1 Wednesday, 15 February 2012
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning.
6 Mr. Tolimir, is the next witness ready to testify?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
8 May God's peace reign in this house and may God's will be done in
9 these proceedings and not necessarily mine.
10 The Defence believes that the witness is ready. Thank you.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The witness should be brought in, please.
12 I think we have a problem with the transcript in e-court. It
13 stopped at the beginning of the words of the accused.
14 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
15 [The witness entered court]
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning, sir. Welcome to the Tribunal.
17 Would you please read aloud the affirmation on the card which is shown to
18 you now.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't hear a thing.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The Court Usher should assist so that the witness
21 can hear.
22 Do you understand me now?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Now I do. Now I do.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Very good. Again, welcome to the courtroom.
25 Good morning, and please read aloud the affirmation on the card which is
1 shown to you now.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning. I solemnly declare
3 that I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
4 WITNESS: SLAVKO CULIC
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Please sit down and make
7 yourself comfortable.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I state for the record that the transcript is now
10 working in e-court.
11 Sir, Mr. Tolimir is now putting questions to you during his
12 examination-in-chief, followed by the Prosecutor.
13 Mr. Tolimir, you have the floor.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Examination by Mr. Tolimir:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Culic. May God-speed be with
17 you and may God's will be done in today's hearing and not necessarily
18 mine. I greet you on behalf of Defence. I would like to thank you for
19 being here.
20 Since we speak the same language, I would kindly ask you to look
21 at the screen in front of you and you will see that our words are being
22 transcribed. I would kindly ask you to start giving your answer only
23 when the transcript has stopped. I'll do the same.
24 After my every question I will say "thank you" which will be your
25 clue to start answering.
1 A. Thank you, general, sir. And I wish you all the best.
2 Q. My first question to you is this: Can you state your full name
3 for the record. Thank you.
4 A. My name is Slavko Culic. I was born on the 5th October, 1958, in
5 Glavica, Glamoc municipality.
6 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us something about your military
7 education. Thank you.
8 A. I completed the secondary military school of the land army. I
9 specialised in infantry training. Thereafter I graduated from the
10 military academy of the land army. Again, I specialised in infantry
11 training. In the course of my service, I successfully completed training
12 courses and became company commander, battalion commander. I passed a
13 test to become major. And I also passed the entrance exam for the
14 command staff continuous education. During the course of my service, I
15 attended some other minor training courses in order to improve my skills
16 with regard to the aforementioned specialties.
17 Q. Thank you. When did you graduate from the secondary school?
18 When did you graduate from the academy? And when did you complete the
19 training courses for a company and battalion commanders, was that before
20 the war?
21 A. I graduated from the secondary military school in 1977 in
22 Sarajevo. I graduated from the military academy in 1980. In 1983 I
23 attended a training course for company commander, and I completed the
24 training course for battalion commander in 1987 and 1988. Which means
25 all the training courses I did happened before the war started in the
1 territory of the former Yugoslavia.
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic. Can you tell us something about your
3 professional career before the year 1992. Thank you.
4 A. When I graduated from the military academy in 1980, I was
5 assigned to work in the military academy of the land army. I was the
6 commander of an education group of cadets. From 1983, I was transferred
7 to the Brijuni garrison. I was the commander of a navy infantry company
9 From 1987 until 1990, I worked at the Mali Losinj garrison. I
10 was a company commander there. From 1990 to 1991, I worked at the
11 Pula garrison. I was the deputy commander and battalion commander.
12 When the war broke out in the territory of the
13 Republic of Croatia in 1991, I was transferred to the Niksic garrison
14 where I served as battalion commander as well. I stayed at the
15 Niksic garrison until May 1992; that is when I was transferred to the
16 5th Corps, to the Mrkonjic Grad garrison.
17 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us, When did you become a
18 member of the Army of Republika Srpska?
19 A. It was on the 19th of May, 1992, when I reported to the
20 Army of Republika Srpska at the Banja Luka garrison, and from then I have
21 been a member of the Army of Republika Srpska.
22 Q. Thank you. What was your establishment post when you reported to
23 the Army of Republika Srpska? And then what happened during the war;
24 what establishment post did you occupy throughout the war?
25 A. When I reported to the Army of Republika Srpska at the Banja Luka
1 garrison, to be more precise, I was appointed the commander of what was
2 then the 1st Krajina Brigade at the Mrkonjic Grad garrison. I started
3 working on the 10th of June, 1992, and I remained in that position until
4 the end of the war and even after the end of the war.
5 Q. Thank you. After the end of the war, what was your establishment
7 A. After the end of the war in the territory of Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina, I was still the commander of an infantry brigade, and that
9 brigade was the 113th Brigade at the Mrkonjic Grad garrison. And I
10 remained at that position until the year 2003, and that's when I was
11 pensioned off.
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic. And now can you tell the Trial Chamber
13 whether you knew Zdravko Tolimir and since when have you known him?
14 A. I know General Zdravko Tolimir personally. I met him in 1992 and
15 I knew of him even before, for a simple reason. I knew that
16 General Tolimir worked in the same military district as I did. There
17 were meetings, there were briefings, and I heard the name during those
18 events. And finally, I personally met the general in 1992 when I arrived
19 in that area and when I took the position that I did.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic. Did you have any encounters with
21 General Tolimir during the war after that first personal contact, and how
22 often did you see him during the war?
23 A. During the war, from May 1992, I met General Zdravko Tolimir on
24 several occasions. Our encounters were during meetings, briefings,
25 inspection visits, debriefings. I can say that on several occasions, or
1 at least a dozen times, General Zdravko Tolimir inspected my unit and the
2 other units that were deployed in my area of responsibility. Those
3 meetings and encounters were always with a view to getting an insight
4 into the situation in the units in the territory of responsibility and
5 the issues that they were facing.
6 Depending on weather conditions, on time limitations, my
7 conversations with General Tolimir were always friendly, amicable.
8 Whatever we were requested to do was with a view to improving the
9 situation, our attitude towards the troops, our attitude towards the
10 officers, and there were all the other issues that were of some relevance
11 as a result of General Tolimir's inspection visits.
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic. Let us now focus on the events that took
13 place in 1995, the events that are of some interest for this
14 Trial Chamber.
15 My question is this: In July 1995, did you have an occasion to
16 see any members of the Main Staff in the area of your responsibility or
17 elsewhere? Thank you. And I mean any of the members of the Main Staff.
18 A. Towards the end of July 1995 when the Croatian military offensive
19 began against the territory of Republika Srpska, there was an increased
20 presence of officers from the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska.
21 In my area of responsibility and beyond, I had an opportunity to meet
22 first of all with General Milan Gvero and his associates from the
23 superior command, as well as with General Tolimir and the late
24 General Djordje Djukic.
25 In my area of responsibility, while carrying out combat operation
1 along the Donji Vakuf-Travnik axis, the command was visited by
2 General Gvero, who inquired about the situation; and in late July, the
3 command post at the Jajce garrison, General Tolimir paid us a visit and
4 he was particularly interested to hear about the situation on the front
5 line and in the units there.
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic. Can you tell us, can you remember, When
7 did you meet Gvero and when did you meet the other individuals that you
9 A. I saw General Gvero at the Jajce garrison and thereupon he
10 inspected my unit. And that was on the 27th of July. I remember this
11 date precisely because that was the day of the uprising of the people of
12 Bosnia and Herzegovina. So rather jokingly we asked the general whether
13 he had come to congratulate us on this holy day and whether he brought
14 any presents with him.
15 Secondly, in those days, after the Croatian offensive on the
16 28th of July, my town of Glamoc fell, and these are the dates that help
17 me recall that General Gvero was there at the time. I remember that two
18 or three days later another group of officers from the Main Staff arrived
19 and I met with them at the Jajce garrison. Among them was
20 General Tolimir as well.
21 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us, Do you know where this group from
22 the Main Staff was located when they came to visit your area of
24 A. The group of officers from the Main Staff who had arrived in the
25 zone was billeted in a facility within the Kula barracks, after that at
1 the Petar Mrkonjic barracks, and they remained there all through 1995
2 until Mrkonjic Grad fell.
3 Q. For the record, can you tell us where the Kula Kasarna is
5 A. The Kula Kasarna, or, rather, the Petar Mrkonjic barracks, is
6 6 kilometres from Mrkonjic Grad on the Mrkonjic Grad-Kljuc road, between
7 the villages of Rudici and Jovandici.
8 Q. Thank you. Can you tell the Trial Chamber something about the
9 activities of your brigade and the axes that your brigade covered in
10 defending Republika Srpska?
11 A. My brigade, the 1st Sipovo Light Brigade, as it was named during
12 the war, carried out defence operations along two axes. The first one
13 was the Donji Vakuf-Travnik axis at the Komar pass. They carried out
14 defence operations along the front line which was about 30 kilometres
15 long. In total, we had approximately four battalions engaged in these
17 The second axis that the brigade carried out defence was the
18 Sipovo-Kupres axis, where we had a combat group which equalled, in
19 strength, three battalions. This combat group was called Janj combat
20 group. I have to tell you that following the fall of Glamoc and Grahovo
21 and after the enemy had reached the vicinity of Mrkonjic Grad, elements
22 from my brigade were engaged in the operation of closing the Mrkonjic
23 Grad-Kljuc road, and other on the Mrkonjic Grad-Jajce road.
24 Q. Thank you. Now, please, is the village of Bjelajac [Realtime
25 transcript read in error "Bilajac"] in your area, and can you tell us on
1 which road it is situated? Thank you.
2 A. The village of Bjelajce is seven kilometres from Mrkonjic Grad on
3 the Mrkonjic Grad-Banja Luka road, and it was approximately three
4 kilometres within the territory of the forces defending Mrkonjic Grad.
5 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us, From your superiors who were holding
6 these axes, did you have any information that in the territory of the
7 village Bjelajce there were refugees from Sipovo and Glamoc?
8 A. Well, I personally had an opportunity to see that the civilians
9 who left Glamoc on the 27th and the 28th were provided accommodation in
10 the general area of Mrkonjic Grad municipality, including at the school
11 in Bjelajce. I know about that because all of my folks also fled Glamoc
12 and I was keen to find out whether they were alive and well and if I
13 could provide some assistance to them.
14 Q. Thank you. Now, as for the other people who hailed from Glamoc,
15 did they come to Bilajac in order to see the refugees from their native
17 A. Of course. Everyone feels a strong pain when it comes to their
18 native towns or villages, especially if information was scarce as to
19 their whereabouts. Everybody wanted to offer a helping hand, not only to
20 us who came from Glamoc, but to everybody else. I clearly remember that
21 we discussed the issues of how we could help all these refugees.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, just for the sake of the record:
23 Mr. Culic, could you please repeat the name of that village you
24 are talking about and spell it, please, letter by letter.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can do that.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. We had some different
3 spelling on the record. Thank you very much.
4 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. You just said that you had meetings and that you discussed how to
8 help the people. With whom did you meet in that village?
9 A. Among others there were lots of people from the corps command and
10 people from the Main Staff. The first one with whom I had a meeting was
11 the late General Djukic, and after that I met with you and we had a
12 discussion. I was particularly interested in the condition of the
13 combatants in the area because all of my next of kin was in the unit that
14 was defending Glamoc.
15 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us, Can you remember approximately when
16 you and I met in Bjelajce?
17 A. I think that was three or four days after my meeting with
18 General Gvero, and I think that that was on or about the 30th of July.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now have Exhibit P2458,
21 page 2. Thank you. It's page 3 in English.
22 Thank you, Aleksandar.
23 [Microphone not activated]
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Culic, on page 2 we see the title: "The Bosansko Grahovo and
2 Glamoc area." And then look at paragraph 3 and I'm going to quote it.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I would appreciate if we could see
4 first the first page so that we know about the document itself. Then we
5 form a better understanding. We want to see both first pages.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Can we first see page
7 number 1 in both versions.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, perhaps you can briefly introduce
9 this document.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. This is
11 a document produced by the intelligence administration of the Croatian
12 Army entitled: "Intelligence Report," of 30th of July, 1995. It was
13 printed in Zagreb on the 31st July, 1995, in Zagreb. And it describes
14 the state and activities of the SVK, VRS, and VJ. They produce such
15 intelligence reports on a daily-basis, and in this report they say the
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. And I quote --
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Now we can go to the pages 2, respectively, and
20 3. Thank you for this introduction.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Culic, as you can see in this chapter entitled "The Bosansko
23 Grahovo and Glamoc area," the third paragraph reads:
24 "During the day General Tolimir and General Djukic from the VRS
25 Main Staff have been sent to the Grahovo Glamoc front line in order to
1 consolidate the situation and undertake measures to consolidate the
2 forces. To this purpose, a special team, ZM," means "joint command,"
3 "will be set up at Drvar --"
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can you please move to the next page in English.
5 Thank you.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. "... which will be led by General Milovanovic following the
8 directive of M. Karadzic," although it should read "R. Karadzic."
9 My question is this: Since this document that comes from the
10 Croatian Army was drafted on the 31st, as I said earlier, can you tell me
11 if this period, according to what you know, was the period when
12 General Tolimir was in the area of your brigade or, more precisely, along
13 the axis where you carried out your activities?
14 A. I think that the time-frame is correct and I think that was
15 exactly the period when you were in the area of Mrkonjic Grad.
16 Q. Thank you. Please tell us the exact place where we met, and you
17 said that we did meet; tell us where it was.
18 A. We met for the first time on that day at Bjelajce and then on the
19 same evening in Jajce at the division command post. I can also tell you
20 that at the time my command post was at the Jajce garrison and so was the
21 division command post. The two were only a hundred metres apart.
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic. Tell the Trial Chamber some more about
23 your knowledge about General Tolimir's movements from the time when you
24 met until the end of the war, as far as you know. Thank you.
25 A. I had the opportunity to meet General Ratko [as interpreted]
1 Tolimir at least ten or 15 times in those areas. And those were both
2 official and unofficial meetings, or encounters.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Culic, Mr. Culic. I just want to clarify one
4 matter. You said:
5 "We met for the first time on that day in Bjelajce ..."
6 Which day was it? Do you recall the date?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I said about three
8 days after the 27th, so it would have been on the 30th or 31st. I think
9 it was the 30th, though.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Please continue with your
11 answer to Mr. Tolimir.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Since at that time the situation on
13 the front line was extremely bad and difficult because the offensive of
14 the Croatian Army and the BH Army had begun along all axes, it was
15 necessary to take all organisational measures and other measures for the
16 system of command and control and combat readiness that had been
17 disrupted by the actions of the NATO aeroplanes. And command was very
18 difficult, so we had to restore that system back to normal. Under these
19 conditions, all the measures that the units and commands took to stop the
20 offensive and repel the attack, we had debriefings each evening and even
21 earlier than the evening when it was necessary. There were also meetings
22 for the purpose of analysis. Those meetings were held at the division
23 command. Very often somebody from the Main Staff organs would be present
24 as well.
25 Apart from that, on the ground, that is, on the battle-field, it
1 was necessary to assess the situation in the units and take adequate
2 measures. Since the defence system, the old defence system, had been
3 disrupted, adequate measures were taken by the Main Staff officers or,
4 rather, the forward command post of the Main Staff headed by
5 General Milovanovic.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Thank you. Mr. Culic, you said that some measures were being
8 taken. Here's my question: Did any officer from the Main Staff command
9 any subordinate unit in the zone of responsibility of your corps? Thank
11 A. I must be very clear about this. The exclusive right to command
12 and take decisions was with us, commanders. After the meetings and
13 analyses at command level, we received clear and precise orders from the
14 superior command, that is, the division command. So those officers
15 didn't command our units. They were only there to assess the situation
16 from their level and set tasks to the units through the testimony of
17 command and control, and it's clear how that went: by way of orders.
18 Q. Thank you. Did you have information if the Main Staff, or, more
19 precisely, General Tolimir, stayed in Western Bosnia for a longer period
20 of time?
21 A. Yes. I've already said that I had the opportunity to meet him
22 rather often. Secondly, we met a couple of times at the front line while
23 defending Mrkonjic Grad or actually immediately before the fall of that
24 town, and I'm talking about a period of at least a month or two. And we
25 must have met some ten or 15 times at least. But even when we didn't
1 meet for a couple of days, I did have such information, because we,
2 brigade commanders, exchanged information about things. So I did have
3 information whether anybody was going to negotiations, or not, and so on.
4 I was able to learn that from the media.
5 Q. Thank you. I apologise. Not everything was recorded when I
6 started speaking.
7 Did you know where the forward command post of the Main Staff in
8 that part of your zone was?
9 A. I've already said that the forward command post was where I was,
10 at Kula, and I knew, roughly, where they were and how things happened.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would like to make a correction for the record.
12 Page 14, line 9 -- no, sorry, 8, the word "testimony" should be replaced
13 by "system."
14 Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Now, can you tell us anything about the situation on the ground
18 from August until the end of November in the zone where your unit was
19 active in 1995? Thank you.
20 A. From July till October 1995, the situation at the front was
21 extremely difficult for two reasons: One, the Croatian Army and the
22 BH army had launched their offensive ; and two, NATO forces and the
23 rapid-reaction forces had also launched their actions. They started
24 bombing our command posts and communications hubs of the VRS. In such a
25 situation which was bad both for the VRS and my unit, it was necessary to
1 keep the territory, preserve the unit, and certainly the population, too.
2 In this time-period, following the loss of some territories from
3 which the Serbian population was expelled, Glamoc, Grahovo - after that,
4 Drvar, Sipovo, Kupres, Donji Vakuf, Kljuc, and finally Mrkonjic Grad - a
5 less favourable balance of forces came about. From that time-period,
6 from July until October or until the signing of the Dayton Accord, my
7 unit, like other units that were engaged in the defence of those areas,
8 were in a very unfavourable tactical position.
9 At times, command was very difficult because our radio relay hubs
10 had been destroyed. NATO planes had bombed that facility at
11 Rajakovo Brdo near Mrkonjic Grad. Besides, the units were always in an
12 unfavourable position because there was an imminent threat of
13 air-strikes. In such a situation, everybody made an all-out effort, both
14 the rank and file and the officers, to stop the enemy and engage in
15 active defence.
16 During that time-period, we were able, owing to the great efforts
17 of the fighters of the VRS, to stop the advance. And we slowed down the
18 attack of the HV and the BH army after some 20 or 30 days.
19 Q. Thank you. Do you know anything about the losses that the
20 population incurred during the NATO air-strikes and the actions of the
21 rapid-reaction forces as well as those of the HV and the BH army? Thank
23 A. Yes. I personally have such information, among other things
24 because I was in that area even after the war and I was able to see that
25 there were victims, because while that -- when that radio relay hub was
1 attacked, four soldiers got killed in 1995. After that, upon the signing
2 of the Dayton Accord and the return of the population to that area, we
3 found over 180 killed civilians in Mrkonjic Grad municipality alone. But
4 there were more in the areas of Sipovo, Glamoc, Drvar, and other places
5 that had been occupied by the HV forces.
6 Q. Thank you. Is it logical, then, for the Main Staff to have
7 forward command posts in an area where the aggression of third countries
8 and NATO forces against the RS was being slowed down and was that one of
9 the reasons why these officers were in Western Bosnia where your brigade
10 and your corps were?
11 A. Yes. Clearly the Main Staff assessed the situation, and it was
12 the gravity of the situation in the theater of the Western Krajina, where
13 there was an aggression of the HV forces, was the reason why they went
14 where things were worst. And I am sure that there was a command post
16 Q. Thank you. In your previous answer you mentioned a relay station
17 that was bombed by NATO planes. You mentioned its name. But do say next
18 to which facility it was and who was staying at that facility. Which
19 soldiers are belonging to which unit?
20 A. I mentioned a short while ago that one of the facilities targeted
21 by NATO planes was the radio relay hub of Rajak, which was on
22 Rajakovo Brdo, which is some 500 metres away from the
23 Petar Mrkonjic barracks.
24 Q. Thank you. Was there a forward command post of the Main Staff in
25 that barracks?
1 A. Yes. There was also a forward command post of the Main Staff,
2 which was probably one of the potential targets.
3 Q. Thank you. Since you were involved in these events, and you have
4 also explained who else was involved, did you during that period and
5 later understand who was attacked there and who was an ally in that
6 attack and in the combat?
7 A. Well, yes, clearly everybody of us was clear about the fact that
8 the Croatian Army had entered and occupied a part of the territory. Also
9 that the BH army had an ally in the NATO forces that bombed us, not only
10 the Croatian Army as an ally.
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic. During the war, since you joined the VRS,
12 you were a brigade commander all the time; right?
13 A. Yes. That is correct. I was brigade commander for 11 years.
14 Q. Thank you. Since you were brigade commander, can you tell us
15 whether there were rules and regulations in force in the brigade that the
16 officers, both active-duty and reserve officers, had to abide by?
17 A. Upon my joining of the VRS, the Republika Srpska and its army had
18 adopted the rules and regulations that were in force in the
19 Yugoslav People's Army. Everything that had been set out in the rules
20 and regulations governing the activities of the Yugoslav People's Army.
21 I know that for sure because I was a member of the JNA, too, and I know
22 that all the rules and regulations governing our combat activities were
23 those that were in force in the JNA as well.
24 Q. Thank you. Later on, during the war, did we also adopt rules
25 from any of the other republics of the former Yugoslavia?
1 A. No, we did not receive rules from any of the other republics.
2 However, as the Army of Republika Srpska, whenever a rule or a regulation
3 had to be amended, for example, if we are talking about the dress code,
4 and so on and so forth, we would receive such an amendment, an amendment
5 of the dress code. And those amendments became an integral part of the
6 rule that was already in force, and all our members were duty-bound to
7 comply with the amendments of that sort.
8 Q. Did the amendments in question apply only to your dress code or
9 perhaps even to combat activities and combat operations? Thank you.
10 A. I believe that only the -- the only thing that happened was that
11 the Army of Republika Srpska adapted to the situation at hand in keeping
12 with the strategy and plans of the use of units that were drafted based
13 on the rules for the use of brigades, corps, and so on and so forth.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I stopped you again because you started too
15 early. Please repeat your next question.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Mr. Culic, for the record, could you please tell us, What combat
18 rules are we talking about?
19 A. We're talking about the combat rules of the former JNA. We're
20 talking about combat rules for the infantry battalions, infantry
21 brigades, and other instructions about the work of the command staffs and
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic. Thank you. Do you know who in your
24 brigade commanded the military police, for example? Thank you.
25 A. Your Honours, in my brigade I was in command of the military
1 police. I was in command of all our -- my units, including the military
3 Q. Thank you. For the record, please tell us, Was the security
4 organ in a position to command the military police in your brigade or in
5 any other brigade?
6 A. Well, you see, in our organisational structure we had security
7 organs who were our immediately subordinated officers. Their
8 professional element and the work that they did - and that was provided
9 for by the rules of the work of organs and services - envisaged that in
10 the process of decision-making, those professional organs proposed the
11 ways how certain tasks would be carried out. However, the exclusive
12 right of command and use was in the hand of the commander.
13 As you know, whenever a task was distributed, the situation would
14 be assessed and the decision-making process followed. During that
15 process, every organ had the right to suggest how the task should be
16 carried out. Once the proposals were looked at, the commander was the
17 one who made the final decision, irrespective of the fact whether the
18 proposal was proposed by any of the organs, because the commander was
19 responsible for his decision and he had the exclusive right to command
20 and control. And I can say for a fact that in my brigade, or any other
21 brigade, nobody else had the right to command, and that included a
22 security organ or any other organ. The only person who could command was
23 the brigade commander.
24 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic. Who was in command of your security organ
25 in your brigade?
1 A. I was the one who commanded my security organ. And that was the
2 exclusive right of the commander.
3 Q. Thank you. Did your brigade also have an intelligence organ in
4 addition to the security organ?
5 A. In addition to the security organ who was subordinated to me as
6 the commander there was also an intelligence organ, but he was the
7 assistant Chief of Staff for intelligence, which means that he sent his
8 proposals and he reported to the Chief of Staff.
9 Q. Can you please tell us, Who was the Chief of Staff? Was that
10 somebody outside of the brigade or in your brigade?
11 A. He was the assistant of my own Chief of Staff for intelligence.
12 And if he was his assistant, it was only normal that he reported to him
13 about his tasks. So not to any other Chief of Staff.
14 Q. Your security organ and your intelligence organ, could they
15 receive orders from the security organ of your superior command, for
16 example? Thank you.
17 A. Well, you see, the rules were very clear. The system of command
18 and control was very clear. All the orders followed that system of
19 command. When it came to certain information, intelligence, certain
20 analyses, certain issues pertaining to professional and specialist
21 training, obviously the organ of the superior command would send that
22 mail to us, and then that organ informed us about, for example, the
23 activities of the enemy, and everything else that did not interfere with
24 the system of command and control. However, primarily, as I have just
25 told, you security organs did not receive orders from the superior
1 security organs. They were their superiors only in terms of professional
3 Q. Thank you. Mr. Culic, can you tell us, for the record, Was
4 Tolimir in a position to command the security organ and the intelligence
5 organ in your brigade?
6 A. Well, knowing General Tolimir personally, I have to be very
7 clear: He never requested to do that. He never did that because he was
8 very familiar with the system of control and command and he would not
9 have wanted to humiliate either me or any other commander by giving
10 orders to his security or intelligence organs. I know personally that
11 General Tolimir, when he visited my unit on several occasions before
12 1995, he even spent several nights with my unit. He never wanted to
13 impose himself as an officer from the Main Staff who had the last say.
14 He always showed understanding for us. He always wanted to listen to us,
15 to hear us out, and to propose the best measures. And all the measures
16 that were undertaken in order to implement certain tasks were implemented
17 pursuant to the orders and commands of the superior command.
18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic. Thank you for having come to testify in
19 these proceedings. I thank you for everything. I thank you. I wish you
20 God-speed in your future life and work.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the Defence has no
22 further questions for this witness. We have brought our
23 cross-examination to an end -- I apologise, it was an
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much, Mr. Tolimir.
1 Mr. Culic, now the Prosecutor, Mr. Elderkin, has the opportunity
2 to put questions to you. But before he gets the floor, Judge Mindua has
3 a question for the witness.
4 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness Culic, regarding your last
5 answer, you told General Tolimir that he never wanted to humiliate
6 anybody and that he was always ready to listen to everyone. But knowing
7 full well that he was the person in charge of security and on the
8 information -- security and information, rather, how was he able to give
9 you his instructions and his orders? How -- how would he give you those
10 instructions, in which manner?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you see, General Tolimir
12 never arrived in my unit on his own. He arrived with other officers who
13 were my immediate superiors from my command, from the
14 30th [phoen] Division. He did not arrive in my units to issue orders.
15 His primary purpose was to look at the situation on the ground. He
16 wanted to obtain information from us and he wanted to receive information
17 from us. He did not come to issue orders.
18 I don't know if you understood my answer.
19 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. Thank you very much.
20 Yes, yes, you were quite clear. Thank you very much.
21 But, yes, precisely after assessing the situation, after getting
22 all the information from you, he would take certain measures, he would
23 take certain decisions, so how was he able to apply these measures that
24 he had taken which -- in which way? Through which channels was he doing
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you see, as I have already
2 told you, we held regular meetings and briefings in our commands. At
3 those meetings and briefings we received tasks from our commanders, from
4 our superiors, with all the precise details of the measures that had to
5 be undertaken. And that was imparted not only to the general, but
6 everybody else who came to visit. So he did not issue orders to me
7 directly. Those orders were handed down from the most superior command
8 down the line of command to the lowest units.
9 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, indeed.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I put a follow-up question to you.
11 I understand that you had a very friendly conversation with
12 Mr. Tolimir during these meetings, but sometimes it's possible that a
13 superior officer is not satisfied with the information he receives, or
14 not satisfied with the situation he finds. In which way he could
15 influence the situation to improve it? In which way could he react to
16 the information received?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you see, as subordinates and
18 junior officers, we always valued the advice of our superiors.
19 Obviously, on the ground, if certain things were done, we sought advice
20 as to how to do them. However, nobody ever came to us and ordered us
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
23 Now, Mr. Elderkin, please commence your cross-examination.
24 MR. ELDERKIN: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning to
25 Your Honours and to everyone else in the courtroom.
1 Cross-examination by Mr. Elderkin:
2 Q. Mr. Culic, good morning to you. My name is Rupert Elderkin, and
3 I'm going to ask you some questions on behalf of the Office of the
5 I want first, please, to cover your knowledge of
6 General Tolimir's whereabouts during the period of the fighting in the
7 Krajina in the summer of 1995.
8 You've told us that the first time that you met General Tolimir
9 in July of 1995 was in Bjelajce and that was on the 30th or the
10 31st of July; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You said that you met General Tolimir on about ten to
13 15 occasions during the course of the defence of the Krajina; is that
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And you also said that General Tolimir remained in the Krajina
17 area throughout that period until at least the fall of Mrkonjic Grad.
18 Does that correctly reflect what you've testified to this morning,
19 Mr. Culic?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Are you aware that General Tolimir travelled away from the
22 Krajina on a number of occasions during August, September, and
23 October of 1995?
24 A. I know that from time to time he would go to attend meetings,
25 negotiations, and things like that. I don't know how long he stayed
1 there, but I know that he returned to the area. At the end of the day,
2 when it comes to his departures and negotiations with the enemy side or
3 NATO, we could read about that in newspapers. It was covered by the
4 media extensively.
5 Q. But there is no specific reason why you personally would have
6 known about General Tolimir's whereabouts day by day except on the
7 occasions when you met him personally in the Krajina; is that correct?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. And I just want to clarify the time-frame when you say that
10 General Tolimir remained, generally, in the Krajina area. You said it
11 was until around the fall of Mrkonjic Grad. Can you please tell us on
12 what date Mrkonjic Grad fell, as best you can remember?
13 A. Mrkonjic fell sometime in October 1995, in the first half of
14 October 1995.
15 Q. Do you recall, when was the last time that you met
16 General Tolimir, either a date, or, if not, do you recall the
17 circumstances of your last meeting?
18 A. Well, I remember that I saw him between Rogolji village and
19 Mrkonjic Grad on the road from Mrkonjic Grad to Kljuc. I met with
20 General Tolimir and General Gvero late in the evening. I was there
21 because I headed a unit in the direction of Mrkonjic Grad. I remember
22 that it was the beginning of October, sometime around the 6th, 7th, or
23 perhaps the 10th of October, in any case it was in the first half of
25 Q. So to be clear: The ten to 15 times that you met General Tolimir
1 were between around the 30th or 31st of July and sometime up to the
2 beginning or middle of October; is that right?
3 A. Yes. Mid-October.
4 MR. ELDERKIN: Your Honours, as a means to save time in covering
5 questions about General Tolimir's whereabouts during this period, I have
6 prepared and have loaded into e-court a summary of the dates and the
7 corresponding evidence the Prosecution has concerning General Tolimir's
8 presence at locations outside the Krajina region. This isn't a piece of
9 evidence. It's something that I've prepared myself but as a means to
10 present more simply to the witness and to Your Honours what evidence we
11 have about General Tolimir's whereabouts in August through October.
12 I'd ask, with your leave, that I could show this to the witness
13 and the Court. It's something that we gave to the Defence at the
14 beginning of this week, and, of course, I'd only go ahead with your and
15 their agreement, but I believe it would be an efficient means to proceed,
16 rather than going through the binder of documents I have one by one. It
17 bears 65 ter number, provisionally, 7619, and I also have hard copies if
18 that would assist people more easily, both in English and B/C/S.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Elderkin, could you explain a bit further the
20 purpose of putting this to this witness?
21 MR. ELDERKIN: Your Honours, the witness has told us that he
22 generally understood General Tolimir to be in the Krajina area, obviously
23 away from Eastern Bosnia, away from the VRS Main Staff, throughout the
24 period in question, and in the 65 ter summary for this witness it was
25 indicated that this evidence should be relevant to certain paragraphs of
1 our indictment - I think 23 and 23.1 - which concern other events that
2 were happening at that same time.
3 The evidence that I would like to take the witness through is to
4 ask the witness whether he would agree that on many occasions
5 General Tolimir did, in fact, travel to Eastern Bosnia, attend meetings
6 with various significant individuals, including, on many occasions, with
7 General Mladic and others, and that took him away from the Krajina and
8 back to areas of Eastern Bosnia that are geographically relevant,
9 obviously, to our indictment.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I understood the testimony of this witness that
11 he only was able to tell us about his meetings with General Tolimir
12 between the 30th of July and, at the latest, 10th of October, 1995. Is
13 this a period which is relevant to our indictment?
14 MR. ELDERKIN: Your Honours, the period in question is that which
15 is when the reburial operation was under way in Eastern Bosnia, in the
16 Zvornik and Bratunac municipalities. It's also the period when certain
17 of the men who were captured after the fall of Zepa were incarcerated.
18 And then during August and September those men were killed.
19 If I understand General Tolimir's position in leading this
20 evidence, he seems to be seeking to establish his distance from those
21 events. If not, then I wouldn't see any relevance in having called this
22 witness to testify about his whereabouts in that time-period. If the
23 evidence in chief about his whereabouts is relevant, then I would submit
24 that on cross-examination it's both necessary and proper for the
25 Prosecution to be able to go into those questions of whereabouts in that
1 period. But if Your Honours consider that General Tolimir's whereabouts
2 is not in issue when considering the events in the indictment of August,
3 September, October, in terms of the reburials and the foreseeable
4 killings, then it's not a subject that, obviously, I would need to cover
5 on cross-examination.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is not what I said, but I just wanted to
7 clarify your position on that.
8 Mr. Tolimir, what is your position in respect to the request of
9 Mr. Elderkin?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We have
11 not used this witness to prove exactly where General Tolimir was on each
12 and every day. We just discussed those periods when he saw us, when he
13 heard that we were in his area of responsibility, in the area of his
14 responsibility of his corps or brigade. We don't want -- if Mr. Elderkin
15 has proof that we participated in the events, that we were in the area at
16 the time, we invite Mr. Elderkin to present them for the benefit of the
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Elderkin, Mr. Tolimir, the Chamber is
21 satisfied with this explanation of Mr. Elderkin. If it relates to the
22 time-period 30th of July up to 6 -- no, 10th of October, 1995. That is
23 the period the witness testified about and was examined by Mr. Tolimir.
24 We can do that after the first break.
25 MR. ELDERKIN: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I'd ask,
1 simply because of the way I prepared the document itself - it contains
2 entries for the last three dates in October which are the -- well, two
3 dates, sorry, 14th and 27th, which appear on the sheet, because I've
4 prepared it through to the end of October - if I were to restrict myself
5 up to the 10th of October, would it be acceptable, still, to use the same
6 document? Otherwise, during the break I can try to retype this and load
7 a new copy into e-court. But if we can just ignore the end of the
8 page --
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You are only referring to evidence which is
10 admitted during this trial. That -- therefore, I don't have a problem
11 with that, if you restrict your examination to the period we talked
13 MR. ELDERKIN: And to be absolutely clear, Your Honours: There
14 are some items on here which bear 65 ter numbers which have not yet been
15 admitted but which I have on my list to use with this witness. But I
16 would certainly restrict myself to the indicated period.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. We must have our first
18 break now, and we will resume five minutes past 11.00.
19 --- Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Elderkin. You may proceed as discussed
22 before the break.
23 MR. ELDERKIN: Your Honours, if it's agreeable, I would propose
24 handing out hard copies of this reference list because that way I can
25 leave it on people's desks while we work alongside other documents in
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, with the assistance of the Court Usher.
3 Would it be helpful to put one copy on the ELMO?
4 MR. ELDERKIN: Your Honours, that is possible. I've handed up
5 four copies for the Bench, also for the Legal Officer. Unfortunately, I
6 don't have a fifth for the ELMO. So if I could ask to keep one of the
7 four or simply that everyone has one. There are three in B/C/S for the
8 witness, Mr. Tolimir, and Mr. Gajic. So I think that there's no need to
9 put it on the ELMO as well.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed. Please go ahead.
11 MR. ELDERKIN:
12 Q. Mr. Culic, in a moment I'm going to ask you about various times
13 when General Tolimir was outside the Krajina. But since you told us the
14 period in which he remained in your area of the Krajina, and that was
15 until sometime in mid-October --
16 MR. ELDERKIN: I'd like, please, to see Exhibit D264.
17 Q. -- and just confirm with you your understanding until the time
18 until which General Tolimir remained in your area and what was he doing
19 when he was there.
20 Now, on the first page of this document, Mr. Culic, you can see
21 that this is an order issued by the Main Staff of the VRS, and it's an
22 order to the corps level, and its subject is: "Blocking the Enemy
23 Offensive on the Western Republika Srpska Front."
24 MR. ELDERKIN: And if we could go, please, down to the bottom of
25 the page in B/C/S.
1 Q. I think we can see the start of various instructions under point
2 number 5. And this item starts by saying:
4 "Main Staff of the VRS to direct the entire operation, engaging
5 the following commanding officers ..."
6 Sir, do you see that text at the bottom of the page?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. In fact, sir, you saw this document before when you testified in
9 the Popovic case. Do you recall that?
10 A. I may have seen it. I'm not sure.
11 Q. You agree that at point 5(a) there is reference to engaging
12 certain commanding officers, at the bottom of the page, sir?
13 A. That's the only thing that I can see.
14 MR. ELDERKIN: Then can we go to the next page, please, in the
16 Q. You see at the bottom that it's an order from General Mladic; do
17 you see that, sir, at the type-signature at the bottom?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Okay. Now, let's look at the top of the page, please. And what
20 you can see here, by each dash, is a reference to different members,
21 different generals of the VRS Main Staff, and each is assigned specific
22 tasks. So, for example, the first is an assignment for the Chief of
23 Staff, and that's General Milovanovic. Do you see that right at the top
24 of the page, sir?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, if we go down to the sixth, I think, dash, you should be
2 able to see a reference to General Tolimir. And you see that just before
3 the gap in the paragraph.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And there it reads, for General Tolimir's assignment --
6 A. [No interpretation]
7 Q. -- "Assistant commander for intelligence and security,
8 Major General Zdravko Tolimir co-ordinates action by the 30th PD,
9 defending the axis Mrkonjic Grad - village of Trijebovo - village of
10 Stricici and is responsible for the defence of the axis."
11 Do you see that, sir?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And you agree that at the beginning of this point in the order,
14 point 5, General Mladic was referring to the following officers as
15 commanding officers, because this operation, this defence, was to be
16 supervised and overseen by the Main Staff. That's what it says in the
17 document, isn't it?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And General Tolimir's assignment here is to lead and to be
20 responsible for defence on the axis mentioned, beginning with
21 Mrkonjic Grad.
22 Do you agree with that?
23 A. Gentlemen, General Tolimir did not lead the operation. He was
24 there merely as a representative of the command in order to co-ordinate
25 the work to the extent that it was necessary on the battle-field to
1 achieve co-ordinated actions. In command were the commander of the
2 division and the commander of the corps.
3 Q. General Mladic is specifically assigning General Tolimir and
4 making him responsible for the defence of the mentioned axis; is that
5 right? He's responsible for it according to this document.
6 A. Your Honours, it clearly says here in the order that he is to
7 co-ordinate the work. There is no responsibility of his. Responsibility
8 lies with the unit commanders.
9 Q. Sir, you mentioned earlier that Main Staff officers, including
10 General Gvero, General Tolimir, visited the Krajina from the end of July
11 onwards. You said that they inspected your unit. Almost all of the
12 Main Staff generals came over to the Krajina when the Croatian offensive
13 started, didn't they?
14 A. Well, I don't know if all of them, but most of them, yes.
15 Q. And the reason for bringing the Main Staff generals to the
16 Krajina was to strengthen and steer the defence that was being put up by
17 the VRS forces in that area. They were there because it was a serious
18 situation and these were serious generals who had to be responsible for
19 their defence of the Republika Srpska territory. That's right, isn't it?
20 A. As I said earlier, within the system of command and control it is
21 the commander who is responsible for the implementation of decisions,
22 whereas the organs of the superior command only assist. You can also see
23 in this order that he is to co-ordinate the actions of the forces on that
24 axis where the defence operation for Mrkonjic and access is to
25 Banja Luka, and there were several units and several corps engaged in
1 that operation, which means that co-ordination was necessary in terms of
2 the timing and the method of carrying out tasks.
3 I don't know if I was clear enough.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Culic, you were referring to the word
5 "co-ordinates," but the end of the sentence reads as follow:
6 "... and is responsible for the defence of the axis."
7 What is your understanding of the word "responsible" in that
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand it to be that he is
10 responsible for co-ordination and organisation of the forces that are
11 engaged in the defence. Because, along these axes leading to
12 Mrkonjic Grad and Banja Luka, there were units from other organic
13 formations and that necessitated a co-ordinated action in temporal and
14 spatial terms and that is where their responsibility lie. In the course
15 of carrying out each specific task, whether it be defence or
16 reconnaissance or whatever, those who are responsible for these tasks are
17 unit commanders.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
19 Mr. Elderkin.
20 MR. ELDERKIN: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Could we please see 65 ter number 397. First of all just the
22 front page so we can identify that document.
23 Q. Mr. Culic, while this is going to come up in front of you in
24 e-court, let me tell you that this is the VRS Main Staff analysis of the
25 combat readiness of the army in 1992. So from earlier in the war.
1 MR. ELDERKIN: And I'd like, please, to go to page 160, 1-6-0, in
2 English, and page 139 in the B/C/S. And if we could go -- scroll down
3 the page in the B/C/S so we can see the part that begins in -- "In
5 Q. Sir, do you see the paragraph there now just below the centre of
6 the page, starting: "In Posavina and Western Bosnia ..."?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Let me read through it. It's only a short paragraph.
9 "In Posavina and Western Bosnia, we have put the emphasis on the
10 grouping of forces, air and artillery support, and in Podrinje, in a
11 specific way, the increased expenditure of ammunition and materiel and
12 equipment, as well as the use of the reserves of the Main Staff of the
13 Army of RS. The presence of the commander of the Main Staff, or of a
14 representative of the Main Staff, in the units carrying out the mission
15 of the liberation of Podrinje in a specific way of giving weight to and
16 steering combat operations towards a single goal."
17 So that's just the sort of thing that the generals of the
18 Main Staff, including General Tolimir, were doing when they were sent to
19 the Krajina in the summer of 1995, isn't it? They were giving strength
20 to and making sure those units were focused on the goal, as ordered by
21 General Mladic. Do you agree with that, sir?
22 A. Well, their presence definitely contributed to a better
23 performance of the tasks. But this order also definitely shows that the
24 Main Staff has its own focus, just like every other unit has the focus of
25 its action. Therefore, the order says that the commander is going to be
1 either at the command post, forward command post, or an observation post.
2 Q. Mr. Culic, the Prosecution agrees that commanders issue orders in
3 the VRS, but would you agree that General Tolimir and other specialist
4 assistant commanders and other security and intelligence officers were
5 experts in implementing the orders of the army's commanders?
6 A. Yes, of course. All the assistants were experts in their
7 respective fields of expertise, but they were not those who implemented
8 the orders on the ground, because the system of control in our system was
9 quite clear: The orders were carried out by the commands or
10 institutions; that is to say, commanders of division, corps, battalions,
11 platoons, et cetera. And that is on -- the basis on which our chain of
12 command was constructed.
13 Q. I'd like to, please, go to one of the documents that's mentioned
14 on the list everyone has in front of them. It's the first reference.
15 And this is for August, the date of the 6th of August, and this is a time
16 when General Tolimir attended the 52nd Session of the Republika Srpska
17 National Assembly in Pale.
18 MR. ELDERKIN: If we could have 65 ter 3455, please, on the
20 Q. Mr. Culic, do you know if General Tolimir was in Pale on the
21 6th of August of 1995 attending this meeting?
22 A. Your Honours, I know that he did attend certain Assembly
23 sessions. But if I look at this date, I can only conclude that according
24 to this document he attended this session as well.
25 MR. ELDERKIN: If we could please go to page 35 of the English
1 and page 31 of the B/C/S.
2 Q. Sir, you can see here General Tolimir is one of the speakers at
3 the Assembly session. Do you see his name at the top of the page, sir,
4 followed by the transcript of what he was saying that day?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... the English --
7 A. I can see his full name.
8 MR. ELDERKIN: For everyone's reference: In the English it's
9 right at the time at the bottom of the page. So we need to scroll down,
10 please, to the foot of that page.
11 Q. And, sir, we've already discussed the role of the generals of the
12 Main Staff when they were assigned to the front lines. In particular,
13 you've told us about General Tolimir in the Krajina in July. Where did
14 General Tolimir come from? What front was he at before the Krajina? Do
15 you know that?
16 A. I really can't tell you where he had come from. All we knew was
17 that he had come from the superior command. As for his movements, I
18 really cannot tell you anything about it because I don't know.
19 Q. You know about the operations to take over first the Srebrenica
20 enclave and then the Zepa enclave in Eastern Bosnia which took place in
21 July 1995?
22 A. Yes, I know that this happened in July. But I don't know who was
23 there, who was moving about, or what they were doing. I really had no
24 connection with any of those things.
25 Q. General Tolimir was assigned in Eastern Bosnia and he was in Zepa
1 until just before he came to the Krajina.
2 MR. ELDERKIN: If we go to page --
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Elderkin, you are at the moment a bit beyond
4 the area Mr. Tolimir raised in his examination-in-chief.
5 MR. ELDERKIN: Your Honours, if you will allow me to continue
6 with the next couple of questions, this returns to the subject of the
7 responsibilities of General Tolimir in a command or an operational role,
8 and it's discussed in this Assembly session as well as in additional
9 documents. I can show you the page, Mr. President, and hopefully you
10 will see where this is going. It's at page 32 in the B/C/S and page 37
11 in the English. And it's starting in the indented paragraph right in the
12 middle of the B/C/S page and also the middle of the English.
13 Q. It starts - and this is General Tolimir responding to another
15 "A statement that Zepa was a reason for the fall of Glamoc and
16 Grahovo, because two generals were assigned to Zepa, has been used as a
17 trump card here. By solving the problem of Zepa, dear gentlemen, we got
18 two brigades from Drina Corps in the area of the 2nd Krajina Corps. By
19 solving the problem of Srebrenica, we also got adequate reserves. And we
20 did it in the period of time for which we estimated that the
21 international community would not react, which was immediately after the
22 events that took place in the Western Slavonia."
23 Do you see that part, sir, and does that reflect that
24 General Tolimir was assigned to Zepa in a role involving the oversight of
25 the take-over of that enclave which, according to General Tolimir
1 himself, succeeded in relieving the pressure on the VRS and thereby
2 assisted in providing troops for the Krajina?
3 A. I didn't understand your question. I see in front of me a lot of
4 things mentioned by the Prosecutor, but I don't know with whom
5 Mr. Tolimir spoke with, what kind of report he is talking about, whether
6 there were two or three generals.
7 Q. Well, sir, you can read for yourself, in the text in front of
8 you, General Tolimir's statement about two generals being assigned to
9 Zepa. I believe it's uncontested in this trial that General Tolimir was
10 present as a general of the VRS Main Staff during the VRS operation
11 against Zepa. And you can see that that operation, according to
12 General Tolimir, led to the successful completion in Zepa, and that
13 liberated units of the Drina Corps to go to the Krajina. Do you agree
14 with that, sir?
15 A. I didn't understand your question. What you are asking me about?
16 Because if I read it, I can't see, from what I see, to whom
17 General Tolimir spoke, so your question is not clear to me.
18 Q. Sir, this is the record of the RS National Assembly.
19 General Tolimir is speaking at that Assembly. He's responding to another
20 speaker, but he's addressing the Assembly. And this is a record of the
21 minutes of that. So General Tolimir here is speaking to a wide audience.
22 In any event, sir, I'll show you something else, if I may, which
23 is a short video-clip. And this is of General Mladic. And
24 General Mladic here is discussing what role or part of the role that
25 General Tolimir played during the Zepa operation.
1 MR. ELDERKIN: And this is from Exhibit P1029.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Elderkin, I don't quite understand this line
3 of questions you are putting to the witness. We discussed earlier in
4 which way your questions during cross-examination should relate to the
5 examination-in-chief. If -- you should tell us in which way you could
6 establish the whereabouts of Mr. Tolimir during that period we talked
7 about by showing this video.
8 MR. ELDERKIN: Your Honours, at this stage my examination is
9 focussing on one of the other subjects of examination-in-chief, which is
10 what kind of role General Tolimir did and could play when he was assigned
11 to one of the fronts of the VRS's combat actions. General Tolimir came,
12 as we know, straight from Zepa across to the Krajina, and in the Assembly
13 session minutes he described that assignment, how two generals had been
14 assigned in Zepa, clearly responsible for the Zepa operation. The
15 speech, as shown on this video, General Tol-- General Mladic - excuse
16 me - describes one of the activities that General Tolimir undertook
17 during the Zepa operation.
18 So it's following that part of the examination-in-chief in terms
19 of the responsibility. Because it's reflected in this 6th of August
20 Assembly session, I found it more convenient to go straight to the video
21 which talks about that subject. It doesn't, obviously, deal with his
22 whereabouts in August. I can stick to the whereabouts line of
23 questioning first, but it did seem to me to be natural. If you would
24 prefer that I save that until we've been through other documents
25 concerning the whereabouts first, I can also do it that way,
1 Mr. President.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I was just wondering what purpose you are heading
3 at. But if you are now talking about command structure and command
4 responsibilities of assistant commanders or members of the Main Staff,
5 you may do that because that was one part of the examination-in-chief.
6 But that was not clear from the outset.
7 MR. ELDERKIN: I apologise for lack of clarity. That's where the
8 video is going. I will return also to the whereabouts during the period
9 August through the beginning was October.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Nyambe.
11 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you. Correct me if I'm wrong: My
12 understanding of the evidence-in-chief related to the period
13 30th of August to somewhere in the middle of October. And as I have
14 understood the evidence - correct me again if I'm wrong - Zepa operations
15 happened before 30th of July. So do you think you are within your area
16 of cross-examination focussing on Zepa? Thank you.
17 MR. ELDERKIN: Thank you for your question, Your Honour. My
18 cross-examination in relation to Zepa is to respond to the part of the
19 examination-in-chief where General Tolimir was asking the witness about
20 his understanding of what role he, General Tolimir, as an assistant
21 commander could perform in relation to military operations. Not just the
22 Krajina operation, but, obviously, the representation is that
23 General Tolimir in the Krajina, if he was unable to give orders, direct
24 military activities, that would also apply for any consideration of the
25 role that General Tolimir played during the earlier operation.
1 So at this point I'm moving away from the whereabouts, but it is
2 focussing on that important part of the examination-in-chief. And it's
3 for that reason I'm talking about Zepa; not because, obviously, the
4 witness was far away from Zepa and not present, I understand, during that
5 operation, but because of the question of responsibilities.
6 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please carry on, Mr. Elderkin.
8 MR. ELDERKIN: And we could see the clip, please, which is at
9 2 hours, 12 minutes, and 55 seconds through to 2 hours, 13 minutes, and
10 42 seconds. And that reflects, for point of reference, the transcripts
11 of the same video, which in English is at page 11 and B/C/S at page 8.
12 Q. And, sir, I'd ask you, please, to listen carefully to the part of
13 General Mladic's speech when he speaks about General Tolimir and a person
14 called Kusic.
15 MR. ELDERKIN: Can we play it, please.
16 [Video-clip played]
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May we stop for a moment. We can't hear. I
18 think even the witness can't hear it very properly. It's very -- it's
19 not loud enough.
20 But perhaps you can help us with the translation: Is there --
21 are there subtitles or do we have a transcript?
22 MR. ELDERKIN: There is, indeed, a transcript. I don't see any
23 subtitles, so I doubt very much that there is a subtitled version
24 available in the system. The transcript, I think, is associated with the
25 same exhibit number. And, as I say, the page numbers for this section
1 are page 11 in the English and page 8 in the B/C/S. It may be -- since
2 it's only a very short clip of under a minute, perhaps we could just play
3 through and -- for what it's worth and then have up on the screen the two
4 transcript sections.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, please. I agree. Carry on.
6 [Video-clip played]
7 MR. ELDERKIN:
8 Q. Sir, we are going to put on the screen now a written transcript
9 in case General Mladic's words there weren't clear enough for you to hear
11 MR. ELDERKIN: And as I say, I think it's page 8 in B/C/S and
12 page 11 in English.
13 Q. Mr. Culic, if you see in the lower half of the page, you can see
14 a section beginning with the name of General Tolimir. The video we've
15 seen started a little before that and played through to a little after
16 that. The part concerning General Tolimir reads:
17 "From Boksanica, General Tolimir and Kusic fired on Ribioc."
18 Do you see that section, sir, of the transcript?
19 A. Yes, I can see that.
20 Q. Here General Mladic was speaking about General Tolimir playing
21 what was clearly an active role in the military attack on Zepa by firing
22 on that village. Do you agree, sir?
23 A. Gentlemen, as far as I know, General Mladic mentioned three
24 officers. General Tolimir, who probably represented the Main Staff, was
25 among them. I know that Kusic was a brigade commander, which means that
1 it wasn't him who acted. It was his unit that acted. So that was the
2 brigade under the command of Colonel Kusic. And he was there, obviously,
3 to represent the command.
4 Q. Thank you, sir. I am finished with using the video.
5 MR. ELDERKIN: Your Honours, this --
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Is the video already in evidence?
7 MR. ELDERKIN: The video is, Your Honours. The Assembly session
8 minutes are not. I would propose to tender only a short range of pages
9 for the section that I referred to, as well as, perhaps, the first page,
10 to give an indication of the date. So that would be pages 1 and then 35
11 through 37 in English, and page 1 and 31 through 33 in the B/C/S. And
12 that's for 65 ter number 3455.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Do you intend to upload these pages as a separate
15 MR. ELDERKIN: I understand that that's the easiest way to
16 proceed, so yes, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: After having uploaded this separate document, it
18 will be marked -- it will be received. But this document, 65 ter 3455,
19 will be marked for identification.
20 MR. ELDERKIN: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 THE REGISTRAR: And it will be assigned Exhibit P2878. Thank
23 MR. ELDERKIN:
24 Q. Mr. Culic, I'd like you again to look at the list of places where
25 the Prosecution say General Tolimir was present outside the Krajina
1 during August through October of 1995. I only want to go to a couple
2 more examples.
3 MR. ELDERKIN: The next one would be 65 ter 2494, please.
4 Q. And this is again an Assembly session. It's the
5 53rd Assembly Session, and it's in Pale. It takes place on the
6 28th of August of 1995. And if we could first see the cover page.
7 So you see the date and the title of this. It's the minutes of
8 that session.
9 A. I can see it.
10 MR. ELDERKIN: Can we first go, please, to page 14 in English,
11 page 18 in B/C/S. We can go to the bottom half of the page in English,
12 please, and it will be the -- yep, the --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 MR. ELDERKIN: That's fine right now in the B/C/S.
15 Q. So you see the paragraph which talks about European peace
16 negotiations. It starts with "I will tell you about some details here
17 later ..." and then it describes a couple of meetings of peace
18 negotiations; one in Geneva on the 16th of August and a second time in
19 another European city on the 26th of August. And then it reads --
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. -- "The first time the talks were conducted by
22 President Krajisnik, Mr. Zametica, our side, asked that we don't send
23 more negotiators. And the second time, on the 26th of August,
24 President Karadzic, Mr. Lukic, General Tolimir, President Krajisnik, and
1 Sir, do you agree that this indicates General Tolimir was away
2 from the Krajina at European negotiations on the 26th of August?
3 A. Yes, that day, for that day.
4 MR. ELDERKIN: Then can we please go to page 22 of the English,
5 page 28 of the B/C/S.
6 Q. Sir, do you see here that General Tolimir spoke at the
7 53rd Assembly Session on the 28th of August? He was also away from the
8 Krajina on that day and he was in Pale that time.
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. ELDERKIN: Your Honours, I would ask to tender a couple of
11 these pages. There is, actually, an exhibit, P2435, which contains the
12 section we're seeing on the screen now. It doesn't contain the previous
13 page, page 14 in English, page 18 in B/C/S, of which refer to
14 General Tolimir's attendance on the 26th of August at the other
15 negotiations. So I only want to put in, again, the cover page, and then
16 page 14 in English, page 18 in B/C/S, which we can upload separately.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: That is appreciated. And it will be received.
18 And until that point in time it will be marked for identification.
19 THE REGISTRAR: It will be assigned Exhibit P2879. Thank you.
20 MR. ELDERKIN:
21 Q. Sir, without going into every other document, do you agree, as a
22 general proposition, that there were numerous occasions when
23 General Tolimir was away from the Krajina during August, September, and
24 October of 1995?
25 A. I know that he spent some time in Krajina. I also know that he
1 had tasks that took him all over the place. But he also returned. I
2 don't have any doubts about the documents that you're showing me. I
3 don't doubt their authenticity. When there was an Assembly meeting, I'm
4 sure that he was present. So I'm not contesting anything here.
5 MR. ELDERKIN: I'd like, please, to see Exhibit P104, which is a
6 collection of maps. And go to page 4, please, in e-court.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: While this will be uploaded: Mr. Elderkin, you
8 have used 65 ter 397, "The Analysis of Combat Readiness." Are you
9 tendering parts of it?
10 MR. ELDERKIN: Excuse me for one moment.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, please.
12 [Prosecution Counsel Confer]
13 MR. ELDERKIN: Your Honours, I would ask to tender the whole
14 document. If, however, Your Honours will only allow a part to be
15 admitted, it would be the section that I read from. But I believe that
16 the whole document is a relevant analysis. It's not contested as to
17 its --
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: How many pages?
19 MR. ELDERKIN: -- authenticity. I believe the English is
20 149 pages and the B/C/S, I think, slightly shorter. It's 109, off the
21 top of my head, but I can check.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, what is your position?
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we don't object to
24 the admission of anything that this Court deems to be evidence.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic, I see you on your feet.
1 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, if I remember
2 properly, this analysis was also used when Mr. Butler was examined in
3 this courtroom, or perhaps the OTP relied on it. Maybe we should check
4 whether one part of that analysis is already in evidence.
5 MR. ELDERKIN: Your Honours, I understand that Mr. Butler does,
6 indeed, cite to this report in his own reports. We're not sure if -- off
7 the top of our heads, if he actually testified about it, but it's
8 certainly material that he uses in his reports.
9 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I was told by the Court Officer that a part of
11 this analysis is already in evidence, tendered through Witness Butler, as
12 P2491, but not the whole document. Now you are tendering the whole
13 document, and the translation is already available; therefore, it will be
14 received as a separate document.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter document 397, the complete
16 document, shall be assigned Exhibit P2880. Thank you.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Elderkin.
18 MR. ELDERKIN: Thank you very much.
19 And if I could now have P104, at e-court page 4, on the screen.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We have one map on the screen. Is that not the
21 correct one?
22 MR. ELDERKIN: That is the correct one. If we could zoom in as
23 much as possible onto Bosnia to keep it within the edges. I think a few
24 centimetres we can go past. Yes. I think that's perfect, thank you.
25 I'd also ask if the witness would be able to mark on this map
1 just so we can be clear where --
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes.
3 MR. ELDERKIN: -- he was engaged.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: With the assistance of the Usher.
5 MR. ELDERKIN:
6 Q. Sir, the Usher is going to show you how to use this electronic
7 pen to draw on the screen.
8 First of all, do you confirm you recognise this map which shows
9 the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina? And roughly the different
10 shading areas represent the -- the borders of the entities. I understand
11 that things were moving around in the summer of 1995, but the part in the
12 west, that's the Krajina area where you were based. And Republika Srpska
13 forms this wider shape, narrows off up around Bijeljina, and then runs
14 north-south along the eastern side of Bosnia.
15 Could you mark on there, please, sir, a circle -- a reasonably
16 large circle where you were engaged, where your brigade was located in
17 the summer of 1995. As a point of reference: Just below the S of Bosnia
18 is the town of Sipovo, of the centre of Sipovo municipality.
19 A. Yes, I can see it.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Would you please mark it. That area.
21 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
22 MR. ELDERKIN:
23 Q. Sir, could you tell us which -- the first line that we see on the
24 map that runs through the federation territory, what does that represent,
25 if anything? Is that the front line at the time? Or ... all I can see
1 at the moment is a longer line and then a short vertical line. What does
2 the longer line represent?
3 A. The longer line is the axis of my brigade from Donji Vakuf to
4 Travnik. It encompasses the zone on the right, excluding Bugojno; and on
5 the left, Mount Vlasic. The second part of the brigade which was Janj
6 combat group, or Combat Group 1, encompassed the road across Kupres and
7 all along the border from Glamoc to Vitorog. The third smaller part,
8 when the offence was launched, that part of the brigade covered the axis
9 in the direction of Kljuc, i.e., Jajce.
10 Q. And this is the area where General Tolimir was president --
11 present - excuse me - when he was in the Krajina in the summer of 1995;
12 is that right?
13 A. Yes, yes. This area is even wider, because the territory of
14 Krajina extended all the way to Drvar, so this did not cover only the
15 area where I was.
16 Q. And in the summer of 1995, for anyone - General Tolimir or anyone
17 else - who wanted to travel from the Krajina through Republika Srpska
18 territory to get back to the VRS Main Staff at Crna Rijeka or to get to
19 Pale, they would have to travel all the way through the Republika Srpska
20 territory that we can see on the screen; is that correct?
21 A. Well, there was a road. They moved in vehicles or in
22 helicopters. It all depended on the task at hand.
23 Q. And if we just concentrate on the road, that would mean
24 travelling from the area where you've put your markings northwards
25 towards Banja Luka, then across and through the corridor to Bijeljina,
1 down past Zvornik, Vlasenica, to Han Pijesak or even further to Pale.
2 That would be roughly the road route, wouldn't it?
3 A. Yes. The road led to Banja Luka. Banja Luka was the cross-roads
4 either towards Prijedor or Prnjavor or towards the corridor. In any
5 case, that was the road that was used for travels.
6 Q. Okay. I don't need for you to make any more markings and I don't
7 need to use this map any more.
8 MR. ELDERKIN: So I'd ask if this could be saved, unless
9 Your Honours wish to add anything else to what's marked now.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Are you tendering this marked map?
11 MR. ELDERKIN: If I may, please, yes.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, page 4 of Exhibit P104, marked by
14 the witness in Court, shall be assigned Exhibit P2881.
15 MR. ELDERKIN:
16 Q. Mr. Culic, you referred to NATO bombing of various communications
17 facilities. You didn't give us a date for that bombing. I'd ask you if
18 you agree that NATO's bombing campaign was starting on the
19 30th of August of 1995? That's the date when many of the VRS
20 communications facilities was bombed.
21 A. It was a long time-period. I don't know exactly when that
22 started, but I know that communications centres and radio hubs were
23 bombarded by NATO. I know that we received air alert signals every day.
24 My area of responsibility was often overflown by NATO. One NATO aircraft
25 was even grounded in the general region of Vakuf.
1 Q. I'd like the return to the subject that you mentioned earlier
2 about the ability of security officers to give orders.
3 MR. ELDERKIN: And I'll first ask, please, to show Exhibit P2176.
4 Your Honours, this doesn't appear on my cross-examination list.
5 It's an area that only came up during the examination-in-chief. The
6 exhibit is already admitted, so hopefully it doesn't cause any problem
7 for the Defence that it's being used now.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Go ahead, please.
9 MR. ELDERKIN:
10 Q. Mr. Culic, you can see here a document headed from the
11 VRS Main Staff security and intelligence sector, and specifically from
12 the security administration. You see that at the top of the page.
13 If it would help, we can zoom in.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And at the bottom of the page do you see that this document was
16 written, signed, and sent by Ljubisa Beara? It's under the round stamp
17 on the left at the bottom.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Sir, do you happen to know who Colonel Beara was? Did you ever
20 serve with him?
21 A. I never served with him, but I know who he was. He was the chief
22 of security in the Main Staff of the VRS.
23 Q. And, sir, this telegram from Colonel Beara -- actually, he signs
24 here as "Naval Captain Beara." This is addressed to the security section
25 of the East Bosnia Corps, as well as security section of the Drina Corps,
1 and to the chief of intelligence and security of the 1st Podrinje Light
2 Infantry Brigade. You see that just below the heading, sir?
3 A. To the chief of the security organ, I would say, most probably.
4 Q. And if you just take the time - it's a short communication - to
5 read through. At the end of the first paragraph, there's reference to
6 Atlantida must be transported in secret to the Mlin military prison in
7 Bijeljina in the night of 10th to 11th of June, 1995, or at some other
8 appropriate time. Captain Carkic will arrange this with brigade
9 commander Major Rajko Kusic and personally carry out the task by
10 announcing his arrival to Colonel Todorovic, chief of the OB IBK and
11 explaining our demands in person.
12 Sir, do you agree that here Beara is issuing orders to his
13 subordinates in the security service to carry out a very specific task;
14 namely, the transport of this Atlantida to the Mlin prison? He's
15 instructing and ordering his subordinates here, isn't he?
16 A. Yes, he's issuing instructions.
17 Q. And those instructions were to be followed, weren't they?
18 A. As far as I can see from the document, he was giving instructions
19 and guidelines to the organ as to how they should carry out this task.
20 And he also conveyed to them that this professional task that they have
21 to carry out, that it will be performed in agreement with the unit
23 Q. Mr. Culic, we've also heard testimony in this case about
24 General Tolimir giving orders or instructions to subordinate security
25 officers, specifically that he sent a telegram to the East Bosnia Corps.
1 And this is around the 12th of July of 1995. That preparations should be
2 made at the Batkovic collection centre for the arrival of 1.000 to 1.200
3 prisoners. That's again an example of security officers being able to
4 issue orders or instructions within their service, isn't it?
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask Mr. Elderkin to
7 show the witness the telegram that Tolimir sent on the 12th to
8 East Bosnia Corps.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would agree with Mr. Tolimir. It would be
10 helpful for the witness, and for a better understanding of the Chamber,
11 to see the document you are referring to.
12 MR. ELDERKIN: I'm referring to the testimony of another witness
13 in the case, and that's of Witness Todorovic, Your Honours. And that's
14 at reference 12933 to 12934 of this trial.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can we have that on the screen.
16 And you should point out the lines you are referring to.
17 MR. ELDERKIN: If it will help to locate it, it's the
18 18th of April, 2011.
19 Q. And you can see, starting at line 23 of page 12933, an answer
20 given by the witness, which starts:
21 "Yes. I cannot really be specific about the date. I couldn't do
22 it in Belgrade, I cannot do it now, as to whether that was on the same
23 day in the evening or the following day or two days later, but in any
24 case, it was after the fall of Srebrenica, I think, and I am 90 per cent
25 sure that a telegram came from the Main Staff that the East Bosnia Corps
1 command should be engaged and should prepare accommodation at the
2 Batkovic collection centre for another 1.000 to 1.200 -- 1.100 or 1.200.
3 So 1.000 to 1.200, as far as I can remember. Thus to prepare
4 accommodation for new detainees who are going to be coming over the
5 coming days."
6 And so the testimony is that this order came from the security
7 and intelligence sector from General Tolimir. Sir, as indicated by this
8 witness's testimony that I've read to you now, the instructions about
9 making preparations for a receipt of prisoners were instructions which
10 were issued with the intention that they be followed.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could Mr. Elderkin please show the
13 witness where it says that he received an order from Mr. Tolimir. Thank
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Elderkin.
16 MR. ELDERKIN: I've read all that I need to read from the
17 transcript, and hopefully my question is clear. I've read out the
18 section referring to this telegram. I'm now asking the witness whether
19 those instructions -- the word "order," if General Tolimir wishes I don't
20 use it, I can say "instructions" -- it's what this witness doesn't know
21 any more about what happened in the East Bosnian Corps in terms of
22 receipt of that telegram order or instruction, but my question relates to
23 his knowledge about what would happen, what was meant to happen, on
24 receipt of such a communication from the Main Staff.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I understand your position, Mr. Elderkin. But in
1 your question you presented already an interpretation and your
2 understanding of this part of the transcript. I don't see the name of
3 Mr. Tolimir in that part of the transcript. Not even his sector in the
4 Main Staff. I only can read that a telegram came from the Main Staff,
5 that the East Bosnian Corps command should do that and that. It's better
6 not to put too much of your own interpretation into a question.
7 MR. ELDERKIN: Well, I can restrict my question and re-ask it as
8 follows, if it's acceptable:
9 Q. An instruction issued by the Main Staff - and I refer to the
10 instruction insofar as you can understand it from what I read to you of
11 the other witness's testimony - such an instruction from the Main Staff
12 was issued with the intention that it would be followed, the instructions
13 would be carried out. Do you agree with that, sir?
14 A. Of course the Main Staff issued orders that should be followed.
15 They would not issue any orders that are -- are not to be obeyed and
16 carried through. They can issue orders orally or in writing, or they can
17 convey them through communications means, or they can be carried by a
19 [Prosecution Counsel Confer]
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I think
22 that it would be important to read lines 8, 9, and 10 on page 12934 which
23 would clarify whether it was a written order or a telephone conversation.
24 So the Trial Chamber can then discern from this what it is all about.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you for that. That is just a proposal.
1 And all this is on the record in this case.
2 Mr. Elderkin, please carry on.
3 MR. ELDERKIN: Very good. Thank you.
4 [Prosecution Counsel Confer]
5 MR. ELDERKIN: And just in relation to that discussion we've just
6 finished, that we agree that the full testimony of that witness needs to
7 be read to understand exactly what instructions were issued, but I'm not
8 going to ask any more questions on that particular subject.
9 Q. Mr. Culic, do you know the word "balija," which refers to Bosnian
11 A. I am familiar with it because I still live in the place where
12 there are Muslims and Croats. This word dates back to ancient times and
13 it is used as a derogatory term among ordinary folks when they talk about
14 Muslims. They call them "balijas."
15 Q. Now, in communications that you sent as a brigade commander
16 during the war, did you use the word "balija" when you were referring to
17 Bosnian Muslims?
18 A. I personally don't use that word. However, whether it was
19 mentioned in any of the documents, I wouldn't dare to tell you anything
20 with 100 per cent certainty. Anyway, I would like to say that this word
21 does not exist in my vocabulary because my whole life and throughout my
22 schooling - and I worked in an institution that trained Muslims, Croats,
23 Albanians, all other ethnicities - and for that reason, I cannot tell you
24 for certain, but I can tell you that I, myself, don't use that word.
25 Q. And the Prosecution would agree with that, sir. We've looked at
1 many of your combat reports and other documents that you wrote during the
2 war and which we have in our evidence collections, and we can't see
3 anywhere that you used the word. Does that sound fair?
4 A. Well, it does sound. But I told you that it is 99 per cent true.
5 Because, as you know, sometimes you don't always draft documents
6 yourself. People do it for you. You only sign it. Sometimes you don't
7 have time to read it before signing.
8 Q. An officer using the word "balija" in a communication would
9 convey an unprofessional message, wouldn't he?
10 A. Possibly. But all kinds of terms were used during the war. The
11 other side did not refrain from using various words. War is a specific
12 phenomenon and I really wouldn't like anyone to experience that.
13 Q. Would you agree that using the word "balija" would have the
14 effect of dehumanizing the Bosnian Muslims much more so than somebody
15 using more neutral terms such as the "Bosnian Muslim side" or "the
17 A. Perhaps if you look at it today, and if you take everything into
18 account, that would be so. But you know that during the war there was a
19 lot of belittling and demeaning and insults, et cetera. Nowadays it
20 wouldn't be politically correct, but at the time it was being used and it
21 was something normal.
22 MR. ELDERKIN: And can we see Exhibit P2274, please.
23 Q. It's a short document, sir, and you can see that it was sent by
24 General Tolimir of the VRS Main Staff on the 4th of June, 1995. You can
25 see that it's sent to some important people here, including the president
1 of Republika Srpska. And you can see -- if we go down a little bit in
2 the English just to see clearer, there's a paragraph -- the first
3 paragraph, which reads:
4 "The GS VRS commander and his staff maintain the positions
5 presented in this telegram regarding your proposals for resolving matters
6 of additional exchange of prisoners of war with the Ustasha and balija
8 Do you see that, sir?
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 Q. And this kind of language coming from General Tolimir is
11 unprofessional and insulting and derogatory, isn't it?
12 A. Well, as I told you: At the time, words were being used that
13 could possibly not be permissible today. Just as we used to call them
14 balijas, they used to call us Chetniks. So let me be clear on that.
15 That would be it.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Can
18 Mr. Elderkin show the -- whether this document was signed by
19 General Tolimir or by somebody who authored it, because there's no
20 signature here.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you may deal with that in your
23 MR. ELDERKIN: I can confirm, though, Your Honours, there's
24 nothing else except what is on the screen at the moment. So what you
25 see, as I understand it, is what we have.
1 And I've finished my cross-examination, Your Honours.
2 There is one matter I'm asked to mention to you, which is that
3 for 65 ters 7621 and 7622, P numbers 2878 and 2879 respectively, that are
4 MFI'd, the excerpts have now been uploaded.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In that case these two documents will be received
6 into evidence.
7 Mr. Tolimir, now it's your time to examine the witness during
8 your re-examination. You have the floor.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Microphone not activated]
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Your microphone.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Can we see document D64 that the Prosecutor has used. Thank you.
13 D264. I apologise. That's the document. I asked for the document that
14 was used by the Prosecutor.
15 Re-examination by Mr. Tolimir:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Culic, this document was shown to you by the
17 Prosecutor. And in the bottom paragraph, which at the moment you cannot
18 see, which is actually at the very bottom of the page, so can we --
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please scroll down, please.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Item 5, tasks of unit, it says:
22 [As read] "The Main Staff of the VRS to direct the entire
23 operation engaging the following commanding officers."
24 Now, my question is: Who is directing the operation, the
25 Main Staff or the officers that they appointed?
1 A. The Main Staff.
2 Q. Thank you. My next question is: Did the Main Staff direct all
3 the operations --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please pause between
5 questions and answers.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I have to stop you. You were overlapping again.
7 We want to have your full answer on the record. Please wait, always, and
8 pause between question and answer.
9 Now your answer, please.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The entire combat operation in the
11 area of Bosnia-Herzegovina was directed by the Main Staffs of the VRS
12 through its relevant institutions, organs, commands, and units.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic. If any of the officers engaged along the
15 axis mentioned herein, if he were to have some suggestion or some
16 remarks, did he have to pass it on to the commander of the Main Staff, or
17 could he order this to your unit or any other unit?
18 A. [No interpretation]
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please wait. Please wait. We want to have
20 everything on the record. Now your answer, please.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Within the command system, all
22 orders arrived through the command in charge. Likewise, every order that
23 arrived from the Main Staff would first go to the corps command, then the
24 corps commander would pass on the order to brigade commanders. That is
25 the essence of the system of command and control that was applicable both
1 in the VRS and in the former JNA.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic. My next question is --
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I think it's time for our second
5 break, and you may continue after the break.
6 We must have our second break now, and we will resume at 1.00.
7 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 1.01 p.m.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Culic, while the forward command post of the Main Staff at
13 Kula existed, did you receive an order signed by any of the officers of
14 the Main Staff who were stationed there at that forward command post of
15 the Main Staff? Thank you.
16 A. General, sir, and gentlemen, I can say with full certainty that I
17 never received a written order from the Main Staff save for information
18 which was sent along the information line, and I'm talking about the
19 alert signals. The only orders I received, I received from my division
20 commander or my corps commander.
21 Q. Thank you. I have just been informed that "alert signs" were not
22 recorded properly.
23 Can you repeat: What alert signs did you receive?
24 A. Those were air-raid alert signals and nuclear, chemical, and
25 biological alert signals. Those two signals had priority when it came to
1 informing, and they were conveyed immediately, independently of who had
2 issued them. As for all the other orders, they were conveyed, as I've
3 already told you, through orders and commands that could be issued in a
4 written form, they could have been issued verbally, or they could have
5 been conveyed via the courier service or via appropriate officers.
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic. Can you tell the Trial Chamber whether an
7 officer of your command that you would have sent to your 3rd Battalion,
8 for example, could he change your order issued by yourself to that
9 battalion - a combat order - and could he have ordered that battalion to
10 act contrary to your original order? Thank you.
11 A. [No interpretation]
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sir, I stopped you again because you started too
13 early. We want to have everything on the record. Now your answer,
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The officers of my command would go
16 to subordinated units daily. They would go there pursuant to various
17 tasks, and they received those tasks from the commander, meaning me.
18 Those orders dealt with various issues. An officer who goes to a
19 subordinated unit cannot change an order, which means that my officer
20 could not change my order. If the order dealt with a certain issue that
21 may have been pointed [as interpreted] by an organ of the command, the
22 officer would convey that to me. When I accepted the change to that
23 order for the implementation of a task, then I could change the order, I
24 could accept the proposal, or I could alternatively reject the proposal.
25 In conclusion, I would say that things are clear. The only
1 person who could change an order or task was me. Nobody else.
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to call up P2274.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. This is a telegram dealing with exchanges. It was shown to you
6 by the Prosecutor.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, e-court.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Culic, please, you see a telegram on the scene. The telegram
10 was type-signed by Major-General Zdravko Tolimir. My question is this:
11 When it comes to this telegram, should it have been signed by somebody
12 before it was sent for coding? Thank you.
13 A. General, sir, I know that before the war and in the course of the
14 war, and even after the war, all the mail that was sent in a coded form
15 had to be initialed or signed. A telegram of this nature containing an
16 order sent by whoever could not be coded without being signed first.
17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic. And now could you please tell us --
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can we please see the next page in the English,
19 to have the signature block and the stamp on the screen.
20 Mr. Tolimir.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Culic, the author of the telegram, was he duty-bound to sign
24 his name and did he have to indicate the name of the person who typed it
25 if he didn't do it himself?
1 A. [No interpretation]
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please pause after having received the question.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] General, sir, everybody who
4 processed a document that had been drafted and copied in several copies,
5 be it a combat document or any other type of document, as part of any
6 office correspondence, has to contain in the left-hand-side corner the
7 initial of the person who processed such a document as well as the
8 initials of the person who typed the document and who dispatched it, who
9 sent it off. This is how things are done in nearly 99 per cent of the
10 cases. At the bottom of the document you will find the initials of the
11 person who processed the document; i.e., the person who actually drafted
12 the document.
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic. Please, we can see a document which
14 doesn't contain either a signature or initials that you talked about.
15 Obviously this was due to the fact that the document is not original.
16 It's not the main departing document. This is a telegram. Does a
17 signature have to show on the telegram?
18 A. No. This is a document without a signature.
19 Q. Thank you. Please, tell us, instead of the person who was
20 supposed to sign the document, could the document be initialed by his
21 deputy by preceding their name with the word "za" or "on behalf of" if he
22 is authorised to do so? Thank you.
23 A. Within the system of the organisation and establishment of units,
24 there is a provision which stipulates who has the right to put their
25 signature on what documents. Moreover, it is also stipulated who can act
1 on behalf of somebody else and sign certain documents on behalf of
2 somebody else in the absence of the person who would normally be
3 authorised to sign them. All documents must be signed either by the
4 authorised officer or a person standing in for that officer in his
5 absence. And in that case, the document signed in that manner is as
6 valid as a document signed by the officer who is the order issuer.
7 The brigade commander is deputised by the commander of the staff
8 in his -- absence from the unit, and he can sign all the orders drafted
9 by the commander on his behalf. Or any other authorised organ in the
10 command or in the institution of the VRS.
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic. If you had the original document with the
12 signature or the initials, and if that document was not a telegram, would
13 you be able to establish who signed it and who drafted it, who the author
14 of the document is?
15 A. If there is a --
16 Q. Thank you.
17 A. If there is the original of the document bearing a signature,
18 obviously you can establish who signed it. But if such a document
19 doesn't exist, there are no guarantees to that effect.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Culic, for having come to testify in these
21 proceedings. Thank you for your testimony. I would like to apologise to
22 you for making you wait for two days due to the situation as it was. I
23 would like to thank you. I wish you a happy return home. May God-speed
24 be with you, and at the same time may these proceedings end in accordance
25 God's wishes.
1 A. Thank you, general.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the Defence has no
3 further questions for this witness. Thank you.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much, Mr. Tolimir.
5 I have a final question in relation to this document we have on
6 the screen. Could the two stamps be enlarged.
7 Questioned by the Court:
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sir, Mr. Culic, we agree that there was no
9 signature near to the signature block. Now you can see a stamp on the
10 left side in original, and it was translated into English on the right
11 side of the screen. What can you make out of this stamp? Was this stamp
12 put on this document on the sending side of the telegram or on the
13 receiver side?
14 A. Mr. President, it says here that it was received, so the receiver
15 was the one who put his signature on the document.
16 THE INTERPRETER: His stamp. The interpreter's correction.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The receiver, did he -- from where did he receive
18 this piece of paper?
19 A. The receiver could receive such a document for only one place.
20 When you initiate the coding or decoding process, in this case to -- you
21 either type it on an instrument or you inscribed it by hand. These are
22 the only two ways in which he could receive this document.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Look at the third line. There we see the word
24 "processed." How do you understand this word?
25 A. The person who processed the telegram is the same person who
1 received it.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Processed where?
3 A. Well, it was processed there, at the encryption office where the
4 telegram was received.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. You see at least two signatures on
6 the right side of the stamp. Can you read the signatures? Can you read
7 the name of this person?
8 A. As far as I can see, the name is Stanic.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Are you familiar with a person with this name?
10 A. I really don't know who that might be. There are many of them
11 with that name, but I personally don't know him.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much for this explanation.
13 Sir, you will be pleased to hear that this concludes now your
14 examination here in this trial. The Chamber, like Mr. Tolimir, we would
15 like to express our apologies that you had to wait several days until the
16 commencement of your testimony. Thank you for your patience and thank
17 you that you were able to provide us with your knowledge and your
18 expertise in this field.
19 You are now free to return to your normal activities. Thank you
20 very much, again. You may now leave the courtroom.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. I wish you a pleasant
23 [The witness withdrew]
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Elderkin, Mr. Tolimir, are there any matters
25 to deal with at the moment? Taking into account that we will have a
1 housekeeping session next week. I don't see any.
2 Then I would like to take the opportunity to say some words
3 because this was the last witness in this trial, witness number 130. We
4 were together quite a long time, and I would like to express my gratitude
5 to the staff. First and foremost to the Victims and Witnesses Section.
6 At another occasion I forgot them when I mentioned several units, and
7 therefore they are the first we have to thank, because without them we
8 would not be able to have any witnesses in our courtroom.
9 I would like to thank the security staff for their contribution
10 to making this trial possible. To the whole courtroom staff, that means
11 the courtroom officer who was and is for a long time already with us; the
12 various court ushers; the court reporter; the interpreters, who do a lot
13 of work and without their work we would not be able to communicate in the
14 courtroom - a specific thanks to them - but also to the translators.
15 Without their work we were not able to read all the documents.
16 I would like to thank the technical staff, the IT people who
17 helped us with the problems we encountered sometimes here in the
18 courtroom. And I would like to thank the staff of the Chamber, two of
19 them are present in the courtroom, and the staff of the parties - both
20 sides. And I would like to thank the parties themselves for the good
21 co-operation, for the fruitful co-operation during this trial.
22 I wish you all the best.
23 We adjourn for this week, and we will resume next week on
24 Tuesday, 9.00, in this courtroom, for the housekeeping session.
25 We adjourn.
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.24 p.m.,
2 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 21st day
3 of February, 2012, at 9.00 a.m.