1 Monday, 13 February 2012
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon to everybody in the courtroom and
6 to those following our proceedings.
7 Before we start or continue with the witness, I would kindly ask
8 the Prosecutor in relation to the next witness, what the reasons may be
9 to request two and a half hours of cross-examination. You will recall
10 that it was the practice during the Prosecution case that Mr. Tolimir
11 always requested, or most cases, requested the same time for
12 cross-examination as the Prosecution requested for the
13 examination-in-chief of their own witnesses.
14 Are there specific reasons to extend this time for
15 cross-examination of the witness? Mr. Tolimir had requested one hour and
16 a half for his examination-in-chief.
17 MR. VANDERPUYE: Good afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours,
19 Mr. President, I think I can be of some assistance to the
20 Trial Chamber. One of the reasons why the amount of time has been
21 requested with respect to the next witness by the Prosecution is in
22 excess of the amount of time that Mr. Tolimir intends to examine him is
23 because the nature of this witness's testimony, as I understand it,
24 potentially bears on the question of alibi which relates to
25 General Tolimir's whereabouts following the end of July. His ability to
1 communicate with the Main Staff and other elements of the VRS -- other
2 VRS units, as well as his physical location is at issue. The 65 ter
3 summary does not -- is not particularly extensive in terms of the
4 information it provides concerning those issues, and in order to allow us
5 the ability to cross-examine this witness on those issues as they may
6 arise during the course of his direct testimony, we've made an allowance
7 for that, and that's the reason why we've asked for more time than we
8 normally would have.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
10 Mr. Tolimir, what is the position of the Defence in this respect?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. May the
12 Lord bring peace upon this house, and may this trial be concluded
13 according to providence and God's will, not according to my wishes.
14 The Defence takes the position that the Prosecution may do
15 whatever they want to do, that they are at liberty to prove whatever they
16 want to prove, and finally, that they can extend the time required for
17 examining this witness.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you for that. The Chamber will consider
19 the situation and come back to it before the -- or at the beginning of
20 the testimony of that witness.
21 The current witness should be brought in, please.
22 [The witness takes the stand]
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon, Mr. Skrbic. Welcome back. I
24 have to remind you that the affirmation to tell the truth still applies
1 Before Mr. Vanderpuye gets the floor, I have one question for
3 WITNESS: RATKO SKRBIC [Resumed]
4 [Witness answered through interpreter]
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: During the course of your testimony, you
6 testified about the way you have collected your information, about the
7 kind of documents you have received in order to prepare your expertise
8 and your expert report. I would kindly ask you to explain, in general,
9 the method you followed in preparing the two reports you have provided to
10 the Defence, and the Defence to the Chamber. What were the principles of
11 your work, how did you collect your information, and especially did you
12 seek guidance from anybody how to prepare such an expert -- since you
13 told us it's the first time that you are as an expert testifying in
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have received a
16 lot of documents, as I already said. Then I made a kind of preliminary
17 review of the documents by opening each folder and each file, and for all
18 those documents that at first glance this -- I decided that they cannot
19 be of any use for preparing my expert report according to my idea and
20 according to my proposition of how it should look like, I did not mark
21 such documents.
22 Now, as for the documents I believe that can be of use in the
23 course of preparing my expert report, I marked them in an appropriate
24 manner and that's how I finalised this preliminary inspection of the
25 documents. Then I went back to the ones that I marked and I read them
1 more thoroughly and marked, in a way that the current information
2 technology allows me to do, such sections that I copied into a new folder
3 which I entitled: "Working Material." Thereby I created a working
4 material basis from a large number of documents. On the basis of that
5 file, I started preparing my expert report.
6 Of course, I did not include all the parts of the documents that
7 I copied in this working material folder because, quite simply, I didn't
8 have enough space or time to provide such a voluminous report.
9 This, Mr. President, is the way how I approached the preparation
10 of my expert report. I did not consult anyone with regard to any single
11 document or any other issue relating to my expert report for that matter.
12 Everything I did I did independently.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. Your answer triggered two follow-up
14 questions. You said:
15 "I have received a lot of documents ..."
16 Can you tell us from whom did you receive these documents?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can. I received the
18 documents from the -- General Miletic's Defence team and
19 General Tolimir's Defence team.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: When did this process of providing you with
21 documents start?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This process commenced at the
23 moment when I was approved by the Tribunal's Registry to become a member
24 of General Miletic's team as an investigator, and it ended by the
25 submission of documents from General Tolimir's team prior to the
1 preparation of this report of mine.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Your involvement in the two cases were of a
3 different quality. In the Miletic case, you were an investigator for the
4 Defence team; here, you are testifying as an expert witness. Can you
5 tell me when this process of providing you with document from the Defence
6 in this current case started?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In this case, the process of the
8 provision of documents started after the receipt of a decision that my
9 nomination as a military expert has been approved by the Registry, and
10 after that the Defence team of General Tolimir started sending me
11 documents, and I think that was when the decision was taken. That was in
12 the 2nd of May of last year --
13 THE INTERPRETER: The second half of May, interpreter's
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You told us at the beginning of your testimony
16 that you took part in a conference in Moscow and that you published,
17 after that, a paper on this same topic as we are dealing with. On which
18 documents did you rely at that time?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that time, I relied on the
20 documents that I had received from General Miletic's Defence team.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Unfortunately, I forgot when this conference in
22 Moscow took place. Can you repeat the time, please?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think it was in April 2009.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
25 Another question. You said in your first answer:
1 "I decided that they," referring to documents, "cannot be of any
2 use for preparing my expert report according to my idea and according to
3 my proposition of how it should look like."
4 What was your idea?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My idea was - and I really
6 apologise to you for having to repeat this once again - to follow the
7 fate of the Muslim survivors and thereby establish whether there are any
8 differences in the period before and after the VRS action. All the
9 documents that could not fit or serve the application of such methodology
10 I discarded, such as, for example, photographs because I didn't need them
11 in order to verify the facts and were not able to provide me with any
12 specific evidence that would help me to check the actual number of
13 potentially missing number of Muslims as compared to the number that
14 existed before the VRS operation.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You said -- the question was for you whether
16 there are any differences in the period before and after the VRS action
17 in relation to the fate of the Muslim survivors. Could you explain what
18 your proposition was in that respect? You said you had a certain
19 proposition how your expert report should look like. What was that?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My thesis was that this methodology
21 that I had chosen and the method of conducting research that I adhered to
22 can, in a very convincing manner, demonstrate whether there were fewer
23 inhabitants of Srebrenica in the aftermath of Krivaja 95 operation as
24 opposed to the number that existed in Srebrenica before the operation.
25 So my proposition was that this is a proper method that would help me to
1 prove whether there were such enormous numbers of victims or not.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I read your reports carefully. There is one
3 thing missing, in my view. I didn't see any list of publications or
4 documents you have taken into account while drafting your report. This
5 is quite unusual.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In my report, wherever I made
7 reference to any number, I put the reference number of the documents that
8 I was relying upon, and in the event of using tables or charts about the
9 population, then under each of such graphics I provided an explanation
10 about the sources from which these specific number of inhabitants were
11 taken. So I didn't include footnotes or endnotes in a standard manner
12 but, instead, quite simply, whenever I used a number taken from any
13 document, I would insert in brackets the number of the document that I
14 used as an outsourcing tool or made a reference to it in some other way.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed, I saw it in your text. Thank you for
16 providing me with your answers.
17 Mr. Vanderpuye, I took some time before you get the floor. You
18 have it now. Please proceed.
19 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon to
20 you, once again. Good afternoon to the Defence.
21 Cross-examination by Mr. Vanderpuye: [Continued]
22 Q. And good afternoon to you, Mr. Skrbic.
23 A. Good afternoon.
24 Q. I just want to clarify something that's emerged from the
25 discussion you just had now with the Presiding Judge, and it is that your
1 report -- or, rather, you prepared two reports; is that correct?
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. One is the population analysis and the other one is the military
4 report, correct?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. And so with respect to the answers that you gave the
7 Presiding Judge concerning the documents that you relied on or didn't
8 rely on, did that relate to one report or the other or to both?
9 A. To both.
10 Q. And with respect to the objective of your reports, were they the
11 same for both?
12 A. They cannot have one common objective, these two reports, because
13 in my first report I wanted to check, as I said, whether it is correct
14 that over 7.000 able-bodied men had been executed. The second report was
15 intended to take into account all military events, whether they be combat
16 events or those relating to military operations, and to put them in the
17 context of a mutual conflict so that the Trial Chamber and everyone else
18 who is interested in that can perceive these events in the context of the
19 conflict instead of perceiving it only in a one-sided manner, as if only
20 one army existed and the other army did not exist at all.
21 MR. VANDERPUYE: All right. If I could have D368 in e-court,
23 Q. You'll recognise this as your report on the movement of the
24 Srebrenica population, yes?
25 A. Yes.
1 MR. VANDERPUYE: And I'd like to go to page 27 in the English and
2 page 30 in the Serbian, please.
3 Q. And for you, sir, I'd like to focus you on the paragraph that
4 starts after the reference to P1268. It's just after the redacted
5 portions end in the first paragraph.
6 MR. VANDERPUYE: For our purposes, it's in the same position,
7 roughly, on the top of the page.
8 Q. There you write that:
9 [As read] "None of your attempts to establish whether there were
10 large-scale Muslim casualties during and after the fighting for
11 Srebrenica have been successful. One thing is beyond doubt: That you
12 have made efforts to find any sort of data which might perhaps point to
13 their being large-scale Muslim casualties during and after that fighting.
14 Those efforts have obviously been in vain, for even hypothetical
15 situations which are indubitably directed towards proving that there were
16 large-scale Muslim casualties with the numbers killed during the breakout
17 being deliberately excluded from the equation have not borne any fruit
18 because we have reliably determined that at least 3.000 (5.000) BiH Army
19 soldiers left the enclave and joined that army's 2nd Corps and were not
20 registered as refugees."
21 Then you say:
22 "The number of 897 possible Muslim victims cannot, therefore, be
23 regarded as reliable and cannot be used as possible evidence or fact
24 regarding large-scale Muslim casualties."
25 With respect to your efforts to find any sort of data which
1 might, perhaps, point to there being large-scale Muslim casualties, it is
2 true that you disregarded forensic evidence that was available to you,
4 A. It's only partially correct. Sir, I explained to you that I am
5 not a forensic expert and I know next to nothing about forensic science.
6 When you showed me Mr. Brunborg's document on Thursday, dated 2009,
7 bearing the -- citing the number of 7.000 something, I told you that by
8 casting a cursory glance at any document - and that was the first time I
9 saw the document - after I briefly looked at it, I wasn't able to
10 establish which period is covered in the document with regard to the
11 casualties, whether it is covering the whole period of the conflict or
12 just July and August 1995. That was the reason why I partly discarded or
13 partly decided not to use some of the forensic -- forensic reports,
14 because I don't want to swim in a deep water if I am not a good swimmer.
15 Let me tell you one more thing --
16 Q. Mr. Skrbic, I am going to ask you to answer my question. My
17 question was whether or not you disregarded that evidence. You can
18 answer that yes or no.
19 A. Of course not. And I couldn't use it anyway because, as I told
20 you, that was the first time that I saw that document here last Thursday.
21 Q. You didn't ask General Tolimir for that document or documents
22 like it in preparing your report, correct?
23 A. Sir, how could I have known about the existence of those
24 documents if nobody gave them to me? As for those that were given to me
25 and concerned forensic science, I studied them and I have just told you
1 why I didn't take that information and that data into account when I did
2 my calculations.
3 Q. So tell us what you mean in your report where you say that you
4 made efforts to find any sort of data which might, perhaps, point to
5 there being large-scale Muslim casualties during and after the fighting.
6 What any sort of data do you have in mind in this particular passage
7 that's now before us?
8 A. All the information concerning the number of the population
9 before and after the operation launched by the Army of Republika Srpska,
10 that's the information that I had in mind.
11 Q. Isn't the whole purpose of determining what the population was
12 before and after the crime to determine the possibility that people were
13 killed in the manner that's described in this indictment, by the
14 thousands in mass summary executions? Wasn't that the whole point of it?
15 A. No, no. The point and the purpose was -- and I really apologise.
16 You are forcing me to repeat one and the same thing over and over again.
17 It was always the point for me to check if people were missing, and if
18 they indeed were missing, how many went missing after the operation in
19 comparison with the number of the population of Srebrenica before the
21 Q. Mr. Skrbic, doesn't the number of missing and dead people that I
22 showed you the other day contained in Mr. -- Dr. Brunborg and
23 Dr. Tabeau's report bear on the question of how many missing and dead
24 people there were after the conflict, after Srebrenica collapsed?
25 Doesn't it bear directly on the issue that you were studying?
1 A. What you are just asking me does not fit within my research
2 methodology; therefore, I am in no position to give a different answer.
3 At the same time, I don't want to go over the same grounds again. I
4 don't want to discuss my research methodology again.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sir, you are here to explain your research
6 methodology as often as necessary. This is your obligation. And this
7 sentence put to you from your report doesn't relate to missing persons
8 but to Muslim casualties.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the sentence that has been shown
10 to me and that, indeed, is a product of my own work, I can see that this
11 sentence refers to the possible number of those Muslims who went missing
12 after the VRS operation. It doesn't apply to anything else. When I said
13 in this courtroom that even hypothetical situations did not yield the
14 result of 7.000 or even more inhabitants of Srebrenica missing after the
15 operation, this means that I had studied such a hypothetical situation,
16 that I did my calculations for such a hypothetical situation and made my
17 inferences based on that, and you will find that hypothetical situation
18 in my report. One is just a hypothesis, another is an extreme
19 hypothesis, and there is a third one which is also another extreme
20 hypothesis. I really wanted to check whether 7.000 and more militarily
21 able-bodied men or inhabitants of Srebrenica, indeed, went missing after
22 the operation in Srebrenica in comparison with the situation as it was
23 before that operation.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
25 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Q. Your statement in your report that you made efforts to find any
2 sort of data pointing to these mass casualties is untrue, isn't it,
3 Mr. Skrbic? You didn't make efforts to find any sort of data reporting
4 to -- relating to the mass casualties as alleged in this case. You used
5 some data that suited the ends to which you sought to achieve, correct?
6 A. Sir, I used facts, and I found those facts in documents. I
7 didn't deal with anything else. The only thing I dealt with were facts.
8 If it says in the documents that have been displayed here that in
9 Srebrenica, before the VRS operation there were 40.000 inhabitants, or
10 38.000 according to some sources, or 42.000 according to yet other
11 sources, and I did my calculations based on the figure of 38.000, as well
12 as on the figure of 40, as well as on the figure of 42.000, what
13 objections can you make to that? How can you wrong that [as
15 I was very consistent. I didn't want -- I didn't have the
16 intention to make my calculations based on median values. I made my
17 calculations respecting the principle of consistency in science. Using
18 the lower part of the range as well as the upper part of the range, and I
19 just let the results show what they did, and they showed exactly what I
20 stated in my report.
21 Q. Mr. Skrbic, I am just trying to get to the bottom of your
22 reference here that you used or made efforts to find any sort of data.
23 You haven't been able to answer that so far.
24 Let me ask you about what precedes that immediately, and we can
25 see just a glimpse of it on the top of the screen here of your reference
1 to certain statements. You made reference to certain statements in your
2 report, correct? Of witnesses, survivors, those types of people.
3 A. Of course, of course.
4 Q. And you relied on those statements in order to determine your
5 objectives, which was to find out how many people were missing as a
6 result or following the collapse of Srebrenica by comparing how many
7 people you found and registered against how many people were in the
8 census or the population studies before the fall of Srebrenica. Right?
9 A. Sir, I relied on the information provided by the witnesses whom I
10 mentioned in my expert report. And now I am going to tell you something
11 that will disappoint you, just as I was disappointed with the fact that I
12 am going to share with you. Whenever I did my calculations and whenever
13 I used information about the number of soldiers of the 28th Division who
14 managed to break through - and their Commander-in-Chief,
15 General Rasim Delic, said that 5.000 had broken through, mostly
16 unscathed - in every example of my calculations, whenever I used that
17 figure, I would end up with results that were really surprising, even for
19 Every time I ended up with a number of able-bodied men after the
20 operation which was higher than the number of them who were found in
21 Srebrenica prior to the VRS operation. And this is just not logical and
22 natural. However, facts are facts. I could not avoid that. An old
23 Latin maxim says: "Contra factum non datur argumentum," which means you
24 cannot argue facts. There is no proof against facts.
25 And let me tell you one more thing. In my calculations I did not
1 use the number of 3.000 soldiers of the 28th Division who were killed or
2 died during the breakthrough. Why is that? Why didn't I use that
3 number? I didn't use that number, sir, because every calculation based
4 on the 3.000 soldiers who died during the breakthrough would also
5 demonstrate that the number of able-bodied men was higher after the VRS
6 operation in comparison with the number of able-bodied men prior to the
7 operation. I didn't use that number because I really felt embarrassed
8 because I knew that that was not natural.
9 The facts that I used are simply facts. I didn't make them up.
10 They are facts.
11 Q. The numbers you came up with didn't take account of the prisoners
12 that were in VRS custody following the fall of Srebrenica; correct?
13 A. Sir --
14 Q. You can answer that yes or no, Mr. Skrbic. You either did or you
16 A. No, I did not.
17 Q. You didn't take consideration of the testimony evidence that was
18 provided by VRS members in this case concerning the custody of those
19 prisoners; correct?
20 A. I deliberately didn't use any Serb sources or any other source
21 that might be perceived as being close to us Serbian sources, and I did
22 that because I wanted to avoid any objection or accusation that I used
23 wrong information. I only -- the only sources I used were BiH Army units
24 and international organisations and those forces that were deployed in
25 Srebrenica during the relevant period and that carried out certain tasks
1 over there based on UN mandate or without it.
2 Q. Do you know who Drazen Erdemovic is?
3 A. From the media. And in several documents I came across his name.
4 Q. You know that he was a member of the 10th Sabotage Detachment in
5 July 1995?
6 A. I saw that in documents.
7 Q. You know that that detachment was controlled by the intelligence
8 administration of the Main Staff of the VRS at that time?
9 A. No, sir. There is no single unit in any army, which includes the
10 VRS, or any other state, that is under control or directly subordinated
11 to any other organ but the organ that is authorised to be in command and
12 issue tasks. The 10th Sabotage Unit, or whatever you wish to call it, or
13 any other unit, certainly could not have been subordinated to the
14 intelligence and security sector or any other administration or sector
15 during the relevant period of time. That's how things are in a military.
16 This is the principle of army organisation. If things were
17 different, the main principle on which every military rests would be
18 disturbed, and that principle is the singleness and unity of command.
19 Q. Do you know who Colonel Petar Salapura is or was in July 1995,
20 his position in the Main Staff of the VRS?
21 A. Yes, I know from documents. I know that he was chief of the
22 security administration of the intelligence and security sector of the
23 General Staff of the VRS.
24 Q. We may have a translation issue. Could you repeat your answer,
25 please, a little slowly.
1 A. Yes, I can. Colonel Petar Salapura was, during the relevant
2 period of time, in July and August 1995, chief of the security --
3 intelligence administration of the sector for intelligence and security
4 in the General Staff of the VRS.
5 Q. Did Colonel Salapura in that position give orders to the
6 10th Sabotage Detachment?
7 A. Sir, in the military, orders and tasks are issued only by
8 authorised officers. The only authorised officer to issue orders to
9 subordinated units is the commander or a person authorised by him. In
10 the absence of a commander in the VRS, this could have been done by his
11 deputy, and during that period of time that was the Chief of Staff of the
12 Main Staff of the VRS.
13 Q. Were you aware that Colonel Salapura gave orders to the
14 10th Sabotage Detachment in 1995? Are you aware of that fact?
15 A. I don't know whether he gave orders. If he did, I don't know
16 whether he was authorised to do so. I have just explained the
17 functioning of a military and the principle of the singleness and unity
18 of command. I told you who has the authority to issue orders to
19 subordinated units.
20 Q. Do you know who Dragomir Pecanac is or was in July 1995?
21 A. I know who Dragomir Pecanac is, but I don't know what he did in
22 July 1995.
23 Q. Do you know that he was a member of the intelligence
24 administration at that time?
25 A. No. I've just told you I don't know what his position was in
1 1995, neither do I know what he did before or after that.
2 Q. Do you know that he testified that the 10th Sabotage Detachment
3 in July 1995 was under the direct control of the intelligence
4 administration in this case, transcript page 18133, lines 20 through 25,
5 and transcript page 18134, lines 10 through 12. Do you know that,
6 Mr. Skrbic?
7 A. No, I don't know that. I don't know what any of the witnesses in
8 this case testified about. As far as I see things, perhaps I should know
10 Q. So you didn't take into consideration in drafting your report on
11 the population of Srebrenica concerning the victims of the crimes
12 perpetrated after its fall the testimony of Drazen Erdemovic; correct?
13 A. No, I did not.
14 Q. You know that his unit of the 10th Sabotage Detachment took part
15 in the execution of what he described as over a thousand to 1200 Muslim
16 prisoners at the Branjevo military farm on the 16th of July? Were you
17 aware of that?
18 A. I saw that in the indictment that you drafted.
19 Q. He also provided evidence that there were another 500 people that
20 were in the Pilica cultural centre about whom he was approached to go and
21 kill. Do you know about that?
22 A. Could you please repeat your question. I have a feeling that the
23 interpreter made quite long breaks in the question, so I was not in a
24 position to understand your question fully, so could you please repeat
1 Q. Are you aware that Drazen Erdemovic testified that after the
2 killings at the Branjevo farm, he was approached about killing another
3 group of prisoners, about 500 of them, at the Pilica cultural centre or
4 the Dom Kulture?
5 A. I don't know what he testified, and I've just told you that I did
6 not take into account that information provided either by him or by
7 anybody else. I didn't take any of that information into account when I
8 did my calculations.
9 Q. Well, I'll give it to you now. You've just heard me mention
10 1.000 to 1200 and now 500. How would that affect your calculations?
11 Would it make it so that the population following the fall of Srebrenica
12 exceeded the population before its fall, according to your calculations?
13 A. I would have to do another calculation in order to be able to
14 answer your question. I can't tell you off the top of my head. I need
15 time to do my calculations. I need to compare the data.
16 Q. You didn't take into consideration the testimony of Momir Nikolic
17 who testified that on 12 July, he was told by the chief of security of
18 the Drina Corps that: "All the balijas were going to be killed"?
19 A. No, no. I never used Momir Nikolic's testimony. I am not even
20 sure that I read it with any deal of attention.
21 Q. He also testified that the chief of security in the Main Staff in
22 the sector of security and intelligence, Ljubisa Beara, told him that the
23 prisoners in Bratunac were to be transferred to Zvornik where they were
24 to be killed, and that he transmitted that order to the chief of security
25 of the Zvornik Brigade, Drago Nikolic. And he told him about that order
1 on the evening of 13 July 1995. Did you know about that?
2 A. No, no, I didn't know that.
3 Q. Do you know who Tanacko Tanic is or was in July 1995?
4 A. Could you please repeat the name? I heard Talic, but can you
5 repeat that.
6 Q. Tanacko Tanic.
7 A. No, no. The name doesn't ring a bell. I never heard the name
9 Q. In July 1995 he was a member of the command of the
10 Zvornik Brigade who testified in this trial about what he saw when he
11 went to the Orahovac school on the afternoon of 14 July 1995. In part,
12 he testified that he saw Drago Nikolic at the school, Vujadin Popovic at
13 the school, both security officers within the security organ of the VRS.
14 He testified that he saw a number of prisoners in the schools and that he
15 was there until he saw a group of prisoners being loaded onto a truck to
16 be transported, obviously, to the execution site and heard gun-shots that
17 evening when he left the area from that direction. Did you know about
19 A. If I have told you that the name doesn't ring a bell, how could I
20 be in a position to know what that person said or testified or anything
21 like that.
22 Q. You might have heard about prisoners being killed at the Orahovac
23 school or nearby. Did you hear about that? That is, in the context of
24 writing your report or before you wrote your report.
25 A. When it comes to the number of those who were executed or
1 detained and transferred to the Zvornik Brigade and then executed, I
2 heard all that from the -- or learned about all that from the indictment
3 in this case. As far as I can remember, in the first part of my report I
4 did not leave out any of those figures, and I took them into account when
5 I did my calculations. I will not repeat what kind of result I ended up
6 with because that would just be taxing on both you and the Trial Chamber.
7 Q. Have you heard the name Lazar Ristic before?
8 A. No, never. The name doesn't ring a bell.
9 Q. He was the deputy commander of the 4th Battalion of the
10 Zvornik Brigade who also testified in this trial. He was requested to
11 supply ten men to the school and was told, later, that those ten men had
12 been approached about forming an execution squad to kill the prisoners at
13 that school. When I say "kill," I mean summarily execute them. Did you
14 hear that evidence, perhaps, someplace else?
15 A. No. I never heard about that testimony. I've just told you that
16 that man's name doesn't even ring a bell. I've never heard that name
18 Q. Mr. Skrbic, a moment ago you said facts are facts. This
19 Trial Chamber has heard the evidence or received the evidence of numerous
20 witnesses that attest to the fact that thousands upon thousands of
21 prisoners in the custody of VRS units following the collapse of
22 Srebrenica were summarily executed at several sites, in Zvornik and
23 elsewhere, that their bodies were put in pits dug out by excavator
24 operators who testified in this case about what pits they dug out, when
25 they dug them out, and where.
1 Are you telling this Trial Chamber that you have not reviewed any
2 of the evidence as it relates to the disposition of those prisoners?
3 A. No, I did not read these testimonies. I read your indictment. I
4 took over from it the information you provided with relation to the
5 number of the people executed, captured, or transferred, and I used them
6 in my calculations in the manner I already explained.
7 Q. You testified, I think it was on Thursday, that you skipped over
8 some photographs, yes?
9 A. Of course. And I repeated that this morning in my response to
10 the Trial Chamber President, stating that these kind of documents did not
11 serve my purpose and did not serve the objective that I set and that is
12 why I didn't use them. And I'm telling you the same thing now, again.
13 Q. Let me show you P94.
14 MR. VANDERPUYE: If I could have that in e-court, please. And
15 we'll need to go to page 32.
16 Q. What I am showing you is an aerial image of the Nova Kasaba
17 football stadium. As you can see from this particular exhibit, this is
18 from 13 July at 1400 hours. You may recall that this is the same time as
19 the exhibit I showed you earlier from Colonel Milomir Savcic, which talks
20 about a thousand prisoners in Dusanova Kasaba. Do you remember that
21 document that I showed you?
22 A. Yes, yes, I do.
23 Q. Let me show you page 46 of this exhibit. This is an aerial
24 image, as you can see from this exhibit, taken 13 July 1995, again at
25 1400 hours. This is at Sandici which, of course, you know is a different
1 location than Novo Kasaba. And you can see in the centre of the picture
2 or just below the centre of the picture a group of people. Do you see
3 them there, Mr. Skrbic?
4 A. Can you please assist me and point me to this group of people?
5 MR. VANDERPUYE: Perhaps we can blow that up. It's just below
6 the centre of the picture, a little bit to the right.
7 Q. Does that assist you, Mr. Skrbic?
8 A. I'm really doing my best to discern that these are human beings,
9 but no matter how hard I try, I really cannot say that these are people.
10 Q. Do you recall the document I showed you that was authored by
11 Ljubisa Borovcanin, dated 13 July, the one that talked about
12 1500 prisoners and their numbers are growing by the hour? Do you
13 remember that from Thursday?
14 A. Yes, yes, I do.
15 Q. Let me show you P -- page, rather, 249 of this exhibit.
16 Have you seen this photograph before?
17 A. I don't remember seeing this photograph before.
18 Q. This is a photograph of the Branjevo farm execution.
19 Let me show you page 250.
20 Have you seen this photo before, Mr. Skrbic? These are the
21 people that were found at the bottom of that grave, some of them.
22 A. No, I have never seen this photograph.
23 Q. Let me show you page 261 of this exhibit.
24 These are a series of secondary graves along the Cancari road
25 from one through twelve. Have you seen this or these photographs before?
1 A. No, I haven't. And for each photograph that you are going to ask
2 me in the future about, I said that whilst I was reviewing documents,
3 whenever I came across a photograph, I decided that they were not useful
4 for my calculations and therefore I did not utilise them.
5 Q. Let me show you page 264.
6 This is a photograph of the exhumation of Cancari 12. Have you
7 seen this photograph before, Mr. Skrbic?
8 A. No, I haven't.
9 Q. Let me show you page 196 of this exhibit.
10 What we are looking at now is aerial imagery taken of the Kozluk
11 execution site. On the left-hand of the screen you can see what the site
12 looked like on 5 July 1995, and then you can see what the site looked
13 like on 17 July 1995. And you can see a clear difference between those
14 two photographs.
15 Have you seen this or these images before, Mr. Skrbic?
16 A. No, I haven't. And now I can tell you this: Thank you for
17 showing me this particular photograph so that I can finally give you any
18 kind of answer relating to the pictures shown to me. A photograph is a
19 frozen shot, and I cannot recognise, I cannot assert, I cannot give you
20 any answer whether that was the actual situation or not. I wasn't there
21 on the spot. I cannot tell you whether it was like this at the time or
23 Now, in view of all the surveillance equipment available at the
24 time, it is only natural -- it would have been natural for you to show us
25 dynamic images and then there nobody should and would have any doubts
1 about it. But as General Smith said in his evidence, he said that
2 photographs were a good tool but they didn't show what was going on under
3 the surface of the ground because photographs, as I said, are frozen
4 images; therefore, I cannot give you a proper answer to your question.
5 Q. Do you know who Srecko Acimovic is or was in July 1995?
6 A. No, I don't.
7 Q. Well, he was the commander of the 2nd Battalion of the
8 Zvornik Brigade. It was his unit that was associated with the prisoners
9 that were brought to the Rocevic school and executed at this site here
10 that I am showing you. Now, I take it you haven't read his testimony.
11 A. No, I haven't, and I said that I didn't use any of the Serbian
12 forces --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Sources, interpreter's correction.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- in my calculations, and I
15 explained the reasons for that.
16 MR. VANDERPUYE:
17 Q. So you didn't use the testimony of Mr. Acimovic who has testified
18 in this case received a telegram from the Zvornik Brigade command, argued
19 with the chief of security of the Zvornik Brigade about putting together
20 an execution squad to kill the prisoners at the Rocevic school, who
21 testified that he confronted or was confronted by
22 Lieutenant-Colonel Vujadin Popovic at the school, and that
23 Colonel Popovic requested that a truck be brought to the school to
24 transport the prisoners to the execution site. I take it you haven't
25 reviewed the testimony of a witness who testified in this case who was at
1 the site shooting at the prisoners. You don't have any familiarity with
2 any of that, right, Mr. Skrbic?
3 A. Sir, 20 or 30 minutes ago I told you that I am not familiar with
4 a single testimony of the witnesses called by you to testify in this
5 case, and I didn't have an opportunity to review them. Therefore, I
6 really don't see any point in you pursuing the matter further because I
7 really don't know.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Skrbic, how do you know that General Smith
9 said in his evidence that photographs were a good tool but they didn't
10 show what was going on under the surface of the ground? How do you know
11 that this was his evidence?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I read that in his statement. As
13 far as I can remember, the statement can be found in the portion when
14 Mr. Bretton Randall was putting questions to him about mass graves and
15 said that there were photographs about those sites, and if I remember
16 correctly, that was his response.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You mean his statement given to the OTP, the
18 Prosecutor's Office, yes?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know, Mr. President,
20 whether Bretton Randall was a member of the OTP or the Tribunal, what his
21 actual role was. But if I remember correctly, it's contained in
22 Mr. Randal's report on his interview with General Smith, and I clearly
23 remember seeing this in this statement.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
25 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Q. You said at page 18855 of your transcript -- I mean, of your
2 testimony, you said that there were two ways to get out of an
3 encirclement. One way was through a breakthrough, which was risky, and
4 the other way was to surrender and survive. Do you remember saying that,
5 Mr. Skrbic?
6 A. Indeed, I do.
7 Q. Let me show you P2789.
8 MR. VANDERPUYE: And we'll need to go to page 7 of that exhibit.
9 Q. This is a photograph -- or, rather, a still taken from video
10 footage at Potocari, 13 July 1995. I want to direct your attention to
11 the man on the left. His name is Mesa Efendic. He was identified by his
12 wife as a 63-year-old man back when this video footage was taken.
13 First of all, have you seen this particular image before? I take
14 it no, but.
15 A. This is the first time that I see this picture.
16 Q. Let me show you P1363.
17 This is Mesa Efendic as he appeared in Kozluk when his remains
18 were exhumed. You can see he's still wearing the red sweater, a
19 light-coloured top, the dark pants. His identity was confirmed
20 forensically in addition to this exhumation, photograph, autopsy report,
22 Do you really have much doubt that there were mass executions of
23 Muslim prisoners that took place in the days following the collapse of
24 Srebrenica? Is that really a question in your mind, Mr. Skrbic?
25 A. Sir, I don't have any personal views, and if you remember, I
1 answered one of your questions in the previous days of this trial to the
2 effect that I don't claim anything. All I did was to make the
3 calculations based on the information available to me. Likewise, I can
4 confirm, again, to you -- and it was never my intention to claim that
5 there were no executions and shootings because I never set that as an
6 objective. My analysis has only shown that these executions cannot be
7 expressed in thousands.
8 Q. As you saw the picture of this man in Potocari, is there any
9 militarily justifiable reason that I should be looking at a photograph of
10 him now - and you, also - in an exhumation photo from the Kozluk mass
12 A. Sir, not a single killing - and I repeat - not a single killing
13 of a disarmed member of the enemy forces is necessary and permissible.
14 And I don't justify such acts. In my reports I never
15 said any word to the effect that I justified any sort of killing.
16 Q. Let me show you P2530.
17 Have you seen this document before, Mr. Skrbic?
18 A. I don't remember having seen it.
19 Q. Well, it's a document, as you can see from the heading, from the
20 1st Milici Light Infantry Brigade, from the security affairs organ, it
21 says, to the Drina Corps command, intelligence department. And it's a
22 report. In the report it says that on -- it's not clear what the date
23 is, but it says:
24 [As read] "At about 1600 hours in the general area of Buljim, the
25 following person got away from a group heading away from Srebrenica and
1 surrendered to the VRS."
2 "Ibis Malic," was his name, "son of Maso, a prisoner of war, born
3 on 1 January 1977, in the village of Sebiocina, Vlasenica municipal
4 assembly, completed primary school, a Muslim, a member of the BH Army
5 281st Light East Bosnia Brigade, under the command of Mujo Hasanovic ..."
6 Have you heard about this particular prisoner before?
7 A. No, I've not.
8 Q. Would it surprise you to learn that the remains of Ibis Malic,
9 born 1 January 1977, son of Maso, was recovered from Cancari 11, one of
10 the graves that I showed you earlier?
11 A. It wouldn't surprise me, sir, that he lost his life. I've just
12 told you why this wouldn't surprise me. But let me repeat: This
13 wouldn't surprise me because I am not claiming that there were no
14 executions in Srebrenica during and after Krivaja 95 operation.
15 Q. Well, his remains were recovered up near Zvornik. You know that.
16 But let me ask you this: Is there any militarily justifiable reason why
17 this barely 18-year-old young man, in the custody of VRS security organs,
18 who was noticed to the Drina Corps command for intelligence, should be
19 showing up coming out of a mass grave, secondary grave at that?
20 A. I told you a minute ago that there is no justification whatsoever
21 to execute a captured and disarmed soldier from the enemy army. And a
22 disarmed soldier from the enemy army does not pose any danger any longer
23 due to the fact that he was disarmed.
24 Q. Just for the benefit of the Court and also for your benefit,
25 Mr. Skrbic, Mr. Malic's remains found at Cancari 11 is a secondary grave
1 to the Branjevo farm executions that Drazen Erdemovic testified about.
2 MR. VANDERPUYE: For the benefit of the Trial Chamber, you can
3 find that at P167. It's e-court page 188, item number 15.
4 Mr. President, I see it's time for our break. I think now is as
5 good a time as any.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed. Thank you very much. We must have our
7 first break now and we will resume quarter past 4.00.
8 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.
9 [The witness stands down]
10 [The witness takes the stand]
11 --- On resuming at 4.16 p.m.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Vanderpuye. Please carry on.
13 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Mr. President, before I forget, just as a procedural matter with
15 respect to the next witness, my understanding is that the Prosecution
16 should be able to achieve its cross-examination and finish its
17 cross-examination within an hour and a half. This is based upon
18 information that Mr. Elderkin, who has the next witness, has related to
19 us after having spoken to Mr. Gajic. It will obviously depend, to some
20 extent, on what's actually elicited on the stand. But he believes that
21 he will be able to do it within that period of time.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We appreciate that, although there has not been a
23 strict rule on that, but we know from the Prosecution case it was always
24 with viva voce witnesses a kind of balance in relation to the time
25 requested. Thank you very much for that. Carry on, please.
1 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Q. Mr. Skrbic, you may recall, I believe it was on Thursday, you
3 were asked some questions regarding a publication in which a review of
4 your book appeared. I think you said that the publication's name was
5 "Grom." I would like to show you 65 ter 7618.
6 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, I would need to add this to the
7 Prosecution's 65 ter list.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I take it that Mr. Tolimir has, as usually, no
9 objection. Leave is granted to add it to the list.
10 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Q. Mr. Skrbic, you may recall that in response to a question put to
12 you by His Honour Judge Mindua about the publication in which the review
13 of your article appeared, you mentioned that it was an unimportant
14 publication in Belgrade; is that correct?
15 A. I don't remember that I ever said that this was not important.
16 However, if you are asking me now, I can say that this was not one of the
17 leading magazines or publications in Serbia.
18 Q. All right. Let me show you page 2 of this magazine. We were
19 able to find this in the library in Belgrade. And I think we have a
20 partial translation at least of what's on the screen in front of us.
21 But, do you recognise this, Mr. Skrbic? Is this the publication
22 and review of your book that you were referring to?
23 A. Yes, this is the publication.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can we have the respective page in English on the
1 MR. VANDERPUYE:
2 Q. All right. I think we have now in front of us the -- the
3 headline, so to speak, and the -- what's written in the black part of
4 this article. You do recognise it as the piece you were referring to,
5 correct, Mr. Skrbic?
6 A. Yes, one of the two.
7 Q. Okay. And it refers, once again, to the numbers that are
8 contained in your report of 35.632 registered refugees as well as the
9 10- to 15.000 men who went through the breakthrough and so on. All of
10 this is contained not only in your book but in the report that you
11 prepared in relation to this case, yes?
12 A. Yes, that's correct.
13 Q. If we can go to the next page.
14 That's your photograph, Mr. Skrbic?
15 A. Of course.
16 Q. And you provided that for the purposes of this article, or is
17 this something that they obtained elsewhere?
18 A. Well, they took my photo. They asked my permission, and I said
19 go ahead.
20 Q. Then we can see some documents to the right side of the screen.
21 Are those documents you provided to the publication for the purposes of
22 this article?
23 A. Sir, as far as I can remember, those documents, as they are shown
24 here, were not published in this publication. At first glance, I can say
25 that the documents were attached to my book. They were enclosed with the
2 Q. I am not sure exactly what you mean by that. This is a photocopy
3 of the publication as it appeared at the time. So when you say the
4 documents weren't published in this publication, what do you mean?
5 A. I would like to see the document, then I will be able to tell you
6 whether it was used in the book and I will be able to answer your
7 question more precisely. I need some time to look at the document.
8 Q. Well, it's not that important. The number is there. We can see
9 it for the record, 01854496. That's one of them. And that's an ERN
10 number. And if we go down we can see the others.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Skrbic, perhaps that was a misunderstanding.
12 You were asked if these documents were be -- published in this newspaper
13 at that point in time. The question was not if they were published in
14 your book.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I answered that question. I said
16 that I do not remember whether these documents were published in the
17 publication. However, if we start from the assumption that they were, I
18 am sure that I was not the source because the first document that I was
19 looking at is not contained in the book. In other words, I was not the
20 one who was able to provide that document to the publication publishers.
21 MR. VANDERPUYE:
22 Q. All right. I have my answer. Did you read this article when it
23 was published, Mr. Skrbic, about your book?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. I take it you don't remember seeing these documents to the right
1 of your photograph in this publication when you read it?
2 A. Believe it or not, as you wish, I don't remember that these
3 documents were then published in this particular publication.
4 Q. All right.
5 MR. VANDERPUYE: If we can go to the first page of this document.
6 Q. This particular publication, "Grom," is a weekly magazine. It's
7 a type of tabloid, isn't it?
8 A. Yes, yes.
9 Q. In this particular edition we can see that it's dated --
10 MR. VANDERPUYE: We will have to blow it up very much so that the
11 witness can see it, but under the title "Grom" you can see very small
12 writing. That's it.
13 Q. And you can see there the date of 26 February 2009. It's the
14 issue number 20, Thursday edition, 30 dinars. And then I can see it
15 says, "1 KM 0.7 euros," and so on. Your book would have to have been
16 completed before this publication, fair to say? Early 2009 at the
18 A. No, no, that's not correct. At that time I only had the
19 manuscript. As for -- the official publication that could have been used
20 in the way that it was used in here was the article that I submitted to
21 the Russian academy for a conference that was supposed to take place two
22 months later in April. So this was just the manuscript of my book. The
23 book was finally published in March 2011.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Nyambe has a question.
25 JUDGE NYAMBE: Just a clarification for Mr. Vanderpuye. Is the
1 date 16th February or 26th February.
2 MR. VANDERPUYE: Sorry about that. It's 26th February. I
3 appreciate that.
4 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
5 MR. VANDERPUYE:
6 Q. All right. So this is an article based on your manuscript.
7 A. Yes. That article was used as the basis for the manuscript of my
8 book and later for the book itself.
9 Q. So you had completed or at least undertaken substantially the
10 research which is the subject matter of your expert report which you
11 completed in 2011 as early as the beginning of 2009?
12 A. At the time I didn't know that I would be invited as an expert in
13 this case, so I really can't put a link between my article that I
14 presented in Moscow and this case. The only thing being that it was
15 used -- used as the basis for the writing of my book, and then one part
16 of the book was used as the basis for the compilation of this expert
18 MR. VANDERPUYE: If we can go down the page -- rather, on the
19 second page, if we could go to the bottom of the page.
20 Q. I'd like to ask you something about what's there.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You are asking for the second page?
22 MR. VANDERPUYE: Yes, please, the second page.
23 Q. What I'd like to do is take a look at those two pages at the
24 bottom one by one, and maybe you can tell us what those are, Mr. Skrbic.
25 We'll have to do them one by one so we can see them.
1 MR. VANDERPUYE: If we could just blow up the one page on the
2 left and then we'll do the right.
3 Q. Can you tell us what that is, Mr. Skrbic?
4 A. This is an excerpt from Mr. Robert Franken's statement. He was
5 an OTP witness.
6 Q. He was an OTP witness. So that's one statement that you
7 reviewed, I guess, in relation to your manuscript, let's say. Yeah?
8 A. Yes. And later it was used in the book, this statement, and
9 another statement provided by the same gentleman is also related to this
10 expert report.
11 MR. VANDERPUYE: If we could just take a look at the next page so
12 that we can just identify it.
13 Q. Do you know what that is?
14 A. This is a part of the report by General Delic sent to his
15 Supreme Commander regarding everything that he had done for Srebrenica,
16 i.e., for the 28th Division. Inter alia, in his report, he also says how
17 he supplied the 28th Division and what was supplied to that unit.
18 Q. Both of these are documents that appear in your book, correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. When you were approached -- or, rather, were you approached about
21 the possibility of this particular review of your manuscript? Or is this
22 something you solicited?
23 A. No, no. That was not my request. A journalist approached me.
24 He asked me whether I was prepared to give a statement for his newspaper
25 and I said yes. I said I was ready.
1 Q. I take it you provided him with a copy of your manuscript, right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And you're aware that this was going to be published in a -- I
4 would imagine a reasonably circulated publication?
5 A. I showed him the manuscript in support of my statement. I didn't
6 know that he would be using enclosures to my manuscript because those
7 enclosures were nothing but corroborating evidence to the manuscript.
8 Q. Enclosures aside, you knew that this publication was going to
9 circulate a review of your article in which you claim, in effect, that
10 Srebrenica didn't happen, that the casualties that had been proven time
11 and time again following the fall of Srebrenica to Muslim prisoners never
12 happened. Right, Mr. Skrbic?
13 A. Sir, never, ever did I say that Srebrenica did not happen.
14 Q. When you say that 397 people are potential victims of the
15 collapse of Srebrenica and died most probably inappropriately at the
16 hands of Serb forces, with all due respect, Mr. Skrbic, you are saying
17 that Srebrenica never happened. Do you disagree with that?
18 A. No, no. You cannot ascribe that to me. At the very beginning of
19 my testimony, I said that I didn't claim that crimes never happened, that
20 executions never happened. I never claimed that.
21 Sir, if you have read my book carefully, you could see that
22 somewhere in the introduction to that book I say that my mother is not
23 sadder than a Muslim mother, that my mother doesn't cry more pitifully
24 than a Muslim mother, and I really believe that. I truly believe that.
25 Please do not ascribe to me what I never said.
1 Q. Did you tell General Tolimir that you had published a paper and
2 written a book about the subject matter of your report in this case?
3 A. Sir, if I have told you that the first time I met General Tolimir
4 here in this courtroom, how could I have then told him anything?
5 Q. Did you tell Mr. Gajic or anyone associated with the Defence of
6 General Tolimir that you had written a paper and written a book in
7 advance of preparing your report on the population of Srebrenica that you
8 submitted in this case?
9 A. Yes, Mr. Gajic knew that I had published that book and that some
10 of the materials included in the book would make it into my expert
12 Q. You say some of the material, Mr. Skrbic. In fact, from about
13 page 72 to page 229 of your book - which is the last page of it - is
14 virtually identical to your report, isn't it?
15 A. Well, I am not sure about them being identical. I've told you
16 that my first expert report, the one that we are discussing right now,
17 was based on my book. I never denied that. Not for a minute.
18 Q. I am not just talking about it being based on your book,
19 Mr. Skrbic - and maybe my question was imprecise - but it's virtually
20 identical. That's a little bit different, isn't it?
21 A. Well, I wouldn't be sure about that. I wouldn't say that they
22 are absolutely identical. If you were to ask me about percentages,
23 whether it's 70, 80, 90 per cent, I wouldn't be able to give you the
24 percentage, but I am not denying that, yes, there are similarities.
25 MR. VANDERPUYE: Well, I don't know if it's possible to do this
1 but let me ask: Is it possible to display these two exhibits side by
2 side, one is D368 and the other one is 65 ter 602 -- 7602. Are we able
3 to do that in e-court?
4 Q. All right. We have your book on the left. We have your report
5 on the right.
6 MR. VANDERPUYE: I'd like to go to page 10 in the report on the
7 right, in e-court, and page 71 in the book on the left.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The pages are identical. Mr. Vanderpuye asked
9 for another one. Page 10 in the report on the right side. There it is.
10 MR. VANDERPUYE: If we could just focus in on the charts, it
11 would probably be easier for everybody to see.
12 Q. Do you see that, Mr. Skrbic?
13 A. Yes, I can see that.
14 Q. Aside from the changes in column two, from three, four, five, and
15 six, to B, C, D, and E, are there any substantive changes to this
17 A. I don't think so.
18 MR. VANDERPUYE: If we could go to page 78 in the book and
19 page 15 in the report.
20 Q. Anything different here, Mr. Skrbic?
21 A. Yes. Only in the manner of annotation and marking because in the
22 book, I had to change the way I marked the colours because it was
23 expensive for me to have the book printed in colour; therefore, I
24 introduced those changes in order for a reader to be able to understand
25 which number represents what. On the other hand, in the report
1 everything is depicted in colours, and although that was my intention to
2 do the same in my book, as I said, it was too expensive.
3 As you may remember, I said that I was looking for a sponsor for
4 someone to help me publish my book, and I even approached some of the
5 political parties, but I failed in that and I had to undertake the
6 publishing of my book on my own.
7 Q. All right. I am going to move to a different section on this
8 point, but just for the record, you will find similar comparisons at page
9 85 in e-court in the book and page 20 in the report; page 86 in
10 e-court -- okay, we can do them, but I just -- I think it might be better
11 to just put on the record what they are. This one I think is at page 85.
12 Do you see that, Mr. Skrbic?
13 A. Yes, I can.
14 Q. And they are the same, right?
15 A. Of course they are.
16 MR. VANDERPUYE: All right. Just for the record - and we won't
17 need to go to this - we have a similar comparison at page 86 in e-court
18 and 21 in the report; page 91 in e-court, page 24 in the report; and
19 page 95 in e-court, page 27 in the report.
20 Q. Mr. Skrbic, I want to ask you a little bit about your military
21 analysis at this point. As I understand your report with respect to the
22 forcible transfer of the Muslim populations of Srebrenica and Zepa, it is
23 your position that they wanted to leave those areas; is that right?
24 A. That's right.
25 Q. And that it was their choice to leave those areas; correct?
1 A. That is correct. And we demonstrated that last Wednesday, if I
2 am not wrong, in document P190 or something. But anyway, we demonstrated
3 that to be a fact when the president of the Presidency of Srebrenica
4 municipality asked the political authorities in Sarajevo to give him an
5 approval for an arrangement with the Army of Republika Srpska, for him to
6 reach an agreement with them so that the VRS would open a corridor for
7 the population to move out. And I established that this happened long
8 before the 9th of July, 1995. That is to say, that either identical or a
9 similar attempt was made back in 1993.
10 Q. Mr. Skrbic, I put it to you that the Muslim population in
11 Srebrenica and in Zepa in 1995 were left with no genuine choice but to
12 leave the enclave and that was as a result of a policy that was put in
13 place by the VRS and the civilian authorities to rid those areas of the
14 Muslim population and other areas, frankly, in Eastern Bosnia, a policy
15 that went back as far as 1992. What do you say?
16 A. I have told you that I avoided as much as possible, although it
17 was not always possible, to avoid dealing with politics because no army -
18 neither the VRS nor any other army - is involved in politics. Everybody
19 knows exactly how an army operates vis-a-vis politics.
20 Q. I want to show you P2495 and then another document, and I will
21 ask you for your comment.
22 You can see that this is a document from the Main Staff of the
23 Army of Republika Srpska. It's dated 19 November 1992. And it's
24 entitled: "Directive for Further Operations of the Army of Republika
25 Srpska," to the commander, Chief of Staff personally, directive
1 operational number 4.
2 Have you seen this document before, Mr. Skrbic?
3 A. No, I have never seen it in its entirety. I do know, however,
4 that it exists and I know of Directive Number 4.
5 MR. VANDERPUYE: If we could go to page number 5 in English, and
6 I believe it's page 10 in the B/C/S. Page 11 then.
7 Q. Under item number D -- or, rather, item labeled D, it refers to
8 the Drina Corps. It says as follows:
9 "The Drina Corps: From its present positions, its main forces
10 shall persistently defend Visegrad (the dam), Zvornik, and the corridor,
11 while the rest of its forces in the wider Podrinje region shall exhaust
12 the enemy, inflict the heaviest possible losses on him, and force him to
13 leave the Birac, Zepa, and Gorazde areas, together with the Muslim
15 Let me just clarify a couple of things with you. The Birac area
16 includes Srebrenica, correct?
17 A. I don't know whether the Birac area includes Srebrenica.
18 Q. You don't know.
19 A. I really don't know.
20 Q. All right. I want to focus you on the area -- or, rather, the
21 sentence here that talks about forcing the enemy to leave the area of
22 Birac, Zepa, Gorazde areas, together with the Muslim population. You
23 understand that to be civilian population as distinguished from the army,
25 A. Yes, yes, I understand that.
1 Q. Let me show you P2434. This is a document dated
2 24 November 1992. It's issued by the Drina Corps command. You will see
3 that it's signed by -- I think it's Colonel Milenko Zivanovic at that
4 time. And it says very urgent decision for further operations. And it's
5 directed to the Zvornik Light Infantry Brigade command. And it reads at
6 the beginning as follows:
7 "Pursuant to the directive of the Main Staff of the Army of
8 Republika Srpska, strictly confidential number 02/5 of 19 November 1992,"
9 which is the document we just saw, "and an assessment of the situation, I
10 have decided:
11 "Launch an attack using the main body of troops and major
12 equipment to inflict on the enemy the highest possible losses, exhaust
13 them, break them up, or force them to surrender, and force the Muslim
14 local population to abandon the area of Cerska, Zepa, Srebrenica, and
16 That falls in line with the document we just saw, right,
17 Mr. Skrbic?
18 A. Yes, I agree with you.
19 Q. And do you agree, Mr. Skrbic, that it is wholly illegal for the
20 army to force the local Muslim population to abandon the areas of Cerska,
21 Zepa, Srebrenica, and Gorazde?
22 A. I don't agree that an army must fall -- can force the population
23 to do anything. But, sir, immediately from the very outset of the
24 conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina, members of all ethnic communities always
25 left the territory that was not under the control of their own respective
1 army. That was the rule and that's how all the three ethnic communities
2 in Bosnia-Herzegovina behaved, the Muslims, the Serbs, and the Croats.
3 Nobody was prepared to remain in the territory controlled by the enemy
5 Q. What's the reason for putting that as an objective in this
6 document, then, if it goes without saying, as you argue?
7 A. I don't know what were the reasons that prompted this commander
8 to phrase it like this.
9 Q. If those units followed this order, they would be forcing those
10 people to leave those areas. Right?
11 A. Sir, a war is something which is unendurable and unacceptable for
12 any population. If these units were carrying out the tasks given them by
13 their superior officers of defeating and inflicting as many losses as
14 possible, which I personally would never phrase like that because it
15 implies an indefinite number, then it means that these units were engaged
16 in combat legally and legitimately with members of the 28th Division.
17 Q. We all see the part in this decision that calls for units to
18 inflict on the enemy the highest possible losses and to exhaust them and
19 break them up and to force them to surrender. What I am asking you
20 specifically about is this additional task which calls for them to force
21 the Muslim local population to abandon the areas of Cerska, Zepa,
22 Srebrenica, and Gorazde. That's distinct. If those units were following
23 that decision with respect to the movement of that population, they would
24 be forcing that population to leave in the terms of this order; right?
25 A. If units of the Drina Corps were defeating the 28th Division and
1 if the 28th Division had to be pushed back or if it had to pull out from
2 those positions, then you are right. In that way the population would
3 have been forced to leave the area because they wouldn't want to remain
4 there without their own army.
5 Q. Why would a corps commander order his units to force out the
6 population separately and apart from any other combat activity relating
7 to the army?
8 A. That was not a separate order. It goes side by side with the
9 order to engage in combat with the 28th Division. You can see it for
10 yourself. That's how it's written here. I already answered your
11 question by saying that I honestly don't know why the commander put this
12 sentence in this order in this manner. I never had an opportunity to ask
13 him that.
14 Q. One reason might be that the commander wanted it carried out as
15 he wrote it, militarily. Right, Mr. Skrbic?
16 A. I gave you an answer a moment ago. If you believe that a
17 forcible relocation of the population who is pulling out ahead of their
18 own army, which was being defeated, in that case I accept your opinion.
19 Q. Let me show you P2158. This is a document from 1994, dated
20 4 July. It's from the Bratunac Brigade command. And it's written by
21 Slavko Ognjenovic who was the commander of that brigade at that time.
22 I'd like to take you to page 2 in the English and page 2 in the B/C/S.
23 MR. VANDERPUYE: We will need to go to the very bottom of the
24 page in the English and the top of the page in the B/C/S, please.
25 Q. I want to direct your attention to the first paragraph -- first
1 full paragraph in the B/C/S. At the very bottom of the page it reads in
3 "We have won the war in Podrinje, but we have not beaten the
5 We will need to go to the next page in English.
6 "We have not beaten the Muslims completely, which is what we must
7 do in the next period. We must attain our final goal - an entirely
8 Serbian Podrinje. The enclaves of Srebrenica, Zepa, and Gorazde must be
9 defeated militarily.
10 "We must continue to arm, train, discipline, and prepare the
11 RS Army for the execution of this crucial task - the expulsion of Muslims
12 from the Srebrenica enclave.
13 "There will be no retreat when it comes to the Srebrenica
14 enclave, we must advance. The enemy's life has to be made unbearable and
15 their temporary stay in the enclave impossible so that they leave the
16 enclave en masse as soon as possible, realising that they cannot survive
18 Have you seen this document before Mr. Skrbic?
19 A. Yes, I have.
20 Q. And it accurately states what the VRS objective towards
21 Srebrenica was, which was the expulsion of Muslims there; correct?
22 A. Yes, but have you noticed that in the last paragraph it is said
23 that it should be temporarily achieved. It does not necessarily mean
24 permanently. If you haven't noticed it yet, maybe you can look at it
1 Q. Well, the translation we have - and it may be just a translation
2 issue - but the translation says that:
3 "The enemy's life has to be made unbearable and their temporary
4 stay in the enclave impossible so that they leave the enclave en masse as
5 soon as possible, realising that they cannot survive there."
6 The temporariness in this sentence refers to how long the Muslims
7 will be staying in the enclave, not how long they will have been gone
8 once they are expelled, Mr. Skrbic.
9 A. Sir, there is no need whatsoever to construe or to comment upon
10 anything because everything is stated here clearly. I am going to repeat
11 it for you.
12 "The enemy's life has to be made unbearable and their temporary
13 stay in the enclave impossible."
14 When you speak about enemy, a soldier or an officer, understand
15 that to mean another army. Not people. And this clearly speaks about
16 temporary stay in the enclave. So, in other words, there is no explicit
17 order for the enclave to be abandoned permanently.
18 Q. Part of this language that refers to leaving the enclave en masse
19 refers to an army, Mr. Skrbic? Have you ever seen language referring to
20 an army leaving en masse?
21 A. Yes, I have, sir. And I have personal experience of that. The
22 Army of Republika Srpska left western municipalities in
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina such as Glamoc, Bosansko Grahovo, Drvar,
24 Bosanski Petrovac, Kljuc, and Sanski Most en masse, including
25 Mrkonjic Grad. Ahead of the army or alongside the army, the local
1 population amounting to 90.000 Serbs abandoned the areas en masse as
3 Q. That's right, Mr. Skrbic. Did those Serbs leave the area because
4 they wanted to?
5 A. No. They didn't want to stay in the territory that was not under
6 the control of the Army of Republika Srpska because they feared for their
7 safety and that was the reason why they wanted to leave the area.
8 Q. Let me show you P1214.
9 MR. VANDERPUYE: We will have to go to the second page in the
10 English so that we can see what they are.
11 Q. Have you seen this document before, Mr. Skrbic?
12 A. Yes, I have.
13 Q. You can see that it's issued under the supreme -- well, rather,
14 by the Supreme Commander of the armed forces of Republika Srpska. It's
15 entitled: "Directive for Further Operations No. 7," yes?
16 A. That's right.
17 Q. Let me take you to page 10 in the English and 15 in the B/C/S.
18 You will see at the -- in the middle of the page a reference to the
19 Drina Corps. Do you see that, Mr. Skrbic?
20 A. Yes, I see it.
21 Q. And I want to direct your attention to the second sentence -- or,
22 rather, beginning the second sentence of that paragraph, which reads:
23 "As many enemy forces as possible should be tied down by
24 diversionary and active combat operations on the north-west part of the
25 war front, using operational and ... camouflage measures, while in the
1 direction of the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves, complete physical
2 separation of Srebrenica from Zepa should be carried out as soon as
3 possible, preventing even communication between individuals in the two
4 enclaves. By planned and well-thought-out combat operations, create an
5 unbearable situation of total insecurity with no hope of further survival
6 or life for the inhabitants of Srebrenica or Zepa."
7 Are you familiar with that language, Mr. Skrbic?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And creating a situation of total insecurity with no hope of
10 further survival or life for the Muslim inhabitants of Srebrenica and
11 Zepa would make them want to leave, right, Mr. Skrbic?
12 A. That doesn't necessarily mean that that would make them leave
13 because this was never explicitly ordered. It was never ordered that
14 things should be done so as to make them leave or so as to expel them.
15 Sir, war, i.e., armed combat, as the most important -- or the most
16 prevalent segment of any war is an unbearable situation for any
17 population, irrespective of whose population it is. And I am talking
18 about the population belonging to any of the two warring parties.
19 It is not necessary to create additionally worse situation
20 because war is bad enough. War already creates an unbearable situation.
21 So the situation started being unbearable when war started in
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the situation was equally unbearable for all the
23 three peoples.
24 Q. This is a directive signed by the president - right? - Supreme
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. It was prepared with the input, consideration and advice of the
3 Main Staff of the VRS, right?
4 A. According to standard military procedures, that should be the
6 Q. Well, we can go to the last page of this document in the -- I
7 think in both languages, or it's the next-to-last page in English,
9 MR. VANDERPUYE: It's the next-to-last page in the B/C/S, I
11 Q. If you go down to the bottom of the page you can see that it was
12 drafted by Colonel Radivoje Miletic, the same Miletic in whose Defence
13 you were employed as an investigator; right?
14 A. Yes, that's correct.
15 Q. And he was a member of the Main Staff at the time that this
16 directive was drafted; correct?
17 A. That, too, is correct.
18 Q. Are you saying that the language that relates to imposing upon
19 the inhabitants of Srebrenica conditions where they have no hope of
20 further survival or life is somehow superfluous language? Because that
21 just goes without saying because it's war?
22 A. Yes, I said that. I said that war, i.e., armed combat, as the
23 most important of segment of war, is already unbearable enough for any
25 Q. Well, if we can go to page 21 in the B/C/S - we might already be
1 there - and page 14 in the English, I'd like to ask you about this. You
2 will see a reference here where it -- the sentence begins:
3 "The relevant state and military organs ..."
4 MR. VANDERPUYE: Are we able to locate that in the B/C/S? I
5 believe it's --
6 Q. You should be able to see [overlapping speakers] ...
7 A. Can this be shown to me? Can your assistant show it to me? I am
8 still on the last page is what I am saying.
9 Q. What I am referring to should actually be on the next page. It's
10 under item 6.1. It's the third paragraph. So it should be at the top of
11 the next page in the B/C/S. It's the second full paragraph on that page.
12 Do you see it?
13 A. Yes, if this is the paragraph started with the words "via
14 authorised state and military bodies ..."
15 Q. Okay. It says:
16 "The relevant state and military organs responsible for work with
17 UNPROFOR and humanitarian organisations shall through the planned and
18 unobtrusively restrictive issuing of permits reduce and limit the
19 logistics support of UNPROFOR to the enclaves and the supply of material
20 resources to the Muslim population, making them dependent on our good
21 will, while at the same time avoiding condemnation by the international
22 community and international public opinion."
23 Have you seen this before, Mr. Skrbic?
24 A. Yes, I've already told you that I saw the entire directive.
25 Q. So you know that this isn't just a matter of making war?
1 A. Sir, war is not only armed combat. War encompasses a series of
2 other segments. I don't want to go into all of them, but they would
3 start with media and propaganda activities, material activities,
4 diplomatic activities, and let me stop here. War encompasses all of
5 that. And I said that armed conflict is its most important or extreme
7 Q. You still maintain that the Srebrenica and Zepa populations left
8 those areas voluntarily, of their own free choice; is that right,
9 Mr. Skrbic?
10 A. Yes, I still adhere by the position that the Muslim population
11 voluntarily and of their own accord abandoned the area. They simply
12 didn't want to stay behind in a territory that had been abandoned by the
13 28th Division when they faced the activities of the Drina Corps.
14 Q. And making their life unbearable with no hope of survival or life
15 had nothing to do with it. Is that your position, Mr. Skrbic?
16 A. Sir, everything that happened in July 1995, everything that was
17 caused by the 28th Division, all combat activities that were carried out
18 by the 28th Division against the Drina Corps compounded the situation and
19 the life of the population of Srebrenica in Srebrenica itself.
20 How was their life compounded by that? The Drina Corps and the
21 other units of the Army of Republika Srpska had to and had the legitimate
22 right to respond to any combat activities launched by the 28th Division
23 against the former units, and this is how the unbearable situation was
24 further compounded. Particularly in view of the fact that we are also
25 talking about fire being opened in urban areas where combatants and
1 civilian population are intermixed.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I ask one question. Sorry for interrupting
3 you, Mr. Vanderpuye.
4 I understand your position that these unbearable situations are a
5 logical consequence of war. Is that what you are saying?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Why is it then necessary to write that down in a
8 directive or an order?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I've already
10 answered that. I said that --
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No, you didn't answer.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- I don't know why --
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sorry, please carry on.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know why that was written
15 in the directive and in the previous document that was shown to me.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
17 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Q. It was your understanding -- or maybe you correct me if I am
19 wrong, is it your understanding that it was the intention that the Muslim
20 population leave those areas on a temporary basis? Is that what you've
21 argued in your report?
22 A. No. No, I didn't.
23 Q. Was your understanding that their removal from the enclaves was
24 to be permanent?
25 A. I did not conclude that they were removed from the enclave. I
1 concluded based on the documents that I presented in my report that they
2 left the enclave of their own accord.
3 Q. Let me show you P241. While that's coming up, let me tell you
4 this is a MUP intercept.
5 MR. VANDERPUYE: It shouldn't be broadcast. I'm sorry,
6 Mr. President. I understand that we can broadcast it, so.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think so, too.
8 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you.
9 Q. It's dated 12 July, 1995. The time is 1250. And this is an
10 intercept of a conversation involving General Mladic, relative to the
11 removal of the civilian population from Srebrenica.
12 X says: "Go ahead, General."
13 Mladic says: "Have these buses and trucks left?"
14 X: "They have."
15 Mladic: "When?"
16 X: "Ten minutes ago."
17 Mladic says: "Good, excellent. Continue to monitor the
18 situation. Don't let small groups of them sneak in. They have all
19 capitulated and surrendered and we'll evacuate them all. Those who want
20 to and those who don't want to."
21 X says: "I understand, general."
22 Mladic says: "Don't issue any statements and don't interrupt
23 them over the radio station. We will open a corridor towards Kladanj."
24 Mladic says: "Indeed. Let it pass there. Take a patrol of ours
25 to wait on the road and remove the mines and obstacles."
1 It's unheard what's said. And then it says:
2 "Leave the territory."
3 X replies: "Yes, general."
4 Those who want to and those who don't want to, Mr. Skrbic. Do
5 you see a choice in there?
6 A. I don't see that. However, I do see where it says that those who
7 want to.
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. I want to show you P94 once again.
9 MR. VANDERPUYE: And we'll need to go to page 266. That would be
11 Q. This is a photograph, as you can see, a composite of the mosque
12 standing in Srebrenica. First of all, have you seen this photograph
14 A. No, never.
15 Q. Let me show you the next page, please. This is what it looked
16 like after Srebrenica fell. Have you seen this photograph, Mr. Skrbic?
17 A. I have not seen this photograph before. However, I have seen
18 plenty of such scenes during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
19 Q. Let me show you P2178.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can it be turned around?
21 MR. VANDERPUYE:
22 Q. You can probably tell this is an aerial image of Zepa,
23 27 July 1995.
24 And let me show you the next page of this document.
25 This is aerial imagery taken of the same area on the
1 24th of August, and what we have that you can see in all of these boxes
2 are destroyed buildings since the 27th of July, 1995.
3 Have you seen this image before? And separately from that, are
4 you aware that there was widespread destruction of these buildings
5 following the expulsion of the Muslim population in July 1995?
6 A. I have not seen this photograph before. I believe you when you
7 say that there were a lot of damaged buildings, buildings that were
8 destroyed, but I can't confirm for a fact that it really happened when
9 you say because I've already presented my position vis-a-vis photos.
10 During combat in urban areas, buildings have to be destroyed,
11 particularly those buildings from which defendants tend to open fire on
12 the attackers. That happens. And that kind of situation is more
13 complicated than combat which takes place in other environments. In
14 theory there is a reference to one special kind of operation and that
15 operation takes place in urban areas and those operations are different
16 than operations in any other circumstances.
17 I believe you that buildings were destroyed during the war in
18 settled areas.
19 Q. Like I said, this is a photograph of the buildings that were
20 destroyed since July 27th, 1995.
21 Let me show you another set of photographs at pages 5 and 6.
22 We'll start with 5. This is a photograph -- or, rather, an aerial image
23 of the mosque, the central mosque in Zepa, 27th of July, 1995.
24 Can you see that on your screen or do we need to make it bigger
25 for you to see?
1 MR. VANDERPUYE: Let's blow that up, if we can, so that he can
2 see it.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can see that.
4 MR. VANDERPUYE:
5 Q. Let me take you to page 6 and we will take a look at the same
6 image. This again shows the buildings that were destroyed in that area
7 since July 27th, 1995.
8 MR. VANDERPUYE: And if we can focus in on the middle, we'll be
9 able to take a look at the central mosque at that time.
10 Can you blow it up a little bit more, please.
11 Q. Do you see anything in there, Mr. Skrbic?
12 A. You can see the ruins.
13 Q. You said you were aware of this kind of thing happening
14 throughout the war. In this particular case, in Srebrenica and Zepa, I
15 have now shown you pictures of destroyed mosques. Do you have any
16 explanation for that? Can you tell us what is the military impetus
17 behind destroying a religious building such as a mosque? What's the
18 military value of that?
19 A. If a facility is not used as a military stronghold, either as a
20 fire nest or a protection facility, such a facility cannot be a military
21 target. However, if a facility is used as protection or it -- which
22 provides military advantage or if it's used to open fire from it, then
23 such a facility is a legitimate military target.
24 Q. Who would have been using that facility in Zepa after the
25 27th of July, 1995, to carry out combat operations if nobody was there?
1 A. Of course there were no troops. I have already answered that
2 such a facility cannot be a legitimate military target and that such a
3 facility should not be destroyed. I repeat: In my expert report, I did
4 not claim that there were no crimes comitted in Srebrenica and Zepa.
5 Q. I'll leave it there, Mr. Skrbic. Thank you.
6 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, I have no further questions at
7 this time.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
9 We are -- we will have soon our break. I think it's better to
10 have our break before you commence your re-examination, Mr. Tolimir.
11 I will put one final question to the witness.
12 Sir, we dealt a lot with your book and the publication in the
13 newspaper. Only one question. The title of the book is: "Genocide of
14 the Truth," or "... Against the Truth," or I have read some other
15 translations. What do you mean by that?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the full title of
17 the book is: "Srebrenica, Genocide Comitted Against the Truth." What I
18 meant by that was that genocide was comitted against truth, the truth
19 about all the events surrounding Srebrenica, and that I based on the
20 results of the analysis that I carried out. What I meant was that truth
21 was destroyed and that is not good, either for the Serbs or the Muslims.
22 The best thing for all would be to accept the truth because only the
23 truth can lead to the reconciliation of the peoples and only in that way
24 a normal life would continue in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In your view, sir, who comitted this kind of
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In my view, that genocide was
3 comitted by the Muslim side. The extreme elements of the Muslim policy
4 and politics in Sarajevo.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I am specifically referring to the title,
6 "Genocide of Truth," or "... Committed Against the Truth." Who comitted
7 genocide against the truth?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I just answered. The official
9 politics in Sarajevo. That is my opinion.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. We will have our second break now and
11 we will resume quarter past 6.00.
12 --- Recess taken at 5.45 p.m.
13 [The witness stands down]
14 [The witness takes the stand]
15 --- On resuming at 6.16 p.m.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Before we continue with the testimony of the
17 witness, Mr. Tolimir, Mr. Gajic, is the next witness already here in the
18 Tribunal and is he waiting?
19 Mr. Gajic? Mr. Gajic?
20 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I apologise. I am
21 receiving French translation on the channel that is reserved for the
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I repeat my question: Is the next witness
24 already here in the Tribunal and is he waiting?
25 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President. Then we can call
1 the next witness.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would kindly ask you what do you expect -- how
3 many time you will need for the re-examination, Mr. Tolimir? If it will
4 take some time of the last session, we should release the witness. What
5 is your estimation?
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I am of
7 the opinion that we should release the witness.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We should do that and he will then be called
9 tomorrow afternoon.
10 Now we continue with the examination of Mr. Skrbic.
11 Judge Mindua has a question, first.
12 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, indeed, I would like to
13 go back very briefly to the operation that the 28th Division was supposed
14 to carry out, the breakthrough operation that the 28th Division of the
15 ABiH was to carry. So I would like to -- you to tell us, as a military
16 expert, what happens in a case such as the one of the 28th Division?
17 What was the objective of the breakthrough?
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The last part was not heard in the English
19 channel. I received the French original, but if is there is nothing
20 missing ...
21 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] What was the goal? Why did the
22 28th Division carry out the breakthrough? And I am talking about the
23 28th Division of the ABiH.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Skrbic.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Every unit that either
1 intentionally or unintentionally remains in encirclement has one sole
2 objective and that is to make a breakthrough in as compact form as
3 possible, to have a rest after the breakthrough, to be remanned, and to
4 prepare itself for the following combat operations. This is a universal
5 rule applicable to all armies. The objective of the breakthrough of the
6 28th Division was exactly as I described; that is to say, to
7 breakthrough, to have a rest, to increase the number of staff to the
8 required level, to become equipped, and to be able to carry out further
9 tasks received from their superior command.
10 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Very well. I thought that the
11 goal of the breakthrough was to enable the 28th Division to get out of
12 the encirclement and to reach the territory of the ABiH. Did I
13 understand you correctly?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course. You understood well. A
15 breakthrough is always carried out in the direction of the closest unit
16 that can provide support during the breakthrough.
17 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Then in a
18 similar case, could we think that a commander would leave an opening so
19 as to enable the enemy troops to leave the territory which was under his
20 control? And I will try to be a bit more precise. The VRS, could they
21 let the 28th Division go through so that it reaches the territory of the
22 ABiH? Was that possible? Is that a scenario that could have been
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was possible. And then we have
25 the following situation: If the commander of the unit across whose zone
1 the breakthrough is being carried out makes an assessment that if he
2 tightens the ring and does everything possible to prevent the
3 breakthrough, then under such a scenario he would incur considerable
4 losses. Then, for the benefit of the safety of his own men, makes it
5 incumbent on such a commander to open up a corridor or a route along
6 which the enemy can pull out while, at the same time, he will prevent his
7 own men from being killed during the breakthrough. There are quite a few
8 examples of that nature in history.
9 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. And you are
10 very right, in fact. We heard a witness of the VRS who also corroborated
12 But tell me this: When a breakthrough is carried out, according
13 to the military doctrine, is it necessary to respect a sort of
14 proportionality when it comes to the people who are controlling the
15 territory? And I will be a little bit more precise. You said that the
16 VRS, which was opposing to the breakthrough of the 28th Division, had
17 used all the means that they had at their disposal, all the artillery
18 weaponry, explosives, mines, et cetera, et cetera, in such a way that the
19 BiH soldiers experienced great losses. We have heard here a commander of
20 the VRS who said that he wanted to put an end to the use of some weapons
21 in order to avoid huge losses of BiH members, who were falling like
23 So this is my question: Does the military doctrine, as taught in
24 academies, teach you to reduce the fire-power in order to create too many
25 victims and not to cause too much damage when it comes to the opposite
1 army? Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The main factors that determine the
3 level of the use of force in an armed conflict is, first and foremost,
4 the requirements of the tasks given by -- to the subordinate command.
5 The second one is the safety of the troops carrying it out. Anyway, I
6 would like to say that an excessive use of force does not exist as a
7 phrase in military doctrine. There is another definition which says that
8 force should be used as little as possible, and the best way of carrying
9 out a task is not to consume too many assets, and the best way is to
10 defeat an enemy without fighting at all, as rightly put 200 years ago by
11 a great Chinese thinker, Sun Tzu.
12 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Witness.
13 I would now like to ask you something about your methodology.
14 When it came to the population of Srebrenica, how did you establish some
15 facts. You stated that you were not necessarily interested in
16 exhumations, and you did not focus on other evidence. What you really
17 wanted to see is that -- is how many people lived in Srebrenica before
18 the events in July and you wanted to establish what was the population
19 number after the July events.
20 So this is my first question to you: Before July you are talking
21 about the population which lived in Srebrenica, but when you talk about
22 the period before July and before the events, what dates do you have in
23 mind? And I would like to compare that figure with the figure which
24 exists for the period following the month of July.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The initial information that I
1 presented in my expert report and which I showed in table 1 was
2 January 1994. The next piece of information relates to the situation in
3 January 1995, and finally, I had information that pertained to July 1995.
4 So these are the numbers of inhabitants that I used in my calculations.
5 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. So at that
6 point, we have to think about the population which lives in Srebrenica;
7 is that right?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you. So now tell us this:
10 After the events, the total number of survivors, according to you, where
11 are they? Are they now still in Srebrenica or are they elsewhere?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The survivors that I describe as
13 refugees from Srebrenica were from the Srebrenica enclave, which means
14 not only the town proper of Srebrenica but Srebrenica enclave or from the
15 area described by the term "safe haven."
16 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. And I hope
17 that this is my last question. I am quite confused because we have
18 different figures. If we take into account the exhumation, we get two
19 different figures, because you make a difference between the population
20 before and after. So I would like to know the following: Did you take
21 into account in your evaluation of the population after, so the
22 survivors, in your calculations, did you take into account that amongst
23 those survivors there were some people who were not taken into account in
24 January and in July and who may have come from somewhere else - we don't
25 know from where - and that are now amongst your survivors, and maybe
1 those survivors are, in fact, mainly refugees?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There may have been refugees, but
3 in the document that I used from the scheme or the graph given in the
4 briefing, it is clearly said that 35.632 were refugees from Srebrenica,
5 the refugees from the Srebrenica enclave, and this is the figure that I
6 relied upon in my calculation.
7 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Now, Mr. Tolimir, it's your turn to commence your
9 re-examination. You have the floor.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Re-examination by Mr. Tolimir:
12 Q. [Interpretation] Greetings to the witness, and I wish him a
13 pleasant stay amongst us. And I would like to have this day in court
14 finalised according to God's will and not my wishes.
15 Mr. Skrbic, Judge Mindua asked you about the breakthrough. Let
16 us summarise this in one question which is: If the 28th Division
17 initiated a breakthrough and took with them all the people who were
18 capable of work, and all the women, children, and the elderly sent --
19 were sent to the UNPROFOR compound in Potocari --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Tolimir please repeat the last part
21 of his question.
22 THE ACCUSED: [No interpretation]
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, the last part of your question was
24 not interpreted to us. The sentence stopped when you said:
25 "... all these people were sent to the UNPROFOR compound in
1 Potocari ..."
2 And after that we didn't hear anything. Please repeat.
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Women, children, and the elderly were sent to the UNPROFOR base
5 in Potocari. By such conduct of the authorities who took this decision,
6 did it mean that it was decided that the Srebrenica enclave is to be
8 A. The decision to separate the population of Srebrenica or, rather,
9 to divide them into two groups, or -- one group was made up of women,
10 children, and the elderly, and the second group was made up of members of
11 the 28th Division including other able-bodied men, and I find this
12 division to be quite interested [as interpreted] and it merits additional
13 research in order to arrive at a relevant conclusion. I wonder, how is
14 it possible that those who must be most concerned about their families,
15 how is it possible that they send their families to the UNPROFOR base in
16 Potocari which, to all intents and purposes, amounts to abandonment, and
17 then they decided that they themselves would launch a breakthrough.
18 The only reasonable conclusion that I myself can arrive at would
19 be the following. The Muslims of Srebrenica, including their civilian
20 local authorities and the command of the 28th Division, were convinced
21 that the population would be relocated to Tuzla and its environs and that
22 the Serbian forces would not harm them. Otherwise, why would they leave
23 their families? It doesn't make sense. Why would they leave all the
24 women, children, and the elderly in the territory that was nearly under
25 the control of the VRS? Although, they didn't yet have their units in
1 the territory, they might have exert this control by fire alone.
2 Now, the only reasonable conclusion as I see it is that they
3 expected the population to be relocated to Tuzla, and that once they
4 carry out the breakthrough, they would reunite with their families.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
6 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thanks, Mr. President. I am on my feet for
7 two reasons. The first is, obviously, in relation to the speculative
8 answer that was given by the witness who first said that he would have to
9 undertake additional study in order to provide a reasoned response, and
10 then proceeded to provide a response.
11 The second has to do with the nature and the scope of the
12 questions that General Tolimir intends to put to the witness. Since he
13 is on redirect examination, I would ask that he put questions that arise
14 from the cross-examination of this witness. The question of
15 abandoning -- or abandoning the enclave by sending women and children to
16 Potocari was not broached at all during the cross-examination. It is the
17 subject of the witness's report but he wasn't cross-examined on it. So
18 to the extent that he intends put questions in redirect, I would ask that
19 he at least lay a reasonable foundation in order to do so.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, your comment on that.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I do have a comment.
22 My question was based on the four or five questions that were posed by
23 Judge Mindua. I now want to ask another question based on a number of
24 questions put to the witness by Mr. Vanderpuye about bearable and
25 unbearable conditions. Thank you.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Skrbic, you will remember that the Prosecutor asked you
3 several questions about unbearable conditions. My question is this: If
4 Srebrenica and Zepa were declared demilitarised zones in the territory of
5 Republika Srpska and, thus, they became enclaves, and they did not accept
6 the status of demilitarised zones but, rather, launched attacks on the
7 civilians and the troops of the VRS - it was the VRS that gave those
8 zones the status of demilitarised zones - did they have the right to
9 remove that status from them, given the fact that they were not
10 demilitarised? What does the international law say about that?
11 A. Srebrenica enclave did not receive the status as a demilitarised
12 zone. By a Security Council resolution, it was declared a protected area
13 by the United Nations. Based on an agreement and bearing in mind the
14 text of the Security Council resolution, it should have also become a
15 demilitarised zone. In case the Muslim side did not comply with that
16 agreement and it did not allow for demilitarisation to be carried out
17 under the control and supervision of the United Nations, would -- then
18 any attack against the units of the 28th Division, according to the
19 criteria of UN Protection Forces, could not satisfy the standards of
20 definition of attacks against the demilitarised zone. This was confirmed
21 by the UNPROFOR commander and you can find that, as far as I can
22 remember, in paragraph 45 of the Secretary-General's report.
23 However, I am not absolutely sure that it was, indeed,
24 paragraph 45, but I am sure that in the UN Secretary-General's report you
25 will find that the position of the UNPROFOR commander was exactly that.
1 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And now I would like to call up
3 P2873, page 2. Thank you.
4 While we are waiting, I would like to put my question to the
5 witness. And the document can be used to lay the foundation for my
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Vanderpuye asked you about the number that you took as the
9 basis for your calculations. Please, I don't want to repeat things. You
10 just simply tell us this: Did any authorities or international
11 organisations refute the information about the number of refugees and
12 militarily able-bodied men who arrived in Tuzla?
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It would be helpful if we could have the B/C/S
14 version of that on the screen. Although, it might be a problem because
15 this is the Prosecution document, but earlier we have seen I think a
16 Defence document with this -- to that was the B/C/S translation attached.
17 Can you help us, Mr. Gajic?
18 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, there is no
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Then go ahead, please, Mr. Tolimir.
21 Thank you, Mr. Gajic.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. My next question is this: If the government in Sarajevo and the
25 International Red Cross on the 4th of August, 1995, published this
1 information for the general public and for their respective institutions,
2 did any institution, did any organisation in Bosnia and Herzegovina
3 challenge or refute the information about those who abandoned Srebrenica
4 and arrived in the free territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina? Thank you.
5 A. I never heard, nor did I come across a document in which you can
6 see that anybody on any side refuted this information and that's why I
7 use that as a -- the stable basis and the stable fact that I used in my
9 Q. Thank you. My next question is this: The survivors, as an
10 indicator, would there be a more reliable piece of evidence than the
11 lists of those who went missing when it comes to using the methodology of
12 research that is based on survivors as opposed to those who died or were
14 A. I obviously believe that the methodology that I used in my
15 research is reliable and even more reliable than the methodology which
16 implies looking for victims. It's very difficult to research victims.
17 It is much easier to follow the movement of the surviving population and
18 in that way establish any possible differences. However, it was not up
19 to me to provide the final evaluation. The final evaluation is in the
20 hands of the Trial Chamber and the Honourable Judges.
21 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And now I would like to call up
23 P1777, P1777. This is a list provided by the OTP in 2009. This is a
24 list of those who went missing and even the locations where they were
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please don't mention the names. Don't mention
17 the real name.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Thank you.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And now can we look at D316. Thank
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. We can see the same name, the name that was under number 7 (redacted)
25 (redacted) Now we can see a decision for that
1 same person or in respect of that same person.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We are still waiting for the document.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] D316. I would kindly ask the
4 e-court to display D316.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It is always helpful to give us the correct
6 number in the first place.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I repeat the number: D316. Thank
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Now we can see a decision or a ruling
11 about the establishment of the death of that individual who was under
12 number 7. It says in the first paragraph that he was killed on the
13 7th of July, 1995. And there is also an indication of the place where he
14 was killed and that was a street called Ljubisavici. And in the
15 following paragraph it says that the witnesses who were present during
16 his execution confirmed that.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In this specific circumstance, this should not be
18 broadcast, too.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] This shouldn't be broadcast, and I
20 don't want to read it, either.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. But look at the second paragraph, the fourth line from the top,
23 you will see that he was buried in a graveyard known as Kazan. My
24 question is this: If you have managed to link the information that I
25 have just presented, would you say that the entry under number 7 in the
1 OTP's list from 2009 that we saw as Exhibit P1777 differs from what we
2 see on the screen now? Would you say that the two sets of information
3 provided about that same individual differ from one document to the next?
4 Thank you.
5 A. Yes. The two sets of information are completely different.
6 There is no doubt about that when we look at the two documents.
7 Q. If he were to appear on the list of survivors, or if he were to
8 be identified as a survivor, would you say that that would be an even
9 more reliable proof than any of the lists of missing people?
10 A. If he -- if a census were to be carried out and if that person
11 were to be found on the census, that would certainly be the most reliable
12 proof that he is still living. The second relevant proof, the second
13 most important proof, would be the register of deceased or deaths because
14 that register contains all the names of the individuals who died either
15 of natural causes or who suffered the forcible death in peacetime or a
16 forcible death in a war or if they were simply killed during the war. In
17 any case, such an individual is registered in the register of death, and
18 then that list from the register of death, in my opinion, would be a very
19 important source of information about the missing, those who were killed,
20 those who died, and so on and so forth.
21 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Let us look at the second paragraph, the
22 second line from the top, and you will see that the command of the
23 28th Division, on the 19th of March, 1997, issued a certificate where it
24 says that this person - whose name I am not going to mention - got killed
25 on the elevation Ljubisavici near Srebrenica which means -- this is my
1 question: (redacted)
9 Q. Thank you.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, it is even behind 7.00. We have to
11 adjourn for the day, and you may continue your re-examination tomorrow.
12 We adjourn, and again the same guidance for you, sir, no contact
13 during the break with either party, please.
14 We adjourn and resume tomorrow in the afternoon, 2.15 in this
16 [The witness stands down]
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.01 p.m.,
18 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 14th day of
19 February, 2012, at 2.15 p.m.