1 Wednesday, 12 December 2012
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 3.01 p.m.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: [Microphone not activated]
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case
8 number IT-05-88/2-T, the Prosecutor versus Zdravko Tolimir.
9 Thank you.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
11 Our last hearing was in late August this year. May we,
12 therefore, for the record have the appearances of the parties. The
13 Prosecution first.
14 MR. McCLOSKEY: Good afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours.
15 Peter McCloskey for the Prosecution, with me my team, Kweku Vanderpuye,
16 Janet Stewart, Nelson Thayer, Rupert Elderkin, and Abeer Hasan.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
18 And for the Defence.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Greetings to everybody in the courtroom and I wish for these proceedings
21 to be concluded in accordance with God's will. I represent myself. I'm
22 Tolimir and with me I have Mr. Gajic, Dobrica Stefanovic,
23 Miljan Kunijevic, and Ivan Todrovski was unable to join us due to traffic
24 jam. Thank you.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
1 This Chamber is sitting today to pronounce the judgement in the
2 trial against the accused in this case, Mr. Zdravko Tolimir. To this
3 end, it will provide a summary of its findings of the charges against the
4 accused before coming to its disposition. The Chamber emphasises that
5 this summary is not part of the judgement. The only authoritative
6 account of the Chamber's findings is to be found in the written
7 judgement, copies of which will be made available to the parties at the
8 conclusion of this sitting.
9 Mr. Tolimir was first indicted in 2005. In that year, his case
10 was joined with that of the accused in the Popovic et al. case. On the
11 15th of August, 2006, with the accused remaining at large his case was
12 severed from the joint case and a separate indictment was filed against
13 him later that same month.
14 On 31st May 2007, the accused arrested and transferred to the
15 Tribunal the next day. Following his refusal to identify himself and to
16 enter a plea at his initial appearance before the Chamber on 4 June 2007,
17 a plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf on 3rd July 2007 in
18 accordance with the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunal. The
19 operative indictment against the accused in this case was filed on 4
20 November 2009. The trial in this case commenced on 26th February 2010.
21 The accused elected to represent himself but had the assistance of legal
22 staff, including his legal adviser, Mr. Aleksandar Gajic, who had a
23 limited right of audience before this Chamber. The case ended earlier
24 this year with the parties' closing arguments held from 21st to 23rd of
1 The Chamber sat for a total of 242 trial days, producing over
2 19.000 transcript pages. It admitted nearly 3.500 exhibits into
3 evidence. The Prosecution adduced the evidence of 183 witnesses; the
4 Defence presented four witnesses.
5 I take this opportunity to reiterate our appreciation to the
6 parties for their professional and respectful attitude towards one
7 another, which no doubt contributed to this trial moving along so
8 efficiently. I also want to thank again all those who have been working
9 behind the scenes for the last nearly three years without whom none of
10 the proceedings before this Tribunal would be possible.
11 The Chamber will now set out the charges against the accused and
12 will then move on to summarise its main findings.
13 Mr. Zdravko Tolimir was one of the assistant commanders of the
14 Main Staff of the Army of the Republika Srpska and the chief of the
15 sector for intelligence and security affairs within the Main Staff. In
16 this capacity he is charged as being a member of two joint criminal
17 enterprises. The first: A joint criminal enterprise to murder the
18 able-bodied Bosnian Muslim men from the enclave of Srebrenica between
19 approximately 11 July and 1st November 1995. The second: A joint
20 criminal enterprise to forcibly remove and deport the Bosnian Muslim
21 population from the enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa, which allegedly
22 commenced with the issuance of Directive 7 in March of 1995 and
23 culminated in the actual removal of the populations from these enclaves
24 from July to August 1995.
25 The Chamber shall refer to the Army of Republika Srpska as the
1 VRS, and to the alleged joint criminal enterprises in shortened forms, as
2 the JCE to murder and the JCE to forcibly remove throughout this summary.
3 The accused is further charged with criminal responsibility
4 pursuant to the extended form of JCE referred to as JCE III. These
5 charges allege the opportunistic killings of smaller groups of
6 able-bodied men from Srebrenica, as a foreseeable consequence of both
7 JCEs, the foreseeable targeted killings of three Bosnian Muslim leaders
8 of Zepa, as a foreseeable consequence of the JCE to forcibly remove, and
9 other persecutory acts as a foreseeable consequence of both JCEs. The
10 Prosecution alleges that it was foreseeable to the accused that these
11 acts would be carried out by Bosnian Serb forces by virtue of his
12 membership in the respective JCEs.
13 The accused is not only charged with commission of these crimes,
14 including through his alleged membership in the two JCEs, but also,
15 pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Statute, with planning, instigating,
16 ordering, and otherwise aiding and abetting in the planning, preparation,
17 and execution of the charged crimes.
18 These crimes set out in the indictment covered in eight counts
19 with which the accused is charged. These are: Count 1, genocide; Count
20 2, conspiracy to commit genocide; Counts 3, 4, and 6 through 8, the
21 crimes against humanity of murder, extermination, persecutions, inhumane
22 acts through forcible transfer, and deportation; and Count 5, murder as a
23 violation of the laws or customs of war.
24 On the basis of these charges and the evidence it has presented,
25 the Prosecution has requested a sentence of life imprisonment.
1 The accused has taken the position that there is no credible
2 evidence on the basis of which the Chamber could find the accused
3 criminally responsible beyond reasonable doubt and that, therefore, he
4 should be acquitted.
5 I first turn to the Chamber's factual findings in this case. For
6 the most part, these are the findings made by the majority. A dissenting
7 opinion by Judge Nyambe follows the main text of the judgement.
8 The crimes charged in the indictment relate to the months of
9 March through November 1995 in a relatively small area of eastern Bosnia
10 and Herzegovina. In particular, the crimes concern the enclaves of
11 Srebrenica and Zepa, which had been declared safe havens by
12 United Nations Security Council Resolutions in the spring of 1993. At
13 the outset, it must be noted that the alleged crimes cannot be considered
14 in a vacuum. They followed years of armed conflict in Bosnia and
15 Herzegovina. The Chamber has remained aware of this context throughout
16 the case. The Chamber's task, however, is not to decide on the
17 legitimacy of the war that took place between the Bosnian Serbs and the
18 Bosnian Muslims in this region. The Chamber emphasises that its role is
19 limited to the determination of the individual criminal responsibility of
20 the accused, Mr. Zdravko Tolimir, for genocide, crimes against humanity,
21 and war crimes that took place within the context of this war.
22 The majority has found that already in 1992 there was a policy in
23 place at the highest levels of Republika Srpska which sought to remove
24 the Bosnian Muslim population from eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, among
25 other locations. This policy was reaffirmed by Directive 7 issued in
1 March of 1995, a directive signed by the President of the
2 Republika Srpska, Radovan Karadzic, who was assisted in its drafting by
3 various sectors within the VRS Main Staff. This included the sector of
4 intelligence and security affairs, headed by the accused.
5 This directive, in relevant part, called for the creation of, I
7 " ... an unbearable situation of total insecurity with no hope of
8 further survival for the inhabitants of Srebrenica and Zepa" to be
9 achieved through, and I quote again, "planned and well-thought-out combat
11 This directive further called for the reduction and limitation of
12 logistics support to the United Nations Protection Force, abbreviated as
13 UNPROFOR, in the enclaves as well as, I quote, "the material resources
14 for the Muslim population making them dependent on our goodwill while at
15 the same time avoiding condemnation by the international community and
16 international public opinion."
17 The majority has found, Judge Nyambe dissenting, that the
18 issuance of Detective 7 in March of 1995 signified the start of an
19 intensive period of activities by Bosnian Serb forces comprising both the
20 VRS and the Ministry of Interior aimed at achieving the goals set out
22 The majority has found that immediately following the issuance of
23 Directive 7, the VRS engaged in a system of restrictions on humanitarian
24 aid and UNPROFOR re-supply convoys to both the Srebrenica and Zepa
25 enclaves. These restrictions had the intended effect of making life for
1 the Bosnian Muslims inside the enclaves unbearable. Concurrent with the
2 steady increase of restrictions as of early spring 1995, by June that
3 year the VRS had surrounded the Srebrenica enclave. While much of the
4 VRS efforts targeted members of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
5 abbreviated as ABiH, who were operating from within the enclave, the
6 majority has found that these military activities were also aimed at
7 civilian targets and were intended to terrorise the Bosnian Muslim
8 population. By early July 1995, a devastating humanitarian situation
9 engulfed both enclaves. Also by this time, the VRS attacks on the
10 Srebrenica enclave became more overt as it launched an operation called
11 Krivaja 95 to, I quote "create conditions for the elimination of the
12 enclaves," a goal that was expanded with the capture of Srebrenica town
13 within a matter of days. The majority, Judge Nyambe dissenting, has
14 found that the VRS activities against the enclave, set out in full detail
15 in the written judgement, were intended to remove both the Bosnian Muslim
16 military and the civilian population from the enclave and were consistent
17 with the goals set out in Directive 7, to make life unbearable with no
18 hope of survival for the enclaves' inhabitants. Through its simultaneous
19 restriction of humanitarian aid and its military attacks on the civilian
20 population, the VRS achieved these goals.
21 On 11 July, Srebrenica fell. The VRS met with no resistance.
22 High-ranking VRS officers and members of the 10th Sabotage Detachment of
23 the Main Staff took a triumphant walk through the town. VRS Main Staff
24 Commander Mladic declared that, I quote, "the time has come to take
25 revenge on the Turks in this region" and, I quote again, "we give this
1 town to the Serb people as a gift."
2 A column of thousands of able-bodied Muslim men with some women
3 and children had already started making its way through the woods towards
4 villages north-west of Srebrenica. From there, a decision was made by
5 the Bosnian Muslims to form a column and attempt a breakthrough to Tuzla
6 at ABiH-held territory. The column was comprised of some 10.000 to
7 16.000 Bosnian Muslims and was several kilometres long, with a
8 concentration of armed men heading the column in an attempt to provide
9 security for the civilians, including women and children. Meanwhile,
10 thousands of women, children, and elderly, instead of joining the column,
11 made their way to seek refuge at the UN compound in Potocari hoping for
12 protection there; the road along which they walked was shelled by the
13 VRS. The majority, Judge Nyambe dissenting, has found this shelling to
14 have been intended to further terrorise an already frightened and
15 vulnerable population.
16 Against the backdrop of these events, two meetings were held on
17 the evening of 11 July 1995 at Hotel Fontana at Bratunac. VRS
18 representatives attending these meetings included Mladic and Main Staff
19 intelligence officer Radoslav Jankovic. On the UNPROFOR side,
20 representatives of the Dutch Battalion, abbreviated as DutchBat, namely,
21 Commander Karremans and Officer Boering attended. The meetings were
22 intended to discuss the fate of Bosnian Muslim civilian population taking
23 shelter at the UN compound at Potocari. The majority has found, however,
24 Judge Nyambe dissenting, that the meetings were a false demonstration of
25 a good-faith effort by the VRS to find a solution for the population.
1 The majority has found that these meetings were held in a
2 threatening and intimidating atmosphere created by the VRS. Mladic, who
3 led the meetings, told a Bosnian Muslim school teacher who had been
4 requested to attend as a representative of the population, that the
5 Bosnian Muslim population could either, I quote, "survive or disappear."
6 Mladic conditioned the survival of the population upon the disarming of
7 the members of the ABiH in the enclave.
8 A third meeting was held at Hotel Fontana on the morning of 12th
9 July. Mladic repeated his threat made the night before, telling the
10 frightened Bosnian Muslim representatives, I quote, "as I told this
11 gentleman last night, you can either survive or disappear." Also at this
12 meeting, the VRS made clear their intention to "screen" the men amongst
13 the crowd in Potocari for their alleged participation in war crimes.
14 Following this meeting, Karremans and Boering approached chief of
15 intelligence and security of the Bratunac Brigade, Momir Nikolic, and
16 Svetozar Kosoric, chief of intelligence of the Drina Corps, seeking
17 clarification as to what was meant with the proposed screening of men.
18 Momir Nikolic told them that they should get lost, that everything had
19 already been agreed on, and that the transportation of the Bosnian
20 Muslims from Potocari had already started.
21 By the end of 12 July, a total of approximately 25.000 to 30.000
22 Bosnian Muslim civilians, mainly women, children, and elderly, had sought
23 refuge at the UN compound in Potocari. On the morning of 12th July,
24 Bosnian Serb forces took over Potocari, disarming members of DutchBat and
25 mingling amongst the crowd, cursing, mocking, and mistreating Bosnian
1 Muslim civilians. Some were handing out bread and water while being
2 filmed by a Serb camera crew. The moment the camera crew stopped
3 filming, the forces stopped handing out bread and even took some of it
4 back. As the Bosnian Muslim women and children boarded the buses
5 arranged by the VRS, their male family members, including young boys as
6 well as elderly and infirm men, were separated and detained at several
7 locations near the UN compound, most notably in the house known as the
8 white house.
9 The majority has found that by the end of 12 July, 9.000 Bosnian
10 Muslims had been forcibly transferred by bus from Potocari to Kladanj.
11 Those that remained awaiting their forcible transfer on the next day
12 endured a night that was described as hell. Moans and screams resonated
13 amongst the crowd. Gun-shots pierced the evening and members of the
14 Bosnian Serb forces continued to take Bosnian Muslim men away, as they
15 had done throughout the day. Some men did not return. Conditions there
16 were so miserable that several Bosnian Muslim civilians committed suicide
17 or attempted to do so. By the morning of 13 July, everyone was desperate
18 to leave Potocari. The majority has found, Judge Nyambe dissenting, that
19 under these appalling circumstances the Bosnian Muslim population
20 gathered in Potocari had no choice but to leave.
21 The Bosnian Muslim men and boys who were separated from the
22 crowds in Potocari became the subject of the second joint criminal
23 enterprise alleged in this indictment. The majority has found that early
24 in the morning of 12 July, just before the start of the third meeting at
25 Hotel Fontana, members of the security organs under the accused's
1 professional command, referred to a plan to murder these men discussing
2 possible locations for the planned executions. The majority,
3 Judge Nyambe dissenting, has found that in keeping with this plan, at
4 least 1.000 men and boys having been forced to leave behind their
5 belongings and identification documents, were detained at the white house
6 by Bosnian Serb forces. There they were kept in horrid conditions, some
7 of them physically mistreated, before being transported by bus to
8 Bratunac. The majority has found that the plan to murder them had
9 already begun to materialise by this time.
10 In Bratunac, on 12 and 13 July, the men and boys from Potocari
11 were joined by thousands of Bosnian Muslim men from the column that had
12 started moving towards Tuzla, who had been captured by or surrendered to
13 the Bosnian Serb forces. These men were detained in buildings and buses
14 throughout Bratunac where they suffered physical and verbal abuse. Some
15 of the men were murdered in Bratunac town and the Bratunac area.
16 On the morning of 14 July, following the massive logistical
17 operation to procure vehicles and fuel, thousands of Bosnian Muslim men
18 were transported north to Zvornik municipality where they were detained
19 for a short period of time before meeting their ultimate fate at the
20 hands of Bosnian Serb forces. The Chamber feels compelled to highlight a
21 number of such killing incidents.
22 In the late afternoon of 13 July, hundreds of Bosnian Muslim men
23 were transported from a meadow in Sandici by bus and some directed by
24 foot to a one-storey building known as the Kravica warehouse in the
25 Bratunac area. When the warehouse was packed full, Bosnian Serb forces
1 started firing at the men inside, using machine-guns as well as hand- and
2 rocket-propelled grenades. They fired for hours with intermittent lulls
3 in the shooting in which the wounded moaned and called out names. These
4 executions continued until the morning of the 14 of July. The accused's
5 immediate subordinate, Beara, was directly involved in the burial
6 operation of between 600 and 1.000 Bosnian Muslim men who the Chamber
7 found had been murdered at the warehouse between 13 and 14 July 1995.
8 On the evening of 13 and morning of 14 July, hundreds of Bosnian
9 Muslim men were transported by bus to a school in Grbavci located near
10 Orahovac. There they were crammed into the gymnasium of the school
11 building. In the afternoon of 14 July, they were transported by bus to
12 two separate killing sites nearby. Upon disembarking they were shot by
13 Bosnian Serb forces. Some of the wounded prisoners were cursed and left
14 to suffer in agony before they were finally killed.
15 One of the groups of prisoners included a boy of approximately 5
16 to 6 years old who, after being shot at, stood up from the pile of bodies
17 and called out for his father. Up to 2.500 Bosnian Muslim men were
18 murdered at Grbavci school on that day. They too were buried in a mass
20 On the morning of 16 July, hundreds of Bosnian Muslim men who had
21 been detained at a school near the village of Pilica were transported to
22 a plot of land known as the Branjevo Military Farm. Upon arrival at this
23 location they were led down a path to a meadow where they were shot at by
24 Bosnian Serb forces. After each round of shooting, the forces asked
25 whether there were any survivors. Those who answered were shot in the
1 head. The executions lasted until the late afternoon of the 16th of
2 July, killing approximately 1.000 to 1.500 Bosnian Muslim men. Following
3 this massive execution, another approximately 500 Bosnian Muslim men were
4 executed by Bosnian Serb forces inside a cultural centre in Pilica.
5 There are no known survivors of this execution. These bodies were
6 transported to Branjevo Military Farm, where over the course of the next
7 day they were buried together with the bodies of people killed at the
8 farm. At least 1.656 Bosnian Muslim men were murdered at the Branjevo
9 Military Farm and Pilica cultural centre.
10 The Chamber has found that the suffering these men went through
11 in the moments leading up to their deaths must have been unbearable. On
12 many occasions, those who were waiting to be shot saw others before them
13 executed. The few survivors who lived to provide their testimony before
14 the Chamber gave harrowing accounts of what they had to endure.
15 Following this murderous operation and the burial of the
16 thousands of bodies in mass graves in September and October, Bosnian Serb
17 forces triggered by a Main Staff order took measures to conceal these
18 crimes. A massive reburial operation was set in place. The victims from
19 Kravica warehouse, those killed in Orahovac, Petkovci dam, Kozluk,
20 Branjevo Farm, and Pilica that had been buried after their murder were
21 disinterred and buried again in secondary grave-sites at, to name a few,
22 Hodzici road, the Snagovo-Lipje road, and a total of 12 sites along the
23 Cancari road. Several of the accused subordinates, including Beara and
24 Popovic, played a central role in this operation.
25 The majority, Judge Nyambe dissenting, has found that from
1 13 July to sometime in August 1995, at least 4.970 Bosnian Muslim men who
2 are the subject of the charges in the indictment were murdered during the
3 implementation of the JCE to murder. The majority emphasises that this
4 is a conservative calculation of the minimum number. The majority finds,
5 Judge Nyambe dissenting, that the total number of Bosnian Muslim men from
6 Srebrenica who were killed is, at a minimum, closer to 6.000.
7 Following the forcible transfer of the women, children, and
8 elderly from Potocari on the 12 and 13 July and concurrent with the start
9 of the implementation of the JCE to murder, by that time -- by that same
10 time the VRS made preparations to launch an operation against the nearby
11 enclave of Zepa. This attack followed the same pattern and course as the
12 attack on the Srebrenica enclave just days prior and included some of the
13 same forces. The Bosnian Muslim population from Zepa, in panic with the
14 news of the forcible removal from Potocari having started to spread,
15 sought refuge in the hills above Zepa. On 13 July, a meeting was held
16 between the VRS and representatives of the Bosnian Muslim War Presidency
17 of Zepa, at which the accused informed them that the only alternative to,
18 quote/unquote "evacuation" of the population was the use of military
19 force by the VRS. Attacks by the VRS against surrounding villages in the
20 weeks prior had already resulted in the destruction of at least 30
21 Bosnian Muslim homes, further instilling fear in the Bosnian Muslim
23 On 14 July, following the refusal of this alleged evacuation on
24 the terms imposed by the accused, the VRS shelled the centre of the
25 enclave and took control of UNPROFOR observation posts. In the days
1 thereafter, the VRS exerted pressure on the civilians hiding in the woods
2 to return to Zepa in order to be transported out of the enclave.
3 Following the failure of a second meeting held on 19 July, on 24th of
4 July the Bosnian Muslim representatives were forced to sign an agreement
5 concerning the disarmament of the ABiH in the enclave and the,
6 quote/unquote, "evacuation" of the civilian population. From 25 to 27
7 July, under the direct authority of the accused who was present in the
8 enclave throughout the entire operation, nearly 4.400 Bosnian Muslim
9 women, children, and elderly were forcibly removed from Zepa enclave. As
10 with the Bosnian Muslim population that had taken refuge in Potocari, the
11 majority has found, Judge Nyambe dissenting, that they did not have a
12 choice; their fate was decided for them. Mladic appears on video footage
13 entering many of the buses of tired, hungry, and frightened Bosnian
14 Muslims telling them that he was giving them their life as a gift.
15 Meanwhile, with the news of the fate of the men of Srebrenica having
16 spread, the able-bodied men from the Zepa enclave remained in hiding in
17 the woods, with some of them making their way across the Drina River into
18 Serbian territory in fear for their lives.
19 The Chamber now turns to a brief summary of its legal findings.
20 The Chamber has found that there was a state of armed conflict in
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time the crimes were committed and that
22 these crimes were connected to this conflict. The Chamber has also found
23 that there was a widespread and systematic attack directed against the
24 Bosnian Muslim populations of the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves and the
25 majority, Judge Nyambe dissenting, has found that the acts of the accused
1 were a part of that attack. As such, the jurisdictional requirements set
2 out in Articles 3 and 5 of the Statute have been met. On the basis of
3 the factual findings summarised above, the majority, Judge Nyambe
4 dissenting, has moreover found beyond reasonable doubt that the two joint
5 criminal enterprises charged in the indictment existed.
6 The majority recalls, Judge Nyambe dissenting, that at least
7 4.970 men and boys subject of the charges of the indictment were murdered
8 by Bosnian Serb forces. The Chamber has found that these forces carried
9 out the murders with discriminatory intent so as to constitute
10 persecutions. During the mistreatment, detention, and up to the moment
11 of their murder, these men were cursed and mocked and often beaten for
12 their affiliation to the Islamic faith. Some were forced to sing Serb
13 songs or sing pro-Serb slogans immediately before their death. The
14 Chamber has found that the harm inflicted upon these men rises to the
15 level of serious bodily and mental harm and constitute acts of genocide.
16 Turning to the murders of the three Bosnian Muslim leaders of
17 Zepa: Mehmed Hajric, Avdo Palic, and Amir Imamovic, the majority has
18 found that these murders, similarly, constitute acts of genocide. These
19 three men were members of the Zepa's War Presidency and important and
20 prominent leaders within the enclave. They were arrested shortly after
21 the completion of the operation to forcibly remove the Bosnian Muslims
22 from Zepa 37. They were held in detention for many days separately from
23 others. The majority, Judge Nyambe dissenting, has found that sometime
24 in the middle of August 1995, Bosnian Serb forces killed them and buried
25 them in the same mass grave. The majority has found that while they were
1 only three in number, in view of the size of the Zepa enclave, these
2 three men constituted the core of its civilian and military leadership.
3 It has found that the killing of Avdo Palic, given his status as a
4 defender of Zepa's Bosnian Muslim population, had a symbolic purpose,
5 signifying that there was no hope of survival for this population in the
7 The majority has also taken into account the fate of the
8 remaining population of Zepa, their forcible transfer immediately prior
9 to the killing of three of Zepa's most prominent leaders is a factor
10 which supports the majority's finding of genocidal intent. The majority
11 has found that in the case of Zepa, removing its Bosnian Muslim civilian
12 population, destroying their homes and their mosque, and killing three of
13 their most prominent leaders was done with the purpose of ensuring that
14 the Bosnian Muslim population of this enclave would not be able to
15 reconstitute itself. As such, the majority has found that Mehmed Hajric,
16 Avdo Palic, and Amir Imamovic were killed with the intention to destroy
17 this population.
18 The majority has found further that the suffering of the women,
19 children, and elderly who were forcibly transferred from the Srebrenica
20 and Zepa enclaves rises to the level of serious bodily or mental harm so
21 as to amount to genocide.
22 In its determination of whether the Bosnian Serb forces
23 deliberately inflicted conditions of life that were calculated to bring
24 about the destruction of the Bosnian Muslims in eastern Bosnia and
25 Herzegovina, the majority, Judge Nyambe dissenting, has considered the
1 overall effect of not only the forcible transfer operations of the women
2 and children but also the killing of the men. The majority finds that
3 the combined effect of the forcible removal and murder operation had a
4 devastating effect on the physical survival of the Bosnian Muslim
5 population of eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina and is satisfied that these
6 operations were aimed at destroying this population.
7 In conclusion, the majority, Judge Nyambe dissenting in part,
8 finds beyond reasonable doubt that the crimes of genocide, conspiracy to
9 commit genocide, extermination, persecutions, inhumane acts through
10 forcible transfer, and murder have been established. The Chamber,
11 however, did not find that the crime of deportation was proved beyond
12 reasonable doubt. Its reasons in this regard are set out in detail in
13 the written judgement.
14 I now turn to the summary of the majority's findings on the
15 accused's responsibility for the crimes charged.
16 Mr. Tolimir was the chief of the sector for intelligence and
17 security affairs of the Main Staff of the VRS, a position to which he had
18 been appointed already in 1992, following almost 20 years of experience
19 in this area of work. In June of 1994, he was promoted to general-major.
20 He was one of the seven assistant commanders in the Main Staff and
21 directly responsible to Main Staff Commander Mladic, with whom he had a
22 particularly close relationship. Mladic often consulted the accused
23 before taking a decision and considered him to be a part of his, and I
24 quote, "inner core." Witnesses who testified before the Chamber referred
25 to the accused as Mladic's right hand, his eyes and ears, and closer to
1 being an equal to Mladic than a subordinate. The Chief of Staff of the
2 VRS Main Staff Milovanovic testified that the accused was the
3 best-informed officer of the VRS and that he, I quote, "always knew more"
4 than his immediate subordinates, the chief of the intelligence
5 administration Petar Salapura and the chief of the security
6 administration Ljubisa Beara.
7 Mr. Tolimir was responsible for implementing all security and
8 intelligence related orders issued by Mladic, and monitored this
9 implementation through his supervision of all subordinates in the
10 security and intelligence organs at the corps and brigade levels. One of
11 his most significant tasks was to prevent the leakage of information and
12 as described by one witness to, I quote, "cover up the intention of the
13 VRS." He was responsible for the assignments issued to the military
14 police which fell under the professional command of the security organs
15 and was duty-bound to control the implementation of these assignments.
16 He was kept informed of the work of the military police units on the
17 ground. He was also responsible for the treatment and detention of
18 prisoners of war. He oversaw the work of the Main Staff affiliated
19 units, including the 10th Sabotage Detachment and the 65th Protection
21 The Chamber has found that there was an efficient reporting
22 system in place within the VRS and that the accused received daily
23 reports, both written and oral, from the subordinate intelligence and
24 security organs. He took part in daily meetings attended by the inner
25 circle of command of the VRS, at which the most important decisions would
1 be taken. These meetings were attended by corps commanders when
2 decisions concerning activities on an operational level would be made.
3 At these meetings, Mr. Tolimir gave briefings on the security situation
4 in the Republika Srpska, provided intelligence information, and made
5 proposals for counter actions. He was kept apprised of any orders that
6 Mladic gave directly to security and intelligence officers under his
7 professional command. Mr. Tolimir was, moreover, capable of exercising
8 general military command and could be dispatched to a command position,
9 as occurred in Zepa at the end of July where he assumed control over the
10 operation to forcibly remove the Bosnian Muslim population of the
11 enclave. He was one of the central contact persons for UNPROFOR with
12 regard to convoy matters relating to both enclaves and he was the
13 counterpart of UN Generals Nicolai, Janvier, Smith, and Gobillard.
14 The majority has considered the accused's specific role in the
15 VRS Main Staff when analysing his acts and conduct. The majority,
16 Judge Nyambe dissenting, has found that the accused was a member of the
17 JCE to forcibly remove the Bosnian Muslim population from the enclaves
18 from March 1995 onwards and became a member of the JCE to murder the
19 able-bodied men from Srebrenica at the latest in the afternoon of
20 13 July. He had full knowledge of the despicable criminal operations
21 envisioned by these two enterprises and shared the intent to further
22 their goals. The basis of his knowledge and the contributions of these
23 JCEs is set out in full in the written judgement.
24 For the purposes of this summary, the majority shall highlight
25 some of the accused's actions from which it has inferred that the accused
1 shared the intent with other members of the JCE to murder and the JCE to
2 forcibly remove and furthered these criminal operations. It must be
3 stressed that this is by no means an exhaustive list.
4 One, from March 1995 onwards, the accused and his subordinates in
5 the security organ were closely involved in the process approving or
6 rejecting UNPROFOR re-supply convoys and humanitarian aid convoys into
7 the enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa which contributed to the steadily
8 increasing unbearable situations in the enclaves.
9 Two, in communications with UNPROFOR in the days leading up to
10 the take-over of Srebrenica by VRS forces, he denied the VRS attacks on
11 the enclave, stalled communication on this issue, and made false claims
12 that the VRS would do its best to calm the situation, while at the same
13 time forwarding to the Drina Corps on 9 July 1995 Karadzic's order to
14 continue operations to take over Srebrenica.
15 Three, the accused's subordinate Main Staff intelligence officer
16 Radoslav Jankovic took part in the Hotel Fontana meetings held on the
17 night of 11 and the morning of 12 July 1995. The majority has found that
18 the accused was informed and had knowledge of the discussions held at
19 these meetings. Jankovic was present on the ground during the forcible
20 removal of the Bosnian Muslim population from Potocari on 12 and 13 July.
21 Four, in the afternoon of 13 July, the accused proposed that
22 Bosnian Muslim men who had been captured in the Kasaba area and who were
23 being detained along the main Milici-Zvornik road be placed indoors to
24 remove them from sight. This proposal was followed up by an order by
25 Mladic in line with the accused's proposal. The majority has found that
1 the accused's proposal was made with a view to concealing the murder
2 plan. Five, also on 13 July, with full knowledge of the gathering of
3 approximately 25.000 to 30.000 Bosnian Muslim civilians at the UN
4 compound in Potocari, and of the separation of able-bodied men, the
5 accused informed chief of intelligence and security of the East Bosnia
6 Corps Milenko Todorovic that the preparations for the arrival of 1.000 to
7 3.000 Bosnian Muslim men at a prison facility in Batkovic should cease.
8 The majority has found that the accused, in ordering that the
9 preparations should be stopped, had knowledge of the fact that these men
10 would be murdered instead.
11 Six, following the completion of the forcible removal operation
12 in Potocari, at a meeting at Boksanica on the outskirts of Zepa enclave
13 on 13 July the accused stated to those present that, I quote, "Srebrenica
14 has fallen and now it's Zepa's turn," adding that the only alternative to
15 the evacuation of Zepa's population was the use of military force. Late
16 that same evening he proposed that Zepa be captured within 21 hours in
17 order to, I quote, "avoid the condemnation and reaction by the
18 international community."
19 Seven, on 21st July 1995, following days of intense shelling of
20 Zepa by the VRS and aware of the fact that the civilian population of
21 Zepa had already sought refuge in uninhabited places, the accused
22 proposed that in order to accelerate the surrender of the ABiH forces,
23 groups of fleeing Bosnian Muslim civilians should be, I quote,
25 Eight, from 25 to 27 July 1995, he was present in Zepa and
1 commanded the forcible removal operation of the Bosnian Muslims as they
2 were packed into buses and driven to Kladanj walking around with his
3 pistol pointing up at the sky, intimidating this vulnerable group of
4 mainly women, children, and elderly.
5 Nine, through his position as chief of intelligence and security,
6 he had the legal duty to protect prisoners of war. Despite being able to
7 do so, he did not. Following the commission of crimes by Bosnian Serb
8 forces, including by his subordinates, he failed to take any action
9 against them, he did not distance himself from their crimes, and instead
10 assisted in the cover-up of the thousands of murders committed by Bosnian
11 Serb forces.
12 I will now turn to the majority's findings on the counts. In its
13 determination of the findings on the counts charged, the majority
14 particularly took into account Mr. Tolimir's position within the
15 Main Staff of the VRS and his capacity as chief of the sector for
16 intelligence and security affairs. The majority has, in addition, taken
17 into account his education, experience as an officer, and his general
18 capabilities with respect to his duties and responsibilities, stemming
19 from his specific professional position.
20 The majority has found that Mr. Tolimir has had extensive
21 knowledge of the situation on the ground from March 1995 and onwards.
22 The majority reiterates its findings that the accused significantly
23 contributed to both of the JCEs charged, including through his failure to
24 protect prisoners of war. The crimes that were committed were massive in
25 scale, severe in their intensity, and devastating in their effect. The
1 implementation of the two JCEs occurred over a very short period of time
2 in a small geographical area. The accused played a co-ordinating and
3 directing role throughout the entirety of this period. The majority
4 finds that he had knowledge of the genocidal intent of other JCE members,
5 including that of his security and intelligence organs, who the majority
6 has found were extensively involved in carrying out the JCEs. The
7 accused encouraged the use of derogatory terms, thereby provoking ethnic
8 hatred amongst members of the Bosnian Serb forces, and sending out a
9 message that Bosnian Muslims were human beings of a lesser value.
10 On 21 July 1995, the accused proposed to destroy, I quote,
11 "groups of Muslim refugees," with a view of accelerating the surrender of
12 the ABiH in Zepa. The majority finds that this proposal manifests the
13 accused's own determination to destroy the Bosnian Muslim population.
14 The only reasonable inference that the majority can draw on the
15 totality of the evidence is that the accused not only had knowledge of
16 the genocidal intent of others but also possessed it himself. He is,
17 therefore, responsible for the crime of genocide. He is also
18 responsible, pursuant to JCE III, for the murders of the three Bosnian
19 Muslim men from Zepa, which the majority has found constituted genocide.
20 The accused's involvement and that of his subordinates in the arrest and
21 detention of these three men, on the basis of which the Chamber has made
22 its finding of his responsibility are set out in detail in the written
24 Having found that there was an agreement between two or more
25 people to commit the crime of genocide and the accused entered into this
1 agreement by the latest on the afternoon of 13 July 1995, the majority
2 also finds the accused responsible for the crime of conspiracy to commit
3 genocide with respect to the murder of the able-bodied men from
5 Having found, in addition, that a single, organised, and
6 large-scale operation to murder Bosnian Muslim males existed with the
7 requisite intent to kill on a massive scale; that the accused had
8 knowledge of the scale and the scope of this operation; and that he
9 consciously and deliberately supported the objective of this operation,
10 the majority finds beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is
11 responsible for the crime of extermination.
12 The majority is, moreover, satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that
13 through his participation in the JCE to murder, including his failure to
14 protect the prisoners of war, the accused had the requisite intent to
15 murder the able-bodied men from Srebrenica and is therefore responsible
16 for the crime of murder as charged. The majority further finds the
17 accused criminally responsible for a number of murders that were pleaded
18 as opportunistic and foreseeable targeted killings on the basis that they
19 were reasonably foreseeable to him pursuant to a mode of liability
20 referred to as JCE III.
21 With respect to the crime of persecutions, the majority recalls
22 its findings that the murders of the able-bodied Bosnian Muslim males,
23 the cruel and inhumane treatment of the Bosnian Muslim population, the
24 terrorisation of the civilian population, the destruction of homes of the
25 Bosnian Muslims and the mosques in Srebrenica and Zepa, and the forced
1 removal of women, children, and the elderly out of the enclaves were all
2 committed with the intent to discriminate on political, racial, or
3 religious grounds and amount to persecutions. The majority concludes
4 beyond reasonable doubt that the accused possessed the requisite
5 discriminatory intent as he furthered the goal of the two JCEs, resulting
6 in the crimes that have been established.
7 Finally, the majority recalls its finding that the accused,
8 having been found to be a member of the JCE to forcibly remove from its
9 inception in March of 1995, shared the intent with other members of the
10 JCE to remove Bosnian Muslim populations from the enclaves and
11 significantly contributed to the realisation of this common purpose. The
12 majority finds that the accused possessed the requisite intent to
13 forcibly displace the Bosnian Muslim population within a national border,
14 and is therefore criminally responsible for inhumane acts through
15 forcible transfer as a crime against humanity.
16 The Chamber did not find, however, that the transfer of Bosnian
17 Muslim males to Bratunac and Zvornik, as charged, constituted the crime
18 of forcible transfer, nor - as it indicated before - that the movement of
19 the Bosnian Muslim men from Zepa to Serbia constituted the crime of
20 deportation, for reasons set out in full in the written judgement.
21 Before turning to its disposition, the majority summarises, in
22 short, the main factors it considered when determining the sentence.
23 Bound by the Statute and the Rules, the majority determined the gravity
24 of the offences of which the accused has been found guilty as well as any
25 aggravating or mitigating circumstances. In assessing the gravity of the
1 offence, the majority has considered, in particular, the accused's
2 contribution to the horrific mass execution of thousands of men and boys
3 as part of an organised operation aimed at destroying the Bosnian Muslim
4 population. It has, furthermore, considered the extreme suffering of the
5 approximately 30.000 to 35.000 women and children forcibly removed from
6 both enclaves and their inability to live a normal and constructive life
7 to this day. The irreparable impact of these crimes on the victims and
8 the accused's responsibility for their suffering have to be taken into
10 With respect to aggravating circumstances, the majority has
11 considered, in particular, the accused's high rank and central position
12 within the VRS Main Staff, his duty and failure to ensure the safety of
13 the thousands prisoners of war following the fall of Srebrenica, his
14 deliberate and active involvement and pivotal role in two JCEs, and the
15 accused's abuse of his position in covering up the crimes that were
17 The majority considered several factors in mitigation, none of
18 which it placed any weight on, save for the accused's good behaviour in
19 detention and following the start of the trial phase. The majority
20 notes, however, that this sort of behaviour should be commonplace and,
21 viewed with the accused's obstructive behaviour during the pre-trial
22 proceedings, gives this good behaviour little weight.
23 This completes the summary of findings. I shall now read out the
25 Mr. Zdravko Tolimir, would you please stand.
1 [The accused stands up]
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The Chamber by majority, Judge Nyambe dissenting,
3 finds you Zdravko Tolimir guilty pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Statute,
4 through commission of the following crimes:
5 Count 1: Genocide under Article 4(3)(a) of the Statute;
6 Count 2: Conspiracy to commit genocide under Article 4(3)(b) of
7 the Statute;
8 Count 3: Extermination, a crime against humanity under
9 Article 5(b) of the Statute;
10 Count 5: Murder, a violation of the laws or customs of war under
11 Article 3 of the Statute;
12 Count 6: Persecutions, a crime against humanity under
13 Article 5(h) of the Statute;
14 Count 7: Inhumane acts through forcible transfer, a crime
15 against humanity under Article 5(i) of the Statute.
16 In relation to the following count, on the basis of the principle
17 relating to cumulative convictions, the majority does not enter a
19 Count 4: Murder, a crime against humanity under Article 5(a) of
20 the Statute.
21 The Chamber finds you, Zdravko Tolimir, not guilty, and thus
22 acquits you of the following count:
23 Count 8: Deportation, a crime against humanity under
24 Article 5(d) of the Statute.
25 The majority has set out in the written judgement the factors it
1 has taken into account in its determination of the sentence.
2 Zdravko Tolimir, you are hereby sentenced to life imprisonment.
3 You are entitled to credit for the time served in detention until the day
4 of this judgement and the period pending the finalisation of arrangements
5 for your transfer to the state where you will serve your sentence. You
6 shall remain in the custody of this Tribunal until the day of your
7 transfer. You may be seated.
8 [The accused sits down]
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The Registry shall now hand out copies of the
10 judgement to the parties.
11 This concludes the proceedings. We adjourn.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.06 p.m.