1 Monday, 6 February 2012
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon to everybody in and around the
7 Mr. Gajic, I was expecting that you give us some update about
8 translation you have received.
9 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. The following
10 translations have been uploaded into the e-system, these are documents
11 marked for identification: D326, D335, D334, D327, and D330.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. They will be now received
13 into evidence.
14 Mr. Vanderpuye.
15 MR. VANDERPUYE: Good afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours,
17 Mr. President, we also have one document, P2862, which was
18 previously marked for identification for translation, and it has been
19 uploaded and we do have the translation.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This document will be received into evidence as
22 Mr. Gajic, anything else?
23 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. The Defence has
24 uploaded the public versions of the expert reports, expert Ratko Skrbic's
25 report. The 65 ter numbers are 1D114 [as interpreted] and 1D1115. I can
1 see that there is an error in the transcript. The first document's
2 number is 1D1114.
3 The Defence would request that these two documents be on the
4 65 ter list. These are documents -- these are expert reports or versions
5 of the expert report that are public.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye, are there any objections to add
7 these documents to the 65 ter Defence exhibit list?
8 MR. VANDERPUYE: No, Mr. President.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Leave is granted to add them to the 65 ter
10 exhibit list.
11 Anything else? The witness should be brought into the courtroom,
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon, Mr. Skrbic.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Would you please read aloud the affirmation on
17 the card which is shown to you now.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
19 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Please sit down and make
21 yourself comfortable.
22 WITNESS: RATKO SKRBIC
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sir, you are here as a witness, an expert witness
1 for the Defence, and therefore Mr. Tolimir, as the accused, will put
2 first questions to you in his examination-in-chief, then followed by the
3 Prosecutor in his cross-examination.
4 Mr. Tolimir, you have the floor.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. May the
6 outcome of these proceedings be in accordance with the Lord's will and
7 not in accordance with my desires.
8 Examination by Mr. Tolimir:
9 Q. [Interpretation] Greetings, Mr. Skrbic. I wish you a nice stay
10 here and I wish you all the best for your career.
11 Mr. Skrbic --
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir. Mr. Tolimir, we have some problems
13 with the -- yes, it's better that you use this microphone if it's working
14 today. I hope so very much. The Court Usher will assist you to find the
15 correct position.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Please, although we know each other well,
19 you have to tell us your full name for the sake of the transcript.
20 A. My name is Ratko Skrbic, son of Petar Skrbic.
21 Q. Thank you. Mr. Skrbic, could you tell the Chamber what your
22 current position is.
23 A. I am currently involved in research into the Srebrenica
24 phenomenon, and in the last few months I have been working on my expert
25 report that concerns Srebrenica. And I have been working very
1 intensively on that report.
2 Q. Mr. Skrbic, thank you. Please tell the Chamber whether you have
3 already testified before this Tribunal.
4 A. No, I have never testified in any of the cases before this
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Skrbic and Mr. Tolimir, you are using same
7 language and, therefore, please pause between question and answer and try
8 to avoid overlapping. The interpreters wouldn't catch everything what
9 you have to say.
10 Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Mr. Skrbic, please follow the transcript on the screen. When my
14 question is completely transcribed, then you can provide us with your
16 A. Thank you. I've understood that.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please see 1D103. And let
18 me repeat the number, 1D1039. The previous one was not the correct
19 number. Thank you.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Skrbic, we can now see your curriculum vitae. And my
22 question is as follows: Mr. Skrbic, since this is a very brief
23 curriculum, could you provide us with a more precise information that
24 concerns your educational background? Thank you.
25 A. I finished primary school in the village that I was born in. I
1 completed secondary school in the municipality of Glamoc, which is where
2 I was born. After the secondary school I went to the military academy of
3 the land forces, the centre for nuclear, biological and chemical defence.
4 I then finished the command staff tactical training school in the centre
5 of high military schools within the JNA, and after that I completed a
6 course at the All People's Defence school, it's a war college. It's the
7 highest military college that existed in the army at the time. That is
8 my educational background.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Please tell the Chamber which positions
10 you were able to hold as a result of these -- these schools that you
12 A. After having completed my training at the military academy, I was
13 responsible for performing the duties of a platoon and company commander,
14 and I did so since 1987, since -- from 1979, in fact, until 1984. From
15 1979 until 1984, I was a instructor in the centre for nuclear, biological
16 and chemical defence. I worked in the tactical department. I instructed
17 on tactical use of nuclear, biological, and chemical defence. That was
18 in all the relevant schools, in the school of the reserve officers, in
19 the military academy and in the secondary military school.
20 Having completed the command staff school for tactics, I was
21 responsible for commanding regiments and for work in the staff organs of
22 operation units. These are corps. Having completed the war school, the
23 war college, I was capable of performing all high military duties in the
24 army, including the Ministry of Defence. I could also perform the duties
25 of chief of the General Staff.
1 Q. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Please tell the Chamber how
2 your career progressed within the service until 1993.
3 A. Having completed the military academy, I performed my duties in
4 Krusevac, which is where I completed my military training in the academy.
5 I was a platoon commander from 1973 until 1976 -- I apologise, 1977. And
6 from 1977 until 1979, I was a company commander in Krusevac, a company
7 commander for nuclear, biological, and chemical defence. I was then
8 moved to the tactical department, and I was, in particular, responsible
9 for teaching nuclear, biological, and chemical defence. I held that
10 position until 1984.
11 In 1984 I was transferred to the military technical institute of
12 the land forces, to the Mostar laboratory unit. I was appointed as
13 deputy chief of the institute. I remained in that position until 1988.
14 When I was sent for training in the tactical command school that took up
15 one year. I completed that course, that school, in 1989. And then in
16 1989, I was sent from the school to the military naval region of the
17 9th Corps in Knin. I was the chief of nuclear, biological, and chemical
18 defence in the corps command. And the next year, in 1990, I was sent to
19 complete a course in the All People's Defence school. I completed that
20 course in 1991 and again returned to the military technical institute of
21 the land forces, to the Mostar laboratory unit. I remained there until
22 the end of January 1992, which is when the institute was transferred or
23 relocated in Serbia.
24 Q. Thank you. For the sake of the transcript, which year was it
25 that you returned to Serbia from Mostar?
1 A. That was the end of January 1992.
2 Q. Thank you. Could you please slow down a little bit and make a
3 pause after I put a question to you.
4 Mr. Skrbic, when you became -- when did you become a member of
5 the Army of Republika Srpska? Thank you.
6 A. I became a member of the Army of Republika Srpska on the
7 8th of February, 1993.
8 Q. Thank you. Please tell me what establishment position you
9 occupied or what duties you performed in the VRS. Thank you.
10 A. I was first appointed as the Chief of Staff in a brigade in the
11 VRS. If necessary, I can give you the name of the brigade. It was the
12 17th Kljuc Brigade in the 2nd Krajina Corps, and I performed those duties
13 until November 1993. In November 1993 I was appointed as commander of
14 the 15th Bihac Brigade within the 2nd Krajina Corps, and I performed
15 those duties until the end of the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina -- or,
16 rather, until the time at which the Dayton Agreement was signed.
17 And then, within a few months, the 2nd Corps was reorganised as
18 well as its component brigades, that also included my brigade. I can't
19 remember the exact date, but towards the end of February or at the
20 beginning of March I was transferred to the Main Staff of the Army of
21 Republika Srpska. That was in 1996. And I was in the sector for moral
22 guidance, religious affairs, and legal affairs. I was an officer for
23 psychological and propaganda activities. I remained in that position for
24 a few months. I wasn't involved in those activities because I was in the
25 team for visiting troops to see how the reorganisation or restructuring
1 of the army was going.
2 Unfortunately, in May of that year, 1996, I fell ill. I had a
3 heart attack. In September I had heart surgery. I then requested a
4 transfer. And in 1997, I was, in fact, transferred to the Army of
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I --
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Please.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: -- interrupt for a moment. Again, please slow
9 down while speaking. You are speaking very fast and it's very difficult
10 for the interpreters to catch everything you are saying.
11 I have one question. When did you enter the JNA first? You
12 didn't provide us with this information.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1969, when I commenced my
14 training in the military academy.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
16 Mr. Tolimir.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Please, could you tell the Chamber which
20 geographical region -- in which geographical region did you perform
21 duties in the 2nd Krajina Corps? We want to see what the relationship
22 was with the Main Staff, because that involves your movement in
23 Republika Srpska. Thank you.
24 A. I was in Western Bosnia. The area I performed my duties in was
25 the extreme western part of Bosnia at the border with Croatia.
1 Q. Thank you. Was this near the Bihac protected zone?
2 A. Yes, it was close. It was at the edge of the Bihac protected
4 Q. Thank you. Was your brigade deployed on the borders of the Bihac
5 protected zone, and were any BH forces in Bihac or was any other unit
6 between you?
7 A. No, there was no other unit between us. I was in direct combat
8 contact with the forces of the 5th Corps of the Army of Bosnia and
10 Q. Thank you. Now, Mr. Skrbic, please, can you tell us something
11 about your career in the Yugoslav Army? Thank you.
12 A. In 1997, I was transferred to the Yugoslav Army and appointed as
13 the chief of the nuclear, atomic and chemical defence arm within the
14 special unit corps of the Yugoslav Army. I remained in that position
15 until 1999, to be more precise, until March 1999, when the NATO
16 aggression against Yugoslavia commenced. At that time, I was transferred
17 to the 1st Administration of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army,
18 which is an operational administration. And I spent there the entire
19 period -- or the entire duration of the aggression against Yugoslavia.
20 After that, I was appointed to the General Staff of the
21 Yugoslav Army to its personnel administration as assistant chief of the
22 department of the 30th Personnel Centre, and I discharged those duties
23 until 2001. In 2001, I was appointed to a new position to the department
24 of strategy of the school for national defence within the military
25 academy as the head of the teacher's group for command staff training,
1 and I also provided instruction in the course of that position until I
2 was appointed senior instructor in the next year, which is the position
3 that I held until the 30th of July, 2005, when I retired.
4 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us which specific courses you taught in
5 the command staff training school and general staff training school?
6 A. During all post-graduate courses, command staff --
7 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please slow down.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Once again, the interpreters are asking you to
9 slow down. You are very, very fast, and we want to understand your
10 evidence and to have everything on the record. Please speak more slowly.
11 Now continue, please.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Mr. Skrbic, can you please repeat the last part of your answer
15 because it wasn't recorded, and please slow down.
16 A. Can you please remind me what the question was?
17 Q. The question was which courses you taught in command staff and
18 general staff additional training?
19 A. During all these post-graduate trainings, I taught subjects such
20 as military strategy and warfare.
21 Q. Thank you. Can you tell Chamber what does "warfare" mean in our
23 A. That is the art and the skill of waging a war.
24 Q. Thank you. Since you said that you retired on the 30th of July,
25 2005, can you tell us whether you were involved in any other work related
1 to the military following your retirement?
2 A. No, not directly. But in that same year, I started working on
3 the defence team as an investigator, the defence team of General Miletic.
4 If you consider that to be a military-related duty, then I can say yes, I
5 was involved.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we please have in e-court
7 document 1D -- actually, I would like to tender that into documents [as
8 interpreted], because we already have it in e-court. Thank you.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Are you tendering 1D1039?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
13 Exhibit D351. Thank you.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Before we move to another document, I have one
15 additional question to your CV. It's a more personal question. Are
16 there close relatives in your family who were also members of or have
17 been members of the VRS?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I don't have any close
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: What about the profession of your father?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My father was a farmer and
22 unfortunately died very young.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
24 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. For the purpose of presenting evidence in
3 this case, you provided two expert reports. Can you tell us which
4 specific reports you have prepared?
5 A. Yes, the first expert report that I drafted is a report on the
6 movement of the population of Srebrenica, and the other one is entitled:
7 "Srebrenica and Zepa."
8 Q. Thank you.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we have in e-court, please,
10 document 1D1114, that's the first report entitled: "The Movement of the
11 Population of Srebrenica." Thank you.
12 My thanks to e-court.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Mr. Skrbic, can you tell us which sources you relied upon when
15 you drafted this report.
16 A. While I was preparing this report, I was using documents of the
17 Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, documents of the local
18 political authorities of Srebrenica, documents provided by the
19 United Nations starting from the Secretary-General report attached to
20 various resolutions, as well as reports of commanders and assistant
21 commanders of UNPROFOR units stationed in Zagreb. Then I also used
22 documents of international humanitarian organisations, such as ICRC,
23 UNHCR, and others. And that would be more or less the documents that I
24 relied upon.
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Can you please tell us, tell the Chamber,
1 did you draft this report on your own? Thank you.
2 A. Yes, I did it completely on my own.
3 Q. Thank you. Mr. Skrbic, can you please tell the Trial Chamber
4 whether anyone made any suggestions to you with regard to the conclusions
5 that you arrived at in your report. Thank you.
6 A. No. Nobody made any suggestions of that kind, and even if it had
7 been the case, I would have definitely refused that.
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Can you please tell us how long you dealt
9 with the issue of the movement of the population of Srebrenica in 1995?
10 A. Starting from 2005 when I started working as an investigator on
11 the General Miletic's Defence team.
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Mr. Skrbic, since you're a military
13 expert, can you explain to us whether military analysts also deal with
14 the issue of movement of populations during wartime and to what end?
15 Thank you.
16 A. Yes, they do. This is studied at the highest-ranking military
17 schools as well, although as a minor subject. The purpose of studying
18 this particular issue is to explore the possibility of recruitment
19 because population is the source of recruitment for other defence
20 elements in an army.
21 Q. Can you please explain what you meant by other defence system
22 elements? Because it was not properly recorded in the transcript.
23 A. Yes. It is not only an army that is part of the defence system,
24 there are other organs there as well such as the civilian protection,
25 which includes civilian defence. Then there are work obligation units,
1 and organs of the civilian protection which do not have the status of
2 units but do carry out certain defence operations such as surveillance
3 and alerting the population and giving raid signals to the population in
4 case of a threat.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Can you tell us, did you have an
6 opportunity during your training to study the methodology of the movement
7 of populations and losses incurred in the course of a war?
8 A. Yes. When I was at the school of All People's Defence, I even
9 remember that one of my colleagues prepared his thesis entitled: "The
10 Assessment of Losses in an Armed Conflict and the Possibility of the
11 Strain Imposed on the Population With a View to Making Up for the Losses
12 Incurred by Units."
13 Q. Thank you. Can you please explain the term "losses," what does
14 it imply?
15 A. Losses imply any combatant who is out of action, whether due to
16 the fact that he was killed, seriously wounded, or lightly wounded, in
17 which case he is only temporarily out of action but it is, nevertheless,
18 counted as a loss.
19 Q. Thank you. Did you study demographic issues as well or, rather,
20 why a soldier or a military analyst deals with issue pertaining to
21 demographic problems? Thank you.
22 A. The issue of demographic is very important for the defence
23 system, and that is precisely why it is being studied. Simply because
24 there are areas in every state that are very scarcely populated, whereas,
25 on the other hand, there are regions which are densely populated. This
1 creates a problem from the -- as a -- point of view of defence, which is
2 particularly the case with scarcely populated areas. The highest
3 military commanders and military -- and defence -- Ministry of Defence
4 must take all this into account and must do everything that is in their
5 power during peacetime to bring the regions that were scarcely populated
6 to a normal level by helping the population remain there in order to make
7 it possible for recruiting members of the military from these areas as
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Can you please tell us now, what is the
10 goal of your analysis? Thank you.
11 A. My goal was very simple, and it was self-imposed. I simply
12 wanted to check, I wanted to verify whether the figure of over
13 7.000 killed militarily able-bodied men who belonged to the 28th Division
14 is correct or not.
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. And I would like to thank the
16 interpreters as well.
17 Mr. Skrbic, and what was your main conclusion? What was the main
18 conclusion you arrived at while dealing with the issues in the report?
19 A. The principle conclusion I arrived at as a result of the
20 analysis -- or, rather, that was demonstrated by the analysis is that the
21 losses of the 28th Division in July and August 1995 could certainly not
22 be expressed in thousands, and the sustainability of the OTP position
23 that over 7.000 men were killed is out of the question. This figure is
24 not sustainable because it cannot be proven in a reliable manner.
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. The OTP and the Trial Chamber have
1 certainly read your report on the movement of the population of
2 Srebrenica. We are only going to deal with some of the parts of your
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to call up page 2 in
5 the report. We have it in e-court.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. I would kindly ask you, Mr. Skrbic, to explain to all of us what
8 the schematic represents. How did you draw it, based on what information
9 and data?
10 A. This schematic represents the schematic of the movement of
11 prisoners from Srebrenica. It was compiled based on the information and
12 data from the statements on the events in Srebrenica or, rather, based on
13 Mr. Butler's expert report. It was also based on the information found
14 in the indictment in this case, as well as on the indictment in
15 IT-05-85-PT [as interpreted], and General Miletic was also included in
16 that indictment, in the indictment in that case.
17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Do you have anything else to add about
18 this schematic?
19 A. Yes, there is.
20 Q. Go ahead.
21 A. I would like to remind everybody, although it's very clearly
22 seen, that different colours were used to represent the different sources
23 of information which served as the basis for the drafting of this
24 schematic. The blue colour represents IT-05-88-PT, whereas the red
25 colour represents the information obtained from the OTP in the indictment
1 that was issued in this case. I did that with an intention to allow
2 everybody to follow the information in parallel and to compare it -- to
3 compare the information from both indictments as well as from
4 Mr. Butler's expert report.
5 Q. Thank you Mr. Skrbic.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And now I would like to display
7 page 6 in Serbian, page 5 in English. Thank you.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Skrbic, could you please explain the meaning of the table in
10 front of us and what were the sources of information that you used in
11 order to put this table together?
12 A. This table is an overview of the capture, detention, and
13 execution of men from Srebrenica. The same sources were used as for the
14 first table that we just saw.
15 Q. Thank you. And can you explain the meaning of the red colour as
16 opposed to the blue colour?
17 A. The red colour represents the information from General Miletic's
18 indictment, and the others are in -- from the indictment in this case.
19 Q. And what about the black colour? I forgot to ask you about that
20 colour previously. Thank you.
21 A. This is Mr. Butler's narrative.
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And now I would like to call up
24 page 8 in Serbian and page 7 in English. Thank you. Thank you.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Skrbic, on this page we see your conclusions under 1, where
2 it says B is bigger than A and C is bigger than B. What is the meaning
3 of these conclusions of yours?
4 A. Yes. Firstly, B is greater than A. That means that according to
5 the information found on the schematic, on the two schematics that we
6 have just seen, the number of prisoners transferred who had been soldiers
7 of the 28th Division of the BiH Army is bigger than the number of those
8 who were captured, which is impossible. Only the other way around would
9 be possible.
10 Moreover, this means that B should be less than A by at least
11 1400 individuals because in the indictment the Prosecutor alleges that
12 immediately after the capture, executions started. And he also mentions
13 very specific places, Cerska, the Jadar River, the Kravica warehouse, and
14 Nova Kasaba. These are the places which are in the territory of Bratunac
15 municipality, places where members of the 28th Division were taken
17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. What you have just told us, would this be
18 found in paragraph under number 1 both in B/C/S and English?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Could you please explain the meaning of paragraph 2, where it
21 says that C is greater than B?
22 A. This means that according to the information found in both
23 indictments, the number of executed members of the 28th Division in the
24 area of responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade was greater than the number
25 of those soldiers who had been brought to the area of responsibility of
1 the Zvornik Brigade. This is also impossible because it defies logic, it
2 defies natural laws.
3 And if I may continue, please, the purpose of this analysis
4 represented in this way is to show the Trial Chamber that the information
5 regarding the number of detainees, the number of those who were
6 transferred to the area of responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade and
7 executed are not synchronised in the two indictments. They do not
8 coincide. And my conclusion based on that is that the numbers are wrong.
9 Q. Thank you. Can we find your conclusions in paragraph 1 and 2
10 that are now displayed on the screen, on page 7 in English and 8 in
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And now I would like to call up
15 page 10 in Serbian and page 9 in English. Thank you.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Mr. Skrbic, here we can see another table. Could you please
18 explain what the table represents and what sources of information went
19 into this table? Thank you.
20 A. This table represents an overview of the population of Srebrenica
21 before the 11th of July, 1995. As you can see, the information is
22 relative to January 1994, January 1995, and finally July 1995, which
23 means on the eve of the beginning of combat for Srebrenica. This is also
24 the beginning of my analysis because I decided to follow to the very end
25 the living population. And then based on looking at their numbers before
1 the 11th of July and after the 11th of July, 1995, I wanted to establish
2 whether there was any discrepancy there.
3 The sources of the information in the table for January 1994 is
4 the president of the presidency of Srebrenica municipality. For
5 January 1995, it was the municipal staff of the civilian protection of
6 Srebrenica. And for July 1995, the source was UNHCR and there was also
7 another source, the Dutch Battalion.
8 Q. Thank you. Since we can see different colours and we also see
9 different figures under the same column, can you explain why that is the
10 case? Thank you.
11 A. Wherever you see a figure in blue, that figure is relative to the
12 number of able-bodied men on a condition that their percentage was
13 65 per cent and not 60 per cent, as you can see in black. And that
14 percentage is relative to the total number of males in Srebrenica.
15 And if I may continue, please, I did this because I wanted to be
16 scientifically accurate because I was dealing with the percentage of
17 60 per cent for the year 1981, according to the official statistics,
18 according to the official census. And based on the normal population
19 trends, I introduced the percentage of 65 per cent and that trend was
20 present from 1953 to 1991. I wanted that to account for the increase in
21 the percentage of able-bodied men.
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And now I would like to call up
24 P1806. Thank you.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Skrbic, we have a document that you used as a basis for your
2 calculations in front of us. Could you please read it and provide us
3 with the necessary comments.
4 A. This is a document from the president of the presidency of the
5 municipality of Srebrenica which he sent to the Institute for Statistics
6 in Tuzla, which is where statistics are in general kept on the size of
7 the population. In this document, he informs the Institute for
8 Statistics on the number of inhabitants in Srebrenica on the
9 11th of January, 1994.
10 The document quite clearly and precisely shows how many local
11 inhabitants there were and how many of the inhabitants had come from
12 neighboring municipalities at the beginning of the conflict of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina. They were, in fact, refugees in Srebrenica. At the
14 bottom of the document, the president of the presidency of Srebrenica
15 municipality warns or informs the Institute for Statistics that they are
16 providing them with this information for the purpose of records, but they
17 shouldn't provide international organisations with this information
18 because, as it says here, they are calculating with the number of
19 45.000 inhabitants.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, unfortunately I don't find this
21 document in the list of exhibits to be used with this witness. Can you
22 help me?
23 Mr. Gajic.
24 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'll provide you with
25 the relevant number immediately. The expert referred to this document in
1 his report, that's why we included it. We have an identical document, a
2 document whose contents are identical, but the number is different and it
3 was sent in the form of a telegram. We used this one because the witness
4 referred to it in his report, and we didn't want to cause any confusion
5 when following his report, when we, at a later stage, go through that
6 report or read through that report.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We are looking forward to receive the other
8 document number.
9 Mr. Tolimir, please go ahead.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. You have now mentioned the warning the
12 president of the presidency of Srebrenica municipality told the Institute
13 for Statistics that they had fewer inhabitants than the number mentioned,
14 and this was done because, as he says here, for the purpose of
15 calculations. Please tell us, what is the difference between this number
16 they have presented for the purpose of certain calculations and the
17 actual number of inhabitants in Srebrenica? The actual number of
18 inhabitants in Srebrenica in January 1994, as it says here.
19 A. The difference is 8.255.
20 Q. Thank you. It was then increased by 8.255. On what basis did
21 you make these calculations? Thank you.
22 A. Of course, the number is greater than the number of actual
23 inhabitants. And it's a greater number for at least two reasons, in my
24 opinion. The first one is, if you have a larger number of inhabitants,
25 you will receive more humanitarian aid, because, as you can see, he is
1 also warning the institute that international humanitarian organisations
2 should not be provided with the -- this information.
3 The second reason is that, in my opinion, an augmented number
4 could be used to present a more dramatic picture of the humanitarian
5 situation. This could be done by providing information according to
6 which small areas are inhabited by too many people who are not living
7 normal conditions, conditions such as accommodation, work, and so on and
8 so forth.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. In the document we have, is this an
10 assessment of the number of inhabitants or is it a precise number that
11 reflects the actual number of inhabitants there? Thank you.
12 A. No, these are not assessments, estimates. This information is
13 precise information because, as you can see, the document never uses the
14 terms "approximately," or "about," or "more than," and so on and so
16 Q. Thank you. Please tell us where this augmented information is.
17 Can we see it in this chart or in this schematic -- or, rather, in this
18 document, and if so, where can we find it?
19 A. Yes, we can find this information under the title: "Remarks."
20 Q. Thank you. Mr. Skrbic, what is the military significance of such
21 records? Why is it necessary to have precise records pertaining to the
22 inhabitants and who has the responsibility of dealing with such
23 information? Thank you.
24 A. This is a real need and we can link it up to my previous
25 explanation about the reasons for which officers deal with demographic
1 issues and deal with assessing losses sustained. In this particular
2 case, this is necessary to see what the possibilities are to bring up to
3 strength the units of the 28th Division, the units of the civilian
4 protection force, the units that have work obligations to perform. It's
5 also necessary so that we can -- one can determine the number of
6 employees who are needed to work in the companies that were in a position
7 to operate at the time. Such information is necessary, above all, for
8 the Ministry of Defence and for their regional secretariats. In this
9 particular case, the Tuzla regional secretariat of the Ministry of
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Earlier on you said that the difference
12 in relation to the real information was 8.255, and under "Remark," we
13 have the fictional, the imaginary information. Please, we haven't
14 examined these matters in detail, so could you please tell us on what
15 basis do you draw such a conclusion? Thank you.
16 A. When we have a look at the number of inhabitants in this
17 document, the number referred to before the remarks, the number we obtain
18 is 37.255. And when we take that number away, we deduct that number from
19 45.000, in fact, we obtain the number I have already mentioned.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic, for informing us about that difference.
21 You said that in your -- you told us about the purpose of this
22 calculation and the president of the municipality informed -- or, rather,
23 warned the Institute of Statistics. You told us what the reason for this
24 was. In addition to these humanitarian reasons, could you tell us
25 whether this difference is one that is calculated when presenting the
1 numbers of the individuals who disappeared without a trace?
2 A. No, but in order to be consistent, I also calculated on the base
3 of this number of 45.000, made calculations on the basis of the figure of
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please see D117 in the
7 e-court system. Thank you.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
9 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the document that we
10 still have in front of us is, in terms of content at least, identical to
11 document D116 [Realtime transcript read in error "D1116"].
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Nevertheless, it would always be appreciated if
13 you would include into the list of documents to be used with the witness
14 the number of that document which you intend to use.
15 Mr. Gajic.
16 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Absolutely, Your Honour. But it's
17 not D1116. I would just like to make this correction, the number of the
18 document is D116. And we now have D117 on the screen. I am saying that
19 for the sake of the transcript.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Since we have D117 in front of us, Mr. Skrbic, could you please
23 tell us what kind of document it is? Thank you.
24 A. This document was sent by the civilian protection municipal
25 staff. It concerns the number of inhabitants in Srebrenica in
1 January 1995. I'd like to point out that the information contained in
2 this document is even more precise than the information that we saw in
3 the previous document, and it almost conforms to the standards of the
4 regular census that is taken in peacetime conditions because, as you can
5 see, the breakdown includes inhabitants according to their age, their
6 sex, the municipalities that they inhabit, and so on and so forth.
7 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us why this is of significance for the
8 army? Why is it important for the army that such gender-based
9 information is provided?
10 A. The median value of the number of males and females, or the
11 median value, is about 55 per cent. So the army needs this for the same
12 reasons as in the case of the previous document. They need such
13 information so that they can see what the possibilities are when it comes
14 to replacing losses that are usually sustained in the course of armed
16 Q. Thank you. If we compare document P1806 and D117, what sort of
17 conclusions can we draw? Thank you.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please see P1806 and D117
19 on the screen so that we can compare the two documents. D117 so that the
20 witness could answer the question put to him. Thank you.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'd like to inform the Chamber that
22 when you first have a look at the documents, it seems that the number of
23 inhabitants in Srebrenica in January 1995 is lower that the number of
24 inhabitants in January 1995 [as interpreted]. And that is quite logical
25 for a number of reasons.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sorry, may I interrupt you. This is very unclear
2 and we would like to know your opinion clearly. It is recorded that you
3 have said:
4 "The number of inhabitants in Srebrenica in January 1995 is lower
5 than the number of inhabitants in January 1995."
6 The same time.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: The witness said
8 lower than in January 1994.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Lower than in January 1994.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much for this clarification.
11 Please continue.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that was quite logical for
13 two reasons. The first one is that the inhabitants of Srebrenica left
14 the Srebrenica enclave of their own free will, that included members of
15 the 28th Division and the civilian population. This can be confirmed in
16 documents -- by looking at documents D61, D144, P1807, P988, and D100.
17 In these documents you can quite clearly see in reports from the units
18 sent to the command of the 2nd Corps of the ABiH that the Srebrenica
19 enclave is being left even by members of the 28th Division. They are
20 doing this on their own initiative without any authorisation having been
21 obtained. For example, in document P1807, one can see that in one week
22 alone 1.200 individuals left the enclave on their own initiative.
23 The second reason why we have a lower number of inhabitants in
24 1995 compared to 1994 is the result of losses during armed conflict;
25 however, this number is much smaller than the number of those who left
1 the enclave.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now have D61 and D27 in
4 e-court. I apologise, D61, dated the 27th May. Thank you.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Mr. Skrbic, can you tell us is that one of the documents that you
7 relied on in order to prove that large numbers of people departed from
8 Srebrenica? Thank you.
9 A. Yes, it was. This is an order issued by Major Becirovic, the
10 Chief of Staff of the 28th Division, whereby he is ordering his
11 subordinate units to prevent any wilful abandonment of the enclave at any
12 cost. And that particularly pertained to military personnel.
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. In your opinion, what was the purpose of
14 issuing an order banning anyone from leaving the enclave, especially in
15 view of the persons that this order relates to? Thank you. This
16 document is dated the 27th of May, 1995.
17 A. The first reason to impose this ban was to prevent the weakening
18 of the combat capacity of the 28th Division. And the second reason is
19 that that was a time when the 28th Division was actively involved in
20 combat operations launched from the enclave and when direct preparations
21 were underway for offensive operations in a co-ordinated action with the
22 forces of the 2nd Corps on the front with a view to linking up the
23 territories of the enclaves with the Tuzla district.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It's now the time of our first break. We will
3 resume at quarter past 4.00.
4 --- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.
5 [The witness stands down]
6 [The witness takes the stand]
7 --- On resuming at 4.16 p.m.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would like to see D116. That is the number
9 Mr. Gajic has provided us with. My problem is that I don't find this
10 number in the list of Defence exhibits, either.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I be of assistance?
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No. At the moment I am only dealing with a
13 document number.
14 Mr. Gajic, shall I take it that this is a duplicate of P1806; is
15 that correct?
16 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, it's not a duplicate
17 in the proper sense of the word. This is an identical wording of the
18 document. The text is identical, whereas the format of the document is
19 different. The first one has a signature, whereas the second one was
20 something obviously sent through packet communications or in the form of
21 a cable.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. And both documents are missing on
23 your list.
24 Mr. Tolimir, please -- oh, Mr. Gajic, do you want to respond?
25 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President. Obviously, our
1 error if it is missing from the list, and we do apologise for that.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
3 Mr. Tolimir, please continue your examination-in-chief.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
5 We saw document D61. Can we please have it briefly they e-court.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Mr. Skrbic, if you look at the last paragraph of this document,
8 i.e., the order of the 28th Division signed by Major Becirovic, it reads
9 as follows:
10 "Any violation of this order by army members will be punished in
11 accordance with the laws in force. I hereby make unit commanders
12 responsible for the implementation of this order."
13 Please, can you tell us what kind of punishment could be imposed
14 on army members in the event of their leaving without permission? And I
15 am referring to the punishment referred to by Major Becirovic in his
17 A. First of all, I would like to note that the date of this document
18 points to the fact that Major Becirovic was, in fact, discharging the
19 duty of a brigade commander, although he has signed himself as the
20 Chief of Staff and he wasn't appointed commander, in fact. I am saying
21 this because it was a well-known fact at the time that the division
22 commander, Naser Oric, wasn't at his command post at the time. He was
23 absent. In fact, he was in Tuzla.
24 As for the punishment that Major Becirovic is making reference
25 to, I have to say that desertion during an armed conflict or during a war
1 is one of the most serious criminal offences that a soldier may commit.
2 And when I say "soldier," I mean both the commissioned, non-commissioned
3 officers, and privates. And if a Supreme Command declares a state of
4 war, and if desertions occur during a state of war, it is possible to
5 impose the most severe sanctions, including death penalty.
6 Q. Thank you. Are there any other sanctions that are applicable to
7 deserters apart from death penalty?
8 A. Of course there are. I said that that was the ultimate measure,
9 and, of course, everything depends on the legislature of the particular
10 country where the soldier comitted the crime. Other penalties that may
11 be imposed are for the soldier to be stripped of all his rights and
12 benefits that he and his family are entitled to because he deserted from
13 his unit. It is also possible for him to be sentenced to a prison term
14 or to be subject to any other measure.
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we have in e-court Exhibit P144
17 [as interpreted]. Thank you. Can we please have D144 in e-court. Thank
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Skrbic, this is another document of the BH Army, the
21 28th Division command, dated 21st of June, 1995. It is signed, again, by
22 Mr. Ramiz Becirovic, the standing commander, and I am interested in
23 paragraph one, which reads:
24 "The problem of ..."
25 Let's go back to paragraph one. Thank you.
1 "The problem of members of the Army of the Republic of BH and
2 civilians leaving the Srebrenica and Zepa safe area in the direction of
3 Tuzla, Kladanj, and Serbia, has been present since the first days of
4 demilitarisation of this area. During this entire period, the military
5 and civilian authorities in Srebrenica have taken a number of measures to
6 prevent such departures, yet all of these measures have not yielded
7 significant practical results. The reason is that these departures are
8 planned by small groups which carry out the organisation, and it is
9 difficult to uncover them through intelligence work. Naturally, a
10 certain number of people are aware of the intentions of individuals and
11 groups who are preparing to leave, but in general, they show solidarity
12 with them and, following a policy of noninterference, are unwilling to
13 provide information about such people. Sometimes it is possible to
14 uncover and prevent these groups in their attempt to leave the safe area,
15 and we have taken disciplinary measures against them and sentenced them
16 to disciplinary military detention.
17 "For all those who complain of a lack of food and for that reason
18 intend to leave these areas, we have found possibilities for providing
19 assistance in this regard. However, in the summer months, it is as if
20 some unknown wave flows through the people suddenly creating a euphoria
21 that the best solution is to leave for Tuzla. This literally causes
22 waves throughout the entire area, and the majority of people are then
23 ready to leave. Such has been the case in recent days."
24 As we can see, this is dated the 19th of June, 1995.
25 Mr. Skrbic, did you take this document into account as well when
1 you dealt with the issue of the decrease in number of inhabitants of
2 Srebrenica? Thank you.
3 A. Yes. This is yet another proof that people were -- left the
4 enclaves of their own volition.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Now, please, according to your knowledge,
6 during which periods did the army encounter the most severe problems of
8 A. That happened most frequently when they found out that fierce
9 fighting was impending, that were planned either by their own command
10 involving their own units, or if they found out about the intentions of
11 the adversary; in other words, if there is a prospect of the most fierce
13 Q. Thank you. And in this case why did the population leave the
14 area? Did you find it in the documents? Thank you.
15 A. In this case, the population of both Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves
16 left the enclaves of their own will. Because they had been an enclave
17 for a long time, they were encircled by the territory of the
18 Republika Srpska. They wanted to put an end to such a life and they
19 wanted to go to safer areas, as they, themselves, called the area of
20 Tuzla, because that's where they saw opportunities for themselves.
21 Q. Thank you. And during the period surrounding the 21st of June,
22 1995, could some military activities also influence such developments in
23 the protected area and outside of it?
24 A. Yes. During that period, the major spring offensive by the
25 BiH Army had already been underway in several directions in the territory
1 of Republika Srpska, including the axis from Tuzla leading towards the
2 enclaves. During that period, the BiH Army had planned to mount a joint
3 offensive by the units in the enclave and outside of it in order to
4 liberate, as they put it themselves, the enclaves and join them up with
5 the region of Tuzla.
6 Q. Thank you. Could you please explain the term "mounting an attack
7 from the front line," what does that mean?
8 A. Combat activities of the 2nd Corps on the front line implied
9 their focal activity from Tuzla in the direction of the enclaves. This
10 also implied the use of forces stronger than those in the enclave. The
11 troops of the 28th Division in the enclaves should have served as the
12 rear forces, behind the enemy lines. The most appropriate explanation
13 would be to see them as landing forces because they had a potential and
14 they always represented a risk for the commander behind whose lines they
15 are deployed.
16 The main body of the forces mount an attack on the front line,
17 whereas the forces in the enclaves would facilitate the efforts of the
18 main body of the forces.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Aleksandar, for keeping
21 an eye on me.
22 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Skrbic, why were drastic or rigorous measures taken in
24 Srebrenica in order to prevent desertion in view of the fact that people
25 from one territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina wanted to go and settle in
1 another territory under the control of the BiH Army, i.e., Tuzla? Why
2 were such attempts by both civilians and soldiers to desert the area
3 seriously prevented?
4 A. It would be rational to conclude that the BiH Army, at that time,
5 needed the 28th Division to act from behind the enemy lines. And that is
6 why measures were taken in order to prevent any attempts of desertion.
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And now I'd like to call up 1 --
9 P1114 [as interpreted].
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could you please repeat the number.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I'll
12 repeat the number. 1D1114. Thank you. Thank you. I am interested in
13 page 15 in Serbian and page 13 in English. This is the witness's expert
14 report about the movement of the population of Srebrenica. Thank you.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Here we see another table. Mr. Skrbic, could you please tell us
17 what the table represents and what sources did you use in order to
18 compile the table? Thank you.
19 A. This table represents an overview of the population of Srebrenica
20 after the 11th of July, 1995. They were recorded as refugees in Tuzla
21 and around Tuzla. The sources that I used can be seen in the table
22 itself. The first one was a report by the World Health Organization, the
23 ICRC, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights. This was taken over from
24 the debriefing, which is a document that was based on a report by the
25 Dutch government, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the
1 UNHCR. These are the sources of information that was used to compile
2 this table. This table represents the population that left the enclave
3 of Srebrenica after the 11th of July, and it represents all the surviving
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. And now you don't mention that some of
6 the information was taken from the BiH Army. Please look at line D.
7 There is a figure in red and another figure in black. And then under the
8 source of information in a green colour, we can see Chief of Staff of the
9 BiH Army, General Delic. What does this mean?
10 A. Yes, I apologise. I failed to mention that. This is the number
11 of soldiers of the 28th Division who managed to break through. According
12 to General Delic, they were unscathed, by and large, and they were
13 immediately incorporated into the 2nd Corps of the BiH Army.
14 General Delic stated that in the parliament of the Federation of Bosnia
15 and Herzegovina.
16 Q. Just for the record, can you tell us what the number was?
17 A. 5.000.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And now can we see page 21 in
20 Serbian and page 18 in English. Thank you. I would like to thank the
22 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Skrbic, please look at the schematic that you, yourself,
24 drafted on the pages that I have just called up, and can you explain the
25 meaning of the schematic and what were the sources of information that
1 helped you to compile it? As well as anything else that may be of
2 benefit for the Trial Chamber.
3 A. This schematic represents a supplement to the schematic of the
4 movement of the population of Srebrenica, which can be seen in the report
5 based on the debriefing. I supplemented that schematic with an intention
6 to provide a clearer view of all the things that are not contained in the
7 previous schematic.
8 One of the things is the horizontal arrow with the figure 10.632
9 above it. This you cannot find on the schematic based on the debriefing.
10 It is obvious that this figure is correct and accurate because we can see
11 in this schematic how the population of Srebrenica moved. They were
12 split into two groups. One group was composed of women, children, and
13 the elderly. There were 25.000 of them. That group went to Potocari
14 first and from there they were evacuated. The second group, on the
15 left-hand side, was comprised of the soldiers of the 28th Division and
16 other able-bodied males, some 10- to 15.000 of them. They started
17 breaking through towards Tuzla. They separated from their families, and
18 they started a breakthrough towards Tuzla.
19 Here we can also see that in Tuzla, a total of 35.632 refugees
20 were registered. And if we subtract the number of 35.632 from 20.000
21 that were evacuated, we will end with the number that you can see here,
22 which means that so many able-bodied men had joined the women, the
23 children, and the elderly in Tuzla. And that's how 35.632 refugees were
24 registered. As one can conclude, that figure applies to civilians only.
25 If we continue following the left-hand side of the schematic, we
1 will see that the soldiers continued and that 3.000 of them - and that
2 information was taken from the ICRC - and what you see in the brackets,
3 5.000, is the number based on General Delic's statement in the
4 parliament, and they joined the 2nd Corps. They were not recorded among
5 the 35.632 refugees. Furthermore, as you can see in the schematic, that
6 means that the figure of 35.632 civilians should be supplemented by the
7 soldiers who had managed to breakthrough, the 3.000 of them or 5.000 of
8 them. In order to respect the principle of consistency, I did my
9 calculations with both figures, and then what we see at the end is that a
10 total of 38.632 people left Srebrenica, or, perhaps, 40.632, if we are
11 calculating on the basis of 5.000.
12 And then in the upper right-hand side of the schematic we can see
13 the figure of 1.000. That's the population of Srebrenica who left and
14 went to Zepa. And if we add the 1.000 to the previous number, we will
15 end up with the number of 39.632 or 41.632. The discrepancy is due to
16 the fact that we started with two different number of soldiers; the first
17 one is based on the ICRC data, and the second one, 5.000, is based on
18 General Delic's statement.
19 If we continue to follow the schematic, we will see that the
20 39.632 or 41.632 refugees is less than the number of the inhabitants who
21 were in Srebrenica before the 11th of July, according to the Dutch
22 Battalion data. And we will also see that that figure is higher that the
23 number of the inhabitants who were found in Srebrenica before the
24 11th of July, according to UNHCR data, and that it is more than 42.000,
25 which is the figure that most commonly appears in various documents when
1 discussing the number of the population in Srebrenica at the moment when
2 fighting for Srebrenica started.
3 Furthermore, that means, as you can see at the very bottom of
4 this schematic, that if we took into account the 42.000 people, according
5 to the Dutch Battalion data, and if we subtract 41.632 from that figure,
6 we will end up 368. That could be the discrepancy or the negative number
7 that appears, and one could consider that number to represent those who
8 were killed or went missing or so on and so forth.
9 And finally, according to a different methodology, if we look at
10 the figure 10.632 who joined women, children, and the elderly in Tuzla,
11 and those were able-bodied men, and if we add 3.000 soldiers to them, and
12 they were not registered among the civilians, we will end up with 15.632,
13 i.e., 13.632 to 15.632. I hope that it is not in dispute that all these
14 are able-bodied men fit for military service. That's why I have shown
15 them separately. And I focussed my attention on this particular category
16 because this is category that is most commonly the subject of charges
17 against the Army of Republika Srpska for having lost count of the people
18 in this group of the population.
19 We will see that the figure 13.632 able-bodied survivors who
20 arrived in Tuzla is higher than the lower border of those who started
21 breaking through and that 15.632 is based on General Delic's statement
22 about 5.000 able-bodied men. Then that figure is even higher than the
23 top figure of those who started the breakthrough. You will admit that it
24 is impossible, but the mathematics speak for themselves. And if we take
25 into account 15.000, we will see a discrepancy of 1.368, which means that
1 the figure of over 7.000 killed men cannot persist as the correct number.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Skrbic --
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Thank you.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: -- I would like to ask you for one clarification.
6 On page 38 of today's transcript, lines 9, 10, and 11, I quote to you:
7 "And we will also see that the figure is higher than the number
8 of inhabitants who were found in Srebrenica before the 11th of July."
9 What do you mean by "before the 11th of July"? To which
10 time-period are you referring?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I say "before the 11th of
12 July, 1995," and "after the 11th of July, 1995," what I have in mind is
13 that before the 11th of July, before the fall of Srebrenica, or before
14 Srebrenica was taken -- well, that's the period I have in mind. And
15 "after the 11th of July" means that I am following the movements of the
16 population after Srebrenica had been taken or, rather, after the fall of
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I am asking this question. We have seen this
19 morning or this afternoon two documents dated from January 1994 and
20 January 1995. And when you say "before the 11th," to which exact
21 time-period or date are you referring, and what is the source of your
22 information about that number?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am -- really do apologise. I
24 didn't understand your question.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Then I repeat again. You said:
1 "We will also see that the figure is higher than the number of
2 inhabitants who were found in Srebrenica before the 11th of July."
3 What is your source of information about the number of
4 inhabitants in Srebrenica before the 11th? And now, please, give us a
5 date, the 10th of July, or June, or January, or the January of the
6 previous year, 1994?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was immediately prior to the
8 fighting on the 6th of July, the fighting for Srebrenica.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: What figures of the number of inhabitants in
10 Srebrenica are available for you to that date, and what is the source of
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We saw the figures in the previous
13 diagrams and also in this diagram that I still have in front of me. We
14 can see that these are UNHCR figures, figures from the Dutch Battalion,
15 and the 40.000 figure is one that one can find in document 01007053.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sorry, sir. You are not answering my question.
17 I am just referring to that sentence you have put on the record. To
18 which time before the 11th of July, 1995, are you referring if you make
19 this comparison to the time after this day? Which time-period?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was in the month of July up
21 until the 11th of July. That was the period.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And you have data from UNHCR and from the
23 Dutch Battalion, specifically to this time-period, beginning of July,
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I am quite sure that Mr. Tolimir will have the
2 opportunity to show these data sources to the Chamber.
3 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Mr. Skrbic, please, when you refer to dates please provide the
7 year on such occasions. And my second question is as follows, it relates
8 to this diagram here. It says Srebrenica, 1.000, arrow, Zepa. Did you
9 make this entry or someone else?
10 A. No, I transferred this from a diagram from the debriefing.
11 Q. In the debriefing is there information according to which a
12 thousand inhabitants from Srebrenica went to Zepa and to Serbia? Thank
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. If we go down a bit, the first vertical line under Srebrenica is
16 what I am interested in. It says Kladanj, 10.632; Tuzla -- Kladanj,
17 Gracanica. Did you mark this figure on the basis of your own information
18 or did someone else enter this number here? Thank you.
19 A. I entered the number.
20 Q. Thank you. Can this number be found in documents anywhere, this
21 number of 10.632 that left Kladanj and Gracanica and went to Tuzla?
22 Thank you.
23 A. I didn't find this in any documents. I obtained this number
24 because I found the difference between 31.000 -- 35.632 and 25.000. I
25 calculated the difference.
1 Q. Thank you. And what is this number, Tuzla 35.632, 35.632? Thank
2 you. Where can it be found?
3 A. This number can be found in the diagram in the debriefing.
4 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Mr. Skrbic, please, in your report, with
5 regard to the movement of 10- to 15.000 people from Srebrenica to
6 Kladanj, well, you call this movement of these people a breakthrough. My
7 question is as follows: What does a breakthrough mean when used in a
8 military sense? What sort of a military term is this? Thank you.
9 A. It's a combat operation of units that are encircled. Whether
10 this was done on purpose or not. Mostly, it is of a tactical
11 significance and its objective is to allow the unit to break through the
12 encirclement by using the shortest route to reach its units at the front
14 Q. Could you please tell us, in this particular case, the
15 breakthrough was made in order to reach which units in which locations,
16 in which region? Thank you.
17 A. In this particular case, the breakthrough of the 28th Division
18 was carried out in the direction of Tuzla to reach the other units of the
19 2nd Tuzla Corps.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Could you please tell us how complex such
21 a breakthrough is? Is this a very complex military operation? Thank
23 A. Nothing is more difficult than to break through one's
24 encirclement. Units that have been encircled have only two options:
25 Either to break through at great risk to life, or not to break through,
1 not to put up resistance but to surrender and to survive.
2 Q. Thank you. Mr. Skrbic, according to your analysis, this column
3 breaking through from Srebrenica, from Susanj, Javic [as interpreted], to
4 the territory under the ABiH control, well, is this a typical
5 breakthrough operation or are we dealing with something else?
6 A. This operation is a typical one. It's a textbook example carried
7 out according to the usual principles that govern breakthroughs. At the
8 head there are brigades or, rather, an armed unit whose task was to break
9 through the encirclement so that the rest of the division could get
10 through. At the tail, there was an armed unit as well. Its purpose was
11 to protect the tail, the rear. And in the middle of the column, some of
12 the soldiers were armed but the majority were men fit for military
13 service who were not armed. That means that the rules and principles
14 governing a breakthrough were respected, and that was in accordance with
15 the possibilities at the disposal of the 28th Division at that time.
16 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Please, could you tell us what the
17 expectations were of those who were leading the unit in the breakthrough
18 and of those who participated in the breakthrough itself? Thank you.
19 A. The expectation was for them to break through and reach territory
20 under the control of the 2nd Corps of the ABiH. If they hadn't had any
21 such expectations, they would not have decided to pursue such a
23 Q. Thank you. Does this mean that a general decision was taken
24 about breaking through, since such a large number actually proceeded to
25 break through? Thank you.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Thank you. Can a military unit attempt a breakthrough without a
3 decision from the top of the chain of command? Thank you.
4 A. No. According to military principles in place, according to the
5 prevailing military doctrine, a unit can break through only having
6 obtained authorisation from its superior command and in accordance with
7 its plans. There are certain situations when at the command level a
8 decision is taken to leave a unit within the encirclement and, of course,
9 these situations aren't frequently encountered. But according to the
10 principles governing the military profession, according to military
11 doctrine, a unit can commence a breakthrough having obtained
12 authorisation from its superiors, and it can do so together with other
13 units if the decision and authorisation is obtained at the level of their
14 superior command.
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Mr. Skrbic, could you please tell us what
16 someone who takes a decision on pursuing a breakthrough has to take into
17 account? What does someone who decides to participate in a breakthrough
18 have to take into account? What sort of things do they have to expect?
19 Thank you.
20 A. Above all, it is necessary to bear in mind the situation. You
21 have to take into account the fact that the enemy will try to prevent a
22 breakthrough from being carried out at all costs. You have to take into
23 account the possibility of carrying out the breakthrough. Secondly, you
24 have to take into account the possibility of sustaining significant
25 losses, because a breakthrough is a military operation that is one of the
1 most risky military operations.
2 In this particular case, the breakthrough of the 28th Division
3 was carried out under very unfavourable conditions, in a tactical sense,
4 in terms of equipment, intelligence that was available, et cetera,
5 et cetera. As a result, the division command, having taken the decision
6 to breakthrough, reached an agreement with the civilian authorities, the
7 local civilian authorities, and they had to expect significant losses
8 because they had to take control of territory that was under the control
9 of the VRS. And the stretch of territory concerned was a stretch of
10 territory 60 kilometres long.
11 In addition, they had to take into account the prevailing
12 situation and the fact that they might find themselves in a situation in
13 which the VRS - provided it managed to block the breakthrough - the VRS
14 could then capture them and disarm them. Or they had to take into
15 account the possibility of continuing with their fight and losing their
17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now have in e-court --
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, sorry for interrupting you. I would
20 like to put a question in relation to the schematic we have still on the
21 screen in front of us.
22 First, I take you back to an answer you provided me with. You
23 said, this is page 42, line 15:
24 "This number can be found in the diagram in the debriefing."
25 Could you please explain what you mean by "debriefing"?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't say "reporting." I said
2 "debriefing." And it's a report that was based on the debriefing
3 provided by the Dutch government.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed. And I said "debriefing," and I wanted to
5 get an explanation from you what kind of debriefing you are referring to.
6 What do you mean by that? We all have to understand what you are meaning
7 by using these words. And especially where can be found in your report a
8 reference to this so-called debriefing?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The debriefing means research and
10 exploration of the events in and around Srebrenica after they had
11 happened by interrogating soldiers from the DutchBat who returned to the
12 Netherlands. And this had to be done because it is common knowledge that
13 the Dutch prime minister was deposed as a result of these events.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Where can that be found in your written report,
15 Mr. Skrbic?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean where the debriefing can
17 be found, or?
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You are referring to this debriefing. I have my
19 own understanding of that, but this is not relevant. I want to know from
20 you where we can find this information in your report which should be the
21 basis of this sketch we have had in front of us. I would like to see the
22 relation between the debriefing and your result. In your report, where
23 can I find it?
24 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, perhaps I can be of some
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No, I would like to have this information from
2 the expert.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had a hard copy of this
4 debriefing whilst I was preparing my report, and I copied this diagram
5 from that printed version. I also had it in an electronic version, and
6 maybe later I can locate it and give you the number of the English
7 version of the debriefing, its number.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Where did you carry out an analysis of this
9 document in your report? I am specifically referring to your report.
10 Where can I find it?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You can find the diagram from the
12 debriefing in my report on page 20 in Serbian or page 17, if I am not
13 mistaken, in English.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: On page 17, I mean, the page number of the
15 written document, this is -- has no diagram, but I think you are
16 referring to page 22 of the report which contains the diagram we have now
17 in front of us. This is the page number in e-court. Is that correct?
18 Please look on the screen. Are you referring to that one?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, that's the diagram. And
20 in my report it's on page 20 in the Serbian version.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And now, again, my question: Where can I find in
22 your report, the written report, any kind of analysis of this Dutch
23 debriefing of the DutchBat soldiers? Where can I read it?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not analyse the debriefing
25 itself. All I did was to take out of it what I deemed to be necessary
1 and which helped me in my research work. Therefore, you cannot find any
2 analysis of the debriefing in my report. I only extracted from it the
3 documents that helped me in my research work.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
5 Mr. Tolimir, you may carry on.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
7 Can we now have in e-court Exhibit D155. Thank you. Thank you.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. We see a document here produced by the command of the 3rd Corps
10 of the ABH. It was drafted in Zenica on the 16th of July, 1995, and it
11 is entitled: "A Report on the Situation in Srebrenica."
12 Can you tell us, have you seen this document before and what does
13 it relate to?
14 A. Yes, I have seen this document before. This is a document issued
15 by the 3rd Corps, and in it, the 3rd Corps command is forwarding
16 information to its subordinate units relating to Srebrenica that had been
17 compiled by the General Staff of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and
19 Q. Thank you.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now look at page 3 of the
21 document in Serbian and page 4 in English. Thank you.
22 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Let us take a look at this information under number 3, at the
24 bottom of the page. Paragraph number 3. The English version number 3,
25 on the top. And it says --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We cannot find the
2 relevant paragraph. Sorry.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, we have a problem with the
4 interpretation. Can you please tell us where -- from which part of this
5 document you are reading?
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am reading paragraphs 1, 2, and 3
7 at the bottom of the page in Serbian, and 1, 2, and 3 at the top of the
8 page in English.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Number 1:
11 "The majority of the civilians have left Srebrenica."
12 Number 2:
13 "Measures are being taken to accommodate expelled persons."
15 "Units of the 28th KoV Division are pulling out of Srebrenica
16 while still fighting. They have remained compact. They have scored
17 success after success in the temporarily occupied territory. They have
18 inflicted great losses on the aggressor. So far, they have eight
19 Chetniks (alive) in captivity. Units of the 28th KoV Division have
20 linked up with the infiltrated units of the 2nd Corps. Their joint
21 forces have continued fighting in the PZT," which stands for temporarily
22 occupied territory. "It is expected that they will fully link up with
23 these units soon. Activities are underway to exploit the success of
24 units carrying out the breakthrough."
25 Now, I am not going to read more of this.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] But, I would rather like to see
2 page 2 in Serbian, or, rather, the next page. I'm sorry. And we can
3 keep the English page as it is.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. So we can see that this was signed by the commander, Army
6 General Rasim Delic. And on this page you can see the same in the
7 Serbian version and, in addition, you have a stamp confirming the
8 authenticity of the transcript.
9 Now, can you tell us, in this document, does General Delic speak
10 about the results of the breakthrough operation after it was completed or
11 immediately after it was over? Thank you.
12 A. First of all, what we can see here is that the breakthrough was
13 conducted exactly in the way that I described before, towards the units
14 on the front line with the approval of the superior command, and in a
15 co-ordinated action with the front line units. The actions carried out
16 by the front line units was, in fact, lifting the blockade of the units'
17 encirclement. And as we can see, the 28th Division managed to break
18 through. General Delic says that its units remained compact. From the
19 military aspect, that means that they were not neutralised and that with
20 a slightly reduced combat power they can continue combat operations.
21 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Please, General Delic here used an
22 abbreviation for temporarily occupied territories, which I translated.
23 So can you please explain to us the meaning of this term, "temporarily
24 occupied territory," and for what purpose did General Delic use it in
25 this letter?
1 A. Temporarily occupied territory is a term that was inherited from
2 the previous military strategy or, rather, the concept of an
3 All People's Defence war. It is obvious that the ABiH had adopted this
4 term which implies a territory held by the opposing side for as long as
5 conditions become ripe for it to be liberated. In this particular case,
6 we are talking about the territory of the Srebrenica enclave. And in the
7 top military echelons, this territory was apparently considered to be a
8 temporarily occupied territory, even though there is no logic to perceive
9 that in such a manner because, in spite of that, that was the territory
10 under the control of their army. It was, indeed, surrounded by the
11 territory controlled by the VRS, but this particular territory itself was
12 controlled by the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 Q. Thank you. Since Delic says here that joint forces are
14 continuing to fight in the temporarily occupied territory, does that mean
15 that the fighting went on in Srebrenica or elsewhere?
16 A. That was the time when the division, the 28th Division, came
17 closer or even broke through towards the front line units. As far as I
18 can remember the document, that included the territory around the
19 Baljkovica village, which is some kilometres away from the forward end of
20 the 2nd Corps units.
21 Q. Thank you. Mr. Skrbic, can you tell us this: Does Mr. Delic
22 then consider this region as well to be a temporarily occupied territory
23 where the units of the VRS army were?
24 A. Yes, that is correct.
25 Q. In addition to this, have you found any other documents in which
1 the BH Army considers the entire territory of Republika Srpska a
2 temporarily occupied territory?
3 A. Yes, I have found documents of that nature.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Skrbic. Mr. Skrbic, please wait with your
5 answer until the interpretation is finished.
6 Mr. Tolimir.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. In this document, Mr. Skrbic, it says that the units of the
10 28th Division have linked up with the infiltrated units of the 2nd Corps.
11 My question is the following: Can you explain to us the events of
12 July 1995 that involved the linking up with the units and the
13 infiltration of units? Thank you.
14 A. This means that the command of the 2nd Corps made a plan and
15 acted in accordance with that plan from the front line towards the
16 28th Division. It also means that best of its units were infiltrated
17 across the defence line of the Army of Republika Srpska. They were
18 supposed to help the 28th Division to open the corridor in order for the
19 division to pullout of the enclave. That also means that at the moment
20 when the units were infiltrated from the front line, they linked up with
21 the units of the 28th Division, which is a prerequisite for any
22 breakthrough to be completed.
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Could you please explain to the
24 Trial Chamber, when you say "from the front line," what do you mean?
25 Which territory do you have in mind when you say that they were
1 infiltrated from the front line?
2 A. I mean the territory under the control of the 2nd Corps of the
3 BiH Army. And when I say "from the front line," I mean the activities of
4 the units of the 2nd Corps launched in the direction of the
5 28th Division.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, shall I continue or
8 is this the time for our next break? Thank you.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Usually we have the second break quarter to 6.00.
10 If you want to have the break now, it's possible. It's up to you.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. No, this is not what I
12 want. I got a bit confused about the time, that's why I asked. Thank
14 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Skrbic, did you have an opportunity to deal with the issue of
16 casualties in the column that was breaking through from Srebrenica
17 towards the territory of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the units of
18 the 2nd Corps of the BiH Army? Thank you.
19 A. Yes, I did. I had an opportunity to look at several documents,
20 and I know how many soldiers of the 28th Division were killed during the
21 breakthrough. One of the documents is the Secretary-General's report.
22 Another document of that nature is a document -- just bear with me for a
23 moment, please. Yes, yes, document P588, which also says that
24 3.000 soldiers of the 28th Division were killed during the breakthrough.
25 I did not use that information in my previous calculations
1 concerning the number of the population of Srebrenica who were registered
2 in Tuzla and around Tuzla and regarding the number of soldiers of the
3 28th Division who were not registered among the civilians.
4 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us something about the data that you
5 found in the Secretary-General's report? Thank you.
6 A. I can tell you that in that document it is stated that
7 3.000 soldiers of the 28th Division were killed during the breakthrough.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 A. There are other documents as well. I apologise. And a reference
10 is made not only to 3.000 but 1500 people who were killed during the
11 breakthrough, I am talking about Mr. Brunborg's report. And there are
12 also other documents. For example, there is a document issued by the
13 2nd Corps command where it is stated that about 1.000 people had been
14 either captured or killed by the date of the document, but you will see
15 this in my other expert report. So when we move on to that report, I
16 will be able to provide you with more detail.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: For the sake of the record, could you please
19 repeat the name of the author of the report you were referring to.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Helge Brunborg.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. But I would kindly ask you, is it
22 correct when I understand your first answer, I quote:
23 "I know how many soldiers of the 28th Division were killed during
24 the breakthrough."
25 That this means, in fact, an approximation? You have given us
1 quite a lot of data now, between 1.000 and 3.000 soldiers killed and
2 casualties during the breakthrough. What is the number you would rely
3 on? Because you said, "I know how many soldiers were killed ..."
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I said that, but what I meant
5 was that I knew based on the documents that I have just mentioned. I
6 don't know that personally. I wasn't there. I used the documents that I
7 just mentioned, the Secretary-General's report, Helge Brunborg's, and
8 document P588. I didn't use the data in my calculations when I analysed
9 the movement of the population. I didn't use that data because it would
10 have been proven that we are dealing with a paradoxic situation. There
11 would have been more able-bodied men after the operation than before
12 there were in Srebrenica. But mathematics is a merciless science and it
13 does not allow for any ambiguities.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please continue.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. The witness has just
16 referred to P588. Therefore, I would kindly ask the e-court to display
17 that document. We can see the document now. Thank you.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. This is a document issued by the United Nations. It was sent on
20 the 17th July, 1995. Did you have this document in your hands, and were
21 you able to take data from it for your report?
22 A. Yes, yes.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am interested in page 4 in
25 Serbian and page 2 in English. Can they be displayed in e-court, please.
1 Thank you.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Please look at paragraph 4 in Serbian as well as in English. And
4 I quote:
5 "Up to 3.000 people lost their lives, mostly due to mines and the
6 activity of the BiH Army. An unknown number were taken prisoner and some
7 committed suicide. An unknown number went in the direction of Zepa."
8 Did you have in mind this document when you say that you found
9 information about 3.000 who died during the breakthrough?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Whose document is this?
12 A. This document was issued by the United Nations.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to call up D268.
15 Thank you. Thank you.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. We are looking at D268, issued by the Republic of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is a statement or an Official Note and an
19 interview. State security services interviewed an informer. We will not
20 mention his name because he is protected. The interview took place on
21 the 17th October, 1995, on the premises of the state security services in
22 Lukavica. You can see it on the screen.
23 And now if we look at the sixth line from the bottom, you will
24 see on page 2 in English, you will see that shelling was done with PAMs.
25 I am going to read the last paragraph in the Serbian. This person said
1 to the state security organs that:
2 "... when the 285th and 282nd Brigades left around 1000 hours on
3 the same day, Chetnik paramilitaries opened strong artillery fire against
4 the remaining brigades and the civilians who were in Buljin, where, in
5 his estimate, around 1.000 soldiers and civilians were killed."
6 Tell us please, have you seen this document before and did you
7 have in mind this figure concerning the number of dead and injured in the
9 A. Yes, I have seen this document before. I used it when drafting
10 my report. And besides this document, I used three other documents
11 similar to this one. All the three documents refer to the number of
12 1.000 people who were killed. After having read all the four documents
13 very thoroughly, I established that two of those documents refer to the
14 same group of soldiers. So one cannot say that the two figures should be
15 added, one to another, so that we may end up with 2.000. And as for the
16 two documents, they refer to two different groups, two different figures
17 of 1.000, which means that we have to add all those figures and we will
18 end up with 3.000.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Let's now look at document --
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No. No, Mr. Tolimir, now it's really time for
22 our second break.
23 I just would want to remind the Defence again, D155, this
24 document was not included in the list of documents to be used with the
25 witness. This is always very unfortunate because we want to have a clear
1 indication. I didn't find it. Perhaps we have another version of this
3 We must have the second break now and we will resume at quarter
4 past 6.00.
5 --- Recess taken at 5.46 p.m.
6 [The witness stands down]
7 [The witness takes the stand]
8 --- On resuming at 6.16 p.m.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir. Please carry on.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Let's look at D269. The witness said that he had used it. Thank
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. We can see it. We won't mention the name because the witness was
15 protected. I don't want the document to be broadcast.
16 Are you familiar with this document? Are you familiar with this
17 witness? Have you had an opportunity to see the document?
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, it is not said in your list that
19 this document is under seal and the Registrar didn't indicate that it is
20 under seal, so there is no confidential information contained in it.
21 Mr. Gajic.
22 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, from time to time, out
23 of the abundance of caution, we were careful with regard to persons who
24 provided such statements. Although this document may not be
25 confidential, still, from time to time, one has to be cautious about such
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic, this is very appreciated, of course.
3 It is always better to be cautious.
4 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
6 We are not saying that the contents should be confidential. We
7 just don't want the name of the person to be publicly broadcast. The
8 Prosecution has always insisted on that. I don't know why. Thank you.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Mr. Skrbic, without mentioning any names, you can say anything
11 you want about this document. Have you seen it before? What did you
12 notice in this document? Did you analyse it? Did you include it into
13 your report? Thank you.
14 A. Yes, I did see this document. This document says that during the
15 breakthrough, this witness here saw a thousand casualties; i.e., he saw
16 that 1.000 soldiers were killed during the breakthrough.
17 Q. Thank you. Let's look at the second page in this document,
18 line 15, where the statement of this eye-witness and participant in the
19 event is quoted.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] In English it is page 2 in the
21 middle of the page, around line 20. Thank you. In the English version
22 it is above the middle of the page, and the number is underlined. And in
23 the Serbian version we can see that it is approximately line 15 and that
24 the same figure, the figure mentioned by the witness, is also underlined
25 in the Serbian version.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Do you see the figure, the figure that you mentioned? Do you see
3 it on the line 15?
4 A. Yes, I do.
5 Q. Could you tell us whether you -- whether you noticed which
6 location this was at? Thank you.
7 A. Could you just show me the previous page?
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we show the witness the
9 previous page, please.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And could I see the next page now?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we see the next page for the
12 witness, please.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This witness says that a thousand
14 soldiers were killed in the course of the breakthrough. After moving
15 from Buljina in the direction of Kamenica.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Thank you. Does this line mention the exact location and the
19 A. Yes. It says that it was 8 kilometres from Buljina. That means
20 that they first had to pass through that area, and this can't be compared
21 with the previous figure because this is a particular figure and the
22 location is not the same as the location in the previous statement.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please see D270. Thank
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Thank you. Mr. Skrbic, please have a look at the second
2 paragraph. I'll read it out first:
3 "Near Kamenica, before the asphalt road leading from
4 Konjevic Polje to Nova Kasaba, in the village of Kaldrmica, fire from
5 Praga self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, artillery and infantry weapons
6 was opened on the column from all sides. In some places the Chetniks
7 were very close, from which I deduced that we were surrounded. After
8 organising ourselves, we put up resistance and broke through the
9 encirclement, opening a narrow passage through which the majority of
10 people passed. In my estimation, about 1.000 people were killed as a
11 consequence of the Chetnik attack and several hundreds more were wounded.
12 Since it was already getting dark, I was unable to see or recognise any
13 of those who'd been killed."
14 Have you seen this document before? Are you familiar with these
15 events, with this information? What could you tell us about it? Thank
17 A. Yes, I've already seen this document which confirms that a
18 thousand soldiers in the Kamenica sector were killed in the course of the
19 breakthrough. This is a document that is in agreement with the previous
20 document that also refers to Kamenica.
21 Q. Thank you. We'll also have a look at D271, which is, as you
22 called it, the previous document.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please see D271.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. We can see another statement here. It says Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina, agency for investigation and documentation. AID sector
2 Tuzla, 12th of February, 1996. And in the third paragraph of this
3 statement it says -- well, it mentions Kamenica. It's the third line.
4 "In the vicinity of the hill of Kamenica, align your column and
5 continue. This was in a forest. The location we chose to rest was in
6 the woods, in a large recess from settlements, so that we relaxed a bit,
7 hoping that we were far from the Chetniks' sight. However, a tree fell
8 at about 2100 hours, which was followed by fire from infantry weapons.
9 Anti-aircraft machine-guns and anti-aircraft guns causing chaos among the
10 people. The shooting lasted for about 15 minutes, and when it stopped,
11 everything fell silent. According to my estimate, about 1.000 men were
12 killed there. We went back to pull out the wounded, but it was
13 practically impossible to make one's way through the bodies. I did not
14 recognise anyone because it was dark and there were ..." and so on and so
16 My question is as follows: Have you already seen this document
17 and did you use it when writing your expert report?
18 A. Yes, I've seen the document and I did use it but only as a source
19 of information on those who were killed in the course of the
20 breakthrough, in the course of the 28th Division's breakthrough.
21 Q. Does the information here correspond to the information in the
22 other document?
23 A. Yes, the information here corresponds to the information
24 contained in the previous statement. The information concerning
1 Q. What sort of conclusions did you draw as a result of the analysis
2 of all four documents? Thank you.
3 A. Having analysed these four documents, I drew the conclusion that
4 all four witnesses mentioned the figure of 1.000, but the actual number
5 of those killed was 3.000, not 4.000, because two witnesses spoke about
6 the same place where soldiers were killed, and the place in question is
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I ask you how did -- how were you able to
10 draw this conclusion? You just said:
11 "The four witnesses mentioned the figure of 1.000, but the actual
12 number of those killed was 3.000."
13 How did you come to this figure?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because in two of the statements
15 from two witnesses, the information was the same. It concerned the same
16 place, and this means that they were in the same group of soldiers, and
17 it means there was one group and the figure was 1.000, not 2.000. The
18 other two statements related to other, different places. They don't
19 tally. So that means that if you add this figure of 1.000 to the other
20 figure of 2.000, the result is 3.000.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
22 Mr. Tolimir.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Could we
24 please move into private session, thank you.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Private.
1 [Private session]
11 Pages 18878-18882 redacted. Private session.
21 [Open session]
22 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours. Thank
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, some other matters to deal with with
25 the witness. You have the floor.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Skrbic, since we spoke about the four locations where victims
4 were found, according to military doctrine, can you tell us what kind of
5 measures are being taken by the army over whose territory a breakthrough
6 is being conducted?
7 A. The army through whose territory the breakthrough is being
8 conducted does everything possible in order to prevent the breakthrough.
9 That means that they undertake all combat measures that they employ and
10 engage all possible means in order to prevent that.
11 Q. Thank you. Can you please explain to the Chamber when you say
12 "all possible means," what did you have in mind?
13 A. I had in mind all artillery, hardware, infantry weapons, mines
14 and explosives; that is to say, everything that was envisaged by the
15 military doctrine for combat.
16 Q. Thank you. After having read these documents about the various
17 locations where clashes occurred, do you know at how many places these
18 obstacles were placed on the route for a breakthrough?
19 A. From these, but also from other documents, I know that along the
20 breakthrough axis used by the 28th Division there occurred two or
21 three very fierce fighting. The last of those battles took place in the
22 Baljkovica sector. Let me just say that the Army of Republika Srpska
23 didn't have enough capability to prevent the breakthrough because some
24 elements of the Drina Corps were engaged on other axes and that was the
25 reason why the 28th Division managed to break through. At any rate, if
1 they had had enough capability, the Army of Republika Srpska was bound to
2 prevent the breakthrough and to stop the pulling out of the division. In
3 other words, it was incumbent upon it to neutralise the 28th Division or
4 destroy it by neutralising it.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Can you tell us what kind of measures are
6 taken in the wake of combat operations along a specific axis or one of
7 the axes?
8 A. After the operation is finalised, the duty of the units that
9 remain in the territory is to clean up the battle-field. This operation
10 means that the terrain has to be inspected, that first of all, all the
11 wounded have to be evacuated, if there are any wounded left. And I have
12 personal experience with situations like that. They also have to collect
13 all the dead bodies, to bury them. And if there is a large number of
14 dead soldiers or if it is impossible to organise a speedy burial, then
15 medical and veterinarian units are engaged to do the -- to undertake rat
16 control measures in order to --
17 Q. [No interpretation]
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Wait, please. We didn't hear the end of the
19 translation. Did the interpreters finish?
20 THE INTERPRETER: We didn't hear the whole answer, sorry.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sir, may I ask you to repeat the end of your
22 answer. You said:
23 "If there is a large number of dead soldiers or if it is
24 impossible to organise a speedy burial, then medical and veterinarian
25 units are engaged to do the ..."
1 What is then? How did you continue?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. To carry out pest
3 control measures of -- on the battle-field, which means the extermination
4 of rats and other rodents in order to prevent the spread of infections.
5 In the military doctrine this kind of operation is called the hygiene or
6 sanitation measures, or in B/C/S "asanacija," of the battle-field.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
8 Mr. Tolimir.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. You just mentioned Baljkovica as the last point across which the
12 28th Division broke through. Can you tell us whether the
13 Zvornik Brigade, on whose territory Baljkovica was located, had to carry
14 out hygiene and sanitation measures? Thank you.
15 A. It is the duty of all units if within their area of
16 responsibility there are those who were killed. That means that the
17 Zvornik Brigade had to carry out the hygiene and sanitation measures as
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Let us go back now to your report on the
20 movement of the population of Srebrenica. You said in your introductory
21 part why you believed that the figure of 7.000 killed is unrealistic.
22 A. The reason I said that because the results of my analysis
23 demonstrated that the number of those members of the 28th Division who
24 were executed cannot be expressed in thousands. I carried out my
25 analysis on the basis of the information that I already referred to, but
1 I can repeat it; that is, the information contained in the documents
2 produced by the Army of BH and the international organisations who had a
3 presence in Srebrenica in the relevant period, and also on the basis of
4 the information provided by UNPROFOR.
5 Q. Thank you. You just mentioned international organisations. Do
6 you include there the International Committee of the Red Cross?
7 A. Yes, of course, the ICRC, the UNHCR, the Medecins Sans
8 Frontieres, and all other organisations that were there in the relevant
9 period and had specific tasks relating to Srebrenica.
10 Q. Now, please, the International Committee of the Red Cross
11 collected information about missing persons. Can you tell us, did you
12 take these data into account in your report, and if you didn't, can you
13 tell us why not?
14 A. I didn't take these data into account because, as I already said,
15 I was following the movement of the Muslim survivors from Srebrenica
16 before and after the operation from July 1995. And that is why I did not
17 rely on any information relating to missing persons in my report.
18 Q. Thank you. Do you think that the data of the ICRC to be
19 incomplete or ambiguous?
20 A. I had an opportunity to see the lists of missing persons, and I
21 know how these lists of the missing persons were compiled and how it is
22 possible at all to compile such a list. The only way to do that is
23 through relatives of the missing persons who can provide information
24 about those who disappeared and that is the procedure applied by the
25 ICRC. They collected information about the missing persons from their
1 relatives, the relatives of those who were on the list of missing
3 Q. Thank you.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, it is 7.00. We have to adjourn for
5 the day. We hope to be able to resolve the problem we have discussed in
6 private session, and we will continue tomorrow morning.
7 We adjourn and resume at 9.00 in this courtroom tomorrow morning.
8 And I have to remind you, Mr. Skrbic, that it's not allowed to have
9 contact during this break to either party of this trial.
10 We adjourn.
11 [The witness stands down]
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 7th day of
14 February, 2012, at 9.00 a.m.