1 Tuesday, 7 June 2011
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon to everybody in the courtroom.
6 The witness should be brought in, please.
7 Mr. Gajic.
8 [The witness takes the stand]
9 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, while we wait for the
10 witness, I wanted to raise a brief issue.
11 Exhibit P2251. There are actually two exhibits that have been
12 assigned the same number which is P2251. Namely, 65 ter 4088 by the OTP;
13 and 2240. They were both placed under the same number in two different
15 Could we please deal with that so that both of them would have
16 different numbers.
17 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much for this information,
19 Mr. Gajic. Mr. Registrar will check that and he just confirmed to me
20 that you are right. And it will be put on the record the relevant
22 Good afternoon, sir. Welcome back to the courtroom. I have to
23 remind you that the affirmation to tell the truth you made at the
24 beginning of your testimony still applies.
25 WITNESS: LJUBOMIR MITROVIC [Resumed]
1 [Witness answered through interpreter]
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer is continuing his
4 You have the floor, Mr. Thayer.
5 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon to you and
6 Your Honours. Good afternoon to the Defence. Good afternoon, everyone.
7 Examination by Mr. Thayer: [Continued]
8 Q. And good afternoon to you, Mr. Mitrovic.
9 When we left off yesterday, sir, you were in the process of
10 describing for us the general structure an operation of the
11 Eastern Bosnia Corps Commission for the Exchange of Prisoners of War.
12 Did part of the commission's work also include the exchange of
13 the mortal remains of soldiers from both sides of the conflict, or were
14 you occupied solely with living prisoners?
15 A. We were also involved in exchanging the bodies of fallen
16 soldiers, as well as in exchanging of POWs.
17 Q. And was the process with respect to repatriating those remains,
18 obtaining those remains, basically the same as that of exchanging living
20 A. We met, exchanged lists, and made our requests known to the other
21 side. We also went out in the field together to verify information. And
22 at the next meeting, we would then acquaint the other side what it was
23 that we found out and what could we offer in terms of bodies at specific
24 locations for an exchange. Once an exchange was set up, meetings were
25 held in different locations; but, in principle, it all went the same way.
1 There would be a lull between the Serb and Federation lines, we would
2 always come up with a suitable location at which we could meet up.
3 Next, the bodies were brought in, exchanged, and then taken to
4 their respective sides. It didn't necessarily always take place after
5 combat. When I arrived, there were some mortal remains dating back to
6 1992. Many bodies were still unknown, and we have to conduct our
7 searches to have an actual exchange. As a matter of fact, even to date,
8 it is unfinished process.
9 Q. Sir, I'd like to turn your attention now to a different topic and
10 I would like to you focus, if you would, on the year 1995 and
11 specifically on July of 1995.
12 Do you recall at some point that month a meeting being scheduled
13 near Sarajevo in Kiseljak? And, if you do, would you please tell the
14 Trial Chamber what you remember about that meeting.
15 A. There was meeting involving the state commission which was
16 scheduled to take place in Kiseljak on the 11th of July, 1995. I was
17 informed some two days before the meeting that there was going to be one,
18 and I got in touch with the president of the commission of the
19 1st Krajina Corps to travel there together, to car pool. So we went to
20 Mount Jahorina on the 10th, spent the night there, and, on the 11th,
21 arrived in Lukavica. That was our last defence line. UNHCR armoured
22 vehicles arrived to the location, bringing representatives of the
23 commissions of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, the East Bosnian Corps, the
24 1st Krajina Corps, and the state commission. We all got in and went to
25 Kiseljak through Federation-held territory. We came as far as the
1 Kobiljaca pass where we were stopped by members of the HVO. That area
2 was populated by Croats, and there was a HVO unit that was stationed
3 there. It was very hot, and we were approached by a representative of
4 that unit, a policeman. He wanted to know who we were, and a person from
5 the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps spoke to him for a few minutes and said they
6 knew each other, and he was familiar with the terrain. He told the UNHCR
7 representatives to raise the lids on the armoured vehicles so that we
8 could get some fresh air because it was too warm. There was no reply
9 from Kiseljak regarding the meeting, and we were allowed to disembark.
10 We got out of the vehicles. There were seven APCs in total. I think
11 there were four ahead, then mine, and two in the back.
12 In any case, we waited outside for some two hours. The APCs in
13 front of us went further to Kiseljak. Those who brought us there wanted
14 to go as well, but the representatives of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps
15 Commission did not allow that. He wanted to know what we were going to
16 do, and we were told that neither Zenica, nor Tuzla Commission
17 representatives arrived in Kiseljak and that we were to go back.
18 However, we were unable because we no longer had sufficient APCs.
19 Lubura, that was his name, got into touch with his corps, and I
20 suppose his superior contacted the Main Staff; that is to say,
21 General Tolimir. We were told that Tolimir had said that Srebrenica had
22 fallen and that the APCs were to be let go. It was done in that way, and
23 we were there in a tight situation because we didn't know how to go back.
24 We managed to go back to Ilidza and after a couple of hours there, we
25 managed to find a four-by-four with old Sarajevo pre-war registration
1 plates. Our route took us just below the lines of the Federation and we
2 drove fast. All I can tell you is that we used forest roads, and instead
3 of the 15 kilometres that we had to traverse, we actually made 168
4 kilometres to finally end up in Jahorina, where we had left our vehicles.
5 Once we got there, it was already dark and we were told not to go
6 any further and to spend the night there. We were also told that there
7 was going to be a meeting the next day at Sarajevo airport. Again, there
8 were problems, because we had cancelled our accommodation. But in the
9 end, we were accommodated somehow and waited the next day's negotiations.
10 Nothing became of it, though. There were only mutual accusations that
11 were exchanged. Their state commission, that is to say, Amor Masovic
12 asserted that they were in Kiseljak asking why we didn't come. Bulajic
13 said that the information he had received was that they did not appear
14 than we had to be -- had to have been told not to come.
15 In any case, there was no hope for any further constructive
16 dialogue and the only thing was -- that was arranged was to have another
17 meeting, nothing else. We left on the 12th, including the commission
18 president and another member from the 1st Krajina Corps and myself from
19 the Eastern Bosnia Corps. We got as far as Vlasenica, where we were held
20 at a check-point. They told us we couldn't go any further because there
21 was combat further afield. I was persistent. I explained why I had to
22 continue, and eventually they let us through, up to Milici. At Milici
23 there was a mixed check-point manned by our military police and the
24 civilian police, and they did not allow us to go any further afield. At
25 that location we could even hear infantry fire, and I asked whether there
1 was anyone who could approve my departure and I was told that I should go
2 to the Milici Brigade commander. I went to see him, introduced myself
3 and asked him to let us through because the families of those missing had
4 awaited me to see whether any agreement was reached on the prisoners. He
5 said that we can go at our own risk, and I agreed to that. I told him we
6 would try to get through. It was true that there was combat near the
7 road and we heard infantry fire and mortar explosions, but we got
9 I arrived Bijeljina and the relatives of those missing waited --
10 awaited me in front of the office. Although I was tired, I explained to
11 them what the situation was, and I told them that I believed an exchange
12 would be made possible which was something we couldn't have done before
13 because we had nothing to offer. The Muslim side asked -- or conditioned
14 a one-for-one exchange, and that is why we had nothing in particular to
15 offer. That is also the reason why there were many exchanges which did
16 not occur immediately after combat. And this pre-condition of theirs was
17 a standing one.
18 The next day, the chief of security told me that he had spoken to
19 General Tolimir, who told him that he was to secure another hangar,
20 another hall to receive prisoners. The figure that was specified was
21 around 1300.
22 I don't know whether the line of command and control was used by
23 General Mladic or by the Chief of Staff to order the commander of the
24 Eastern Bosnian Corps to convey to the head of the collection centre to
25 carry out those preparations. Irrespective of that, those preparations
1 were carried out, and two or three days later, the commander of the
2 collection centre inquired why there were no prisoners coming and
3 informed them that they had completed their part of the job. Since I
4 didn't go to Batkovici in the course of those few days, and I didn't go
5 to the corps either, I called the president of the Drina Corps
6 Commission. His name was Slavko, I forgot his last name, but he was an
7 elderly man. Since we used an open line, I asked him about it, and he
8 told me that I had to do something or there would be nothing out of what
9 had been agreed. It was put in a very -- in a way that wouldn't be
10 understood by the other side.
11 The next day, the chief of security informed me that a group of
12 20 wounded men from Srebrenica had arrived. I told him there was nothing
13 I could do with 20 wounded people, because we had 101 prisoners, and he
14 said that -- that most likely, something would take place later on. I
15 didn't mention to him what the commission president had told me. The
16 municipal president from Ugljevik arrived, accompanied by members of
17 their commission for those who were captured or gone missing. They came
18 to see me and I acquainted them with the situation. Then the municipal
19 president offered for their units, that is to say, the 1st Majevica Unit
20 which was in the process of being formed, as well as a reconnaissance
21 unit of theirs to go to the area of combat, because there was still
22 stranded groups there. His idea was basically to capture some more
23 people, in order to have sufficient numbers of them for an exchange. I
24 told him that it was neither up to his brigade commander, nor him, and
25 that he was to go and see the corps commander. The representatives then
1 went to see the corps commander, and they explained their request to him.
2 General Simic refused, and he said that he was going to send some
3 policemen to come up with a sufficient number of captured soldiers for an
4 exchange. I never learned whether he did so; but, in any case, save for
5 the 20, or in addition to the 20, there was another group totalling 168,
6 I believe. After that, the situation was completely different, and we
7 were ready to negotiate.
8 A commission member from Brcko was in touch with the Tuzla Canton
9 Commission, and in my previous testimony I said that I did not want to be
10 in touch with them, because there were those who always expressed their
11 doubts, saying, See, he has his own arrangement with the other side. And
12 I know what such rumours mean, because I had spent a number of years in
13 the security service.
14 In any case, the contact was established through him and a
15 meeting was arranged, at which I acquainted them with the situation.
16 They wanted to see our lists. After the other group arrived, the ICRC
17 visited them. I must tell you that I was somewhat upset at that moment,
18 and I was toying with the idea of refusing them a visit because when a
19 part of our brigade's territory was lost to the other side, for over 30
20 days the Tuzla authorities did not allow the ICRC to visit our captured
21 personnel. I thought about it twice, and given the fact that we were on
22 good terms with the ICRC and it was not their fault, I agreed to their
23 visit. The chief consented to that, and we allowed them toe go in.
24 There was also a simple explanation for it which was that the sooner they
25 made their own lists, the sooner the situation would be clearer and
1 exchanges would take place. Once they were there, they were also
2 assisted medically.
3 Between the contacts with this Tuzla Commission and our first
4 exchange in September, there were about ten different meetings in
5 different locations, such as in Brcko, or Lopare, trying to come up with
6 the -- a procedural way to conduct that exchange, and they put a proposal
7 that we would have an exchange, all for all, which was quite a turn from
8 their one-for-one exchange position before. This was favourable because
9 the 1st Krajina Corps did not have a sufficient numbers of prisoners. In
10 the end, there was a group of 66 captured at Majevica and Lisace, plus
11 another six. We got this personnel back and exchanged our 78 prisoners.
12 Not all of them were fighters though.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sir --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were some people who had been
15 there earlier --
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sir, may I interrupt you for a moment. This
17 is the longest answer we ever have received in this trial. You have a
18 lot to tell, but, in fact, Mr. Thayer was asking you about a specific
19 event which was scheduled for the 11th. It is better for us and, for our
20 understanding, if that could be an exchange of views and giving answers
21 to specific questions by Mr. Thayer. And I think there are some topics I
22 would like, and perhaps others would like to put a question as well to
24 I would invite you to shorten your answers a bit so that we can
25 follow in a better way.
1 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, if I may, because Mr. Mitrovic is a
2 viva voce witness, the Trial Chamber doesn't have the benefit,
3 necessarily, of his prior testimony and having the opportunity to read it
4 as Your Honours do with the 92 ter testimony. Obviously I refrained from
5 interrupting Mr. Mitrovic in his answer to my one specific question. The
6 primary reason being that in the course of his narrative answer, he has
7 very thoroughly, and I think clearly, touched on all the topics for which
8 he has been called to testify, and I obviously do intend to follow up
9 with some additional questions, go back. But Mr. Mitrovic's answers have
10 been very much to the point of his testimony. I understand it was a long
11 answer, but have no fear, Your Honours, we will go back and we will fill
12 in those gaps and I think you'll understand the various subchapters to
13 his testimony, as I clarify those.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: There's no doubt that all this information we
15 received by the witness relates to this case, no doubt.
16 Mr. Gajic.
17 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, there seems to be a
18 technical problem because of the speed at which the witness speaks. Line
19 8 -- page 8, line 19, there seems to -- a part of the sentence in missing
20 which is actually when Lisace fell.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At Majevica. It's an area of
22 defence of the 1st Majevica Brigade.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer will deal with that, I'm sure.
24 May I -- as we have interrupted the witness, I just want to have
25 an answer to two questions with which I want to clarify something.
1 At one point you said:
2 "We didn't have anything to offer ..."
3 And I would like to get an explanation. What do you mean by
5 "We didn't have anything to offer ..."?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We did not have fighters from the
7 Tuzla Corps whom we had taken prisoner. Those we had were from other
8 areas, and from earlier, from the beginning of combat operations, for
9 whom they were not too much interested in the places where they had come
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much for this clarification.
12 My second clarification I would like to ask you for is, in
13 relation to page 7, line 11. You said:
14 "The next day, the chief of security informed me that a group of
15 20 wounded men from Srebrenica had arrived."
16 Who was this chief of security? Which security unit are you
17 referring to and who -- which is the name of this person?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was the chief of the Department
19 of Security of the Eastern Bosnia Corps, Milenko Todorovic.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, please carry on.
23 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Excuse me, for the interruption.
25 MR. THAYER: Not at all. I think we all were sharing the same
1 sentiments and I do have a number of follow-up questions.
2 Q. Sir, let's go back and talk about, just a moment, the meeting
3 that you had scheduled, that had a been scheduled for the 11th of July in
5 At that time, in July of 1995, from your corps' area of
6 responsibility, how many Serb soldiers from the Eastern Bosnian Corps
7 were being held by the Muslim side?
8 A. 101 in Tuzla. These were soldiers from the Serbian units of the
9 Eastern Bosnia Corps. However, there were others in Zenica, in Mostar,
10 in other areas. From our corps, the prisoners were held in Tuzla.
11 Q. And can you tell the Trial Chamber, out of those 101 Serb
12 prisoners being held by the Muslims, where had they been captured; and
13 approximately when?
14 A. One group was captured in January. I think it was January 1994.
15 That was on the Majevica front. I think that the specific place was
17 Another group was captured in March of the same year, I think,
18 and they were captured at Siroki Njive. That is also on Majevica. Both
19 places were held by the 1st Semberija Brigade, and these men were the
20 soldiers of this brigade.
21 However, before them, a part of the line of the 1st Majevica
22 Brigade fell also on Majevica in the Lisace sector. That unit was
23 detached, which was defending Lisace. Whether it was justified or not,
24 that's another issue. But in any case, 61 soldiers survived. I think
25 that 11 had been killed before Lisace fell. The fighting lasted for
1 about three or four days. We tried to supply them with food, but they
2 were left without food and water and eventually they surrendered.
3 Q. Now --
4 A. I cannot remember the exact dates, but it's possible that it was
5 a little while before January 1994. It was certainly in winter when
6 Lisace fell. There were also individuals, too. For example, a soldier
7 may have strayed to the other side, or another one was revolted and then
8 walked out into a minefield. And, in any case, the total number of our
9 soldiers were 101; those who were held at the Tuzla prison.
10 At that time, there were only, if you allow me, there were only
11 five recently captured Muslim fighters. It was a sabotage unit that had
12 infiltrated in our territory several days earlier, and they were the only
13 ones that they were interested in.
14 Q. Now, a little later on in your answer of a few minutes ago, you
15 referred to 66 from Lisace. What we have here in the transcript is 61
16 from Lisace. Can you tell us, do you remember whether it was 61 or 66
17 Serb prisoners who were captured at Lisace and being held in Tuzla?
18 A. I need to clarify that.
19 61 were captured at Lisace. One who was sick, very much so, was
20 given to us as a present by Tuzla, because he was in a such bad state
21 that he was supposed to die. And there were six others who had strayed
22 or somehow happened to cross over to the other side. They were
23 individuals. So there were those from Lisace, plus six others.
24 Q. Okay. That clarifies that. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic.
25 You've spoken a little bit already about the parents and
1 relatives of these Serb soldiers being held in the Muslim prisons, being
2 anxious to await your return from this meeting on 11 July. Can you tell
3 the Trial Chamber whether these parents were organised at all around this
4 issue of returning their sons to them?
5 A. Yes. They were organised. A committee was formed in the
6 territory of the Ugljevik municipality. It was elected by parents. They
7 had a chairman. They came to see me, and when we started talking about
8 soldiers from the territory of this municipality, I took the
9 representative of those who were captured to the negotiations. I
10 introduced him to the other side so that he could hear what the problems
11 were and that he could truthfully relay the problems that exactly
12 existed. Likewise from the area of the Bijeljina municipality, there was
13 also a committee. The relatives elected their representatives and they
14 also communicated with me.
15 In addition to that, there were continuously individual whose
16 sidesteps [as interpreted] official organs or representatives. They
17 would come to see me in the territory of Ugljevik. After a certain
18 number of contacts, the parents would get together. I would come there
19 to inform them in detail about the meetings I had attended, what was
20 agreed, and what the problems were.
21 Q. Okay. Now, you told us that this scheduled meeting from the 11th
22 that did not happen actually then took place the next day on the 12th of
23 July. And you told us how, after the meeting, you tried to return to
24 Bijeljina but were stopped first at Vlasenica and at a check-point in
1 You told us in your answer that you personally appealed to the
2 brigade commander to let you pass, and it's just a technical matter, but
3 I don't think the transcript reflected which brigade commander you had
4 this contact with - can you just clarify that for the record, please - on
5 the 12th of July, as you were held up in Milici.
6 A. I addressed the commander of the Milici Brigade. That was what
7 the brigade was called. I don't know what his name was because I had
8 never met him before and to this day, I don't know what his name was.
9 And he was the one who allowed us to pass.
10 Q. And you then told us the very next day, the 13th of July, your
11 corps security chief, Colonel Todorovic, told you that General Tolimir
12 had told him to expect about 1300 prisoners.
13 My first question is: Do you recall roughly how many Muslim
14 prisoners, at that point, on the 13th of July, were at the Batkovic
15 collection centre?
16 A. There were between 40 and 50. I don't know the exact number.
17 They were in one hangar in Batkovic. But the emphasises was not on the
18 numbers, but, rather, that another hangar can -- should be made available
19 so that such a big number of prisoners could be received because this
20 hangar could receive only -- could receive up to 800 or even more people
21 and it only had 40 to 60. So, if need be, it could accommodate much more
23 Q. And putting aside, sir, for the moment, the issue of logistics of
24 preparing Batkovic for receiving that many prisoners, what did this news
25 mean to you in your role as president of the Eastern Bosnia Corps
1 Exchange Commission; and what did it mean for the parents, the brothers
2 and sisters of those Serb prisoners that we've been talking about?
3 A. We awaited impatiently this arrival. I was aware that I was
4 resolving a problem that was difficult to resolve, and that is the
5 exchange of prisoners of war. I also know that the 1st Krajina Corps
6 would be able, this time, to achieve exchange, both with Tuzla and
7 Zenica. Therefore, the parents and myself, as the president of the
8 commission, and other members of the commission, worked on this. That
9 was the goal of our work, to save those we could, to exchange those who
10 were alive, to exchange the bodies of those who had been killed. So that
11 it was a great relief to be able to count on the POWs that we would be
12 able to exchange.
13 Q. You further told us that, I believe, two to three days passed,
14 and when the prisoners didn't arrive, had you a conversation with a
15 Drina Corps officer whose first name you remember was Slavko. And he
16 urged you to try to get something done or -- I think you said something
17 to the effect of "or nothing would happen."
18 Can you tell the Trial Chamber, because I think that you said
19 that this was stated in some kind of code so that the other side couldn't
20 understand, what did you take this statement by this Slavko from the
21 Drina Corps to mean?
22 A. It was an open-line. It wasn't military line, but a city line,
23 and it was not to be expected that he would tell me that on such a line.
24 It was sufficient for me to receive this warning, to see what I needed to
25 do in order to get a number of POWs, not necessarily as many as I needed,
1 but the more the better. That was always the principle. For me, the
2 goal was for them to be allowed to leave and for those others to leave as
3 well, because the war was at an end.
4 That was what it meant. It meant I did not expect why he didn't
5 tell me, but I could discern that something bad was happening and for the
6 following reason: Because the relations in the area were very strained
7 because earlier on, from the territory of the protected enclave of
8 Srebrenica, the forces of Naser Oric infiltrated and committed a series
9 of crimes and torched a series of villages in this area. Therefore, I
10 was thinking along the following lines: What are these people who
11 remained without their houses, without their families? They must be
12 ready to do all kinds of bad things. But I did not expect that at any
13 point what did happened would happen, but I thought that something bad
14 might happen. And then as time went by, it turned out that many bad
15 things did happen, indeed.
16 Q. Sir, I want to show you a number of documents and ask you some
17 questions about them.
18 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I note that the first document I
19 would like to show Mr. Mitrovic was not included on our 65 ter list of
20 exhibits. It's a document that we came across in preparing for
21 Mr. Mitrovic's testimony. It is part of the Drina Corps collection that
22 you've heard a lot about. We notified the Defence of it on our 65 ter
23 list. I haven't had a chance to consult with the Defence as to their
24 position on this document, but it is something that has, again, as I
25 mentioned, been disclosed as part of the Drina Corps collection, and I
1 would like to use it with Mr. Mitrovic. And --
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Would you please be so kind to indicate which
3 document are you referring to?
4 MR. THAYER: Yes, it's 65 ter 7423. And if there is no
5 objection, I would move to add it to the 65 ter list of exhibits.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is from the government of the
7 Republika Srpska State Commission for the Exchange of Prisoners of War
8 and information memo.
9 Mr. Tolimir, do you have any objection to add this document to
10 the 65 ter exhibit list?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I have
12 no objections. Thank you.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Since there is no objection, leave is granted to
14 add it to the 65 ter exhibit list.
15 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. And may we show 7423,
16 please, to the witness.
17 Q. And, sir, do you see a document on your screen? It may be rather
18 hard to read. I have the original here. I'm not sure if it is going to
19 be much easier to read. But with the Court Officer's assistance, I can
20 give it to you so you at least have a choice.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes. It should be given to the witness.
22 MR. THAYER: If we scroll down in the original. Oh, I'm sorry,
23 we can see it there in the original as it is. And if we go to the --
24 sorry. If you just return it to the state it was. I missed what I was
25 looking for. It was right there in front of us. Thank you. And if we
1 go to page 2 of the English.
2 Q. And, sir, please take your time and read the document to
4 We can see at the bottom that it's dated the 7th of July, 1995.
5 And it is type-signed by Captain First Class Dragan Bulajic on behalf of
6 the State Commission for Exchange of Prisoners of War.
7 MR. THAYER: And if we could go back to the first page in
9 Q. And, sir, when you've acquainted yourself with the document,
10 please just let us know and I'll continue your examination.
11 A. I have read it, so please go ahead.
12 Q. Sir, again, we can see that this is a document sent from the RS,
13 the Republika Srpska, State Commission for Exchange of POWs, type-signed
14 by Mr. Bulajic. And the subject is a -- is: "Meeting with Muslim and
15 Croatian," and it is garbled in our version, and it refers to a meeting
16 planned for the 11th of July, 1995, in Kiseljak. And we can see that
17 it's been sent to the POW Exchange Commissions for a number of corps,
18 including the Eastern Bosnia Corps.
19 My question to you, sir, is simply: How does this document
20 correspond or not correspond to the meeting on the 11th of July that you
21 told us about earlier in your testimony?
22 A. That was the meeting as mentioned in the dispatch, the one
23 scheduled for the 11th.
24 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, the Prosecution would tender
25 65 ter 7423.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sir, can you tell me -- no, thank you. I got it.
2 Thank you. It will be received.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, 65 ter document 7423 shall be
4 assigned Exhibit P2271. Thank you.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I take the opportunity to mention that the
6 Registry will circulate a memo with the correction of the wrong number
7 given to one document. This problem was raised by Mr. Gajic at the
8 beginning of today's hearing. The document will be P2270 instead of the
9 previous number. But it will be -- will contain -- will be contained in
10 the memorandum.
11 THE REGISTRAR: With your leave, Your Honour, just to mention
12 that Exhibit P2270 shall be assigned to the 65 ter document 2240. Thank
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
15 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, let's look at another document.
17 MR. THAYER: If we may have 65 ter 3978 on e-court.
18 Q. Sir, I think you'll find this a little bit more legible than the
19 last. But if you'd like the original, I have it here. So please just
20 let us know if you need to look at the original.
21 MR. THAYER: And if we could scroll down in the B/C/S, please.
22 Thank you.
23 Q. And, sir, when you're done reading the first page - and please
24 take your time - just let us know when you're ready to go to the second
25 page of the document.
1 MR. THAYER: And can we scroll down in the English, please, just
2 to catch the bottom of the document in English.
3 Q. And, again, whenever you're ready, sir.
4 A. I read it. Go ahead.
5 I've read it.
6 Q. Okay. If we could back to the first page in both the B/C/S and
7 the English. What we have here, for the record, is a telegram
8 type-signed by General Tolimir. And it's the 20th of January, 1995. And
9 the heading is: "Prisoner exchange, authorisation."
10 We can see that in the first line General Tolimir writes that we
11 authorise the POW commissions from the Drina Corps and the
12 Eastern Bosnian Corps to establish contact with the Muslim Corps,
13 prisoner exchange representatives.
14 And in the second paragraph, General Tolimir refers to some VRS
15 soldiers who were captured at Lisace. Are those the same Lisace
16 prisoners about whom you spoke about earlier, Mr. Mitrovic?
17 A. Yes, they are.
18 Q. And I won't read into the record at length from the telegram.
19 But General Tolimir says that:
20 "The Eastern Bosnia Corps Commission will prepare and offer a
21 list of Muslims that we plan to exchange for the Lisace prisoners."
22 And he says that:
23 "The number of prisoners on the list must not exceed the number
24 of persons they are asking for, including the persons being asked for by
25 the Eastern Bosnia Corps Commission."
1 If we go to the second page in English, General Tolimir
2 specifically says in this telegram:
3 "During the negotiations, do not show any interest in Lisace
4 prisoners. On the contrary. In an opportune moment, misinform them that
5 Lisace fighters are not an exchange priority."
6 And then in the following paragraph he says that:
7 "By means of misinformation, we intend to make the Muslims attach
8 little significance to the Lisace prisoners, thus ensuring their swift
9 and favourable exchange."
10 Sir, putting the merits and substance of General Tolimir's words
11 here to the side, can you tell the Trial Chamber, in your experience,
12 what role did the VRS Main Staff and General Tolimir and the intelligence
13 and security sector, or the -- or the security administration play in
14 organising, arranging, and executing these prisoner exchanges?
15 A. Their role, for the most part, was to give or deny their
16 approval. The commissions actually initiated proposals. As I said
17 yesterday, I was under an obligation, for example, to prepare a list of
18 what we want from the other side and what we have to offer. We then had
19 to acquaint the corps commander and, upon this -- upon his approval, we
20 were to dispatch that information to the security administration of the
21 Main Staff for their approval. They never failed to approve it, and
22 occasionally they also provided us with some suggestions.
23 If what we sent was unclear, they requested clarification. I
24 mentioned that yesterday. We always had several different drafts that we
25 could table during a meeting so that we would secure at least some kind
1 of exchange, if not in totality, then at least partially. There were
2 also some instructions such as co-ordinating the work of the commission
3 in a general area, and that was their role. Without all the approvals as
4 specified, the commission president and the Commission for Exchange, as a
5 whole, could not negotiate. That was the route. First, the chief of
6 security had to be informed when I was president, and before, it was all
7 the commander who was informed directly, and then he informed the
8 Main Staff by way of dispatch. The state commission was also informed.
9 The previous president sent his proposals to the state commission, but I
10 stopped that practice, and they would be informed from the Main Staff.
11 That's what Bulajic told me.
12 Q. And, sir, this telegram that we're looking at, is this the type
13 of communication that you would receive from the Main Staff during the
14 course of your duties; or is this unusual in any way?
15 A. I have to say the following: What we can see on this piece of
16 paper does not necessarily reflect what went on in the field. We had no
17 need to overestimate or underestimate the importance of the Lisace
18 people. They were well aware what they had. It was a painful spot,
19 because the most people, up to that point, were killed at that operation.
20 I simply said that I wanted the people from Lisace. I did not
21 try to place too little or too much stress on the importance of those
22 prisoners for us. We can see from all this -- for example, this Causevic
23 person, or the brothers, it seems that there is a mention of them being
24 in Vlasenica. I'm not sure.
25 In any case, the East Bosnia Corps Commission could not implement
1 any exchange for the needs of the Drina Corps. The relationship was so
2 poor that when the Tuzla Commission met with the Drina Corps Commission,
3 and most of their commission were people from Zvornik, such meetings
4 lasted less than five minutes. They would start arguing immediately and
5 go their own ways. There were never any results. However, when we set
6 up a meeting, the Drina Corps representatives would arrive. And it
7 always ended up in arguments and fights, and it was impossible for us to
8 do anything because they were on such bad terms. We couldn't negotiate
9 for them.
10 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, the Prosecution would tender
11 65 ter 3978.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter 3978 shall be assigned
14 Exhibit P2272. Thank you.
15 MR. THAYER: Let's look at another document. This is
16 65 ter 5688, and I'm afraid this one may also be a little bit light on
17 the screen.
18 Q. So I do have the original for you, sir, to look at.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: With the assistance of the Court Usher.
20 MR. THAYER: With the assistance of the Court Officer. Thank you
21 very much.
22 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, are you able to read this document
24 from the record? Or would you prefer to receive a hard copy as well?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have a hard copy.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I see your assistant is assisting you with a hard
2 copy. Thank you for that, Mr. Gajic.
3 If we could go to the second page in English, and stay with the
4 B/C/S where we are, I think.
5 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I think we -- there was a little bit
6 missing on the bottom of the first page. I don't know if you were able
7 to pick it up on your version or not. I know when I was looking at
8 e-court, it hadn't displayed the entire document in English.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Just now the entire document.
10 MR. THAYER: Oh, indeed, it did catch it, Mr. President. I
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. Then we should go to the second page.
13 Thank you.
14 Mr. Thayer, you should switch off your microphone when you have
15 an internal discussion with your colleague.
16 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Mr. President, there is a third page to the document, if the
18 Chamber has had an opportunity to review this second page.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And we are now on the second page in B/C/S as
21 MR. THAYER:
22 Q. Sir, I see you've had an opportunity to review this document.
23 And we can see on this last page that it was authored by Colonel Beara.
24 MR. THAYER: If we could back to the first page of the document,
1 For the record, it's a telegram from Colonel Beara, dated the
2 11th of May, 1995. And it's addressed to various corps security
3 departments, as well as to the POW Exchange Commissions of various corps,
4 including the Eastern Bosnia Corps.
5 And we can see in the first paragraph of Colonel Beara's telegram
6 that he refers to a meeting of the State Commission for POW Exchange
7 which was attended by various representatives of the corps commissions,
8 with the Muslim Commission, held at the airport in Sarajevo on
9 5 May 1995.
10 And if we can just go to the second page in English. Stay on
11 this page in the original.
12 He refers to VRS soldiers being held at Vijenac.
13 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber whether you know anything about
14 the prisoners who were detained in or at Vijenac? Which VRS corps were
15 those prisoners a member of, where Vijenac is, in which corps, if you
16 know? And if you don't know anything about what he is referring to when
17 he refers to Vijenac prisoners, please say so as well and I will move on.
18 A. I think those were the Serb soldiers captured at Vijenac, which
19 is at Mounted Ozren. They were from the 1st Krajina Corps.
20 They weren't held there. It was in the area of responsibility of
21 the Tuzla Corps. Vijenac is the name of the positions those soldiers had
22 been at when they were captured.
23 Q. And so that would be in the same way that you referred to the
24 Lisace prisoners who were captured at Lisace as the Lisace prisoners.
25 The -- Colonel Beara is referring to the Vijenac prisoners as those
1 prisoners who were captured at the Vijenac location. Is that fair to
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Okay. He refers to a meeting at the Sarajevo airport on
5 5 May 1995. And do you recall whether you attended that meeting? I know
6 you attended a lot of them, but does this particular meeting ring any
7 bells for you? And, if not, again, I'll move on with my questions, if
8 you have no specific recollection of this meeting.
9 A. Save for the meeting in June, I attended two meetings at the
10 airport. I don't know whether this may have been the first or the
11 second. I think it was the first.
12 We discussed all the issues we had in the presence of the
13 president and representatives of the state commissions and the
14 commissions of the corps. If this is indeed the meeting have I in mind,
15 nothing was agreed at it. It lasted for three or four hours, and nothing
16 became of it, in terms of exchanges.
17 Following which, Bulajic and Masovic had their own private
18 conversation discussing which groups to exchange. First they had these
19 arguments at the table and then they talked to each other. Nothing was
20 achieved, and another meeting was held. Perhaps you have a dispatch
21 referring to it. When we analysed things in detail, including the
22 previous exchanges, meetings were -- minutes were held --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Minutes were kept.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And I asked to see everything that
25 was done as part of the various exchanges, such as the East Bosnia Corps
1 Commission. During such exchanges, there was no participation of the
2 state commissions, and I refused to sign it. Their member refused to
3 sign it as well, and we wanted to have a clear distinction between who
4 did what. Whenever the state commission took part, it had to be clearly
5 stipulated as opposed to any other exchanges. All these matters were
6 canvassed at the second meeting. We carried out a detailed analysis and
7 when Masovic offered to me -- well, he asked me, Does this name mean
8 anything to you? And I told him, I think it is a fighter of mine. And
9 then he said, Well, let's have him exchanged. I asked him, How? And
10 then he said, Well, I'll see to it with Bulajic. He will give us
11 something and we'll give him to you.
12 It couldn't be. We had to have an approval of all the
13 institutions and families, otherwise it is a dirty game. In the end,
14 that person was exchanged, but it cost the families 28.000 German marks.
15 Q. Okay. Let me just ask you one further question before we break
16 for our first break.
17 MR. THAYER: If we could go to page 3 of the English.
18 Q. And this will be the second page of the original. The last page
19 in -- in your version, Mr. Mitrovic.
20 Colonel Beara refers here, if we look at the second-to-the last
21 paragraph, he says:
22 "The Eastern Bosnia Corps Commission for POW exchange should work
23 on creating conditions for the exchange of detainees from Stolice and
24 Lisace, in combination with a number of civilians the Muslims are asking
25 for and whom we have put on trial."
1 The reference here to Stolice, can you tell the Trial Chamber
2 what Colonel Beara is referring to? Detainees from Stolice.
3 A. It's probably the group I mentioned that had been captured at
4 Duge Njive. It was another area like Lisace, except that this one was
5 called Stolice. And there was this third location, Jablanica, I think.
6 These are all locations or positions held by the Serb forces when they
7 were captured by the Muslim side.
8 Q. And is that in the area of Mount Majevica, sir?
9 A. It's all at Mount Majevica, yes.
10 Q. And so would these prisoners be among the 101 that you referred
11 to earlier in the your testimony?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Okay.
14 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, the Prosecution would tender
15 65 ter 5688.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received as an exhibit.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, 65 ter document 5688 shall be
18 assigned Exhibit P2273. Thank you.
19 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I note we're a minute beyond the
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed, we must have our first break of this
22 afternoon now, and we will resume quarter past 4.00.
23 --- Recess taken at 3.46 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 4.20 p.m.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Thayer. Please continue. And bear in
1 mind the time you have spent with this witness, around two and a half
3 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. I think I should come in
4 at or under our estimate.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I see the transcript is not working, at least in
6 e-court. I don't see anything.
7 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic, you have the same problem?
9 MR. GAJIC: Yes, Mr. President, I've got the same problem.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It's stopped with the words recess taken at 3.00,
11 nothing more is recorded.
12 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic, is your system working?
14 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, it's working now.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: So with the help and the assistance of the
16 Registrar, we managed to get back into the transcript. We had problems
17 with the three screens of the Judges. And I heard from Mr. Gajic
18 everything is working now.
19 Mr. Thayer, please carry on.
20 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 May we see 65 ter 4025, please.
22 Q. Sir, we have a one-page telegram here dated 4th of June, 1995. I
23 again have the original, if it is easier for you to read. Please let us
24 know if what's on your screen isn't legible enough for you. We can
25 furnish you with the original.
1 A. It's better in hard copy.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, with the assistance of the Court Usher, a
3 hard copy should be given to the witness.
4 Mr. Tolimir, can you read it on the screen, the B/C/S version?
5 You are nodding. Thank you very much.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I can.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
8 MR. THAYER:
9 Q. Sir, when you've had an opportunity to review this telegram,
10 please let us know.
11 MR. THAYER: It's two pages in the English, so we'll need to go
12 to page 2 in a couple moments in the English.
13 Q. Okay. I see you've had a chance to read it.
14 For the record, again, it's a telegram, and it's type-signed from
15 General Tolimir, dated the 4th of June, 1995. It's addressed to the,
16 among other entities, the commissions for POW exchanges, including your
17 commission, the Eastern Bosnia Corps Exchange Commission. And in it,
18 General Tolimir writes that the commander of the VRS Main Staff and his
19 staff maintain the positions presented in this telegram, and that:
20 "We believe it is necessary to insist on observing the
21 all-for-all principle."
22 Can you tell the Trial Chamber, if you recall, Mr. Mitrovic, what
23 this telegram is about? What is General Tolimir referring to here?
24 A. The dispatch talks about the need to insist in the negotiations
25 on the all-for-all principle. That means that we should release all
1 imprisoned persons from all Serbian prisons in exchange for everyone who
2 is imprisoned in Muslim prisons; that is to say, prisons of the
3 Federation army. That never happened. It could not happen because
4 everyone had its own problems. Each corps had its problems. Some had
5 prisoners, others didn't, or they had a few. So that never until the
6 expiry of my mandate, the all-for-all exchange never happened at the
7 level of the state.
8 Q. Okay. We'll take a little bit more about some of those issues in
9 a little while.
10 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, the Prosecution will tender
11 65 ter 4025.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be admitted into evidence.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, 65 ter 4025 shall be assigned
14 Exhibit P2274. Thank you.
15 MR. THAYER: May we have 65 -- I beg your pardon. P02250,
16 please. I'm handing the original to the Court Usher.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And she may give it to the witness.
18 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
20 MR. THAYER:
21 Q. Sir, this is the last telegram I'll be showing you during my
22 examination-in-chief. It's -- I know it is two solid pages. Please take
23 your time and acquaint yourself with the contents.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, it seems to be a lengthy document.
25 Perhaps you can point out for the witness, and for the others present
1 here, to which part you specifically will refer.
2 MR. THAYER: I can do that, Mr. President. I'll just take him
3 through the document.
4 Q. Sir, let's move through the document together.
5 We can see, for the record, that it is a telegram emanating from
6 the Main Staff of the VRS intelligence and security sector, and its date
7 is 3 September 1995. And it's addressed to the commanders and
8 intelligence and security departments of several corps, including your
9 corps, the Eastern Bosnia Corps. The heading is: "Exchange of prisoners,
11 We can see in the first paragraph that General Tolimir, who
12 authored this telegram, we can see at the last page, it's his typed
14 In the first paragraph, General Tolimir writes about the
15 commanders of the 1st Krajina Corps and Eastern Bosnia Corps contacting
16 the commander of the General Staff - that would be General Mladic - and
17 informed him of the protests of the families of VRS members captured at
18 Vijenac and Lisace and their requests to make it a priority to exchange
19 the persons captured at these two localities.
20 And in this telegram, General Tolimir describes what the
21 Eastern Bosnia Corps commander - I think we'll all agree that would be
22 General Novica Simic - told General Mladic that the families of the
23 Lisace prisoners were demanding that only those prisoners be exchanged
24 for the captured Muslims at Batkovic.
25 MR. THAYER: And if we go to the next page in English, the top of
1 the paragraph.
2 Q. And this is still on the first page of your version, sir.
3 General Tolimir writes:
4 "In addition, the families of the persons captured from Vijenac
5 want the exchange to proceed on the basis of the all-for-all principle
6 and to release around 150 captured Muslims from the Batkovic collection
7 centre for the captured VRS soldiers from Lisace."
8 Now, let's jump down a couple of paragraphs. General Tolimir
10 "In addition, through the state commission for the exchange of
11 prisoners of war, the VRS Main Staff insisted on an all-for-all exchange,
12 since the number of captured Muslims in our prison [sic] is smaller than
13 the number of captured VRS members in Muslim prisons."
14 And, sir, just to make sure we're literally on the same page,
15 it's the first page of your document, the third paragraph. Do you see
16 where I'm reading from, Mr. Mitrovic?
17 A. Yes, yes, I have read it already.
18 Q. Okay. General Tolimir continues:
19 "However, the Muslim side is blocking all exchanges on the basis
20 of both principles, making it conditional that a larger number of Muslims
21 from the area of Srebrenica and Zepa be exchanged than the number of
22 Muslims we have in our prisons."
23 Now, we just saw that June document, that 4 June document from
24 General Tolimir to the various corps POW commissions, telling you to
25 observe the all-for-all principle. And here we see that the Main Staff
1 is insisting on an all-for-all exchange here.
2 Can you tell the Trial Chamber what General Tolimir is referring
3 to here, particularly when he is referring to:
4 "... the Muslim side blocking all exchanges on the basis of both
5 principles, making it conditional that a larger number of Muslims from
6 the area of Srebrenica and Zepa be exchanged than the number of Muslims
7 we have in our prisons"?
8 Can you explain that a little bit, please, to the Trial Chamber,
9 what your understanding of this is?
10 A. From the very beginning of combat operations, an agreement was
11 reached in Geneva, I think, between the Serbian and the Muslim side. I
12 think that Radovan Karadzic, the president, attended this meeting, and so
13 did Alija Izetbegovic and Tudjman. As far as I remember, it was then
14 agreed to carry out an all-for-all exchange with the exception of those
15 who had been criminally prosecuted. The exchange did not occur because
16 there was a deception about it. All Serbs who were imprisoned by Croats
17 and Muslims were criminally prosecuted and the Serbs did not criminally
18 prosecute the Muslims and the Croats, so they were supposed to release
19 everyone and not to receive anyone. That was why the all-for-all
20 exchange never really occurred; whichever side insisted on it. We were
21 the side that more often insisted, but, at the state level, it never
23 Sometimes corps would carry out exchanges through negotiations
24 with the other side.
25 Q. Okay. Well, let's -- excuse me. Let's look at a couple of other
1 paragraphs, and we'll follow up on that a little bit, Mr. Mitrovic.
2 MR. THAYER: If we could go to page 3 in the English.
3 Q. And this is the last paragraph on your first page, sir.
4 General Tolimir writes that, "The corps commissions" -- again,
5 it's the bottom paragraph on the first page of your original:
6 "The corps commissions are not objectively informing the
7 families of the captured soldiers and trying to individually arrange
8 exchanges with the Muslim side, which is not reciprocal, and it is to our
9 detriment in circumstances where we have a smaller number of prisoners.
10 This is particularly indicative when this is also requested by the corps
11 commands who know all the relevant facts, particularly when the principle
12 every command should strive for has not been observed, to capture as many
13 enemy soldiers as is the number of our members captured by the enemy."
14 Let me draw your attention to one final paragraph and then I'll
15 put my question to you, Mr. Mitrovic.
16 If we turn to page 2 of your original version, and I'm referring
17 to the third paragraph in your version. This is page 4 of the English,
18 please. If we look at the second paragraph in English, and again, this
19 is the third paragraph in your version. General Tolimir writes:
20 "The exchange commission chairmen must view the exchange proposal
21 integrally, as does the Main Staff of the VRS, since, so far, the
22 Main Staff has made the necessary number of prisoners available for the
23 corps commissions in circumstances where they did not have a sufficient
24 number of captured enemy soldiers to exchange for all the captured
25 members of their corps. Security organs and exchange commission chairmen
1 must also avoid using parents' bitterness because it is not possible to
2 exchange prisoners who have been in prison for quite some time,
3 particularly because the Main Staff of the VRS is not responsible for
4 this situation; rather, it is the result of the small number of enemy
5 soldiers captured by our units."
6 Were you able to follow that paragraph in your version, sir, that
7 I just read? Okay.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Now, can you give the Trial Chamber an approximate number, if you
10 can remember, of how many Serb soldiers, throughout -- or from the
11 various VRS corps were being held by the opposing side in July of 1995?
12 Can you give us a rough number of how many Serb prisoners of war there
13 were? Not just from your corps, but if you can recall approximately from
14 the other corps.
15 A. I never knew that, so I cannot recall, because I never had a
16 chance on any basis to receive the number of prisoners who had been taken
17 from any of the other corps. I only know the number of those who had
18 been captured and who were soldiers of our Eastern Bosnia Corps.
19 At the meetings of the state commission, a total number was never
20 mentioned, so I couldn't remember what the total number was. That was
21 never provided, and I was not aware of the total number.
22 Q. Now, General Tolimir writes here in this -- on page 4 in that
23 paragraph that:
24 "The VRS Main Staff has made the necessary number of prisoners
25 available for the corps commissions in circumstances where they did not
1 have a sufficient number of captured enemy soldiers to exchange for all
2 the captured members of their corps."
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is page 4 of --
4 MR. THAYER: Of the English.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: -- the English?
6 MR. THAYER: And, again, this is page 2 of the B/C/S.
7 Yes, thank you, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, just for the record.
9 MR. THAYER:
10 Q. Was that your understanding of the situation at this time, in
11 September of 1995, sir?
12 A. No. Previously, when I was not the commission president, because
13 a dispatch was shown to me last time I was here, some kind of caution on
14 the conduct of the corps. It seems that from Batkovic they were taking
15 people to be exchanged, whoever they wanted to. Later on, however, they
16 had no one to take, so the people who had been left, some 50 of them at
17 Batkovic, were not of any interest to the other side. And there was no
18 hindrance for any corps to take them for an exchange.
19 There's a mention made of civilian exchanges. It all was
20 supposed to bear fruit, at least on our side, but it was probably the
21 Federation authorities who prevented it. The Tuzla canton commission had
22 a framework arrangement with us, and there were some able-bodied men
23 in -- who were Muslim in Bijeljina. I provided them with such figures,
24 expecting that there would be an exchange. However, it was not possible.
25 In the dispatch it was also mentioned that there should be a one-for-one
1 exchange which was unrealistic because these people were able bodied but
2 they were not POWs.
3 Q. Now, again, in this paragraph, General Tolimir tells the security
4 organs and exchange commission chairmen that they must avoid using the
5 parents' bitterness. And when he says that "the VRS Main Staff is not
6 responsible for this situation," and that it is "...rather, the result of
7 the small number of enemy soldiers captured by our units," how does that
8 square with your understanding of the situation in September of 1995?
9 A. This probably refers to the previous period, not only the
10 situation as was in September. The municipal president and members of
11 the committee visited General Tolimir, asking for help. They also asked
12 for help from the state commission and were told to go to see Karadzic
13 because the VRS did not have sufficient numbers of prisoners to make them
14 available to us. Nobody wanted to see the parents dissatisfied. We had
15 to swallow many a thing that others may not necessarily be aware of. The
16 army placed people in different facilities, and those interested usually
17 came to see me. If they wanted to see somebody from the army, the
18 general would usually send me when they went to see the municipal
19 president in Bijeljina in order to explain why such an exchange could not
21 There is another thing that the general may not be aware of.
22 When, upon our insistence [Realtime transcript read in error
23 "assistance"], they were transferred to Batkovic, then the 1st Krajina
24 Corps asked for everyone to be transferred to Banja Luka or to Kotorsko,
25 near Doboj to the prison there, so that they could have a comprehensive
1 exchange. The commander of the 1st Krajina Corps did not want to give up
2 from that request, and I prepared the parents for that. I arranged that
3 the road to Batkovic should be blocked should buses arrive to take those
4 captured to Banja Luka. I arranged that tractors be placed on the road.
5 I was fully ready to go ahead with that and I don't think anybody would
6 have approved of that, at least not in formal terms. But no one
7 contradicted it either. The 1st Krajina Corps Commission did not get
8 involved to have those prisoners exchanged, and there was an opportunity
9 to secure sufficient numbers of prisoners in this period of time for an
11 It did not occur, however, but we did provide some 40 prisoners
12 from the area of Srebrenica, and they left.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Page 39, line 5, upon our
15 MR. THAYER:
16 Q. And by this time, in early September - this document is dated the
17 3rd of September, 1995 - approximately how many Muslim prisoners actually
18 arrived at the Batkovic camp, if you recall?
19 A. I think 168. That's what I recall.
20 Q. Now, you've already told us to today that General Tolimir had
21 told Colonel Todorovic to expect 1300 prisoners who never arrived to
22 Batkovic. You said that you believed that bad things had happened to
24 Did you ever learn, Mr. Mitrovic, that negotiations at a high
25 level between the Serb and Muslim sides for the exchange of prisoners, in
1 particular, the prisoners -- or, in particular, with respect to men from
2 Zepa, failed, owing to the VRS's inability to account for the prisoners
3 they had taken following the fall of Srebrenica?
4 A. When it comes to Zepa, we didn't receive any such prisoners.
5 As for these negotiations at a state level, I'm not familiar with
7 Q. Now, just a few more questions, sir.
8 Again, referring to the 1300 prisoners who never arrived at
9 Batkovic. The Trial Chamber has heard a lot of testimony about several
10 thousand Muslim men and boys being executed in the Zvornik and
11 Bratunac Brigades' area of responsibility and buried there, following the
12 fall of Srebrenica. And you've already referred to these 1300 prisoners
13 who never arrived, that you thought something bad had happened to.
14 As president of the Eastern Bosnia Corps Exchange Commission, how
15 would it have affected your job had the Muslim side and the ICRC found
16 out the truth about what happened to those thousands of men and boys who
17 had been taken prisoner and then later executed, following the fall of
19 A. Concerning those who had been captured and executed, I didn't
20 know about any of that at the time. I think that the Muslim side had
21 their doubts, so we conducted our negotiations without specific problems
22 because neither I nor the other side knew the truth. We tried to do what
23 we could. I have to say, though, that when the first exchange occurred
24 on the 29th of September of 1995, the president of the cantonal
25 commission said, Thanks to you, these people are alive.
1 I don't know where he gained that impression of his, but the
2 exchange went ahead, in any case.
3 The following exchange was going to be an all-for-all exchange,
4 but we took everyone from Batkovic and, together with the
5 1st Krajina Corps, following the approval of the Main Staff, we took the
6 people they had, in order to have an exchange of all those who were
7 captured with those captured on the other side, specifically the
8 Tuzla Cantonal Commission and the Zenica Commission. I think it happened
9 on the 25th of December, after a round -- several rounds of talks. It
10 was finally approved and agreed upon, and they were exchanged at the
11 Sockovac river in Gracanica. Everyone was exchanged for everyone else.
12 All those that the 1st Krajina Corps Commission sought arrived from Tuzla
13 and Zenica. We also received all those we wanted to have. Having done
14 that, there were no further demands, no more people to exchange, and the
15 Batkovic centre was closed.
16 Q. And how would your job in July through December of 1995 have been
17 affected, had the VRS had in its custody, let's just say, 7.000 living
18 Muslim prisoners available to exchange?
19 A. I would have welcomed that. Anyone would who is familiar with
20 what a war is and who knows what it is to lose one's dearest and nearest.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, it would be useful
23 if Mr. Thayer provided a reference where this figure of 7.000 people who
24 went missing comes from.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
1 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, honestly, I think that number that I
2 used of approximately 7.000 people which I believe is consistent with
3 what we have in the indictment and what we have argued and established
4 throughout the trial, thus far, is a fair one to put to the witness, and
5 he has answered the question.
6 I only have one or two more questions. And I believe I'm at my
7 time and --
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please, we're talking about this objection by
9 Mr. Tolimir at the moment.
10 Mr. Tolimir, Mr. Thayer gave -- or put to the witness an
11 approximation. He said:
12 "... had the VRS had in its custody, let's just say, 7.000 living
13 Muslim prisoners available to exchange?"
14 He could have said 5.777 or any other figure. He received his --
15 the answer he was asking for, and now Mr. Thayer should go ahead.
16 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. And I will move quickly.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I base my objection, or, rather, it
19 was justified because Mr. Thayer referred to the indictment. But it
20 wasn't proven. Therefore, these are assumptions, brush-stroke numbers,
21 as you, yourself, specified. This is a trial. I beg him to be more
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, no doubt, at the end of this trial,
24 we will find out what could be seen as the truth. But, at this moment,
25 it was just approximation.
1 Please carry on, Mr. Thayer.
2 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. Now, the document that we've been looking at, again, is dated
4 3rd of September, 1995. The Trial Chamber has heard testimony in this
5 case that a day after issuing this telegram, where he's blaming the corps
6 for not taking enough prisoners and telling the POW commissions not to
7 let the parents' bitterness be a factor, the Trial Chamber heard evidence
8 that General Tolimir's sector dispatched a security administration
9 officer late in the night of 4 September, into the early morning hours of
10 5 September, to the Vanekov Mlin prison to take custody of
11 Colonel Avdo Palic, the former commander of the Army of Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina's Rogatica Brigade --
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, to avoid an objection by Mr. Tolimir,
14 I would kindly ask you to rephrase your question and not to put a leading
15 question to the witness. Just ask him about his knowledge about the fate
16 of this person. I think it is much more helpful for your case than to
17 put -- to put evidence of another witness to this witness.
18 MR. THAYER: May we see P02182. Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Q. Sir, we can see here a document which is titled: "Receipt." And
20 it states:
21 "On the exclusion of the detainees on the 5th of September ... at
22 0100 hours for the needs of the ... intelligence sector of the VRS
23 Main Staff ... Avdo Palic ... transferred ... following the order of
24 Dragan Tomic."
25 We can see the various stamps and signatories. Were you aware,
1 Colonel, at any time between July and December of 1995, that a brigade
2 colonel of the opposing forces, the brigade commander, had been
3 transferred, essentially, in your backyard at this prison.
4 A. I was never in Vanekov Mlin, which is across the road from the
5 barracks. I never knew of anyone being detained there. I didn't know
6 that it used to be a detention unit for our own soldiers, when there was
7 no room in the detention cell in the barracks. I was asked about this in
8 the MUP as well. They asked me about it when they were looking for this
9 prisoner and when the government of the RS was interested in finding out
10 the truth.
11 The first time I went there was in 1996, I think, when there were
12 several civilians brought there. Together with the ICRC, we picked them
13 up and took them to Brcko. We handed them over without any
14 pre-conditions, although we were promised the bodies of some killed
15 people for them. But this was all finished by that time.
16 Let me say this as well. This is nothing to do with Batkovic.
17 The command of the collection centre at Batkovic had no competence in
18 this part. That is also probably why I was completely ignorant of this
20 Q. And, sir, in your experience as a member of -- and president of
21 this POW exchange commission, what did it mean, if anything, to you or to
22 any side to have in its custody a prisoner of the stature of a brigade
23 commander? What value, if any, did having such a prisoner have, in terms
24 of potential exchanges?
25 A. I think it would have been of great importance. Since there were
1 conditions put to most of the exchanges, this would have been a very
2 important one to have a more favourable exchange. It would have been
3 expected to receive far more soldiers for this person because he was an
4 officer. Unless, of course, the other side also had captured officers,
5 then officers would be exchanged for officers.
6 Q. My last question, sir: You've got security experience. You've
7 served for many years on this exchange commission. You've had a lot of
8 experience with exchanges. Do you know of any reason to divert thousands
9 of prisoners of war from Batkovic and to house them in little schools and
10 buildings around the Zvornik area?
11 A. As far as I know, no such people were transferred from Batkovic
12 to different buildings in the area of the municipality of Zvornik, unless
13 it happened in 1992. But when I arrived in the commission, such things
14 did not happen.
15 Q. My --
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, again, I wanted to
18 ask for a reference, according to which some prisoners were transferred
19 from Batkovic to a number of schools in Zvornik.
20 MR. THAYER: I can clarify that, Mr. President.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It would be helpful.
22 MR. THAYER:
23 Q. My question, in fact, and, again, I apologise for the confusing
25 My question was, sir: Can you think of any reason why thousands
1 of prisoners who were captured in the Bratunac Brigade and
2 Zvornik Brigade areas of responsibility, instead of being brought up to
3 Batkovic, were placed in schools and buildings scattered throughout the
4 Zvornik Brigade area of responsibility?
5 A. I don't know who ordered it, and if anyone ordered such
6 transfers, or if it was a move that was decided upon by the lower-ranking
7 units. Given that my corps took no participation in it, and as the
8 president of the commission, I was not familiar with those events,
9 there's nothing to say. I didn't even know that they were transferred to
10 Zvornik. I thought that there were a few places where people were
11 captured close to the area of responsibility, but I am unaware of this.
12 Q. And based on your experience, both as a security officer and as a
13 member of the commission, can you think of any explanation why that would
14 have been done, instead of sending those prisoners up to Batkovic?
15 A. I don't know why it was done. In my view, it would have been
16 good or justified to have them sent to Batkovic. From a dispatch, you
17 could see that the Drina Corps objected as well, that their people were
18 taken by the 1st Krajina Corps and the commission of the Eastern Bosnia
19 Corps, and we had not captured those people.
20 Now what their needs were is something I don't know. And then
21 there was this order stating that we were to capture people if we wanted
22 to exchange anyone, and then we simply told the Tuzla commission, We
23 don't have enough people. We have to wait. And then there was this idea
24 to have it combined with civilians, and, in the end, exchanges took place
25 along different lines.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, you should come to an end. You
2 promised to be shorter than three hours in your examination-in-chief and
3 now you extended this time already.
4 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, that concludes my examination.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much, Mr. Thayer.
7 Mr. Mitrovic, now the accused, Mr. Tolimir is conducting his
9 Mr. Tolimir, you have the floor.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I greet
11 everyone present. May there be peace to this house. I hope that this
12 day of trial will be completed in accordance with God's will rather than
13 as I wish.
14 Cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir:
15 Q. [Interpretation] I wish to greet Mr. Mitrovic, and I wish him a
16 pleasant stay among us. And I will also ask him to give brief answers to
17 my questions so that I would have sufficient time to ask him all the
18 questions I planned because we have already spent a lot of time. And
19 also, please start answering the questions only when you see that the
20 cursor on the transcript stops. I will also try to start asking
21 questions only once you have finished providing your answer. Thank you.
22 We'll start from the last questions. You were asked whether the
23 sector sent someone to take over Avdo Palic. You were asked that on page
24 43, whether, on the 5th of September, a man was sent for this purpose.
25 This is my question: Were you aware then or later, that is to
1 say, did you learn from the detention centre warden, or anyone else at,
2 perhaps, an exchange that you attended, whether this man came to
3 Vanekov Mlin with a task to take him without leaving any trace, that he
4 took him away, or did he bring a paper requesting that he be taken from
5 there, or did he have the authority to take him away? Were you aware of
7 A. Two years ago, when I was called to crime prevention service in
8 the MUP, when they asked me about this, in connection with the
9 information about Palic, I was surprised because, until that point, I had
10 not heard the name nor of the man in the military circles. So that I did
11 not know that he had ever stayed there, which one can hear in the media,
12 that he has been found dead in the area of Zepa.
13 Q. Can you please speak a bit more slowly.
14 A. All right.
15 Q. And be as brief as possible. Just answer my question.
16 Something was shown to you here, a statement, a confirmation,
17 about taking over Avdo Palic which was signed by guard
18 Veselin Marijanovic. It was issued and certified by Milan Savic, as the
19 warden, and it says that Pecanac took over Avdo Palic. Have you seen
20 this certificate earlier; yes or no? We can see it on the screen again.
21 A. I have seen the receipt, but I don't know any of the persons who
22 signed it.
23 Q. Thank you. And is it customary to take over a detainee from a
24 guard or should it, rather, be one of the administrative or managerial
25 organs, the prison warden or someone like that? Thank you.
1 A. It was always necessary to have the approval of the corps,
2 whether of the commander or the chief of security, which would be sent to
3 the commander of the collection centre. On the basis of that, a detainee
4 could be taken away.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic.
6 A. You're welcome.
7 Q. On page 45, line 10, the Prosecutor asked you whether you were
8 aware of any reasons to remove 1.000 POWs from Batkovic to Zvornik, and
9 then, later on, it was changed but it was not deleted from the record.
10 So can you please tell us the following: Did you have information from
11 the Muslims that they requested a certain number of persons from you,
12 from Batkovic, persons whom they listed as missing, and did they ever
13 specify the number of these persons who they were looking for, they or
14 the ICRC? Thank you.
15 A. It was clear, at least during the time while I was in the
16 commission, that some people were requested but these were those who had
17 died and this referred to the exchange of dead bodies.
18 Q. Thank you. But if a side was looking for someone, was it obliged
19 to tell you directly or through the ICRC who were these persons that they
20 were looking for from the other side? Were they obliged to submit a list
21 to you? Thank you.
22 A. Probably that was supposed to be the way, but we directly made
23 requests to one another and we informed the ICRC, so they were aware of
25 Q. Thank you. When you worked on that directly, did you then ever
1 directly receive from the Muslim Commission the information about the
2 number of missing persons they were looking for, and did you ever receive
3 a list of such persons? Thank you.
4 A. If you mean the events around Srebrenica, I never received any
5 list. And as for the others, it was well-known who they were looking
6 for, who we had, and what was requested.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] D228 is the document we would need
9 to show now. Thank you.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. We can see where it says:
12 "Republika Srpska, Ministry of Defence."
13 It was submitted to the Ministry of Justice liaison office with
14 ICTY --
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It should not be broadcast because it's a
16 confidential document. I repeat: It should not be broadcast. It's a
17 confidential document.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Then please do not
19 broadcast it. Just let us see it on the screens so the witness can see
20 it as well.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. You can see that what they received was a memo about the number
23 of persons who were handed over from Batkovici --
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now please turn to the next
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. -- because the list of Muslims who were exchanged from the
3 Batkovic collection centre was provided.
4 You're probably familiar with this list, which has a total of 171
5 persons. Please explain, with regard to the first person, don't read the
6 name, but it says that the date of arrival at the Batkovic collection
7 centre is the 18th of June -- July 1995, and the date of departure is the
8 10th of July, 1995. Is it an error or --
9 A. Well, it's illogical, so it must be an error. Because, on the
10 10th of July, as far as I know, no one was brought to Batkovic.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
12 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I think we may be able to agree with
13 the Defence. And this was gone into in the prior trial. Just for the
14 Trial Chamber's information, that this date of 10 July 1995 is a
15 transposition and it should actually be 7 October; instead of 10/7, it
16 would be 7/10, and I -- I don't imagine we've got much dispute about
17 that. If we do, then I stand corrected, but I think this was gone into
18 before and I don't expect there is a dispute.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, are you aware of that? We have seen
20 this document before. I don't recall in detail. But if you -- most of
21 the entries are from September or October, except the third one, with a
22 date of 24th of July, 1995.
23 Mr. Tolimir.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic. Is it possible that the person from
1 number 1 was exchanged in October rather than in July, and that the day
2 and the month have been transposed when noted here?
3 A. According to my estimate, it is only possible that the person was
4 not exchanged at the time at all but, rather, transferred to Kotorsko
5 near Doboj, and that the person was only exchanged on the
6 25th of December, the 24th or the 25th, when there was an all-for-all
7 exchange. At least my commission did not have any exchanges on this
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic. Please tell us, when did you exchange
10 the soldiers from Lisace and others that Eastern Bosnia Corps was
11 requesting? Can you tell us the date and time?
12 A. The 29th of September, 1995.
13 Q. Thank you. Please review the list now, and just have a look at
14 the dates of arrival to Batkovic and departure from it so you would be
15 able to tell me which exchange is which when I ask you that.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we please also show page 2 to
17 the witness.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. You're probably familiar with this list, as it was made in
20 co-operation with the detention authorities in Batkovic, and it was
21 available to the commission.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now please look at the
23 following page after number 57. Thank you.
24 And the next one, please.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. So you have seen all the dates on which exchanges were carried
2 out. The names are listed in alphabetical order.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And can we please show the last
4 page. The last page ends with number 171.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. You can also see the note which says the said persons from the
7 list were registered by the ICRC, and ICRC representatives were present
8 when they were exchanged.
9 This is my question for you --
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can we please see the last page in English.
11 Thank you.
12 Now your question, Mr. Tolimir.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, as ICRC representatives were present, were they
15 able to see how many people were requested and how many were held in
16 prisons because they visited prisons including the collection centre in
17 Batkovic; yes or no? Thank you.
18 A. The International Committee of the Red Cross had certain
19 documents at its disposal. For example, they had a book of missing
20 persons from Srebrenica. They gave me a copy. I raised certain
21 objections because there were a number of persons with the same first and
22 last names and all the other personal data, so it was obviously that it
23 was one and the same person. I told them that it should be checked and
24 then that some of them should be deleted because it was an obvious error
25 in the book. So, that is to say, they did have the information.
1 Q. Thank you. Do you still have that book in your files or in the
2 archives in the commands for which you worked?
3 A. No, I don't. Because I handed over all the documents to
4 Lieutenant-Colonel Miso Petricevic at the corps.
5 Q. Thank you. And do you possibly remember the number of all Muslim
6 POWs from Srebrenica in the book that was provided to you by the ICRC?
7 Please make a pause between question and answer.
8 A. I think it was around 8.000.
9 Q. Thank you. Did all the 8.000 people include also the wrong
10 information, the double names and so on?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Were they intentionally registered like that and was there a big
13 number of such cases, or were there just a few that you noticed? Thank
15 A. Well, there was quite a number of such entries. I don't know the
16 exact number. I underlined them in the book. I showed it to them, and I
17 indicated that there could be more but that I did not have sufficient
18 time to go through it all in detail.
19 Q. Thank you. Could you perhaps provide a copy of the book when you
20 get back? Could you find it in the archives and provide it to the
21 Defence while the proceedings are still going on? That is to say, as
22 soon as possible. Do you think there is any possibility of that? Thank
24 A. I have no possibility because I wonder where the archives are. A
25 unit of the Joint Command of Bosnia and Herzegovina is stationed there
1 now, so that it is inaccessible. One could see how many copies the ICRC
2 have. I don't know. I can check with the ICRC in Bijeljina, whether
3 they perhaps have that.
4 Q. Thank you. We would be thankful to you. Can you tell us what
5 was the year and the month when that was published?
6 A. I think it was from 1996.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Nyambe has a question.
8 JUDGE NYAMBE: I just have a question for the witness.
9 Can you recall the name of the ICRC official with whom you dealt
10 when you are counting the number of people on the lists, the 8.000 you
11 have just talked about?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't. They rotated. But there
13 were those from the Federation and Bijeljina. For example,
14 Snjezana Filipkovic [phoen], she was the president of that department.
15 There was a Ms. Melinda -- I can't recall her last name. She was from
16 Switzerland. I can't tell you who the person in question was and who was
17 it that I showed it to, noting that the document should be reviewed and
18 checked for inconsistencies.
19 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you for your answer.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I have a follow-up question to that matter.
21 If I recall correctly, you said -- yes, this it page 54, line 8:
22 "... I handed over all the documents to
23 Lieutenant-Colonel Miso Petricevic ...," as you are recorded to have
25 When did you hand over these documents?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I stayed with the commission until
2 the 30th of April, 1997, although I no longer had any contacts with the
3 Federation Commission which had been disbanded. However, there were a
4 number of killed in the Krajina theatre of war from our units, and I was
5 the one who was to provide explanations to the people and comfort them.
6 I handed over all documentation once I was finally demobilised which was
7 on the 30th of April, 1997.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
9 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, upon your return, when you discussed matters with
12 those who participated with you in all the -- that -- in that whole
13 process; for example, if you asked the interpreters, could you come up
14 with a person's name who gave you the list, and could you tell us who it
15 was who came to Bijeljina? Would it be possible to send those names back
16 to us, together with the documents you may find in the ICRC office?
17 A. I don't know. All I can tell you is that I picked up the book, I
18 underlined the problematic information, and then we no longer discussed
19 it. I just told them that it should be improved, and that was it. The
20 book was handed over. All I can do is to see whether there is a copy of
21 it in the Bijeljina Red Cross office.
22 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us whether the Muslims and their
23 commissions, be it the central commissions from the Federation or the one
24 from Tuzla, gave -- give you a definitive list of those they were looking
25 for as missing?
1 A. If we are discussing the events surrounding Srebrenica, then the
2 answer is no. There had been such lists, but, finally, this definitive
3 list was not handed over to me. There were questions about individuals,
4 and then I occasionally went to Batkovic to check, but as a whole, no
5 list was received concerning such high numbers.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please have D176 shown in
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. This is a document from the Army of B and H, their 2nd Corps
11 command. The title is: "Chronology of events surrounding the
12 break-through by the 28th Division of the ground forces." They forwarded
13 it to their superior command. Could we please have page 5 in the English
14 shown to the witness and page 4 in the Serbian version. Thank you,
16 Let's see what figures they mention.
17 If we look at the page before you, look at the third
18 paragraph before the mention of Lukavica. It reads:
19 "The initial groups of refugees from Srebrenica arrived in the
20 area of Kladanj around 9.00 p.m. and, on the 13th of July, during the
21 day, the entire population of Srebrenica, around 22.000 of them, arrived
22 in the general area of Dubrava airport. Some population arrived via the
23 Baljkovica-Sapna corridor. A total of 29.336 persons expelled from the
24 enclave were accommodated, according to the lists provided by the
1 Can you see that?
2 A. Yes, I can.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: One moment, please. I don't know if you
4 misspoke, Mr. Tolimir, or if that is a translation issue. In this
5 paragraph, there's a reference to the 12th of July at 2100 hours, not the
6 13th, as you are recorded as having said. It's the 12th of July in this
8 Mr. Thayer.
9 MR. THAYER: And, Mr. President, while we're looking at this
10 section, and again I'm just liking at the English translation, but in the
11 transcript General Tolimir was quoted as saying that this
12 paragraph states that:
13 "... the entire population of Srebrenica, around 22.000 of them,
14 arrived in the general area of Dubrave airport."
15 Maybe that is what it says in the original language but that is
16 certainly not appears in the English. So I would just like some
17 clarification so that we have an accurate transcript before us.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, indeed, in the English translation
19 it says:
20 "The majority of them, some 22.000 to 23.000 ..."
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Thank you Mr. Thayer.
23 I'm looking at the English translation, and the second line of
24 the second paragraph in the English, I see the 12th of July. And on that
25 day, 22- to 23.000 people arrived. If you look at the fifth line of that
1 paragraph, we have a figure of 29.336, who came via Baljkovica and Sapna.
2 Baljkovica was the place of break-through. They specify exactly how many
3 people arrive, which is 29.336. In the break down just following this
4 paragraph, we see further numbers. Mr. Mitrovic could look at it as
5 well. We have the number of people accommodated in the different
6 municipalities specified, Lukovac, Banovici, Srebrenick, Gracac,
7 Zivinice, Kladanj, Tuzla, Kalesija and the Camp.
8 So they provide specific figures. They mention both the 12th and
9 the 13th of July, 1995, as the date.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You reminded the witness not to speak too fast.
11 You did it yourself. And it was very difficult for the court recorder to
12 catch everything you have said, and it was interrupted.
13 Please put a question to the witness and that should be the last
14 one before the break.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, in the paragraph I just quoted, can you also see a
17 figure of 22- to 23.000 inhabitants, and then, toward the end of the
18 paragraph, we have a total of 29.336 because the initial number had been
19 joined by those who arrived via Baljkovica and Sapna. Can you tell us
20 whether these are different routes that the groups took?
21 A. I suppose so. If this information is correct, that is how many
22 people arrived. They also specified the routes they took. It would be
23 useful to know exactly how many people lived in that area and compare it
24 with this one so as to determine how are missing.
25 Q. This it precisely what I was going to look at after the break.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you so much. We must have our second break
2 now, and we will resume quarter past 6.00.
3 --- Recess taken at 5.47 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 6.17 p.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please continue.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. As we saw in the paragraph we read out, it is stated that 29.336
9 inhabitants left. Then we have the breakdown by municipalities.
10 If we look at the next page of the document, we will see that
11 they also mentioned the number of soldiers who left. This is page 6 in
12 the Serbian and 8 in the English. Thank you.
13 Can you see in the eighth paragraph -- actually it begins with:
14 "The 20th of July."
15 It is the fifth paragraph in the English.
16 "On the 20th of July, 1995, a tour was conducted of the
17 facilities that would be housing the division and brigade commands and
18 the billeting of the units began. By 2000 hours, on the
19 25th of July, 1995, 2.080 troops (soldiers an officers) of the 28th
20 Division of the land forces were lined up; they are now carrying out
21 planned tasks."
22 By bullet points, we see the number of soldiers per brigade.
23 If we add this figure to the previous number, it turns out that
24 there were over 31.000 people involved, almost 31.400, who left
1 Also, according to the Muslim sources, there were additional 300
2 soldiers who left Srebrenica for Zepa, once Srebrenica had been overrun.
3 If we add this to our total, it brings the number up to over 31.500.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir. Mr. Tolimir, you just mentioned
5 additional 300 soldiers who left Srebrenica for Zepa. Where is it
6 written in this document?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I said that it was
8 according to the Muslim sources. It is not in this document. It is in
9 document D55, page 35, paragraph 123.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. you should now come to your
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, can we see from these figures forwarded by the
14 corps command, the 2nd Corps Command, on the basis of information about
15 the 28th Division, how many people left Srebrenica and how many of them
16 were registered as inhabitants and how many as soldiers?
17 A. Well, we can see from this how many left, provided the
18 information is correct. Because this is the information of the other
19 side. I don't know what the number of the population was, though. This
20 is something I can't see here, so I can't say what the difference is
21 between the two figures.
22 Q. Thank you. We will get to that document next. I just wanted you
23 to see that intentionally incomplete data is provided in this document.
24 Let look at page 7 in English and 5 in the Serbian version, the
25 last paragraph. We can see there how, in this document too, data is
2 At the bottom of the page it says:
3 "According to our rough assessment and knowledge, the corridor
4 was used by a total of" -- and then there is text missing. It was
5 intentionally deleted, that figure of how many people used the corridor.
6 Let's look at the next page, which is page 8 in the English and
7 6 in the Serbian.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, this is quite difficult to follow.
9 You are mixing up reference to the document and your own conclusion.
10 Please help us but especially the witness to understand what you are
11 putting to him. And I would like to know where it is in the English
13 Mr. Thayer.
14 MR. THAYER: Yes, Mr. President. And along the same lines, I'm
15 just trying to find out exactly where this portion is in the B/C/S. I
16 think I can see where it is in the English, but I'd like to know exactly
17 where in the B/C/S this portion is and whether it is indicated, as
18 General Tolimir is suggesting, that it was deliberately omitted. I would
19 just like to see where that line is, because I can't follow it in the
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, can you help us?
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Yes, I can. Let's look
23 at page 7 in the English, please, and page 5 in the Serbian. The last
24 paragraph and the last line.
25 It reads:
1 "According to a rough estimate and our intelligence, a total
2 number of" -- and now let us move onto the next page, so as not to get
4 Where we see that part of the text is missing? It is deleted,
5 both at the end of the fifth line and the beginning of the sixth. It
6 cannot be a coincidence. If it were deleted on only one page, it could
7 be a coincidence. But we have text missing at the bottom of page 5 and
8 the top of page 6.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, we dealt with this earlier in this
10 trial. This is your conclusion that there was something left out. But
11 we heard other evidence that it could be a problem by making copies of
12 the original of the document because of the size of the paper. If you
13 want to get an answer from the witness, please put a clear question to
14 the question and don't mix it up with your own conclusion and your own
16 Go ahead, please.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Understood, Mr. President.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, from this text, can you conclude what -- a total
20 number of people who used the corridor by that point? Can you see that
21 on either of the pages? Can we use the text to conclude that? And, if
22 not, why do you think it is?
23 A. Well, perhaps someone could be able to deduce anything, but my
24 conclusion would be that it was either intentional, as you say, or
25 something is simply missing, referring to a total number of people.
1 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Let's look at the last three lines
3 of the last page of the document in both versions. It is page 10 in the
4 English. Thank you.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. We see it in the Serbian and in the English now. It reads:
7 "An analysis of the events in the Srebrenica enclave and the
8 28th Division of the land forces break-through, put together by the
9 28th Division Command at the request of the 2nd Corps Commander, is
10 entered under number, strictly confidential no 02/1-727/55 of the 24th of
11 July, 1995, in the Corps Command records. Attachment number 34."
12 My question is this: Having looked at the document, could we
13 find the data that is missing so that there would be no hard feelings on
14 either side?
15 A. I don't know if one could conclude that because I did not really
16 study the data which you presented thoroughly, and I was not really
17 familiar with this earlier.
18 Q. I understand you. But if a document says that it was based on a
19 specific analysis, should the analysis then include the basic data
20 included into this report, or memo.
21 I'm sorry?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Thank you. You asked to see the total number of the inhabitants
24 of Srebrenica.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we please look at D117 to that
1 purpose. Thank you.
2 We can see here two tables showing the total numbers. It is a
3 document from the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Srebrenica
4 municipality, issued by the municipal TO Staff on the 11th of January,
5 1995: Breakdown - that's the title - of numbers of inhabitants and
6 households per municipality; local and displaced persons; number of
7 people who are killed; who are registered at posts; number of civilian
8 and military casualties where the location and circumstances of death and
9 location of burial are known, with age and gender breakdown.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. So we can see the first column which says:
12 "Population, total, 36.071."
13 That's the total number of inhabitants in the entire Srebrenica
14 enclave in January 1995.
15 My question is this: Should there have been more or fewer people
16 in July 1995, or would there be an enormous increase of inhabitants. Can
17 you tell us that?
18 A. I don't know how many but, of course, between 1991 and 1995 there
19 was some growth in terms of birth-rate but I'm not sure what it was.
20 Q. This is the 11th of January, 1995. So whether in five months or
21 six months, between January and July, the birth-rate can be enormously
23 A. No, it cannot.
24 Q. And then the population of municipalities is listed. Local
25 population, Srebrenica municipality, 19.000; Bratunac municipality,
1 8.000; Vlasenica; Zvornik; Han Pijesak; and Visegrad municipalities;
2 Rogatica municipality, and so on.
3 If we see that later on we computed that it was 31.500, it was
4 just a rough calculation, not including all the data. And if we were now
5 to add all those that you exchanged and who figure on your list which we
6 saw just a while ago, 171 persons, then the number would be increased by
7 171 persons. Thank you.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
9 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, just in order for this exercise to
10 make any real sense and have bearing relevance to the cases before this
11 Trial Chamber, I would like to know from the Defence whether this figure
12 of 31.500 that General Tolimir is using, I presume that is based on the
13 document we saw a moment ago, dated 27th of July. I would like to know
14 whether it's the Defence's position that that 31.500 figure includes
15 people that were missing and still unaccounted for as of the date. What
16 is the Defence's position as to that issue? I think that is a pretty
17 important issue that seems to be absent from this series of questions
18 that are being put to the witness.
19 And I know I can wait until re-direct, but it is awfully
20 complicated for me to undo this question and then reassert a hypothetical
21 that is not my own. So I just think it would be easier if we can have an
22 idea of what the basis of this number is and what it actually, from the
23 Defence's position, includes.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I was waiting for the translation to be finished.
25 Mr. Tolimir stated that this is his own calculation. We didn't
1 see any document with this number of 31.500 people. It was his
2 calculation and put to the witness.
3 You may deal with that with the witness. He was -- this witness
4 was not able to provide any figure on that.
5 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
7 It is not my personal calculation. It is in the document D176,
8 on those pages of the document, and I just added up the numbers which are
9 given over ten pages. The Prosecution and the Trial Chamber can do that
10 as well, if interested. I did not imagine the data.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, that is exactly what I just said.
12 It was your calculation because you took a figure and then you added
13 something. And you told us earlier that you added a different figure
14 from a different document.
15 So I think my summary, that this was your calculation, was
17 Please carry on and put questions to the witness.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Mitrovic, if, in this document issued by the Army of BH which
21 we earlier looked at, D176, includes the number of inhabitants and
22 soldiers who left, and if there is a number in the document we are
23 looking at now, the number of soldiers and inhabitants who were there
24 before the fall of Srebrenica, is it then possible to calculate how many
25 missing persons there are? Thank you.
1 A. It's possible to calculate how many missing persons there are.
2 However, I would like to say one thing. I think that we have moved away
3 from my testimony until now, and that now, just like in the Beara case,
4 the Prosecution tried to drag me to Podrinje and I reacted, and,
5 likewise, I have to react now, because I do not know enough about the
6 situation that I'm requested to answer about at the moment.
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic. I understand you. However, at the end
8 of the examination-in-chief, you were asked whether you know what were
9 the reasons for thousands of POWs to be transferred from Batkovic to
10 Zvornik and so on. And later on the question was rephrased, as we can
11 see from the record.
12 A. I then said that I did not know at all that these thousands of
13 prisoners were transferred from Batkovici to Zvornik, and I really do not
14 know that.
15 Q. Thank you. I know that you don't know that. But do you know
16 what was the number of Muslims from Srebrenica that you were asked about,
17 as you were the chairman of the commission in charge of those who were at
18 the collection centre in Batkovici where all prisoners from the zone,
19 which includes Srebrenica, were collected? Thank you.
20 A. As for the persons from Srebrenica, we could not even discuss
21 that on -- about exchanges with the Tuzla commission. The state
22 commission could do that. We were in charge of partial things that could
23 be done. We never even received the lists of the number of persons who
24 went missing from Srebrenica, and whatever Tuzla requested, we did. They
25 denied that soldiers who had come there -- I went to the collection
1 centre, and I interviewed everyone and then submitted the list to Tuzla
2 so that one could see what unit it was, and what platoon, and what were
3 the details, so that they could see that these were mostly soldiers,
4 perhaps some were not.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic.
6 A. You're welcome.
7 Q. Before the break, didn't you state that a list including 8.000
8 people was provided to you and that you had objections to the effect that
9 there were many persons with the same first and last names, the place and
10 date of birth, and so on?
11 A. The cantonal commission never provided me with a list of persons
12 who had gone missing from Srebrenica. I simply had a chance, thanks to
13 the good co-operation that the ICRC provided me with a list, which
14 included some repetitions of names. How many instances there were, I
15 couldn't tell you, but did I raise an objection that that was wrong
16 because there were instances where information was identical. The
17 numbers were not huge, but the document needed to be put in order because
18 there were doubts that it could include persons still alive, and so on.
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic. And can you tell us whether you know if
20 the list was made by the representative of the ICRC who provided it to
21 you, or whether she got it from Muslims who made it on the basis of their
22 information and lists?
23 A. I can just suppose that it was the ICRC who made it on the basis
24 of the missing persons who were reported to them from all sides. But
25 this is just an assumption.
1 Q. Thank you. Do you also assume that, on the basis of that, the
2 media and reports of various commissions, including those from
3 Republika Srpska, mentioned the number of 7.000? Is that something you
4 assume or is it a number which is established on the basis of certain
5 data and information? Do you know how this number was reached?
6 A. I don't know how to tell you. I think that more investigation is
7 still needed in order to reach a really final number. I think it's
8 inhumane to reduce the number of victims, but it's also inhumane to
9 increase it. In any case, there were quite sufficient numbers of
10 casualties, even too many, and it's really bad to inflict pain on anyone
11 in this way. There have been victims. As for the number which is
12 mentioned, if we talk about the media, certain analysts, or, I don't
13 know, experts, who appear, mention 3.200 as a realistic number. I just
14 say what they are mentioning. But what the numbers really are, that's
15 something that I would not dare to try and estimate or prognosticate, as
16 a man.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 A. You're welcome.
19 Q. And can you answer this question: If the
20 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina made a report showing the number of
21 inhabitants and soldiers who left Srebrenica, would it be correct to
22 present that as well, and then calculate the number of persons who have
23 gone missing on the basis of that, rather than to give approximate
25 A. All right. I agreed that that should be done, but also the
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina side or the local population would not be happy about
2 that. Then it should be investigated and it should be confirmed because
3 it's their list, after all, and their data. Whether the data matches the
4 actual situation, that is something that has to be investigated by those
5 who are unhappy with the information and then either refute that or
6 confirm it.
7 Q. Thank you for what you said, Mr. Mitrovic. Thank you for the
8 knowledge you have about this issue. We will move on to other questions.
9 Tomorrow, we will also show you a film, as we will have more time, where
10 you will be able to see what the Muslims say and how many people perished
11 during the break-through.
12 My question for you now would be this: Do you know whether all
13 who were killed during the break-through were included in the lists which
14 the ICRC representative gave to you? Thank you.
15 A. I don't know. I don't know whether they were listed. There are
16 many things that could be discussed, whether those who were killed --
17 whether all those killed or perished were found, how many drowned in the
18 Drina, when everything is ordered, investigated in the field and on the
19 ground, and the final numbers are established, then that would represent
20 the actual situation. And on the basis of something that appears here
21 and there, I could not really give a judgement about the actual number
22 and about what is true and what is not.
23 Q. Thank you. Please don't get angry. I just asked you because you
24 had seen those lists. You had them in your hands. So I just asked you
25 for your opinion.
1 A. Excuse me, but it did not say there where someone was killed,
2 whether he was killed or not. It was just a list. It would say the list
3 of missing persons. So I couldn't know whether he had gone missing
4 during break-through or whether it was under other circumstances.
5 Nothing of that was included. It was just a list of Srebrenica
6 inhabitants who had gone missing. That is how it was formulated.
7 Q. Thank you. You were asked here on page 27 of today's transcript
8 about the airport. And you answered by saying that you were twice at the
9 airport. You've said first time was in May, and then, after that, there
10 was another meeting. And then in the end, you said that nothing
11 happened, but that Bulatovic [as interpreted] and Masovic would agree
12 that five persons from each side would be exchanged.
13 My question is this: Did you have a feeling that sometimes it was
14 intentional not to agree about all-for-all exchanges or exchanges of
15 great numbers of people, so that these specific persons, such as Masovic
16 and Bulatovic, could carry out such transactions, exchanging four or five
17 people who were paid for, as you said, 28.000 Deutschmarks. Thank you.
18 A. It was shameful that we should make such a trip and that then it
19 should pass in an exchange of arguments between the two chairmen, that
20 nothing would be agreed, that a bottle of whiskey would arrive and be
21 emptied, and then, as if nothing had happened, the two of them would say,
22 Look, old man - with such words - transfer these five, no problems we can
23 do it this evening. You also transfer the other four. These were the
24 numbers, more or less. Let me not mention the names. But there was no
25 mention of the all-for-all exchange. What I said is true. It did happen
1 that way. I can say another three or four sentences about that, if you
2 want me to.
3 Q. Please go ahead.
4 A. When the president of the Muslim commission, Amor Masovic,
5 offered an exchange to me, which I refused, I relied on the principle
6 that exchanges should be conducted in groups, and this is what the
7 parents of those captured at Lisace agreed with. But weapon the
8 Tuzla Commission offered individual exchanges or groups up to five, I
9 told the parents that if they wanted to have individual exchanges that it
10 was up to them to determine who would be exchanged, because any splits
11 between -- or inside a group created doubts, and these were honest people
12 who decided to patiently wait for the whole group to be exchanged.
13 However, there was this case I referred to, of a man from Bijeljina. His
14 in-law provided money for him to be released, and he was released a month
15 before the rest. And then the money had to be repaid because a debt was
16 taken, and then the story was that he wished to end his life because he
17 was unable to repay it, et cetera, et cetera. So that's what it boiled
18 down to.
19 There were expectations or lack thereof by the state commission
20 presidents. I must say that on our side it had been a poor choice of
22 Q. Thank you. Did Amor Masovic receive the 28.000 German marks, or
23 a part of, when he agreed to that exchange before everyone else was?
24 A. I don't know. I really can't say.
25 Q. Please slow down.
1 A. I don't know. But it was on our side, too. There were two such
2 cases. Somebody who represented the parents accompanied me to an
3 exchange, and then, all of a sudden, he offered me money for his son to
4 be released. He did say that he knew I was an honest person who wouldn't
5 take the money, but he said that I should give it over to the Muslims.
6 This really angered me, and I told him the Muslims never asked for any
7 money from me, and how would you feel if your son were released and the
8 rest remained?
9 So that stopped him in his tracks.
10 There was another similar incident. It was all aimed at giving
11 money to the other side. It wasn't attempted that I receive the money.
12 They knew that decent people were involved in those exchanges and
13 whenever there was any mention of money, that money was always supposed
14 to go to the other side.
15 Q. Thank you. I would kindly ask you to speak more slowly. You see
16 how long it takes for the transcript to catch up.
17 A. Very well.
18 Q. We want every word of yours recorded, and the interpreters cannot
19 speak as fast as our exchange can go. Thank you very much.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please have 65 ter 5800 in
22 Thank you.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. We can see the document now. I must say, for the record, that it
25 is a document of the Main Staff of the VRS, dated the 29th
1 of September, 1993. It was sent to the RS government and the central
2 commission for POW exchange, as well as civilian exchange for -- for
3 information. It is titled: "Work of the Commission for Exchange of
4 prisoners of war and civilians."
5 The document was signed by General Milovanovic, Chief of the
6 Main Staff, as we will see later when we turn to the last page. But
7 let's first look at the contents.
8 I just wanted to inform you of who signed this document before
9 you begin answering my questions. I will quote from paragraph 2 which
10 you have already read, probably.
11 It reads:
12 "It is a fact that your commission may not exchange prisoners of
13 war, given that you have no prisoners of war or Muslim civilians in your
14 zone of responsibility."
15 I omitted to say that it was sent to the Drina Corps:
16 "This, however, does not justify the request of some members of
17 your commission to be granted approval by the responsible organs to have
18 Serb civilians from territories under the Muslim control in return for
19 money or goods."
20 In your examination-in-chief, you also said that up to the moment
21 when you joined the exchange process, and when Todorovic was there, there
22 were all sorts of things taking place. It was at page 68 of the
24 Can you tell us whether a note -- or, a document like this was
25 inevitable, and once you took over your position, did you, as well as
1 Todorovic, abide by the instructions issued by a higher instance, as in
2 this case, it came from the Chief of Staff of the VRS?
3 A. Even without this order, when I took over the duty of the
4 commission chairman, I conducted myself as such. First of all, I asked
5 the chief of security to inform the corps commander that we will no
6 longer transport packages, and at every round of talks and every
7 exchange, there was at least a truck-load of goods that was sent to
9 You mentioned superior officers. I said that I would refuse to
10 do that and that chief of security was informed that the former chairman
11 was paid for the transport of those packages. I wanted it to be clear
12 that no one was going to take any money and that no packages were to be
13 transported. Regular mail was carried, though, and all letters I
14 received, I asked not to be sealed. We also received such shipments from
15 Tuzla. The prisoners at Batkovic were also able to rely on the ICRC to
16 take their mail, and we did too. So there was no trade. We tried to do
17 it in honest terms, and that is why I always insisted on exchanging a
18 whole group. If that could not be achieved, individual exchanges were
19 possible, but following an approval of the president or someone higher
20 up. If that was missing, all sorts of rumours start circulating, and
21 then the whole issue of exchanges is doubted.
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mitrovic. Let's wrap this topic by me ask you
23 this: At page 68, line 9 and onwards, you said that as of that moment,
24 the military police took over security in Batkovic. Was the centre
25 guarded by someone else before that?
1 A. Yes. As I said, members of the army provided security before.
2 But they were individuals who, I believe, found a safe haven, so as to
3 avoid being sent to the front lines. They enjoyed certain protection. I
4 don't know who appointed them to those positions, and it is not up to me
5 to speculate, but I didn't like that. I didn't like how they treated the
6 prisoners because there were those who occasionally shouted, especially
7 when I wasn't there, but it also happened even when I was there. In
8 other words, their behaviour was incorrect, improper; although, I must
9 say that whenever I was there, I didn't see any serious incidents such as
10 physical mistreatment. I even interviewed the prisoners individually,
11 without the presence of anyone from the command, to tell me whether
12 anyone was mistreating them. I always did so individually because as a
13 group they wouldn't dare tell me. I wanted to know whether there was
14 anybody who mistreated them. And when cigarettes were being bought for
15 them in town, I asked what they had -- were forced to pay for it. And I
16 always checked what the actual price of goods and cigarettes was. The
17 security itself boiled down to some sort of bartering, exchanges,
18 et cetera, and, in the end, the police took it over.
19 Q. Thank you. That's all we wanted to know. And we will resume
20 tomorrow. Have a quiet night.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, will you use this document we have
22 in front of us tomorrow?
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Yes, we will gladly
24 tender it. And, in case it is not admitted, we may provide it as a
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We will tender it tomorrow, if I understand
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Perhaps we shouldn't
4 waste any more time on that today.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
6 We have to adjourn for the day, and we will resume tomorrow in
7 the afternoon, 2.15 in this courtroom. Thank you very much.
8 We adjourn.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.05 p.m.,
10 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 8th day of June,
11 2011, at 2.15 p.m.