will notify the Serbian army authorities 48 hours in advance of convoy
21 movements and 24 hours for single vehicles." And so on and so forth.
22 In paragraph 3, there is mention of checks and check-points and
23 then if we turn on to the next page, we see that these convoys should
24 have the right of free passage and they should be checked in order to
25 make sure that they weren't carrying weapons and so on. And then under
1 6, we have evaluation and so on. And we see that this was signed by the
2 representative of the headquarters -- UNPROFOR headquarters,
3 General Briquemont [Realtime transcript read in error "Brinkman"], and on
4 behalf of the Serb army headquarters, I was the person who signed this,
5 because at the time I was the acting chief of staff.
6 Now, tell us, please, were these principles agreed with the VRS
7 or was this just something that the Serb army declared themselves or
8 whether they were -- whether these principles were agreed upon together
9 between the sides?
10 A. Thank you, General Tolimir. As you know very well, there were
11 many agreements between UNPROFOR and not only your side, the Armija and
12 the HVO. You know we had many, many agreements. And you know, it's
13 true, this was agreed. This was General Briquemont, by the way, it's
14 misspelled, his last name is misspelled here. Yeah, there were many
15 agreements, but the question is were they implemented, were they
16 respected? And you know it was a regular occurrence that we had great
17 difficulty moving convoys in Serb-controlled -- in and through
18 Serb-controlled territory. But I acknowledge that this a signed
19 agreement with General Briquemont, I acknowledge that.
20 Q. Thank you. Could they move freely? Could UNPROFOR members move
21 freely across the territory of Republika Srpska without prior
22 notification, and without consent or approval? Thank you.
23 A. I'm no longer able to see the first page of this, so if you are
24 asking me what does this document provide, I think this document, again
25 I'm going from memory now --
1 Q. [Overlapping speakers] ...
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Go ahead, please.
3 THE WITNESS: As I'm going from memory, it a -- this document
4 appears to require some notice, but whether -- if the question is whether
5 UNPROFOR could move freely across the territory of Republika Srpska
6 without prior notification and consent, no, no, we could not. And often
7 we could not move freely with consent and approval. And when I say we,
8 I'm speaking in general; I'm also thinking of humanitarian convoys and
9 those were you routinely had great difficulty moving and
10 Viktor Bezruchenko and I, in fact, were astonished that we were able to
11 reach Zepa on both occasions, because it was just so unheard of to be
12 able to transit freely across Republika Srpska. That was so rare and so
13 difficult that it was really -- we were really astonished that we
14 actually made it to Zepa.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown the
17 first page of this document.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. And my question for him would be, does that mean that there was
20 an agreement between UNPROFOR and the VRS about the movement of UNPROFOR,
21 the time when those movements can be carried out across Republika Srpska
23 A. Yes. If you are asking me to read and state what's in the
24 document, the document in paragraph 2(a) requires that UNPROFOR
25 notification. It does. Did I answer the question? I'm sorry, I meant
1 to answer the question, was I responsive?
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think you answered the question, sometimes it
3 takes some time for finishing the interpretation.
4 Mr. Tolimir.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Thank you. Mr. Joseph, I'd like to show you now a document
7 that's 145 in e-court. Thank you. And we just saw in the previous
8 document that the movements were agreed upon. And my apologies, I made
9 an error, the document I need is D145. Thank you. While we wait for it
10 to come up, let me just say that this is a document from the Main Staff
11 of the Republika Srpska army, the intelligence and security
12 administration. We see that it was drafted on the 24th of June, 1995.
13 In other words, a month before the events in Zepa and Srebrenica, and the
14 document discusses enemy activity, and then, they send the following
15 information, and I quote:
16 "On 23rd June at 0200 hours, a unit of approximately 300 soldiers
17 headed out of Srebrenica led by Mandzic, the commander --
18 Ibrahim Mandzic, the commander of the 280th Brigade; Vejz Sabic, the
19 commander of the 284th Light Brigade; and his deputy Semso Salihovic; as
20 well as a guide, a man called Zoran Cardakovic, a Muslim. The unit's
21 task was to insert itself that same day at approximately 2000 hours, into
22 the general sector of Ruzina Voda, Han Pijesak municipality. This group
23 is equipped with automatic weapons with a couple of 60-millimetre mortars
24 and some RPGs" and so on.
25 And that was the first paragraph. My question, did the UNPROFOR
1 commands in Zepa and Srebrenica and the headquarters in Sarajevo and
2 Tuzla know that Muslim forces co-ordinated their activities, the Muslim
3 forces in Zepa and Srebrenica, and that they used the territory of the
4 other party in order to launch their activities? We can see that there
5 was mention even of Han Pijesak municipality there. Thank you.
6 A. General Tolimir, if I understand correctly, General Smith is
7 going to testify, and I think you'll have a much better witness to attest
8 to what UNPROFOR did and didn't know, than this civil affairs officer.
9 Q. Thank you. The reason I'm asking you this is the fact that you
10 attended all those meetings of the joint military commissions and
11 especially when General Smith was present and that you actually
12 participated in all of those meetings. Now, if we look at the last
13 paragraph of this document, it says:
14 "Also on the 23rd of June of this year in the evening hours, a
15 company from the Manoeuvre Brigade of 120 persons under the command of
16 Jasarevic was sent to Jovino Brdo and this mission will last five days,
17 during which time, they are to perform reconnaissance in the direction of
18 Jeskovik [phoen] and Jasikovac village is right next to the Main Staff,
19 whereas Peruca is on the Drina near Skelani."
20 Now can we have the next page and I will put the question to you.
21 Are you aware that the only way to get out of Srebrenica with as
22 many troops as mentioned here was through Zepa?
23 A. First, you said because I was present in all the meetings of the
24 joint military commission and that's not true, so I have to challenge the
25 premise here that I was somehow present in all the meetings. I was
1 present in some meetings, but I was not present in all the meetings, and
2 I was brought in to go to Zepa with Viktor, because of this crisis
3 situation and because both he and I had some experience that was useful.
4 But I was not in -- these -- we were civil affairs officers and these are
5 much more in the way of military details. We knew in general and had,
6 sure, conversations with General Smith and his colleagues and his staff
7 in general terms, but these are specific military questions as to the --
8 what the movements were between Srebrenica and Zepa. I'm not disputing
9 them here, I'm saying you have a much better witness in General Smith to
10 speak to this.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Can we have D62 shown
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Let me give you a follow-up question to what you've just said:
15 Would these specific military issues affect the position of the civilians
16 in the enclaves? Thank you. I repeat my question because it was not
17 recorded well.
18 These specific military issues you just referred to, would they
19 affect the position of the civilians in the enclaves of Srebrenica and
20 Zepa? Thank you.
21 A. Yes, they would to some degree, and my colleague in Tuzla,
22 Ken Biser, who was the senior civil affairs officer there, he might have
23 been quite aware of these specifics. He might, and he might have taken
24 quite some note of movements and what activities were coming out of
25 Srebrenica and whether or not how much linkage. This witness, however,
1 was not in Tuzla, except during the crisis, and was not in Zepa, except
2 also, in this crisis in July of 1995. So I can't speak to these details.
3 Q. Thank you. I know you were not aware of the details, but you
4 would know how far these issues would affect the entire situation and
5 other matters you spoke of. We have D62 on our screens now, which is an
6 BH Army document produced on the 28th of June, 1995, in other words, two
7 days after the report I referred to earlier on, where they are relating
8 the extent of their combat activities to the Main Staff.
9 And so this is the first time I'm showing you a document that was
10 addressed to the Main Staff but I've been throughout showing you
11 documents that were produced by the Muslims. "Item 1, based on the order
12 by the commander standing commander of the 28th Division of Srebrenica,
13 Major Ramiz Becirovic, strictly confidential, such and such a number, on
14 measures to be taken on the execution of sabotage actions aimed at" --
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I have to interrupt you. You should slow down
16 while reading, it's very complicated for the interpreters and the court
17 recorder. Please continue.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. So, "... aimed at inflicting losses on the aggressor in troops
21 and hardware, and in general at turning the Chetnik forces away from
23 This is my question: Did the UNPROFOR in Sarajevo have knowledge
24 to the effect that orders were issued to the enclave to tie forces away
25 from Sarajevo and about the co-ordinated action taking place between the
1 forces in the enclave and those outside of it? Thank you.
2 A. Let me say, General Tolimir, this line of questioning if I can
3 address it, yes, I was personally aware that military activity by the
4 Bosnians or Bosniaks, by the Armija, could have serious repercussions for
5 civilians, and as you may know, I was in Bihac in 1994 when
6 General Dudakovic and the 5th Corps made an attack south of Bihac, and
7 then this produced a Serb counter-attack and it had great consequences
8 for the civilian population.
9 So, yes, in principle, I'm definitely aware of that dynamic there
10 during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. But I can't speak to these
11 specific elements. I might have been aware of some aspects of the
12 strategy of the Armija with respect to Sarajevo, but those are generally
13 preoccupations for the military, and I'm suggesting that General Smith
14 will be an infinitely better witness than I can on these subjects.
15 Q. Thank you, I'm asking you about this because I wanted to know
16 what your position was, what the prevailing opinion within the command
17 was and you were part of the command. I'll read from the first line of
18 paragraph 2, and then proceed to the last lines:
19 "On receipt of the orders given me by brigade commanders," and
20 I'm moving on to the end of the paragraph, "I decided to proceed as
22 Next paragraph: "Form a number of sabotage groups, of between a
23 squad to reinforced platoon strength, and dispatch them deep into the
24 temporarily occupied territory for the purpose of inflicting on the
25 aggressor as high losses as possible, in terms of troops and equipment
1 and tying him down, with the new forces he requires, across a swathe of
2 over 20 kilometres wide."
3 And then he proceeds to speak of the axes of attacks for these
4 various groups. And can we turn to the next page, while I'm putting my
5 question to you.
6 Does it arise from the documentation of the BH Army that they
7 carried out attacks out of the protected areas roughly a month before the
8 start of the offensive launched by the VRS for the view to demilitarising
10 A. I'm sorry, genuinely sorry, General Tolimir. It's just not
11 useful for me to address these issues. This documentation purports to be
12 whatever it purports to be, and I'm just not in a position here now to
13 amplify on this. I am not, and I'll say it again, I am not disputing the
14 thrust of what you are saying. If you are trying to suggest that the
15 Armija was making attacks, I'm not here telling you that you are wrong.
16 I'm simply saying that this witness is not really in a position to shed
17 light on this.
18 Q. Thank you. We have the relevant page now. It says that the
19 report was signed by Commander, Colonel Avdo Palic. Let's read the first
20 line where it says, "About 40 Chetniks were killed." You can see it in
21 paragraph 3 in English.
22 "About 40 Chetniks were killed and dozens were wounded, a
23 significant quantity of infantry weapons were seized."
24 Would any side, which had granted an area the status of a
25 protected zone, have the obligation to protect civilians and others
1 present in an area if they came under attack from a protected zone?
2 Thank you.
3 A. If your question is about whether or not Republika Srpska had the
4 right to protect its civilians in a time of war, I say, yes,
5 Republika Srpska had the right to protect its civilians in a time of
6 war. Whether or not, whether or not they were under attack from a safe
7 area. Even if they were attacked from an area that wasn't a safe area,
8 they would have the right to defence. Now, it's a different question as
9 to what transpired with respect to the safe area in Zepa and what was in
10 the run-up to that and whether -- which side lived up to its obligations
11 and which side did not live up to its obligations. That's, I think, a
12 very interesting inquiry but unfortunately I can't help with that inquiry
13 because I arrived in Zepa during a crisis with a specific humanitarian
14 role. So I'm not disputing this, General Tolimir, but I'm -- I don't
15 think I'm assisting the Chamber here on this line.
16 Q. Thank you, Mr. Joseph.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we have 1D28 shown.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. You've just said that it's a different question as to what
20 transpired. When we see the title, we'll see that it says that it's a
21 chronology of the events of the break-through of the 28th Division of the
22 land forces, sent by the 2nd Corps of the BH Army to the commander,
23 General Rasim Delic. And there is contained a full chronology of these
24 events seen from the perspective of the Muslim documentation. It also
25 refers to the period of time you spent in Tuzla.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we show page 6, please, to see
2 the relevant portion.
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Here we see a summary report toward the end where Rasim Delic in
5 the portion containing seven bullet points, or rather eight, I am sorry,
6 and that is paragraph 5, where he speaks of the various units, their
7 places of deployment and their passage through the corridor to Tuzla at
8 the time when you were there. Since I don't have much time left, this is
9 my question: Were you told at a time you were in Tuzla that the units of
10 the BH Army that were freeing or working their way through the VRS-held
11 territory arrived ultimately in the free territory? Thank you.
12 A. If my memory is correct, General Tolimir, I believed that we were
13 told, I think there was even a report that was shown that indicated that
14 some of the men did, indeed, arrive safely in the territory. Of course,
15 I don't think I'm introducing anything new. I think it's a matter of
16 record that we know that several thousand Muslim men were killed in
17 Srebrenica and never made it anywhere.
18 Q. Thank you. Did the several thousand ultimately arrive, or was it
19 the case that they actually fought their way through to the free
20 territory with the support of the BH Army troops? Thank you.
21 A. There's so much contained in this question that I hesitate even
22 to answer and I'm confused as to the premise and as to the meaning, I
23 don't know who you were referring to in several thousand. We know, I
24 believe it's a fact that is accepted is that several thousand Muslim men
25 and boys, that is, at least teenagers, perished in Srebrenica in
1 circumstances that I think are also well documented and I'm not a fact
2 witness to them, so I'm not even going to state that here.
3 But if you are asking me was I aware that some Muslim men made
4 their way, I believe I was aware that some did indeed make their way.
5 Whether they fought their way or not, I wasn't present and I don't recall
6 what the reports said. The reports might have spoken to that and maybe
7 they were silent on that.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, we must come to an end for today. I
9 would like to remind you before the last break I asked you about the
10 document you used with the witness, 65 ter 7208. This is not yet on the
11 65 ter exhibit list but used by the Defence, so that I take it there's no
12 objection to add this document to the 65 ter exhibit list; is that
13 correct, Mr. Gajic?
14 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we don't have any
15 difficulty with this document. I think it was on our list, but under a
16 different 1D number, so we would like to tender it into evidence as a
17 Defence exhibit. The Prosecution did not use the document with this
18 witness, so we believe that it should be assigned a D number.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic, can you give us the 1D number or
20 whatever on your list? The problem today is that several times documents
21 were used not included in the list of the Defence. Do you have the
22 number? It would be helpful.
23 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Not at present. I think that in the
24 most recent list it was struck off, because it had previously been
25 contained on the Prosecution list and the practice was that in the case
1 of the documents contained on the OTP list, we would not place them on
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
4 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, the document remains on the Defence
5 list of exhibits. It's 1D00608. It's on page 4 of their list. We have
6 no objection to the -- obviously to the document going in and to follow
7 up on my suspended oral motion of yesterday, we would move that it be
8 added to the 65 ter list of exhibits and we don't care what number it
9 gets, whether it's the 65 ter number from the Prosecution or the Defence.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Does this document have a translation?
11 MR. THAYER: No, it does not. It's been submitted for
12 translation though, Mr. President.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. This document will be added to the 65
14 ter list of the Prosecution and will be received as a Defence exhibit but
15 only marked for identification pending translation.
16 THE REGISTRAR: This document receives number D175 marked for
17 identification, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
19 Even if documents are listed in the Prosecution's exhibit list,
20 it would be helpful for the Chamber and the other party to include these
21 documents to the list of potential exhibits used during
23 We have to come to an end for today. We will adjourn and resume
24 tomorrow in the afternoon at 2.15 in this courtroom. Thank you very
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.02 p.m.
2 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 2nd day of
3 March, 2011, at 2.15 p.m.