1 Thursday, 2 June 2011
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning to everybody in the courtroom.
6 The witness should be brought in, please.
7 [The witness takes the stand]
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning, sir. Please sit down.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning to you.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Welcome back to the courtroom. I have to remind
11 you that the affirmation to tell the truth you made at the beginning of
12 your testimony still applies today.
13 Mr. Tolimir is now commencing his cross-examination.
14 Mr. Tolimir, you have the floor.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. May
16 peace reign in this house, and may these proceedings and today's hearing
17 be concluded in keeping with God's will and not my own. I wish a
18 pleasant stay to Mr. Mitrovic here with us and a safe journey home.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
20 WITNESS: MIKAJLO MITROVIC [Resumed]
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir:
23 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, yesterday you were asked about many topics
24 yesterday. We'll start from the beginning, and you're free to answer the
25 questions I will put to you the way you deem fit.
1 On a number of occasions yesterday, there was discussion of how
2 you were captured. On page 6, as well as page 8, the Prosecutor asked
3 you how you were captured. He even said that tear gas was thrown into
4 your solitary cell. You said that, for you, they were paramilitary --
5 they were not paramilitary formations. Or I believe the Prosecutor's
6 position was that the Croatian forces at the time were not paramilitary.
7 Why did we consider them to be paramilitary forces?
8 A. I understood the question.
9 Your Honours, yesterday I said that, for me, they were
10 paramilitary formations and not regular Croatian forces because, at that
11 time, the JNA was still the legal armed force of the state we lived in.
12 That is why I believed them to be paramilitary formations. Otherwise, as
13 I was serving in that garrison in Croatia, I had occasion through my work
14 to receive operational information on the creation of those formations
15 far ahead of the war, much earlier than September 1991. There was also
16 information of -- on how they were arming themselves. That is why I
17 qualified them as paramilitary.
18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic. Can you tell us whether they were
19 paramilitary formations even under the then Croatian constitution as well
20 as under the then SFRY constitution, and since they were paramilitary
21 were their activities illegal under the Croatian law and the SFRY law?
22 A. They were definitely paramilitary forces, as regards the law of
23 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Whether they were illegal
24 under the then-Croatian constitution, that is something I can't say.
25 Why is that? Those were primarily police forces, forces of the
1 MUP. They established the ZNG as the reserve and active-duty force of
2 the MUP. It was so until, at the stadium in Maksimir when they had their
3 first parade, Tudjman promoted them into some kind of armed forces of the
4 future Croatian state.
5 Q. Is regular service determined based on one's position within the
6 state structure or because of one's conduct? As you said, the MUP in
7 Croatia was a legal body; however, their activities were illegal because
8 they were not supposed to attack the army under the Croatian and SFRY
10 A. If you put it in that context, then it was so. No one mandated
11 them to do this. And the then-JNA was not an enemy force in Croatia at
12 the time when the conflict broke out. The JNA did not do anything to
13 provoke those forces. It did not undertake any anti-constitutional steps
14 which would provide an excuse or reason for those forces to come into
15 action. Of course, I'm referring to the area of Sibenik, because I was
17 Q. Thank you. Did the units of the JNA in the area of Sibenik try
18 to separate the so-called paramilitary formations from the Serb
19 population they attacked in the RSK which was later on proclaimed a UN
20 protected area?
21 A. That is precisely so. Our role was to place ourselves between
22 the paramilitary forces and the Serbs living in the environs and in the
23 town itself, of course. However, it was most pronounced in the nearby
24 villages populated by Serbs.
25 If you recall, Your Honours, it was the time when barricades were
1 being set up and people were fencing themselves off by ethnicity. Entry
2 into Serb or Croatian villages was prevented. And there was much
3 tension. The war was at the door, basically. It was all around, and the
4 antagonism was severe. There was an eruption of nationalism on both
6 Q. Thank you. Colonel, did both the Supreme Commander and the
7 Federal Secretariat ask of us to disarm both the Serbs and Croats in the
8 territory, to collect their weapons and place it in JNA barracks. Do you
9 recall that period and those specific activities?
10 A. Yes. We were asked to do that because -- well, I remember one
12 In the Sibenik garrison, we had received a task, since, in the
13 Presidency of the then-Yugoslavia - perhaps it was already the rump
14 Presidency by that time - in any case, we received a task to have the
15 Romanian produced Kalashnikovs, the so-called Rogonja [phoen] to be taken
16 away from the paramilitary forces and those weapons to be sent to
17 Belgrade so that the people sitting in the Presidency could see for
18 themselves that indeed those weapons were in circulation, and we did so.
19 What happened afterwards? The then member of the Yugoslav
20 Presidency, Stipe Mesic, asked for 48 hours to review the situation and
21 to see for himself whether those Croatian forces were indeed armed. In a
22 way he didn't trust us. Perhaps they all agreed at the top. He got the
23 period. And within those 48 hours, they managed to print out IDs for the
24 reserve police force, and they distributed them to all those who had
25 previously been given weapons illegally. Thus, basically legalizing
1 those weapons. They made all those people who had received weapons
2 members of the MUP, and so our hands were tied. And not only ours,
3 probably of that the state leadership too.
4 Q. Thank you. For the Chamber to understand, you said the
5 Kalashnikovs called Rogonja, were these weapons illegally imported from
6 other countries where they were produced into Croatian territory in order
7 to arm the paramilitary formations and the forces of the MUP and Croatian
8 Army? Were we trying to prove that those weapons were not produced in
9 Yugoslavia factories but was imported illegally and was, as such, prone
10 to be seized?
11 A. As I said a moment ago, they were of Romanian production. Such
12 weapons had not existed in the JNA or in the TO or in the police. It
13 means that those weapons were illegally brought in to that part of the
14 state. That is to say, Croatia.
15 There were even some documentaries made about that, about how the
16 weapons were imported. Of course, such weapons had to be seized, as
17 would be the case in any other normal state.
18 Q. Thank you. You mentioned a moment ago Stipe Mesic as the Supreme
19 Commander. He, as the Supreme Commander, did he create the preconditions
20 as you just described for the Croatian paramilitary forces to legalise
21 all their activities so as not to violate the then laws and regulations
22 which were in place for all armed formations?
23 A. Yes, Your Honours. In my previous answers, I said that they
24 managed to legalise their operation by having legalised the weapons, when
25 the IDs were issued. In that way, they simply prevented us from doing
1 anything. And in my view, it was a wise move. They made any further
2 action against them impossible, and, at the same time, they carried out
3 sieges of all military facilities in the territory of Croatia. And, of
4 course, again, I'm speaking of Sibenik. Not only that. They made our
5 life in the military facilities in Sibenik unbearable. It probably went
6 for all other military facilities as well. They turned off our
7 electricity, water, telephone lines. They brought their children, women
8 there, provoking members of the JNA, primarily those on active duty.
9 They also called for soldiers to desert, and many soldiers did, primarily
10 those who were not Serbs.
11 Next, they put on -- the JNA hall in Sibenik under a siege. They
12 pelted it with stones, and I was actually in the JNA hall with a military
13 police squad when it took place. They demolished the place. When
14 foreign delegations arrived in Sibenik, they screened off the entire JNA
15 hall with blankets and sheets so that they wouldn't see that the building
16 was demolished. They also placed loud-speakers. They played music in
17 front of the barracks which worked round the clock, and invited people to
18 surrender. This was -- amounted to psychological torture and it was a
19 clear message that the Serb members of the JNA were not wanted. That's
20 the summary of the whole story.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, may I interrupt you for a moment.
22 Judge Nyambe has a question.
23 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you. I just need a clarification to better
24 understand the flow of your evidence.
25 At the beginning -- at the beginning of your evidence, you have
1 made reference to paramilitary and regular forces. In order for me to
2 understand clearly, can you just briefly, very briefly, tell the
3 difference between the paramilitary and regular forces?
4 And then -- maybe I will ask the other question when you have
5 given me your answer. Thank you.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I said that the then
7 National Guard Corps in Croatia was, for me, a military formation.
8 Because, at the time, the JNA was the legitimate armed force in
9 Yugoslavia, including the territory of the Republic of Croatia and all
10 other parts of the then Yugoslavia. They were the only legal armed
12 JUDGE NYAMBE: So, therefore, your reference to paramilitary
13 means they were illegal forces.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Precisely so.
15 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
16 My last question is, at page 3 of today's transcript, line 24,
17 you are recorded as having said:
18 "... people were fencing themselves off by ethnicity."
19 Can you explain that term to me, "fencing themselves off by
20 ethnicity"? What does that mean exactly. Thank you.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, perhaps I wasn't clear
22 enough. I said that, at the time, barricades were put up in villages.
23 Serbian villages put up barricades, Croatian villages put up barricades.
24 That was the meaning of "fencing off."
25 I also said that there was rampant antagonism. There was an
1 eruption of nationalistic feelings on both sides.
2 JUDGE NYAMBE: So, in other words, people tended to group
3 themselves accord to their ethnicity.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, right. Exactly.
5 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, carry on, please.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
8 MR. TOLIMIR:
9 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Mitrovic, can you briefly tell us whether
10 paramilitary formations in all areas, including Croatia, Serbia and
11 everywhere, were illegal because of their activities which were illegal
12 and unconstitutional and unlawful in the entire territory of the SFRY?
13 From your professional point of view.
14 A. Precisely so. In your question, you practically included the
15 answer, illegal activities are considered to be paramilitary activities
16 everywhere, whatever is not part of the system. In Republika Srpska,
17 during the war, as the Army of Republika Srpska, we considered the forces
18 which were not under the command of the Army of Republika Srpska to be
19 paramilitary forces, illegal forces, and so on.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please see 1D797 in
22 e-court so that we could see something.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. And until then, let me phrase my question: Did the JNA and the
25 members of the army disarm paramilitary formations regardless of the
1 ethnicity, if they were found in a part of the territory that was under
2 its control? Thank you.
3 A. At the time, and that was still just the beginning, I'm talking
4 about the period preceding open combat, so before any fighting broke out.
5 If we are talking about that period, our attitude and our criteria were
6 absolutely the same towards the Croats, the Croatian forces, and towards
7 the Serbs. Later on -- perhaps you would ask me that as well. Later on
8 it happened that we had to defend Serbs from the Croats.
9 Q. Thank you. I will ask you immediately, please always answer
10 briefly so that we could manage to do everything. I have not much time
11 and probably you want to go home today.
12 This is my question: Did the federal secretary of national
13 defence make a decision, and the Presidency as well, that all
14 paramilitary formations be disarmed, that Martin Spegelj and other
15 Croatian leaders who had been in charge of arming the paramilitary forces
16 of the MUP and TO to be arrested?
17 A. Yes. If you want me to expand that I can, but, yes.
18 Q. Was it done and if not, why not, and tell us what you think about
19 that now? Thank you.
20 A. We were prevented. I'm saying that from the point of view of the
21 army and the security organs. We were prevented precisely by the
22 legalisation which I talked about earlier, if we have Croatian forces in
24 Q. And as for the Presidency of SFRY, was there any resistance to
25 the arrest of Spegelj, Boljkovac, and other Croatian leaders who were
1 illegally arming military conscripts in Croatia? Thank you.
2 A. Well, you see, if we had unified Presidency at the time, and a
3 different way of controlling the state, probably the war wouldn't have
4 happened in the first place.
5 Q. Can you please tell us when some of the weapons which arrived
6 from abroad in the so-called Kikas aircraft was seized. Do you remember
7 that and can you tell us something about that?
8 A. Yes, I remember that the aircraft was seized, that it was full of
9 weapons, that weapons were unloaded in Belgrade, I think, and that that
10 was the most flagrant material proof or the most obvious one at the time
11 that illegal arming was taking place, that arms were being imported and
12 so on.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Your microphone.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
15 MR. TOLIMIR:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Later on, when the conflicts broke out, did the
17 one and the other and the third side begin to arm themselves illegally
18 and set up their paramilitary formations which you also mentioned
19 yesterday? Thank you.
20 A. Yes, of course. When combat activities began to be carried out
21 and there were dead on either side, the arming was stepped up and so was
22 the setting up of paramilitary organisations organising people into such
23 units on either side, which is in a way a normal reaction of any man to
24 defend himself, protect himself so that this was taking place.
25 Q. Thank you. Was anyone prosecuted by the Croatian authorities
1 because of illegal arming and setting up paramilitary formations? Thank
3 A. As far as I remember, no.
4 Q. Was it the occasion then for an escalation of violence and
5 illegal conduct in the whole territory of Croatia regardless of the
6 specific areas in question were populated by Serbs or Croats?
7 A. You see, Your Honours, perhaps that was one of the causes, but it
8 was obvious that this activity was organised. It was not chaotic, and
9 these were not isolated incidents of a murder of an individual somewhere
10 which caused an entire army to be armed and attacks to be carried out on
11 all facilities. It was an organised activity and the organisation did
12 not begin in 1990 or 1991 but probably sometime earlier. With the
13 multi-party elections in Croatia, there was already talk about Croatia
14 becoming an independent country, a separate country, and so on and so
16 Q. Thank you, Colonel. We're interested in the beginning of the war
17 in the territory of the former Bosnia-Herzegovina. This is why I'm
18 asking you, if one whole republic put up resistance to all the decisions
19 made by the Presidency and the federal secretary of National Defence, did
20 that then reflect on individual unlawful conduct? Thank you.
21 A. Yes, it was reflected in that as well, of course. But if you
22 want us to talk about Bosnia-Herzegovina, it was already in that time, in
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina as well, it was, if I may put it so, an example that
24 something similar should be applied, a similar scenario should be applied
25 in Bosnia-Herzegovina. If that is what you had in mind.
1 Q. Thank you. I didn't have that mind. But yesterday during
2 examination-in-chief and in your interview also you were asked by the
3 investigator why were Serbs in Croatia defended. I will ask you to tell
4 us the following: Did the JNA have the task to protect the Serbs in
5 Croatia according to the Vance-Owen Plan or was it doing that just
6 because Kadijevic wanted that and wrote that in an order which was
7 presented to you and which we will have another look at later? Thank
9 A. Your Honour, during the conflicts in Croatia, the Croats had
10 their forces. They had been already set up. For me they were
11 paramilitary forces, for them they were legal forces; that was the
12 national guard corps.
13 Q. Excuse me, Mr. Mitrovic. Can something be legal if it's
14 unconstitutional and unlawful?
15 A. No, it cannot be legal if it's unlawful. We already talked about
16 that. But I wanted to finish my thought. The Croats had their own
17 forces. For them they were legal forces, if you like. But not for us.
18 But they could not be legal for them, because they had not been
19 legitimised by the law and by the constitution. This is what I mean. So
20 that's what they had, and the Serbs over there did not have their own
21 army. They had not set it up. And the JNA's task was then to protect
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir and Mr. Mitrovic, you are using the
24 same language and you are talking quite fast. It is very difficult for
25 the interpreters to catch everything, and you can see it especially at
1 the beginning of page 12, that not everything was record the properly
2 because of your overlapping.
3 Please pause between question and answer and the next question.
4 Judge Nyambe has a question.
5 JUDGE NYAMBE: Yeah, just to add on to what Judge Fluegge has
6 said just now, I'm not clear really what your answer is in lines 3 and 4.
7 And it is:
8 "No, it cannot be illegal if it is up lawful."
9 I think we need a clarification there before we move forward
10 because that is quite important. Your answer is quite important. Thank
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I said that something
13 that is unlawful is also illegal. I'm not sure how that was translated.
14 I did not say that what is unlawful is not illegal. Because as you say,
15 it's a negation of a negation.
16 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: That is exactly what we heard in the translation.
18 Thank you very much for this clarification.
19 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on. And please pause between question
20 and answer.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I'm
22 sorry that we did not correct this. I apologise to the e-court because I
23 called for a wrong document. I wanted 1D794, because we still have not
24 moved to this subject, the war in Bosnia. We're still discussing the war
25 in Croatia.
1 So could we please show 1D794. And I apologise for the slip of
2 the tongue and the error which I made. Thank you.
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, we can see here that the 9th Corps command received
5 from the federal secretary at the time a document or, rather, a
6 directive, and it says here:
7 "Enclosed: Please find the directive of the federal secretary
8 for national defence on the use of armed forces in the coming period."
9 Please tell us briefly for the record, what is a "directive" in
10 the military sense of the word? Thank you.
11 A. Your Honours, a directive is, to put it in a simplified manner,
12 an order but an order from the higher command organs. That is to say,
13 the Main Staff, the Supreme Command. At our level, it was the
14 Main Staff, or at the time when we are talking about this document, it
15 was the federal secretary or the Federal Secretariat of the National
16 Defence, which is to say that is the level of the Ministry of Defence. A
17 directive is a document, an order, issued at that strategic level. What
18 is just a simple order at the level of a corps or brigade or lower
19 levels, this is how it is called at the strategic level.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we please see the next page in
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. We can see now here in the title: "Directive on the Use of Armed
25 Forces in the Coming Period for the Preparation and Carrying out of
1 Combat Operations."
2 My question is this: Were we all obliged by law to apply this
3 directive in the period of preparing for conducting combat operations?
4 A. Yes, we were. At all levels.
5 Q. Thank you. You were shown --
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we please turn to the next
7 page? That's page 2 of the document. The first paragraph. I will
8 quote. General Kadijevic says this in the directive:
9 "Our armed forces are entering a new extremely important period
10 of achieving the final goals of the war. Protection of the Serbian
11 population, a peaceful resolution of the Yugoslav crisis, and creating
12 conditions for preserving Yugoslavia for those peoples who want to live
13 in it. That is why preserving the combat readiness of the Yugoslav
14 People's Army and the armed forces in their entirety is still the focal
15 task of all levels of control and command and its members, until such a
16 time when a political resolution to the Yugoslavia crisis is achieved."
17 And further on, he issues the tasks in accordance with this
19 My question is this: Can we conclude on the basis of the
20 quotation I just read out what the task and the duty of the JNA in
21 Croatia was until the moment when the Vance-Owen Plan was accepted, and
22 could you see that from the --
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I listened very carefully to this
24 line of questions. Some, especially the role of the paramilitaries, was
25 dealt with during the examination-in-chief, but I would like to know what
1 is the relevance for our case in -- in relation to this document and the
2 political tasks and targets at that time in 1991. It's far, far earlier
3 than the relevant time to the indictment.
4 Could you please explain that? This was, if I'm not mistaken,
5 [sic] part of the examination-in-chief yesterday. And I'm referring to
6 these political questions and not referring to the paramilitaries
7 Mr. Thayer dealt with yesterday.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Yesterday there was some discussion about this topic, and
10 Mr. Mitrovic was even in his answers saying that there weren't only
11 Croats in the army but also Muslims, including Dudakovic, who was chief
12 of artillery. He was earlier asked by an investigator why they were only
13 protecting the Serbs and that was because the Serbs were under attack
14 from the Croatian state, and I'm providing the basics that stem from the
15 statement made by General Kadijevic. I believe this is of great
16 importance. These are the beginnings of the war in Yugoslavia. If
17 somebody stops listening to the state, what can we expect from various
19 Thank you.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you are right, that some of these
21 topics were raised during examination-in-chief. However, using your
22 court time properly in favour of your Defence should take into account
23 what we are dealing with. We are dealing with the indictment against
24 you, the charges of severe crimes and not the outbreak of the war.
25 Please bear that in mind and use your time carefully.
1 Carry on, please.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I will,
3 as always, make sure to complete my examination in time and I will give
4 up on some other questions but this one not. This is an important topic.
5 If an individual is behaving unlawfully, that's a small thing, but when a
6 state is behaving like that, that causes a lot of difficulties. I will
7 not deal with that issue too much. Of course, I will just put another
8 question to Mr. Mitrovic.
9 MR. TOLIMIR:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Was the Vance plan reached in Croatia for the
11 purpose of protection of the Serbian population and were the United
12 Nations the only force that was protecting the Serbs in Croatia?
13 A. Yes, that's true. The plan was reached for the protection of the
14 Serbian population and the United Nations forces were deployed within
15 Croatia for that very purpose, to protect the population.
16 Q. Thank you. And, at the end of the war, when Croatia attacked the
17 protected areas in Croatia, did, at the time, UNPROFOR abandon the
18 positions and stop protecting the protected areas, and did even the NATO
19 forces use air-strikes against these territories?
20 A. Yes, that's correct. That did happen.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Excuse me, Mr. Tolimir.
23 On line 16 and 17 of page 15, one very important word was left
24 out when I asked you about the relevance of your questioning. I said:
25 "This was, if I'm not mistaken, not part of the
1 examination-in-chief yesterday."
2 The word "not" was left out. I wanted to put that on the record.
3 Please carry on.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
5 MR. TOLIMIR:
6 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Mitrovic, could you please tell us whether
7 the Serbian people in Croatia, as well as in other parts of former SFRY,
8 see the Vance Plan as a way of disarming the Serbs who would then, after
9 that, become victims of the same people who disarmed them?
10 A. In essence, yes, that's what the people believed. I agree with
11 your words. People felt like that, they felt betrayed not only by the
12 United Nations, but primarily by Serbia, a state that signed the
13 agreement and was there as a guarantee. They were disappointed by what
14 later happened to them.
15 Q. Thank you. Let us now move to 1995 and the end of the war. At
16 that time, the plan, the so-called Z-4 plan, was being in the process of
17 making, the mediator was Peter Galbraith, an American Ambassador in
18 Croatia, which was finally agreed upon before the Operation Storm in
20 A. I do remember that plan and I do remember what it was supposed to
22 Q. I apologise for the transcript. Could you tell me whether you
23 remember that immediately one day after the Z-4 plan was agreed upon,
24 whether the Croatian Army started their Operation Storm against the
25 protected areas in Croatia. In other words, areas where the Serbs lived?
1 A. Yes, that's correct.
2 Q. Do you remember that the same Peter Galbraith, American
3 ambassador, was seen on Croatian tanks? Did you see such photos later on
4 after Operation Storm?
5 A. I did not see that --
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I have to interrupt you. The war in Croatia and
7 the Operation Storm is not part of this trial. Please bear that in mind
8 and don't waste time.
9 Carry on, please.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 MR. TOLIMIR:
12 Q. [Interpretation] Please do answer, Mr. Mitrovic. This was
13 directly linked up with the area of responsibility of your corps.
14 A. No, I did not see the photograph, but I do know I've heard in the
15 period after the war about the role of Peter Galbraith in that operation
16 and the preparations of this Operation Storm, that was something one
17 could find in the media. All my knowledge stems from there.
18 Q. Thank you. Could you just briefly in one sentence tell us all
19 that you know and then we will move to other topics.
20 A. In simple terms, in our military terminology, the Croats got the
21 green light from the Americans and all the necessary assistance for the
22 purpose of resolving the Serbian question in the parts of Croatia called
23 Serbian Republic of Krajina within seven days. They were promised they
24 will receive American support and that there will be no strong reactions
25 condemning such an operation. That's all I can say briefly.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, Mr. Tolimir, you should have
2 realised that the witness said "... all my knowledge stems from there,"
3 which means from the media. How can that help your Defence?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. The
5 witness could not have been in Croatia at that time because he would have
6 been killed, and the media demonstrated what the objective was of the
7 negotiations, the Z-4 negotiations. We could have only seen Galbraith
8 riding a tank if Croatian television broadcast such images. Thank you.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: [Overlapping speakers] ... you should indeed move
10 to relevant topics, relevant to this indictment.
11 MR. TOLIMIR:
12 Q. [Interpretation] Okay. Let's start with the relevant topic.
13 In 1995, the Croatian Army attacked the zone of your corps.
14 Could you tell us in just a few sentences how numerous were the Croatian
15 forces and from which directions did they launch their attack against
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina, attacking the zone of the 2nd Krajina Corps where
17 you were serving?
18 A. In late 1995, in other words, June, July, and August of 1995, the
19 legal units of Croatian Army took part in the so-called
20 Operation Maestral. In other words, they were carrying out activities
21 along two axes. One was Livno-Grahovo axis which was in the zone of
22 responsibility of the 2nd Krajina Corps and the other axis was
23 Livno-Glamoc axis. And they also carried out activities along the axis
24 Sipovo-Mrkonjic Grad entering into both of these towns; in other words,
25 Sipovo and Mrkonjic Grad. These were mainly forces of the Croatian
1 Operative Zone Split. I cannot tell you which brigades these were. I
2 know about the Sinj Regiment, but can I cannot remember, as I sit here,
3 their numerical denomination. But I do remember that we managed to
4 capture a major from that unit who was a logistics assistant in this Sinj
5 Regiment, and later on he was exchanged.
6 But all in all, they were active along the axis I mentioned a
7 moment ago and now I'm speaking about the zone of responsibility of the
8 2nd Krajina Corps. I must add that prior to that the Croatian forces
9 were also active in Kupres area in 1992. I'm talking about the Croatian
10 Army. Up until the 7th of April, I believe, of 1992, they were there,
11 present in the Kupres area, carrying out active operations against
12 Serbian forces.
13 Q. Thank you. When you are talking about Croatian forces and
14 Serbian forces, did you mean Croatian forces from Bosnia and Herzegovina
15 or from the Republic of Croatia?
16 A. When I was talking about Kupres, both of these were present.
17 When I was talking about the other axis, or, to be more precise, when I
18 was talking about the axis of activity in 1995, again, there were both
19 units of the Croatian Army and the units of the HVO active there.
20 Q. I apologise, I understood you initially as well, but for the sake
21 of transcript, we must make sure that it's clearly stated where did the
22 Croatian forces come from.
23 Could you please tell us were there any NATO air-strikes against
24 Serbian forces that occurred during the Maestral -- the operation
25 Maestral that was being carried out by the Croatian Army?
1 A. Yes, Your Honours. There were some activities carried out by the
2 NATO air force against some of the positions and some more important
3 elements of the combat disposition of the VRS also in the zone of the 2nd
4 Krajina Corps. These were mainly strikes against radio relay hubs and
5 nodes and some of the elevations where these were located. That was
6 something that was happening almost simultaneously. I don't know whether
7 it was a synchronised operation, but it ask likely that it was done in
8 agreement between Croatia and NATO but I cannot make a conclusion to that
9 effect, but the NATO activities did assist, or, rather, speed up the
10 breakdown of the zones of responsibility of the 1st and the 2nd Krajina
11 Corps. At the time, we were receiving information through intelligence
12 channels to the effect that some NATO rapid reaction forces were carrying
13 out artillery attacks against our command posts and such more important
14 areas. Thank you.
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic. Because you cannot make such a
16 conclusion; namely, a conclusion that it was in a co-ordinated -- oh, I
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
19 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, it might be helpful to see how the
20 last answer links up with other testimony which the Trial Chamber has
21 already heard. If we could just get some orientation to date for these
22 activities, because right now it's in a temporal vacuum. I think it
23 might be helpful if Colonel Mitrovic could provide an approximate date,
24 month, for these activities that he just described.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed. Also, for the Chamber, it would be
1 helpful to understand this topic better.
2 Please clarify that with the witness, Mr. Tolimir.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 MR. TOLIMIR:
5 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Mitrovic, you just told us that you cannot
6 conclude whether the activities were co-ordinated or not. Could you
7 please tell Mr. Thayer when exactly did that happen, because yesterday he
8 also asked you about the transfer of information through Neven system,
9 and I would like to ask you now to tell us whether this Neven system
10 existed throughout any specific period, and also please tell us at which
11 time period did NATO attack VRS positions in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
12 A. I did explain that but I will repeat. It was June, July, August,
13 and September, during that period in 1995 - and we are talking about
14 1995 - we're talking about the end of the war, because in your question
15 you specified we were talking about 1995 and Operation Storm, so I
16 assumed that we all understood we're talking about 1995. But it was
17 during those months that we had the zone of -- no flying zone and even
18 then there were certain NATO attacks against radio relay facilities and
19 communication systems. Thank you nor reminding me. Yesterday we were
20 talking about Neven and now can I explain why we could not set up the
21 Neven system within our zone, and one of the reasons was precisely that;
22 namely, Klekovaca radio relay facility had been destroyed prior to that,
23 which was our main radio relay system.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Now the interpretation has stopped. Once again,
1 sir, Mr. Mitrovic, I quote from your penultimate answer.
2 You said, I quote:
3 "At the time we were receiving information through intelligence
4 channels to the effect that some NATO rapid reaction forces were carrying
5 out artillery attacks against our command posts."
6 When did that happen?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was discussing the
8 period of June, July, August, and September of 1995.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
10 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 MR. TOLIMIR:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Mitrovic, let's look at D259, which refers
14 to the very reasons why the Neven system was inoperational and why the
15 teleprinter connections were down.
16 This is a document about the changes in the communications
17 system, as well as establishing a courier system. It states here that
18 the 2nd Krajina Corps received it as well.
19 It states:
20 "Due to the partially inoperational communications system which
21 was caused by NATO aeroplane air-strikes against radio relay hubs and PTT
22 facilities in the areas of responsibility of the SRK, HK, DK, and IBK and
23 until other alternative communication routes are established, in order to
24 have the teletype traffic established, I order ..."
25 And here we see the various items of the order which states that
1 from your area, that of the 1st Bosnian Corps, mail was to be delivered
2 by couriers, and from there, it would be -- from the other corps it would
3 be picked up to be taken to the Main Staff.
4 Do you recall this period? The document was signed by
5 General Ratko Mladic. If we go to the next page, we'll see the signature
7 You can see it there. Since the order was issued in
8 September 1995, can you tell us whether, at the time, there could have
9 been any communication between any corps commands and Tolimir through the
10 Neven system, as you were asked yesterday at page 38 and 39?
11 A. Your Honours, before providing an answer, I'd like to clarify one
12 thing. Namely, the 2nd Krajina Corps, on its northern borders,
13 neighboured on the Republic of the Serb Krajina, as long as it existed.
14 Following Operation Storm, which began on August 1, 1995, the RSK and its
15 army no longer existed. The 2nd Krajina Corps received another 180
16 kilometres of front lines, so we were basically adjacent to the Croat and
17 Muslim forces. When I say Croat forces, I have in mind both the HVO and
18 the Croatian Army. In other words, the situation was completely new.
19 On the other hand, there were NATO air-strikes, and by that time
20 it became increasingly difficult to fight and offer any resistance.
21 There were also operations against radio relay hubs, radar stations, and
22 other facilities. This all caused a breakdown in the system of command
23 and control. A consequence of that was this very order, which tried to
24 establish a different communications system.
25 This September of 1995 order basically confirms what I said
1 yesterday concerning the Neven system in my corps. I also said that,
2 most likely, the other corps which had not moved retained the system.
3 However, I now see that they, too, had problems.
4 This is the only answer I can provide you with.
5 Q. Thank you. Let's look at 1D776 next.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, are you tendering D259?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
8 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: As there is no translation, it will be marked for
10 identification, pending translation.
11 One moment, please, we need a document -- no, sorry, I made a
12 mistake. I was referring to D258 -- 9, but this is already an exhibit.
13 It was my mistake. Sorry for that.
14 Please carry on.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
16 MR. TOLIMIR:
17 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Mitrovic, before us is a document of the
18 30th of August, 1995. The title is: "NATO Aircraft Activities in the
19 Areas of Responsibility of the Corps Specified."
20 And then it says: "Information."
21 It was forwarded to your command, among others. It states:
22 "Early in the morning on the 30th of August 1995, NATO forces
23 carried out two comprehensive air-strikes against targets chosen
24 beforehand. The first strike took place between 1.40 and 2.40 hours with
25 40 planes of which 30 were assault planes. Combat itself lasted for some
1 ten minutes. The second comprehensive strike included 30 planes."
2 The third paragraph:
3 "During these two comprehensive strikes, the enemy was active in
4 the general area of the Command Staff of the VRS without causing any
5 damage there. They also attacked the radar position at RRC Jahorina,
6 Stolica and Kmur, the PTT relay hub Strazica Cajnice, Trebevic, former
7 RRC Zlovrh, and firing positions of the rocket battery Kuh [phoen] in the
8 general area of Sokolac."
9 My question is this: If NATO was attacking all communications
10 centres, including that of the Main Staff, and of the corps, was it
11 possible to keep communication between the Main Staff and the corps by
12 using the Neven system which we discussed yesterday?
13 A. Your Honours, of course, it was impossible. There were many
14 problems and that is why the order we saw a moment ago was issued seeking
15 for alternative solutions to be established. Of course, an armed forces
16 must not be left without its communication abilities. As a system it has
17 to have alternative solutions in place, otherwise it cannot survive
18 without this communication between superiors and subordinates.
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic. I will show you 65 ter
20 document number 05834. It is an OTP document.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, Mr. Registrar told me that the
22 document, 1D776, we have on the screen, was already MFI'd pending
23 translation as D257. But it's not listed in your list of documents to be
24 used during cross-examination, if I'm not mistaken. That creates,
25 sometimes, quite a bit of confusion.
1 Carry on, please.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. It is
3 possible that I mixed up some documents. We can see the other document
4 on the screen now. It is dated the 11th of October, 1995, which is only
5 a day later, following ...
6 MR. TOLIMIR:
7 Q. [Interpretation] You can see here that it was sent to your corps.
8 The title is: "Blocking the Enemy Offensive on the Western RS Front.
10 It is stated here what unit and what officer were to do in order
11 to carry it out. Certain locations are thereby established.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Perhaps we can go onto the next
13 page, please.
14 Thank you.
15 MR. TOLIMIR:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Let's look at the bullet points to see which
17 officers were placed where, in order to implement this order to stop the
18 offensive. First we have the Chief of Staff; then his assistant, General
19 Gvero; next, is Assistant commander for the air force; and the assistant
20 commander for organisation, mobilisation, and personnel; followed by
21 assistant commander for intelligence and security, Major-General Zdravko
23 Just below that we see where it says Mrkonjic Grad, village of
24 Trijebovo, village of Stricici, and is responsible for the defence of the
25 axis, meaning that I was in the area of responsibility of the 30th
1 Infantry Division in Mrkonjic Grad. Do you recall that period, and did
2 you know that I was in Mrkonjic Grad?
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, just for the record, sometimes,
4 indeed, you are confusing all of us. The document on the screen which is
5 65 ter 5834 was previously tendered by you and is already in evidence as
6 D264 as listed in your list of documents to be used during
8 Please try to give us the right reference. Please carry on.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I
10 apologise. It seems I have hard copies which need not necessarily
11 reflect those in e-court.
12 MR. TOLIMIR:
13 Q. [Interpretation] In any case my question is this: Mr. Mitrovic,
14 were all of the organs of the Main Staff engaged in the western theatre
15 in order to block the Croatian offensive Maestral and the NATO offensive
16 which included rapid reaction forces as the land force -- strike forces?
17 A. Your Honours, it was customary in our army that when in a certain
18 part of the front there is significant incursion by the enemy that
19 someone from the command would get there. In this case, people from the
20 Main Staff came to the corps command and those from the corps command
21 went down to brigade commands and so on down to the level of battalion.
22 In this situation, I recall General Tolimir, in the period
23 between July 1995 and October 1995, coming to the area of the 2nd Krajina
24 Corps. I also recall him being there before and following the fall of
25 Glamoc, since he hails from that area. He was before and following the
1 fall of Drvar sometime in September along the Glamoc-Drvar axis. Since
2 in this particular case our units were adjacent, he was in Manjaca in
3 October along the axis stipulated in the order; that is to say,
4 Mrkonjic Grad, Glamoc, and Stricici. We met on those occasions and that
5 is why I can address this issue. I cannot specify any dates and please
6 don't hold me to any, but it was in that period in the course of those
7 few months, September and October.
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic.
9 Could you please repeat all of the months you mentioned because
10 during your answer you mentioned August as well when Glamoc fell. So in
11 what months was I there?
12 A. I'll repeat, Your Honours. In July, before and after Glamoc
13 fell, because General Tolimir was born in a village near Glamoc. Glamoc
14 fell on the 27th of July.
15 Next, in September, before and after Drvar fell; Drvar fell on
16 the 14th or 15th of September. This also includes the period in
17 October by which we, as the corps, were about to expire, so to say. It
18 is directly connected to this order. It was probably sometime around the
19 middle of the month.
20 The only precise thing I can tell you is what I told you about
21 the 27th of July and the 14th and 15th of July, as well as the date
22 around the 15th of October.
23 Q. Can you remember whether I was in your AOR and at your command
24 post when the RSK fell and as their forces were leaving it?
25 A. Yes. It was in early August. You were there, as well as
1 General Mladic. There were a number of generals from the Main Staff
2 there. There were also meetings with General Mrksic who, at the time,
3 was the commander of the RSK army. You also met with his staff in order
4 to arrange accommodation and reception of the soldiers and population and
5 to see whether there were any possibilities to consolidate the ranks of
6 the ARSK. We also had to collect the equipment which had been left
7 behind by the Army of the RSK along various routes because they were
8 withdrawing in complete chaos.
9 All these events are mutually linked and it is difficult to
10 recall specifically each and every one.
11 Q. Thank you. Mr. Mitrovic, later, on page 41, you were asked
12 about, unless I'm mistaken it was the subject of command and control.
13 The Prosecutor asked you whether Tolimir was your superior, and you said
14 that the corps commander was your commander and "Tolimir controlled me in
15 the professional sense."
16 Can you please explain to us now whether the command system was
17 unified and single in the whole Army of Republika Srpska and was the
18 principle of unity of command something that was applied? And then can
19 you tell us what was the place of specialised organs? Thank you.
20 A. Your Honours, there was subordination in the entire Army of
21 Republika Srpska. I would say that only after the consolidation of the
22 army this was established. There were problems at the beginning, in
23 1992, until all the command and control systems were set up, in
24 accordance with rules and regulations and until they began to function.
25 Not everything was nice as defined by the rules which were then in force.
1 There were problems. There was anarchy in some places. All sorts of
3 But, later, I would say in late 1992 or early 1993, it was
4 already a stable system, in which it was known who was in charge of what.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic. As you want to talk about the period
6 when not everything was all right, can we please show you the document
7 1D797 so that we could discuss this.
8 It's an information from the Main Staff dated the 28th of July,
9 1992, report on paramilitary formations in the territory of the Serbian
10 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. This report has several pages. I signed
11 it and sent it to the corps commands. I saw from your interview with the
12 Prosecutor which was submitted by the Prosecution. And can you tell me
13 whether you remember the contents of this report, whether you read it,
14 and whether you received it in the first place? Thank you.
15 A. Your Honours, I do remember the contents of this report. The
16 report includes a detail about a person from the 2nd Krajina Corps. That
17 is included in the report. And the report, as you can see, dates from
18 July 1992. That means two months after the beginning of setting up or,
19 in fact, two and a half months, or three, after the beginning of the
20 setting up of the Army of Republika Srpska. And paramilitary forces,
21 paramilitary units, were a problem which had to be resolved.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we please show page 4 to the
24 witness so that he could see paragraph 5, if that's what he had in mind.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. It says:
3 "In the area of the Kljuc municipality: Revival of paramilitary
4 formations can be seen. The units formed in this area are commanded by
5 the self-styled vojvoda, Jovo Kevac, who incited a rebellion in the
6 Stricici educational centre in late April --"
7 THE INTERPRETER: [Previous translation continues] ... slowing
8 down when reading.
9 MR. TOLIMIR:
10 Q. [Interpretation] And so on. "Prevented the sending of 117
11 conscripts and reserve officers ... to the war units, at the Kljuc
12 battalion ..."
13 Was this what you had in mind?
14 A. Yes, Your Honours, that is precisely what I had in mind. I'm
15 sorry that we did not perhaps leave out the name because of this person,
16 because later on he somehow came to, if I can put it that way, and he was
17 a member of the unit completely normal and regular.
18 There is another matter I wish to note in terms of the
19 paramilitary forces. These paramilitary forces sometimes came when
20 invited by certain persons from certain municipalities. It was without
21 the knowledge and without the approval of the unit commands. I know what
22 happened in the corps zone of responsibility.
23 And what happened when those paramilitary forces whose morale was
24 low and who were recruited from specific social groups and who were prone
25 to many immoral acts. When they started making problems with the local
1 population, then there would be problems, because then there would be
2 requests made to the military that such paramilitary forces be disarmed
3 or chased away from the territory and so on. And this is actually what
4 we did. We treated them as requested in this record and how it was
5 regulated by the rules, even earlier. I'm talking about the zone of
6 responsibility of the 2nd Krajina Corps.
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic. I apologise for mentioning the name of
8 this person, but this was an occasion for you to say what deserves to be
9 said about him. I know that later on in accordance with this report he
10 was integrated into the army and became one of the better soldiers.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now please turn the page and
12 show the last page of this report. It is page 6 in the document, rather
13 than page 35. That is it. Thank you.
14 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
15 Q. I would read just the last paragraph:
16 "The presence and activity of paramilitary formations has a
17 two-fold negative influence on the Serbian people. The people are losing
18 their trust in the authorities and they're losing the power to deal with
19 the war profiteers, criminals, and mass murders. And, secondly, it, to a
20 large degree, demoralises the members of the Army of the Serbian Republic
21 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, discouraging the fighting and often resulting in
22 the abandonment of positions. Every armed Serb in the Serbian Republic
23 of Bosnia-Herzegovina must be placed under the exclusive command of the
24 Serbian Bosnia and Herzegovina Army or else he should be disarmed and
25 legal measures taken."
1 I signed this and it was sent to all security departments, also
2 to the president of the Presidency of the Serbian Republic of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the prime minister, and the army Main Staff commander
4 so that they would measures against individual you mentioned and against
5 others as well.
6 Can you please tell us this: When all those who carried out
7 paramilitary activities are integrated within the system and when
8 measures are applied to them, then would every unit be responsible for
9 them if they are integrated in them and the authorities would be
10 responsible for those persons who were not part of the system of the JNA
11 or the VRS?
12 A. Yes, precisely, in accordance with this order. And otherwise the
13 attitude was that whoever wanted to fight, really, and who had come as a
14 volunteer - because usually they would all come labelled as volunteers -
15 whoever wanted to fight, they could fight together with the units. Those
16 who didn't want had to leave the units, they had to hand in their weapons
17 and their military equipment and they would be either transported outside
18 of the zone of this corps or, alternatively, handed over to the civilian
19 authorities so that they would treat this person as they deemed fit.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I'm sorry, we must have our first
22 break now. And we will resume at 11.00.
23 --- Recess taken at 10.35 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 11.04 a.m.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, and Mr. Mitrovic, on behalf of the
1 interpreters, I would kindly ask you to slow down. You are very well
2 trained army officers and fast speakers, and it's very difficult for the
3 interpreters. You must realise they have to catch everything in your
4 language, then translate into English. From there, it is sometimes
5 interpreted into French. And everything has to be recorded in our
6 transcript. This is a very difficult task, and both parties and the
7 Chamber has to rely on the transcript, that everything is correctly
9 So please bear that in mind. Slow down while speaking,
10 especially while reading from a document, and pause between question and
11 answer and the next question.
12 Thank you very much.
13 Mr. Tolimir, please continue.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We
15 apologise once again.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, we have looked at 1D797. We have seen that it was
18 submitted to both the civilian and military authorities in the republic
19 in order to resolve the problems we wrote about in 1992.
20 Can you tell us whether you also acted in accordance with this
21 document in your zone, once you received it? Thank you.
22 A. Your Honours, of course we acted in accordance with this order.
23 We had to implement it.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I apologise. This was a report
25 signed by me which was submitted to the following addresses which we can
1 see here.
2 Can we please have that admitted.
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
4 Q. And then we will move on to the order in accordance with which
5 you acted while disarming paramilitaries in your zone. Thank you.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The document on the screen, 1D797, will be
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter document 1D797, shall be
9 assigned Exhibit D274. Thank you.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And that is the number I used. Thank you.
11 Please carry on.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Can we now please show 1D796. Thank you.
14 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Until the document appears on the screen, I should say it is a
16 document issued by the Main Staff of the Serbian Republic of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina dated the 29th of July, 1992. It is an order which
18 says: "Disarmament of Paramilitary Formations. Order:"
19 It is an order of General Mladic in accordance with which you
20 acted. Can you see it now, and you can see that General Mladic informs
21 the commanders, and, for example, he says in the first paragraph:
22 "The analysis of paramilitary organisation in the territory of
23 the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina established that
24 paramilitary formations exist in areas of responsibility of all the corps
25 and are mainly located behind the lines of combat activities, in the
1 rear, and in inhabited areas."
2 And so on and so forth.
3 Can we now please show the second page in which he explains what
4 needs to be done. We can see that it was sent to the commands of all
5 corps as well as to the President of the Presidency and the prime
6 minister for their information. This is what he orders, but it is on the
7 third page. So can we please show that one now. Page 3.
8 We'll only look at item 1 in which the general says:
9 "All paramilitary formations and their leaders, if their
10 intentions truly are honourable, are to place themselves in the service
11 of the just struggle for the survival of the Serbian people, and are to
12 offer to incorporate themselves into regular ... army units of the
13 Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to be deployed in accordance
14 with their military specialities and level of military training."
15 We'll now also read item 3:
16 "Paramilitary formations, groups, and individuals from their
17 composition who refuse to be placed under unified SRBiH Army command are
18 to be disarmed and arrested in co-operation with the MUP, and criminal
19 proceedings are to be initiated against them for crimes they committed."
20 Item 7 says:
21 "I will hold the corps commanders in their areas of
22 responsibility and the SRBiH Army Main Staff chief of intelligence and
23 security affairs responsible for the implementation of this order.
24 Commander Lieutenant-General Ratko Mladic."
25 This is my question: Did the commander of the Main Staff clearly
1 inform by this order both the military and political structures that he
2 wanted to place everyone under the control of the army or imprison those
3 who acted in a contrary manner?
4 A. Yes. Your Honours, I confirm that Mr. Tolimir is right. The
5 order clearly informed us about what we are supposed to be doing, not
6 only us, but also other organs within the territory. Even before this
7 order, the paramilitary formations were a problem for us. They prevented
8 us from carrying out everyday combat activities. We didn't need to have
9 them and deal with them in the rear and have some of our forces involved
10 in activities on disarmament of such units and removal of these people
11 from our area of responsibility. The priority for us was the front line
12 and not their activities in the rear.
13 In brief, we acted in accordance with this order. At least in
14 the zone of our corps.
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic. In case of a problem within the units
16 or within the territory, did all law enforcement organs there have to
17 report via official channels about such unlawful actions by the
19 A. If you're referring to the VRS members, yes; if you are referring
20 to MUP and other security structures on the territory of Republika
21 Srpska, I assume it was the same. They most probably were also
22 duty-bound to report to their ministries and their superiors about such
24 Q. Thank you. You were asked yesterday about some events that took
25 place in the territory, such as arson of mosques and so on, and you were
1 also asked what your actions were in order to respond. And my question
2 to you now is: Was anyone duty-bound to report about such events, or was
3 it sufficient for someone to simply notice it while touring the area?
4 A. There were reports about combat activities. I never came across
5 in any of the written reports submitted by our units, reports about a
6 mosque being destroyed, mosque or some other religious facility that
7 belonged to any of the confessions there. What we would see was reports
8 about destruction of Orthodox religious facilities.
9 Q. Thank you. On several occasions yesterday, for instance, on page
10 24, you said that only in the professional sense you were under the
11 security organs' control from the superior command and that you were,
12 throughout the period, under the command of your own commander. So to
13 avoid any ambiguities, let me ask you whether you were subordinated to
14 your commander in relation to tasks that you had been given by your
15 superior along the professional line of security? Were you responsible
16 to the commander for such activities as well?
17 A. Yes. Because my superior would inform my commander that I had
18 failed to carry out a task received from him. The commander was the one
19 who could use various measures after someone failed to carry out his
20 tasks. The superior security organ did not have that at his disposal.
21 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us whether the commander of any
22 unit, including the corps level or the Main Staff level, has all legal
23 measures and forces at his disposal for the purpose of carrying out
24 everything that he is entitled to, according to his command position; and
25 are there any exceptions, in relation to this, when we're talking about
1 any level within the corps or the Main Staff?
2 A. According to the rules of service of the security organ, the
3 security organ was under the commander of the unit in which he is
4 serving. That automatically means that the commander had at his disposal
5 all various elements for resolving any problems. It was a different
6 thing how the resolution of a problem would be accomplished.
7 I would like to add that security organs within units were not
9 Q. Thank you.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to tender this
11 document that was on the screen just a moment ago. The order issued by
12 General Mladic, 1D796. And then we would like to move --
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Just wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, please.
14 It will be received.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter document 1D796 shall be
16 assigned exhibit number D275. Thank you.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Now go ahead, please.
18 MR. THAYER: If I may, Mr. President.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
20 MR. THAYER: Before we move on from this document, I'm hoping to
21 save just a little bit of time, and maybe we can have an agreement from
22 the Defence on this.
23 With respect to this document - and I noticed it with this
24 document and a previous document - the heading states that the name of
25 the army is the Army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1 I'm not sure if the Trial Chamber has heard much testimony to this
2 effect, but I think both parties can agree that that was the name of the
3 army prior to its naming itself or renaming itself, the Army of Republika
4 Srpska, or VRS. Same army, different name, just earlier in the war. I'm
5 not sure again if we're heard testimony about that, but I think that's
6 something we can probably agree on or perhaps we could put the question
7 to Colonel Mitrovic. Rather than bringing it up again on re-direct, I
8 thought we could just save some quick time and clarify that.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed. We saw at least two documents with this
10 term, "Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina."
11 Mr. Mitrovic, can you help us with this? Is this the same unit,
12 the same army, as it was called later, the Army of the Republika Srpska,
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it is the same army,
15 the same units initially; in other words, in mid-1992, at the time when
16 the Army of Republika Srpska was established, that was on the 12th of
17 May. I realise I speeded up again. I'll slow down.
18 So on the 12th of May, 1992, the Republika Srpska was called
19 Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much for this clarification.
21 Mr. Tolimir, carry on, please.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
23 I would like to tender the document that's on our screens. Thank
24 you. Thank you.
25 Can we now please have 1D783. This is the statement of our
1 witness given to the investigators on the 17th of June, 2004. We can see
2 it on our screens now --
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It is sometimes difficult for me to get the floor
4 because the translation or something else has -- was continuing.
5 I just wanted to clarify you said on line 21 of page 41:
6 "I would like to tender the document."
7 It was tendered and it was admitted into evidence as D275. It
8 was not marked. It was admitted as D275.
9 Mr. Gajic.
10 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
11 The document that we can see here is identical to OTP document
12 65 ter 2785, and I would like to ask the secretary to present this
13 document that's on the said location, namely, 2785. It's an identical
14 document. And for the sake of clarity, we're tendering it. It will make
15 things easier.
16 Thank you.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic, it is not quite clear yet.
18 65 ter 2785, is that the same as 1D783?
19 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, that's correct, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
21 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is the same document the Prosecution has
23 used yesterday without tendering it yet.
24 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Let us move to page 90 of this
1 document, please. Page 86 in the English version. Thank you.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. In the second line in the Serbian version you're saying the
5 "Security and intelligence organ are under immediate command of
6 the commander of the unit or institution within which they are located,
7 but in the professional sense they are controlled by the security and
8 intelligence organs of the superior command. This indicates their full
9 independence in the implementation of intelligence and
10 counter-intelligence tasks and operative combinations."
11 Bearing in mind that they are subordinated to the commander also
12 for implementing or failing to implement tasks received by their
13 professional superior, could you please clarify this. Would you agree
14 that they're responsible to the commander for all assignments, even those
15 that were received from the professional superiors from the superior
16 command? Thank you.
17 A. Your Honours, the text read out by General Tolimir is a quotation
18 from the rules of service of the security organs which I referred to on
19 several occasions today as well, where it is clearly defined who's
20 responsible to whom and how the command and control over the security
21 organs is carried out.
22 I am not quite clear as to what's unclear. If I could be
23 assisted by getting a more precise, better-defined question.
24 Q. Thank you. In your answer, lines 2 to 9, in line 5 it is stated
25 that the organs of superior command -- yes:
1 "This indicates their full independence in the implementation of
2 intelligence and counter-intelligence tasks and operative combinations."
3 And this is my question: Does that mean that they are completely
4 independent or are they still responsible to the commander and whether
5 they have to justify their successful or unsuccessful implementation of
7 A. Your Honours, in the sentence just quoted, one can find reference
8 to the most specifically professional segment of the security organs'
9 work, application of methods by the security organs. Of course, if they
10 failed to succeed in such tasks, the commander must know and does know
11 about it, because they are informed about it by superior security
12 officer. The corps commander is the lowest level at which secret methods
13 of the security organs' work is being approved in cases when certain
14 security problems are being resolved.
15 In practical terms, what does that mean? My superior informs the
16 corps commander whether I have successfully carried out a task. He is
17 the person who has the competence who can assess my work. So he can
18 report to the commander whether I have carried out my task in accordance
19 with the methods prescribed by our service.
20 According to the same logic, on the levels below me, I would be
21 the one who would inform the commander of the brigade that his security
22 officer succeeded or failed to succeed in resolving a security problem.
23 Is that what you had in mind, Mr. Tolimir?
24 Q. Thank you, Colonel. This is precisely what I had in mind. I
25 wanted to have it clear on the record. We will quote another part of the
1 text in the interview to the OTP, where you confirm what you've said
3 It is lines 23 through 31. Actually 24.
4 You say that it is Article 18 and then you quote --
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please tell us where we can find the
6 relevant part in the English. Always helpful, especially for the
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Line 18. But my legal assistant
9 tells me that it was not fully accurately interpreted. That is why --
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Which page?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I was reading from line 24 in the
12 Serbian, which corresponds to line 3 on the page we see on the screen in
13 the English.
14 THE REGISTRAR: This is page 87 in English in e-court. Thank
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would kindly ask you to prepare your
17 cross-examination, together with your assistant, in a proper way so that
18 we don't lose time to find the relevant part on the screen.
19 Please carry on.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I'll --
21 I'd be happy to. But we are always short of time because our contact is
22 limited. We have limited contact during a witness 's testimony.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. It says here -- and this is Article 18 where it says:
25 "The security organs of the superior command, unit, institution,
1 or staff of the armed forces are in charge, expertly speaking, of the ...
2 or are running ... or are in charge of the organs, security organs in the
3 subordinate units. Let me clarify that. So, I'm subordinate to General
4 Boric and I'm responsible to him for my activities, for my entire
5 activities. I told you yesterday that in the time of war, the corps
6 commander is the one who approves the methods, like, you know, secret
7 correspondence, things like that. So, I'm just saying that just to
8 confirm what I said yesterday, that it's the corps commander to whom I'm
9 responsible for my activities."
10 My question is this: Is, in all cases, a commander responsible
11 to his superior commander for any activity of his commands's security
12 organ irrespective of its positive or negative outcome?
13 A. Your Honours, before answering, I'd like to say something about
14 the translation of the interview.
15 There seems to be a -- one negation too many. So it should be
16 that the secrecy of letters is no longer in effect. In other words,
17 secret methods violate those principles of secrecy. The question
18 General Tolimir put is linked to one of my previous answers, when I said
19 that the security organs were not beyond reach. Specifically in my
20 corps, there was a case in which we suggested to the Main Staff that the
21 chief of security in the brigade be removed because he was in conflict
22 with the brigade commander. It was of personal -- a personal nature, and
23 its consequence was that a situation was created in which the security
24 organ no longer reported to his brigade commander, even when it came to
25 general security issues. Once that was spotted, the removal occurred
1 because, we realized, that the security organ was plain wrong and that he
2 conducted himself unprofessionally in the exercise of his duties as part
3 of the brigade command. It was our conclusion, therefore, that the
4 brigade commander was right to complain about his work.
5 Now how was he replaced or removed? The brigade commander
6 complained to the corps commander and myself regarding the conduct of his
7 security organ. The corps commander, on my proposal, forwarded a
8 proposal to the Main Staff and to General Tolimir to have the security
9 officer removed. It was, indeed, done.
10 General, sir, I used this example, trying to answer this question
11 of yours.
12 MR. TOLIMIR:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Thank you, Colonel. Let's look at page 91,
14 which is the next page in the Serbian version, where, in lines 2 through
15 5 you say the following.
16 "I'm stating this to confirm what I said yesterday, which is that
17 the corps commander is the level at which I was -- or to whom I was
18 answerable for my work professionally speaking. However, Colonel Beara
19 was in charge of me, and my second superior officer was General Tolimir."
20 In order to have a precise transcript and precise terminology, I
21 wanted to ask you this: Was your second superior Tolimir or was he two
22 steps up from you, professionally speaking? Was he your superior; that
23 is to say, was he from your -- or was he from your superior command?
24 A. Your Honours, the accused is right. I didn't ponder this in such
25 detail as you have just specified. I simply followed the logic of line
1 of subordination. That is why I said that, professionally speaking, you
2 were my second superior. That is to say, two steps up. Professionally
3 speaking, my first superior was the chief of the security administration.
4 Since he was your subordinate, I was your subordinate too. In other
5 words, you were my superior two levels up and that is what I was trying
6 to say in my answer. It was accepted as such.
7 Q. Thank you. Let us be perfectly clear for the record: Are the
8 security organs of a superior command those professional organs which
9 direct the activities of security organs one step down, say, in the
10 brigade? Is it better to say that these are the professional organs of
11 the superior command or the organs of the Main Staff?
12 A. Your Honours, perhaps it may well be more correct, the superior
13 organs in the Main Staff. But in our everyday parlance we used
14 terminology I did. It was easier, in a way. And yet it entailed what
15 you are now addressing.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. We'll see in the rules that what you say is correct.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] While we're on this statement,
20 let's look at page 87 in the Serbian.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Which page in English?
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It is page 82 in the English
24 I'm not sure this is the right page in English.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Here you say in line 1:
2 "So, Tolimir could issue orders to the forces?"
3 And then your answer:
4 "Security organs ..."
5 So first I quoted the Prosecutor's question, to which you
7 "Security organs and the intelligence organs."
8 And then we have another question:
9 "Including the military police?"
10 And my question is this: Did the superior command organ issue
11 orders to the organs of the military police in a subordinate command?
12 A. I believe I have touched upon that issue yesterday. He could
13 issue orders to the military police but once they were approved by the
14 superior commander; however, that only applied to equipment and training.
15 It seems I'm too fast again.
16 In other words, he couldn't order a MP battalion to engage in
17 combat. He couldn't do that. Because the unit commander is the one who
18 is directly subordinated to the commander of the unit in which he is
19 serving. It is defined as per the security service manual, as well as
20 the rules of service for the military police.
21 Q. Would it not be correct to say, then, that the security organ of
22 the superior commander could professionally direct the security organs
23 and the military police in its subordinate command, and it probably did
24 so through the organs of that command.
25 A. Yes, are you right. Perhaps my terminology was a bit rough when
1 I said "orders." But this is what we understood your documents to be.
2 Anything coming from you or the Main Staff was considered as such.
3 In any case, this correction of yours is more precise, to
4 properly describe the relationship we are discussing.
5 Q. Thank you. I apologise to you. I simply want to be precise for
6 the transcript and for the sake of the Chamber because, in the first
7 sentence, it seems that the investigator understood that Tolimir could
8 order forces to do something. Could Tolimir order forces at all or could
9 you order anything to the forces of your corps?
10 A. Your Honour, no assistant at any level, assistant commander, this
11 is what I mean, had no authority under any rule, tactical rule, to
12 command forces. Such authority and responsibility lay exclusively with
13 the commander. As assistant commanders, we could propose, or suggest, as
14 professionals. We could propose that a MP unit be used. The chief of
15 artillery, because we were at the same level as the chiefs of branches,
16 could propose use of artillery. The chief of armoured units could
17 propose how the tanks and combat vehicles were to be used. That was the
18 logic followed at that level, by which we could propose anything to the
19 unit commander.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: In line 4, there's a
21 double negation which shouldn't be there. So "had authority under any
23 MR. TOLIMIR:
24 Q. [Interpretation] I move to tender this document, 1D783. Perhaps
25 we may use it again later, but I would now move to another document.
1 Thank you.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I note the interpreter's note, the double
3 negation. But I see it in e-court in page 50, line 5 and 6, instead of
4 4. This is perhaps again a difference between LiveNote and e-court.
5 This document will be received.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter document 2785 shall be
7 assigned Exhibit D276. Thank you.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Could we now have a look at D203. When we see the first page, we
11 might then skip to page 10 in Serbian and page 11 in English. On this
12 page, this rule, which the witness mentioned, is confirmed.
13 We'll be looking at point 23. Thank you.
14 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Please have a look at this:
16 "An officer of a security organ of a command, unit, institution,
17 or staff of the armed forces provides specialist management for a
18 military police unit. He recommends the use of the military police unit
19 to the senior officer of the command, unit, institution, or staff, and he
20 is responsible to him for the state and activity of the unit."
21 The next paragraph of this point says:
22 "In managing the military police unit, the security organ officer
23 under paragraph 1 of this item has the same rights and duties as officers
24 of arms, services of commands, units, institutions, and staffs of the
25 armed forces in managing units of the arms and services of those
1 commands, units, institutions, or staffs."
2 This is my question. As you explained what we now confirmed by
3 this rule in your previous answer, please just tell us this: Does a
4 security organ have any other rights in relation to the unit of which it
5 is an organ as compared to others in the command?
6 A. No, it has no other rights. Because everyone's right is
7 precisely defined and set out in the rules and instructions of everyone
8 in the command.
9 Q. Thank you. And have you noticed that in the interviews, for
10 example, conducted by investigators with the security organs, these
11 security organs are treated differently than other commands or
12 institutions. For example, artillery organs and so on. Have you noticed
13 that? Thank you.
14 A. I cannot answer about other security organs or interviews between
15 the investigators and other security organs. But I can say that not just
16 the investigators but also our own military structures, as you well know,
17 individuals who were not directly connected with the security organ work
18 and did not control security organs, said something different. They
19 would say that we were above the command, that we were above the
20 commander. Such things. Let me not mention something uglier, like that
21 we are spies and so on.
22 But, anyhow, these are, in my view, individuals who did not
23 understand or know, or probably did not even want to know, what were the
24 security organ's activities in the JNA and later on in the VRS. Because
25 one and the same rules were in force in both.
1 Q. Thank you, Colonel. Now that we are on this page. Let us have a
2 look at point 25. Thank you. Can you also please show point 25 in
4 Methods that you were asked about yesterday are discussed here.
5 You were asked questions about this in the examination-in-chief. On page
6 17, you were asked something about that. It says:
7 "Information on the methods and means for the work of security
8 organs and results obtained by their implication constitute a military
9 secret at the strictly confidential level unless they are classified as
10 state secret.
11 "The officers managing security organs, persons serving in these
12 organs, and other persons who come into contact on whatever basis with
13 information within the competence of security organs are obliged to
14 protect that information according to the regulations in effect on the
15 protection of secrecy.
16 "The obligation to protect information under paragraph 2 of this
17 item continues after the end of service in security organs, or after the
18 end of service in the armed forces."
19 And so on.
20 You were asked many questions yesterday about why a brigade
21 commander did not need to know that one of his soldiers was in
22 communication with someone abroad. You answered that it did not prevent
23 the commander to command such a person like any other soldier.
24 My question is this: In case you informed all commanding
25 officers at all levels, from battalion to the corps, would be -- would
1 there be a greater degree of leakage of information that such measures
2 were applied to a specific soldier than if only one specific officer was
3 informed about that?
4 A. It's certain that there would be greater consequence, especially
5 at the lower level than if only the corps commander was informed about
6 this. I said yesterday that I could have informed the brigade commander
7 of the fact that he had a security problem in his unit, that the problem
8 had been noticed, or perhaps a counter-intelligence problem. But until
9 light was shed on this case, and until the character of the activity was
10 fully established, we could not inform the commander of that. Or else, I
11 also mentioned another possibility. If we assessed that he was a
12 sufficiently mature man who realized the nature of security organ's work,
13 then possibly he could have been indirectly told this. Like, for
14 example, Listen comrade, in your unit have you a problem which we are
15 trying to resolve by our methods and means. Once we do resolve it, you
16 will be informed what this is all about.
17 So that was more or less the communication and the mind set that
18 were the basis of such contacts and information.
19 Q. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber, was any intelligence
20 concealed from a brigade commander if he needed it to command the brigade
21 and the individuals on whom such methods were applied? Did you conceal
22 from him information about the enemy or was it just the methods of your
23 work? Thank you.
24 A. It never happened that from a unit commander, at any level
25 whatsoever, from a battalion commander onwards, would not receive
1 information about the enemy, the situation on the front, whatever was of
2 vital importance for the unit.
3 Your Honours, our practice was to receive intelligence from the
4 sector headed by General Tolimir; that is to say, from the Main Staff,
5 and forward them in their original form to the lower levels of command;
6 that is to say, to the brigade commanders and brigade commands, so that
7 they could acquaint themselves in more detail with whatever was happening
8 within and without the corps zone of responsibility. That is to say,
9 this just didn't happen.
10 Q. Thank you. This is my question: The brigade commander who was
11 not informed about you applying methods against a soldier who was
12 maintaining communication with a foreign country, was it useful for him
13 to know or not know that you were, for instance, secretly listening to
14 this communication?
15 A. The unit benefitted from this, of course. And how do I mean
16 that? In the sense that you would resolve the security problem. Because
17 if you say that someone was maintaining communication with the enemy
18 side, then, of course, once you eliminated such an individual, the enemy
19 would have one source of information less. And that was reflected in the
20 unit. And personally, as the unit commander, he would have nothing,
21 either positive or negative, from that. Perhaps it would be a negative
22 impact if the activity continued and then a breakthrough of enemy forces
23 may have occurred in one section of the front, for which this individual
24 may have said -- and I'm fast again, I apologise. Where the defence was
25 the weakest and so on. This is the sense in which I mean there could
1 have been a negative impact.
2 Q. Thank you. And were these methods applied precisely to establish
3 whether this individual was doing any harm to the unit and the brigade
4 commander himself?
5 A. I have to explain something in my answer to this question.
6 The JNA security organs used certain methods in their work. Some
7 of these methods we could apply on a daily basis without any particular
8 approval. These were the methods such as a counter-intelligence
9 assessment, work with an associate, or to try to translate that that
10 meant establishing operative communication and having contacts in MUP.
11 Then also interviews. And we also had other methods of work which
12 violated the privacy and freedom of individuals, such as secret
13 monitoring and recording, secret listening to telephone communications
14 and other communications, secret monitoring of mail, and so on. These
15 were methods for which we needed approval to be able to use them. We
16 needed legal approval, and this was strictly observed.
17 Before the war, such an approval could only be given by an army
18 commander or the federal secretary. During the war, as I said, the
19 commander of the Main Staff and the level of the corps commander could
20 give such an approval. These secret methods were something that we
21 sometimes needed in order to prove or clarify or resolve fully a specific
22 security problem.
23 Essentially such methods exist everywhere. It's no secret that
24 such methods are applied. The biggest secret is who do you apply them
25 to. That is essentially the character of the application of such
2 Q. [Overlapping speakers]
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: [Overlapping speakers]... please wait for the
4 translation to be finished.
5 I would like to get one clarification.
6 You are commenting on the rules of 1984, and you stated at the
7 beginning of your last answer:
8 "The JNA security organs used certain methods in their work ..."
9 You were referring to the JNA. Did these rules for the JNA also
10 apply for the VRS?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honours. Yes,
12 these rules were adopted by the Army of Republika Srpska, and they were
13 used in the work of the VRS. This is why in some of my answers I say
14 "the JNA"; whereas, I should actually say "the VRS."
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Do you recall in which way
16 they were adopted for use in the VRS?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that we received a written
18 order concerning this from the Main Staff. It said the rules which had
19 been in force in the former JNA should be applied and have been adopted
20 and are to be applied in the Army of Republika Srpska. At the time, as
21 we were as yet setting up, our structures did not have any specific
22 rules, and considering that the army mainly included officers of the
23 former JNA, then this was a decision that was only logical.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
25 Mr. Tolimir, now please carry on.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Colonel, in the VRS, was the continuity of the Federal Republic
4 of Yugoslavia recognised internally and externally through application
5 and abidance by the rules regulations?
6 A. Yes. It could be an interpretation of the situation, yes.
7 Q. Could a security organ, at any point apply any methods on his own
8 initiative, including, for instance, the method of opening letters?
9 A. That was forbidden, and security organs always made sure that
10 checks and controls were applied. We had to abide by the legal
12 Q. Thank you. Let us now look at Article 50 of the same rules,
13 which can be found on the 14th page of the Serbian and 18th of the
14 English version. Thank you.
15 Article 50 should be on page 31 of the rules. Article 50.
16 Page 20 in the English version. Thank you.
17 Yes, we can see it.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] If you can move the Serbian version
19 to the left so that Article 50 is clearly seen.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. And it is stated there, I'm quoting:
22 "For improper relations in performing duties within their
23 competence and for ... failure to abide by or a violation of the
24 provisions of these rules, officers in security organs are called to
25 account according to the general regulations."
1 My question to you is the following: In such a case, would an
2 officer be brought before either disciplinary organs or criminal or legal
3 organs; in other words, courts?
4 A. Yes, he would be responsible before them. Not only would such a
5 person be excluded from the activities of the security organs. Persons
6 like that would fall under the measures that are to be applied in such
8 Q. Thank you. On page 49, there was quite a lot of mention of the
9 instruction and you said that you would really like to see this document.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please have P1112 on our
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Because that is the instructions you were asked about during the
14 interview and also during the direct examination here. Thank you.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. These are instructions on command and control over the security
18 and intelligence organs of the VRS. And we will read just one segment:
19 "Lately, frequent problems, failures, and irregularities have
20 been registered in command and control over the security and intelligence
21 organs at all levels of command in the VRS, diminishing the efficiency of
22 intelligence and counter-intelligence work in the VRS and leading to
23 failures and problems which endanger the security of units and commands.
24 The events observed generally arise from insufficient knowledge about the
25 field of work of these organs and their competencies and authority
1 regarding the VRS by some of the commanders at all levels of command?
2 "With the aim of preventing these and similar problems in control
3 of the security and intelligence organs and creating better conditions
4 for their more effective use, I hereby issue the following
5 instructions ..."
6 And this is my question based off of the text: And let me first
7 ask you whether you remember having received this document at the time it
8 was issued to the units? Thank you.
9 A. Most probably.
10 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us what is the difference between
11 instructions, an order, and a directive? Thank you.
12 A. Well, this is -- or these are instructions which is something
13 that represents guide-lines; and directive is in -- binding. It's an
14 order. So that's the central difference between the two.
15 Q. Thank you. In other words this document is neither an order nor
16 a directive. It's just instructions, as you confirmed a moment ago.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we now please see the
20 following page of the document.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Tolimir.
22 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
23 Q. There is eight items in total and once you've had an opportunity
24 to go through them, we'll move to the next page. So you will tell us
25 once you've finished, and then we'll just see the signature as well.
1 Thank you.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Next page, please, so
3 that we can see the signature as well.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Nyambe has a question.
5 JUDGE NYAMBE: Yes, thank you.
6 I just need you to explain for me again the central difference
7 between an instruction, guide-lines, and directive. Thank you.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I understand
9 instructions as a document which provides advice; whereas, directive is
10 an order. I also mentioned a different document, a report or an
11 information, which is a document that presents information. Such an
12 information provides you with a newly obtained information, so I made a
13 distinction between three types of documents. I hope I defined
15 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, now your next question.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Under item 8, we see a paragraph saying:
20 "Forward these instructions and inform of their contents all
21 commanders of units and institutions, down to battalion level."
22 In other words, this is something which has a purpose of only
23 informing the officers about the rules and regulations for their
24 activities. It is signed by assistant commander which means that the
25 commander wasn't there.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And now I would like to ask the
2 e-court to go to the next page. Here we can see item number 2.
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
4 Q. "The security and intelligence organs are directly commanded by
5 the commander of the unit or institution of which they form part, but
6 with regard to professional activities they are controlled centrally by
7 the security and intelligence organs of the superior command. This
8 indicates their full independence in the implementation of intelligence
9 and counter-intelligence tasks ..."
10 Is this independence to the effect of command independence in
11 corps and brigades?
12 A. No, Your Honours. My understanding of the document at the time
13 of the first reading of it, as well as now, refers to independence in
14 security and counter-intelligence activities, because this is where I'm
15 an expert in. I'm not an expert in command.
16 Q. Thank you. If commanders receive a document of this type, is it
17 clear to them that they are not supposed to get involved in the expert
18 line of work of security organs?
19 A. Your Honours, the instructions we see before us are a result of
20 some irregularities that had occurred in the period preceding it and had
21 been observed in some units within the process of control and command
22 over the security organs. Namely, some commanders - and I'm speaking of
23 levels above battalion command and battalion commander - there was lack
24 of good understanding of what the activities of security organs should
25 be. There were also some security organs who may have not known or who
1 may have not carried out their duties properly, and this is what I
2 referred to when I said that we were not beyond reach.
3 Q. The instructions, does that represent expert guide-lines issued
4 to commanders and security organs with a purpose of telling them how to
5 properly apply the rules and regulations?
6 A. That's how I understood it. I think we can see it somewhere in
7 the document. The purpose was to remove the irregularities, and with an
8 aim of achieving better co-operation which would benefit the unit and the
9 command structure.
10 Q. Thank you. Since there was a lot of discussion yesterday about
11 trust or lack of trust during the direct examination, when we look at the
12 document, is this issue what is being discussed in it or is it just about
13 abiding by the law?
14 A. My understanding of the instructions was that everyone was told
15 to abide by the rules and regulations in their activity and within their
17 Q. Thank you. Do you know from your practice that there were cases
18 where a commander would be against the fact that security organs were
19 informing their professional superiors about problems that can endanger
20 the security of the unit or institution?
21 A. Going through your documents, documents sent by the Main Staff I
22 mean, not only this set of instructions but other information and reports
23 we received, I received intelligence about some brigade commanders and
24 corps commanders - and I'm talking about that level because they're of
25 main interest here. So I did hear that some commanders would be opening
1 the mail of the security organs, that they would not allow for the codes
2 to be used before they had read the documents, that they would not allow
3 the security organ to use an official vehicle or even a phone. So it was
4 logical, after such events and practice, that the superior institution
5 would issue guide-lines in order to introduce some order.
6 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us what would be the reason for
7 brigade commanders to gain insight into reports submitted by security
8 organs in relation to problems within the zone of responsibility of the
10 A. Your Honours, my understanding of this is -- well, we have a
11 saying in our language where we say that for some, even war is good.
12 Nobody can say that everyone was clear, and some people even profited
13 from the war. And I believe that the conflicts between people were
14 mainly caused by this trend. Some people were more focussed on their
15 financial gains than on situation on the front. So if a security organ
16 would notice something like that and report about it, then one could --
17 one would expect a conflict between his superior officer, his commander,
18 and himself, and I believe that that was mainly, almost exclusively, the
20 There were units and commanders who were superiors to their
21 relatives, people from the same village, from the same neighbourhood, and
22 maybe some people were treated better than others, and reports were also
23 made about such trends. There were some unit officers who would receive
24 money from people who were not part of the unit. These people would be
25 giving money to commanders so that they don't actually have to be in the
1 unit although the unit would have it on its roster. Security organs
2 would report about that and that was another source of conflict.
3 I don't want to say also that all security organs were people
4 beyond blame, but I believe they were more responsible in their work at
5 that level.
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic. It is time for a break. Just one last
7 question before that.
8 Were security organs duty-bound to report along their
9 professional lines to their professional organs of their superior command
10 and that they were not doing so because they wanted to work against their
11 own brigade?
12 A. Your Honours, they had to report because that was within their
13 job description. This was not spying on the brigade itself. Such an
14 occurrence would mean that a commander who is suspicious of such
15 activities is completely ignorant of what the work of security organs
16 actually entails.
17 I was trying to explain to the commanders all the time that they
18 were the first element of security in their unit, that it was not us.
19 Anything that goes on in the unit, starting with morale, the situation at
20 the front, people abandoning positions, sabotage. This all goes through
21 them because they were the person number one in good or bad, and we were
22 there to assist them.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
24 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I know we're at the break. I was
25 wondering if we could get an estimate from the Defence as to their
1 remaining time for cross-examination. We have had a witness available to
2 go, and if we're not going to reach him I'd rather not have him sit
3 around for another hour and a half or so.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I was just going to ask Mr. Tolimir as well.
5 Can you give us an estimation about the length of the remainder
6 of your cross-examination? Have you any idea?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
8 I won't need more than 20 minutes, because I had foreseen some
9 time for re-examination. If Mr. Thayer will have no questions, we can
10 immediately continue with the next witness. I can make my questions even
11 shorter, hoping that the witness will provide short answers.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
13 Mr. Thayer, can you indicate how much time you need for
15 MR. THAYER: I have two very brief areas, Mr. President. Perhaps
16 five to ten minutes at this point.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think it is not very probable that we really
18 can begin with the next witness, perhaps only five to ten minutes. I
19 think this is not appropriate for the witness and for understanding of
20 the whole procedure.
21 In my view, the witness should be released and come back next
23 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We adjourn and resume at five minutes past 1.00.
25 --- Recess taken at 12.34 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 1.07 p.m.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir, please go ahead.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, we looked at the instructions, and we saw they were
6 sent in order to have a better co-ordination between the different
7 organs. We could also see that it came about because there were some
8 reasons to improve the work of security organs, et cetera?
9 Were security organs duty-bound to report only on matters as
10 prescribed by the law and regulations or could they report on just about
11 anything? Perhaps you can tell us, based on your previous work
12 experience with security organs.
13 A. Your Honours, security organs had to work in accordance with the
14 regulations when reporting on only those matters that had to do with the
15 combat readiness of a unit and anything that had to do with the security
16 situation in the unit itself and its area of responsibility. They were
17 not interested in any other information, and they did not report any
18 other information.
19 In any case, I don't see what other matters would be interesting
20 during a war, other than to report on the combat readiness of a unit.
21 Q. Thank you. Yesterday at page 53 of the transcript during
22 examination-in-chief in line 11 you were asked whether you had to report
23 to Tolimir or was it sufficient to report to Salapura, and you said that
24 you reported to the security or intelligence administration and that they
25 in turn most likely informed the commander and that they exchanged
2 My question is this: Please tell us clearly, did you have to
3 report directly to me, in addition to reporting to Beara or Salapura, or
4 was it enough to send the report to your superior; and then, that
5 superior, had his obligation, vis-a-vis my position, as per
7 A. I believe I addressed that yesterday, Your Honours. I reported
8 to my first immediate subordinate -- superior. In this case, the
9 security administration, Captain Beara, and the intelligence
10 administration, Colonel Salapura. They, in turn, had their own duties
11 and obligations towards you.
12 Q. Thank you. When you receive some information from your
13 subordinate, from a brigade or corps, do they have to inform you on every
14 single thing they receive from their subordinates or can they decide what
15 things to report to you?
16 A. Your Honour, they did not report on just about everything they
17 received in their battalion reports. They have to make an assessment as
18 to the importance for the security situation of the unit or its area of
20 Q. Does the same apply at all other levels, such as the level of
21 corps, Main Staff, administrations, and sectors?
22 A. Yes. That was our practice. We used teletype, and, hence,
23 information had to be brief and concise, as well as clear. To achieve
24 that, only the basic elements had to be included. Any detailed reporting
25 could have been done through personal contact.
1 Q. Thank you. If we turn the process around, if we -- there are
2 documents arriving from higher levels, such as the Main Staff and the
3 administrations, does this command principle apply as well, in order to
4 have people informed along professional lines?
5 A. Let's be specific. If I received an instruction, a guide-line,
6 or another document from the -- either security administration or sector
7 that you were the head of, depending on the importance of that
8 information and suggestions, I had to acquaint my subordinate organs with
9 it. That is how such direction was forwarded to lower levels. In such
10 instances, I also suggested to them to convey that information to their
11 subordinate levels, to the level of battalion.
12 Q. Along both command and professional lines, could superiors ask
13 for the original piece of information used to inform them of events, be
14 it -- whether that information came from the level of battalion, brigade,
15 or any other level?
16 A. I am not clear about the question. What do you mean exactly?
17 Q. Let's put it this way. If I received a piece of information from
18 Salapura and Beara, after they made their assessment, did I have the
19 right to ask for the original piece of information you had sent to them,
20 in order to have a full insight on how this information was passed on to
22 A. Yes. This was also part of the practice we used. If there were
23 any -- if there was anything that was not clear, it needed clarification.
24 If one moves from one level to the next, the information becomes more
25 concise, and if something became clear -- unclear in the process, of
1 course, I could ask for the original piece, to see whether something was
2 omitted when summarising that information.
3 Q. Was the principle of subordination abided by within the command
4 structure and the principle of levels in the professional system when it
5 comes to communication with one's first, second, or third subordinate?
6 Let me put an example. Could I, without your knowledge, address
7 a security organ that is subordinate to you in Kljuc or Petrovac, or did
8 I have to go through you? And the same applies to other levels above
10 A. It was standard procedure in our army that when a guest arrives,
11 he or she should make it known to the host. In other words, when I went
12 to one of my brigades to see my security organ, I first went to see the
13 brigade commander to let him know that I had come to his unit with a
14 specific intention in mind. And then I would go on working with my
15 subordinate. The same practice was followed by you, and I believe I
16 mentioned that in my earlier testimony in the Beara case.
17 When you came, you first came to the corps command. You made it
18 known to the corps commander. It was only then that I would come to see
19 you or you would come to my office. You also told the commander the
20 reason of you being there. It was only logical when you toured the
21 security organs to have my subordinates briefing you in my presence.
22 Q. Yesterday there was some discussion about trust or a lack of
23 trust. You were asked whether some information could be hidden from
24 Tolimir and what the consequences may have been.
25 I'm asking this now: Did Tolimir trust Salapura and Beara enough
1 to believe what they forwarded to him rather than trying to contact --
2 contact their subordinates? Did he -- did Tolimir accept information he
3 received from them?
4 A. I believe there was this mutual trust, because they were your
5 closest associates. Subordinates, they were your subordinates who had
6 their own respective security organs. If you hadn't trusted them or if
7 they had falsely informed you, the consequences would have been grave. I
8 would not have an assistant who -- whom I don't trust.
9 Q. On page 62, you discussed the military police battalion, and you
10 said that all reports came to Keserovic who was the chief of MP
11 department in the security administration.
12 My question is this: Did Keserovic have to acquaint Beara, who
13 was his superior professionally, with all of the reports he had received,
14 or could he make a selection of it? Did he have to acquaint his
15 commander with every single piece of information and document he received
16 from the military police?
17 A. Your Honours, he didn't have to forward all the information. He
18 probably made a summary report on the basis of the information he had
19 received from the battalions. He probably made a report which
20 contained -- which contained enough information to paint a picture of
21 what was being done in the various units during that day, such as where
22 the forces were engaged, and so on. It was standard practice that not
23 all reports were forwarded but that a summary report was made.
24 Q. Thank you. Earlier you talked about one organ being removed
25 because of his disagreements with the commander. This is my question:
1 Were there cases when security organs in our services did not inform us
2 about something and concealed something so that the commanders wouldn't
3 be held responsible for that or that some sort of information would not
4 reach somebody else? It could have been for personal fear for
5 themselves. Therefore you may have learned about some things only after
6 the war. Did that happen? Thank you.
7 A. In the corps' zone of responsibility I did not have such
8 situations because I supported the security organs. At the same time, I
9 had good relations with the brigade commanders.
10 Q. Thank you. Please, D64 is the document that we would now need to
11 see in the e-court.
12 While we are waiting for it to come up on the screen, I have to
13 say that it's a document from the intelligence department of the
14 Drina Corps, and the date is the 19th of July. It is sent to the forward
15 command post --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Can the accused please slow down with the
17 information because we cannot interpret at this speed.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please slow down. The interpreters can't catch
19 everything you are saying if you are so fast.
20 Please continue. And check the date, please. In the list of
21 documents it is said that it is a document from the 12th of July, 1995.
22 Perhaps you misspoke on page 72, line 6.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. The document dates from
24 the 12th of July, 1995.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. And so as not to waste too much time, reconnaissance enabled us
2 to have the information that the Muslims from Srebrenica would decide to
3 carry out a breakthrough. But they wanted to represent this as an attack
4 of the VRS against the demilitarised zone. And when this was learned,
5 there was an order to register all those who surrendered themselves or
6 were taken prisoner or who were leaving the territory but were able
7 bodied. Can we please have a look at the second page now. Thank you.
8 Page 2 says in the second paragraph:
9 "Considering that it is very important to arrest as many members
10 of the shattered Muslim units as possible, or liquidate them if they
11 resist, it is equally important to note down the names of all men fit for
12 military service who are being evacuated from the UNPROFOR base in
13 Potocari. The old BP will brief the MUP organs in their respective zones
14 of responsibility on the information received."
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now please show the first
16 page in e-court so that the witness could see what I'm asking him about.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. As this was disseminated to all security organs in the
19 Drina Corps, to General Krstic, Colonel General Popovic as the chief, and
20 also the chief of security in the Bratunac Brigade who is the first
21 listed. He said before this Tribunal that he did not receive this
22 document and that he never saw it. Is it possible for a security organ
23 not to receive a document which is sent encoded by telegram? Thank you.
24 A. I don't believe that something like that is possible. Maybe only
25 if somebody else, the person in charge of encryption, decided not to
1 forward the document, which would be really bad, or if the commander of
2 the unit took the document and didn't give it to the security organ. I
3 did not have such a case in my units, that I did not receive a document
4 that was addressed to me.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please clarify your question so that we have it
7 clear on the record. You said:
8 "... also the chief of security in the Bratunac Brigade was the
9 first listed."
10 Can you please state the name of this person so that we can have
11 a reference to his testimony.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Here is the reference:
13 He testified here on the 7th of April 2010, on page 12513, in lines 13 to
14 14, he said the following: "I cannot say" --
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can you please state the name of this witness.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm talking about Mr. Nikolic.
18 Thank you.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: That is all what I wanted --
20 [Overlapping speakers] ...
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Nikolic said the following:
23 "I cannot say with full certainty, but I think that I did not see
24 this document before."
25 He also said that he was not aware of a report which was sent
1 also on the 12th of July. It was sent on the 9th of June but to Bratunac
2 Brigade, to the commander and others, to take into account about the
3 international law of war on the occasion of taking Srebrenica.
4 And he said on the 12th of April, on one 12620, that is the page:
5 "This order, this document is something I have not seen before."
6 This is an example of how a security organ may sometimes for
7 certain reasons deny that he was informed about something. Did that
8 happen in practice, in the Army of Republika Srpska? Thank you.
9 A. Your Honours, I cannot talk about the Army of Republika Srpska.
10 I can just say that in my zone of responsibility and the security organs
11 that I controlled, something like that could not happen.
12 Q. Thank you. Let us now have a look at what, on the 6th of April,
13 2011, Mr. Nikolic said for the record. On page 12405 [realtime
14 transcript read in error "12404"], lines 15 to 25, I asked him whether
15 the Muslim men surrendered to you practically on that road, and he
17 "Yes. As we were moving towards Konjevic Polje, at some point
18 after Sandici, Pervani, or I don't know exactly but along that road we
19 caught up with a group of six Muslim men who were walking. We stopped
20 the APC and we got the six Muslims into the APC and then we brought them
21 to Konjevic Polje. We stopped the APC in Konjevic Polje in an area that
22 was in front of the intersection, and I said to Mirko -- or rather, to
23 Mile Petrovic, that the prisoners should be taken to where the others
25 "After a while Mile Petrovic returned. I was sitting right there
1 by the intersection. On the left-hand side there is a house when you're
2 coming from Bratunac."
3 On page 12405, in lines 1 to 6, he sayings the following --
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you should come to your question.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Is it possible for a security organ not to report the superior
8 officer about something for some reason, whether the reason may be fear
9 or something else?
10 A. In my view, such reasons should not exist. Perhaps you may not
11 be able to report at a specific moment, because you don't have
12 communications equipment available but it was your duty and you were
13 obliged to report your superiors about what you learned or saw, as soon
14 as you could get hold a piece of communications equipment.
15 Q. Let us see what is in the record. Page 12404, lines 5 to 16,
16 this is what Mr. Nikolic said here before the Tribunal:
17 "I asked him what have you done? And he said there was a yellow
18 co-operative building right there and then there is this small river, and
19 he said that he took these people behind this yellow building and killed
20 them. I didn't go there to see whether he had actually killed them or
21 not. Quite simply, I was sick of everything. I didn't do anything about
22 it. As I've said a countless number of times so far, I didn't do
23 anything about it, and I should have done something about it. I should
24 have reported it Celanovic."
25 It's the lawyer.
1 "I said to Celanovic what happened but I didn't do anything
2 official. I did not take any official measures and I think was supposed
3 to have done so."
4 And my question is this: Because he did not report the incident
5 that he talked about, could anyone who is in professionally or in command
6 terms in charge of this from his brigade or corps, could be deemed
7 responsible and taken to account for this?
8 A. If you say that he did not report, then it's his responsibility.
9 It cannot be the responsibility of his superior in any sense. Because
10 the incident was not known because of the fact that he did not report it.
11 If that's what you had in mind.
12 Q. Thank you. I had this incident in mind because when we talked
13 about trust or lack thereof, there might be a reason not to inform about
14 something for reasons of trust or lack thereof and there may be a reason
15 to conceal something, as it was the case here. Isn't it difficult to
16 take any measures against the perpetrators in such cases if one doesn't
17 even know that a crime has been committed? Thank you.
18 A. It is clear to everyone that you cannot do anything if you're not
19 aware that a crime has been committed and if you are not aware of a
20 situation. How can I do something if I don't know that that something
21 did happen?
22 Q. All right. If you don't know about something that happened in
23 the brigade and if the security and intelligence organ from the brigade
24 failed to inform you about that, can you then take any measures relating
25 to the activity that happened or will the commander hold you responsible
1 for what happened? Thank you.
2 A. I repeat, I cannot take measures if I don't know that something
3 happened and I have not been informed about that. That means I cannot
4 inform my superior that it happened, because I have no idea it did until
5 someone reports to me about that. Therefore, I cannot be held
6 responsible for something that was not reported to me.
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic. Thank you for the answers you gave
8 during the examination. Thank you for everything. I wish you a happy
9 return to your home and family. God bless you. And I hope you may live
10 long and enjoy your old age retirement.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the Defence has
12 completed its examination and has no further questions for this witness.
13 Thank you.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. One correction for the
16 record. On page 76, Mr. Tolimir made a reference to page 12404, in fact
17 it was page 12405 he was reading from.
18 Mr. Thayer, your re-examination please. I hope ten minutes are
19 enough for your examination.
20 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. It should be.
21 May we have P01112, please.
22 Re-examination by Mr. Thayer:
23 Q. And good afternoon to you, Colonel.
24 A. Good afternoon.
25 Q. Colonel, you were shown this document, these instructions that we
1 saw were issued under General Mladic's name. And if we go to the last
2 page in both versions, I think in your interview and in your Popovic
3 testimony you were able to recognise whose initials or whose signature
4 this was, signing for General Mladic.
5 Do you remember that, and can you tell us who actually signed
6 the -- these instructions on behalf of General Mladic?
7 A. Mr. Prosecutor, Your Honours, it is clearly visible here that the
8 signature is for, there is this word "for" the commander. And below that
9 is General Tolimir's signature.
10 So he signed it in lieu of the commander.
11 Q. Okay. And you remember the questions about what the difference
12 is between an instruction and a directive and your answers about that, do
13 you not? That was just a few moments ago, before we broke the last time.
14 A. Yes, I remember.
15 Q. And if we look -- if we can go back to the first page of this
16 document, we can see that, indeed, it has the heading "Instructions,"
17 correct? And when we see, for example, a combat order that will almost
18 certainly say the word "order" or "naredjenje" or -- forgive me for the
19 mispronunciation, but it will say "order," would you agree with that?
20 A. Yes, you pronounced in properly.
21 Q. Now if we could go back to the last page in both versions, I want
22 to take you to two paragraphs that General Tolimir did not show you when
23 he used this document with and just give you a chance to look at them a
24 little bit more closely, and I just want to ask you a couple of questions
25 about this.
1 If we look at paragraph 7, let's start with paragraph 7, it says:
2 "Monitoring of the professionalism, legality, and correctness of
3 the work of the security and intelligence organs shall be carried out
4 exclusively by the first superior organs for security and intelligence
5 affairs, except in that part of the their engagement relating to command
6 and staff affairs."
7 And if we look at the next paragraph, it says:
8 "Commanders and other officers at all levels who are in charge of
9 security and intelligence organs must strictly adhere to these
11 Now, I don't want to focus necessarily on the substance of these
12 two paragraphs. What I want to focus on, for example, in paragraph 7, is
13 where General Mladic uses the word "shall" and in paragraph 8, where,
14 again, General Mladic uses the word "must" when he says that not only
15 security and intelligence officers but commanders must strictly adhere to
16 these instructions.
17 Now, you told us earlier today that - and I quote - this is at
18 page 49, and you were speaking to General Tolimir: "We understood" --
19 you said:
20 "Perhaps my terminology was a bit rough when I said 'orders,' but
21 this what we understood your documents to be. Anything coming from you
22 or the Main Staff was considered as such."
23 So when General Mladic says, "You shall," and, "You must," did
24 you, as a subordinate officer, feel like you had any choice about the
1 A. Mr. Prosecutor, Your Honours, you are right when you say, "You
2 shall," and, "You must," then it is an order. It is nicely formulated
3 what your obligations are. I mean, your superior formulated it nicely
4 when he says, "You shall," "You must," and he does not say, "I order you"
5 because this is military style or it is more tough. This is nicely
6 formulated. "You shall" or "You must" do that, so it can be translated
7 to mean that it's a sort of order.
8 But as I said, I stand by what I said, that the instruction has
9 the character of advice. It points to a problem and suggests how a
10 problem can be resolved. And this is what items 7 and 8 actually refer
11 to, how to resolve the problem.
12 Q. And again, though, when we look at, for example, paragraph 8,
13 understanding that what we have here is what has been headed
14 "Instructions," how did you treat, when you look at paragraph 8, this
15 statement that "Commanders and other officers at all levels who are in
16 charge of security and intelligence organs must strictly adhere to these
18 Did you have any choice whether or not to strictly adhere to
19 these instructions?
20 A. Looking at this paragraph where it is stated that commanders and
21 other officers at all levels who are in charge, this mention of other
22 officers, in my reading, these are the superior officers of the security
24 So the commanders and superior officers of security organs shall
25 strictly abide by the instruction. There is no choice there. You cannot
1 say, No, I will -- No I won't, Yes, I will. You have to do it.
2 Q. Okay. I have just one more quick question, Colonel, and if I may
3 exceed by a couple of minutes, Mr. President.
4 You testified earlier today - this is at page 50 - that:
5 "No assistant at any level, assistant commander, this is what I
6 mean, had authority under any rule, tactical rule, to command forces.
7 Such authority and responsibility lay exclusively with the commander."
8 And for the record that's a proposition that the Prosecution
9 generally agrees with. My question to you, Colonel, is, in your
10 experience, did a commander, whether it be a brigade commander, corps
11 commander, or General Mladic himself, always retain the authority to
12 delegate part of his command authority to someone else?
13 A. Hmm, yes. The commander is irreplaceable. That's a fact. The
14 commander could, for instance, when he is absent from the unit for a
15 longer period, when is he away on vacations, when he is ill or wounded,
16 then a written document is drafted specifying who would be in his place
17 throughout that period and what authorities the officer standing in for
18 him will have. In our positive regulation, it was regulated in this way.
19 Also - and I'm now giving examples - when General Milovanovic was
20 standing in for the commander, General Mladic, there was no document
21 where you could find "for" and then Tolimir, as we have here. This type
22 of signature you will find when the commander is absent for a short
23 period, but when he is away for a longer period then it's going to be
24 either "standing in for commander" or "acting commander," let's say Marko
1 I don't know whether you see the difference here. When the
2 commander is absent for a longer period, then Marko Markovic is standing
3 in for him and you can see that written. And when he is absent for a
4 short period, then you will see this type of signature "for General
5 Mladic, Tolimir."
6 Q. And I think we are all understand the circumstances you are
7 describing, Colonel, but what I want to focus is on a different set of
8 circumstances, not when a commander is taken ill or is outside of his
9 area of responsibility. I'm referring to a situation where a commander
10 may be in a complex situation or a commander can't be in more than one
11 place at a given time. Are you aware of circumstances under which a
12 commander retains his ability to command in his area of responsibility
13 but has multiple tasks that need to be achieved wherein he delegates a
14 portion of his command authority to a designated officer in order to
15 carry out the commander's intentions, with respect to a certain task.
16 Are you familiar with such circumstances, Colonel?
17 A. Yes, yes. I think there was a little bit of a misunderstanding
18 between you and myself when I was giving the previous answer.
19 Of course, the regulations provided for establishment of forward
20 command posts, of the Main Staff, various corps and so on, along the axis
21 where the commander believed they should be, where the situation is
22 critical. For instance, in the zone of the 2nd Krajina Corps, we had a
23 forward command post of the Main Staff in Drvar, and the top-ranking
24 officer who was there acting on behalf of the commander was
25 General Milovanovic, together with a number of officers from the
1 Main Staff who assisted him in commanding the units of VRS. That was the
2 standard practice, if that's what you were referring to, and such forward
3 command posts would usually be closer to the front lines than the
4 regulations provide for the Main Staff itself. That was a common
5 practice, yes.
6 Q. Thank you, Colonel.
7 MR. THAYER: I have no further questions.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Mindua has a question.
10 Questioned by the Court:
11 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, Colonel Mitrovic,
12 following your testimony, I have a question of a more general nature to
13 put to you.
14 You confirmed that you attended classes on the Geneva Conventions
15 and on the Additional Protocols, you and your colleagues in the security
16 organs. So you are familiar with the laws and customs of war.
17 A while ago, on the transcript, on page 77, line 7 to 9, you said
18 something which struck me. I believe this is extremely important. The
19 security organ could not report on something it knew nothing about. It
20 could not report on crimes it was not informed about. Conversely, crimes
21 it was informed about needed to be reported on.
22 But yesterday on the transcript at page 57, lines 22 to 25, on
23 page 57, lines 22 to 25, you personally regretted the fact that there was
24 no court-martial or war cabinet within the VRS for the period relevant to
25 the indictment. This is an extremely important remark on your part, and
1 I agree with you here.
2 So this is my question of a general nature, Witness. In the
3 event of serious crimes committed by an officer or where a VRS soldier at
4 the time -- or by a VRS soldier at the time, what steps were taken by the
5 security organs and intelligence organs or by any other organ at the
6 level of the corps and at the level of the Main Staff to deal with that
7 kind of situation? Were there any cases of this nature reported? Thank
9 A. Your Honour, the measures that were available to security organs
10 in such situations would be, first of all, identifying and finding the
11 perpetrator, then arresting him, and prosecuting him. Or, rather, filing
12 a criminal report to the military prosecutor or military courts. Those
13 were the measures applied in such situations that measures that were
14 approved and measures that could be taken.
15 In my view, that was not very efficient, at least in the segment
16 I'm familiar with, and I mentioned the court-martials from my own
17 perspective, because I believe that their existence would help introduce
18 better discipline in any group or unit. And that was the only reason why
19 I mentioned this. This was what I had in mind when I referred to those
21 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Did such military tribunals exist
22 within the VRS or not?
23 A. If you are referring to summary court-martials, no, they did not
24 exist. But if you're referring to military court, yes, they existed.
25 They were established, I think, in late 1992, both the military court and
1 the military prosecutor's office.
2 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
3 You did not tell me whether you had any examples of concrete
4 actions having been reported. In other words, whether crimes were
5 identified and, if so, what had been done about them.
6 A. I did mention one such example during the interview with me in
7 2004. It had to do with murder of prisoners or detainees in the village
8 of Velagici. Investigative organs carried out an on-site investigation,
9 identified the persons, the perpetrators, I think there was 11 or 12 of
10 them, if my memory serves me well. They were arrested, and they were
11 taken to the military court in Banja Luka.
12 I don't know whether this is sufficient by way of example. But
13 that's it.
14 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. That's fine
15 for the moment.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sir, you will be pleased that this concludes your
17 examination here in this trial. Thank you very much that you were able
18 to come to The Hague again and to assist us with your knowledge.
19 Now are you free to return home and to your normal activities.
20 Thank you very much again.
21 We have to adjourn, and we will resume tomorrow -- on Monday,
22 quarter past 2.00 in this courtroom, and take the opportunity to thank
23 all the staff who assist us for their patience and for the assistance.
24 Thank you very much. We adjourn.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 [The witness withdrew]
2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.59 p.m.,
3 to be reconvened on Monday, the 6th day of June,
4 2011, at 2.15 p.m.