1 Monday, 11 April 2011
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.21 p.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon to everybody. Welcome back.
6 If there are no procedural matters, the witness should be brought
7 in. No, there are procedure matters.
8 Mr. Thayer.
9 MR. THAYER: Good afternoon, Mr. President. Good afternoon,
10 Your Honours. Good afternoon to Defence. Good afternoon, everyone.
11 This should not interfere with the witness being brought in.
12 It's very brief. I just wanted to announce --
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In that case, the witness should be brought.
14 Yes, okay.
15 MR. THAYER: I just wanted to announce formally, I'd notified the
16 parties and the Registry, I think, by e-mail last week that we will move
17 to withdraw -- or we are moving to withdraw, orally, Witness 52. He was
18 scheduled to testify via videolink next week. We've continued to review
19 our witness list, pursuant to the Trial Chamber's instructions to do so,
20 and the witness is somebody that we considered not essential. We thought
21 we could save some time, and we have decided to withdraw that witness.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
23 [The witness takes the stand]
24 WITNESS: MOMIR NIKOLIC [Resumed]
25 [Witness answered through interpreter]
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon, Mr. Nikolic. Welcome back to the
3 I have to remind --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I have to remind you that the affirmation to tell
6 the truth you made at the beginning of your testimony last week still
8 Mr. Tolimir, please continue your cross-examination.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
10 I would like to greet everybody present in the courtroom. May
11 this day and the whole trial end in accordance with God's will and not my
13 Cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir: [Continued]
14 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
15 Q. I would like to greet Mr. Nikolic.
16 A. Thank you, General, sir.
17 Q. We finished off last time with my promise to discuss the
18 Green Order or, more precisely, the activities of UNPROFOR against the
19 VRS in and around Srebrenica. My question is: Do you know that the
20 UNPROFOR soldiers in Srebrenica received an order to engage in combat the
21 units of the VRS on the 8th, 9th, and 10th of July? Thank you.
22 A. I'm not aware of any such orders or, more precisely, any orders
23 that the DutchBat would have received. And I also don't know this order.
24 Q. Thank you. At 3457 - that's the transcript page - of the
25 9th of July --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Kindly slow down, please.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. -- Mr. Franken, the deputy commander of DutchBat in Srebrenica,
4 said, quote --
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, the interpreter asked you to slow
6 down, especially while reading.
7 Please continue.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. I shall repeat the quote. Well, I've already said it:
11 "Yes, we are at war with the VRS, and we opened fire together
12 with the Muslim army."
13 That's when I asked him: Was it your mandate to destroy the
14 weapons that belonged to the VRS, and was it your mandate to go to war
15 against the VRS after you received your so-called Green Order?
16 And at page 3484, line 1 to 3, he answered:
17 "No, it wasn't part of the mandate. However, my mandate was
18 significantly changed at the moment when the UN ordered me to defend
19 Srebrenica. That was one of the reasons why I issued the Green Order,
20 and in that sense, he did."
21 My question: Bearing in mind what the deputy commander said, and
22 that was the deputy commander of Mr. Karremans, the person who commanded
23 the units who were in combat against the VRS on the 8th, 9th, and 10th,
24 could that be the reason why the UN soldiers, on the 8th, 9th, and 10th,
25 were fleeing, trying to reach the VRS territory, what you then recorded
1 in those two official notes that we've seen earlier? Thank you.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: For the record, the 9th of July, 2010, is the
3 wrong date. Mr. Franken testified on the 30th of June and the
4 1st and 6th of July, not on the 9th of July.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I
6 apologise if I misspoke.
7 So he said that he issued the Green Order on the 9th of July, and
8 I probably misread it and thinking that that was the day of his
9 testimony. So he issued the order on the 9th of July.
10 I'm going to repeat the question for the witness.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It's not necessary. The witness understood your
13 Sir, do you recall the question of Mr. Tolimir?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Would you please answer the question.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 General, sir, I can only assume -- I can only assume all those
18 various reasons, including the reason that you just mentioned.
19 I think that the first day of my testimony, when I was answering
20 your question -- your questions, I also answered these questions: What
21 were the reasons because of which a part of the members of the DutchBat
22 crossed over to the Serbian side. I agree that the situation in
23 Srebrenica, in those days when the combat was going on, was very
24 difficult. I also agree that the DutchBat was in a very difficult
25 situation. There was no way out for them, militarily speaking.
1 Now I'm telling you my own opinion. I also agree that,
2 militarily speaking, they had to opt for one of the sides. They were in
3 Srebrenica. They were under pressure from the Muslims. And I'm
4 convinced that they simply had to choose one of the sides and then act
5 probably also against their own will because of the circumstances.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic. Did you maybe notice that Mr. Franken,
8 at transcript 3484, also said that it wasn't part of their mandate, to
9 open fire on the VRS and act together with the Muslim army? Will you
10 consider that this is justified; that UNPROFOR, as a peacekeeping force,
11 should act against one of the warring sides? Thank you.
12 A. I have a rough idea about what was the mandate of the DutchBat in
13 Srebrenica; not only the DutchBat, also all the previous peacekeeping
14 forces that were there. I do not consider that their task that we are
15 talking about now was something that was defined within their regular
16 mandate. However, you have to agree with me that that situation was an
17 extraordinary situation. And now I can only assume again -- I do not
18 have facts, I cannot prove anything, but I assume that the DutchBat
19 simply acted in accordance with the new situation. That is my opinion,
20 the opinion of a person who took part in all this.
21 Q. Thank you. I understand you, but I want to ask you something
22 else. Did you think all this then, while you were at the position, when
23 your soldiers were under the fire of UNPROFOR and the Muslims, or is it
24 something that you only think now? And, generally speaking, can it be
25 said that the situation which arises is something that can give the right
1 to change the mandate of the United Nations forces? Thank you.
2 A. I'm absolutely against anybody taking the right to fight the
3 forces that I belong to. That's quite obvious. But at the same time, I
4 worked with them, I spoke to them, and up until that moment, up until
5 that extraordinary situation, as far as I know, the UNPROFOR forces did
6 not take one or the other side. They had problems with both sides. They
7 had problems with the Muslims and the Serbs. And they did not take
8 sides. So it was only this time. I emphasise that this was an
9 exception; this was an extraordinary situation. They found themselves in
10 that situation, and that's when they took sides. I do not justify that,
11 I don't think it was good of them to do that, and I don't think that they
12 should have done it.
13 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us, did those 30 soldiers who fled to
14 the territory of Republika Srpska, did they see for themselves that their
15 command wanted to send them to fight one side against the other? Did
16 they say to both us and Muslims, Please do not force us to go and fight
17 for one side and against the other? Thank you.
18 A. The last time, I partially answered that question. I spoke to
19 those people who fled and crossed over to the Serbian side. They told me
20 why they did it, why they crossed over, and it is obvious that the main
21 reason for them crossing to the Serbian side was the fact that they were
22 threatened. They found themselves between the two warring sides.
23 And another important aspect is the fact that the Muslim forces
24 prevented them to withdraw from their observation posts, regardless of
25 the combat situation. So they simply used this new situation, the fact
1 that the Serbian forces advanced towards some of the observation posts,
2 and most of them then fled over to the territory controlled by the VRS.
3 Q. Thank you. I would like to ask you to answer my questions in a
4 brief and succinct way. We are not defending UNPROFOR here. Whatever
5 happened, whoever is competent to do that is going to decide what
6 actually happened.
7 My following question is: Do you know that not only UNPROFOR,
8 but NATO as well, engaged the VRS in combat in Srebrenica? Thank you.
9 A. Yes, I know that.
10 Q. Thank you. Did you and your brigade and the units around
11 Srebrenica know that NATO was preparing a wider attack against the VRS
12 and that in Srebrenica they were about to openly side with the Muslim
13 side? Thank you.
14 A. The information that reached my brigade, and me personally, was
15 that NATO was about to engage the forces of Republika Srpska which were
16 in and around the enclave, although mostly at that moment they were
17 already inside the enclave. I don't know and I did not have any
18 information about how many air-strikes they were talking about. What we
19 did know was that the NATO air forces were about to engage our positions,
20 our materiel, our tanks, and everything else that was within the enclave
21 on the axis of the attack.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we take a look at D137 in
23 e-court. That's a document that speaks about the intention of NATO to
24 act against the positions of the VRS.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. And while we are waiting for that: Did you know that the Muslims
2 were doing whatever they could to provoke NATO into action, but at the
3 same time that they were trying to blame the Serb side for that? Did you
4 have any information on that, any indicia? Thank you.
5 A. I cannot answer in affirmative. I really don't know what the
6 Muslims were doing in order to provoke those air-strikes. If you really
7 want me to answer, I have to say I don't know, or, rather, what I did
8 know, if that is sufficient --
9 Q. It's all right. It's sufficient for me that you told me that you
10 didn't know.
11 Now, let us take a look at this document. "Srebrenica's Death
12 Fields," documentary film of the radio/television of Serbia, broadcast on
13 the 9th of July, 2010. And this is the transcript of a part of the
14 conversation broadcast on the Serbian television on the 9th of July.
15 Narrator: "On the evening of the 10th of July, a meeting between
16 the Dutch Battalion commander and representatives of the 28th Division
17 was held in the post office building in Srebrenica?"
18 Hakija Meholjic, member of the Srebrenica War Presidency, 1993 to
19 1995, said:
20 "In the meantime, Karremans arrived, requesting a meeting. I
21 told him, Five more minutes so we can first agree on everything
22 ourselves, because we have no reason to trust you anymore. We arranged
23 everything. Then we received him for a talk. And he said that NATO
24 informed him that a death zone has been set around Srebrenica for
25 tomorrow at half past 5.00. Everything that moves on two, four, or a
1 hundred feet, or on a hundred wheels, or on one wheel, or on two wheels,
2 that it will be destroyed, that it will be destroyed."
3 So that's what Hakija Meholjic said. Did you know
4 Hakija Meholjic, the member of the Srebrenica War Presidency during the
5 war in Srebrenica? He was a member of the War Presidency. Did you know
6 him and did you know this? Did you have any information on this? Thank
8 A. I did not know Hakija Meholjic in person, but I knew him by name.
9 Q. Thank you. Now, you can see here that he tells about what he had
10 been told by Mr. Karremans; that he had been informed that everything
11 will be destroyed around Srebrenica. Did you receive similar information
12 or information to that effect from your own intelligence sources? Thank
14 A. The way you read it from this article and in this context -- in
15 relation to this context, I personally had no such information, no
16 information that a NATO attack was imminent against the Serb side and the
17 Serbian materiel and technical equipment. Now, that anything that was
18 moving was to be destroyed, I really had no such information. And this
19 is the first time ever that I actually see that there was an interview of
20 this type and that this information was provided. That there was a death
21 zone to be in place around Srebrenica, I had no such information. Thank
23 Q. Would you please take a look at the second paragraph to see what
24 the other person who participated in this programme has to say,
25 Hasan Nuhanovic, the UN interpreter in Srebrenica. He says the
2 "The Serbian side was issued an ultimatum to withdraw by
3 0600 hours to their starting positions, in other words, to Zeleni Jadar,
4 to go back six kilometres or they would be bombarded at 0600 hours. They
5 said that the number of aircraft that will come for the air-strike, they
6 told me, would be between 40 and 70. That is what they said."
7 And then the narrator or the journalist says:
8 "Well, the air-strikes did not start at 0600 hours, but rather at
9 1400 hours. The number of aircraft attacking the positions of the
10 Army of Republika Srpska was not 40, but two."
11 My question is this: Did you know Mr. Hasan Nuhanovic, this
12 person mentioned here, who had this to say about the air-strikes?
13 A. Yes, I knew this person. He was an interpreter, and he attended
14 the various meetings which I attended as well.
15 Q. Thank you. Did he issue this ultimatum through you, or was it
16 done some other way, as he mentions in this interview with him?
17 A. I don't recall that I had anything to do with the ultimatum that
18 had to do with the withdrawal of forces to Zeleni Jadar.
19 Q. Thank you. Later on, did you find out, did you learn, whether
20 NATO had actually launched air-strikes, as it says here, and that two
21 aircraft were used for that, and that it started at 1400 hours? Thank
23 A. The NATO aircraft did engage; they did carry out air-strikes
24 during the day. I know that the positions of the Serb forces were under
25 attack, as well as the tank forces, which were within the enclave. They
1 were targets of these air-strikes. What I did see was that there were
2 two or three aircraft that were involved, not more.
3 And I recall another thing. I recall that the forces in the
4 Pribicevic Sector actually tried to down the aircraft. They opened fire
5 on them. I think this was the 2-S system. That's what it was called,
6 something to that effect.
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic. Now, I asked you a little earlier
8 whether you knew what the Muslims did in order to instigate NATO to bomb.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we take a look at D20,
10 paragraph 3, page 58. So paragraph 3, 58, please.
11 This is a debriefing. We don't have it before us yet. I won't
12 start reading out until you actually have the text before you.
13 We need paragraph 3.58, 3.58. Thank you. Could you please show
14 paragraph 3.58 for the Trial Chamber. Thank you.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Now we have it before us, and let's see what it says:
17 "On Monday, the 10th of July, the commander of OP-M received
18 orders from the C-Company commander to co-ordinate with the BiH. That
19 evening, fighting broke out among the BiH soldiers, resulting in dead and
20 wounded. At around noon on Tuesday, 11th of July, a number of shells
21 struck the area near the armoured vehicles. The abandoned OP was also
22 shelled. Chaos prevailed among the BiH. Internal fighting broke out
23 once again. That evening, the OP crew were permitted to leave because
24 they were willing to take the wife and children of a local BiH leader
25 with them. When the two BiH soldiers with the anti-tank weapons
1 attempted to prevent their departure, they were shot in the head by the
2 BiH leader. This led, once again, to fighting between the BiH soldiers.
3 En route to Potocari, they picked up many refugees. They came under fire
4 on two more occasions. At 0130 hours on Wednesday, 12th of July, they
5 arrived in Potocari, where they joined the B-Company positions to the
6 south of the compound."
7 Now, I read this out because I'd like to put a question to you.
8 Did you know that there was fighting amongst the Muslims themselves, that
9 there were incidents, and that some soldiers were even killed on such
10 occasions? Did you know of that? Thank you.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think it would be fair to the witness to tell
12 him what you did read from. You just said, "This is a debriefing," but
13 it's a lengthy document and you should tell the witness who is the author
14 of it and what kind of debriefing this is.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 Can we show the first page of this document for the witness. And
17 in the meantime, I will tell him as you instructed.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. As you can see, it says here that this is a report based on the
20 debriefing on Srebrenica, and it was done in Assen on the
21 4th of October, 1995. This is a report by the soldiers in Srebrenica,
22 members of UNPROFOR who were deployed in Srebrenica during the events.
23 And in this debriefing they provided their own statements and recounted
24 the developments there.
25 Now, I just read out a portion of this report that related to the
1 10th, 11th, and 12th. Thank you.
2 And my question was -- and I believe that the witness was aware
3 of this because he had heard of this, because he was in contact with some
4 of these people. Thank you.
5 A. I will be as precise as I can be.
6 At the time of the events, I did not know what was going on, nor
7 could I have. I didn't know what was happening between the UNPROFOR
8 members and the Muslim soldiers. Later on, I did hear of the in-fighting
9 in the BiH ranks and the fighting between -- the clashes between the
10 BiH soldiers and the UNPROFOR members. Later on, I also heard that there
11 had been a person killed and that a transport across the Yellow Bridge
12 was organised to take out the body of this soldier who had been killed.
13 Of course, I learnt of all of this later on.
14 But what I clearly recall is that at the time when the operation
15 began, up until the fall of the enclave, I was prohibited -- and I don't
16 know about others, but I was prohibited from getting in touch with the
17 DutchBat forces, and that they never requested a meeting with the
18 Serb side. That's what I clearly recall.
19 As for the other matters that you mentioned, the clashes, the
20 wounding, the killing of this soldier, I learnt of that later on. But at
21 the time of the events themselves, I had no idea of what was going on.
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic.
23 Now I would like to read to you D20. That's on page 46, the same
24 document, the debriefing, paragraph 4.13. That deals with activities of
25 the BiH Army during the attack on the enclave, and this, too, is based on
1 the debriefing on Srebrenica.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we see paragraph 4.13.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My apologies, General, sir, but I
4 did not have the B/C/S, the translation of this document, before me, so I
5 could not read it out for myself. I couldn't follow what was being said.
6 Q. Well, no, there is no translation, but that's why I will read
7 this out to you. That will be the translation.
8 So I'll read this paragraph:
9 "BiH soldiers, complete with blue caps or blue hats, came within
10 a distance of 15 metres from one of the observation posts. They opened
11 fire from this position in the direction of the BSA front-line,
12 resembling UN personnel so that it seemed as if the UN had opened fire.
13 In this way, they attempted to draw fire from the BSA on the OP and thus
14 involve DutchBat in combat actions."
15 End of quote of paragraph 4.13. I've read it out because we
16 don't have a translation. Thank you.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
18 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I just ask if we could see the page
19 in its entirety. I don't know if there's a particular date or
20 time-period that's attached to this paragraph. I just wanted to see,
21 because we got the list too late to be able to grab the documents before
22 court. Thank you.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Are you able to figure out the time-frame?
24 The heading -- headline of this part is: "Misuse of Uniforms,"
25 and I think it seems to be a kind of summary of different events at
1 different dates, so that we can't figure out that at the moment. That
2 may be checked at a later time.
3 Sir, Mr. Tolimir, now put your question to the witness, please.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is Exhibit D20.
5 It had already been disclosed to the Prosecution earlier, and it has
6 already been admitted into evidence. This relates to Srebrenica, and
7 paragraph 4.13 relates to --
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We have heard all this. Please continue and put
9 a question to the witness.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, perhaps I should tell this
11 for the witness's benefit.
12 What was voiced here by the Prosecutor was doubts about whether
13 this related to the events in Srebrenica, so let me put this question to
14 the witness.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Now, Witness, did you ever hear that Muslim soldiers would put on
17 UNPROFOR uniforms and pretending or resembling UNPROFOR members in order
18 to actually draw fire and provoke UNPROFOR action against Serbs? Thank
20 A. Your Honours, I will try to describe exactly what this is a
21 reference to, and I think that will make it clearer.
22 It is true; namely, what Mr. Tolimir has mentioned is true to the
23 extent that the Muslim forces -- but I have to say that this was actually
24 the case throughout the time when UNPROFOR came to the protected zone or
25 protected area of Srebrenica, so from the very start.
1 So now let me talk about the beginning and the way things worked.
2 The UNPROFOR forces organised, and they organised defences within the
3 enclave. I don't have the map before me, but I did have the names
4 earlier, I had seen them. There were 10 check-points that they kept
5 under control. Most of them were on elevated -- elevations around
6 Srebrenica, dominant positions around Srebrenica.
7 Now, Muslims kept taking up position between these check-points,
8 between two check-points, for instance, on the ground, and from those
9 positions they provoked the Serbian side. They opened fire on them, in
10 that way provoking the Serb sides to respond to their fire. This -- and
11 when I say "fire," I mean mortar fire, infantry weapons fire. But I
12 don't recall that before the conflict itself they had ever used the
13 peacekeeping forces' uniforms. I don't recall there ever being any talk
14 about that, this kind of abuse, the abuse of the uniform. But the abuse
15 of the check-points, that was something that we discussed.
16 So after the attack, on those critical days when the Serb forces
17 entered the enclave, it is possible that in those days and in that
18 situation they had also gotten hold of uniforms, because at that time
19 some of those check-points had already been abandoned and the equipment
20 of the DutchBat forces that had been kept there remained there. So it is
21 possible, and I see that as the only possibility, that when the DutchBat
22 soldiers withdrew from those check-points, that they actually seized
23 those uniforms and then used them. So that's all I would know about this
24 particular abuse.
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic, for clarifying this.
1 Now, can I refer you to paragraph 4.14, where it describes how
2 Muslim soldiers would frequently wear civilian clothes and then they
3 would put on uniforms and then they would go back to civilian clothes and
4 so on.
5 So we can see here that it says:
6 "There were also instances that BiH Army soldiers could not be
7 identified as personnel, military personnel, because DutchBat personnel
8 had recognised some people who had mingled in civilian clothing among the
9 refugees moving from Srebrenica to Potocari or when they were on the
10 compound in Potocari. Local women known to be members of the BiH were
11 also seen later in civilian clothing."
12 Thank you.
13 So my question is: Did you know -- did you have any information
14 to the effect that Muslim forces, for the most part, moved in uniforms in
15 order to show to the UNPROFOR forces that there were no -- that there was
16 no military personnel in the enclaves?
17 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: This is what we heard the
18 accused say.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I assume that, by this question,
20 you asked me if I had information that members of the 28th Division wore
21 civilian clothing. The interpretation I had was "military clothing," but
22 I think it has to do with them wearing civilian clothing.
23 I had information, as well as the Dutch Battalion, not only in
24 this phase during the phase of the attack on the enclave, but also in the
25 prior phase when there was no indication of any attacks, when we still
1 had the provocations that I spoke about in my answer to the previous
3 What happened was that most often they appeared in civilian
4 clothing. They would fire from those positions in the area between the
5 two check-points, and then they would pull back. And then the Dutch, in
6 their conversations with me, frequently complained about this occurrence,
7 that they were unable to implement the control and that they couldn't
8 differentiate between civilians and those who were actually military
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic. If you noticed, in the last sentence of
11 paragraph 4.14, it states:
12 "Local women known to be members of the BiH were also seen later
13 in civilian clothing."
14 My question is: Did you have information about there were
15 members of the BiH women in the Srebrenica area who were members of the
16 28th Division of the B&H Army? Thank you.
17 A. Well, I can talk about what my assessments were. And they
18 were -- actually, I felt that there were women in the armed forces, but I
19 never expected them to be in the combat part. It was just like in my
20 brigade; there were some women who were engaged on certain posts. But,
21 believe me, other than one name that was mentioned, I don't believe that
22 women in Srebrenica were engaged as fighters in the 28th Division. I
23 didn't have information of that nature.
24 Q. All right, thank you. But can you tell us about that one
25 instance that you know of, that you're familiar with the name? Could you
1 please explain to the Trial Chamber what you know about that. Thank you.
2 A. Yes. That woman is called Esma Kiveric. I know that woman from
3 before the war, personally. We were on good terms. She used to work
4 with my wife, at the same school. And there was some stories going
5 around, in any case, that she took part in these various attacks and
6 massacres. In particular, there was an attack that was mentioned on the
7 village of Bjelovac. I really never had any valid arguments or
8 confirmation that she really was there. These were just stories that I
9 heard. Later, nothing was confirmed in relation to this Esma Kiveric.
10 Q. All right, thank you. Since you've just mentioned this place,
11 Bjelovac, and you also referred to it in your statement on page 49. We
12 can look at it. This is your statement 65 ter 724 -- 7274 provided to us
13 by the Prosecution. This is the 65 ter number. It's page 49, line --
14 it's page 49, line 9. You mention Bjelovac and Kravica.
15 Could you explain more broadly what you meant when you talk about
16 Bjelovac and Kravica? Actually, it's page 53 in the English.
17 "Persons were indicated who had attacked Bjelovac, where there
18 were 106 dead civilians, and then there were some other Serb villages
19 outside of the enclave. Now the indications need to be proved."
20 And then later the investigator didn't ask you about that, so you
21 didn't speak any more about that. So this is an opportunity for you to
22 tell us what exactly happened in Bjelovac and Kravica and other Serb
23 villages outside of the enclave. If you can explain that to us.
24 A. I can explain, briefly, events from each of the villages.
25 When we're talking about Bjelovac, we're talking about an attack
1 by the Muslim forces from the Srebrenica area, under the command of
2 Naser Oric. This was an attack on a village that was in the Bratunac
3 municipality territory.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 A. I'm sorry, and the same thing for Kravica. This is an event
6 involving an attack on the Serbian Orthodox Christmas, the
7 7th of January, 1993. It was an attack on the Serbian village of Kravica
8 from the Srebrenica area by Muslim forces under the command of
9 Naser Oric.
10 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us how many victims there were in
11 Bjelovac and how many in Kravica, and are both of those villages part of
12 the Bratunac municipality, where you lived?
13 A. Yes. I'm sorry. The villages of Kravica and
14 Bratunac [as interpreted] were villages in the Bratunac municipality.
15 From what I can recall, there were some 46 or 48 victims in Kravica. I
16 don't remember exactly, but I do have that information. And there were
17 106 dead in the village of Bjelovac, soldiers, civilians, women, others
19 Q. Thank you. And can you please tell us whether this was one of
20 the reasons why the population of Bratunac was uncomfortable in their
21 feelings about Muslims and would not accept them to be in their area?
22 Thank you.
23 A. Well, for the sake of truth, I would like it to be known here
24 that the Serbs were in Bratunac, the Muslims were in Srebrenica. In that
25 wartime period, so many killings occurred and so much blood was shed that
1 Muslims in that area and Serbs hated each other. I mean, I cannot put it
2 in any nicer terms. There was so much hatred in that area between those
3 two peoples that it was really incredible.
4 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber how many other
5 villages were targets of attacks that were carried out on Fakovici,
6 Rakovici, and other surrounding villages? I don't want to mention all of
7 them. I'm not sure that I even have all the relevant concerning them.
8 A. I think you made a slip of the tongue. Perhaps you didn't, but
9 I think that you did. These villages were not attacked from within the
10 enclave. Let's be completely clear.
11 The village of Kravica was attacked before Srebrenica was
12 declared an enclave. So the attack did not happen after it was
13 proclaimed an enclave. The attack on Bjelovac also did not take place
14 later when the international forces arrived and when Srebrenica was
15 declared an enclave.
16 These attacks that you mention, it's true that many villages were
17 attacked. I can list each village and hamlet in my municipality that was
18 attacked. However, the bulk of the attacks were carried out at the
19 beginning of the war, in 1992, up until the international peacekeeping
20 forces arrived at Srebrenica.
21 If you're interested about that, I can talk about it. I have no
22 problem with that.
23 Q. Thank you. If you can tell us, I would ask you to tell us,
24 briefly, in a few sentences, something about that, because it's important
25 for that area and for the whole situation that your unit and the place
1 where you were happened to be in. Thank you.
2 A. In the territory of my municipality, the municipality of
3 Bratunac, other than the urban part, I can state that the urban area
4 encompassed some four kilometres from the centre of town, it was that
5 area, and then this was encircled by an area that was not destroyed, not
6 captured, not attacked. Then in my territory, there's another area which
7 is a part along the Drina River towards Zvornik, and that's where there
8 are villages that were not attacked. Everything else in my territory, if
9 we start in order from Skelani, they were attacked, destroyed, torched.
10 There were casualties. Then Rakovici, Fakovici, Stamatovici [phoen],
11 Ducici; I don't need to list all of them. All the villages that are in
12 the area of Srebrenica were attacked, other than these two villages that
13 I spoke about in the area some four kilometres away from the centre of
14 town and along the River Drina. All the other villages were attacked,
15 torched. And in each of these villages there were military and civilian
16 casualties, both.
17 Q. Thank you. And did this later have the result that this
18 agreement was subsequently signed, because when the army from
19 Republika Srpska began defending those villages, an agreement was later
20 signed in May -- we can look at D21 now so you can find it easier to
21 answer. This is an agreement on the demilitarisation or cease-fire in
22 the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, signed between
23 Lieutenant-General Ratko Mladic and General Sefer Halilovic on the
24 8th of May, 1993.
25 Now you can see the document. It's signed by UNPROFOR
1 Commander Philippe Morillon as well, General Halilovic, and
2 General Ratko Mladic.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] We can look at page 2 in the
4 Serbian now, please. Thank you.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] General, sir, you and I know what
6 happened in 1993 in this period. But for the benefit of the
7 Trial Chamber, I would just like to say something to make the situation
9 Previously, we talked about the situation in that period. With
10 the signing of the agreement proclaiming Srebrenica a safe zone --
11 actually, this was preceded by an offensive by our forces in the spring
12 of 1993. In my units, my brigade's AOR, the Serbian forces reached
13 Srebrenica, itself. They reached a position called Crni Guber. And we
14 needed just one more day to enter Srebrenica. And that is when -- I
15 don't know who made the decision. I was in the field then, in the
16 Pribicevac area. Then when in the evening sometime an order came to
17 cease all further action and any further engagement in relation to
18 Srebrenica and that Serbian forces should entrench at positions they had
19 reached so far, all I knew at the time is that this order came from the
20 Main Staff Command and from the president of the republic, even. I
21 didn't see the order, myself, but it reached me at my position.
22 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us whether the area where the Muslims
23 were was reduced only to the urban area, because you only needed some two
24 or three kilometres more in order to enter the town? Was the area
25 occupied by the Muslim forces reduced to the city or the town area only?
1 Thank you.
2 A. I can agree with what you assert but only in that area where the
3 main thrust of the attack was, that area of Crni Guber on that southern
4 side. Actually, no, it's not the southern side. Actually, it's just
5 from that entrance or approach to Srebrenica. That is -- for that part,
6 I can give you an affirmative answer.
7 However, Serbian forces were not advancing in a circle uniformly
8 towards town from all sides, so we cannot say that it was reduced to an
9 urban area some four kilometres away from the city centre. I am talking
10 about that part, and I am stating affirmatively that that applied to the
11 Crni Guber area. But if we're talking about Crni Buljin and other areas,
12 I would like to note that we did not come that close to the enclave. We
13 had stopped at the lines we had reached at that point. And after
14 Srebrenica was proclaimed a safe zone, we stayed at those lines that we
15 had attained.
16 Q. Thank you. As the forces that had almost entered Srebrenica,
17 were you told that the Muslims accepted the cease-fire and the
18 demilitarisation of the zone and that they would stop further action and
19 that they were asking for a cease-fire? Were you informed about that?
20 A. Yes. It was clear at the time, at least from what we were told
21 at our positions at the time, that any advance was being halted, all
22 attacks on Srebrenica were being halted, and that the Muslims had
23 accepted a truce and a cease-fire.
24 And just for the benefit of the Trial Chamber, I would like to
25 say that in that period when a cease-fire was requested and when it
1 really did take hold and from what I could see in that period during
2 those days when I was at Pribicevac, that's in that area, you could see
3 vast movements of civilians between Srebrenica going in the direction of
4 Zepa, and so on and so forth, so that the cease-fire was accepted by the
5 Muslim side.
6 Q. Thank you. Did the proposal by the Muslim side to accept the
7 evacuation of the Muslim population who wanted to go to Tuzla, was it
8 also accepted at the time? Thank you.
9 A. What I know for sure is that there was a possibility for all
10 those who wanted to leave the enclave of Srebrenica, and I'm speaking
11 here about civilians, had the opportunity to do so. Serbian side
12 guaranteed that they would be able to cross through their territory,
13 through Bratunac, and further on where they wanted to go.
14 Q. Thank you. Do you know that a certain number of inhabitants did
15 leave at the time and that there were convoys taking them over to the
16 territory controlled by the BiH Army? Thank you.
17 A. Yes, I know that. I think it was sometime by the end of 1993 or
18 the beginning of 1994. A large number of Muslim civilians from
19 Srebrenica -- I used to have more precise data; I think there was about
20 3.000 to 4.000 of them. They left the Srebrenica enclave, escorted by
21 the Serbian side, and they crossed over to the free territory.
22 Q. Thank you. Did the Muslims often want to go, legally or
23 illegally, and leave Srebrenica to reach the territory controlled by the
24 BiH Army or, more precisely, the Central Bosnia? Thank you.
25 A. What I remember best is that there were many requests made
1 through UNPROFOR, International Military Observers, ICRC, and similar
2 organisations, so requests to the effect that certain families wanted to
3 cross to the Muslim-controlled territory would come in all the time.
4 Q. Thank you. Do you remember your reports in which you said that
5 they also use numerous illegal channels to move through Zepa or through
6 other corridors that they carved out themselves and that they were
7 leaving Srebrenica, going towards Kladanj, Tuzla, and other parts of
8 Bosnia controlled by the Muslim side? Thank you.
9 A. Yes. I used to send reports to my superior command, the
10 Drina Corps Command. I knew that civilians from Srebrenica were using
11 also those channels that you call illegal channels. It's basically a
12 route going across Ravni Buljin, Bokcin Potok, Nova Kasaba, and further
13 on across Cerska. Or they would also go towards Udrc and in the
14 direction of Tuzla. They were using all sorts of various ways. But,
15 generally speaking, I always reported that we had such information and
16 that from the positions of the Bratunac Brigade in the area of
17 Ravni Buljin it was possible to see that movement directly and the
18 movements towards Zepa, towards Kladanj, and towards Tuzla.
19 Q. Thank you. Mr. Nikolic, did you have any information that the
20 Muslims from Srebrenica used the corridor Buljin-Cerska-Baljkovica, the
21 same corridor used later on when they attempted a breakthrough from
22 Srebrenica? Did you have any intelligence information on that particular
23 corridor? Thank you.
24 A. I'm not sure whether I mentioned those corridors in all my
25 reports, but I do know that they did use those corridors. When I wrote
1 my memos, I would probably mention one of the corridors, depending on the
2 information I had at my disposal at the time.
3 Q. Thank you. I don't want to waste time by showing you all those
4 documents, but I would like to ask you to take a look at the document
5 that is currently on the screen. It's D21.
6 I would like to take a look at page 3, Article 3, which is
7 entitled "Demilitarisation." It speaks about the demilitarisation of
8 Srebrenica and Zepa. And in Article 3, we find, I quote:
9 "Every military or paramilitary unit will have either to withdraw
10 from the demilitarised zone or to submit/hand over their weapons.
11 Ammunition, mines, explosives, and combat supplies in the demilitarised
12 zones will be handed over/submitted to UNPROFOR.
13 "After submission/hand over of all weapons, ammunition, mines,
14 and combat supplies in the DMZ, the contracting parties will declare that
15 the demilitarisation is complete."
16 And then it says that in Srebrenica it has to be done by Monday,
17 the 10th of May, 1993, by 1700 hours; and in Zepa, by the 12th of May, by
18 1700 hours.
19 End quote.
20 My question is: Bearing in mind this agreement, did the Muslims
21 have the duty to hand over all the weapons and leave the demilitarised
22 zone, if we are talking about armed forces, paramilitary groups, or
23 military groups? Thank you.
24 A. General, sir, I wouldn't like to ascribe to myself the importance
25 that I do not have. I'm reluctant to comment on this agreement. It
1 speaks for itself. I think that any comment coming from me would be
3 Q. Thank you. All right. You can tell us what you know. Did you
4 report that the Muslims did not demilitarise that zone at all, that they
5 were still moving within the zone and attacking the territory, the
6 civilians, and the units within the zone? Do you remember that you used
7 to send reports about that? Thank you.
8 A. Yes. I remember that I used to send reports all the time,
9 reports on this topic. I remember that Srebrenica was not a
10 demilitarised zone, that the Muslims within Srebrenica were not disarmed,
11 and that from that enclave they carried out incursions, sabotage
12 excursions, attacks, ambushes, and other things. And it is also
13 important to say that I also spoke about those matters with the DutchBat
14 members, and it was their duty to prevent it.
15 Q. Thank you. Did General Zivanovic at any point request you to
16 protest with the UNPROFOR forces and to contact them about the activities
17 that were going on within the demilitarised zone? Thank you.
18 A. I remember that there were such protests that I made based on the
19 request of General Zivanovic or maybe even request from the Main Staff.
20 I remember that I used to protest in the written form and also verbally.
21 I think that that was even a more frequent occurrence. Whenever I would
22 meet up with the members of the DutchBat, I would always convey our
23 concern to them.
24 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us: Do you remember that from the
25 beginning of 1995 the Main Staff and General Zivanovic were telling both
1 to UNPROFOR and the Muslims to stop the activities that were carried out
2 from within the demilitarised zone and that we would, on the contrary,
3 that we would be forced to prevent such activities? Thank you.
4 A. I cannot claim that I was present every time when
5 General Zivanovic was in the zone of responsibility of my brigade, but I
6 was certainly present in 95 per cent of the cases, which means that I was
7 present at the meetings between General Zivanovic and the representatives
8 of DutchBat. They spoke about exactly those issues. And he would then
9 request the DutchBat to prevent the incidents and the incursions that
10 were caused by the Muslim forces.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now take a look at 1D655.
13 That's a statement made by General Smith. He says that General Mladic
14 mentioned on a number of occasions incidents caused by Muslims in
15 Srebrenica, and he describes the situation.
16 Can we have 1D655, paragraph 17.
17 It's D192. Thank you.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Do we have D192 on the screen now? Thank you.
19 And can you help me, Mr. Tolimir. Is that an OTP statement, or
20 what is it about?
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. This is a statement by
22 General Smith, and it was given to the Dutch Investigation Centre, NIOD.
23 He described our subject matter in paragraph 17. This witness is aware
24 of the NIOD because he was in contact with them.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: But, Mr. Tolimir, you will recall that the
1 witness said this is a summary of what he has told NIOD, and he didn't
2 sign anything. Just to have it clear on the record.
3 Please continue.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 This is what General Smith said. I quote from paragraph 17.
6 This is what he said to the NIOD but then he denied it at the trial:
7 "The first meeting with Mladic after the fall of Srebrenica on
8 Sunday, the 16th of July, was also attended by Milosevic, Bildt, Akashi,
9 and Janvier. Smith had a big quarrel with Mladic."
10 And so on and so forth. I quoted this so that you could see when
11 it took place.
12 And now let us take a look at what General Smith says in a
13 statement of his that he did not deny.
14 Can we have 65 ter 7247.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And this is now D193.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 Now let us take a look at what he says in a statement that he did
18 not repudiate. It is 65 ter 7247.
19 Thank you. Can we have page 9, paragraph 4 on page 9. Can we
20 zoom in so that the witness can see.
21 This is where the statement goes. It's page 9, paragraph 4:
22 "Mladic said that his concern about Bosnian army's intentions had
23 led him to restrict the amount of food, medicine, and fuel for the
24 enclaves, and claimed that the United Nations was supplying the Bosnian
25 army. I replied that any attack on the UN safe areas would be condemned
1 by the international community and would risk a response by NATO air
2 power against the Bosnian Serbs. This brought forward a tirade of
3 threats of counter-action from Mladic."
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. My question is: Did you know that General Mladic told UNPROFOR
6 on a number of occasions that there were attacks going on from within the
7 enclave against his forces and that he claimed that UNPROFOR was
8 protecting the Muslim attackers within the enclave? Thank you.
9 A. If you're asking me whether I knew that General Mladic was doing
10 that, then my answer is no. I wasn't close to General Mladic. I didn't
11 know what he was doing. I can answer about our common position. I can
12 tell you about my reports to my corps command and to the Main Staff.
13 We were dissatisfied by the fact that the enclave had not been
14 disarmed and by the fact that there were attacks and provocations from
15 the enclave. That's what I know. That's what I did at my level.
16 Now, whether I was aware of the general position of the VRS,
17 represented by General Mladic, I can say, yes, I was aware of this
18 general discontent.
19 Q. Thank you. Then let's take a look at the second paragraph on
20 this page.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] can we move page 9 a little bit so
22 that we can see the second paragraph on this page. Thank you.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. We can see it now, where it says, I quote:
25 "During the returning from Srebrenica to Sarajevo on the
1 7th of March, I met with Mladic, at his request, at the hotel in
2 Vlasenica. Mladic was accompanied by Major General Zivanovic, commander
3 of the Drina Corps, and Lieutenant-Colonel Kralj, an intelligence
5 That's what he says. Kralj was actually the liaison officer for
7 "At the meeting, Mladic again stated that he would continue to
8 delay convoy access -- to deny convoy access to the enclaves as long as
9 the Bosnian Serbs remained under sections. The second issue Mladic
10 discussed was to link an UNPROFOR withdrawal from the UNPAs in Croatia
11 with a demand for a UN withdrawal from all enclaves in Bosnia. The third
12 and most important issue discussed was the demilitarisation of the safe
13 areas of Gorazde, Srebrenica, and Zepa."
14 So bearing all this in mind, my question is: Your corps
15 commander, Zivanovic, and General Mladic, the commander of the
16 Main Staff, did they draw the attention of General Smith, way back on the
17 7th of March, to the fact that it was necessary to do something about the
18 activities from the enclaves and to link it up with the withdrawal of the
19 UN forces from the UN protected areas in Croatia? Thank you.
20 A. I can tell you that this issue was on the table all the time. I
21 cannot speak about specific meetings and this specific detail that you
22 just read out, but, generally speaking, there was a constant
23 dissatisfaction related to the status of Srebrenica as a protected area
24 and everything that was going on around it, including the convoys, the
25 restrictions, and everything else that you mentioned.
1 Q. Thank you. Please tell us, do you know that at that time there
2 was an announcement that UNPROFOR would be withdrawn from the protected
3 areas in Croatia, the areas where Serbs lived, and that that was the
4 reason for the request for them to withdraw from similar areas in Bosnia,
5 that was the reason why you were asked about it, and also a part of an
6 item was read out to you which ended with: "... in case of UNPROFOR
7 withdrawal"? Do you remember that? Thank you.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, this was quite a complicated and
9 compound question. Could you please simplify this question for a better
10 understanding for the witness.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Did you know that the VRS demanded the withdrawal of UNPROFOR
14 from Srebrenica and Zepa in case of the withdrawal of UNPROFOR from the
15 protected areas in Croatia? They wanted that the zones belonging to the
16 Serbs and to the Muslims enjoy the same kind of protection. Thank you.
17 A. Related to this issue, I can only speak as an ordinary citizen.
18 I had no information about what was going on and what was being demanded
19 at the level of the Main Staff and General Mladic. However, as a person
20 who was well informed, I can tell you that I did know about these
21 activities and about Croatia. Of course, I didn't know details, and I
22 did not know that the VRS related the two issues and also expanded it to
23 the context of the enclaves in Srebrenica, Zepa, and Gorazde. That, I
24 did not know.
25 Q. Thank you. Let us take a look at paragraph 3 to see what
1 Mr. Smith had to say about it. It's the eighth line from the bottom,
2 where it says:
3 "During this explanation, he drew up a diagram about what he was
4 prepared to accept as the borders of the protected areas. He drew up the
5 document that is kept in the UN archives. His view was that the safe
6 areas were strictly limited in Srebrenica to an area of 4.5 kilometres by
7 1 kilometre; at Gorazde, a radius of 1.5 kilometres from the centre of
8 the built-up area; and at Zepa, an area 2.5 by 0.8 kilometre. Mladic
9 then explained that he expected a Bosnian attack from the eastern
10 enclaves and in this event he would attack into the enclaves to destroy
11 the Bosnian army but would respect his (Mladic's) interpretation of the
12 boundaries of the safe areas and not the UN's."
13 Thank you. A moment ago, we saw that all armed formations,
14 paramilitary and others, were supposed to leave the zone and that no
15 weapons were supposed to remain within the zone, except with UNPROFOR.
16 And now when General Mladic requests to reduce this area to four and a
17 half kilometres, you were asked during your examination-in-chief why that
19 Well, do you see here that General Mladic officially submitted
20 this proposal to UNPROFOR and that this could not be the subject of your
21 criminal responsibility? Thank you.
22 A. Yes, I see what you just read out.
23 Q. Thank you. Was it unusual that there were attacks coming out
24 from the zones that were supposed to be demilitarised? Was it unusual
25 that the Muslims carried out attacks from those so-called demilitarised
1 zones? Thank you.
2 A. I didn't hear the question. Did you ask whether it was permitted
3 or -- well, of course. No attacks were supposed to come out of the
4 demilitarised zones, or anything like what was actually happening.
5 Q. Can we now take a look at the last paragraph that is visible on
6 the screen, that's the fifth paragraph, where it says:
7 "At the end of this series of meetings, I had come to the
8 conclusion that the Bosnian Serbs had concluded that further fighting was
9 inevitable and that they had to reach some form of conclusion within the
10 year. The eastern enclaves were too strong and the Bosnian army within
11 them constituted a clear threat, particularly as the BSA felt that they
12 were likely to face attacks on multiple fronts: In the enclaves, the UN
13 were being used as a shield by the Bosnians and a hostage by the Serbs."
14 This was a quote from a statement given by the UNPROFOR commander
15 for Bosnia and Herzegovina, General Smith.
16 My question is: Were his estimates about the strength of the
17 BiH Army forces within the so-called demilitarised zone of Srebrenica
18 realistic? Thank you.
19 A. There is one thing that I didn't see. Here we see a specific
20 estimate by General Smith, and it seems to me that I did not understand
21 from this document what this estimate relates to and what forces he's
22 describing. But I can tell you what I know. I can tell you what I did
23 at my level.
24 If Mr. Smith mentions strong forces, he is perfectly right.
25 There were very strong forces within the Srebrenica enclave. At the time
1 that the enclave was proclaimed, it was an operative group, and later on
2 it was the 28th Division, which was still being formed. And they were,
3 without a doubt, very strong and very dangerous forces in the territory
4 where my unit was engaged.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you will have realised that we are
6 over time now, five minutes too late already. We must have our first
7 break now, and we will resume 20 minutes past 4.00.
8 --- Recess taken at 3.50 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 4.23 p.m.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir, please continue.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. Mr. Nikolic, I'd like to show you D16 now.
13 Can we have D16, please.
14 That is a document from the BH Army, dated the 17th of February,
15 where even they report on their activities which were the subject of
16 requests for demilitarisation.
17 Now we have it before us. Take a look at the second paragraph,
18 the fourth line, where it begins with the word: "The aggressor" on the
19 16th of February:
20 "The aggressor, on the 16th of February, 1995, filed a request
21 with UNPROFOR to declare Zepa a non-demilitarised zone, with the
22 following rationale:
23 "Because BH Army helicopter flights supplying weapons and
24 ammunition have been registered;
25 "Movements of the BH Army have been registered in the
1 Zepa Sector;
2 "Accusing members of the Ukrainian Battalion that they are
3 covering up for the activities and intentions of the BH Army ...
4 "On the night between the 15th and 16th February 1995, our
5 helicopters were seen flying over and that infantry fire was opened on
6 them ..."
7 And so on and so forth.
8 And here in this document, the third paragraph below, it says:
9 "On the 17th of February, 1992, a helicopter reconnaissance of
10 the Zepa zone was scheduled, but the aggressor did not allow it."
11 And then it says -- and so on and so forth. Now --
12 A. My apologies, but, General, sir, could you please just point out
13 the paragraph that you're referring to, because what you've just asked me
14 about, I couldn't find any of that in there. So could you please show it
15 to me, exactly where it is, so that I can read it for myself.
16 Q. Thank you. Take a look at the second paragraph from the top, the
17 paragraph beginning with the words: "The aggressor," and then answer my
18 question. I will put a question to you so that you can answer it.
19 Did the Serb side, through you or via the Main Staff, submit
20 requests to the BH Army, requesting that they demilitarise the zones in
21 keeping with the Agreement on the Demilitarisation Zones of 1993 that was
22 signed by General Morillon?
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sir, did you find the relevant part now? You see
24 the cursor there on the screen. Perhaps that indicates where Mr. Tolimir
25 is reading from and to which part he is referring to. Did you find it?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, I've just seen it. "On
2 the 16th of February," and then "the aggressor," and so on. If that's
3 the relevant part, yes, I can see that.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Now please look at the paragraph below:
7 "On the basis of the aforementioned, the aggressor informed the
8 Sarajevo Sector UNPROFOR Command that unless Zepa was declared a
9 demilitarised zone, they would start offensive combat operations within
10 seven days.
11 "The ultimatum expires on the 23rd February 1995."
12 Thank you.
13 Can you see these two paragraphs?
14 A. Yes, I can see them both.
15 Q. Thank you. As the liaison officer for UNPROFOR, did
16 you inform the UNPROFOR of all of this, in view of the fact that it was
17 under the --
18 THE INTERPRETER: Could the accused please repeat the question.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I just want to clarify something.
20 I was not a liaison officer for my corps, but, rather, just for
21 the Bratunac Brigade. There was another liaison officer who was
22 responsible and appointed as the liaison officer by the Drina Corps.
23 And to answer your question, every time --
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Before you answer this question, we didn't
25 receive the interpretation of this question.
1 And, therefore, it would be, for a better understanding of the
2 transcript, better if you could please repeat your question, Mr. Tolimir.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 My apologies, Mr. Nikolic.
5 I misspoke when I said that he was a liaison officer of the
6 corps. It's correct that -- what he said here, that it was in fact the
7 Bratunac Brigade that he was the liaison officer of.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. So is it true that as the liaison officer of the Bratunac Brigade
10 you launched protests on several occasions to the UNPROFOR, requesting
11 that those zones be demilitarised and that soldiers be removed from them
12 so that no incursions or raids could be conducted from within the zones?
13 A. Yes. I can confirm that I sent, on countless occasions,
14 protests, both on behalf of my brigade and of the superior command that
15 actually charged me with that task and insisted on it.
16 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now please see 1D658.
18 1D658, please.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. That is a document from the Drina Corps Command, sent on the 23rd
21 of March, 1995, to the UNPROFOR Command, Srebrenica Enclave. And this
22 was to be handed in via the Bratunac Brigade and Captain Nikolic.
23 And it says there: "The withdrawal" --
24 The title, it says, "The Withdrawal of Muslim Formations Within
25 the Srebrenica Enclave: Warning."
1 And then it says within the document, itself, and I quote:
2 "We are all convinced that you are here to keep peace in this
3 area, and we truly appreciate this. However, we cannot tolerate the
4 Muslim formations to willfully leave the enclave and engage in combat in
5 areas outside of the enclave. In the interests of peace in this area,
6 make sure (and you can do that) that the Muslims remain within the
7 enclave protected by your forces. Otherwise, I will issue an order for
8 the Muslim formation that are outside of the enclave be removed by force
9 from our area."
10 And then it goes on to say:
11 "Via Colonel Vukota, inform me of the time-period within which
12 you will accomplish this, and return the Muslims to Srebrenica enclave."
13 We see that this was signed by Major General Milenko Zivanovic,
14 and we can also see from this document that you were not responsible for
15 this, you were not in charge of this, but, rather, this Colonel Vukota
16 that is mentioned, Vukota Vukovic, who is mentioned in this document by
17 General Zivanovic.
18 Now, the question to you: Does this confirm what you've told us
19 about this and also what General Smith testified about when he met on the
20 7th of April with General Mladic?
21 A. I believe it is obvious, from the content of this document, what
22 this relates to. I can just confirm that, indeed, on countless
23 occasions, it was insisted that these matters contained in the document
24 be resolved. So there is nothing else I should add here.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now, let's take a look at D53.
2 And I would actually like to tender the document we have on the
3 screens into evidence, please.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I don't find it on your fourth
5 version of your list of documents to be used with this witness. We
6 received it during the first session. This is not on the list. Again, I
7 would like to invite you to provide the other party and the Chamber with
8 a complete list. That would be helpful.
9 This document will be received. No, I think there is no
10 translation. It will be marked for identification, pending translation.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter document 1D658 shall be
12 assigned Exhibit D205, marked for identification, pending translation.
13 Thank you.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 My apologies, once again, for our omission, and I will look
16 into it.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Now, we have before us D53. This is a document that was compiled
19 on the 17th of June, 1995; in other words, a month before the Srebrenica
20 events. This is a document from the Republic of Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina Army, General Staff, and it was sent under the title
22 "Preparations for Offensive Combat Operations: Order." And then in the
23 first paragraph, it reads:
24 "Pursuant to a verbal order issued by the commander of the
25 General Staff of the BH Army and Army General Rasim Delic, and on the
1 occasion of the great success achieved by units of the BH Army in the
2 wide area around Sarajevo and Gorazde, as well as on the basis of
3 intelligence that the aggressor forces command of the Protection Regiment
4 in Han Pijesak is holding parts of its unit in reserve to intervene in
5 the event of an attack by our forces from Zepa, I hereby issue the
6 following order:
7 "1. Execute all preparations in the Command of the
8 28th Land/Army Division to execute offensive combat operations with a
9 view to liberating the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, over-extending
10 the A/S and inflicting losses on them, co-ordinating action within the
11 BH Army forces, carrying out operations in the broader Sarajevo area."
12 And so on and so forth.
13 My question: Did you have information about the Muslim forces
14 being issued assignments to continue their active operations from within
15 the so-called Srebrenica demilitarised enclave against Republika Srpska
16 army units and on the territory under the control of the Army of
17 Republika Srpska without or outside of the enclave? Thank you.
18 A. I did have information about the intentions of the units that
19 were within the Srebrenica enclave, and I think there is a document to
20 that effect that I sent to the Drina Corps Command. It's a document
21 called "Intelligence Assessment," where I describe and explain in detail
22 all the information that I had collected about the operations and
23 intentions of the BH army from inside the protected enclaves of
24 Srebrenica and Zepa.
25 In addition, I also stress in that communication -- I discuss the
1 forces of the 2nd Corps, and the 28th Division that was part of the
2 corps; I described their strengths and the manpower levels.
3 So I did have these assessments, and I forwarded them to the
4 Drina Corps Command, which is where my duty ends, as far as that is
6 Q. Thank you. Now, can you tell us, just briefly: Were there a
7 number of orders on activities from within the demilitarised zones
8 against units of your brigade and the VRS? Thank you.
9 A. General, sir, I cannot talk about that, whether there were any
10 orders sent to the Muslim forces, because I don't know anything about
11 that. I don't know what orders they issued to their units. What I can
12 tell you about is what I did. And I, at the brigade level, did have
13 information about their future intentions to be carried out from within
14 the enclave, and that is something that I can confirm. As for their
15 orders, I really don't know anything about that because I did not have
16 occasion to either hear about it or to see their orders, or nor did I
17 ever have a source that could confirm anything to that effect. So I
18 don't recall, at this point in time, that I ever encountered anything of
19 that sort.
20 Q. Thank you. You answered me correctly. I had asked you if you
21 knew that; you said you didn't.
22 Now I would like to show you a document that was presented, and I
23 even have its translation into English.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we look at 1D726 now, please.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. It's a conversation that you had with an investigator from -- the
2 NIOD investigator, which covers the knowledge and information you had
3 about this particular event.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Could the accused please repeat the paragraph
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's page 5 in the English.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Would you please indicate the paragraph numbers
8 in both languages.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Page 7 in the Serbian, page 5 in
10 the English. It's paragraph 41.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. We don't need to show a number of documents that were arriving at
13 the unit because there is a conclusion here from that overall estimate
14 and the conclusion is in English. I quote that paragraph 41 on page 5 in
15 the Serbian and page 7 in the English. It states:
16 "The exodus from the enclave took the VRS by surprise. They
17 believed that Oric had gone to Tuzla in order to establish a corridor
18 with Srebrenica from there. In this way, they would have tried to break
19 through from both areas. In such a scenario, the 2nd Corps would leave
20 from Crni Vrh. From the corridor created in this way, the Muslims would
21 then sweep clean the remaining territory in the direction of the
22 Drina River and cleanse it of all Serbs. The information that the VRS
23 had, that this plan would be implemented between the 20th and the
24 25th of July, 1995, this was the reason Oric and other officers had left
25 the enclave. N. does not know whether it was this information that
1 determined the time of the VRS attack."
2 Does this correspond to the content of those numerous information
3 reports and assessments that you received -- actually, that you were
4 sending to the superior command in your regular combat reports and your
5 own separate intelligence reports? Thank you.
6 A. The essence of my estimates and reports to the superior command
7 is exactly what you have read out just now. That means -- let me
8 summarise that once again, and I think I can be more precise.
9 So, my estimates at the time were that Naser Oric, together with
10 a part of the forces, had left the Srebrenica enclave and that he had
11 moved to Tuzla.
12 And also what was constantly a feature of my report were
13 assessments that at the same time, by being engaged from the Srebrenica
14 area and from Tuzla, the Muslim forces, in co-ordinated action, would act
15 and cleanse that part of Podrinje of the Serbs. That was my general
16 assessment, and that was the danger that I saw at that point in time.
17 Q. Thank you. And then you continue:
18 "According to N., all Muslim decisions about Srebrenica came
19 directly from Sarajevo. The 2nd Corps was only responsible for executing
20 the military plans. According to N., there was a conflict between Oric
21 and the 2nd Corps. Oric was supposed to organise special units from the
22 ranks of the 2nd Corps for the breakthrough from Tuzla. The 2nd Corps
23 was not particularly interested in the organisation of such a corridor."
24 My question is: According to our information, ours and yours,
25 because you were providing us with information, was the prevalent view in
1 Srebrenica that the Srebrenica enclave would link up with Tuzla as a
2 consequence of action going from the direction of Srebrenica and from the
3 direction of Tuzla? Thank you.
4 A. In my assessments, I always, almost always, underscored that that
5 was the point of what could happen, actually, that the objective was for
6 the forces from Srebrenica to link up with the forces of the 2nd Corps.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now show P1217, please.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You have used 1D726; are you going to tender it?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Yes, we would like to
11 tender it. Since we don't have any more time, we're not going to be
12 reading from it anymore. Thank you.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter document 1D726 shall be
15 assigned Exhibit D206. Thank you.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 Can we now look at P1217.
18 We can see it on our monitors now.
19 The title of the document, and it's a document by the
20 Drina Corps Command of the 15th of May, 1995, so the title of the
21 document is "Order to Stabilise Defence around Zepa and Srebrenica
22 Enclaves and Establish Conditions for the Liberation of the Enclaves."
23 This order was delivered to all the units placed around Srebrenica. I am
24 reading "Enemy information," and that is the first paragraph in that
25 section. I apologise.
1 "According to information gathered, the Muslims are carrying out
2 intensive preparations for offense operations from the greater area of
3 Tuzla, Kladanj, and Srebrenica, and Zepa enclaves, with the basic goal of
4 cutting the RS/Republika Srpska territory, connecting the non-enclaves
5 with the central part, the so-called BiH, and to access the Drina River.
6 Simultaneous offensive activities are expected from the area of Kladanj
7 and Kalesija. They will intensify infiltration of the reconnaissance and
8 sabotage groups before the offensive operations on a larger scale, fully
9 using the in-between areas and natural vegetation."
10 My question is: Were you aware of this assessment, and did your
11 command, as well, receive this order to stabilise the situation around
12 the enclaves? Were you informed about this data, as an organ in your
13 command? Thank you.
14 A. Yes. You can see from the document that this was also delivered
15 to my brigade. I assume, therefore, that I was familiar with it. I
16 cannot really speak about this document specifically, but I definitely
17 did see this type of document, and I would inform myself or acquaint
18 myself with the contents once I received the document.
19 Q. Thank you. Since this is the corps commander's order being sent
20 to all the brigade commanders, is there a chance that your brigade
21 commander informed you about the intelligence data that he had received
22 from the superior command in the form of the order to stabilise the front
23 around the enclaves? Thank you.
24 A. The practice in my command was that the brigade commander, upon
25 receipt of a document, in particular if it was an order of this type or
1 any other kind of type, would inform the inner command.
2 Q. Thank you. Can we look at the second paragraph of this -- the
3 third line of this second paragraph:
4 "About 200 soldiers were sent from Srebrenica to the area of
5 Radava. Some 150 soldiers in the greater area of Podravanje were
6 deployed, and the reconnaissance patrols were spotted in the areas of
7 Petrovacka, Greda, Kupusina, and a permanent check-point in the Kupusina
8 area for the purpose of closing the enclave and stabilising the defence
9 around them in order to liberate the enclave."
10 Are these locations that are mentioned in this order were in the
11 zone of responsibility of your corps and outside of the Srebrenica
12 demilitarised zone? Thank you.
13 A. Well, I don't want to speculate. If I were to have the map in
14 front of me and if I could really look at where these places are, then I
15 could, in general, say that a large number of these places, based on what
16 I could quickly gather, are in the area of responsibility of the
17 Drina Corps. But let me tell you, since really I don't want to quote and
18 I don't want to speculate whether all of them are outside of the enclave,
19 because that is something that I would need a map for, and then I could
20 be quite sure about it.
21 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us whether the broader area of
22 Podravanje, where some 150 of their soldiers were deployed, was in the
23 AOR of the Drina Corps and outside of the demilitarised zone? Thank you.
24 A. The Podravanje was in the AOR of the Milici Brigade. As for how
25 much Podravanje territory was within or out of the enclave is something
1 that I really couldn't tell you. I can speak competently about the
2 facilities and features in the AOR of my brigade, but I wouldn't go
3 beyond that. I assume that the Podravanje Sector was outside of the
4 demilitarised zone.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic. I quite understand.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now look at D145 now,
7 please, thank you, which also relates to the intelligence data that was
8 available to our units around the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. This is a document of the Main Staff of the
11 Army of Republika Srpska, the Intelligence and Security Sector, of the
12 24th of June, 1995. The document talks about the activities from
13 Srebrenica. And in the first paragraph, it states -- actually, the
14 document is signed by myself, "Tolimir, Zdravko." We will see that on
15 the second page later. The document states:
16 "We hereby submit the following information on the enemy's
18 And the document is given to the commander of the
19 65th Motorised Regiment and the commander of the 67th PV, which is
20 outside of the Main Staff. It states:
21 "On 23rd of June of this year, at 0200 hours, a unit of
22 approximately 300 soldiers headed out from Srebrenica, led by
23 Ibrahim Mandzic, the commander of the 280th Eastern Bosnia Light Brigade;
24 Vejiz Sabic, the commander of the 284th IBLB; his deputy,
25 Semso Salihovic; and a guide, a man called Zoran Cardakovic. The unit's
1 task was to insert itself on that same day at approximately 2000 hours
2 into the general sector of Ruzina Voda, Han Pijesak municipality, via
3 Zepa and Radava."
4 Tell us, please, based on this first paragraph, are you able to
5 tell us if you had heard of this Mandzic, Ibrahim and his unit that he
6 led into Srebrenica? Thank you.
7 A. Yes, I did hear of Ibrahim Mandzic.
8 Q. Thank you. Did you get this information about the activities of
9 Mandzic's and Sabic's units, i.e., the 28th and the
10 284th's Light Brigades from Srebrenica in the direction of Han Pijesak,
11 as it is stated in this document? Thank you.
12 A. I don't recall this information specifically. I don't remember
14 Q. Thank you.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now look at paragraph 2.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. "In the above sector, this group is to use combat to attract the
18 VRS forces in order to secure safe passage for Naser Oric, who is also
19 travelling with a large group from the direction of Kladanj ..."
20 Does this confirm, in part, the information that you provided
21 about Naser Oric being in Tuzla and that he was supposed to break through
22 from the direction of Tuzla, with a certain number of forces, to
24 A. General, sir, all I can do is confirm that we did have that
25 information, the information as to the location of Naser Oric. And I can
1 speak about what I wrote about the intentions of Naser Oric. As for the
2 content of this information, that is something that I did not see, the
3 one you are referring to right now. But you could connect that with the
4 information that I had at my disposal and that I spoke about.
5 Q. All right, thank you. In that case, we will not speak on this
6 document anymore. Thank you.
7 Can we now look at another document, which states -- actually,
8 that is D52, and it's a B&H army document of the 8th of July, 1995. Its
9 title is "Information About the Combat Results of the Units and Commands
10 of the 28th Ground Army Division of the 2nd Corps of the B&H Army."
11 Thank you.
12 We can see in the second paragraph -- we don't have to read the
13 whole document. This is a document written by those in charge of raising
14 the morale of their troops, and the document states, actually in the
15 first paragraph, about how they carried out actions from Zepa and
16 Srebrenica against the Army of Republika Srpska and about their
17 successes. And then it states :
18 "Sixty Chetniks were liquidated, and according to unconfirmed
19 reports, the aggressor suffered even greater losses and had many
21 Then they talk about what was seized. And then in the third
22 paragraph they speak about how large quantities of ammunition were seized
23 in the village of Visnjica, and what the soldiers could not bring out,
24 they destroyed by burning, as they say, as well as all the facilities
25 that the aggressor could have used for military purposes.
1 Can you please tell us whether you received the information about
2 the village of Visnjica and how it was burned? Was this some information
3 that was sent to the staff in the Han Pijesak, and does this confirm
4 their actions in relation to Serbian units? Thank you.
5 A. I don't remember now that I received any specific information
6 relating to the village of Visnjica and what was going on there. That is
7 the zone of responsibility of the Milici Brigade. However, in that
8 period, I certainly did hear that there was an attack by the forces of
9 the 28th Division from the enclave, directed at the village of Visnjica,
10 which is in the municipality of Milici and, therefore, in the zone of
11 responsibility of the Milici Brigade.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now take a look at D67.
14 This is also a document coming from the
15 Intelligence Administration, Counter-Intelligence Department
16 [as interpreted], of the BiH army. The date is the 13th of July, 1995,
17 and it was forwarded through the commander of the 1st Corps to the
18 president of the Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
19 And here they inform Alija Izetbegovic what they did in relation to the
20 enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa.
21 You take a look at the document while we listen to Mr. Thayer.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
23 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Just a correction for the record, so we have the description
1 This document purports to emanate from the
2 Counter-Electronic Warfare Unit, not the Counter-Intelligence Unit, just
3 so that there's no confusion in the record about that.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Thayer, for this
6 correction. This was, indeed, the Counter-Electronic Warfare Department.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. If we look at the first paragraph, we see:
9 "In view of the situation of our enclaves during the preceding
10 period, the Army General Staff has undertaken a series of military
11 activities and procedures to organise the members of the army in the
12 enclaves and prepare them for possible developments, primarily the
13 defence of the existing free territory and planned engagement and
14 preparations for future joint operations and planned operations.
15 "Specifically, the following has been done for Srebrenica and
17 "To start with, lethal assets and MTS were brought in on foot in
18 fairly small quantities;
19 "Seventeen helicopter flights were carried out, in each of which
20 a helicopter was hit."
21 Then the third bullet point:
22 "We managed to transport a number of heavily-wounded soldiers in
23 a similar manner."
24 And then the last bullet point.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can you move the first page in
1 Serbian, please, move upwards for the witness. Thank you.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. And it says:
4 "The Crni Labudovi unit was frequently mentioned as a unit which
5 could accomplish operational and strategic moves. This is incorrect.
6 They are good lads and a good brave and bold unit which successfully
7 accomplishes its tasks."
8 My question is: Were you aware that the Muslims' enclaves, Zepa
9 and Srebrenica, and their army inside Zepa and Srebrenica, which was
10 supposed to be a demilitarised zone, was being reinforced and supplied
11 with weapons through helicopter flights, as we can see from this
12 document? Thank you.
13 A. Yes. I was aware that the 28th Division was getting weapons from
14 Tuzla and from Kladanj, and I knew that they had communication between
15 Zepa and Srebrenica enclaves and that they were bringing in certain
16 materiel from Zepa. I also knew that in the area of Zepa, more precisely
17 at Malo and Velika Polje, helicopters were landing, and I knew that
18 that's where they were receiving people from Srebrenica and bringing in
19 certain things, including weapons.
20 Furthermore, I know for sure that in this general area -- I don't
21 want to be more specific about the spot because I'm going to make a
22 mistake, but I knew that for a certain period of time in that area we had
23 one or two crews from my brigade. They were in charge of following and
24 targeting those helicopters.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] You can see now the table on the
2 right-hand side in the English translation, and you can see how many of
3 which calibres entered Zepa and Srebrenica, and you can also see the
5 Can we also see all the remaining lines in the table and the
6 remaining pages so that we could see the signature of Rasim Delic at the
7 bottom of this document. Thank you.
8 So here we can see the signature of Army General Rasim Delic.
9 Can we now take a look at 1D705. Thank you.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. You will tell us whether you recognise the contents of this
12 document. It was dated on the 14th of March, 1995. The title is:
13 "Enemy Units in the Area of Srebrenica." It goes on as follows:
14 "During July of the previous year, a group of officers from the
15 Main Staff spent some time in Sarajevo. It was organised by the UN.
16 When they returned, they brought the information and instructions by the
17 Main Staff of the BiH Army. The commander of this operative group is
18 Naser Oric from Srebrenica, and his deputy is Avdo Palic from Zepa ."
19 Based on this, my question is: After the armed forces in Zepa
20 and Srebrenica grew, having received weapons and materiel, was it then
21 necessary to reorganise those forces from the level of operative group to
22 the level of division? You are a soldier and you know that a division is
23 a higher level. Can you tell us anything more about this document and
24 what you know about it? This document contains the list of the relevant
25 units. Thank you.
1 Or, rather, maybe you should first answer my first question:
2 This reinforcement with weapons, did it cause the reorganisation of the
3 Muslim army so that it was reorganised into a division, and it used to be
4 an operative group? Thank you.
5 A. I can tell you what I knew at the time. I can only speak about
6 the information I had at the time.
7 In Srebrenica, for a long time there was between 15-, 16-, to
8 20.000 men fit for military service. Don't take this number as a
9 constant. It varied through time. It wasn't the same all the time. I
10 also knew that there was not -- there were not sufficient quantities of
11 weapons in Srebrenica of any kind. It wasn't possible to arm all those
12 individuals who were able-bodied and who were supposed to be engaged as
14 The supply of weapons through various channels, by helicopters
15 and by other routes, I suppose that it created the need to reorganise
16 that army and the need to form the division and the operations group.
17 I can affirm only in this context that bearing in mind the estimates
18 about the number of able-bodied men and bearing in mind what Srebrenica
19 was and what status it had, my estimate was that it was necessary to
20 reorganise that army into a higher level of organisation.
21 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic. Could you take a look at the third
22 paragraph now, the one containing the names of the brigades, 280th,
23 281st, 282nd, 283rd, and 284th East Bosnian Brigade. My question is:
24 Were those brigades present in the demilitarised zone of Srebrenica?
25 Thank you. As far as you know. Thank you.
1 A. I think that in my assessments and almost all information that I
2 sent up, I think that I spoke about precisely those brigades, 280th to
3 284th, and there was, I think, a mountain battalion and maybe some other
4 units. I don't remember right now. But I can confirm that those units,
5 those brigades, are the brigades about which I informed the
6 Drina Corps Command.
7 Q. Thank you. Now, take a look at what it says further on. Under
8 "280th Light Infantry Brigade," it says:
9 "The commander of the 280th Light Infantry Brigade is
10 Ibrahim Handzic, aka Mrki."
11 Or -- well, now I can't read what it says here. "Krki" or
12 "Mandza." Or maybe "Mrki" or "Mandza."
13 And his deputy is Ibrahim Sabovic, aka Siptar.
14 Have you ever heard of those people? And as far as you know, did
15 those people really perform certain functions in those brigades?
16 A. Maybe I can help about the interpretation. Here it says
17 "Handzic," while the surname is "Mandzic." It was Ibrahim Mandzic. And
18 his nicknames were "Mrki" or "Mandza."
19 Excuse me. I know this Ibrahim Mandzic personally, or, rather, I
20 knew him before the war and I saw him after the war. I know all the
21 Mandzics who lived in the area of Potocari. At the time, I knew that
22 this Mandzic was one of the commanders in Potocari.
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic.
24 Take a look now at --
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you should let the witness answer
1 your question in full. You asked for the second person, and I think for
2 your benefit it's better to wait for his answer.
3 Can you tell us something about the other person, sir?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
5 I thought that the witness was finished with his answers. I
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Go on, Mr. Nikolic.
9 A. You also asked me about this other person, Ibrahim Sabovic. I
10 don't know who he is, and I don't know this nickname, Siptar. So in
11 short, I don't know the name, the surname, and I don't know the nickname.
12 Maybe I know this person, but I can't remember that.
13 Q. Thank you. Now, let us take a look at the second page, if your
14 answer is finished.
15 I would like you to take a look at the names of the commanders
16 that are listed always immediately after the number of the brigade.
17 First we have the commander of the 281st Light East Bosnian
18 Infantry Brigade. First, Zulfo Tursunovic; then Ibro Dudic, he's in the
19 282nd; then in the 283rd, Salihovic, Huso; and 284th, Vejiz Sabic.
20 Did you hear anything about those commanders? Did you have any
21 intelligence information about them, information that you received and
22 then forwarded for the operations analysis in the command?
23 A. I can confirm, for instance, Zulfo Tursunovic; I also knew him
24 personally, before the war, I knew all his family, and I know that he was
25 the commander of a brigade. Then I also already mentioned
1 Ibrahim Mandzic; yes, I know that he was a commander in Potocari, and I
2 also know him personally. Then I also know personally Vejiz Sabic. It
3 says here that he hails from Konjevic Polje, which means Bratunac
5 Now, as for Huso Salihovic, I don't know who that is. And I also
6 do not know Ibro Dudic. But I was aware of the 282nd and the
7 283rd Brigade. It was also my assessment that that those brigades
8 existed at the time.
9 Q. Thank you. And now let us take a look at the last page, where we
10 see the entire Srebrenica structure and also the names. We see the
11 civilian structure in Srebrenica or the civilian government. And can you
12 just take a look and tell us whether you knew these individuals and
13 whether they were, indeed, in the functions as mentioned here next to
14 their names? Thank you.
15 A. Some of the names that appear here look familiar and I can
16 recognise them, but I have to tell you that I don't know the civilian
17 structures of government in Srebrenica, and I can only speak of
18 individuals that I attended -- where -- that I know. One of them is
19 Osman Suljic and -- because we attended a meeting together. And I think
20 that once or twice he also took part in meetings that were held at the
21 UNPROFOR Potocari compound, under the auspices of the UNPROFOR commander.
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have no more questions regarding
24 this document, and I would like to tender it into evidence.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: As there is no translation yet, it will be marked
1 for identification, pending translation.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, 65 ter document 1D705 shall be
3 assigned Exhibit D207. Thank you.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Marked for identification, pending translation.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Could we now see D1805. Thank you. Can we pull it up in
8 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: I'm not sure if the
9 accused said D or P185.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] This is a VRS document signed by
11 the commander, General Mladic, and it is one of the protest letters that
12 he sent to the UNPROFOR commander personally at the time,
13 General Rupert Smith.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, could you please repeat the correct
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 The correct number is D185. We have it on the screen.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 Q. General Mladic writes as follows, and I quote -- the document is
21 dated 10 July 1995:
22 "I received your letter from 9th of July, 1995. Srebrenica
23 enclave has not been demilitarised in the spirit of the agreement of the
24 19th of April and 8th of May, 1993. Muslims did not surrender their
25 weapons, mines, and explosives, and combat assets to UNPROFOR. Muslim
1 forces are taking advantage of the special status of a protected zone for
2 the preparation and execution of terrorist and other combat activities
3 against the Serb people and the territory of Republika Srpska."
4 Now, were you aware of the activities mentioned by General Mladic
5 here, since they relate to the Srebrenica demilitarised zone, where you
6 were at the time, and did you know that there were frequent requests and
7 protests protesting the fact that the zone had not been and was not
8 demilitarised? Thank you.
9 A. Yes, I did have information to that effect. I conveyed the
10 requests sent by my superior commands and expressed our displeasure and
11 frustration because of this fact.
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic. Let me just read the second sentence
14 "Allow me to remind you that from then up until now Muslim forces
15 killed 100 and wounded over 200 Serb civilians in the attacks and with
16 infiltrated sabotage-terrorist groups."
17 Now, did you, too, point out the victims that were killed in the
18 operations around the zone, the protected zone, and generally in the
19 Serb-controlled areas?
20 A. I reported all the victims and casualties in the area of
21 responsibility of my brigade, whether they were military or civilian
22 casualties, so that I had a list -- I had compiled a list, and I held
23 it -- kept it within my brigade, a list of all those who had been killed
24 from the moment that this area was proclaimed a demilitarised area up
25 until almost the fall of the Srebrenica enclave, on the eve of the fall.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 We now see a document that you drafted and signed, a document
3 coming from your brigade.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Before we move to the next document: D185 was
5 used by you with another witness, but at that point in time we didn't
6 have a translation. There is a translation now. We see it on the
7 screen. Are you tendering it now, finally?
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Yes, we do wish to tender it.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will now be received.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Now we see a document -- or we will see a document that you sent
14 to your superior command from your brigade. It is dated the 8th.
15 Thank you. We will see it on our screens in a moment.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: No document was mentioned.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] My apologies. 1D728. My apologies
18 for not letting the e-court know. 1D728.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. It has been registered, and I assume that on the 11th of July it
21 was received by your command. That's what it says at the bottom. It was
22 sent to the Drina Corps Command, the Intelligence Department, and also to
23 General Krstic, the commander, personally, as well as to the forward
24 command post.
25 The first bullet point says:
1 "In the enclave, there is total chaos and panic."
2 The second bullet point:
3 "The command chain has broken down. There is evidence of clashes
4 between the existing command and Hakija Meholjic, who was appointed as
5 the new commander pursuant to an order from the Main Staff of the
6 BH army."
7 And then it says:
8 "Muslims are pulling out from Srebrenica and moving towards
9 Potocari for Suceska."
10 Now, can you tell us, according to this communication, this
11 person was appointed as the new commander, and what information did you
12 have about him when you drafted this report? Thank you.
13 A. Well, this is probably information that I had at the time that
14 was reported to me. Now, whether Hakija Meholjic was, indeed, appointed
15 as the new commander, I wasn't really sure then and I'm not even sure to
16 this day, but I just conveyed and relayed the information that I had
17 obtained and I felt that I needed to inform thereof my superior command.
18 Q. Thank you. Did you have any information about the clashes
19 between this person and the earlier leadership in Srebrenica?
20 A. Well, yes, I did have some information to the effect that
21 Hakija Meholjic belonged to the second group - I call them factions,
22 political factions - in Srebrenica and that he did not belong to the
23 Naser Oric faction or the then commanders and the then politicians who
24 were in charge of the civilian government. This was information that I
25 had and that had to do with Hakija Meholjic. That's what I knew about
1 him. Now, he was not the only one in his group -- they were not the only
2 ones who were opponents of Naser Oric. There were other people too, such
3 as Hamed Salihovic and other people who were in the enclave but were
4 not -- did not see eye to eye with Naser Oric.
5 Q. Thank you. The reason I ask this is that Meholjic, after the
6 fall of the enclave, appeared in some public TV programmes, and perhaps
7 you also had occasion to see this entire interview that was published in
8 a newspaper, where he talked about the clashes within the enclave, how
9 the enclave was actually traded off and in exchange for some territories,
10 and so on.
11 Did you hear of any of this? And I'm asking this because I will
12 show you some more documents which also mention the clashes within the
13 Muslim ranks and such as the one mentioned here in this document. Thank
15 A. Well, I can say this: I know that for a long time, there was
16 general disorder in the enclave. There were all kinds of groups that
17 were mutually opposed. On the one hand, we had Naser Oric and his group.
18 Then there was Hakija Meholjic and his group. Then there was a third
19 group, Ibrahim Mustafic and his group. And I believe that there was a
20 fourth group headed by the former chief of the Public Security Station,
21 Selimovic or Salihovic, Hamed. So these were the groups that were
22 present in Srebrenica, and they were mutually opposed.
23 What I know for a fact is that in Srebrenica enclave one could
24 say that more or less everything was under the control of Naser Oric,
25 whereas all the other groups were actually vying for their positions.
1 And what I know is that between Srebrenica and Zepa, and Srebrenica and
2 Tuzla, and Srebrenica and Kladanj, there were smuggling lines, and all
3 sorts of goods were smuggled along those routes.
4 So all these things were matters that I had information about and
5 reported on regularly.
6 Q. Thank you. Now, you mentioned black-marketeering. We will
7 discuss that a little later. I've already asked you about the internal
8 strife and conflicts.
9 Now I would like to show you P1174.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] However, I'd like to stress that
11 it's a sealed document, P1174, and it should not be shown in public.
12 And in the meantime, could I also tender this document into
13 evidence that we have on the screens.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: 1D728 will be marked for identification, pending
16 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter document 1D728 shall be assigned
17 Exhibit D208, marked for identification, pending translation. Thank you.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 Now we see this document that I called. Could we please show the
20 second page of the document, once we've seen the first one.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You should do it in private session.
10 We turn into private session.
11 [Private session]
11 Page 12589 redacted. Private session.
4 [Open session]
5 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours. Thank
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sir, can you help Mr. Tolimir and us with your
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 Q. Mr. Nikolic, since we were able to see from this statement that
11 there were over 210 people killed on this road where the column was going
12 from Srebrenica to Tuzla through Kamenica and Konjevic Polje and that
13 there were stories about internal conflicts and erratic, odd behaviour,
14 can you please tell us whether you had information about that and if
15 you're able to tell us anything about that? Thank you.
16 A. Yes, General, sir. I can talk about what I knew, and that is
17 that on that route along which the column was moving, from Srebrenica
18 until it reached Tuzla, that there were quite a number of problems. As
19 for specific features that are mentioned in this statement, that's data
20 that I'm not familiar with. I wasn't there at the time, so I don't know
21 what is accurate regarding the number of killed.
22 Based on the information that I had at my disposal, I can say
23 that there were mutual conflicts among some 15-, 16.000 people who had
24 assembled and were supposed to set off for Tuzla. Also, based on
25 information that I had later, after these events, indicates that there
1 was shooting and mutual killing. What I do know for sure is that in
2 front of the forward section of my brigade, in that area, there were many
3 minefields that were laid, also individual mines, and that it's
4 absolutely possible that as the column was moving, the people who were
5 there could have encountered minefields and that they could have suffered
6 mass casualties.
7 Therefore, I can confirm that there were conflicts about how to
8 organise the column, who was supposed to be at the head of the column,
9 and so on. And this is information indicating that some people wanted to
10 go to Zepa, some people wanted to go to Tuzla; there was disagreement
11 about that. So this is two kinds of information that I have: that there
12 were mutual conflicts, that also they had entered minefields; and that
13 there were dead and wounded people there.
14 Also, for the benefit of the Trial Chamber, I want to say that
15 the column was constantly exposed to fire, that ambushes were organised
16 in that sector by units that were present there, and that there were also
17 people from the column killed due to that.
18 This is what I can say, briefly, about what I knew at the time
19 and later.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic. I would now like to ask you --
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: At the moment, you are not continuing asking. We
22 are already out of time again. We need our second break. And after that
23 you may continue.
24 We resume at quarter past 6.00.
25 --- Recess taken at 5.49 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 6.19 p.m.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, now you may put the question you
3 wanted to ask before the break.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Mr. Nikolic, please, can we now look at another statement that we
7 wanted to look at before.
8 It's also something that should be shown in public -- in private
9 session. We don't want to reveal the identity of the witness. We just
10 want to deal with one sentence by this witness.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now please look at P --
12 Prosecutor 65 ter 1562. That's P1174. Or D151. Page 2.
13 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 I apologise, I made a mistake. I gave the wrong number to the
16 Registry. We actually need D151, because I was actually looking for two
17 different statements at the same time.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It should not be broadcast.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we look at page 2, paragraph 3,
20 of this document. I will be very careful not to disclose anything about
21 the witness.
22 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Can we now look at line 4 -- actually, the last sentence in this
24 line 4, which states:
25 "From there, we headed towards Pobudjska Kamenica, where we met
1 with a part of the first group, but the Chetniks surrounded us there and
2 opened fire on us, killing over 300 people and wounding a large number.
3 We were in disarray, as both soldiers and civilians started fleeing
4 wherever they could, while the wounded were left behind on the path."
5 Please, I don't want to quote anything else from this statement.
6 I just want to ask you this. This is the same incident that the previous
7 witness spoke about, where this witness said he saw 300 victims and the
8 previous one said he saw 150. So these are the numbers given on the road
9 as the column was moving towards Pobudjska Kamenica. My question is: As
10 you were receiving information, and you said earlier that there were
11 losses, that there were significant casualties due to artillery fire at
12 the Muslim column that was moving towards Pobudjska Kamenica, and did you
13 hear later that there were also victims there when everything was over?
14 Thank you.
15 A. What I knew in my brigade, at that point in time when the column
16 was moving, is that the column was having problems. I already explained
17 what these problems were relating to the conflicts and other things. I
18 also said that I had information about how there were constant problems
19 on the route that the column was taking, there were ambushes and fighting
20 from the Serb forces, and that on that route there was a large number of
21 people who were hurt, killed, wounded. This is what I knew, in general.
22 I just want to note here that these individual cases of this
23 nature that you are presenting to me from these statements are something
24 that I am not familiar with. I did, perhaps, see from statements that
25 mass killings are mentioned or that people died en masse, that they came
1 into minefields, and so on. So these details were something that I did
2 not have at that point in time as the column was moving along that route.
3 Q. Thank you. These statements are by Prosecution witnesses who
4 survived the incident. They all talk about a large number of casualties.
5 Do you know if that large number of casualties is something -- actually,
6 those bodies, were they picked up during "asanacija," and is that where
7 information about a large number of casualties subsequently came from?
8 Thank you.
9 A. I don't remember anyone going from that area along that route and
10 picking up the bodies and burying them. I'm not ruling out the
11 possibility that somebody did do that. But knowing that area and where
12 the column was moving, I doubt if anybody was going there in an organised
13 manner and picking up the dead bodies from places in that area.
14 I know something else for a fact that is relating to the presence
15 of a lady. I'm not going to reveal her name. She's from Finland. She
16 came after the operation, asking to be taken along the route in order to
17 check stories that there were still clothes and skeletons strewn about
18 that area. I think - I repeat, I think - that a large number of people
19 who were killed along that route were not picked up and not buried. I'm
20 talking about the state of affairs after the operation was carried out.
21 Later, activities were undertaken in order to find and look for
22 all of those mass places, and the skeletons or the bodily remains of
23 those people who were killed were collected. And as far as I know,
24 subsequently they were collected and buried in a common grave in
1 Q. Thank you. You have just mentioned the Finnish pathologist, as
2 Mr. Jean-Rene mentioned during the identification in the Bare Sector. He
3 said there were 600 of them. And then later it was said that they were
4 taken to Tuzla. It says here that they were taken to Tuzla.
5 Do you know what the Finnish team was doing there in that area?
6 A. What I know for a fact is that the lady insisted that she goes to
7 that sector. The Serbian side was not inclined for her to go along that
8 entire route which she insisted on. The main reason for that was because
9 representatives of the Serbian side knew that there was a large number of
10 minefields and individual mines that were left behind. They proposed to
11 her certain sections. So it wasn't a matter of whether she would be
12 taken there or not. It was simply of taking her to places that were
13 passable and where she could see what she wanted to see safely.
14 I don't know anything else about their work, except for being
15 present one day in that area of responsibility of my unit one day.
16 I think they did go and tour one sector there, but I'm not familiar with
17 the particulars because that was not something that I was involved in.
18 I think she was escorted by the civilian police, or I don't know who, but
19 I was not part of those activities, so I don't know what was happening.
20 Q. Thank you. Is it possible that this Finnish lady was
21 Helena Ranta; do you maybe remember the name? Does that name tell you
22 anything, Helena Ranta? That's the person mentioned by the demographers
23 and by the Investigator Jean-Rene Ruez.
24 A. I don't know. Really, I don't know. I wouldn't like to
25 speculate. I only know that she was from Finland.
1 Q. Thank you. They said that she found 600 persons at that
2 location, Bare. Jean-Rene Ruez said it. Then we also saw another
3 number, 500. So that's already 1.000. Do you know that all those
4 persons are accounted as if they were shot and killed at the same place,
5 and now people are charged with their deaths, although they are people
6 who were killed in combat? Thank you.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you may put questions to the
8 witness, but it's not for you to make a statement about numbers.
9 Mr. Thayer.
10 MR. THAYER: Well, Mr. President, with respect to the numbers, I
11 understand, from the general's questions, that he's saying that J.R. Ruez
12 talked about 600 persons. Then he threw out another number, 500. And
13 I'd like to know what the basis of that statement regarding another 500
14 bodies is, especially if he's going to add them together and claim that
15 they're all from the same area, especially if he's going to make the
16 further claims that Your Honour just pointed out at the end of the
17 question. I'd just like to know what the factual basis is for this
18 question before it's put to the witness.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, can you help us with the basis of
20 your information?
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 The basis is the statement given by Jean-Rene Ruez. He testified
23 here. I already quoted the statement on a number of occasions. And if
24 it is necessary, I can quote it again to this witness. But I think it
25 isn't necessary.
1 The second basis is the statement P174, relating to the
2 Pobudjska Kamenica site. And also the basis is the witness statement
3 mentioned 300 dead near Pobudjska Kamenica. That's the basis to add 600
4 and 300 and the 40 that I mentioned at the beginning and that 30 that I
5 mentioned earlier. Thank you. I'm referring to 1174.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And can you give us a reference to the testimony
7 of Witness Ruez?
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I will
9 give you the reference. 1D100, page 7.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
11 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I just want to make sure that the
12 record is clear.
13 My question had to do with this figure of 500. Are we to
14 understand that this figure of 500 is based upon adding together various
15 totals or estimates that have been provided by a number of different
16 witnesses and so he's lumping them into one number, 500; or is he saying
17 that there's one witness somewhere that talked about 500 and that that
18 figure of 500 was located in the same area as his figure for 600 ?
19 That's all we're asking. He's thrown out a bunch of numbers, 30, 300,
20 40, and if it's his case that he's adding up various witness statements
21 who talk about 40 here, 30 there, and 300, then, okay, but we want to
22 know where he gets this allegation that there is another 500.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you said that you have taken the
24 number from the testimony of Mr. Ruez. Now you have a reference to a
25 document we haven't seen yet, 1D100. This is not the transcript in this
1 case. I think you should rephrase your question. That makes it easier
2 to follow. And ask the witness without putting all these numbers to the
3 witness. Otherwise, we really need some more references.
4 Judge Nyambe has a question.
5 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you very much.
6 In answer to your question, at page 72, lines 4 to 8, just now
7 you've stated:
8 "Later, activities were undertaken in order to find and look for
9 all of those mass places, and the skeletons or the bodily remains of
10 those people who were killed were collected. And as far as I know,
11 subsequently they were collected and buried in a common grave in
13 Who collected and buried these people in this common grave in
14 Potocari; do you know? Thank you.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I said that subsequently other
16 locations were found and people were collected there and buried, I was
17 referring to the period after this operation and after all these
18 activities. I was referring to a longer period of time after that,
19 because it took a long time to find all those people on that path, and
20 I think that this hasn't finished. I think that the search is still
21 going on to find the people who were killed or who lost their lives.
22 That's what I meant when I said that they were found later.
23 As far as I know, I'm not aware of any other location, except for
24 individual cases. So I don't know for any other case that people who
25 were in the column lost their lives and were buried at any other place
1 other than Potocari. That's what I meant to say.
2 THE ACCUSED: [No interpretation]
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: One moment, please. Please wait.
4 I have a follow-up question for the witness. I would like to
5 come back to the last question of Mr. Tolimir. I see the essence of his
6 question was, in fact, Do you know the total number of dead people in the
7 column and in the field where the column was moving to the north; do you
8 know the total number?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I never testified that I know
10 the total number. Even now I don't know it. That's something that I
11 never was interested in. In my testimony so far and in my statements in
12 general, I mentioned estimates based on everything that I saw and based
13 on everything that I knew about the enclave and what was going on there,
14 so they were only estimates.
15 Now, what is the actual number of people killed and people
16 buried, I really don't know that. I never went into it, except, as a
17 normal human being, I'm following what is going on in relation to this
18 particular topic.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Another question.
20 Do you have any knowledge about the percentage of people, of
21 those who were killed in the column, who were killed in combat? A
22 percentage in relation to those who were not killed in combat?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] During the preparation for my
24 defence, I read every statement and I knew the numbers because this was
25 the basis which enabled me to either affirm or deny things that were
1 within my knowledge. So I can give an estimate, but you shouldn't take
2 it as something that I know as a fact.
3 Based on everything that I know, the ratio of people who were
4 executed and people who were killed in various other ways, in combat
5 activities, in ambushes, by shelling, in other fighting, is maybe 92 or
6 93 per cent people who were executed and, according to my estimates, 7,
7 8, maybe up to 10 per cent of people who maybe lost their lives on the
8 path between Srebrenica and Tuzla. It's a rough estimate. I'm not sure
9 about it. I don't know the actual numbers, but this is my estimate.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And I'm only interested in the people who were in
11 the column moving to the north. Many of them lost their lives on their
12 way to the north. How many per cent of them were, in effect, killed in
13 combat? Have you any idea about that, or even knowledge? I'm only
14 referring to the column.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] According to what I know, and I can
16 only tell you what I know, and according to my estimate and the estimate
17 of everybody who looked into the matter, there were between 15-, and
18 16.000 people in that column. This column split up at a certain point,
19 and that part which managed to break through to Tuzla numbered between
20 4-, and 5.000 people. I'm speaking on the basis of the information that
21 I have. Another part went towards Zepa. Another part was captured and
22 transferred to Bratunac later on.
23 My estimate is that between 3-, and 4.000 people from the column
24 lost their lives, but I don't know. I really don't know. I think it
25 makes no sense for me to go on speculating. I really don't know.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I'm not inviting you to speculate. Only I was
2 asking for your knowledge from different sources. Do you have any
3 knowledge about the percentage, among those who lost their lives in the
4 column, how many of them were combatants and killed in combat? If you
5 don't know, if you only can speculate, that's fine. But if you have
6 knowledge, I would be interested in it.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really wouldn't want to
8 speculate. I don't have that knowledge. I was never really dealing with
9 this subject-matter.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Nyambe has another question.
11 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
12 Just now, at page 77, lines 11 to 17, you have stated that:
13 "Based on everything that I know, the ratio of people who were
14 executed and people who were killed in various other ways, in combat
15 activities, in ambushes, by shelling, in other fighting, is maybe 92 or
16 93 per cent people who were executed and, according to my estimates, 7,
17 8, and maybe 10 per cent of people who lost their lives on the path
18 between Srebrenica and Tuzla."
19 How do you come to this estimate? Thank you.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The basis for this estimate is my
21 knowledge about the number of people who were separated in Potocari.
22 Also, and I'm now talking here about an estimate, I saw the number of
23 people who were captured during this whole period at that spot and on the
24 path from Srebrenica to Konjevic Polje and further on. So I base my
25 estimate on those data, counting all the people who were separated in
1 Potocari, those who were captured and temporarily detained in Bratunac
2 and Kravica. So if we take all this into account, then my estimate is
3 that around 10 per cent of all Srebrenica-related victims lost their
4 lives in combat. The rest was detained and later executed. Whether it
5 was in Bratunac or in Zvornik, I don't know. I'm simply talking about
6 the general number. And, of course, I'm giving you my estimates. I
7 don't know the exact number.
8 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please continue.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Nikolic, while we still have this document on the screen, the
13 document talking about the Bare location, take a look at line 8, which
15 "This area has been processed in 1996 by a team of experts from
16 Finland who were operating in that area in 1996, totally disconnected
17 from our activities. They were collecting surface remains. But it's
18 important to note that 600 bodies have been collected in that area."
19 So he's referring here to Bare:
20 "These are bodies of victims killed in combat, in ambushes, in
21 shelling, and possibly also in other circumstances which are impossible
22 to sort out between -- I mean, for us, at least, between combat and other
24 End quote, line 17.
25 My question is: Do you know the distance between Bare and
1 Pobudjska Kamenica? Thank you.
2 A. I don't know the exact distance. Without a map, I wouldn't be
3 able to tell.
4 Q. Thank you. Is that the same location or is there some distance
5 between Pobudjska Kamenica, that this witness refers to, and Bare, that
6 Mr. Ruez refers to?
7 A. I think there's some distance between them, but I wouldn't like
8 to speculate. I don't know exactly where Bare is. I heard of Bare, but
9 I don't know where that is.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, for the sake of the record, you were
11 reading from the transcript in the Krstic case, where the Witness Ruez
12 testified, and this is 1D100. And in our case, it's now D166. And to
13 understand your last question, you said: Is it the same location or is
14 it some distance between ... Kamenica, that this witness refers to ..."
15 Which witness do you mean?
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
17 I was thinking of Witness Ruez, on one page, and Witness --
18 protected witness who speaks about this in their statement that we looked
19 at a little bit earlier here.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. Thank you very much. This is
21 sufficient. Please carry on.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Nikolic, in view of numerous statements talking about a
25 certain number of killed -- we're not going to refer to a number, we
1 don't want an objection by the Trial Chamber, but we would like to at
2 some point have a specific figure so that at least we know. But what my
3 question is: This number, 600 people from the Bare location and that
4 300-odd number that encountered minefields and other things, as we read
5 in the witness's statement, all of those bodies, were they brought into a
6 common grave, and were they all presented as victims who were killed by
7 Serbs? Thank you.
8 A. I can answer this question on the basis of what I know. I've
9 been in prison for 10 years now, so there are a lot of things that have
10 changed that relate to the burials since I have been serving my sentence
11 in prison.
12 What I know is that all the victims who happened to be in the
13 column and had lost their lives in any of a different manner were
14 probably buried in Potocari, which applies to all of those who were
15 killed in 1995, those who were killed individually or who were killed in
16 different ways. They were buried in the Potocari grave. I think that
17 there were individual cases when somebody did not want them to be buried
18 there. This is something that I was following in the press, and this is
19 something that I know -- that I've read about during the time-period that
20 I've been in jail.
21 Q. The total number of victims, has it been presented to all the
22 accused as some kind of responsibility or charge?
23 A. I think, yes, that the victims and the number of victims is
24 something that is among those things that the accused are being charged
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we please look at D64. That's
2 a document that I signed, and we will only quote relevant portions of it
3 about the separation, or, rather, the registering of all those who are
5 I am reading from the document:
6 "On 12th of July of this year, at 1945 hours, a radio network of
7 elements of the 28th Muslim Division was activated. During the morning,
8 at around 0500 hours, these elements came across our minefield in the
9 sector of Ravni Buljin at the juncture between the Milici and
10 Bratunac Brigades."
11 And then it goes on to say -- can you look at the third paragraph
12 from the bottom, and can we look at the first dash, where they're talking
13 about the direction through which parts of the broken
14 28th Muslim Division are going to pull out from Srebrenica. They are to
15 take all measures to prevent pull-out and capture the enemy soldiers.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. My question is: This document which was sent to you -- actually,
18 it wasn't sent to you. It was sent to the Intelligence Sector of the
19 Drina Corps from the Sarajevo and Eastern Bosnian Corps. Does this
20 document not say that the Main Staff suggests that you propose to the
21 commanders such and such a thing; yes or no? Thank you.
22 A. Yes, it is the way it is stated here.
23 Q. All right.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation]
25 Can we please scroll up. Can we look at the last line at the
1 bottom, where it says that:
2 "The Muslims wish to portray Srebrenica as a demilitarised zone,
3 with nothing but a civilian population in it. That is why they ordered
4 all armed men fit for military service to illegally pull out from the
5 area across RS territory and reach the Muslim-controlled area so that
6 they could accuse the VRS of an unprovoked attack on civilians in a safe
8 And then it further states:
9 "Although it is very important to arrest as many members of the
10 shattered Muslim units as possible, or liquidate them if they resist, it
11 is equally important to note down the names of all men fit for military
12 service who are being evacuated from the UNPROFOR base in Potocari."
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. And my question is this: Since you are being asked to propose to
15 the commanders to register and evacuate, can you be responsible for that,
16 and can your commanders be held responsible for that because they ordered
17 you to do that? Thank you.
18 A. I don't know, General, sir, if I understood your question
19 entirely. But if you're asking me if my commander is responsible for
20 something that is happening in his unit's AOR, I'm going to tell you,
21 yes, my commander is responsible for that. If you are asking me whether
22 I feel responsible for the activities that I was ordered to execute or
23 are part of my remit, then I must say that I do feel responsible for all
24 the assignments that were entrusted to me and that I was executing, if
25 that's what you were asking. I'm not sure that I understood you
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, it is 7.00. We have to adjourn for
4 the day.
5 I would like to mention an omission at the beginning of today's
6 hearing. I didn't welcome Ms. Lindsay to this hearing as well, and I
7 would like to state on the record that you have been with us the whole
8 session of today.
9 We have to adjourn for today, but Mr. Thayer wants to raise a
11 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, if we could get an estimate as to how
12 much cross-examination is required further from the Defence. We have
13 another witness who's ready, and it would be helpful to know when to have
14 that witness available.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, is that possible?
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 Mr. President, we're going to use all the time that we have said
18 we would use and all the time that you have accorded to us based on the
19 extensions that Mr. Thayer used. Thank you.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
21 The Prosecution used nine and a half hours, and Mr. Tolimir, up
22 to now, six hours and forty-two minutes. It is quite unlikely that we
23 will conclude with this witness's testimony tomorrow.
24 MR. THAYER: That's what I wanted to know, Mr. President. Thank
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
2 We have to adjourn. I have to remind you, you have to come back
3 tomorrow morning at 9.00 in this courtroom, and it is not allowed to have
4 contact about the content of your testimony to either party.
5 We adjourn and resume tomorrow morning.
6 [The witness stands down]
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.02 p.m.,
8 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 12th day
9 of April, 2011, at 9.00 a.m.