1 Wednesday, 2 March 2011
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon to everybody.
6 The witness should be brought in.
7 [The witness takes the stand]
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon, Mr. Joseph. Welcome back to the
10 THE WITNESS: Good afternoon, Mr. President. Thank you.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I remind you that the affirmation to tell the
12 truth still applies.
13 THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And Mr. Tolimir is continuing the
16 Mr. Tolimir, you have the floor.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good afternoon to all. May there
18 be peace in this house, and may God's will be done in these proceedings
19 and not mine. Good afternoon to Mr. Joseph, I do wish him a comfortable
20 stay among us.
21 WITNESS: EDWARD JOSEPH [Resumed]
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir: [Continued]
23 Q. [Interpretation] We were discussing a document yesterday, you
24 said that you wouldn't have an answer to that, so I'd like us to look at
25 the statement of yours we reviewed yesterday, and let us see what you
1 have to say about this problem in your statement. I'll direct you to the
2 exact page. That's 65 ter 07203, but I was looking to see if there's a
3 different number now.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is now D173.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 Can we have D173 shown in e-court, please.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We don't have it on the screen yet.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. We'll read from
9 paragraph 3 because the statement has numbered paragraphs. That's
10 page 2, paragraph 3.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Where you state that:
13 "In the second half of July of 1995, I was acting as a civil
14 affairs officer for UNPROFOR in Tuzla, where I was helping the incoming
15 refugees from Srebrenica. Probably due to my experiences with the
16 refugees, I was called to Sarajevo to prepare a possible mission to Zepa,
17 where an evacuation of a large number of civilians was expected."
18 You say "in the second half of July." Can you tell us precisely
19 which date that was? Thank you.
20 A. Good afternoon as well to the accused and to Mr. Gajic. And
21 thank you for the good wishes.
22 And to answer this question, the date would have been on or about
23 the 11th of July, 1995.
24 And if I could add, to the Chamber, in the interests of
25 clarifying things as this very well may be my last day of testimony, the
1 accused mentioned a reluctance on my part to speak to prior documents.
2 And I would just like to inform the Chamber and the accused and his
3 attorney that if -- to really put this question to rest: If the accused
4 would like me to stipulate that the Armija had weapons in Zepa, I'm
5 willing to stipulate that. Further, if the accused would like me to
6 stipulate that in safe areas the Armija conducted military operations
7 from them in general, I'm willing to stipulate that too. And, third, I'm
8 willing to stipulate that this was a major preoccupation for the Serbs.
9 I'll willing to stipulate to all three of those.
10 What I'm not able to do for this Chamber, unfortunately, is go
11 over intercepts and specific communication and interpret and analyse
12 those, as I really at the time had no specific information about the
13 nature of military activities inside and from within the safe area at the
14 time. And I just felt that that might be helpful to the Chamber and to
15 the accused as well, if I could just put that out there. Thank you all
16 very much.
17 Q. Thank you. And I apologise if I was vague. We had a document,
18 that we'll go back to after we've dealt with this, which is perhaps even
19 more important for Their Honours than for you or I. We know how the
20 events unfolded; they don't. That's why I was referring to the
21 chronology of these events. This was for the benefit of the Chamber.
22 But I do accept your explanation and interpretation.
23 Please --
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, before you continue with your next
25 question, Judge Mindua has a question for the witness.
1 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, good afternoon to you, sir.
2 I'd like to go back to what you've just said, in fact. On the
3 transcript, page 2 and 3, you stated that you can affirm and state that
4 the Armija had weapons in Zepa. You also said that you can state that
5 the Armija did carry out military operations, generally speaking, from
6 Zepa. But in fact, you were in charge of civilian affairs there in Zepa.
7 So what is your basis in order to state that there were weapons and
8 military operations? Did you carry out investigations about that or were
9 you privy to some information about this?
10 THE WITNESS: I thank the Judge for this important opportunity to
11 clarify. I think this is very important for me to be precise. When I
12 spoke, I chose my words carefully and I hope they were accurately
13 rendered in translation. I said that we -- I was willing to affirm or
14 stipulate that the Armija had weapons in Zepa. And the basis for this
15 is, even if I can recall, I believe, if memory serves, that
16 Colonel Palic, for example, had a side-arm. And I believe it was
17 generally understood, although we did not conduct any survey, it was
18 understood that the Armija had weapons. So the basis -- to answer your
19 question, Your Honour, it would be generally on the basis of
20 widely-accepted information in UNPROFOR that there were weapons, that the
21 Armija had weapons.
22 With respect to military operations, I chose my words very
23 carefully. I said I was willing to attest that in general there were
24 military operations conducted from safe areas. I did not say, and
25 certainly did not intend to say, from Zepa in particular because I
1 precisely, Your Honour - and this is why I thank you for the opportunity
2 to clarify - because I did not have the specific information either in
3 the immediate run-up to these events or prior, what the Armija was
4 actually doing in Zepa. And here I should add there were different
5 stories. There's a narrative, an accepted narrative, about Srebrenica
6 that Naser Oric was quite active. I'm not a fact witness to that but
7 that was a narrative that there was. And there was a narrative that
8 Commander Palic was rather more calm and quiescent. But I cannot provide
9 and shed light on that specific information, and that would be better, I
10 believe, for General Smith.
11 But I was saying, in general, were we aware that safe areas were
12 at times used for military operations; the answer is, yes. And as I
13 mentioned yesterday for the accused, I was in another safe area, Bihac,
14 which was the site of a rather sizeable attack by a Armija commander
15 there - his name was Dudakovic, in Bihac - and he went on a quite
16 significant attack in Serb forces, as General Tolimir well remembers, and
17 so I'm well aware that such events could transpire. But I cannot for
18 this Chamber give specific information about what Colonel Palic and his
19 forces were doing and the nature of any operations that they might have
20 conducted or might not have. And it was for that reason I was explaining
21 for the accused my reluctance to give commentary and analysis and be
22 responding to intercepts that they had. I just felt it was important for
23 the Court and all present to understand the nature of that reluctance.
24 I hope that answers your question, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: For the clarity of the transcript, I would like
2 to ask you: When you refer to -- when you use the word "Armija," are you
3 referring to the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
4 THE WITNESS: That is correct. That is correct, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Thank you.
6 Mr. Tolimir, please, now your next question.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Joseph, so you arrived on the 11th and before your arrival
10 there, you attended a briefing with David Harland, senior officer for
11 civilian affairs, and General Rupert Smith. And this is something that
12 you stated in paragraph 4 of your statement that we have before us. Can
13 you tell us, were you given any sort of tasks from them in relation to
14 the Armija, or did they only have to do with the civilian population in
15 Zepa? When I say the "Armija," the BH army, I mean the units present in
17 A. We had only the most general instructions, and we had no specific
18 instruction to conduct a certain activity with the Armija, nor did we
19 have any instruction to refrain from engaging with elements of the Armija
20 or to refrain from any activity with them. It was very, very general.
21 What we knew was, operating on the information that we had at the time,
22 A, this was a crisis underscored by what had just transpired in
23 Srebrenica and with this mass exodus and with some serious allegations of
24 crimes like rapes and disappearances of -- during the transport. So that
25 was the first thing that we had on our mind.
1 And then it was to focus on the evacuation, as I said, of the
2 women and children first and, should an agreement be reached, then the
3 men of Zepa. So that's the answer.
4 Q. Thank you, Mr. Joseph. Did General Smith tell you at the time
5 anything about the UN policy in relation to the enclaves, because by that
6 time he would have received the document we discussed yesterday, the one
7 you said you may have seen at the time or not? I don't know if you know
8 which I'm referring -- one I'm referring to. That's the one sent by
9 Mr. Akashi to Mr. Annan and which was copied to Mr. Smith on the
10 11th of July. Did he tell you anything about the UNPROFOR policy towards
11 the enclaves, since he was sending you on a mission that had to do with
12 refugees? Thank you.
13 A. We had a general understanding about our policy and, more
14 important, our mandate with respect to the enclaves, but I would have to
15 ask the accused to be more specific about a specific policy contained in
16 that report that he is referring to so that I can answer whether or not
17 we were aware of that. I would need to know specifically what policy the
18 accused is speaking of.
19 Q. Thank you. I'll quote a line from the report we saw yesterday,
20 and that will help to refresh your memory. It's a line from the letter
21 sent by Mr. Akashi to Mr. Annan and Rupert Smith. And in line one, it
23 "What sort of --
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, we don't have that on the screen.
25 It's helpful for everybody. This is D174. Please continue.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. You see the document there, and I'll be reading from paragraph 1.
4 It's actually line 5.
5 "A general consensus was reached on the policy that UNPF,
6 UNPROFOR, and UNHCR will pursue with regard to Srebrenica in the coming
7 one to seven days, depending on the evolution of events on the ground,
8 the stance taken by the parties, and the attitude of the people living in
10 Thank you. This is my question: Bearing in mind that the letter
11 sent by Mr. Akashi had already reached the addressees by that time and
12 that on the 11th it was already apparent that Srebrenica had been placed
13 under the control of the VRS and that the Muslim population had started
14 moving out, my question was if he had given you any sort of instructions
15 in view of this? He was sending you to Zepa to attend to the refugees
16 there, and it was in the context of this policy that my question was
17 formulated. Thank you.
18 A. I'm still not seeing the specific policy in the communique, the
19 message sent by Mr. Akashi, that would bear on us. Were we generally
20 aware? And we might well have specifically been aware. As I said, I
21 might well have seen this document. I don't recall anything in
22 particular, but we might well have been aware of evolving policy. We
23 should have been aware of evolving policy. But I don't see a specific
24 policy point here about what we should or should not do, and that's why I
25 can't be more precise.
1 Q. Thank you. Let's look at page 2 of the document. That's
2 something we looked at yesterday. And in order not to go through the
3 entire document, let's just look at the last sentence in the Serbian
4 language, which reads -- so the last sentence on page 2 in the Serbian
5 version, which reads:
6 "UNPROFOR with the support of UNHCR will also endeavour to reach
7 agreement," on page 3, "with the Bosnian Serbs to escort any convoy of
8 refugees from Srebrenica to Tuzla."
9 Thank you. In view of this and in view of what I've said before,
10 you must have received instructions in line with this, since you were
11 dispatched to receive refugees there. That's what I meant when I said
12 that UNPROFOR must have had a policy by the 11th with regard to the
13 refugees. Thank you.
14 A. It's very useful that you mentioned 11th because that is when
15 Srebrenica would have fallen. That was on or about the 11th when it
16 would have fallen. And whatever policy was agreed there on the 11th,
17 it's very important to know, yes, we would have had that in our minds but
18 we would also have had subsequent experience with -- after the fall of
19 Srebrenica, after the 11th, with what happened with those who were moved
20 out of Srebrenica and received in Tuzla, in the Tuzla area. And those
21 dynamics were probably more forefront on our minds than what was
22 contained here or whatever, in general, principle is contained here.
23 So I hope I've addressed your question, General Tolimir.
24 Q. Thank you. Let's go back to your statement. We don't need this
25 document anymore. Your statement is D173, paragraph 4, where you say
1 that you were at a meeting with David Harland, civil affairs senior
2 officer, and General Rupert Smith, UNPROFOR commander for the BH. That's
3 in lines 1 through 3 of paragraph 4.
4 Tell me now, what was it that General Smith told you specifically
5 before you set out for Tuzla where he dispatched you? Thank you. Of
6 course, if you can remember. I want you to speak in general terms. You
7 don't need to give me the specific tasks. Or was it just him telling you
8 that you should go there?
9 I apologise, perhaps your dilemma might be down to the fact that
10 we are still speaking about Srebrenica and that's to say before you were
11 sent to Zepa and what was it that he told you about it, about the policy;
12 that was my question.
13 A. I was sent to Tuzla from direction of UNPROFOR headquarters in
14 Zagreb, not from Sarajevo and General Smith.
15 Q. Thank you. It was for this reason that I was reading this
16 document to you, D174, because those were guide-lines sent from Zagreb on
17 the 11th of July. But if you can tell us, what were the specific tasks
18 that you received in Tuzla in relation to Srebrenica? Thank you.
19 A. The specific mission was to work with UNPROFOR military and UNHCR
20 and ICRC and any and all others to as best as possible receive,
21 accommodate, and deal with this influx of something on the order of
22 20.000 displaced persons from -- who were pushed out of Srebrenica. That
23 was the -- that was our challenge.
24 Q. Thank you, Mr. Joseph. Now we are in Tuzla and you were there to
25 receive refugees from Srebrenica who were arriving in Tuzla, crossing the
1 Serb territory. Can you tell us what -- whatever you can recall and
2 whether you did actually receive a large number of refugees who were
3 getting there on buses?
4 A. The answer to the second question is, yes, absolutely. We
5 received bus after bus of persons from Srebrenica, primarily or almost
6 exclusively women and children - using the term displaced persons because
7 you know refugees is a term under international law where they cross an
8 international border and this was not an international border - and so we
9 were absolutely swamped to take care of these persons who had been pushed
10 out of their homes in Srebrenica and now we had to accommodate them --
11 because they were no longer in their homes, we had to accommodate them
12 on -- thousands of them on this airbase in Tuzla, and so we were working
13 closely with UNPROFOR, military, UNHCR, and others to do just that.
14 Q. Thank you. In view of that being so, did you send reports
15 regarding the number of refugees that were received per day after all of
16 the convoys had arrived and the convoys that had crossed Republika Srpska
17 territory? Thank you.
18 A. I may well have sent reports to that effect. And presumably the
19 Chamber and the Prosecution and accused have copies, if those reports
21 Q. Thank you. Now, we will show you again 1D28 that I wanted to
22 discuss yesterday, where we can see a reference to what I was asking you
23 about. And perhaps then it will be easier to get an answer from you
24 about what the situation was there and what the situation in Srebrenica
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now can we please have 1D28 in
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
4 Q. This document is entitled, "The Chronology of Events, The
5 Breakthrough of the 28th Division of the Land Forces," and this was the
6 title that was given to this communication by whoever authored this text.
7 We see that this was sent by the Commander Delic, and it was --
8 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: It was sent to
9 Commander Delic.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And now can we see page 4 which
11 will discuss the events that you were involved in. Can we have page 4.
12 In English that will be page 5.
13 Thank you to Aleksandar for reminding me.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think with this document there are some
15 confusions with the names. It was sent by a certain Delic to a certain
16 Delic. It disappeared now from the screen, we saw it and this was the --
17 it was sent by Commander Delic to Rasim Delic, if I'm not mistaken. Two
18 different persons with the same name.
19 Mr. Gajic, and then we should have it again, the first page, I
20 think it will help us. Mr. Gajic.
21 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it is clear from the
22 first page, and we have it now, that this document was sent by the
23 Commander Brigadier Sead Delic to General Rasim Delic. These are two
24 distinct individuals and they are on different positions.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed, indeed.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And their last name is the same.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed. Both are commanders of different units
3 with a different rank and different first name but the same family name.
4 I think that is now clear on the record.
5 Please continue, Mr. Tolimir, and we should look at the second
6 page, as you requested. Page 5.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I requested page 4 in Serbian and
8 page 5 in English. Thank you.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Now, we see here some of the tasks that you had within your
11 mission there. And let's see the part that relates to your mission
12 there, to do with the civil population, because that was the reason why
13 you were in Tuzla. Now, if we look at the third paragraph, we can see
14 there it reads as follows:
15 "The first groups of people expelled from Srebrenica arrived in
16 the Kladanj Sector at about 2100 hours on the 12th of July, 1995, and the
17 majority of them, on July 13th, 1995, the majority of them, some 22.000
18 to 23.000 people, came to the general sector of Dubrava airport in the
19 early morning and daring the day, while some came via the
20 Baljkovica-Sapna corridor. A total of 29.336 persons expelled from the
21 enclave," and I stress 29.336 persons, "were accommodated according to
22 the list provided by municipalities. And then he goes on to list the
23 various towns and places as the people reported, Lukavac, Banovici,
24 Srebrenik, Gradacac, Zivinice, Kladanj, and so on.
25 Now, the list that you have of the number of displaced persons,
1 was it actually consistent with the number that we see here? Or were the
2 numbers different, because you were supposed to receive your information
3 from them? Or was it the case that you in fact registered them
4 independently? Thank you.
5 A. To answer this question, I can't at this time state whether the
6 statistics in this report which is a internal communication of the -- in
7 the Armija - and not for that reason; it doesn't matter if it were a
8 internal Serb communication - I can't at this time speak to the accuracy
9 or any lack of accuracy about the statistics. So that's my answer to the
11 And just if the Chamber please, I might be able to just eliminate
12 any confusion about the Delics. Perhaps it would make it easier for the
13 Chamber. Rasim Delic was the overall commander. His predecessor was
14 Sefer Halilovic, who was mentioned in one of the documents that
15 General Tolimir had mentioned. So Rasim Delic was -- and we knew him to
16 be the overall commander of the Armija.
17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Joseph. You said internal Serb documents,
18 however, these are Muslim documents and that's why we read out from it
19 and we read the names of the person sending and to whom he was sending.
20 But while we still have this page before us, I would like the
21 Trial Chamber to look at the numbers and the paragraph below the place
22 names that are listed there and the number of refugees, and we will see
23 that it refers to the events that both you and I were eye-witnesses to.
24 And I will now read from it:
25 "The commander of the 28th Division of the KoV, who spent the
1 last few months in Tuzla with a group of officers, left on the afternoon
2 of the 13th of July, 1995, together with the PK, assistant commander for
3 intelligence of the 28th Division, M Semso; desk officer for the
4 PVO 2nd Corps, K Sabic, and several other officers from the 28th Division
5 of the land forces command for the Medjedja-Nezuk Sector to try to
6 establish radio communication with the units of the 28th Division of the
7 land forces who had set out in the direction of Tuzla." And I end the
8 quote there.
9 Now my question is: Did the UNPROFOR know or did you personally
10 know that some of the commanders who had been on a reconnaissance mission
11 were already in Tuzla and that their job was in fact to link up these
12 units? Thank you.
13 A. General Tolimir, I believe I -- I'm wait for the -- to be ready
14 to hear my answer.
15 I believe I testified just now rather clearly that our
16 preoccupation was dealing with the influx of persons pushed out of
17 Srebrenica because the VRS had entered there. And so this was not a
18 preoccupation of mine. And so I cannot speak to what UNPROFOR was
19 aware of.
20 Q. Thank you. Did you get in touch with Naser Oric or any of his
21 commanders while you were in Tuzla at the time when you were receiving
22 and finding accommodation for the refugees? Thank you.
23 A. No, although we were in communication with UNPROFOR civilians in
24 Srebrenica who -- they would be Bosniaks or Muslims, who were there and
25 who were in quite some distress over whether they would be moved out with
1 the Dutch UNPROFOR or be left behind.
2 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell the Trial Chamber the
3 following: Did the Dutch UNPROFOR unit in Srebrenica have information
4 that commander Naser Oric and a group of command officers were in Tuzla
5 in order to prepare the ground for linking up the detachment with Tuzla
6 and that they had left Srebrenica two months before the fall of the
7 enclave? Thank you.
8 A. This question and this line of inquiry is something that I cannot
9 shed any light on, General Tolimir, because I simply do not know.
10 Q. Thank you. Can you then answer the following question: How come
11 that the commander of the 28th Division, Naser Oric, and his officers,
12 Semso and the other, how come that they were in Tuzla? Because we can
13 read here who were there in Tuzla before the enclave fell. Can you see
14 that part? It's in the paragraph that I quoted. Thank you.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
16 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. I haven't stood up so far
17 on this line of questioning from this document, but I think the witness
18 has been very patient trying to communicate that his knowledge of these
19 events, specifically with respect to the Armija elements as depicted in
20 this document, are beyond his knowledge. He's repeatedly tried to
21 communicate that to the accused, and we have yet another question that's
22 not even related to the words of the document but is now asking him about
23 the intentions of the Armija commanders that are listed in the document.
24 I mean, we're really wasting time with this.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, not to waste time, that was not the
1 question. The only question was: "Can you see that part?" And:
2 "... how come that they were in Tuzla? Because we can read here who were
3 there in Tuzla before the enclave fell."
4 MR. THAYER: And that's the question --
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: That's the question. And he said that, yes.
6 MR. THAYER: -- how come they were in Tuzla. And he's repeatedly
7 saying, I don't know anything about this.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, that's true, but I would like to hear the
9 answer of the witness, if he can say and testify of that.
10 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Mr. President. I don't have useful
11 information on that, on the presence of Mr. Oric in the Tuzla area prior
12 to the fall of Srebrenica. I know later, afterwards, it was the subject
13 of quite some lot of speculation and so forth. But, again, our focus was
14 on dealing with this influx of persons displaced from Srebrenica, and
15 this is not something that we focused on.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
17 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, as always, it is helpful for your
19 case to put questions to the witness he really can answer and to provide
20 to us his knowledge about the events he personally witnessed. Please
21 carry on.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Now, to go back to the first question. The first sentence of
24 this paragraph we can read, the commander of the 28th Division of the
25 lands forces who spent the last few months in Tuzla, and that's when I
1 asked whether the UNPROFOR command in Srebrenica was aware of the fact
2 that Naser Oric had left for Tuzla in order to prepare the ground for
3 something. So I didn't ask whether the witness knew about this but
4 whether the UNPROFOR command in Srebrenica knew about it, if he had any
5 information in that respect. That was the gist of my question. Thank
7 Can we now have 65 ter 7205 [Realtime transcript read in
8 error "0275"]. This is a UN document dated the 15th of July, 1995.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] And I would like to refer you to
10 page 2, paragraph 5, which states that the BH police provided the
11 following information regarding the number of persons and places. Thank
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you have used the document 1D28 with
14 the witness. Are you going to tender it?
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I would like to tender
16 it because the Trial Chamber will -- it will be helpful to the
17 Trial Chamber because it speaks to the events on this one page. Thank
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I didn't receive any specific answer of the
20 witness in relation to this document; nevertheless, we will receive it as
21 an exhibit. But that doesn't say anything about the reliability of the
22 content of it. The Chamber will give weight to that at a later time.
23 THE REGISTRAR: And the document will be assigned D00176,
24 Your Honours.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
1 Mr. Tolimir, is the number correct, 65 ter 0275? I'm not sure if
2 that is correct. This is recorded.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. It should be
4 65 ter 7205. And we will see that it speaks about the same data that we
5 see in this document, and that is why I thought that this document would
6 be helpful to jog the witness's memory, because it was in his report.
7 Thank you. So 65 ter 7205. And my apologies, this is not Mr. Joseph's
8 report, this is actually the UN -- a UN report.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. We can see that it is dated July 15th, 1995. And among others we
11 can see that the third name from the bottom is Mr. David Harland's, who
12 also was named in the report.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And could we see the page which --
14 page 2, paragraph 5, where we will see that there is a table.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. And it says that information was gathered from individuals from
17 the towns where the population from Srebrenica were going to. We can see
18 that the numbers that appear here almost across the board are lower than
19 the numbers we saw earlier. Here we see the number is 3.617 persons from
20 Lukavac, whereas on the other document it was 3900 something. Then
21 Srebrenik, it was 4.043, whereas here it's 3.505 for Srebrenik.
22 So my question is this: Where does this discrepancy come from in
23 the number of individuals that are recorded as having arrived from these
24 locations to Tuzla? So where is -- where does this discrepancy come from
25 between the reports that we have from the Armija and this report?
1 A. I would not have any basis to explain any discrepancy.
2 Q. Thank you. Now, tell us, please, who provided accommodation and
3 who organised accommodations for the people who were arriving from
4 Srebrenica on those buses? Was it you or was it the BH Army?
5 A. Those who were accommodated at the Tuzla airbase, it was
6 generally UNHCR with intensive support from UNPROFOR. Those who were
7 accommodated off the base, that is, in Tuzla and other locales, it
8 would -- possibly there was some UNHCR support but possibly it might have
9 been local authorities who had, and persons, just individual civilians,
10 if they were accommodated in homes. But we -- our preoccupation was with
11 the major influx which was directed towards the airbase, and we were
12 quite overwhelmed to get them accommodated in the short time that it --
13 that it took for them to arrive at our door-step.
14 Q. Thank you. They were also supposed to be taken care of in other
15 ways. They were supposed to be fed and accommodated and so on. So did
16 you -- or did you get from the UNHCR the exact number of individuals who
17 had arrived from the Srebrenica enclave to Tuzla?
18 A. I would have to look at this report. And for the benefit of the
19 accused, actually, I was the drafter of this report. It says that on the
20 first page. I'd have to refresh my memory and look at the reports to
21 find out what was the source of the information and what information
22 UNHCR provided us.
23 Q. Thank you. The reason I put this question is that it says here
24 that the police, the Bosnian police, provided this. However, this is not
25 really too important.
1 My next question is this: Can you tell the Trial Chamber what
2 the total number of refugees that you received from the Srebrenica
3 enclave in Tuzla was? Thank you. And I mean refugees from the
4 municipalities that we can see on the screen before us. If you can
5 recall the total number.
6 A. I can't recall the total number as I sit here without reference
7 to a document.
8 Q. [No interpretation]
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Can we go back now to
11 D16 -- D10 -- D106.
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. And before we have this before us on the screen, I'd like to ask
14 you this: We've seen a number of reports that talk about the
15 accommodation of refugees from Srebrenica and we also saw a summary
16 review coming from the BH Army on the total number, the overall number,
17 of refugees over those three days. Can you tell us, please, was it the
18 case that on the first three days there was a large influx of refugees,
19 whereas later on, around the 16th and 17th, there was another wave of
20 refugees? Was that the case or not?
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now if we can take a look at page 4
22 in Serbian and 65 ter 7205. Perhaps we can split the screen and put them
23 side by side.
24 THE WITNESS: I can't recall at this time whether or not there
25 was a second wave. I'd have to look at UN reports to that -- to know
1 that. I can't, at this point -- I'm not saying there wasn't, but right
2 now as we sit here 15 and a half years after the fact, I'm hazy on
3 whether or not there was a second influx. But it's possible there was.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Joseph. But this is very important and relevant
6 for the Trial Chamber because we see the number of people who were
7 evacuated via the territory of Republika Srpska as opposed to the number
8 who had arrived through the corridor, but we don't see that in your
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now just please see page 4
11 of this document. And the Trial Chamber will easily see the discrepancy
12 between the numbers that are given there in respect of the evacuation
13 that the UNPROFOR was conducting of civilians.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you just referred to difficulties
15 with numbers. Page 20, line 19, you are recorded to having said: "Can we
16 go back now to ... D106." I think that was D176; is that correct?
17 Mr. Gajic nods and is in agreement with this statement.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] But you assigned a new number. The
19 Registrar said D0106, and that used to be 1D28. Or maybe I wrote it down
20 incorrectly. Thank you.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I was told by the Registrar that it should be
22 1D -- sorry, I do make the same mistake. D176. Please continue.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now take a look at 1D76,
24 page 4, where we can find the table that was already shown to the
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Do you really mean 1D76 or D176?
2 THE ACCUSED: [No interpretation]
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Your microphone.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I'm referring to D176.
5 And now we can see it on the right-hand side of the screen. We don't
6 have it in Serbian but we are talking about numbers here, so this will
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. So if you take a look at the numbers here, we can see that the
10 BiH Army gives the correct number of people registered by them. They say
11 in total of 29.336 people, and then they give the division according to
12 localities. A moment ago we looked at another document where we saw that
13 the numbers were smaller.
14 So my question is as follows: If the BiH Army registered 29.336
15 persons during the first three days, on the 12th and on the 13th of July
16 people who were coming through the territory of Republika Srpska then did
17 the UNPROFOR register a higher or a lower number?
18 A. Mr. Tolimir, I would have to refer to documents and to see what
19 really was the total number of persons registered. You say by UNPROFOR.
20 UNHCR would have had the chief responsibility to do an accounting of the
21 numbers. It's possible that UNPROFOR, because they were involved in the
22 movement of these people, had data. But UNHCR would have had the primary
23 responsibility to do a tabulation. And you volunteered the comment about
24 the relevance of these numbers. I'm merely the witness here, but I would
25 have thought the major relevance would be on the number of persons
1 executed, not the number of persons evacuated. But I'm merely here as a
2 witness and will continue to respond to your questions.
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Joseph. I'm not imputing anything to you. I'm
4 not putting any pressure on your memory. I myself cannot remember some
5 things so many years afterwards. I want to know one thing: Who
6 registered the people coming out of the Srebrenica enclave and were there
7 any lists made? Thank you.
8 A. I understand the question, and that is quite a good question.
9 And the answer is, I don't really know precisely who registered or if
10 anyone did. Remember, it was quite a chaotic situation. And as I
11 testified before, seeing these allegations that we were getting from
12 women who were very agitated because their daughter or sister had gone
13 missing or -- and some were allegedly raped, and so forth, when I heard
14 these allegations from these women and saw the difficulty that UNHCR had
15 to establish that, this was my lesson number one that I took with me when
16 I was in Zepa. And when Viktor and I were there, we were determined, as
17 best the two of us could, to keep a list. And even in that heat, with
18 the pressure and the pace and the stress that we were under, we tried our
19 best to do a list of every person on that bus in Zepa, to know that --
20 and to give that list later to UNHCR to know that every person would be
21 accounted for and that, indeed, they would safely arrive.
22 So I -- this is a valid point and a valid question about the
23 persons from Srebrenica. And as I recall, it was problematic to know
24 whether there were lists and who was keeping them.
25 Q. Thank you. Now, since they have very precise figures here, I
1 would like you to tell me the following: Did somebody make a log? We
2 are not seeing rounded numbers here. It suggests that somebody was
3 making lists and logs and then also ordering the necessary supplies,
4 hygiene supplies, food packets, and so on.
5 A. I would have to look back over the report that you saw that I
6 drafted. And as you pointed out, some of that information, you could see
7 that there was an effort on my part to try to get a handle on some
8 statistics. And there was -- as it was reported, the source was the
9 police there. But I -- I'm not sure here, speaking at this time, who was
10 making or keeping a list. What I recall was at the time, and this is to,
11 you know, give some context for -- about UNHCR, is we were overwhelmed.
12 Our -- the major, again, preoccupation at that point in Srebrenica was
13 taking care of these people, no matter how many, whatever number they
14 were. And that was our -- and that was an overwhelming task, believe me,
15 when you have an influx like that in a matter of hours, literally, and
16 when you're not prepared for that influx. And so that was -- it was a
17 logistical and operational effort, and I'm simply not sure at this time
18 who did or did not keep good data. And I would suppose UNHCR would have
19 a good answer on that.
20 I recall that Madam Ogata, for example, came as the crisis
21 continued, I think, maybe, I don't know, five or six days later. She
22 came, herself, for a visit. So UNHCR was quite seized of the issue. But
23 I can't give you a specific answer as to who was maintaining a precise
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Joseph. You have given us very useful information
1 to both sides in these proceedings. Since we are interested in the
2 number of refugees and the number of survivors and so on, we are
3 certainly going to find a way to determine those numbers. We are not
4 going to tire you, our witness, with these things anymore.
5 However, let us turn the next page of this document so that you
6 can see what were the reasons for my questions. I want to figure out how
7 many people were transferred on the 16th.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we have page 5 of this
9 document. This is D176. We have it on the screens now. Actually, we
10 don't have it on the screens. Can we have D176, page 5. Thank you.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. So this is the chronology of events. We already looked at this.
13 And I want us to move to page 5, the 16th of July, since you don't
14 remember those logs and other things.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we have page 5 of the
16 chronology drafted by the BiH Army.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Now, if you take a look at the fourth paragraph from the bottom,
19 where it says, At 4.30 on the 16th of July ...
20 Did you find it in English?
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
22 MR. THAYER: We just need to go to the next page.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The following page in English.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much for your assistance.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's the third paragraph from the
1 top. We can see it now on the screen. Thank you to Mr. Thayer.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. And it says here:
4 "At 430 hours on the 16th of July," so we are talking about early
5 morning, "the units of the 24th Division KoV," that was the Tuzla
6 division, "and the above-mentioned units from other 2nd Corps divisions
7 started an offensive in the general sector of Baljkovica." So we are
8 talking about the forces from the 2nd Corps. "And the 2-kilometre-long
9 enemy line was broken in the general Baljkovica sector in the morning,
10 and a corridor was created in the area west of Tijanici village,
11 Bojici village, Velika Kosa, and east of Poljane, elevation 290,
12 Govedarica. Both flanks, sides of the corridor, are well secured. And
13 unobstructed passage of troops and civilians is enabled towards
14 Baljkovica, Nezuk, Medjedja, and Jajici. The above-mentioned enemy line
15 was broken by the units of the 211th Liberation Brigade, the 242nd MZlbr,
16 and the 243rd MPrb ..." and so on. "The first group went through at
17 about 1300 hours," they are talking about the 16th, "and people continued
18 going through the in the afternoon. And during the night, on the
19 16th and 17th July, 1995" --
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I have to interrupt you. You are reading so fast
21 that the transcript is not following and the interpreters have many
22 problems. Please slow down while reading.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I apologise to
24 interpreters and the makers of the transcript. So I'll repeat.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. "The first group went through at about 1300 hours, and people
2 continued going through in the afternoon and during the night on the
3 16th of July, 1995, as well as during the day of the 17th of July, 1995.
4 An occasional small group is still passing through." And then he gives
5 the numbers for the 19th and the 20th of July and so on.
6 And then the last paragraph on my page says:
7 "According to rough estimate in our intelligence" --
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we have the next page in
9 Serbian, thank you.
10 Now we can't see several words in the document, but he is giving
11 the total estimate here. So actually we would need to have the original
12 in order to see the numbers. I don't want to speculate about the
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, the English translation doesn't have
15 an entry about numbers at this point. Is it said "text missing" two
16 times. Therefore, I think there is no better original.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, I was
18 quoting the meaning of the sentence. It was the last sentence on my
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Which goes: "According to a rough estimate in our intelligence,
22 a total number of ... and then text is missing. So what they probably
23 wanted to say is that up to that point such and such number had passed
25 So my question is as follows: Mr. Joseph, do you know that on
1 the 16th and the 17th, during the breakthrough, a certain number of
2 persons managed to reach the Tuzla territory, the territory controlled by
3 the Tuzla corps? Thank you. Or rather, they haven't arrived there but
4 they managed to use the corridor made by the 2nd Corps forces and they
5 managed to reach the zone of the 2nd Corps. Thank you.
6 A. If you're asking me was I aware at the time about any of this,
7 I'd have to refer to reports that I -- that you had earlier, the report
8 that I drafted, and any other reports that I might have drafted or might
9 have seen, to know what I knew at the time. The answer today is: I
10 don't recall being aware of this. But if I referred to this somehow in a
11 report or something like that, then obviously I was aware and might have
12 been aware at the time. So I'd have to look at reports that I drafted.
13 But answering now, I'm not able to shed light on this.
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Joseph. Since you remember the reports, can you
15 tell us the following: Does that mean that even in your reports there
16 should be a difference between the numbers wrote in earlier and one or
17 two days later? If everybody was entered into those numbers, both the
18 people arriving through the territory opened by the BiH Army and the
19 others. Thank you.
20 A. I'm somewhat confused by the question and so I'm not sure I'm
21 going to be able to answer it precisely. I'm not aware now of the
22 significance of discrepancies that seem to be referred to here in
23 numbers. You can see from my own reports that there was an effort on my
24 part and my colleagues' part at the time to come up with some, as best we
25 could, with -- to come up with some numbers, to know about the scale of
1 the problem. But I'm not able to shed light on any discrepancies. And
2 further, if I could add, I'm not really seeing the great relevance of
4 Q. Thank you, Mr. Joseph. Maybe you can't see it here but for both
5 sides in the proceedings here it is very important to figure out those
6 things. My question is: Do you allow for the possibility that the
7 BiH Army did not give you any information on people who reached the
8 2nd Corps zone in Tuzla through the breakthrough using fighting? Thank
10 A. I just -- I don't really want to comment on that. I don't want
11 to allow for that be possibility, and I don't want to disallow that
12 possibility. I'm just not really a witness who's able to speak to what
13 information may or may not have been transmitted by the 2nd Corps. I
14 would not have been a primary contact for the 2nd Corps for such
15 information. So I'm simply not able to speak to that issue with respect
16 to the larger question of how many people were in -- arrived in Tuzla and
17 how many people were back in Srebrenica in deep peril. Probably there
18 are other ways to address that.
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Joseph. Can you now take a look at the third
20 paragraph from the bottom in English, and in Serbian it's the first
21 paragraph from the top, which goes on as follows:
22 "In combat operations with the 28th Division and the
23 24th Division, the aggressor suffered significant losses. 20 bodies of
24 enemy soldiers stayed behind in our territory. And according to the
25 enemy reports that were intercepted by the PEB, they took 30 bodies back
1 to the Zvornik hospital. Six enemy soldiers were captured alive and a
2 self-propelled gun and a tank, which were immediately engaged in combat
3 against the aggressor. Another self-propelled gun and an ammunition
4 depot were set on fire in the Baljkovici village."
5 My question is: During that period, did anybody report to you
6 the number of those soldiers who were captured? Were they registered by
7 the ICRC? And also, did anybody report the people who were killed in
8 order for their bodies to be exchanged? Thank you.
9 A. The answer to the first question is: I personally at this time
10 don't recall anyone reporting the number of soldiers captured and nor do
11 I think that that's something, again in the midst of dealing with the
12 crisis of an influx of displaced persons, that we who were on the ground
13 dealing with those persons pushed out of their homes in Srebrenica,
14 dealing with them, those thousands there, whether this information -- we
15 would probably not be primary recipients of that information.
16 With respect to the second question, were they registered by the
17 ICRC, I'm not now nor was I then a member of ICRC. And you know they're
18 very discreet about their work and about their information, and so you'd
19 have to consult ICRC about that.
20 Q. Thank you for your answer.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now go to the next page in
22 English. We can remain on the same page in Serbian. And I'm going to
23 read out the fourth paragraph from the top in Serbian. Let's see which
24 paragraph this is in English. The first one that we can see.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. You say that these things did not interest the UNPROFOR, however,
2 they say here the 18th of July --
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I think this is the wrong statement.
4 The witness explained the priority and the duty to register and to help
5 the refugees. He didn't say that UNPROFOR was not interested in that.
6 Continue, please.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I accept
8 your comment. I was imprecise.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. So here I want to quote the contents of this document, beginning
11 with the date.
12 "18th of July, 1995, UNPROFOR used their own vehicles to
13 transport from Bratunac to Tuzla 86 wounded persons from the Srebrenica
15 Thank you. My question is as follows. Since we are talking here
16 about the wounded people, killed people, and ill people, that is the
17 reason that I asked you whether somebody registered them with the
18 UNPROFOR or ICRC, and you say they weren't registered. However, we see
19 here that the UNPROFOR transported those people with their own transport.
20 Thank you. So I'm not going to discuss this document with you anymore.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we have now D155.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, again you just said: "You say they
23 weren't registered." I never heard a comment like that from this
25 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
2 MR. THAYER: And again, Mr. President, I think we've seen some
3 unnecessary confusion earlier. When General Tolimir jumps from topic to
4 topic and area to area without saying so, it introduces another level of
5 confusion. As we can see here, we're talking about people coming from
6 Bratunac; we're not talking about people at the Tuzla airport, which is
7 what the majority of the questions have been focused on. And it just
8 doesn't help when we go to another section and General Tolimir makes
9 conclusions based on his prior examination on another topic.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you used the document 65 ter 7205.
11 That was a report drafted by Mr. Joseph. Are you tendering it?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Yes, I
13 wish to tender this document.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: If I'm correct, there is a B/C/S translation to
15 that document. Am I correct? This is a question for Mr. Thayer.
16 MR. THAYER: No, Mr. President, we're pending translation on this
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
19 In that case, as you used this document, there's no objection to
20 add this document to the 65 ter exhibit list. Leave is granted to add
21 it. And the document will be received as a Defence document, pending --
22 marked for identification pending translation.
23 THE REGISTRAR: The document under 65 ter number 07205,
24 Your Honours, would be assigned D00177.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Marked for identification pending translation.
1 Before you continue with the document on the screen, we must have
2 our first break now. We will resume quarter past 4.00. And I would like
3 to give you guidance, Mr. Tolimir, as always, you have limited time for
4 cross-examination; you should focus on those areas the witness can
5 provide you with his personal knowledge. We adjourn.
6 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 4.19 p.m.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
10 We have on our screens the document we called up before the
11 break. Can we have page 4 shown in e-court, please. Rather than reading
12 out the entire document, we'll just look at a summary.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Look at paragraph 3. The document was signed. Page -- or,
15 rather, the number is 3 in Serbian, the last paragraph, as well as in
16 English. So there we have it. The third and last paragraph.
17 "The units of the 28th" --
18 It's Rasim Delic writing this to Alija Izetbegovic as part of his
19 report. He says:
20 "The units of the 28th Division of the ground forces have fought
21 their way out of Srebrenica. The units of the 28th Division have
22 remained compact. They have had a string of successes in the
23 temporarily-occupied territory and have inflicted major losses on the
24 aggressor. So far they have six captured Chetniks alive. The units of
25 the 28th Division, which is Srebrenica, linked up with the infiltrated
1 units of the 2nd Corps. Through joint effort, they are continuing their
2 combat in the temporarily-occupied territory and are soon expected to
3 fully link up. Activities are underway to take advantage of the success
4 achieved by the units in the breakthrough."
5 This is my question: Since this is a report send by Rasim Delic
6 to Alija Izetbegovic and it was sent on the 16th and he refers to a
7 breakthrough and a number of captures individuals, did any of the
8 representatives dealing with civilian affairs, those that you represented
9 in Tuzla, did any of them investigate into these captured Serbs referred
10 to by Rasim Delic? Thank you.
11 A. Thank you for that question. And I want to refer to the learned
12 intervention of the President of the Chamber prior to this, which I
13 appreciated very much, because I want to emphasise here for the Chamber,
14 and recalling that these are -- these proceedings are made public, and I
15 want to underscore that there was every bit equal interest on the part of
16 UNPROFOR with respect to civilians and military of all three sides, be
17 they Bosniak or Bosnian slash whatever term or Croat or be they Serb.
18 So I want to -- that to be very, very clear, that there was, of
19 course, keen interest in the welfare of Serbs, be they civilians or
20 military who were captured, on the part of the UN. That being said,
21 different agencies had different roles. And as you know,
22 General Tolimir, ICRC had the lead with respect to prisoners of war, and
23 so that would have influenced what kind of information that we would
24 have. And you know very well ICRC is very discreet about who they share
25 and release that information to.
1 So it's possible, I cannot answer categorically who within
2 UNPROFOR had information about these captured Serbs, but I can assure
3 you, General Tolimir, that their welfare would have been a keen concern
4 of ours.
5 Q. Thank you. I asked you about this, and this is my next question:
6 Unless prisoners of war are reported initially, isn't there a danger that
7 they might just be reported as dead in combat? For instance, these
8 captured soldiers here, unless registered with the international
9 organisations, they could be later on reported, as in this case by the
10 Muslims, as simply having died in combat? For instance, there's a
11 reference in this document to 20 bodies. Thank you.
12 A. That is among the reasons why it is important to have a proper
13 registration. And, as I said, that's a role that ICRC had the lead on,
14 and I'm sure UNPROFOR military assets, if they were aware of this, would
15 have been in contact with ICRC about that, as I was in contact with ICRC
16 when it came to the disappearance of Colonel Palic, who was ultimately
17 found executed not far from Zepa.
18 Q. Thank you. We'll get to that as well.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now have D55 shown. It's a
20 report by Viktor Bezruchenko entitled, "The Fall of Zepa." We're
21 interested in page 3. Let me state for the record that Bezruchenko was
22 in Zepa with the witness. This should also provide an answer to Judge
23 Mindua's question.
24 Let us look at paragraph 8 of the report. There it is. We have
25 it in English, it's page 3. It's page -- it's paragraph 2 in both
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. "The Zepa enclave was defended by the 285th Brigade of the
4 BH Army under the command of Colonel Avdo Palic and it reported to the
5 28th Division in Srebrenica under Naser Oric's command. Naser Oric
6 visited Zepa at least once in March of 1995."
7 And there is a document referenced in the footnote to that
9 "According to a BH Army report, the strength of the 285th Brigade
10 was at 100 per cent on the 13th of December, 1994." And so on and so
12 Let's look at line 8, where it reads:
13 "As of the 7th of February," that's just after footnote 9. "As
14 of 7 February 1995, the strength of the 285th Brigade was 1.122 officers
15 and men."
16 In footnote 10 there is a reference to the underlying document,
17 and so on.
18 Let's look at the penultimate line in paragraph 8, which reads:
19 "The command of 285th Brigade was planning to, in case of such an
20 eventuality," and this is a reference to the VRS, "request unspecified
21 assistance from the 8th Operational Group to disarm the Ukrainian
22 UNPROFOR company and take their personnel hostage."
23 And now I'm reading the text in small print. This is Bezruchenko
25 "By maximum use of configuration of the grounds, creating
1 obstacles by expedient means of the main communications, suitable for
2 armour and mechanised units of the enemy, as well as by engaging our main
3 forces in these directions, to prevent enemy's entry into the depth of
4 free territory. Besides that, by committing small diversionary groups in
5 the depth of the enemy territory, to continuously de-concentrate enemy
6 units. In critical moments, request co-operation -- co-ordinated action
7 from elements of the unit of the 8th Operational Group," which is the one
8 in Srebrenica. "Keep some elements of the unit on standby to take
9 weapons away from the Ukrainian company and prevent them from leaving
11 So you can also see the original of the document. This is my
12 question: Does it not transpire from this that the enclave was
13 continuously used for sabotage actions directed at the territory of
14 Republika Srpska, and was this not something that you and Bezruchenko
15 were both aware of as a situation leading to an escalation of the
16 conflict? Thank you.
17 A. Before I can answer, I need to clarify that this is the report of
18 Viktor Bezruchenko, and if that's correct, I'd like to know the date that
19 this report was written.
20 Q. Thank you. The Defence is not aware of the date of this report
21 since it was produced at the request of the Prosecution. It was produced
22 by Mr. Bezruchenko.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I can help you. It is in your list
24 of documents and there it is written 22nd of June, 2010. This report was
25 produced by Viktor Bezruchenko.
1 But I would like to know, there is a paragraph which is a
2 quotation from another document with a reference in footnote 12. Can we
3 see, please, footnote 12. Yeah, this is in a document with a certain ERN
4 number of the 13th December of 1994.
5 Mr. Thayer.
6 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, as an Officer of the Court, I can
7 provide a little bit of background to this military narrative that
8 General Tolimir has made use of.
9 Mr. Bezruchenko was an employee of the OTP for some time as a
10 military analyst, I believe, was his formal title. He asked if he could
11 prepare a report on the fall of Zepa, and that report was produced, I
12 believe, sometime in late 2006 in at least a draft form to the
13 Prosecution. It was provided unfortunately too late for any meaningful
14 use in the prior trial and it's never been used as an exhibit by the
15 Prosecution nor has Mr. Bezruchenko been called as a witness by the
16 Prosecution, owing to its relative late date in the prior case.
17 I believe that that 2010 date to which you referred,
18 Mr. President, may have been some kind of disclosure date, but I believe
19 it went over in May of 2008 in one form to the accused. So I'm not sure
20 where that 2010 date came from, but I can tell you I personally saw a
21 draft of this for the first time in 2006, to just give you a general
22 date, so it's not contemporaneous certainly with the events. And as you
23 can see, he was relying on documents, as Your Honour has noted, that he
24 obtained in the course of his work as a military analyst.
25 I'm being corrected by Ms. Stewart. This report was disclosed on
1 5 November 2009 to the Defence in this case.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much for this information.
3 Mr. Gajic.
4 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we'd like to thank the
5 Prosecution for the additional information related to
6 Mr. Viktor Bezruchenko's reports. Unfortunately, we weren't privy to all
7 the information mentioned by the Prosecutor at this time. We didn't know
8 that Mr. Bezruchenko was on an OTP team or, rather, that he was their
9 military analyst. We weren't aware of that either.
10 As far as the date of 2010 is concerned, we referred to the
11 information contained in the tables produced to us by the OTP. So I'd
12 have to check with my assistant to see why precisely that date was
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Nevertheless, we have now enough information
15 about the background of this report. The question of Mr. Tolimir was:
16 "Does it not transpire from this that the enclave was
17 continuously used for sabotage actions directed at the territory of
18 Republika Srpska, and was this not something that you and Bezruchenko
19 were both aware of as a situation leading to an escalation of the
21 This was the question. Sir, are you able to answer with this
22 additional background information about the document?
23 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much, Mr. President, and thank you
24 for reviewing the question. I was about to ask for that, so you read my
25 mind. What I can answer, because I want to be very precise to be
1 responsive. If the question is directed at the knowledge that
2 Mr. Bezruchenko and I had at the time in 1995 specifically with respect
3 to Zepa, I can only restate what I said at the beginning of my testimony
4 this afternoon. We were generally aware that there were weapons. And
5 here we see that a number of years after the fact, I guess maybe, let's
6 see, 2009, 14 years or so, 12 to 14 years after the fact Viktor prepared
7 a report, and we can see evidence of some very serious research on his
8 part where he's come up with figures. But I emphasise: Well after the
9 fact. Well after Viktor and I were on the road to Zepa in 1995.
10 And so our awareness at that time -- perhaps Viktor had some
11 other information, but I doubt it and -- because we were consulting with
12 each other at the time, but we were aware, as I said, that there were
13 weapons there. David Harland and I had proposed a demilitarisation plan.
14 We wouldn't have done that if we didn't believe that there were weapons.
15 We didn't have this number of precision. And as you see there, the bulk
16 of them are small arms, not -- and just a couple of mortar pieces, not
17 any heavy artillery, unlike their adversary.
18 And -- but with respect to their military activities and the use
19 of -- as the way General Tolimir has characterised it, as constantly
20 used, or something like that, for sabotage actions, we, I think, again,
21 were generally aware, as I said, that safe areas could be used and had
22 been used. And I gave a personal example. But he and I -- I can't speak
23 a hundred per cent for Viktor, but I don't recall any conversation.
24 Speaking for myself, I did not have specific information as to what
25 Colonel Palic and his troops were doing and the nature of the operations
1 at that time, and, further, whether or not their operations were
2 conducted against military targets or were they conducted against
3 civilians as well, which might be interesting to know. And so we just
4 simply did not have very specific information on that, and, again, our
5 focus was elsewhere. Our focus was on this humanitarian operation which
6 would ensue.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I note that it is not the first time
8 that the witness provided you with this answer. Please carry on.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Can the witness please say so when he thinks that I'm saying
11 something that isn't right or that I'm not right.
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. So this perception of operational activity as described in
14 Mr. Bezruchenko's book, how can -- what sort of a reflection would that
15 have on the civilian population, what sort of a bearing would that have
16 on the civilian population living in the enclave of Zepa at that time?
17 Thank you.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I formed the impression that you are
19 asking the witness for speculation. He provided you with his knowledge.
20 And he didn't know about these facts at the relevant time. And now you
21 are asking him to comment which bearing that would have for the civilian
22 population. I don't see the purpose of such a question. Please move on
23 to factual questions.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. It isn't
25 for me to understand this. What matters is that you have an
2 The witness said that it would be interesting to see what -- how
3 things stood, so can we now have 1D568 which is an intelligence report
4 from the Main Staff dated April of 1995 signed by myself. Can we have
5 page 3 after we've seen page 1. Thank you.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. You can see that it says, "Main Staff of Republika Srpska,
8 Intelligence and Security Sector."
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation]
10 Can we have page 3, paragraph 4, the one that was indicated by
11 the cursor a moment ago. I'll be reading it because it doesn't have a
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. I'm quoting:
15 "It has been confirmed that the Muslim forces in Srebrenica,
16 Zepa, and Gorazde are continuing with their preparations for offensive
17 activities and that they have been using the Srebrenica-Zepa axis for
18 their movement of forces, movement of civilians, and goods. They are
19 using it as -- or, rather, the supplies of ammunition and weapon have
20 been arriving by air. The majority of the population have expressed fear
21 and wish to leave the enclave because of the announced escalation of
22 combat activities and because of their feeling of isolation."
23 Thank you. I've told the witness what it was that the Main Staff
24 saw as happening as early as April of 1995, and this is my question: The
25 combat activities carried out, out of the enclaves of Srebrenica and
1 Zepa, did they have a bearing on the inclination of the population to
2 leave the areas, and did they in any way induce this desire on their
3 part? Thank you.
4 A. I see the -- I see the question now from the accused, and I would
5 say that it is calling for some speculation and my part. Is it possible
6 that combat actions taken by the Armija which would produce a reprisals
7 from the Serb army would create anxiety among that population? Yes, that
8 is -- that is quite possible. Can I then or now determine that that was
9 the precipitating cause or how much that was present in the minds of the
10 population? I don't know. But, General, I think we should both be clear
11 in our understanding that the anxiety would be with respect to the
12 reprisal actions by Serb forces and that that would be the source of the
13 anxiety on the part of the population. Whether it was preceded by an
14 attack by the Armija or, as you might well know in some other instances
15 or perhaps in this instance, whether it was not preceded by such a case,
16 we don't know. But ultimately, their fear would be actions taken by your
18 Q. Thank you. I asked you this because of the status of the zone,
19 because Zepa had the status of a demilitarised zone, which status was not
20 achieved by combat but through peace negotiations. That's why I'm asking
21 you this. Was this considered by the UNPROFOR command in Sarajevo, that
22 this sort of activities should not be allowed to be taking place out of
23 the enclaves in order for them not to be deprived of their status? Thank
25 A. I would say that in general, yes, that is correct. The fact that
1 safe areas were not completely demilitarised was a concern in general in
2 UNPROFOR. And I'm going to restate that the reason why they were not
3 fully demilitarised is an equally valid one that deserves some discussion
4 and inquiry, and I'm hopeful that perhaps General Smith or others could
5 shed some light on that.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Since we don't have any time left,
8 can we have another look at D55, Mr. Bezruchenko's report entitled,
9 "The Fall of Zepa."
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Before we leave this document, I would like to
11 see the first page again, to see a date on that. It's not very legible.
12 It could be April 1995. On top we see a handwritten date,
13 23rd of April, 1995. Thank you very much.
14 Mr. Tolimir, are you tendering this document?
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Yes, I
16 would like to tender it, if you are willing to admit it into evidence.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be marked for identification pending
19 THE REGISTRAR: The three-page document under 1D00568,
20 Your Honours, will be assigned D00178 marked for identification.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Can we now have D55
22 once again. That's Mr. Viktor Bezruchenko's report entitled, "The Fall
23 of Zepa." And specific page 18, paragraph 65. Thank you. Thank you.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. We can see paragraph 65 before us now. That's the second
1 paragraph in English and the fourth paragraph in the Serb version. And I
2 will read from the fourth line in paragraph 65, where it says:
3 "The BH strategy was to -- the BH strategy was to deny presence
4 of BiH Army units in Zepa, Srebrenica, and Gorazde, to attribute military
5 operations to unarmed people, and not to acknowledge any discussions on
6 evacuation. The chief of department, Fikret Muslimovic, sent his
7 suggestions for interviews with foreign journalists to Zepa leadership."
8 And then Mr. Bezruchenko mentions those three suggestions by the
9 chief of department of the BH Army. The first:
10 "Never mention military units in Zepa, Srebrenica, and Gorazde."
12 "What the army is doing in this area, say that it is being done
13 by the people."
15 "No mention of evacuation should ever be made."
16 And Mr. Bezruchenko actually took this from a document which was
17 marked as 101 with a -- he mentions a document in footnote 101.
18 My question for you would be: Before you arrived in Zepa, were
19 you briefed on the fact that the BH Army on the 16th of July, 1995, had
20 attacked UNPROFOR -- my apologies, my question is wrong. That will be my
21 next question. I've skipped one.
22 So my question is this: Can these and similar psychological and
23 propaganda activities, in terms of not negotiating with the BH Army on
24 the Zepa issue in view of the fact that they deny that there were any
25 military units there -- so did the UNPROFOR know or was it indicated to
1 the UNPROFOR by the BH leadership that there were no armed units in Zepa,
2 no BH Army armed units? Thank you.
3 A. I do not know exactly what representations were made by the
4 BH leadership that you are referring to there, to UNPROFOR. I've already
5 stated that it was understood in UNPROFOR that there were arms there.
6 And I told you David Harland and I even proposed our own
7 demilitarisation. So -- but with respect to what was actually
8 communicated by the BH leadership, I don't have the answer to that.
9 Q. Thank you. Well, that's precisely why I put this question as an
10 introduction to the topic of demilitarisation. But of course that's
11 difficult if the Muslims are denying -- or were denying that there were
12 any armed units within the enclaves.
13 Now I will put the question that I mentioned a little earlier.
14 Before you arrived in Zepa, you and Mr. Bezruchenko, were you briefed
15 that immediately preceding your arrival there on the 16th of July, 1995,
16 the BH Army in Zepa had attacked UNPROFOR and seized a sizeable quantity
17 of weapons from UNPROFOR? Thank you.
18 A. Let me first respond to your comment about my response. This
19 document -- this report of Viktor Bezruchenko in paragraph 65 is
20 referring to media strategy, that putative media strategy on the part of
21 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina personnel, and you're conflating that
22 with what we knew. We were not media. We were not journalists. We were
23 UNPROFOR. We had UNPROFOR assets, as your subsequent question refers to,
24 on the ground. So it's not terribly central for the information of
25 UNPROFOR -- we're not depending on journalists to know what we know or
1 depending on a certain media message or spin, when we have an UNPROFOR
2 unit in the form of the Ukrainians that's on the ground, and presumably
3 quite aware of the fact that there are weaponry there, and presumably
4 quite aware that there are formed units there, and presumably sharing
5 this information with UNPROFOR there. So I'm not necessarily seeing the
6 connection of those two.
7 And with respect to this point about threats and attack on
8 UNPROFOR, we were aware of reports from the Ukrainians, yes, of threats
9 and presumed shooting incidents. And I think, as I mentioned before,
10 it's important to have sympathy for the position of the Ukrainians being
11 in the midst of a bombardment and these kinds of shooting incidents and
12 threats, et cetera. So, yes, we were aware of that.
13 Q. Thank you. I will refrain from commenting on this, but I'll
14 revisit this question. Now, let's take a look at paragraph 54 of
15 Mr. Bezruchenko's report because you've just said that you did know.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And can we now please see the next
17 page, page 20 of this report, where paragraph 74 is. Page 20,
18 paragraph 74. Thank you. We have 15 before us. Can we now have 20.
19 Thank you.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Now, if we look at paragraph 74, it reads as follows - thank you:
22 "BiH attack against UNPROFOR did not go unnoticed by VRS. On
23 16 July, Tolimir reported that the Muslim forces attacked and overran
24 UNPROFOR OP7, Donji Slap, Observation Post 8, stop, OP1, Brezova Rava,
25 and OP9, Pripecak. In these attacks, UNPROFOR reportedly lost 4 APCs,
1 three 14.5 millimetre heavy machine-guns, three 7.62 millimetre PKT
2 machine-guns, 15 automatic assault rifles, four generators, three radio
3 sets, and 15 bulletproof vests."
4 And Mr. Bezruchenko mentions a document in footnote 112 to
5 corroborate this. Now my question for you is this: Before you left for
6 Zepa, did you have occasion to read this report about the assets that
7 were seized by the Muslims from UNPROFOR? Thank you.
8 A. I don't recall that we did. I would only hasten to add that
9 Viktor Bezruchenko is Ukrainian and was a former Ukrainian officer and
10 had good means of communications. Its quite possible that Viktor was
11 aware of this. Maybe he shared this information with me. Possibly we
12 knew. But at this time I can't remember whether or not we had this
13 specific information at that time, as the two of us went to Zepa.
14 Q. Thank you. Well, this was a large quantity of weapons.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now, can we see document D015,
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. And while we are waiting for it to come up, let me just say that
19 it's a report by Avdo Palic entitled, "Planning." And in the relevant
20 portion that I would like to refer you to, it says, and I quote:
21 "The UNPROFOR was disarmed according to instructions issued
22 earlier." Let's take a look at the document, I don't want to read any
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] That's D105. Thank you.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Please take a look at this. And the mid part of the document
2 signed by Avdo Palic on the 16th of July, it says, and I quote:
3 "We are disarming UNPROFOR in accordance with the directive we
4 received earlier."
5 My question is the following: What was the situation within the
6 Ukrainian Battalion that you could observe when you arrived there with
7 Mr. Bezruchenko? And had UNPROFOR been disarmed as it is stated in this
8 report here?
9 A. I am going to do my best to recall here and access whatever
10 visual memory from 15 and a half years ago. When we got there, I recall
11 the Ukrainian soldiers as being in a relatively normal state such as that
12 situation was. They weren't in a state of hyper-anxiety that I can
13 recall. And I believe - I'm hazy here and cannot be a hundred per cent
14 sure - but I believe that they still had some weapons. I think that they
15 still had Kalashnikovs and so forth. So I can't speak to the -- whether
16 or not they were 100 per cent disarmed or how much of their equipment had
17 been taken by Armija and so forth. Essentially they were very aware and
18 we were aware that the situation of that enclave had changed
19 dramatically, and all of us, the Ukrainians and ourselves, at that point
20 were not focused on recovering their kit or such things. We were all
21 focused on a situation that was in crisis with the two sides here, their
22 forces very close with Serb armament right there and which had been used
23 and with Armija forces up in the hills, and that's the situation. That's
24 what we -- and they very quickly, the Ukrainians, especially having
25 Viktor there, proceeded to work closely with us and to try to be helpful
1 in support of this, the movement of the population, which is what we
2 asked them to do.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to
4 tender -- oh, my apologies. It's already been admitted.
5 Can we now see document 1D598, please. 1D598. Thank you.
6 I have to note that I've asked for a document where Akashi is the
7 author, and the document is -- this communication was sent to Annan,
8 Mr. Annan. And if we could have page 2 of this document in e-court.
9 There seems to be a problem. Thank you. Now I have it before me. Could
10 we now see page 2 of this document that was sent by Mr. Akashi to
11 Mr. Annan on the 11th of July, 1995. If we can have the next page of
12 that document, please, and then the second paragraph. Thank you. We
13 have the second paragraph. And in English that will be the third
14 paragraph on the page.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. It says:
17 "At 1220 hours today, I authorised a request for close air
18 support against any Serb targets that may attack the Netherlands'
19 blocking position south of Srebrenica as well as any heavy weapons
20 identified to be shelling UN positions in the village of Srebrenica, or
21 attacking observation posts along the perimeter of the enclave."
22 My question: Did UNPROFOR have different standards in terms of
23 air support? Because we see in this document that the Serbian army is
24 threatened by possible air-strikes by NATO, whereas no action is taken on
25 the other side, although three APCs had been seized, and that's heavy
1 weaponry. So my question is: Was the UNPROFOR -- did the UNPROFOR
2 actually have double standards in this situation? Thank you.
3 A. General Tolimir, you know I'm not going to characterise --
4 provide a response that characterises this in the way that you are
5 asking, because, as you well know, addressing this question requires a
6 great deal of context, including the very important point that when NATO
7 air-strikes had been conducted earlier that year in response to the
8 mortar attack from your forces in Tuzla that killed on the order of 70,
9 possibly more - I'm going by memory - Muslims in Tuzla, most of them
10 young people, and a greet deal of them completely non-combatants,
11 including, I'm sure, quite a number of female, and responding to that,
12 UNPROFOR called on NATO air-strikes which resulted in your forces taking
13 UN hostages. So that's an important contextual point here. And so far
14 you've not shown me any documents that show that in Zepa Ukrainian forces
15 were taken hostage. You have not shown me anything about that. And
16 we -- as -- you mentioned there were threats and possibly more, but we --
17 we don't see hostages taken, which one would presume would be one of the
18 easiest steps that could have been taken in that situation, and we don't
19 see that.
20 So we have to -- these things, as I have suggested to you,
21 require a great deal of context to understand. And we also know,
22 contextually, that following -- since you introduced this point about
23 Srebrenica, that following that one very limited air-strike there, we
24 know that it was not followed by other air-strikes, and we know,
25 eventually, that Srebrenica capitulated and that Muslim civilians, Muslim
1 men, who sought shelter in UNPROFOR-controlled areas, we know were given
2 to your forces, and we know that the vast majorities of those men
3 perished, executed by your forces. So that's all contextual -- important
4 contextual aspects of this to note and to answer with respect to
5 questions of double standards. And if you want to get into particulars
6 about decision-making on this, again, General Smith would be a very good
8 Q. Thank you. You told the Trial Chamber about what you knew. Now,
9 could you tell us, if you know, when this event occurred in Tuzla? Was
10 that in August? And then perhaps you can tell us the time of the crisis
11 with UNPROFOR in Sarajevo. So were those two events separated by several
12 months? Would you know?
13 A. Yes. I believe -- I'm going by memory here, but I believe that
14 Tuzla mortar attack or artillery was in the spring -- was in April,
15 possibly. April or May of that year. But that we know, regardless of
16 the time-frame, this was the same year, and that result of hostage taking
17 was quite significant event in how UNPROFOR and NATO approached the
18 question of calling on NATO for air support.
19 Q. Thank you. But I will repeat my question and please try and
20 answer it. Were the events in Tuzla in April or were they in August?
21 Can you just tell us what you can recall.
22 A. They were not in August. Going by memory, I think that they may
23 well have been in April. But I can't confirm that, and I'm sure that
24 it's quite easy enough for us to confirm that it was in April. It was
25 not in August; it was in April. But those events heavily influenced the
1 approach. Those were -- those were quite significant events. And when I
2 bring them into context, it's not to be tendentious; it's because that
3 was quite relevant context from the very same year.
4 Q. Thank you. We talked here about events that happened months
5 between each other. Can you now tell us how they relate to each other.
6 I'm asking you about the events in July 1995, the two enclaves, the
7 attack on UNPROFOR forces, and a different response to that, whereas one
8 side was receiving threats, on the other hand we have the situation where
9 the public wasn't even informed of the infringement on the part of the
10 other side. So was all of that, the escalation of forces in the enclaves
11 arming and the conflict that ensued, were all those things mutually
12 interlinked? Thank you.
13 A. General Tolimir, I don't want to get into a debate with you. I
14 don't think it's my role here to debate with you. You're wanting me to
15 engage in some kind of a commentary that either addresses or rebuts the
16 allegation that there was a double standard. My prior answer, I thought,
17 provided necessary context here, including the absence of hostage taking
18 in Zepa. You raised Srebrenica. If you raise Srebrenica again, I will
19 again raise the necessary context including the most important point
20 which is what happened to the Muslim men there that were under control of
21 your forces.
22 Q. Thank you. We are not adversaries here, so I won't comment any
23 further on this.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to tender this
25 document, 1D598, and move on to a new topic. Thank you.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I think we are in a similar
2 situation with the last report of Mr. Akashi to the
3 Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and we marked that previous document for
4 identification to use it with the Witness Rupert Smith. I have the
5 impression that we are in a similar situation with this document. Would
6 you agree to that?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I agree
8 with all your proposals. Yes, we should mark it as such because it
9 speaks on the subject that it speaks on. Thank you.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. And General Smith is
11 mentioned as one of the recipients of this document. It will be marked
12 for identification.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the document number 1D00598 will be
14 assigned D00179 marked for identification.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
16 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Can we now
18 have D55 in e-court. That is Bezruchenko's report entitled, "The Fall of
19 Zepa." Page 23, please. Paragraphs 86, 87, and 88. Thank you. So can
20 we have paragraph 86 to begin with.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. So in paragraph 86, we can see the following:
23 "At this point, UNPROFOR Sector Sarajevo began preparations for
24 evacuation of civilians from Zepa. UNPROFOR operations order dated
25 20th of July made the following assessment of the situation: BiH Defence
1 of Zepa has collapsed, and surrender of the enclave to BSA has been
2 accepted. Large numbers of DPs wishing to seek refuge in
3 federation-controlled territory will therefore have to be moved."
4 And Mr. Bezruchenko, in the footnote 131, also gives the
5 reference to the official document on the basis of which he wrote
6 paragraph 86.
7 And then paragraph 87 goes on as follows:
8 "The order to determine the UNPROFOR mission as follows," so we
9 are talking about that operative order dated the 20th of July.
10 I quote:
11 "In conjunction with BiH government and UNHCR, UNPROFOR is to
12 co-ordinate the evacuation of DPs from Zepa to Zenica."
13 And then Mr. Bezruchenko references the relevant document in the
14 footnote 132. And then paragraph 88:
15 "The evacuation operation was supposed to be executed in three
16 stages and involve UNPROFOR forces of Sector Sarajevo, Sector North-East,
17 Sector South-West, as well as HQ UNPROFOR, (rear)." The reference we
18 find in footnote 133.
19 My question is as follows --
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could the document be scrolled to the bottom,
21 please, to see the -- thank you very much. Was a little bit too far. We
22 need both the paragraph and the footnote. Thank you.
23 Now your question, Mr. Tolimir.
24 THE ACCUSED: [No interpretation]
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Your microphone, please.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I apologise.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Joseph, as far as you know, when did UNPROFOR begin with the
4 preparations for the evacuation of the population of Zepa? Thank you.
5 A. I will defer to the research of Mr. Bezruchenko in this report.
6 It seems Viktor has done solid research on this. We know from the --
7 Mr. Harland's reports when Mr. Bezruchenko and I were dispatched two
8 times, and so those would constitute preparations in some respect from
9 our civil affairs sector, and I'm deferring here to this report with
10 respect to other sectors. When I mean "sectors," not geographic, but
11 what the UNPROFOR military was doing.
12 Q. Thank you. So can I then make the conclusion that it was the
13 20th, as Bezruchenko himself says in his report, because you basically
14 deferred to him? Thank you.
15 A. Let me be clear, I'm not in a position here to affirm every date
16 and fact and assertion made by Mr. Bezruchenko in this report. I'm not
17 able to do that, not because I don't want to do that, but because my
18 memory of events 15 and a half years ago is limited. So it looks like
19 Viktor has produced solid research here, but I'm not in a position to --
20 here for the Chamber to absolutely affirm the -- his -- the assertions
21 that he makes, but I have no reason to doubt them either.
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Joseph, for your answer. Now can you tell us the
23 following: Did the attack of the 20th of July, the attack carried out by
24 the BiH Army on the UNPROFOR in Zepa, represent a breach of the agreement
25 that had been signed? And can you also tell me whether that marked the
1 beginning of combat activities directed outside from the enclave,
2 including the attack on the UNPROFOR? Thank you.
3 A. I will answer in the following way: Any attack on UNPROFOR at
4 any time by any party in any location, whether a safe area or not, would
5 be in violation of obligations on the part of the parties. So any attack
6 by any party at any time, whether or not in a safe area.
7 And the answer is, no, I am not in a position now to tell you
8 whether that event marked the beginning of combat activities. And one
9 should be careful about the term "combat activities." What does that
10 mean? Those specific attacks related to that or other things including
11 interruption of supplies? One would have to examine what the definition
12 is of combat activities. And again I'd have to also look at records, and
13 others would have to, about what was the nature of the fighting in that
15 Q. Thank you. Yesterday we saw a video showing that Mr. Torlak
16 attended a meeting with General Mladic on the 19th. And there he said,
17 We all agree that we should leave the enclave. And then Mladic said, We
18 are going to enable you to leave as you wish.
19 My question is: If the Muslim army attacked the UNPROFOR a day
20 later, on the 20th, and seized their heavy weaponry, as I read out a few
21 moments ago, does that represent a violation of the agreement that Torlak
22 had achieved with General Mladic? Thank you.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
24 MR. THAYER: I'm sorry, maybe I've lost it in the transcript, but
25 I'm just wondering what that cite was for the proposition that there was
1 a Muslim attack on the 20th that he -- is this a reference to the
2 Bezruchenko report? And if so, which paragraph contains that? I've just
3 simply lost the thread. If there's a particular paragraph where this
4 attack on the 20th is referenced, if we could just have that back up.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
6 Can you help us, Mr. Tolimir?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Can we now
8 see page 25 in this report that is currently on the screen. I'm
9 interested in paragraph 94. Now we can see it. Now, take a look at the
10 third line in paragraph 94, beginning with the words:
11 "In an attempt to seise UNPROFOR's weapons, on 20th of July ABiH
12 attacked the compound of the UKRCOY with heavy machine-gun-fire and
13 hand-grenades. The second floor of the UKRCOY building was hit with a
14 heavy weapon which destroyed the first-aid station and medicine stock.
15 As fighting for the enclave continued, UNPROFOR Sector Sarajevo described
16 the situation in Zepa as of the 21st of July as critical."
17 And then in the footnote 140 we have the reference for this. And
18 now that we have reached this point, he goes on to say:
19 "ABiH made threats to kill Ukrainian soldiers, while VRS
20 continued shelling of ABiH positions." Footnote 141. "The ABiH
21 285th Brigade Commander Palic emphasised that a delegation of BHC
22 forward, Ukrainian Battalion," and so on and so forth, "should get to
24 I think that we can now see based on this that that was on the
25 20th of July, 1995. Thank you.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
2 MR. THAYER: Okay. Yeah, I just wanted to make sure because we
3 hadn't seen this paragraph before and that's why I was -- I thought I had
4 lost the trail. My question is - and it's just for the sake of making
5 sure we've got a clear understanding - is: Is the Defence's position
6 that when they refer to a BiH attack that this was an unprovoked attack
7 or a single start of an attack? I think that's an important issue to
8 have resolved in the context of this question.
9 I'm certainly prepared to deal with this on re-direct. There are
10 lots of documents I can use with the witness. But it will help clarify,
11 I think, now what the General's position is with respect to when he
12 describes a BiH attack on the 20th of July.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, you may deal with that in
15 It was a long time ago that you put a question to the witness.
16 You should repeat it, Mr. Tolimir.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I will repeat the
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Did the disarming of UNPROFOR on the 20th of July, 1995 -- was it
21 an event that you knew about? And did you and Bezruchenko inform the
22 Sarajevo command about it? How could it affect the civilian population,
23 bearing in mind that it wasn't the UNPROFOR who started attacking the
24 population? Thank you.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: If I'm not mistaken, this is a different question
1 than that you put to the witness earlier. But I will not interrupt. The
2 witness should answer, if possible.
3 THE WITNESS: To the specific question of did we know about this,
4 these developments - and this quite serious -- and let me say that it's
5 quite serious what's reported here in paragraph 94 - I cannot recall
6 whether we knew this -- had this information or not. I can state that we
7 would not -- based on our initial trip to Zepa, we were only at OP2, and
8 we did not go and were not permitted to go down to the village, as I
9 said, we were sent away. So we did not have firsthand reporting on this,
10 but it's possible, when we returned to Sarajevo, that we were made aware
11 of some of this. I don't recall the detail. And, again, when we
12 returned to Zepa, these kinds of concerns were not on the minds of the
13 Ukrainians that we -- this was not something that they were shouting to
14 us about and pointing fingers. All of us were -- had a different focus.
15 You referred earlier to the video. And, again, I would only --
16 and you said was this somehow in contravention of the agreement, and,
17 again, I restate what I told you, that we were not there, in our view, at
18 least, pursuant to that agreement. We were there understanding that
19 there had been some sort of a capitulation in general and that evacuation
20 was coming. And that was our purpose in being there, not in
21 implementation of points in that agreement. I just mention that because
22 that was once again mentioned, that agreement.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
24 Judge Nyambe has a question.
25 JUDGE NYAMBE: Actually just a clarification. Your answer right
1 now answers the first part of the question that General Tolimir asked
2 you. The second part was: How did it affect the civilian population,
3 bearing in mind that it wasn't the UNPROFOR who started attacking the
4 population. Could you try to answer that?
5 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, let me try to answer that. If I
6 understand the question, it is that how did the firing by the Armija onto
7 the Ukrainians affect the civilian population; is that the question I'm
8 meant to answer?
9 JUDGE NYAMBE: I think the question is how it could affect, not
10 how it affected.
11 THE WITNESS: How it could affect.
12 JUDGE NYAMBE: Yes.
13 THE WITNESS: It could be -- it could make the -- agitate the
14 population. It would be one more example of how the security in that
15 area had deteriorated. I'd have to look -- if we want to know about the
16 mental state of the population, of course we would have to bear in mind
17 when bombardment commenced, and I'd have to -- I've lost sight now of
18 where we are in the sequence, but one can also imagine that the
19 bombardment from the other side would have injected quite a bit of
20 anxiety as well.
21 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Did you, on the 16th during the first attack of the Muslims on
1 UNPROFOR, as we have seen that Bezruchenko wrote in his document, and
2 also during the attack on the 20th, did you see any shelling carried out
3 by VRS towards the Muslims, or did you see any sort of activity of the
4 VRS directed towards UNPROFOR or the Muslims, or did you receive any sort
5 of report about it? Thank you.
6 A. I can't speak to the developments of the 16th. And, again, I'm
7 going to restate my reporting and restate, General, that I have no reason
8 to dispute or challenge the record as its reported by Mr. Bezruchenko.
9 So if he reports a certain attack on a certain date, I have no reason to
10 dispute that. My contribution here -- or to affirm it. So I'd say
11 again, my contribution here is to try and be a witness for things that I
12 saw there in Zepa, and what we witnessed was -- the first date may have
13 been the 19th of July, when we were there, meeting with General Mladic,
14 and there were others there meeting too, was -- what we witnessed was and
15 heard was the commencement of artillery that we were rather sure was from
16 your side. And as we see from the report of Mr. Bezruchenko, the other
17 side didn't have artillery. They had two mortars, if my memory recalls,
18 from what I read here.
19 So we presume that that artillery that we heard was from your
20 side, and that would have been on the 19th. What happened on the 16th or
21 other dates, again, I'm reading Viktor's report as you are reading it,
22 and I have no basis to dispute what Viktor has in his report.
23 Q. Thank you. Could there have been any activity of the Muslims
24 towards the UNPROFOR which could be justified by what the Muslims did --
25 by what the Serbs did to the Muslims? Thank you.
1 A. General, I think I testified earlier, not very long ago, that any
2 attack by any party on UNPROFOR, including these attacks -- and I think I
3 just said that, reading this report, this is quite graphic and very
4 serious, these reports of attacks by Armija on UNPROFOR, and I think I
5 stated very, very clearly that these are all unacceptable. Including
6 these attacks. And not justifiable. And in violation of obligations.
7 All of those things.
8 Q. Thank you. We don't have more time to go into a more detailed
9 discussion about it.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed, Mr. Tolimir, time is always limited. We
11 are reaching the time for the second break. But I would like to ask you,
12 have you any idea how much time you will need for completion of your
13 cross-examination? For planning purposes.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. It's hard
15 to estimate right now, bearing in mind that we are spending lots of time
16 to minor -- discussing minor issues and me getting irrelevant answers.
17 I'm going to try to give you the estimate after the break. Probably I'm
18 going to drop some of my questions. Thank you.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, it's in your hands if you discuss
20 minor issues or relevant issues. You should focus, indeed, on relevant
22 I hope, Mr. Thayer, there's no other witness waiting.
23 MR. THAYER: Well, Mr. President, because of the realities of
24 time estimates, we have had a witness ready to go in case the
25 cross-examination went short. Given the colloquy, we'll release the
1 witness with the Trial Chamber's permission.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: That's fine. That was a very reasonable
4 We must have our second break now and resume quarter past 6.00.
5 --- Recess taken at 5.45 p.m.
6 --- On resuming at 6.17 p.m.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
8 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, just to inform
9 everyone in the courtroom that the Defence will do its best to complete
10 its cross-examination of this witness through the end of the day today.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
12 Mr. Thayer.
13 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to let the
14 Trial Chamber and the Defence know, from our calculations, they've asked
15 for 7 to 8 hours, I think they still have an hour left from that 8 hours,
16 given the manner of some of the cross-examination, I'm going to require
17 some time for re-examination. Right now I'd estimate about half on hour.
18 So I think either way we're very likely to go into tomorrow, so I just
19 didn't want to -- there to be any misunderstanding that it's got to be
20 done today. Because I don't think it's going to happen today. And I
21 just want to let the Defence know that from our perspective they've got
22 an hour that they've asked for at least, so we're in no rush.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would agree. I wouldn't expect that we could
24 finish today.
25 Regrettably, Mr. Joseph, you will have to come back tomorrow, but
1 it will be a quite short last session.
2 Mr. Tolimir, please continue.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. If we all
4 work together, we will do our best, as my Legal Advisor already
5 mentioned, to make this -- to complete with this in due course.
6 Can we now please see D56. This is a letter that the
7 War Presidency and the Zepa command sent to President Alija Izetbegovic.
8 Thank you.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. We see that the date on this letter is the 26th of July, 1995,
11 and it was sent at 8.45 in the evening, sent to the president of the
12 Presidency, Alija Izetbegovic, and it was signed by Zepa municipality
13 representatives and the command of the 285th Brigade. And I will read
14 from it:
15 "President, minister, the negotiations at Boksanica attended by
16 General Smith, the criminal Mladic, and Hamdija Torlak, the chairman of
17 Zepa municipality, Executive Committee ended this evening. Nothing was
18 agreed in these negotiations because General Smith did not bring the
19 agreement on the all-for-all exchange, but today I was informed by the
20 General Staff that the agreement on all-for-all exchange had been
21 accepted by our side and that General Smith had taken it with him.
22 General Smith stated in the presence of Hamdija Torlak that you were
23 seeking a few more concessions for the exchange to take place."
24 I won't read any further.
25 My question is this: Did you attend this meeting attended by
1 General Smith that Avdo Palic mentions in his letter to
2 Alija Izetbegovic? And thank you. Please try to be quick and to the
3 point. Just answer with a yes or no. And then when I put the next
4 question, you can say what it was that you want. Were you present or
5 not; yes or no? If you were, I will have an additional question; and if
6 not, then I'll just skip it.
7 A. I believe I might have attended. If this is the meeting I'm
8 thinking, I believe I might have been present for this meeting in Zepa.
9 Q. Thank you. Now, please take a look at the last sentence of this
10 letter. Actually, the last two sentences:
11 "We repeat," Palic comments, "that General Smith stated that you
12 did not agree to an all-for-all exchange and that you have not signed the
13 agreement. Please reply regarding this matter as soon as possible." And
14 then its signed with War Presidency and command of the
15 285th Light Brigade.
16 Did General Smith tell Torlak that Alija Izetbegovic had not
17 accepted the agreement on an all-for-all exchange?
18 A. I don't know. I don't recall whether General Smith told him that
19 or not. He might have or he might have just been stating to all
20 concerned his understanding.
21 Q. Thank you. Since you don't recall, can I refer you to this
22 telegram that was sent by Palic to Mr. Izetbegovic, and I won't have any
23 further questions regarding this. But could we now see D55,
24 paragraph 109.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Stop for a moment, please. Stop for a moment.
1 Mr. Tolimir, twice you said that this was signed by Avdo Palic. I don't
2 he see the name Avdo Palic anywhere on this document. I don't see a
3 signature. Can you help us with that?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We see
5 that its type-signed, Zepa municipality War Presidency. And if you
6 recall, that is those three members of the War Presidency. And then it
7 says the command of the 285th LB --
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I understand this is your interpretation of this
9 document. That might be right, but I'm just asking where you would see
10 the name of Avdo Palic. I don't see it, and I wanted to put that on the
11 record, because there's no signature and any indication that he himself
12 signed it or a member of the War Presidency. I don't know that. We
13 don't see it. That's all I want to --
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. This is an
15 e-mail telegram that was sent to Mr. Alija Izetbegovic. But you can
16 interpret it in any way you wish. But I believe that Avdo Palic is the
17 one who sent this. He was a member of the Presidency. And he addresses
18 the president and the minister with, Mr. President and minister. And, of
19 course, e-mail cannot be signed.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: There's no need to repeat that. I just wanted to
21 state for the record there's no name listed. Please continue with the
22 next document that you asked for.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I would like to tender
24 this document into evidence. And also if we can pull up D55 now,
25 paragraph 109.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I have a problem with this motion, with your
2 tendering, because the witness couldn't say anything about the content.
3 Mr. Smith might have conveyed this message or not. He was not sure if he
4 attended this meeting. I would suggest you do the same and put it to
5 General Smith when he will arrive and testify.
6 First Mr. Gajic then Mr. Thayer.
7 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I believe this has
8 already been admitted, and its a document under D56. That's how it
9 was --
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. That was the common understanding of
11 both parties.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. We see before us Bezruchenko's report, paragraph 109, where it
15 reads as follows:
16 "On the 26th of July, 1995, President Izetbegovic sent a message
17 to Palic demanding to put under control the soldiers who were going to
18 surrender. The message also contained a vague promise that an exchange
19 would be arranged."
20 And I'm now quoting from a portion that Mr. Bezruchenko singled
22 "There is information that a certain number of your soldiers is
23 moving towards the village with an intention to surrender. I don't know
24 if it is correct. Warn them about the danger and put them under control.
25 Negotiations about exchange are in progress. We have enough arguments to
1 obtain good terms of exchange because we keep a great number of their
2 prisoners, but we have to be careful about what we are doing," and so on
3 and so forth, signed Alija Izetbegovic.
4 Avdo Palic replied to this telegram, and I quote:
5 "Mr. President, we received both your letters and the agreement
6 that you sent. I ask you, and let this remain between you and me, are
7 you ready to exchange us, the people from Zepa, a total of 2.500 people
8 who have come from Srebrenica to Zepa, for all Chetniks?"
9 My question is this: In your conversations with Avdo Palic or
10 from them, were you able to conclude whether he wanted an evacuation both
11 of military or able-bodied men and civilians from Zepa?
12 A. I can't recall the exact conversation on this issue, but my
13 impression was that he was interested in an evacuation of both, that he
14 was. That was my clear impression.
15 Q. Very well. Now, tell us, please, based on the documents that
16 Mr. Bezruchenko presented here, can it be inferred that Alija Izetbegovic
17 prevented or wanted to pre-empt the arrival of soldiers to Zepa and their
19 A. General Tolimir, let me answer that question this way. And this
20 is very interesting to read Mr. Bezruchenko's report, and its an
21 interesting question. You, before the break, suggested that -- put into
22 the record a comment that I understood to be that my answers are less
23 than relevance, that they're perhaps irrelevant at times, and I really am
24 doing my best to be responsive here. This is quite interesting material
25 that is presented here, and it would be equally interesting to see
1 intercepts between Karadzic and his civilian and/or military leaders and
2 for me to comment on those. And maybe he would things with respect to
3 Serb intentions in Eastern Bosnia. And that would be interesting for me,
4 to see and to comment on it, and I might be able to infer a conclusion
5 about what Serb intentions were in Eastern Bosnia. I'm hear here as a
6 fact witness. If you want me to change my role as a expert witness and
7 give analysis and commentary, I can do that, but I've answered the
8 question based on my knowledge as a fact witness. Avdo Palic seemed to
9 me to be interested in this. What was going on in Sarajevo I had only
10 limited information about. It may be as you suggest. It may be that
11 President Izetbegovic was reluctant. Maybe it was for the reason that
12 there was still, for him, the question of what happened to the men in
13 Srebrenica. Or maybe it was some other interest. I don't know that. I
14 don't know for sure.
15 So I hope that answer is relevant. I'm certainly attempting to
16 be relevant and responsive.
17 Q. Thank you. What you have requested, to see, namely, the
18 communications of the Serb side, that's something that the Prosecutor I'm
19 sure can explore in his redirect.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now I would request that we pull up
21 document 65 ter 2438, page 9.
22 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
23 Q. While we are waiting for it to come up, that would be page 9 in
24 Serbian and 8 in English, a question for Mr. Harland for the
25 26th of July, 1995. And he, here, gives his own assessment, and I'm
1 referring to Mr. Harland, probably based on what he knew. And let me
2 just read the last four lines of the last paragraph where it says
3 "assessment." And then the fourth line from the bottom where it says:
4 "Sarajevo, however, has no particular interest in letting the
5 Serbs take Zepa without paying a price (a military price in terms of lost
6 life, and a political price in terms of the fallout from the cleansing
8 These are the words of Mr. Harland. Now, my question is this:
9 Can you tell us whether he wrote this based on some information that he
10 had either from Zepa or Sarajevo, and can you tell us what was the
11 understanding of this at UNPROFOR, because that's implied here?
12 A. Okay. Let me answer in this way: First, let me state the
13 obvious, that as with the report of Mr. Bezruchenko, this is the report
14 of Mr. Harland. I'm not Mr. Harland, so I can't answer definitively
15 about the basis for his assessment. That's number one.
16 Number two, the point that you are getting at is focused on
17 decision-making and tactics at the high level in Sarajevo, so it's
18 unlikely that the basis for him to write this about exacting a price
19 would have come from information based in Zepa. It would be logical
20 that -- because it's referring to high-level decision-making, that that
21 would be coming from -- the basis for that would be coming from Sarajevo.
22 And what was the understanding of this at UNPROFOR, the other
23 part of your question, the -- I think it's fairly clear, on its face,
24 what the report is stating. The report is suggesting that there might be
25 motives on the part of the Bosniak side at the high level that are
1 influencing and complicating the negotiations on the prisoner exchange.
2 And as we saw on the prior thing, the view from Zepa was of desperation
3 with respect to their fate of what would happen to these guys who were on
4 the ground, surrounded.
5 Q. Thank you. Now, please tell us, did you and Mr. Bezruchenko
6 receive any information on where the Muslim army was going to go, bearing
7 in mind that they did not want to sign the agreement and they did not
8 want to hand over their weapons in accordance with the decision made by
9 the War Presidency? Thank you.
10 A. The answer to this question is, no, I do not recall us, that is,
11 Mr. Bezruchenko or myself, receiving any information about where the
12 Armija might be going, Muslim army as you call. No. We did not have
13 that -- I don't recall information about that.
14 Q. Thank you. Were you in possession of any information about what
15 happened later on to the able-bodied men from Zepa? I mean by this, did
16 UNPROFOR have any such information? Thank you.
17 A. I am not sure exactly what information UNPROFOR had at the time.
18 As we all later learned, much later, the -- a great number of the Muslim
19 men who were hiding there fled across the Drina River into Serbia and
20 they were interned in camps in Serbia and survived until the end of the
21 war, thus sparing them the fate of what happened to their brethren in
23 Q. Thank you.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now let us take a look a D55,
25 page 35, paragraph 123. Thank you to e-court. Okay. Now we are waiting
1 to see it. And when with see it, we will see what the Muslim sources
2 say. And then I will pose my question. Thank you.
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
4 Q. So this is D55 again, Bezruchenko's report, where, on page 35,
5 paragraph 123, he lists the sources, the BiH Army sources, which said
6 what happened after Muslim soldiers refused to sign the agreement. I
7 quote paragraph 123. You have it now on the screen. I quote:
8 "According to BiH Army documents, on the 30th of July, VRS
9 launched an attack from the direction of Bukovik, broke the Defences of
10 the 285th Brigade, and seized dominant hill Zlovrh. Chief of Staff of
11 the 385th Brigade Ramo Cardakovic ordered the elements of the Brigade to
12 withdraw in the direction of Srebrenica to the area called Vukolin Stan.
13 After all soldiers of the 285th Brigade assembled in the area,
14 Ramo Cardakovic suggested that the Brigade should move in the direction
15 of Poljanica, where it should cross the Drina and surrender to the
16 Serbian forces. Up to 800 soldiers led by Ramo Cardakovic and assistant
17 for security Salih Hasanovic crossed into Serbia and surrendered to SRJ
18 authorities. The main body of the brigade split into several groups, and
19 each was acting on its own, without centralised command. A group of
20 about 200 men under Hurem Sahic succeeded to reach Kladanj across
21 VRS-held territory on the 2nd of August. Another group of about 50 men,
22 originally from Visegrad, under Samir Cocalic set off for Gorazde or
23 Priboj in Serbia. Another group of up to 300 soldiers, originally from
24 Srebrenica, who arrived to Zepa after Srebrenica collapsed went back to
25 Srebrenica hoping to break through to Tuzla along the same route as used
1 by the 28th Division. Yet another group about a company size under
2 Sefik Zejnilovic went in the direction of Susica in the area of Crni
3 Potok, where it intended to stay for a long time. This plan was based on
4 the fact that there was a big cache of food hidden in the area. A small
5 group of about seven men crossed the VRS-held territory and joined the
6 BiH Army 243rd Motorised Brigade in the zone of responsibility of the 2nd
7 Corps. Yet another small group of 14 soldiers reached Gorazde on the 3rd
8 of August."
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I would like to interrupt you at
10 this point in time. This is a very time-consuming conduct of your
11 cross-examination. You are reading a long part of a document written by
12 another person, by Mr. Bezruchenko. You should put questions to this
13 witness. He is now available for you for your cross-examination. Put
14 questions, question after question. Not reading such a long text. He
15 can't recall that and I can't recall that. Please continue and put
16 questions to the witness.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Joseph, according to this report written by Bezruchenko and
20 also based on the Muslim documents, it is possible to say that the whole
21 brigade was evacuated to the territories outside the Zepa enclave? Thank
23 A. We should be very precise about our language here. You raised
24 the -- my -- what you termed reluctance to use evacuation earlier with
25 respect to the women and children, and I'm going to suggest, General,
1 that evacuation is completely inappropriate here. We should use the word
2 "escape." And according to this information - and I congratulate my
3 colleague Mr. Bezruchenko; this seems to be very serious research that he
4 did - of course, he and I couldn't have known any of this at the time,
5 but this is quite interesting detail, and it suggests, as I testified
6 earlier, that the bulk of the men of Zepa survived and escaped. Had they
7 not succeeded and had they fallen to custody of the Serb forces, well,
8 fate might have dealt them a much less kind result.
9 Q. Thank you. Since we don't have much time, can you just answer my
10 question. This is a report based on Muslim sources. According to this
11 report, was a single soldier left within the Zepa enclave? Thank you.
12 A. According to this report and the lengthy paragraph that you took
13 the time to read, it would appear that they fled and left and escaped.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Can we now have D111.
15 Thank you.
16 This is D111. It contains mostly of names and numbers. Those
17 are the persons who crossed over to Serbia. I would now like e-court to
18 move from one page to another, going from page to page.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. And while they're doing that, I'm going to ask the question --
21 the witness the following: Did the UNPROFOR after the end of its affairs
22 in Zepa make contact with Serbia in order to see what happened to the
23 soldiers who surrendered to Serbia? Thank you.
24 A. That -- I don't know the answer to either. I believe that there
25 were diplomats who were involved in that, and there was communication
1 with Belgrade about that on the diplomatic side.
2 Q. Thank you. Since Bezruchenko's report mention about 1.371
3 persons who left Zepa to Serbia and other locations, can you tell me, did
4 you have any information on UNPROFOR visiting other locations besides
5 Serbia in order to find out what happened to the soldiers who left the
6 Zepa enclave and arrived at other zones and areas? Thank you.
7 A. I don't have that information. And that activity, of course,
8 would be dependent on what had been reported to high levels in UNPROFOR
9 from diplomats who would have had knowledge about what was going on in
11 Q. Since we only have five minutes left, I would like you to tell us
12 the following: When you and Mr. Bezruchenko proposed demilitarisation of
13 Zepa, what exactly did you have in mind? Thank you.
14 A. Trying to answer concisely and briefly, first of all, it was
15 Mr. Harland and I who proposed that, and what we had in mind was a
16 proposal to avert the final collapse of Zepa and avert what might be a
17 military assault that would leave a lot of casualties and/or what
18 transpired, which is the complete -- the mass movement of the population
19 and all the potentials that go along with either of those. And so that's
20 what we had in mind in terms of our objective. In terms of the way it
21 was written, it was written quite mindful of the mindset of both the
22 Serbs and the Bosnians, Bosniaks, Muslims, as you wish, and that what the
23 crucial component was contained not in the terms of the agreement but in
24 the communication that the UN would have with each side and that is
25 specific consequences for the Bosnian/Bosniak side if they refused, and
1 specific consequences for the Serb side if they refused.
2 Q. Thank you. Thank you.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now have 65 ter 2438.
4 Page 13 in English and 15 in Serbian. This is a report dated
5 19th of July, 1995, entitled, "Proposal for Demilitarisation of Zepa". I
6 would like us to see the page containing actual recommendations. Thank
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. So while I still have a few minutes left, I would like to ask you
10 the following: Why did you, in this proposal, write that you would show
11 this proposal first to the Muslim side, and then, if they agreed to it,
12 only later to the Serb side?
13 A. I can't answer precisely. Not because I don't want to, but
14 because it's hard for me now to remember exactly what we were thinking.
15 Probably, to hazard a thought about it, we thought it would be more
16 likely that we would get a yes from the Bosnian side and that therefore
17 it would be -- and plus we had -- the communication was easier, but I
18 think probably what we were thinking, we would get a yes there. And that
19 with a yes from one side, the prospects for the agreement ultimately
20 getting a yes would be greater. Ultimately getting a yes from both
22 Q. Thank you.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now have page 2 so that we
24 can see the threats directed at both sides.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. You say here that if the Serbian side does not accept
2 negotiations, then pursuant to the relevant resolutions, enumerated by
3 you, they would be open to the NATO air-strikes. I think that that's
4 what you say in the last sentence of the last paragraph. Yes, now we can
5 see it. That's the last paragraph in Serbian under "Recommendation and
6 Authority," where you say:
7 "Should the Bosnian government accept the agreement and the
8 Bosnian Serbs refuse, Pale will be informed that ..." and then I skip a
9 bit "... Pale will be subject to NATO air-strikes."
10 So my question is: Why do you threaten with the NATO air-strikes
11 if the VRS accepted to demilitarise the zone? And that was something
12 that General Mladic talked about in February 1995 and also sent a letter
13 to the UNPROFOR basically to the same effect. Thank you.
14 A. If I could -- I don't know if -- it's probably not permitted, but
15 what I would ask back to the witness is: Are we speaking about a point,
16 and I believe we are, where Serb forces are now in Zepa? I think that's
17 what we're speaking about. And I believe I testified yesterday that the
18 previous agreement, Halilovic-Mladic, about demilitarisation had been
19 completely superseded by events on the ground there in Zepa, also had
20 been overtaken by the fact that Srebrenica had fallen just a couple of
21 weeks prior. So we're talking about a completely different context here,
22 General Tolimir. We're talking about a context in which your forces are
23 already, I would presume at the time of this writing, inside the
24 boundaries of the safe area. And what David and I are trying to do is
25 come up with something at the last minute that could avert a potential
1 catastrophe. So that's -- that would explain that. And the use of NATO
2 air-power was already authorised by the security counsel, as you know.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Nyambe has a question.
4 JUDGE NYAMBE: I'm trying to go back to the question. The
5 question was:
6 "So my question is: Why do you threaten with the NATO
7 air-strikes if the VRS accepted to demilitarise the zone? ... that was
8 something ..."
9 Okay we end there. I think that your answer falls short of
10 answering that particular aspect in the context of your own proposal with
11 Mr. Harland, at that point when you were drafting that proposal.
12 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour. And let me try to find the
13 actual proposal and then fully answer your question.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] If you allow me, while the witness
15 is looking for the portion he's interested in, I would like to call a
16 document. 1D609, and just to --
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No, no, no, please stop.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] -- show page 4 --
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No, no, no, these are the last minutes. We have
20 a document on the screen and this question was related to this document.
21 Mr. Thayer.
22 MR. THAYER: I think the first page we just need to go back, just
23 to verify where -- I don't know if he wants to start on the first page,
24 but I think we're looking at the second page of the agreement, so ...
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We should do that.
1 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, let me try to answer your question.
2 If you're wondering why -- or if I'm not being responsive to the
3 accused's question of why we would, in our proposal, why would we
4 incorporate the threat of NATO air-strikes for demilitarisation when the
5 Serbs had already accepted demilitarisation, if that's the thrust of the
6 question posed to me by the accused. Is that the thrust of the question
7 posed to me by the accused?
8 JUDGE NYAMBE: I think let's go back to the transcript to get the
9 exact question asked by the accused. Right.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And could we also have the relevant
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No, please wait. Now Judge Nyambe is putting a
14 JUDGE NYAMBE: Yes, you can find the question on page 75,
15 lines 23 to 25, into 76, 1.
16 THE WITNESS: I don't know how to access that.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No, it's not possible. It should be read out
18 again. The Registrar will try to put it on the screen. The sentence
19 begins with: "So my question is: Why ..." This is page 75, line 23.
20 It's on the screen now. Judge Nyambe is referring to this question.
21 THE WITNESS: Okay. So trying to -- my best to respond to the
22 question why do David Harland and I threaten the Serbs with NATO
23 air-strikes if the VRS accepted to demilitarise, I think we need the word
24 "had" in there. If, I think, the accused is suggesting "had," if the --
25 I think, if I understand the question correctly, what the accused is
1 asking me is: Why do you threaten us with air-strikes when we had
2 already accepted the demilitarisation? I think that's the question the
3 accused is posing, and I can readily answer that.
4 Because the circumstances had completely changed, and the Serbs
5 had, in the past tense, accepted the condition of the continued
6 existence, the conditioned presence of having this Muslim presence in
7 Eastern Bosnia not far from the Serbian border. They had accepted that
8 in the past under circumstances in -- under the condition that that area
9 would be demilitarised. They had accepted that. Those circumstances had
10 completely changed by July of 1995. The Serbs had, by their movements,
11 the Serbs had gone into the safe area by force and were poised, had
12 already begun, if my understanding of the sequence of events, were
13 already attacking the village, forcing, and about to force the
14 capitulation. So to be saying, Well, we accept it, why are you
15 threatening us, we accept a demilitarisation. These circumstances have
16 completely changed. There is no longer demilitarised -- or potentially
17 demilitarised, in this context to the previous, because now we have Serb
18 forces inside. Now there are Serb forces inside attacking or essentially
19 poised to seise this territory.
20 So the previous agreement was one which was written on the
21 understanding that this territory would remain in Muslim hands. And now
22 we are talking about a situation where Serb forces are there ready to
23 vanquish the population that's there. And so it's in those circumstances
24 that David and I, fearing the worst, fearing that this continued -- a
25 final military assault could be a disaster and ultimately end up in a
1 Srebrenica situation with a mass exodus of the population, as well with
2 all that goes along with that, and so David and I in that context,
3 knowing that this is what befalls, this is the fate that befalls this
4 area, are saying, What could possibly avert that? How could we possibly
5 avert that? Okay, we know it's very important for the Serbs to get this
6 place really and truly demilitarised. Okay. We offer them that and we
7 tell -- same with the Bosnian side, and we have this very short
8 agreement, very clear, very serious and to the point about that, and we
9 say to each side, Here it is, here you go, last chance; and if you don't
10 accept Bosnians, here are the consequences for you; and if you don't
11 accept Serbs, here are the consequences for you. And that's it. And
12 then the one who doesn't accept, we know who's at fault. If it is
13 accepted, we have potentially averted a catastrophe.
14 JUDGE NYAMBE: Do you recall the date of your draft?
15 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, I don't recall the date. But I think
16 it's -- it's incorporated, I believe, in the document of the
17 19th of July. But that's my resorting to these reports.
18 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you very much for your answer.
19 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you indeed as well. We have to adjourn.
21 We are very late now, and I apologise to the staff, the interpreters,
22 court recorder, and all the other staff present here. We have to
24 And for your final questions, you may continue tomorrow,
25 Mr. Tolimir.
1 We resume tomorrow in the afternoon in this courtroom at 2.15.
2 We adjourn.
3 [The witness stands down]
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.10 p.m.,
5 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 3rd day
6 of March, 2011, at 2.15 p.m.