1 Friday, 26 September 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Mr. Court Deputy.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is Case Number
8 IT-02-60-T, The Prosecutor versus Vidoje Blagojevic and Dragan Jokic.
9 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Well, Mr. Karnavas, are you ready to
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, I am, Your Honour. Thank you.
12 JUDGE LIU: And before that, I have to remind you that you have
13 used one-third of your time allocated to you. And reading from the
14 transcript yesterday, we believe there's still room for you to improve
15 your cross-examination. For instance, you asked the same question several
16 times. We understand that you got a point in your question, but maybe you
17 could put it directly to the witness.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 WITNESS: MOMIR NIKOLIC [Resumed]
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 Cross-examined by Mr. Karnavas: [Continued]
22 Q. Mr. Nikolic, yesterday we left off when I asked you to look at the
23 order that was prepared by your commander which you claim you have never
24 seen and to look at the part where it says that you must treat the war
25 prisoners under the Geneva Conventions. Do you recall that?
1 A. Yes, I do recall that, Mr. Karnavas.
2 Q. And then after that, you gave a lengthy speech about all orders
3 would have that in it, and then you went on about the massacres that
4 occurred after the fall of Srebrenica. Do you recall that?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, if you would be so kind as to look at the order that was
7 prepared by your commander.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: And again, for the record, that's D17/1. And if
9 the Madam Usher could also give him D16/1, which is the Drina Corps order.
10 Q. Now, Mr. Nikolic, from reading the order from the Drina Corps,
11 reading the order that was prepared by your commander, is it not true that
12 the initial battle plan attacking Srebrenica never envisaged the actual
13 taking over of Srebrenica?
14 A. Mr. Karnavas, might I just take a look at this document to remind
15 myself what the goal of the attack was.
16 Q. Might I ask you before you look at it, as you sit here today,
17 after meeting with your lawyers for hundreds of hours with the Prosecution
18 for days and days and days preparing over here, you don't know what the
19 goal was when Srebrenica was attacked? Are we to believe that, Mr.
21 A. Mr. Karnavas, that's not what I said. All I want to do is to take
22 a look at the point in which the goal of the attack is defined at
23 Srebrenica in this document that you have just offered me and asked me to
24 take a look at. I didn't talk about the goal of the attack on Srebrenica
25 as such. If you ask me, I'll tell you. But with your permission, may I
1 take a look at the document and to see what -- as it relates to your
3 I have found it, Mr. Karnavas. It is actually in point 4. And if
4 that's what you're asking me about with respect to that particular goal,
5 then I've found the actual stipulation here.
6 Q. And this is with respect to the Bratunac Brigade order dated July
7 5, 1995? Is that what you're looking at?
8 A. I'm looking at the order by the command of the Drina Corps.
9 Q. Okay. All right. So for the record, you're looking at D16/1 that
10 has been marked for identification.
11 Now, from reading that, is it not a fact that when Srebrenica was
12 attacked, the goal was not envisaged for the actual takeover of
13 Srebrenica; but rather, the shrinking of the enclave, that enclave and the
14 Zepa enclave?
15 A. Yes, Mr. Karnavas. And we have the objective here. I don't want
16 to comment. What it says is what is written in this order.
17 Q. Right. And that was your understanding at the time as well?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. So before the attack on Srebrenica, you knew that Srebrenica would
20 be attacked, did you not?
21 A. Yes, I did know.
22 Q. And in fact, sometime around the 10th of July, the order changed
23 from above to actually go ahead and take Srebrenica because the Serb
24 forces were advancing quite rapidly and quite successfully. Is that not
25 true? Or are you not aware of it?
1 A. I can't confirm that. I can't confirm when the decision was
2 actually made. All I can do is to assume that the decision was made at
3 the level of command, the command level.
4 Q. Okay. And when you say "the level of command," you're talking
5 about the Drina Corps command, right? Or are you talking about the main
6 staff command? Or both?
7 A. Well, I don't know which, or rather who was included in the
8 planning and decision-making process. But it's common knowledge in the
9 army, one knows who makes the decisions on combat operations. But I
10 really don't know the composition and level at which this decision was
11 actually taken and who actually made the decision. I can just make an
12 assessment myself, but I don't think that it is my place to do so.
13 Q. Very well. Now, if you look at the order that was prepared by
14 your commander, I would like to go over it in specific as to what was
15 tasked by the commander of his brigade, of his battalion, and of you.
16 Now, I'm referring to D17/1 that was marked for identification. It's the
17 July 5, 1995.
18 If you would look at -- if I could focus your attention on
19 paragraph 4, and then if you could look at paragraph 5 as well, and
20 there's several subparagraphs to 5, all the way to 5.6, so we can discuss
22 A. I have taken a look at it, Mr. Karnavas.
23 Q. Okay?
24 A. And we can go through it point by point.
25 Q. Very well. Now, point 4 or paragraph number 4 gives a general
1 description, does it not, of what was decided by the brigade commander as
2 to what would happen? Whereas paragraph 5 goes to the individual
3 battalions and other units and tasks them specifically. Am I correct?
4 A. Point 4 defines the decision of the commander, that is to say, he
5 says: "I decided..." et cetera, and then it states what he decided.
6 Whereas point 5, from what we can see here, issues orders to subordinate
8 Q. Right.
9 A. Or rather, I apologise, it's not the tasks that are issued, it is
10 that the tasks are defined of the subordinate units.
11 Q. Right. Now, if you look at 5.1, that refers to the 1st Battalion.
12 Am I correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Okay. And 5.2 to the 2nd Battalion?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. 5.3 to the 3rd Battalion?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. 5.4 to the 4th Battalion?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. 5.5 to the reconnaissance platoon?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And 5.6 as to which unit would be the reserve unit. And in this
23 case, the military police platoon was designated as the reserve unit.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Now, in reading the tasks that were defined, is it not a fact that
1 other than the 3rd Battalion, the 1st, the 2nd, the 4th had primarily, if
2 not essentially, defensive tasks and not offensive tasks?
3 A. You're once again asking me, Mr. Karnavas, to comment an order
4 which I haven't read in its entirety, which means I didn't use it. And
5 you're once again asking me to comment on something that I'm not
6 acquainted with. For me to be able to comment on this order, I should
7 have to have the order with me and to take the time to analyse everything
8 that went before, the tasks previously issued by the superior command, and
9 to take a look at the order issued, or rather written by the commander of
10 the Bratunac Brigade. And after having done that, I would be able to make
11 a judgement as to what each unit was tasked to do, whether it was
12 primarily defensive, an attack, or whatever.
13 So I don't wish to comment such an important document with just a
14 cursory glance at it for a minute or two.
15 Q. Very well. We can make that available for you to analyse. But
16 from your answer, can I assume that this document was not reviewed by you,
17 your lawyers, and the expert that you brought in from Belgrade who I
18 understand is from the air force security sector, or that's where he was,
19 when you were going over your preparation?
20 A. What is your question, Mr. Karnavas, in fact?
21 Q. That you have never -- that you have never reviewed this document
22 with your expert as far as what your roles might have been during the time
23 of the attack on Srebrenica?
24 A. All I can say is this: I did not have the opportunity or maybe I
25 don't remember, but I don't think I had the opportunity of doing so, and I
1 don't have the document because yesterday when I went back to the
2 Detention Unit, I looked through the documents that I received from the
3 Prosecutor. And I did not find this particular document among those.
4 Q. Okay. If you could be so kind as to go to paragraph 12 of this
5 document, and in the English version, it says: "Reconnaissance command
6 post" and I believe it should say "forward command post." Paragraph 12
7 titled "commanding and communication," would you please look at that.
8 A. I have looked at it, Mr. Karnavas.
9 Q. Okay. Now, would I be correct in stating that the forward command
10 post in accordance to this order, with respect to that particular mission,
11 that is, the attack on Srebrenica, for the Bratunac Brigade was Pribicevac
12 as designated by your commander?
13 A. Yes, Mr. Karnavas. On the basis of this document, it does say
14 that the command post was there, forward command post.
15 Q. All right. Now, during the attack on Srebrenica, were you aware
16 of the fact that Pribicevac was designated as the forward command post
17 for the Bratunac Brigade?
18 A. Not before the attack. During the attack, I did know that the
19 command post was at Pribicevac.
20 Q. All right. When you say during, the attack as I understand it
21 began on the 6th. Am I correct?
22 A. Yes, you are correct.
23 Q. All right. So prior to the 6th, say, the evening of the 5th, you
24 were unaware that the commander had designated Pribicevac which
25 incidentally is where the 3rd Battalion is located, right, you didn't know
1 that that had been designated as the forward command post for the Bratunac
2 Brigade for the Srebrenica attack?
3 A. Mr. Karnavas, as to Pribicevac, I know what was there at
4 Pribicevac, which means that I know that the 3rd infantry battalion was
5 there, as well as the command of the 3rd infantry battalion, and the
6 tactical group of Pribicevac, and its commander. And I know everything
7 about it, in fact. But as I've already stated or rather I commented
8 yesterday along these lines, for me to know what the commander had
9 actually decided and amongst other things where the forward command post
10 was actually situated, I would have to have received this order, a copy of
11 this order, sent to me as the chief of the intelligence organ. And not
12 only as the chief of the intelligence organ in person, but as a man who
13 was in charge, as somebody who was in charge of the professional guidance
14 of the military police platoon. And as far as I was able to see here from
15 glancing at it, the commander of the Bratunac Brigade is issuing orders to
16 the reconnaissance platoon.
17 Let me remind you of what the rules of service define for the
18 security organs. If I am that individual, I am the officer in charge and
19 responsible for the reconnaissance platoon as well. And it would be
20 normal for me to have received this order. And then we wouldn't have this
21 discussion. I would have been fully acquainted of this all this, I would
22 know what my task was and what the task of the units whom I was in charge
23 of. Professionally speaking, I know what the forward command post was and
24 I would know the tasks of the subordinate units. In a word, I would know
25 everything. But I already said I did not receive this order, it was not
1 addressed to me, to the body whose chief I was, and it was not duty-bound
2 to investigate to see what the commander had actually decided and what
3 orders he had given to the individuals and how he defined all this.
4 Q. Are you through? Okay.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. That's a very comprehensive answer. Thank you. I'm going to try
7 to narrow my questions. Maybe I'm asking too broad of questions.
8 Okay. So based on your answer, you woke up on the 6th, on the
9 morning of 6 July 1995, and somehow it was revealed to you that there was
10 an attack planned for Srebrenica. And sometime thereafter, you learned
11 that your commander had designated Pribicevac as his forward command post.
12 That's the answer that you want us to believe. Right, based on your brief
14 A. No, not at all.
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: Object to the form of the question. That kind of
17 attitude, that's not going to elicit any kind of reasonable response.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: I do not need any lecture from the Prosecutor.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Would the counsels not speak at the same time.
20 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: There's a way to object.
22 JUDGE LIU: I think that the Prosecution has a right to make
23 objections when you're doing your cross-examination, and you have to be
24 very patient and polite to listen to what he's going to say.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE LIU: And you also have the full right to respond.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour. I apologise.
3 JUDGE LIU: You may move on, please.
4 MR. KARNAVAS:
5 Q. Mr. Nikolic, on the 6th of July, where were you?
6 A. I should like to ask Your Honours to allow me to answer the
7 previous question first because there were a lot of sweeping assessments
8 made, qualifications and claims. Mr. Karnavas, I didn't wake up on the
9 6th, on that particular day, the 6th, and knowing nothing about what was
10 going on and that I heard it for the first time. As for the attack on
11 Srebrenica, as for my responsibilities and duties in that regard, both
12 with respect to the intelligence sector and the security sector, as an
13 officer, I was fully prepared for the tasks planned and operations
15 I should just like to -- their honours to hear what I have to say
16 now. I did not avoid.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: [Previous interpretation continues] ... Object to
18 this, Your Honour. It's beyond the scope of the question. It's beyond
19 the scope of the question.
20 JUDGE LIU: The witness hasn't finished his answer. We don't know
21 whether it's beyond the scope of the question or not.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour. In that event, with all
23 due respect, Given that he's taking so much time to answer the questions,
24 I may need additional time for my cross-examination.
25 JUDGE LIU: Let's hear what the witness has to tell us first.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, as I was saying, I was
2 prepared. I knew an attack was to come. I knew what my duties were, my
3 professional duties. So what you're saying is not correct, that I fell
4 from the sky and moved around the brigade and the area of responsibility
5 at random.
6 MR. KARNAVAS:
7 Q. Okay. Well, how could you be prepared for your professional
8 duties if you didn't know and made no effort to find out what orders your
9 commander had issued?
10 A. The tasks of the intelligence organ are well-defined and common
11 knowledge, Mr. Karnavas, except in cases where the commander in his
12 decision does not issue separate tasks to be accomplished or if the
13 commander by his decision defines special competencies and authorisations
14 to the security organ and officer, the chief of the security organ, in
15 fact. Or if the commanding officer writing out the order does not take
16 away or has a special point defining that the security organ should not go
17 ahead with those tasks for a particular period of time. But let me
18 reiterate once again that I must receive all this in the form of an order,
19 and then I act in conformity with that order.
20 Q. Okay. So because you didn't receive an order formally from your
21 commander, you didn't feel obliged that you had to act in any particular
22 way, such as find out what might be in the order? Is that your answer?
23 A. Mr. Karnavas, I really think, or rather, I do understand your
24 question in part, and in part, I don't. And the fact that I should start
25 asking around and roaming around, quite simply this could be taken
1 incorrectly, that I was spying on the commander, that I was doing
2 something behind his back, that I was trying to find out what was going on
3 and find something out. So if the commander has anything to tell me or
4 order me, he sends out an order. And the relationship there is quite
6 Any asking around on my part and questioning the order by the
7 commander could give rise to suspicions on the part of the commander, and
8 he would think that I was meddling and spying on the orders and decisions
9 he had made and written, and I don't think that's the right way to go
10 about things.
11 Q. Okay. If you look at the last page, it shows who was delivered --
12 to whom these orders were delivered. And as you aptly pointed out
13 yesterday, there were six copies, and your name is not on it, or your
14 title. Is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. But it does designate that the brigade chief of staff was provided
17 with a copy, does it not?
18 A. Yes, it does.
19 Q. Now, under the rules, is it not a fact that you, when it comes to
20 your functions as intelligence, not security, because you're wearing two
21 hats, and today we're focussing on security. So in your capacity as a
22 security officer, do you not fall directly under the command of the chief
23 of staff? Is that not a fact?
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: Just to clarify.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: He said security. I think he meant intelligence.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Intelligence. I apologise.
3 Q. Do you not come under the intelligence, or are you not aware of
5 A. Mr. Karnavas, I am fully familiar with all the regulations of the
6 law governing the internal relationships inside the brigade command. What
7 I can say here is the following: I was the assistant -- I apologise --
8 the chief of the intelligence and security organ. As long as its part of
9 the structure and as long as there are no amendments to this structure,
10 you can't break it down like this. Momir Nikolic is an intelligence
11 officer in the afternoon and a security officer in the morning. I am a
12 single person and a single officer in charge of intelligence and security
13 issues in the 1st Light Infantry Brigade and directly responsible to the
14 direct commander.
15 In brigades where these two duties are separate, where you have on
16 the one hand chief of brigade security and then assistant chief of staff
17 or intelligence on the other, the chief of intelligence in those brigades
18 as I say is directly responsible to the commander. And the assistant
19 chief for security affairs is directly linked and responsible to the chief
20 of staff. The first level in terms of establishment and structure where
21 these two duties are kept separate is the infantry brigade, such as, for
22 example, the Zvornik infantry brigade where you had a special chief of
23 security and a special chief of staff for intelligence affairs.
24 So my answer to you would be the following: As chief of the
25 intelligence and security affairs organ, I was directly linked to the
1 commander. And I'm not part of the chief of staff's team. I am not
2 responsible directly to the chief of staff. I am not subordinate to him
3 directly. I do have a duty to forward intelligence, not only to the
4 brigade commander but also to the chief of staff as well as other officers
5 in other departments and services, in other branches, military branches,
6 to the chief of artillery, the chief of engineers. My duty was to forward
7 security-related information to them so they could make successful
8 proposals to the commander as to how to use their artillery, their
9 engineering equipment and so on and so forth. So this is the essence of
10 what you have been talking about.
11 Q. If you could kindly look at Article 209 of the Brigade Rules. And
12 I believe that is P83 for identification. If you could look at that, I
13 believe it's the third paragraph, and tell me if it does not say "the
14 chief of staff is directly in charge of intelligence support." Does it
15 not say that?
16 A. Just a moment, please. Can you please repeat which article you're
17 referring to.
18 Q. 209. It's under the section of "intelligence support." It's the
19 third paragraph. It's quite clear. And if anywhere in the rules here
20 that you can find a distinction with respect to this issue of a brigade
21 versus a light infantry brigade, I would like you to bring it to my
22 attention because I haven't been able to find it myself.
23 A. Mr. Karnavas, I would like to ask you the following: 209, and
24 which paragraph exactly do you have in mind?
25 Q. Number 3, it says -- in English, in English. I don't know what it
1 says in Srpska. In English it says: "The chief of staff is directly in
2 charge of intelligence support." I understand this was a light infantry
3 brigade. You shared both positions. I appreciate that. But I'm just
4 pointing out the rule itself. Am I reading it correctly? Yes or no?
5 A. Yes, you're reading is correct. But this rule -- please, Mr.
6 Karnavas, allow me to finish.
7 Q. I apologise.
8 A. This rule refers to the brigade, and you have the general rules
9 defined here for infantry, to the motorised unit, for the mountain unit,
10 the navy unit as well as for the light unit. This is defined here, and
11 this is a general rule that applies to all these brigades. However, just
12 a minute ago we spoke about the direct link, meaning to which officer in
13 the brigade the intelligence officer would have been directly linked to.
14 It is true that what it says here is that the chief of staff is directly
15 in charge of intelligence support. This is beyond debate. But the
16 command -- the relationship in command, the command links are different.
17 The chain of command is different, and it goes exactly as I've just
19 Q. I appreciate that, Mr. Nikolic. But I guess I was moved, moved by
20 your earlier answer that who could you go to -- you didn't want to appear
21 as if you were snooping around your commander by going to the chief of
22 staff and asking him about the order. And it shows here that he's the one
23 that you're supposed to go to begin with.
24 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey.
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection to the form of the question. There's
1 more motions and movements than it was a question.
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas. Please rephrase your question.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
4 Q. Earlier you stated you did not wish to appear as if you were going
5 around your commander, spying on him, trying to find out what might this
6 order be on the largest attack the VRS had going during that particular
7 year, where all these units are mobilised. And it shows right here that
8 you could have very easily and very legally gone to the chief of staff had
9 you wished to do so.
10 A. First of all, Mr. Karnavas, again, you're insinuating that I
11 actually said something that I didn't say. I never referred to the chief
12 of staff previously or going straight to him in order to spy on my
13 commander. I never said a single word about this or did anything like
14 that. I said it would have been inappropriate for me to go snooping
15 around the command asking questions about the kind of decision the
16 commander had made in relation to such an important attack, the attack on
17 Srebrenica. That's what I said. I still believe this would have been
18 extremely inappropriate, and this is just not done.
19 Can you please ask me a direct question, straightforward question.
20 I've explained to you the nature of link, direct link to the brigade
21 commander and not to the chief of the staff. I've explained about the
22 establishment or structure that was changed later on, and when it changed
23 the relationship also changed. The chief of intelligence was directly
24 linked to the chief of staff, but also remained in touch with the
25 commander. If there's anything else that you want to know, please ask.
1 But as I said yesterday, the brigade rules, in addition to broad, general
2 regulations on intelligence and security affairs, do not fully define, but
3 rather only in a very general way these two issues. And in my work, I did
4 not use the brigade rules. I used the rules which apply to my area of
5 work. But I am in part familiar with these rules. I have read them. I
6 am, however, no expert on these rules, and it is not for me to interpret
7 them or what they define.
8 Q. All right. Shall I take it we should go to your rules? That
9 would make you more comfortable? To see what your defined tasks were in
10 this particular situation?
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm sorry to continue objecting. But we're not
13 having questions, these comments are going to go on endlessly. I don't
14 understand the relevance frankly. And these have been asked and answered.
15 He's not putting his issue to the witness. It's going nowhere.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas, I don't think there's any need for
17 you to add so many words. If you have a point, just put it directly to
18 the witness.
19 MR. KARNAVAS:
20 Q. After an order is issued such as this one, is it not a fact,
21 Mr. Nikolic, that you are to prepare an intelligence support order along
22 with a plan that's attached to that order? Is that not your function
23 under the intelligence support manual that you just referred to as what
24 you used?
25 A. Again, I must ask you, Mr. Karnavas, you've just asked me three
1 questions in one. Please, ask me a clear-cut question. Let's go step by
2 step. The first question you asked is what I was supposed to do, or
3 rather, what my duties were in keeping with the rules and regulations.
4 And then the next one was whether I wrote an order. And then there were
5 some other questions included. I don't think I can answer your questions
6 in this way. Please, if we can go question by question, I'll try to
7 answer every single one.
8 Q. Are you familiar with an intelligence support order, what that is
9 or what that might be? Are you familiar with it, the concept?
10 A. Yes, of course I'm familiar with what an intelligence support
11 order is and everything surrounding it.
12 Q. All right. And in fact, in your own -- in the intelligence
13 support manual, Article 259 gives a description of what -- of the plan and
14 of the order. The order is in 263. So if you could look at 259, and then
15 Article 263, in the intelligence support manual which has been premarked
16 for identification purposes as D14/1.
17 A. Dated 1987. Is that the one you're referring to?
18 Q. Yes.
19 A. Can you please just tell me which item.
20 Q. It's 259. This whole chapter deals with intelligence documents.
21 259 talks about plan --
22 A. Please, Mr. Karnavas, may I just have a minute --
23 JUDGE LIU: Mr. McCloskey.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: [Previous interpretation continues] ...
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 259.
1 MR. KARNAVAS:
2 Q. I believe the third paragraph, it talks about what needs to be in
3 the intelligence support plan.
4 A. Please, Mr. Karnavas, go ahead and ask your question. I've looked
5 through this.
6 Q. Could you please also look at 263 further down, or just give it a
7 quick look. I'm sure you should be familiar with these rules.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And in fact, if you could be so kind as to flip over to look at
10 the forms. I believe in the English version, it would be page 93 and 94.
11 That would be the form for the plan. And then on 96, it's the form of an
12 order. And again, that's D14/1 for identification purposes.
13 Have you looked at those forms? You're shaking your head. Does
14 that mean yes?
15 A. Yes, yes, I know which these forms are.
16 Q. All right. Now, having refreshed your memory, or at least knowing
17 exactly what I'm talking about, let's discuss what an intelligence support
18 order is. Is it not a document that you are supposed to prepare? That's
19 one of your functions?
20 A. I don't think I've understood your question. If I was supposed to
21 prepare an order?
22 Q. Okay. As part of your -- when you are the intelligence -- the
23 head of the intelligence organ, okay, forget about security, intelligence,
24 is not one of your functions to prepare an order, an intelligence support
25 order, along with that order attach a detailed plan as shown in the form?
1 Is that not one of your functions?
2 A. Mr. Karnavas, this was not quite the way you said it. The way in
3 which you have described I was supposed to do it is not true. I can
4 explain exactly what the procedure is, what the stages of the process are,
5 what is done and who signs this. So it was not the way you described it.
6 Q. First, my question is: Is it not your responsibility to draft it?
7 Yes or no? The order and the plan. And then we'll talk about the
8 procedure. I just want to know who drafts it.
9 A. Mr. Karnavas, my responsibility was to take part in all the
10 different stages before the commander adopts a decision. My
11 responsibility was to take part in the drafting of documents by the
12 intelligence organ which also includes the documents that you have been
13 referring to. What you are speaking about are intelligence-organ
14 documents, documents written and filed by the intelligence organ.
15 Q. Is the answer to my question yes?
16 A. Yes. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. Now, after you've drafted it, your commander is
18 supposed to look at it and decide whether he's going to approve it or not,
19 give his approval?
20 A. Which document are you referring to precisely?
21 Q. What are we talking about, Mr. Nikolic, the intelligence support
22 order, the intelligence support plan that you've just drafted. That's
23 what I'm talking about. After you prepare it, do you not share it as you
24 must under the rules with your commander so he can look at it and see
25 whether he's is going to approve it? Isn't that a fact? Isn't that part
1 of the procedure?
2 A. Mr. Karnavas, we spoke about two different documents. We spoke
3 about the plan on the one hand and the intelligence support order on the
4 other. I was just asking you which of these two documents you were asking
5 me about.
6 Q. Okay. Okay, let me break it down. Let's start from the
7 beginning. After an order such as the one prepared by your commander on
8 the 5th of July, 1995, after such an order is prepared, is it not one of
9 your functions, is not one of your functions to prepare a more
10 comprehensive intelligence support order based on the commander's order?
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. Okay. Now, part of that order, attached to it, is a detailed plan
13 as specified in the form, fill in the blanks, easy, as is the form. That
14 goes along with the order. So you got the plan, and you got the order.
15 Or you can say you got the order, and then you look at the plan. So you
16 have initially the order prepared by the commander, you then prepare an
17 order, attach a plan to it, then send it back - share it - to your
18 commander so he can look at it and decide whether he's going to approve of
19 it or not, make some changes or adopt it as is, or maybe send it back and
20 say "redraft it." Am I correct?
21 A. I can't answer by using just one word, whether this is correct or
22 not. I write the order for intelligence security, and I forward all
23 orders to the commander, including that one. Speaking of the intelligence
24 support plan, I would be the one to draft it as the chief of intelligence
25 and security affairs organ. I would submit this to the commander, and
1 then the commander would approve this order and sign it. Depending on the
2 form of the document, he would approve the document or sign the document
3 at any rate, the commander had the final word on the intelligence support
4 order. Then it's drafted for the unit I belonged to, for the brigade.
5 And of course, the intelligence support order is also drafted for -- and
6 copied for the subordinate units. And it is true that I do all these
8 Pursuant to that order, a document is drawn up, a plan, for
9 intelligence support where the forces needed and the equipment needed are
10 defined, and anything else that's included in the form. This document,
11 too, is approved and signed by the commander. However, Mr. Karnavas, I
12 must add the following: In order for me to do all of this, in order for
13 me to draft the plan and the order, I must be familiar, first of all, with
14 the commander's decision. I must know what his decision is. I must know
15 what the commander has decided in order for me to be able to write the
16 order and the intelligence support plan. Unless I have the commander's
17 decision, Mr. Karnavas, all of this can also be done and based on the
18 commander's general idea or plan. But first, I must be familiar with this
19 general idea or plan. If the commander doesn't tell me what the general
20 idea is, if he doesn't familiarise me with this, if he doesn't show me the
21 order in which he defines this general idea, then it is impossible for me
22 to write any document because I am simply not aware of the commander's
24 So this is the essential explanation concerning these documents.
25 It is true, Mr. Karnavas, that I write, prepare, and submit to the
1 commander these documents for approval. That's true.
2 Q. Okay. And once again, Mr. Nikolic, I think you made it painfully
3 clear that you were not involved in the initial drafting of the order of
4 5 July 1995. I got that point. But as I understand it, after the
5 commander approves and signs the intelligence support order with the
6 attached plan, then and only then are you allowed to send it directly to
7 your other -- to your higher-ups in the intelligence community, that is,
8 at the core? You're sending the report, are you not, Mr. Nikolic?
9 A. Mr. Karnavas, these documents were not documents that were based
10 on -- that the reports were based on. These were combat documents of the
11 brigade itself. These were combat documents of the commander. These were
12 combat-related documents of a brigade engaged in combat operations. I
13 must apologise again. I must remind you, you made a mistake there. A
14 request is written and sent to the superior command. You have it right
15 there in the rules, a request for intelligence. A request is written if
16 you need to find out about something that is not for you to know or within
17 your purview, within your area of work. You would then send a request to
18 the neighbouring unit, and that would have been the only document sent
19 straight to the corps command. So these documents are combat-related
20 documents of the brigade. They remain in a file there. They form part of
21 a file. And then all those documents together form a group of documents
22 based on which the commander makes his decisions.
23 It is not sent anywhere. Combat orders for intelligence support
24 are sent to subordinate units. In our case, this would be sent to
25 battalions, the 1st, the 2nd, 3rd, and the 4th battalion would receive
1 orders related to the intelligence security by their superior command, and
2 their superior command would have been the 1st Bratunac Brigade Light
3 Infantry Brigade. And then orders are received to reconnoiter. These
4 would also be drawn up by myself, approved or signed by the commander, and
5 then these orders would be sent on to the reconnaissance platoon of the
6 brigade. But all these documents remain within the brigade, and these
7 documents are not reported because the corps command, as applies to its
8 own level of work, also has and writes such documents. So this kind of
9 document isn't sent anywhere else.
10 Q. Okay. So let me give you a hypothetical. Had the -- your
11 commander, had your commander shared with you his order which you have
12 stated repeatedly you've never seen and was not aware of, but had he
13 shared this with you, your next task prior to the attack on Srebrenica
14 would have been to prepare an intelligence support order with a detailed
15 plan. Isn't that correct?
16 A. That is correct, Mr. Karnavas, yes.
17 Q. And there, what you would be doing is sort of putting meat to the
18 skeleton of the original order drafted by your commander, because after
19 all you're the expert service, you're the expert in this intelligence
20 field. So you would be writing the details in that plan with the order
21 which would dovetail what the commander had in his initial plan.
22 A. No, that's not how it was, Mr. Karnavas.
23 Q. Let me ask you: Are you entitled to put in your plan whatever you
24 feel like it, or must you follow the general outline that was prepared by
25 your commander in his order? Which of the two?
1 A. Mr. Karnavas, my commander does not set out the details within the
2 frameworks of those measures. So in principle, he asks his associates,
3 including myself, in principle, he sets the task. But I'm the commanding
4 officer who did that kind of work, so I don't need the commander, that's
5 the kind of work I was trained for. I don't need the commander to write
6 out five pages for me. All he needs to do is write a single sentence, and
7 then it is clear to me what my job is. So then I go about my own
8 business, my own work. I say myself, but all the other assistants to the
9 commander go about their own business because they are all people who are
10 trained for this kind of work, they have undergone training, professional
11 and so on, and they know what to do.
12 Q. That's exactly what I was trying to convey. I apologise for being
14 Now, am I to understand or are we to understand that with respect
15 to the July 5, 1995, order, had it been shared with you and had you gone
16 ahead and drafted an intelligence support order with a plan and had your
17 commander approved and signed it, it would not be distributed to the
19 A. No. No, they are combat documents belonging to the brigade, and
20 they're not send often further to the corps.
21 Q. So that the intelligence, the intelligence officers at the corps
22 would not have access to this particular document?
23 A. The intelligence officers of the corps, of the superior command,
24 can always come if the need arises, and then they receive an order or
25 anything else. So they can have access to the documents and see them.
1 It's no secret, especially for the corps commanding officers who compile
2 their own documents at their own level, the same ones at their own level.
3 So on the basis of those documents and the definition of the requirements,
4 so that is the guiding light for the organs in the brigade.
5 Q. All right. So if the corps wanted to figure out, the corps
6 security -- intelligence, the corps intelligence wanted to know what the
7 Bratunac Brigade intelligence was doing, they would have to humble
8 themselves to Bratunac, come to you or to the headquarters, and look at
9 what documents, what intelligence support order and plan was drafted and
10 approved by the commander. So the higher command comes down to the lower
11 command to find out what it's doing based on the orders it has issued. Is
12 that how it works? I just want to be clear.
13 A. No, Mr. Karnavas. That is not how it works at all, especially
14 when we're talking about these documents and what we were just discussing.
15 Q. Okay. But as far as you're concerned, the corps intelligence
16 office, the higher command, would only have access to those documents if
17 they had asked for them to be sent up to them or if they had come to the
18 brigade. But you, as the intelligence officer, after the plan and the
19 order was approved by the commander had absolutely no obligation to send
20 it up. That's your position? Just so we're clear. Think about it.
21 A. I have thought about it, Mr. Karnavas. As far as this question
22 goes and these observations of yours, they don't hold water. They're
23 absolutely not correct.
24 Q. Okay.
25 A. The commander of the brigade writes his order in the spirit of the
1 order issued by the corps commander.
2 Q. Precisely.
3 A. Whereas I, I myself as the chief of the intelligence security
4 organ also write out all these documents in the spirit of the order given
5 and in conformity with the point in the order of the Drina Corps commander
6 and on the basis of the decision taken by my own commander, which means
7 there's no need for us to go about this process as you have described it
8 and control of information because it follows down a line, from the corps
9 commander down to the brigade commander, the order of the brigade
10 commander is in the spirit of the order given by the corps commander. My
11 information security is concretised in my area of responsibility, the area
12 of responsibility of my own brigade. So this is the kind of work and
13 process that combines all this and gets its spirit from the planning level
14 to the elaboration of the actual documents.
15 So I did not say you wanted to put that in my lips, that they have
16 to humble themselves, the ones at the top, to humble themselves to go down
17 to the lower level to take a look at the documents, that is to say, the
18 corps commander down to my organ. They are commanding officers who are
19 superior to me in the professional sense. And with respect to all
20 questions defined by the rules of service for the security organs, and I
21 am duty-bound to report back to the commanding officers of the corps,
22 whereas they, for their part, have the right to come to the brigade
23 command and headquarters whenever they feel like it to control all the
24 documents and have an insight into the documents that I am compiling.
25 Q. All right. So if I understand the process as you have described
1 it, once the commander of the Bratunac Brigade prepares his report in the
2 spirit of the Drina Corps order, he doesn't have to share it. He doesn't
3 have to send it up to the Drina Corps for them to look at to make sure
4 that it is indeed in the spirit of the order that was initially issued.
5 If I understand the process as you've described it, that's what you seem
6 to be saying.
7 A. Well, Mr. Karnavas, no, I didn't -- you're going further and
8 further and putting words into my mouth, things I didn't say at all. Now
9 you're talking about the order by the brigade commander.
10 Q. Excuse me, Mr. Nikolic, if I may interrupt you. You were talking
11 about the stages, you said it goes from up, further down, further down.
12 And I didn't hear you say that the orders have to go back up. Maybe I
13 missed that point. That's why I asked you. After your intelligence
14 support order and plan is approved by the commander, aren't you required -
15 required - not an option, required - to send it to the higher command so
16 that they know exactly what the intelligence organ in the lower command,
17 their subordinates, are doing? Because after all, this is a battle. They
18 need to be coordinated. They need to know where everybody else is. They
19 need to have information coming.
20 So isn't it a fact, isn't it a fact that you would have to send
21 it? It's not a trick question.
22 A. No, that is not a fact.
23 Q. Okay. Let's move on.
24 I take it that you did not prepare an intelligence support order
25 and plan based on the 5 July 1995 order that was drafted by your
2 A. Of course I didn't.
3 Q. Okay. And the reason for that was because you were unaware of his
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Okay. Now, we have a forward command post in Pribicevac, which
7 is -- by car, how long would it take to go there?
8 A. Well, I really don't know. It's about 25 kilometres away from
9 Bratunac. I really can't say.
10 Q. And I take it since it was a forward command post, it would have a
11 communication facility or means, communication means; that is, so that the
12 people that are back at the headquarters can contact the folks at the
13 forward command post, especially if the commander is there?
14 A. Of course.
15 Q. Okay. And it's my understanding that when you are in an
16 active-battle situation and where you have a forward command post, either
17 the commander or it could be the chief of staff, one of them, will go to
18 the forward command post, and the other will remain in the command post,
19 in the headquarters, so that in case something does happen, you don't have
20 both the commander and the chief of staff gone all at once. I mean,
21 that's the basic principle. I mean, I'm oversimplifying things, but isn't
22 that how it's normally done?
23 A. Well, it's not any kind of rule. I don't know whether that's how
24 it's done or not.
25 Q. Okay. I'll get to that later.
1 Now, we know that -- I know, but I don't know. Do you know
2 whether Colonel Blagojevic was in Pribicevac during those days, at the
3 forward command post?
4 A. What I know is that Colonel Blagojevic was -- if you're asking me
5 at the beginning or rather you're asking me during the attack?
6 Q. During the attack, between the 6th and the 11th, did you know
7 where he was?
8 A. Yes, I did know. I knew that Colonel Blagojevic was at
10 Q. Okay. And we established that you had a car, so I take it you
11 were -- you could have gone to visit him if you wanted to. I don't know
12 if you did, but you could have. Right?
13 A. I could have, Mr. Karnavas, yes.
14 Q. You could have picked up the phone or the communication means that
15 were available to communicate with him and say "hey, commander, what's
16 going on? I understand we have a battle going on." You could have done
17 that. Right?
18 A. Well, I'm not quite sure whether I could have had that kind of
19 communication. But let's say for argument purposes that I could have,
20 because you're asking a hypothetical, so my answer is a hypothetical, too.
21 Q. You mean -- okay, well, I want to stick with this a little bit if
22 you don't mind. Are you trying to tell me that if you needed to
23 communicate with your commander from wherever you were, you could not do
24 so, while he was in Pribicevac?
25 A. No. As far as I'm concerned, me personally, if that's what you're
1 asking me, I could have communicated with the commander from the
2 communications centre, the communications centre of the Bratunac Brigade,
3 in fact. But I didn't have any means by which to communicate at this
4 distance of 25 kilometres.
5 Q. I'm not sure I understand that one. But all right, let me move
6 on. Now, since the commander was there in Pribicevac, it would stand to
7 reason that the chief of staff who, under the rules, directly controls
8 you - now, we can quiver about that, but that's what the rules say --
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection to the form of the question.
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well.
12 Q. The chief of staff was in the Bratunac Brigade headquarters,
13 wasn't he?
14 A. I don't know at that time whether he was or wasn't. Possibly he
15 was, but I really can't say. I don't know. I don't exclude the
16 possibility of him being there at all.
17 Q. Okay. Help me out here. His office is on the second floor like
18 your office. Is that correct? They call it first floor here in Europe.
19 Ground floor, next floor.
20 A. Well, yes, it was. Actually, my office was at one entrance to the
21 building, and his office was on quite -- in quite the opposite direction.
22 Q. All the way at the other end?
23 A. Yes, that's right.
24 Q. And as we said yesterday, the folks that owned the factory had put
25 up the walls, and you couldn't go down the corridor, you couldn't look
1 through and you couldn't walk through.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection. We did say that yesterday for a long
3 time, and I don't -- asked and answered.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, this point becomes significant because
5 this gentleman claims that he has seen lots of things. We had Ruez on the
6 stand who after five or six years of investigation never went into the
7 building, didn't know how the building looked, couldn't tell us which
8 offices were where, and I think it's a relevant point. And the point I am
9 trying to make is where the office was for the chief of staff and whether
10 this gentleman knew it at the time so he could be able to find it and
11 maybe even speak with the chief of staff had he so chosen.
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, I believe that is a relevant point. You may
13 proceed along this line, but, Mr. Karnavas, if you finish this part of the
14 cross-examination, it's time for a break.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well. Couple minutes, Your Honour. Well --
16 Q. Now, you could not walk down that corridor because there was a
17 wall on both sides.
18 A. I didn't say that.
19 Q. Well, I'm saying it. Are you trying to tell me that you could
20 walk straight through down to your commander's office without having to go
21 downstairs, around, and up a flight of stairs? Is that your testimony?
22 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas, rephrase your question.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well.
24 Q. Please describe for us the Bratunac Brigade headquarters as you
25 knew it at that particular time. Tell us exactly what was on the ground
1 floor, what was on the top floor, and who was where, if you can remember.
2 A. Mr. Karnavas, I am going to tell you what I remember best. The
3 command of the Bratunac Brigade was in the building of a socially owned
4 enterprise called Kaolin from Bratunac. It's a building which is situated
5 approximately 500 to 600 metres from the town centre moving in the
6 direction from Bratunac to Kravica and Konjevic Polje. It's on that road,
7 and 500 metres from there. From Bratunac, 500 metres later, you turn left
8 and you come to the command of the Bratunac Brigade. The building itself
9 is rectangular shape. It's a long building. And there's an asphalt road
10 in front of it. It's a concrete building I think made of concrete blocks.
11 And when you enter from the direction you're coming from, that is, the
12 street entrance, you go straight in at an angle of 90 degrees, or roughly
13 so, perhaps a little to the left. There's the kitchen on the ground
14 floor, the kitchens. Then to the left, we have the warehouse or storage
15 space. In the left-hand entrance, on the ground-floor level, I think that
16 was the office of the commander of the post of the Bratunac Brigade and
17 perhaps some auxiliary staff. I don't know exactly. And in that
18 left-hand corner when you go up the stairs and to the right, to the end of
19 the corridor was my office. And for a time, there was an empty office.
20 It was vacant. Nobody used it. I don't know what purpose it served later
22 So when you go up the stairs in that part of the building and turn
23 left, or rather, you go -- there's an office straight ahead. But that's
24 where the offices were, the assistant chief of staff or commander for
25 organisational matters and personnel matters. That was -- they used one,
1 two, or three offices, the assistant and his clerks. Then further down
2 that same corridor, you would find the offices for the assistant commander
3 for logistics and his staff and clerks. Further down the corridor still,
4 when you enter the entrance where my office is, along that corridor was
5 the communications centre. I think they used a large hall in actual fact,
6 and another room where the encryption took place and the documents were
7 sent out. So unless I've forgotten something, those were the premises.
8 And on the left-hand side -- on the left-hand side of the building and the
9 entrance where my office was located.
10 Now, on the right-hand side of the building, so when you look at
11 the building, coming to the building, on the right-hand side, the last
12 entrance there, you would go into that entrance. And then several steps
13 into the building and into the corridor, you would enter an area, a space
14 where the operative hall was, operations room was. And then there's an
15 office there now with clerks from the operational and educational sector
16 or something like that. Whether they were there all the time, I don't
18 Now, entering the corridor, you go up the stairs and come to the
19 floor. Let's call it the second floor or first floor, whichever you like.
20 This upper-storey level, to the left as you come up the stairs, you would
21 find the brigade commander's office. Or rather, the chief of staff's
22 office was also a dormitory next to the commander. I remember that he
23 used this for a time with Lieutenant Micic in the operational and
24 educational hall. That's where they worked, spent some time and so on.
25 Later on, there might have been some changes to all this. But I have
1 described it to the best of my recollection.
2 Q. Could you walk from your office on that floor directly to see your
3 commander? Yes or no?
4 A. I -- rather, walking through the corridor, I couldn't go directly
5 to the commander.
6 Q. Because there was a wall on your side, and there was a wall on the
7 other side further down separating your section from where the commander
8 and the chief of staff's section was because that's how this state-owned
9 enterprise wanted it to be. Isn't that a fact?
10 A. Yes, there was a wall because in the state-owned enterprise, or
11 rather, while the command of the Bratunac Brigade was located in that
12 building, that state-owned enterprise -- the owners of the factory, in
13 fact, used part of the premises to store their documents and so on.
14 Q. Right. They didn't want the military using -- taking over the
15 entire building, so this was one way of trying to keep part of the
16 building for themselves. Right?
17 A. Yes, that was how it was.
18 Q. So as I asked earlier, in order to get from your office to where
19 the chief of staff or your commander was, you'd have to walk down a flight
20 of stairs, go around the building, go through the entrance that's on the
21 far right side, up a stair flight, and right around in that area is where
22 your commander and your chief of staff had their offices. Right?
23 A. Yes, Mr. Karnavas, that is right.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: I have no further questions, Your Honour, for right
25 now, before the break.
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we'll have the break. We'll resume at 11.00.
2 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. Mr. Nikolic, where were you on the 6th of July, 1995?
7 A. On the 6th of July, 1995, I was in the zone of responsibility of
8 the Bratunac Brigade.
9 Q. Can we be more specific.
10 A. Most probably in the area of command of the Bratunac Brigade, the
11 headquarters, somewhere in town, in that general area. I don't think I
12 could be more accurate. I can't specify in which place I was.
13 Q. Could the answer also be "most probably not at the forward command
14 post in Pribicevac"?
15 A. On the 6th of July, you could say that I wasn't in that area.
16 Q. Because, in fact, you were not in that area, at the Pribicevac
17 forward command post of the Bratunac Brigade where your commander was on
18 the day of the attack on Srebrenica.
19 A. One could say that, Mr. Karnavas. One could say that on the 6th,
20 I was not there. But in the previous days throughout that period and
21 earlier, I had been to the forward command post at Pribicevac, and I know
22 exactly where this place is.
23 Q. I'm not talking about the previous days. But we'll get to that as
24 well. I'm talking about the 6th. Now, let's go on to the 7th. On the
25 7th, where were you, Mr. Nikolic? What did you do on that day, the 7th of
1 July, 1995, the second day of the attack on Srebrenica?
2 A. On the 7th, Mr. Karnavas, to the best of my recollection, I don't
3 think I ever left Bratunac. I don't think I was permanently engaged
4 anywhere, not in any of the battalions, not in any of the subordinate
5 units, the units subordinate to the brigade.
6 Q. Okay. And what about the 8th? July 8th, 1995. To the best of
7 your recollection, where were you on that day?
8 A. Again, one could state with certainty that I was at the Bratunac
9 Brigade headquarters, probably going to the military police building in
10 town, spending time in my office. All in all, those were the usual places
11 where I was throughout that period.
12 Q. The military police building in town, is that a separate building
13 from the one that is about 20 or 30 metres in front of the Bratunac
14 Brigade headquarters? Or is that the same one that we're talking about?
15 A. The military police building was not in the same building as the
16 brigade headquarters. It was a separate prefab building where the
17 military police were stationed, where their offices were.
18 Q. And that's about a 60-second walk from the one building to the
19 next building?
20 A. You could say that, yes.
21 Q. Okay. And you said with certainty, one could say -- could state
22 with certainty that you were in town, in Bratunac. Could we also say with
23 certainty that you were not in Pribicevac on that particular day, the 8th?
24 A. I think I didn't go to Pribicevac in that period of time.
25 Q. So that would have included the previous day, the 7th. I failed
1 to ask you that question. I just want to lock you in -- make sure I
2 understand where you were. So the 7th you weren't there. The 8th you
3 weren't there. The 9th you were not at Pribicevac. Right?
4 A. That's right.
5 Q. And the 10th, you were not in Pribicevac?
6 A. That's right.
7 Q. What about on the 11th? You weren't there either, were you?
8 A. Yes, that's right.
9 Q. And during that period, your commander, the one that you were to
10 report to at least directly with respect to security matters, was at
11 Pribicevac in his forward command post during the attack on Srebrenica.
12 Is that correct?
13 A. Yes. I had information that throughout that period, he was
14 staying at the forward command post in Pribicevac.
15 Q. And during this period, from the 6th, the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th,
16 11th, you had no contact with your commander. Isn't that a fact?
17 A. It is true that I had no physical contact with my commander, and
18 it is true that I didn't communicate with him over the phone. As far as I
19 remember, there were no calls or requests made by the commander, nor did I
20 have any problems in that period or received any requests from the
22 Q. Okay. So let me ask you this question: In the history of the
23 Bratunac Brigade, from the time that it was formed back in 1992 until
24 Srebrenica, would it be fair to say that the attack on Srebrenica was the
25 most significant event for the Bratunac Brigade, if not for the Drina
1 Corps as well, and maybe even the main staff? I don't know. What do you
3 A. Mr. Karnavas, all I can give you is my opinion. I think one could
4 confirm what you just said; it was a crucial attack, very important both
5 for the brigade and for the Drina Corps.
6 Q. And in fact, the Drina Corps in drafting a very specific order
7 based on orders from the higher-up had mobilised various units in order to
8 organise this military campaign, this battle, the purpose of which was to
9 shrink the areas of Srebrenica -- the enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa. Is
10 that correct?
11 A. Mr. Karnavas, you have asked several questions again in one. It
12 is true -- I can indeed confirm that the Drina Corps had mobilised, if you
13 mean mobilise as in assembled in one place, because the mobilisation
14 process had been over by that time. Long over, in fact. They assembled
15 some of the units, some of their own units to carry out this task. This
16 is indeed true, and I can confirm this. I know this.
17 Can you please repeat the second part of your question. I'm not
18 sure what it referred to.
19 Q. Okay. I stand corrected in the use of "mobilisation," assemble.
20 You're absolutely correct. They had assembled all these different units.
21 And the battle plan, as I understand it from reading the order, had a
22 particular purpose which was to shrink the enclave of Srebrenica, not to
23 take it over. And I think we established that earlier.
24 A. Mr. Karnavas, when we discussed this particular issue, I must say
25 that I've spoken about this already, and I told you that I knew the goal
1 of the attack on Srebrenica. And before I received documents from the
2 Prosecution and familiarised myself with certain orders, I knew that the
3 goal of the attack on Srebrenica was to separate the enclaves. However, I
4 didn't know what the objective of the further attack would be, to shrink,
5 as you say, the enclave and all the other aims as they were defined.
6 That's as much as I can say.
7 Q. All right. But needless to say, needless to say, on this
8 historic, momentous occasion, however you wish to put it, on the history
9 of the Bratunac Brigade, you Momir Nikolic, the head of the intelligence
10 and security sector, as you stand here today, assert that you were totally
11 excluded by your own commander.
12 A. No, Mr. Karnavas, I did not say this. All I can confirm here is
13 that I was not excluded from it. I can also say that my commander, very
14 close to the actual date when the attack on Srebrenica was carried out,
15 gave an evaluation of my work. My commander was fully familiar with my
17 Your Honours, Mr. Karnavas wants to know about this, and he
18 assumes that my commander had excluded me from everything. We should look
19 at a document showing the analysis of combat readiness stating exactly
20 what I did and what my tasks were, how the tasks and my carrying out of
21 those tasks were evaluated. This is a document by the commander of the
22 Bratunac Brigade, Mr. Karnavas. May we now look at this document, Your
23 Honours, to verify that I was absolutely not excluded from anything and
24 that I did everything that I had been tasked to do throughout the period
25 preceding the attack on Srebrenica.
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, the word "excluded" may be the right word.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
3 Q. Yesterday you indicated that under the rules and the ongoing
4 practice and procedure, when it comes to drafting an order such as this
5 one of the July 5th, 1995 plan that was drafted by your commander, it is
6 customary, and the rules make that clear, that you should be consulted and
7 make a proposal. Correct?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. He doesn't have to accept the proposal, but at least he has to --
10 not has to, but he should allow you, because after all, you are the expert
11 in the area, to give him your expert advice so he can put it into the
12 plan. Right?
13 A. Yes, that's correct, Mr. Karnavas.
14 Q. Right. And based on that, we talked today that you would then
15 prepare an additional order, an intelligence support order, with a plan
16 based on the order drafted by the commander.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. In this particular instance, in this particular instance with
19 respect to the battle plan on Srebrenica, you, Momir Nikolic, the chief of
20 intelligence and security, were not consulted?
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. In fact, you were not even shared -- a copy was not even -- a
23 courtesy copy was not even distributed to you, the chief of intelligence
24 and security.
25 A. That's correct.
1 Q. And of course, since you didn't know that this existed - or you
2 might have - but obviously you never saw it, you never followed up on what
3 might have been expected of you, and that is, in drafting an intelligence
4 support order with an attached plan to it. Once again, being cut out of
5 the process, being excluded. Right?
6 A. Mr. Karnavas, this is true as concerns the drafting of those
7 documents. But may I just be allowed to clarify the following: What you
8 are talking about, meaning the consequence of all the things that you have
9 been talking about, that I was no part of this, that I did not receive an
10 order, that I was not familiar with it, this means that I could not draft
11 written documents attached to the commander's report concerning the
12 carrying out of combat operations. This means I could not have written
13 that, which doesn't mean, Mr. Karnavas, that if I was unable to write up
14 two or three documents or orders approved by the commander, this doesn't
15 mean that I ceased to carry out my intelligence and security duties. It
16 doesn't mean that I ceased to communicate with my subordinates. I
17 continued my work. But as for this specific operation, I was not in a
18 position to write up the plan to be attached to the detailed analysis and
20 Q. Precisely. You were not part of the process. Just with this
21 order, that's all I'm talking about. I'm not talking about whether you
22 carried out your functions with your subordinates. We'll get to that.
23 A. Mr. Karnavas, I was not part of the process that related to the
24 compiling of combat documents.
25 Q. Okay. And also, even though you knew, even though you knew that
1 the Bratunac Brigade was engaged in this operation, albeit to the extent
2 designated on this particular order, you made no effort to ask your
3 commander or the chief of staff for a copy of the order which had to have
4 existed. You must have known that something must have existed because you
5 just don't show up one day --
6 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey.
7 MR. McCLOSKEY: Just this had several questions in it, and I
8 believe we went over this in detail already.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes, yes.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: I want to get a final answer on this question
11 alone, Your Honour, and then I'll move on. Please.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Again, there were about four, five questions in
14 MR. KARNAVAS: All right. I'll break it down, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas, try to ask a simple question because --
16 I think that's because of the problem of translation, you know. Some ideas
17 are very clear in English, but when it's translated into B/C/S, there
18 might arise, you know, different understandings.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: I truly apologise, Your Honour. I'll keep working
20 on it.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, if I could briefly state, the other
22 concern I have is that when there is a two- or three-part question and
23 there's an assumed fact in it, like he did a while back saying "you
24 reported as the security person" and then he asked a question, I can see
25 that we all like to use our in our trial briefs. And when something like
1 that gets used in argument, it makes it look like the witness has answered
2 a particular part of the question, when if there's two or three parts,
3 it's really hard to figure out what he's answering. So, I don't want to
4 interrupt the every time, but it's going to be very hard to make anything
5 from the record when there's several questions in each question.
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well.
8 Q. It's my understanding from listening to you that throughout this
9 period, the 6th, the 7th, the 8th, the 9th, the 10th, the 11th, even
10 though you did not see the order, and you did not communicate with your
11 commander, you were nonetheless carrying out all of your functions, both
12 under the intelligence and the security sector. Is that correct?
13 A. Well, I can't say yes because again, you are stating something
14 that is not quite true. I was carrying out my duties under the
15 intelligence and the security sector. I was carrying out those tasks
16 which according to my estimate at that time were priority tasks that
17 needed carrying out. I wasn't carrying out all the tasks. I was just
18 carrying out the tasks that were deemed priority in that period.
19 Q. Self-managing. Might that be a good way of characterising what
20 you were doing? You were self-managing your time; you were setting the
22 A. Again, Mr. Karnavas, I must say that you have either misunderstood
23 me or I'm not getting the correct interpretation. I was not setting my
24 own priorities. The priorities were defined by the situation. In a
25 specific situation, the situation unfolding, my own activities would be
1 defined. If you want to know what I did precisely on those days, I can
2 tell you what I did, how I treated my tasks. From both areas of activity,
3 I can tell you how I related to the subordinate units. Ask me specific
4 questions and I'll give you specific answers where I was engaged on those
5 particular days.
6 Q. Well, I guess I'm having a hard time understanding how you could
7 deal with your subordinate units if you, Momir Nikolic, didn't know what
8 those units were tasked under the order that was drafted and approved by
9 your own commander. And by your own admissions, you never communicated
10 with the commander or with the chief of staff to know what was going on
11 with respect to the battle on Srebrenica.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: It's not a question. It's argumentative, and it's
14 badgering the witness. I've tried not to object to these, but that must
15 be about the 50th.
16 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas, I think your question has a point. Just
17 ask that question. We'll get your point.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
19 Q. Your testimony now is that even though you did not communicate
20 with your commander, even though you did not know what plan he had put
21 into action, you were nonetheless tasking your subordinates during those
22 critical days on the attack of Srebrenica.
23 A. One could put it that way, Mr. Karnavas. The intelligence part of
24 the activities have a permanent character, an ongoing character. My
25 subordinate officers in the professional sense, not in terms of the chain
1 of command, are assistant commanders for intelligence and security in the
2 battalions. The monitoring of the enemy, gathering intelligence on the
3 enemy, the respective zones of intelligence responsibility, and all the
4 other details, these are things that are set and fixed long ahead of time
5 for all units. And it's not a question of any combat operations taking
6 place or not.
7 However, the grade of readiness is stepped up, in a manner of
8 speaking, in such units as are gathering intelligence. For example, in
9 the battalions, patrols, observers, and observation posts are assigned,
10 and these are the bodies that work on gathering intelligence on a
11 permanent basis. It doesn't matter whether there's an ongoing combat
12 operation underway or not. They always do it, all the time. The
13 assistant chief for security and intelligence had the task to sift the
14 information received from those subordinate officers and check their
15 authenticity, verify that intelligence, in order to be able to then report
16 to the -- their superior command. And I would have been the person
17 reported to at the superior command, at the brigade command.
18 Q. Let me interrupt you here.
19 A. Just briefly, Mr. Karnavas, please, if you allow me --
20 Q. Well, the question is this: Do you have a superior command?
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection, Your Honour. He asked a very broad
22 question with some reference -- negative references. I think the witness
23 appears to be just trying to answer the question.
24 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, allow the witness to finish his
1 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour. Very well.
2 Q. Go ahead. Then, if you could after you finish, tell me if you
3 have a superior command, or had one during those days that you recognised.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm sorry, I'm going to object to the form of that
6 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Nikolic, you may continue.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 Mr. Karnavas, as I was saying, and I didn't finish my explanation
9 in response to your question with respect to the continuity of the
10 gathering of intelligence, I said that in the subordinate units there is
11 an officer which professionally speaking is linked to me. And he has his
12 own plan for the gathering of intelligence regardless of whether there is
13 combat going on or not and that he also has reconnaissance organs, or
14 rather organs in charge of gathering intelligence within the frameworks of
15 his units, companies, platoons, whatever. And he also has his
16 reconnaissance and reconnoitering points from which he is able to
17 reconnoiter and monitor the enemy. And he does all that, Mr. Karnavas, in
18 the area of responsibility of the battalion itself, and that area or zone,
19 professionally speaking, is called the area of intelligence
21 Q. Okay.
22 A. So once these organs have become involved, once this intelligence
23 has been gathered, those organs send out their intelligence information to
24 the office and the battalion, and he is called the assistant commander for
25 of the commander for intelligence and security affairs. And he is in the
1 command sense directly subordinate to the battalion commander.
2 Professionally speaking, I am the officer who gives him instructions, who
3 prepares him, instructs him, trains him, proposes him for further training
4 and so on and so forth. So the information that comes to me from those
5 professional organs, from the battalion command, I myself process, I
6 systematise them, I classify them, I determine their authenticity, reject
7 those which I consider to be incorrect or not authentic sources. And once
8 I have done all that, I make my own evaluations. I write my evaluations
9 down. I write down my notes and send out intelligence information which
10 is reliable. And once it comes -- reaches the commander in the evening
11 for a meeting he might convene, when my turn comes to report to him, I say
12 "commander, sir, on the basis of the intelligence gathered from the 2nd
13 infantry battalion, I have the following information: The distribution of
14 enemy forces is such. They have launched operations on such and such an
15 axis, troops deployed in such a place. We have undertaken the following
16 steps. And I propose that the following be undertaken, that we intensify
17 our reconnaissance work, our patrolling, sending out reconnaissance
18 patrols," and so on and so forth.
19 So that, Mr. Karnavas, is an entire process which is an ongoing
20 one in the units, and it is the continuous task that has to be
21 accomplished. And in view of this ongoing nature of this task, it is my
22 prime task as assistant commander or head of the staff for intelligence
23 and security, is to have a sufficient fund of intelligence at my beck and
24 call to present to the commander on the basis of which he will be able to
25 make the relevant decisions which means decisions which will then be based
1 and founded on correct information, the right kind of intelligence. But
2 of course, we can never say with absolute certainty that the intelligence
3 gathered about the enemy are absolutely correct. So that would be my
4 explanation to the series of questions you posed a moment ago. Thank you,
5 Mr. Karnavas.
6 Q. So there was nothing to report to the commander on the 6th
7 because you didn't report to him, did you?
8 A. Mr. Karnavas, I wish to say the following: Intelligence,
9 vis-a-vis the commander and the superior command follow two lines.
10 Intelligence is sent up in two ways. One is the intelligence line, and
11 the second one is the chain of command line. So the professional body,
12 the assistant commander for intelligence and is security affairs from the
13 2nd Battalion would inform me. However, the commander of the unit, the
14 battalion commander, reports to the commander directly or through his duty
15 officer if he is unable to establish contact with the commander.
16 Therefore, everything that I had at my disposal, all the
17 intelligence at my disposal at that point in time went both to me and to
18 the commander. There was no request made to me for me to have to report
19 on a special -- in a special way when there is no separate request. So in
20 cases of that kind, it is up to me to assume that this is automatic
21 through the chain of command and that there's no need for me to report up
22 to him. Had I been given special instructions to do so or had special
23 intelligence been required, then I would have found a way to send it up to
24 the forward command post either by the officer on duty or in some other
1 Q. So as far as you are concerned you, Momir Nikolic, chief of
2 security and intelligence, on the 6th, you did not have anything to report
3 to your commander based on your assessment?
4 A. On the basis of my assessments and evaluations for that period of
5 time, for that particular day, I did not have any new information to
6 provide, any new information coming to me that I should have informed the
7 commander about. At least in the initial stage of the operations, if
8 we're talking about the 6th because the attack in fact began on the 6th.
9 Q. Then of course, because you didn't report to him on the 7th, based
10 on your intelligence, there was nothing to communicate to your commander
11 with respect to intelligence that you had gathered from your sources in
12 the field and from your subordinates?
13 A. I can't say now for sure that there was nothing on the 7th, 8th,
14 9th, or 10th. But during that period of time, all I can say is - I'm not
15 certain about Commander Blagojevic, but people would come to the brigade
16 command, the officers at the forward command post at Pribicevac. And I
17 can't say with certainty whether I told him something at that time during
18 that period or not. But what I do know is that there were no requests
19 made of me. I was not asked to supply any additional intelligence or
20 information or data.
21 Q. I didn't ask you whether you were requested from your commander.
22 Is it not a fact based on your earlier statement where you said you had
23 no, absolutely no contact physical or by other means of communication with
24 your commander on the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and the 11th, that you did
25 not report anything to him with respect to intelligence based on the
1 assessments that you were making?
2 A. Mr. Karnavas, I think I've already explained that once.
3 Everything that was of interest with respect to intelligence went to the
4 duty officer directly from the commander to the subordinate units or to me
5 in the brigade command and intelligence. And I think that I've already
6 spoken about this and said that that was not the only way -- it's not the
7 only way of informing the commander directly. Because there are
8 situations when you cannot do this, you can't see the commander directly
9 to inform him. And that this kind of reporting goes through the duty
10 officer because, among other things, that is one of the tasks that he has
11 to do. He conveys to the commander information of this kind. So it is
12 the duty officer that is in communication with the commander all the time
13 and knows where the commander is to be found at all times.
14 Q. What impediments, if any, prevented you - the 6th, the 7th, the
15 8th, the 9th, the 10th, the 11th - prevented you directly, the chief of
16 intelligence and security, your commander about the intelligence situation
17 on the ground as the information was coming to you from your sources and
19 A. Mr. Karnavas, first of all, those were not my sources. So the
20 gathering of intelligence and sending out intelligence from the unit,
21 because it's a brigade -- a unit of the brigade, if you want the real
22 truth, why should the 1st infantry battalion be more my source than the
23 commander's source? It is our source.
24 Q. Okay. But my question is you say today as you sit here that your
25 subordinates would send the information up to you. Right? That was part
1 of your answer.
2 A. Assistant commanders for intelligence and security affairs from
3 the battalion, yes.
4 Q. Okay. Are they your subordinates?
5 A. In the professional sense, yes.
6 Q. Well, what other sense are we talking about?
7 A. Subordination can also be in the command realm, so I am not their
8 commander. I am not in command of them.
9 Q. We are talking about the information that these folks have in
10 relation to intelligence. Okay? Are you with me on this point? This is
11 all I'm talking about. Are they not or do you not see them as
12 subordinates to you where they send information from down, up to Momir
13 Nikolic, chief of security and intelligence?
14 A. Yes, Mr. Karnavas. The rules of service stipulate it in that way.
15 Q. Okay. And that's how you understand them?
16 A. How, in what way?
17 Q. The way you described it. I'll move on. Too complicated.
18 Now, once that information comes to you, Momir Nikolic, chief of
19 security and intelligence, or intelligence and security, you decide -- you
20 filter that information. And you decide what's solid information what's
21 iffy information, maybe not so good, or potentially good, but not quite
22 sure, and what's very important, that you might need to send up the chain
23 of command? Did I hear you correctly that you do some sort of analysis of
24 your own?
25 A. No, you didn't understand me at all, Mr. Karnavas.
1 Q. Okay. Let me understand you. All of the information that comes
2 to you - all of it - you send up to your higher command?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Okay. You decide what information, if any, if any, you're going
5 to send up to your command -- superior command?
6 JUDGE LIU: Mr. McCloskey.
7 MR. McCLOSKEY: Perhaps counsel doesn't realise it, but he is now
8 shouting at the witness which I don't think is necessary.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes, yes, I agree with you.
10 Mr. Karnavas, Mr. Karnavas.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: I will --
12 JUDGE LIU: Let me say a few words.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Certainly, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE LIU: I believe that the witness has answered your question.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE LIU: Maybe you did not grasp that. Because he told us
17 there are two channels. Maybe the intelligence officer in the battalion
18 directly contact the commander, at the same time informed him. If there
19 is nothing new, he will not send a separate report to his commander.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE LIU: And the fact is established that the witness said that
22 there was nothing new, so he does not do anything.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Right. Okay.
24 JUDGE LIU: It's very clear.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
1 Q. Let's look at the rules.
2 A. Which rules, Mr. Karnavas?
3 Q. [Previous interpretation continues] ... Rules. Please look at
4 Rule 118. We looked at it yesterday, if you could look at it very
5 briefly. Now Rule 118, it says here: "The intelligence organ is
6 responsible for and organises intelligence support for combat action."
7 This was a combat action, was it not, in Srebrenica?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. All right. Now, did you organise for this particular combat
10 mission the intelligence support? Yes or no? And I don't want to hear
11 about the existing process that existed. I'm familiar with that. For
12 this particular order, did you organise intelligence support?
13 A. You mean security for combat operations?
14 Q. Okay. Let's go back. The first line, 118. We'll go from --
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. It says here: "Intelligence organise - that would be you - is
17 responsible for and organises intelligence support for combat actions."
18 That's what it says, does it not?
19 A. Yes, that's what it says.
20 Q. Srebrenica, the attack on Srebrenica, was a combat action, was it
22 A. That's clear.
23 Q. There was, based -- on July 5th, 1995, an order which spelled out
24 the participation of the Bratunac Brigade in this combat action. Is that
25 not a fact?
1 A. The order that I saw, is that the order to the Bratunac Brigade?
2 Is that what you have in mind?
3 Q. The one we have been speaking about all morning, yes.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Okay. Now, based on that order which involves a combat action,
6 did you as the head of the intelligence organ of the Bratunac Brigade, the
7 chief of intelligence and security, did you organise intelligence support
8 for this particular combat action? Yes or no?
9 A. On the basis of that order, the one you're talking about, I did
10 not because I did not have it. However, I took all steps required by me
11 so that -- as to provide intelligence security, to have it function as it
12 had been doing in the previous period.
13 Q. All right. You didn't have the order. Might I ask why did you
14 not get the order, look for the order, ask for the order?
15 JUDGE LIU: Well, yes, Mr. McCloskey.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: Sounds very familiar, Your Honour. I don't think
17 the second time around the debate, anything's going to change. It's all
18 been discussed before.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: I don't believe I asked why.
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas --
21 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll move on, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE LIU: -- I don't think this witness could answer your
23 question because at least there's not his name on it. There's a
24 distribution list. There's not his name on it. It's not his problem.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. All right. May I ask him if he wanted to
1 look for the order, would he know where to look for it?
2 JUDGE LIU: Well, if he does not know there's an order, how could
3 he ask for that order?
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay, okay, Your Honour. Maybe I'll lay a
5 foundation on that one. All right.
6 Q. It says here, the next sentence: "It continuously monitors and
7 assesses the enemy and reports the enemy conditions to everyone concerned
8 in the command." That's the second sentence.
9 A. Yes, Mr. Karnavas. And that is precisely what I was saying a
10 moment ago.
11 Q. All right. Go ahead.
12 A. May I just be allowed to continue, that is precisely the
13 explanation I gave a moment ago, that it was a continuous process and not
14 a job done over one, two, or three days prior to the operation. It is a
15 process, a continuous one which is an ongoing one, put into practice
16 constantly and engaging organs responsible for doing that kind of work.
17 Q. I could not agree with you more. But it says here that you are
18 "monitoring and assessing the enemy" - that's one part - "and reports,"
19 and reports the enemy's conditions to everybody concerned in the command."
20 "To everybody." Question: Would the commander be someone included in
21 that "everybody" that's in here?
22 A. Well, of course he would.
23 Q. Okay. Now, it suggests to the commander or chief of staff the
24 procedures and resources for intelligence support for the brigade."
25 I take it since you had no communications with your commanding
1 officer, your commander, during that period, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th,
2 11th, there are no suggestions that you needed to make with respect to
3 procedures and resources for intelligence support for the Bratunac
5 A. Your Honours, with your permission, might I be allowed to say the
6 following, because Mr. Karnavas has given quite the erroneous
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, if I may interrupt here for a second.
9 The question was very clear. I pointed a section in the third sentence
10 which talks about suggesting. "It suggests, commands" and I put it into
11 the context, during that five- or six-day period. Since he had no contact
12 with his commander, might we conclude that he had nothing to suggest to
13 the commander with respect to procedure and resources for intelligence
14 support during the campaign on Srebrenica? I don't see how that -- what's
15 so complex about this.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, you read out "the
17 commander or chief of staff the procedure and resources for intelligence
18 support for the brigade. It suggests to the commander or chief of
19 staff, et cetera."
20 MR. KARNAVAS:
21 Q. Yes.
22 A. Yes, Mr. Karnavas. However, what you and I are reading now
23 relates to the process taking part before the order is written. It is
24 then that I propose to the commander or the chief of staff the way in
25 which and resources and intelligence support for the brigade. It's a
1 process which I propose before the order is actually given.
2 Q. Okay. Now, could you please look at 359. 359 in the brigade
4 THE REGISTRAR: For the record.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: I apologise. For the record, we're still dealing
6 with the same document which has been marked for identification purposes
7 as P83. And I'm referring to Article 359, which is on page 97. And let
8 me read it.
9 Q. It says: "The brigade commander constantly monitors the situation
10 and influences the course of the battle by issuing new or additional
11 tasks. He makes his decision on the basis of reports submitted by
12 subordinate officers and his personal observations." Do you see that,
14 A. Just a moment, please. You said point 359, did you?
15 Q. Yes.
16 A. Just a few moments to let me look at that.
17 Yes, I've found it. 359. There are two sentences.
18 Q. Now, a combat situation is a fluid situation, is it not?
19 A. I don't know precisely what you mean by "a fluid situation" as
20 referring to a combat situation.
21 Q. Okay. Well, you have a plan, but nothing ever really goes or
22 rarely does it ever go exactly to plan. Things change as the battle is
24 A. You can only assume that.
25 Q. Okay. Well, let's assume that that's the situation with battles,
1 that even though you might have the perfect plan, something might go
2 wrong. Okay?
3 Now, it seems to me --
4 A. It's always possible, isn't it.
5 Q. Okay, all right.
6 A. Not necessarily, not necessarily.
7 Q. Sometimes it's better, sometimes it's worse.
8 A. All right, if you say so.
9 Q. In any event, the commander needs to be aware of the information
10 that's coming in because he needs to adjust his tactics and his plan
11 according to the situation.
12 A. Of course.
13 Q. All right. And so, that may require even after you have made
14 suggestions to the commander based on the continuation of the situation
15 and based on information that you gather to make further suggestions to
16 the commander as the chief of intelligence of security. No?
17 A. That's not what it means, no.
18 Q. Okay. All right. Well, then we'll move on. Further down in the
19 same paragraph, I'm just going to skip down to the last sentence, it says:
20 "It controls the reconnaissance unit" -- I'm referring to 118 now, I'm
21 back to 118 now. I'm referring to 118. "It controls the reconnaissance
22 unit, it monitors the ability, training..." And it goes on so on and so
24 Now, in this particular order, and I'm referring to the order of 5
25 July 1995 which, for identification purposes, is D17/1, I believe, if I'm
1 not mistaken, in 5.5 of the order makes reference to a reconnaissance
2 platoon. Now, I don't know whether you have any engagement or any contact
3 or any responsibilities with respect to this platoon. But in reading 118,
4 it might give someone that suggestion. Or would I be wrong, that you
5 control the reconnaissance unit?
6 A. Your Honours, I think I still owe Mr. Karnavas one answer in
7 relation to gathering intelligence.
8 Mr. Karnavas, the commander by his order defines the method and
9 the forces gathering intelligence before combat operations commence. He
10 also defines the method and the strength of the forces gathering
11 intelligence during combat, which means that the commander makes sure that
12 he has both the resources and the forces and he defines the methods in
13 which intelligence is gathered. I hope -- I have not gone through this
14 order very carefully, but I certainly hope that in this order, too, the
15 commander defined the way things should evolve before combat operations
16 and during combat operations, who and which units should be gathering
17 intelligence. I hope it is clearly defined.
18 So for the sake of clarification, you insisted on having a
19 clarification -- can you please ask me a specific question related to
21 Q. Yes.
22 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Nikolic, I think Mr. Karnavas asked you a specific
23 question. He asked: "Did you control the reconnaissance unit?" It's
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am not sure that there was a
1 reconnaissance platoon or a reconnaissance unit at that time at all. I am
2 really not sure because throughout that period, and earlier, there were
3 problems with the unit that we used as the reconnaissance platoon. And
4 I'm really not sure. I'm not sure. I'm not sure that there was a
5 reconnaissance platoon in the brigade at all or whether it was established
6 during that period. But I can't say.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Do you have another question, Your Honour? Okay.
8 Q. But getting back to the question that I asked and His Honour asked
9 you, were you in charge of the reconnaissance unit, whether -- in general?
10 I mean, if one had existed, would you be the person, as the chief of the
11 intelligence organ, to be in charge of that unit as it's designated in 118
12 of the rules?
13 A. Whenever there is a reconnaissance platoon of the brigade,
14 professionally speaking, I would be in charge of its work.
15 Q. Okay. Now, if we look at the order, and I'm going back to what
16 has been previously marked as 17/1 for identification purposes - it's
17 D17 - in paragraph 5.5, it makes reference to a reconnaissance platoon of
18 the brigade. Can we assume, maybe even conclude, that since you have this
19 in the order placed there by the commander himself, that a reconnaissance
20 platoon existed at that time in the Bratunac Brigade of which you would
21 have been in charge of or they would have been under your control?
22 A. I said that in the military and professional sense, I would have
23 been in charge of it. But this does not mean that it was my task to run
24 the platoon or to command the platoon. This would have been the case if
25 it was part of the brigade. I would have had a responsibility towards
1 that platoon.
2 Q. Okay. But from this order, does not the order itself reflect that
3 there is indeed a reconnaissance platoon?
4 A. What I see here, what it says is: "Reconnaissance platoon is to
5 be held ready to repel the enemy's counterattack." If you can see that it
6 actually says "the brigade's reconnaissance platoon" I don't know because
7 within the composition of the 1st Battalion, and I think the 3rd
8 Battalion, we had platoons that we referred to "reconnaissance platoons,"
9 but they were not linked to me professionally. Therefore, I can't use
10 this to conclude that this was about the reconnaissance platoon of the
11 Bratunac Brigade.
12 Q. Okay. So this is just about a reconnaissance platoon that may
13 exist outside the Bratunac Brigade. That's your understanding?
14 A. No, that's not my understanding. According to the establishment,
15 there were squads within a battalion. But the practical situation on the
16 ground was different. For example, in the 3rd infantry battalion, there
17 was a platoon referred to as a reconnaissance platoon or intervention
18 platoon. In the 1st infantry battalion, you had the same unit but was not
19 officially part of the establishment, because according to the
20 establishment there should have been a squad and instead there was an
21 intervention platoon or a reconnaissance platoon, or at least that's how
22 they referred to themselves. I can't say with certainty. Therefore, at
23 brigade level, as a unit attached to the staff, according to the
24 establishment, yes, there was a reconnaissance platoon of the brigade. So
25 that's what I had in mind.
1 Of course, I didn't say that this was not from the composition of
2 the brigade. This may as well have been one of the platoons from the
3 subordinated battalions to the brigade, the 1st or the 2nd -- the 3rd.
4 Even the 2nd Battalion had one such unit.
5 Q. And would you have been responsible for any of those units in a
6 situation such as the one envisaged in your commander's order?
7 A. Again, I must say I can't really say for sure which unit this is.
8 All I can see is that it says "reconnaissance platoon." If it said, for
9 example, the reconnaissance platoon of the Bratunac Brigade, then I'd know
10 for sure. If it said the reconnaissance squad of the 1st infantry
11 battalion, I could know for sure. If it said the intervention or
12 reconnaissance platoon of the 3rd infantry battalion, I would know for
13 sure and then I could answer your question. This way, I cannot answer
14 your question. I cannot possibly tell you whether I was in charge of a
15 reconnaissance platoon which is not even specified. And I've never seen
16 this order before, on top of that. Therefore I can't answer your
17 question. I neither confirm nor deny anything.
18 Q. Okay. But the bottom line is there were units in the Bratunac
19 Brigade which were reconnaissance units. Right?
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, I think that will lead us to
22 MR. KARNAVAS: You're probably right, Your Honour. You're
23 probably right.
24 JUDGE LIU: It's time for a break if you think it's the right
1 MR. KARNAVAS: This would be a great time.
2 JUDGE LIU: Well, now we are in the period of July 6 to 11th. But
3 that is the most crucial time period.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: I understand, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE LIU: I hope we could come to July 11th and afterwards as
6 soon as possible because those periods are the most relevant periods.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
9 We'll resume at quarter to 1.00.
10 --- Recess taken at 12.14 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 12.48 p.m.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. Before we move on to the next topic, Mr. Nikolic, I just want to
15 clarify a couple of points. Let's go back to the order of July 5. Please
16 look at paragraph 5.1. This paragraph, does it not refer to the 1st
17 infantry battalion of the Bratunac Brigade?
18 A. Yes, Mr. Karnavas, that's correct.
19 Q. Very well. Now, on the third paragraph, it says:
20 "Reconnaissance platoon to be prepared to fend off enemy counterattack."
21 That reference to the -- first of all, does it say that in your -- in
22 Srpski? Can you see it?
23 A. Yes, I can. "Reconnaissance platoon to be prepared to fend off
24 enemy counterattack."
25 Q. And since that is in the section dealing with the 1st infantry
1 battalion, one might assume that it's referring to a reconnaissance
2 platoon of the 1st infantry battalion, would it not?
3 A. Mr. Karnavas, the way this reads and within the framework of this
4 text, this order, yes, you could say that.
5 Q. Okay. Now, if you could look at 5.2. This section refers to the
6 2nd infantry battalion of the Bratunac Brigade, does it not?
7 A. Yes, it does. That's how it reads.
8 Q. Again, in the third paragraph, if you will, does it not say:
9 "Reconnaissance platoon to be in the area of the geographical area of..."
10 And I guess it gives the coordinates. Does it not say that?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. From reading this paragraph, might we assume or conclude that it
13 is making reference to a reconnaissance platoon within or of the 2nd
14 infantry battalion of the Bratunac Brigade?
15 A. Yes, of course we might, Mr. Karnavas.
16 Q. Okay. And finally, if we could look at 5.5, the one that we
17 discussed previously at some length, does it not read: "Reconnaissance
18 platoon of the brigade..." And then it continues on. Does it not say
20 A. Yes, Mr. Karnavas. This says "reconnaissance platoon of the
21 brigade." Again, I wish to tell you that this is no sufficient
22 indication for me, especially since it says "reconnaissance platoon of the
23 brigade with L/r." I really have no idea what the abbreviation stands
24 for, if you can please enlighten me on that, "L/r."
25 Q. Okay. I just wanted to confirm that what I have in English is
1 what you see in Srpski or B/C/S as it's called here, that it says
2 "reconnaissance platoon of the brigade."
3 A. Yes, yes, "reconnaissance platoon of the brigade." That's what it
4 says, yes.
5 Q. Might we assume or conclude that it's referring -- when it says
6 "brigade" that it's referring to the Bratunac Brigade?
7 A. It would be a random conclusion for me to make. I could easily
8 conclude that, that it's the Bratunac Brigade, or it's not. I could also
9 conclude that I have no idea what the abbreviation stands for, L/r. What
10 is it? I could make a number of conclusions. But I would not be certain
11 of any of those conclusions.
12 Q. Okay. Let's move on. I could liked briefly - I underscore
13 briefly - discuss the rules regarding your functions as the security
14 organ, and then we'll go to the military police. So if you could look at,
15 if you could have handy the "Rules of Services of Security Organs in the
16 Armed Forces of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, 1984."
17 And I'm referring to P84. I just want to go over some very -- a few
19 If you could look at, please -- first, are you familiar with this
20 particular document?
21 A. [No interpretation]
22 Q. Would it be fair to say that this is the document that you had in
23 your possession or available to you while you were serving as the head of
24 intelligence and security of the Bratunac Brigade back in 1995?
25 A. Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
1 Q. All right. If we could look at -- I'm just going to go through
2 some of these very quickly. Look at number 8. I just want to focus on
3 the first couple lines. Tell me if your version in Srpski has what I see
4 here in English. It says: "Security organs perform duties and tasks
5 within the competence in accordance with their rights and duties as
6 established by the law and the provisions of these rules and other
7 regulations issued pursuant to the law..." And so on and so forth.
8 Do you see that in number 8? I just read part of the -- it's one
10 A. Yes, yes, I can see that.
11 Q. Might we assume that what this says is that your duties, that you
12 must carry out your duties, perform your duties, in accordance with the
13 law and the regulations?
14 A. Of course.
15 Q. And these would be one of those regulations, would they not?
16 A. Well, I'm not a lawyer myself. I can't see a rule defined here.
17 What I see defined is the standards according to which I must act and
18 work, not being a lawyer myself, of course.
19 Q. Okay. Well, just for the sake of it, why don't you flip to the
20 first page and read me the title of this document. It says: "Rules of
21 Service." Right?
22 A. The front page reads: "Rules of Service of security organs in the
23 armed forces of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia," dated
24 1984. And then the front page also states: "Federal Secretariat for
25 National Defence Military Secret Strictly Confidential File Number
1 2046UB1/3." That's what I can see on the front page.
2 Q. Right. Might we assume that these may be part of the rules that
3 they're referring to, and this particular article that we're just
5 A. I don't think I understand your question, I'm afraid, Mr.
6 Karnavas. Could you please repeat this question.
7 Q. Why don't we go on to the next one. Article 9. It says here,
8 I'll read the pertinent part: "In carrying out the duties and tasks
9 under items 6 and 7 of these rules" - the ones that we're holding -
10 "security organs may make contact directly with members of the armed
11 forces and other citizens, military organs, and organs of sociopolitical
12 communities, sociopolitical and other social organisations and
13 organisations of associated labour..." And so on and so forth. Do you
14 see Article 9?
15 A. Yes, I do.
16 Q. From reading that, might we conclude that you, as the head of
17 security, had the right to have direct contact with, say, members of the
18 Bratunac municipal government under this article?
19 A. Mr. Karnavas, I would first take -- have to take a look at what
20 paragraph 6 and 7 define in order to be able to answer your question.
21 Q. Okay. All right. But with respect to 6 and 7, 6 speaks about
22 your responsibilities, and 7 speaks about with whom you may participate.
23 A. Mr. Karnavas, would you allow me to read all of paragraph 6 and 7,
24 and then we can proceed.
25 I partially read it, Mr. Karnavas. Not all of it, and in detail.
1 But I get a general impression what of what points 6 and 7 contain. So if
2 you could now repeat your question, please.
3 Q. My question was if you, for instance, wanted to have contact with
4 Mr. Deronjic in your official capacity as chief of security - I'm putting
5 it in a concrete fashion although I'm using a hypothetical here - if you
6 wanted to have direct contact with him, could you do so as it seems you
7 might be able to under this article, article 9 of the rules of services of
8 security organs?
9 A. I don't understand the first part of your question. When it comes
10 to the official connection between me and Deronjic. In what official
11 capacity do you mean between me and Miroslav Deronjic? And then I'll be
12 able to answer your question. What do you mean "contact in an official
14 Q. Okay. The night of the 13th, the night of the 13th of July 1995,
15 you've indicated that you had an opportunity to participate in a meeting
16 with Mr. Deronjic in which -- where Colonel Beara was there, and I believe
17 it was also Mr. Vasic or Colonel Vasic. It's late in the day, I'm getting
18 a bit tired. Do you recall that? Do you recall stating --
19 A. Yes, yes.
20 Q. Now, obviously Colonel Beara is a superior officer from the main
21 staff. So obviously, you could have direct contact with him or he contact
22 with you. But there you were as head or the chief of the security sector
23 of the Bratunac Brigade on that particular night having a direct contact
24 with Mr. Deronjic who at the time was not in the military, but was there
25 in a civilian capacity.
1 A. All I can tell you is this: That I was able freely to communicate
2 and come into contact with anybody in Bratunac, so I really don't see -- I
3 could contact anybody including Deronjic.
4 Q. Okay, but I'm talking professionally now. I know socially because
5 a small town. Obviously you're going to have coffee or rakija or
6 whatever. When you run into people, you can have contact. But
7 professionally speaking in your official capacity, because after all, you
8 were the chief of intelligence and security of the Bratunac Brigade, and
9 formally you were, as we know, the acting commander of the Territorial
10 Defence, member of the War Presidency in Bratunac, as was Mr. Deronjic.
11 So my question is, in reading this article, Article 9, it would appear
12 that in your official capacity you had every right under the law to meet
13 with individuals such as Mr. Deronjic in his official capacity?
14 A. Mr. Karnavas, I must say that I, in my official capacity, did not
15 have any reason or need to meet with Deronjic because Deronjic -- I know
16 the post he occupied during that period of time. I know what his position
17 was. However, he, in my opinion, didn't mean anything in the military
18 hierarchy. And so I didn't have any meetings with him, nor did I discuss
19 anything of any importance with him. Of course, I'm not claiming that I
20 don't know Miroslav Deronjic, and I'm not saying that Miroslav Deronjic is
21 somebody whom I don't know. Miroslav Deronjic is my brother-in-law. I do
22 know the man. But except for that night, that is to say, the 13th when
23 Colonel Beara said he had a meeting with Miroslav Deronjic and that I
24 should accompany him, at that period of time I had no need to consult
25 Miroslav Deronjic, to have a meeting with him or anything of that nature
1 at all.
2 Had I had any need of doing so, if the situation was such that
3 somebody had ordered me or suggested that I meet with him, had there been
4 a need to do so, I would have probably met him.
5 Q. Okay. The night of the 13th, you were summoned, if I could use
6 that word, or requested to meet with Colonel Beara. Is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Upon meeting him, you learned that you would be meeting along with
9 him, Colonel Beara, Mr. Deronjic on that particular night. Is that
11 A. No, Mr. Karnavas. When I received information to report to
12 Colonel Beara, there was no mention of, nor did I know that I would be
13 meeting Mr. Deronjic at all. I was given a concrete assignment as to what
14 I was to do then.
15 Q. Did you meet with Deronjic that night? Yes or no?
16 A. That night, I was in the office, which is where Mr. Deronjic has
17 his headquarters. That night, yes.
18 Q. Those were the headquarters of the SDS. Is that it?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. He held an official capacity at that time in that community?
21 A. Yes. In the municipality, no, he didn't have any official post.
22 I mean, in the administration, the organs of administration. Now, if you
23 think he was president of the SDS or the main board, yes, he was that too,
24 if that's what you have in mind. But he didn't have any official capacity
25 in the organs of administration.
1 Q. Okay. So -- now at some point he became the commissioner or the
2 komesar, however you call it, of Srebrenica. Is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. On the night of the 13th, do you know whether Mr. Deronjic had
5 any contact with or from President Karadzic?
6 A. What I can tell you is that that evening, he did refer to
7 Mr. Karadzic. That is what I knew then. And having looked through the
8 documents and the intercepts, I know that he had a conversation with
9 Mr. Karadzic because I read it.
10 Q. Right. Now, when you met with Mr. Deronjic, who requested that
11 meeting? Who set it up?
12 A. I really don't know who set it up, who organised the meeting, at
13 whose initiative it was. I didn't even know before the meeting who was
14 invited to attend the meeting before I arrived. All I can say is that I
15 can confirm that I was taken to the meeting by Colonel Beara. I went at
16 his request. Now, who actually organised the meeting and scheduled it,
17 set it up, I really can't say because I don't know.
18 Q. Okay. When you were asked to go to the meeting with
19 Colonel Beara, were you there in your official capacity as the chief of
20 intelligence and security of the Bratunac Brigade, or were you there as
21 Momir Nikolic, resident of Bratunac, or were you there as a subordinate to
22 Colonel Beara?
23 A. Mr. Karnavas, I was there -- I went to see Colonel Beara, in fact,
24 at his request, at his invitation. So that then was a military act, the
25 act of a soldier. He called up the communications centre and conveyed the
1 message that I should report to him at the Bratunac centre. So I went
2 there as a soldier because Colonel Beara was the chief of the main staff
3 administration, and it was quite normal for me to respond to the
4 invitation on the part of a superior officer from the security department
5 of the main staff.
6 Q. Might we conclude that Colonel Beara was back then in 1995 your
7 superior officer, superior commander, when it came to issues of security?
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection on the form of that question.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: Officer, commander, these are very different
12 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll break it down. I'll break it down, Your
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
15 MR. KARNAVAS:
16 Q. Colonel Beara was with the main staff, was he not?
17 A. Yes, Mr. Karnavas, he was.
18 Q. In the security sector, right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Head of the security sector of the main staff?
21 A. No, Mr. Karnavas.
22 Q. He had somebody above him?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Who was that?
25 A. Above him was the assistant commander of the main staff for
1 information and intelligence and security, General Tolimir.
2 Q. The gentleman that I made reference to yesterday as the one that
3 might have okayed your position when you became the -- when you joined the
4 intelligence sector, when you were with the Territorial Defence, if you
5 recall that? In any event, okay.
6 Now, was Colonel Beara above or below you?
7 A. Colonel Beara, on the basis of the hierarchy and his position, was
8 an officer of the superior command.
9 Q. Okay. Below him, or below the superior command would be the
10 Drina Corps. Is that correct?
11 A. Yes, if you mean formation-wise, establishment-wise. The main
12 staff is the top level, the level before is the Drina Corps command or the
13 Drina Corps, or one of the corps. It doesn't matter which.
14 Q. And then within the corps, you have the Bratunac Brigade?
15 A. Yes, the Bratunac Brigade is a unit within the composition of the
16 Drina Corps.
17 Q. Now, you as head of intelligence and security -- but let's focus
18 on security. You as head of security, chief of security for the Bratunac
19 Brigade, you were in essence part of the same organ which Beara belonged
20 to, that is, the security organ. Is that correct?
21 A. I was, sir, part of the intelligence security organ.
22 Q. Okay. And so was --
23 A. At the level of brigade. So part of that organ at the level of
24 the Bratunac Brigade.
25 Q. Okay. Did you look to Colonel Beara or did you see him, did you
1 view him as a superior commander to you when it came to matters of
2 security or to functions within the security organ?
3 A. Colonel Beara and no commanding officer did I see as being my
4 superior commander. I felt that Colonel Beara and the officers superior
5 to me from the Drina Corps command, that they were officers which
6 indirectly or directly were responsible for the professional work and
7 guidance of my own activities within the frameworks of the brigade.
8 Q. So did you feel free that night to decline Colonel Beara's
9 invitation? Or did you think you had to go ahead and meet with him?
10 A. In principle, never, not in any situation did I refuse or decline
11 an invitation from an officer in the superior command, whether direct or
12 indirect, to go to a meeting if I was asked to do so. And so it was the
13 same on this occasion. I didn't consider that I should decline.
14 Q. Okay. Did you think that you had to inform your own commander
15 that you had this invitation by Colonel Beara on night of the 13th to meet
16 him in the middle of the town?
17 A. No, not at that point in time, I didn't consider that to be
18 necessary, to report to the brigade commander. Because quite simply, I
19 didn't know why Colonel Beara was asking me to come. I knew nothing
20 specific. And I only want to say that if that were the case after every
21 assignment I was given, that I ran to the commander, well, we would never
22 get the job done. I'd go mad if I had to go and report back every half
23 hour, every time I received a task or assignment or when a newly arisen
24 situation arose, that I would run to the commander. That was not standard
25 practice, Mr. Karnavas, and I considered that this invitation was quite
1 legitimate and I should report to that commander officer. And that's what
2 I did. I went there.
3 Q. Okay. And as you stated, you didn't know why he called you. He
4 could have called you for rakija, pivo, beer, or maybe have an official
5 meeting. Right? You didn't know at the time.
6 A. Of course I didn't know the reason I had been asked to come. He
7 could have invited me to partake of any of those things that you
9 Q. Right. And then at some point after the meeting, after you met
10 and spoke with him, with Beara, after you met with him, spoke with him, at
11 some point, the two of you went to see Deronjic. Is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Okay.
14 A. Just a moment, Mr. Karnavas. I was very precise when I said when
15 I went to the meeting, the office of Miroslav Deronjic.
16 Q. That was before or after Zvornik, after your trip to Zvornik?
17 A. The meeting with Mr. Beara, I went there after I had reported to
18 him that I had executed his order having returned from Zvornik.
19 Q. So after Zvornik is when you went to -- you had this meeting with
20 Beara and Deronjic.
21 A. Yes, that's right.
22 Q. Okay. And at that point, you were meeting with Beara and Deronjic
23 based on the invitation that you had received earlier from Colonel Beara
24 to meet him, and after having completed the tasks that he had issued you?
25 A. I don't really understand what you're question is.
1 Q. All right, okay. When you were with Mr. Deronjic, did you feel
2 compelled at that point, since you were meeting someone in the community
3 who obviously was fairly important with respect to some pretty important
4 matters, did you feel that you needed to contact your commander prior to
5 having that meeting with Mr. Deronjic, Colonel Beara, and others?
6 A. No. I did not feel that I had to go to the command and report to
7 the commander, and then to go back to attend the meeting in the presence
8 of the commanding officer from the main staff who was part of the team of
9 the main staff and who was present in Bratunac.
10 Q. Okay.
11 Were you there as Colonel Beara's subordinate at that particular
12 time? Is that how you saw your role?
13 A. I saw my role as being the assistant commander for these affairs
14 in the brigade who finds himself in the presence of a senior officer from
15 the main staff attending a meeting. Of course, I can also say that
16 somebody from the unit in the presence of these top-ranking officers
17 always feels as if he was -- he were subordinate to these commanding
18 officers. How else would one feel?
19 Q. Very well. Now, if you could look at number 12. And I'm still
20 referring to the Rules of Service. And it's P84 for identification. Rule
21 number 12. Why don't you look if you locate it, and I'll read it, and
22 tell me if I'm reading it correctly. "Security organs report on their
23 work to their immediate superior and the security organs of the superior
24 command units, institutions or staff, in accordance with the provisions of
25 these rules." Is that what Article 12 has in the Srpski?
1 A. Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
2 Q. If we could focus on this a little bit, and I want to focus on the
3 word "report." It says: "Report on their work to their immediate
4 superior." Now, who is your immediate superior?
5 A. My immediate superior was the brigade commander.
6 Q. And then it says: "And security organs of the superior
7 commands..." Who might they be?
8 A. The first superior command was the command of the Drina Corps
9 which means that it was security department of the Drina Corps.
10 Q. And who might that be? Who would head that department?
11 A. The head of security was Mr. Vujadin Popovic, a
12 lieutenant-colonel. And in the intelligence department, there was
13 Mr. Kosoric.
14 Q. Okay. So -- now is there a particular order in which you need to
15 report, to your understanding?
16 A. Yes, there is a particular order, Mr. Karnavas. On the
17 accomplished assignments, you report to the commander of the unit from
18 which the security organ is a part. And after that, you report to the --
19 inform the intelligence department or security department of the superior
21 Q. All right. So if I understand your answer, first you report to
22 commander, your immediate commander, which is Colonel Blagojevic. And
23 then, and only after then, do you report to the Drina Corps. Is that
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. Okay. Now, 14. It says here: "When called up for exercises,
2 members of security organs from the reserve strength of the armed forces
3 verify combat readiness and other activity in combat units of the armed
4 forces and perform tasks within the competence of the security organs in
5 accordance with the regulations on the work of security organs." Do you
6 see that?
7 A. Yes, I do.
8 Q. I want to focus --
9 A. I've read through it.
10 Q. I want to focus on the word or the term "reserve." You were a --
11 you were a reserve officer at the time, were you not?
12 A. That's correct, Mr. Karnavas.
13 Q. May we assume or conclude from reading Article 14 that as a
14 reserve officer, having been called, mobilised, however you wish to use
15 the term, whatever, you, too, were under the obligation to perform your
16 tasks in accordance with the rules as everyone else?
17 A. I'm not entirely sure that I have understood you correctly.
18 However, the way I read this article, it doesn't apply to the state of
19 war. What it says is "members of security organs from the reserve
20 strength when called up for exercises, verify combat readiness and other
21 activity in combat units," those are forms of exercise. It says "when
22 called up for exercises, verifying combat readiness and other activity in
23 combat units," or rather war units. This doesn't necessarily entail a
24 state of war because you have combat units even in peacetime. And they
25 are composed of officers. They have their own equipment.
1 In combat units of the armed forces, again, called up for
2 exercises, to verify combat readiness and perform tasks within the
3 pretense of the security organs in accordance with the regulations, well,
4 of course, when carrying out their tasks during these exercises, security
5 organs implement tasks pursuant to regulations governing the work of
6 security organs. That's perfectly normal. However, Mr. Karnavas, this
7 does not apply to a state of war or a state of emergency. This merely
8 explains what an officer who has been called up for a military exercise as
9 part of his unit must abide by.
10 Q. Mr. Nikolic, as a reserve officer, a captain, is it not a fact
11 that these rules apply to you while you were performing your duties as a
12 chief of intelligence and security? Yes or no?
13 A. I don't think I've understood you fully. Can you please just
14 repeat the question.
15 Q. Yes, I will.
16 A. My apology.
17 Q. Were there separate rules for reserve officers and, say,
18 professional, active-duty officers, or do these rules, the ones that we're
19 going through right now, apply to both?
20 A. Well, of course all officers called up to join units have certain
21 tasks and duties. The regulations apply to all officers for any area of
22 activity, and the same applies to security.
23 Q. Thank you. If you could look at now Article 16, it says here:
24 "The security organ is directly subordinate to the commander officer of
25 the command, unit, institution..." And so on and so forth. And it goes
1 on: "And it is responsible to that officer for its work..." And so on
2 and so forth.
3 Might we assume or conclude from reading Article 16 that you were
4 directly subordinate to Colonel Blagojevic when he was your commander of
5 the Bratunac Brigade?
6 A. Of course, yes.
7 Q. Okay, so -- okay. We'll move on.
8 We'll go to 18. And I'll --
9 A. Yes, I can see that.
10 Q. Okay. "Security organ of the superior command, unit, institution,
11 or staff of the armed forces provide specialist administrative services
12 for security organs in subordinate commands, units, institutions, and
13 staffs of the armed forces, provide assistance to these organs, and
14 organise, direct, coordinate, and supervise their work."
15 Might we conclude or assume, or assume and conclude, that these
16 were, in fact, part of your responsibilities during the 6th, 7th, 8th,
17 9th, 10th, and 11th of July 1995?
18 A. No, we can't, Mr. Karnavas. We can't make that conclusion. Based
19 on what it says here, I can -- I can only conclude between the
20 relationship of the organ of the superior command, the unit of the
21 institution or staff, and the subordinate officers in subordinate units or
22 staffs. I can make conclusions about that relationship, and I can make
23 conclusions regarding the duties between the superior officers from these
24 organs and those from the subordinate units. But again, within the
25 framework of these same bodies. These are the conclusions that I can make
1 pursuant to Article 18.
2 But none of these indicate any specific tasks. Only the
3 relationship itself it defined here as far as I can see.
4 Q. Okay. And did that relationship exist between the 6th, 7th, 8th,
5 9th, 10th, and 11th?
6 A. Yes, yes, it did.
7 Q. Article 22, please. The first paragraph says: "The senior
8 officer of a command, unit, institution, or staff of the armed forces
9 supervises the work of subordinate security organs according to the
10 general regulations unless otherwise determined by these rules for the
11 supervision of certain work by the security organ."
12 What is your understanding of this particular article?
13 A. Well, my understanding is exactly how it reads. No different from
14 that, exactly what it says.
15 Q. Right. Well, what exactly does it say?
16 A. Do you want me to read this back to you, the whole article?
17 Q. No, I don't think I need that. I'll go on to -- we'll get back to
18 that. But first I want to cover 23. Take a look at 23, and I believe
19 this refers to military police. And it says: "An officer of the security
20 organ of a command, unit, institution provides specialist management for a
21 military police unit." So I believe that's what you were referring to
22 yesterday -- sometime yesterday. Is that correct?
23 A. Yes. It would be good for us to also read the second part,
24 because that's a follow up to what I was talking about. It says that the
25 officers of the staff or unit can use military police units and are
1 responsible for the situation in that unit. I think that's the only right
2 way to go about that because these form a whole. So I've explained that.
3 I've explained my role in terms of providing guidance, professional
4 guidance, regarding the military police unit as well as my powers, my
5 authority in the same context. It all follows from this text.
6 Q. Okay. Now, if we could now turn to the -- since we're on the
7 military police, if we could look at the regulations on the military
8 police, and that has been marked previously for identification purposes
9 D15/1. Just very briefly, if you could --
10 MR. KARNAVAS: Are we about to break? 1.45? Okay.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I have it in front of me, Mr.
12 Karnavas, the rules.
13 MR. KARNAVAS:
14 Q. If you could look at number 12, please. It says, and let me read
15 it: "The officer in charge of the military unit and institution within
16 whose establishment the military police unit is placed or to which it is
17 attached commands and controls the military police." Can we assume or
18 conclude that it is the brigade commander that's in charge of the military
20 A. Yes, yes, that's what the article says.
21 Q. All right. So if, say, the chief of security or chief of
22 intelligence and security wanted to task military police of the brigade,
23 he could not, or at least he should not do it without getting the
24 authorisation from the commander. Is that correct?
25 A. The interpretation I'm getting is that you said if the chief of
1 security wanted to task a military police unit, that's the interpretation
2 I'm getting, that you actually said if the chief of security wishes to
3 task the police to do something. I'm not really sure about the
4 definition, what you meant, "task" them.
5 Q. Let's say Momir Nikolic, pick an example, as the chief of security
6 wanted to use certain military police to perform a particular task that
7 Momir Nikolic, chief of security, thought was necessary, vital, whatever
8 the case may be, could he just issue an order to the military police, or
9 would Momir Nikolic, chief of the security organ, would have to go to his
10 immediate commander, Colonel Blagojevic, to get permission and have the
11 authority to issue the order to the military police?
12 A. Mr. Karnavas, as chief of security, according to this instruction,
13 or rather, rules of service, I would have had the right to use the
14 military police for the purposes and needs of the security organ. That's
15 one thing I wish to point out. Should I choose to use the military police
16 as a security organ, or rather, for the needs of the security organ, I
17 know exactly what to do, which means I can't, for example, take a squad or
18 patrol of military police officers for the needs of the security organ
19 without obtaining authorisation from the commander that this would,
20 indeed, be needed for performing tasks from my competence as chief of
22 Let me clarify this: Very frequently, or rather, sometimes,
23 occasionally it is necessary that military police officers as they go
24 about their task, or rather, the chief of security would not be wearing
25 uniform, badge, or anything at all. In that case, I would have to ask the
1 officer whether I could have one, two, three, four, several policemen, as
2 many as I need to carry out the task. That's one of your questions.
3 And the second question was could I get the military police to do
4 some work for me without consulting the commander previously? I think
5 I've explained this on a number of occasions. The commander of the unit
6 within whose composition the military police is guides and commands the
7 military police, which means that the commander of the brigade, unit, sets
8 tasks, assigns tasks to the military police unit. In that case, Momir
9 Nikolic is responsible to the commander in the sense of making proposals
10 regarding the best use to which these police units may be put, to make
11 suggestions and for this unit to be kept in maximum combat readiness and
12 prepared to carry out its potential task.
13 But I have no authority to order to do anything that springs to my
14 mind. The commander would define the task following my proposal or not.
15 But of course, I, too, have a role to play in terms of professional
16 guidance surrounding the implementation of a task.
17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: I think with that, we can take our break. Well,
19 it's up to you.
20 JUDGE LIU: We'll resume at 3.00.
21 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.48 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 3.01 p.m.
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Nikolic.
1 A. Good afternoon, Mr. Karnavas.
2 Q. I believe we were on the service regulations of the military
3 police. It has been marked for identification purposes as D15/1. Okay, I
4 just briefly want to touch on the section in chapter 3 starting with
5 Article 17. So if you could be so kind as to go to Article 17, just look
6 at it. And just so you know, I'll be asking you after that to look at 22,
7 23, 24, and 25. So if you could just give it a quick look, and we'll
8 proceed when you're ready.
9 A. Mr. Karnavas, excuse me, you said Article 17.
10 Q. Right. First look at Article 17. Just look at that.
11 A. Very well.
12 I've read through Article 17, Mr. Karnavas.
13 Q. Okay. It would be fair to say that this is just a general
14 overview of the jurisdiction of the military police, Article 17.
15 A. Yes, like it reads.
16 Q. Right. Now, yesterday when we were discussing this order that was
17 prepared by your commander, and in particular, when we were discussing
18 paragraph 5.6.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: And for the record, I'm referring to the -- what
20 has been previously marked as D17/1 for identification.
21 Q. If I understood you correctly, it was your opinion as the former
22 chief of intelligence and security of the Bratunac Brigade that this was
23 an illegal use of the military police platoon?
24 A. Mr. Karnavas, will you please just tell me what you're referring
25 to in this order, what specifically. The brigade commander's order.
1 Q. Very well.
2 A. And if you could please also tell me...
3 Q. Would you please look at 5.6.
4 A. I'm looking at it.
5 Q. Okay. In that particular article, it designates the military
6 police platoon to be the reserve, the reserve for the brigade, that is,
7 while this order is in effect. In other words, the attack on Srebrenica.
8 Is that correct?
9 A. Yes, here it says: "Reserve military police platoon, have it in
10 the area of the 1st Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade command post, ready to
11 deploy if need be."
12 Q. All right. So they would be the reserve, and they would be
13 located, unless told otherwise, or called upon, but they would be located
14 at the brigade command post, and that would be in Bratunac.
15 A. Of course, that's what it says.
16 Q. All right. Now, yesterday you registered some rather strong
17 objections, if I may characterise the way at least I perceived your
18 remarks, with respect to the usage of the military police platoon as a
19 reserve. Do you recall that?
20 A. Yes, I do.
21 Q. And I recall that you also indicated that in your opinion, it was
22 an illegal or unlawful use of the military police platoon. Do you recall
23 stating that?
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: I believe that's a mischaracterisation of what he
1 said. And there's obviously a clear record of what he said. So I think
2 if there's going to be this kind of specific reference to yesterday, that
3 it would be best in this context to use exactly what he said.
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes, you are right. But let us hear what the witness
5 is going to tell us.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. Karnavas, I can't quote
7 precisely what I said yesterday, but I can try to paraphrase what I said
8 and give you my general opinion on something like this being included in
9 an order by the commander. The conclusion I can draw on the basis of this
10 in relation to item 17, for example, I can't square this with any possible
11 engagement by the military police as reserve in a brigade. I'm just not
12 able to do it. That's one thing that I think is wrong here.
13 Secondly, in my understanding, if brigade units are to engage in
14 combat such as the battalions in this case, the 1st, the 2nd, the 3rd, and
15 the 4th, in my understanding, these are units participating in active
16 combat operations or attacks, or whatever mission it may be. It doesn't
17 really matter. So if you put a military police platoon as reserve, then
18 the only conclusion I can draw from that is that this is a reserve
19 military police platoon being used for active combat activity, or
20 operations. So in my understanding, this is the role for units,
21 battalions, companies, and so on and so forth.
22 In this sense, what I said is that the task in my understanding,
23 and based on what conclusions I can draw from the rules of service, this
24 would have been no police task, the one on which the military police
25 platoon is apparently being deployed here. I said something else, too. I
1 believe -- if I had suggested to use military police, I would never have
2 suggested to the commander that this military police platoon under the
3 circumstances should be used as a reserve unit. I think I said something
4 roughly to that effect. And I stand by that.
5 Q. Okay. Now, if you could look at Articles 22, 23, 24, and 25, if
6 you could just look at them very quickly.
7 A. 22 you said, the first one? 22.
8 Q. 22, 23, 24, and 25, if you could just look at them.
9 A. Yes, I've looked at it.
10 Q. Now, if I understand it correctly, the commander, the brigade
11 commander, your commander, was entitled to use the military police in his
12 brigade as he saw fit as long as the usage was within the confines of the
13 rules. Would that be correct?
14 A. The brigade commander always has the right to decide to use the
15 military police platoon, be it within the rules or outside the rules. He
16 always has this right.
17 Q. And would it be not be correct to state that in reading Article 22
18 in conjunction, say, with Article 23 or perhaps Article 24, which deals
19 with situations where war is envisaged, that the use of a military police
20 platoon as a reserve can be appropriate under the rules, if deemed
21 necessary by the commander?
22 A. Mr. Karnavas, we're talking about Article 22, tasks of the
23 military police, they refer to peacetime tasks. I haven't finished
24 reading this. There's plenty to read through. But from what I've seen,
25 military police in peacetime shall carry out the following tasks. So
1 these should then be peacetime tasks. I can't comment on that because
2 we're not talking about peacetime right now.
3 Article 23, in addition to tasks enumerated in Article 22,
4 peacetime tasks, in extraordinary circumstances, the military police
5 execute the following tasks --
6 Q. Let me stop you right there.
7 A. I apologise, Mr. Karnavas.
8 Q. Okay. So in addition to 22 --
9 A. I haven't quite finished, Mr. Karnavas. May I just be allowed to
10 complete my explanation.
11 Q. Sir, go for it.
12 A. Therefore, in addition to tasks enumerated in Item 22, Item 23 of
13 this rule define tasks in extraordinary circumstances, what the military
14 police are to do. I hope we are talking about extraordinary
15 circumstances. In my opinion, it was war. It was wartime. There was a
16 state of war in point of fact.
17 Item 25, or rather 24, I think you told me, the next one, may I
18 just have a minute to find it. 23. Item 24: In addition to the tasks
19 from Items 22 and 23, that means peacetime and extraordinary
20 circumstances, the military police also execute the following tasks during
21 an imminent threat of war and mobilisation. Again, this is an article or
22 item not defining tasks for the military police in wartime. These are not
23 wartime tasks. This only talks about mobilisation. This is still not
24 war. This is short of war. Units are being mobilised, and the military
25 police have special tasks to carry out regarding the mobilisation of
2 Article or Item 25, in addition to the tasks from items 22 to 24
3 of this rule, in wartime the military police also execute the following
4 tasks. Of course, it's all that I've already mentioned, directly provide
5 for the security of the command post, commander of the military unit or
6 institution, take part in preventing the activities by any armed enemy
7 groups or individuals that have been infiltrated, take part in controlling
8 and ensuring on security measures, regulated in order in the areas
9 awaiting collection and embarkation, disembarkation, implement the orders
10 for banning or limiting movement in certain directions and areas, provide
11 security for allied military missions and delegations --
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, you are too fast. You are too fast. It's
13 impossible for the typist to follow you. I don't think there's any need
14 to read the whole article. We all know that in Article 25, it is stated
15 very clearly in wartime. You may stop here, and Mr. Karnavas will give
16 you some directions.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. If you go down to f, it talks about the military police taking
19 part in directing the movement of refugees. Is that correct?
20 A. Yes, take part in directing the movements of refugees.
21 Q. Right. And then on h, and we talked about this yesterday a little
22 bit, about providing security for prisoners of war in camps. Is that
24 A. Yes, that's correct. We said that yesterday.
25 Q. All right. And if we go to Article 57, it states: "The military
1 police may also, upon a special order, escort prisoners of war."
2 Do you see where it says "special order"? One line, Mr. Nikolic.
3 A. Yes, yes, I've found it. I can see that. Item 57.
4 Q. Now, in looking at -- in looking at the -- going back to the order
5 itself of July 5, 1995, if you go to paragraph 10 - for the record, I'm
6 referring to the D17/1 - it designates as the area of collecting of
7 prisoners of war and loot in the area of Pribicevac. Is that correct?
8 A. Can you just please repeat the number. Right, I've found it.
9 Maybe not. Just a minute, please.
10 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas, you have to tell the witness in which
11 paragraph --
12 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm sorry. I thought he said he found it. It's
13 paragraph 10 under A where it says "intelligence and security," and
14 there's one, two, three, four, five. And it says, we talked about this
15 yesterday, "the area of collecting of POWs and loot in the area of
16 Pribicevac. Apply Geneva Convention in treatment of POWs and population."
17 Do you see that.
18 A. I'm still looking for it. The area of collecting of POW, yes, the
19 Pribicevac area, yes, I've found it.
20 Q. Okay. So that's where your commander had designated the area
21 where POWs would be collected, according to this order. Is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Now, when the order was drafted, which was 5 July 1995, would it
24 be fair to assume that no one expected Srebrenica to fall?
25 A. I really can't draw any conclusions.
1 Q. Okay.
2 A. As to whether someone expected something.
3 Q. Being the intelligence officer that you were, the chief of
4 security and intelligence, with all of your resources and subordinates
5 feeding you that information that you were funneling around and deciding
6 whether you would give it to your commander or not, did you know at the
7 time what role exactly the Bratunac Brigade was going to play in the
8 attack on Srebrenica? Yes, no, maybe? Pick one of the three.
9 A. I knew, Mr. Karnavas, that the Bratunac Brigade would be one of
10 the participants in the attack on Srebrenica. I've said this countless
11 times, and I will say it again. I have not seen this order. I have never
12 read it. I could not have known what the commander had assigned as tasks
13 to battalion commanders, not precisely what. I knew they would take part
14 in the attack. I knew the composition of the brigade, what those units
15 were. But how, carrying what tasks exactly, I couldn't have known.
16 Q. Can I take it as a security -- the chief, the chief of the
17 security during that five- or six-day period you never figured it out
18 whether they were playing a major offensive role or whether they were
19 maintaining their line more or less and perhaps providing some assistance?
20 You never figured that one out?
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: That's a demeaning, badgering style of
25 JUDGE LIU: Well, the manner of the question may be not good, but
1 there's a point in this question. Maybe, Mr. Karnavas, you could rephrase
3 MR. KARNAVAS: I will do that. Very well.
4 Q. You had -- is it your position today, being the chief of
5 intelligence and security of the Bratunac Brigade that from the 5th, 6th,
6 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th, throughout that whole period, you never
7 figured out exactly what role the Bratunac Brigade was going to play in
8 the attack on Srebrenica? Is that what you're telling us here today, Mr.
10 A. Well, I'm not claiming this the way you have just defined it. I'm
11 not saying that.
12 Q. Okay. Do you know -- do you know whether -- did you know, did you
13 know back then, the 5th, the 6th, the 7th, the 8th, the 9th, the 10th, the
14 11th, that Pribicevac was going to be the place that the POWs were
15 supposed to be gathered, the ones that were captured by the Bratunac
16 Brigade? Did you know that? Pretty simple.
17 A. No, I didn't know that. I didn't know it was Pribicevac.
18 Q. Might I conclude, might I conclude that you never made any
19 efforts to find out where the POWs would be gathered if indeed the
20 Bratunac Brigade were to capture any POWs?
21 A. Well, to be quite honest, I didn't ask questions about where the
22 POWs would be. According to my information, which was only to be
23 expected, and according to my estimate, if I had been consulted, the
24 normal thing would have been to gather POWs in the zones of responsibility
25 of the respective battalions. That would have been normal, usual, in view
1 of the deployment of the brigade's units.
2 Q. All right. Fair enough. But in Pribicevac, the forward command
3 post of the Bratunac Brigade was the location where the commander of the
4 brigade had chosen where he would be during this campaign process. Does
5 it not make sense to you that perhaps the commander would want to be near,
6 in the vicinity where any prisoners might be captured to ensure, one,
7 their security, and two, whether they may have any intelligence
8 information that might assist the Bratunac Brigade or the Drina Corps in
9 this campaign, in the attack of Srebrenica? What do you think?
10 A. Mr. Karnavas, I don't have the slightest intention of commenting
11 on this decision. The decision was made by the brigade commander. The
12 assessment was his. I believe it is completely pointless to ask me for my
13 opinion on this. This was a decision taken by the commander. As I said
14 in my testimony yesterday, regardless of what I believed, regardless of
15 what I proposed, if the commander made a decision clearly defined in a
16 written order, then there was nothing else for me to say or to think. It
17 was not for me to think then. If the commander binds me to act in keeping
18 with the order, there were no further comments for me to make. That was
19 the commander's decision. It's as simple as that.
20 Q. Okay. If you could, and I hate to do this, but if we could just
21 go back just one last time to the intelligence support, and I want you to
22 look at --
23 MR. KARNAVAS: And that's, for the record, D14/1.
24 Q. If you could look at Article 198, perhaps that may give us some
25 guidance as to what your role might have been with respect to prisoners of
2 A. Mr. Karnavas, point 191 -- 198 did you say?
3 Q. 198. And let me read it.
4 A. Let me just find it, if I may take a moment.
5 Q. Does it not say: "Intelligence organs in commands" --
6 A. Just a moment, please. I haven't found it yet. Yes, I have it.
7 Q. Okay. All right. "Intelligence organs in commands and staff
8 question prisoners of war and defectors for the purpose of gathering
9 intelligence, through organs of certain specialty that are set up
10 especially for that purpose."
11 Now, help me out here, Mr. Nikolic. You were the head of the
12 intelligence organ, were you not?
13 A. Yes. The chief of intelligence and security.
14 Q. Right. We're dealing with intelligence right now. Thank you for
15 reminding me.
16 Now, according to 198, it would seem to be that your function
17 during those days would have been, at least one of your functions would
18 have been to be available to question prisoners of war in order to collect
19 intelligence information. Is that correct? That would have been your
21 A. Of course, one of the sources of intelligence is to question
22 prisoners of war.
23 Q. All right. And then on 199 it says -- it talks about the
24 principles which you have to adhere to in questioning them. In 200, we
25 see again the application of the Geneva Conventions, annex 1. In other
1 words, you have to comply with that. And in fact, lest there be any
2 mistakes, it's annexed. You have it in the rules itself, the relevant
3 sections of the Geneva Conventions.
4 So as I understand your testimony today, you did not see this
5 order that was drafted by your commander, nor were you aware of what was
6 in the order itself during the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th of
7 July 1995. Is that correct?
8 A. I have said that I wasn't informed with that order and that I did
9 not know what was defined, or rather in this command. I did not know what
10 was defined in the commander order in the area that I was responsible for,
11 intelligence and intelligence security.
12 Q. One of your responsibilities would have been, would have been, to
13 question any prisoners of war. Is that correct?
14 A. Mr. Karnavas, I've already answered that question. But what I
15 should like to say is this: Something else in connection with this
16 question, in fact.
17 Q. Before you launch into your dialogue, could you please answer my
18 question. Would that be okay?
19 A. I have answered your question. Yes, one of my tasks would be to
20 question prisoners of war, the prisoners of war who are brought to the
21 Bratunac Brigade or I would appear on the spot. But yes, what you say is
22 absolutely correct, that one of my task would be to question the prisoners
23 of war.
24 Now, what I want to say is this, because you asked me something
25 else with respect to a concrete order and a concrete position: I, or
1 rather the brigade in all the battalions, including the 3rd infantry
2 battalion, whose area of responsibility was Pribicevac, and the command
3 post at Pribicevac. I had an assistant, the commander for intelligence
4 and security affairs, an assistant, a commander of the battalion for
5 intelligence and security affairs, for which -- for whom I claim now, and
6 I have a document here, a report, that that particular assistant was
7 trained and professionally equipped to perform those duties in the
8 battalion. And he is the person who, in the area of his responsibility,
9 that is to say, the 3rd infantry battalion, will gather because he knows
10 what his duties and tasks are. Gather up the prisoners, secure them up
11 there, to question them as far as he is able to do so. And once they
12 arrive to the brigade headquarters or to any spot designated for them to
13 be gathered together and secured, then if the need arises, I can go there
14 perhaps, or my clerk, somebody from the organ, to question them. And that
15 would be the normal standard procedure.
16 So, Mr. Karnavas, it is not my duty, wherever a prisoner crops up
17 in a battalion, to rush off to Pribicevac to question that particular
18 prisoner, and then to go back, to hurry back. I have my organs, my
19 assistants in this chain of command who are already there and who can do
20 that. And the commander can avail himself of those services at any time
21 during the day and night. If the need arises, if there is new
22 intelligence which he finds necessary in order to make his decisions with
23 respect to the deployment of forces along that particular axis.
24 Q. Are you through?
25 A. I have completed what I wanted to say, yes.
1 Q. Did your assistant by any chance inform you that there was a
2 battle going on to take Srebrenica and to inform you what the orders
3 were, just out of curiosity? Was he able to pass that information on to
5 A. Well, I don't think that the question is -- or rather, that it's a
6 question that I would have to answer because there's no sense nor need for
7 the assistant commander for intelligence and security from the battalion
8 to inform me that operations are underway. That is something I knew about
9 it, and I said that, Mr. Karnavas. So I know there was fighting going on.
10 I know there were battles going on. And I said that I knew roughly the
11 role played by the battalion. What I said was that I didn't know the
12 exact deployment and specific tasks and assignments, the facilities and so
13 I don't know the details. However, you are now trying to say that the
14 assistant commander for intelligence and security should have informed me.
15 I know about all that. I knew about all that, all the things that you're
16 bringing up now. I was aware of them.
17 Q. Very well. Did you ask him by any chance to help you find the
18 order so you could look at it?
19 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas, we come back again.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
21 Q. Just one last point regarding this order, dealing with 5.5, if you
22 could look at 5.5 on the order of July 5, 1995. I want to -- I'd like you
23 to focus on the first line.
24 Earlier when I questioned you --
25 A. You're referring to point 5. What was the other number?
1 Q. 5.5.
2 A. Yes, I've found it. Thank you.
3 Q. Now, as I understand it, as I understood your testimony earlier,
4 you did not know what those letters meant, the L/r, and the tt. And you
5 asked me to provide you with that information. Do you recall that?
6 A. I asked you what this abbreviation meant, although I have my own
7 opinions as to what it means. But yes, of course, I did ask you because I
8 wasn't quite clear on what the abbreviation stood for.
9 Q. Okay. Well, how about "line of development" for the L/r? Linija
10 razvoya. I believe that's -- I'm giving, taking a shot at it in your
11 language. R-a-z-v-o-y-a. Does that ring a bell?
12 A. Line of development, linija razvoya, doesn't mean, or line of
13 deployment of the --
14 Q. Or line of deployment. Is not that what this means?
15 A. Well, that could mean anything in actual fact, although it could
16 also mean the reconnaissance platoon of a brigade, one which had rocket
17 launchers, Mr. Karnavas. It could mean anything and everything. I really
18 don't know what this applies to.
19 Q. Okay. What about the "tt"? Does that not mean elevation point
20 or --
21 A. Yes, yes, trigonometry point or elevation point, yes, elevation
23 Q. Okay. Now that I refreshed your memory or rejuvenated it, isn't
24 it a fact, Mr. Nikolic, that a squad leader, a squad leader, would be able
25 to look at this, this order, read this line, and be able to interpret
1 that? Isn't that a fact?
2 A. Mr. Karnavas, the squad leader never receives an order. I don't
3 know whether he would be able to read this. But he doesn't get the order.
4 Q. Well, we do know one thing: The chief of intelligence and
5 security under oath here either claims not to be able to read an order or
6 just doesn't know how to read an order. That we do know for a fact, don't
7 we, Mr. Nikolic?
8 A. No, Mr. Karnavas. I didn't say I wasn't able to read the order,
9 nor did I say what you just now said. What I said was that I didn't have
10 an opportunity of seeing this particular order, and I did not know what
11 the tasks were which were defined within the frameworks of this order and
12 which related to me. That is what I said on countless occasions so far
13 here. And I repeat it again, and that is my answer.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll move on, Your Honour. I think I made the
16 Q. Now, yesterday you indicated --
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, I wanted to clear up one thing on
19 this order. There has been an implication on the Blagojevic order. That
20 order has never been seen by the Prosecution. I do not believe it was
21 part of the Prosecution collection. And if -- I know counsel is helping
22 us try to find where they got it. And at this point, I just wanted to
23 make that clear.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Well, Mr. McCloskey, I believe that you have a
25 chance to pursue this issue during your rebuttal period.
1 And Mr. Karnavas, before we leave this subject, could you tell us
2 the source of this document, I mean just to lay some foundation.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour as far as we know, and I've
4 communicated this to Mr. McCloskey himself, that he received him from him.
5 And we have been looking to try to find exactly in which of the disks.
6 We've received close to 5 million pages of documents. We have a Zylab
7 system, we are looking, Mr. McCloskey knows this, and he knows we are
8 acting in good faith, and I'm rather outraged that he would stand up here
9 and say he does not know where this came from or it didn't come from him.
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, it's useless to blame each other.
11 The issue is that we have to know the source. We have to know some basic
12 foundations of this document.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I could not agree with you more.
14 JUDGE LIU: And I hope after Court, you could do more research on
15 this issue before we finish with this witness.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: I will, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE LIU: And inform us about the source of this document.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: I will, Your Honour. And to repeat again, we have
19 been spent about three days -- I will spend the weekend looking for this.
20 We will try to find this within the disclosure material because we did not
21 get it from any other source, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE LIU: Are you going to tender it?
23 MR. KARNAVAS: I hope so. If I am going to tender it, I will need
24 to lay a foundation. I understand that, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: I am perfectly familiar with the Rules of Evidence
2 as they exist in the Tribunal. And I will lay a foundation if I cannot
3 find the source, but I am confident that we will be able to do that.
4 JUDGE LIU: I only hope my ruling won't ruin your weekend.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Your ruling will probably be after my weekend.
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes, you may move on.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. Mr. Nikolic, yesterday, you indicated that as far as you
9 understood, this order was still in existence on the 12th of July.
10 A. Well, of course the order was in existence. I assume throughout
11 the whole time because it was an order for combat action. I think that
12 was the title and heading. There weren't any others during that period of
13 time. Although perhaps there were. I really can't say.
14 Q. All right. Do you know whether the Bratunac Brigade received any
15 other orders, written orders, from the Drina Corps subsequent to the fall
16 of Srebrenica?
17 Let me rephrase. I withdraw the question. Why don't I show you a
18 document which we received from the Prosecution. It's dated July 13th.
19 And it comes from the Drina Corps. And if I can locate the identification
20 number here.
21 JUDGE LIU: Well, is that D28?
22 MR. KARNAVAS: That's right, Your Honour. That is correct. I
23 must be getting tired.
24 Q. If you could look at this order and see if you can recognise it or
25 read it.
1 A. Yes, I can, Mr. Karnavas.
2 Q. Do you know whether -- do you know what -- could you please
3 identify what the document is.
4 A. From the header, we can see that the document is being sent from
5 the command of the Drina Corps. It is marked "strictly confidential."
6 The date is the 13th of July, 1995. And it is an order which refers to
7 the search of terrain. It is an order, therefore. Then we have the names
8 of the brigades to which the order is issued. And further down in the
9 text, it says what is actually being ordered. "I hereby order..." And
10 the commander, as far as I can see, was General Krstic.
11 Q. Okay.
12 A. And under point 1, although it's a very poor copy, but he says:
13 "I hereby order, one, to the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade shall search
14 the terrain" and then it goes on to state which areas the search should be
15 conducted in. That would roughly be it.
16 Q. Thank you. Now, if I could show you what has been marked as D18/1
17 for identification purposes. Just take a look at it. That's dated 14
18 July 1995. If you could look at it, please, and when you...
19 A. I've taken a look at it, Mr. Karnavas.
20 Q. Thank you. If you could look at the bottom of the page, do you
21 recognise the signature?
22 A. What it says here is "Commander, Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic."
23 Q. Okay. And that's the same signature that's also on the earlier
24 order, is it not, on the July 5, 1995, same stamp, same signature?
25 A. I'm waiting for the question, Mr. Karnavas.
1 Q. I was waiting for the answer.
2 A. I haven't asked me anything.
3 Q. The question was, the signature that's at the bottom of the page
4 on the order of the 14th, is it not the same signature as the order on the
6 A. Well, you're now forcing me to guess.
7 Q. Don't guess.
8 A. And to analyse the signatures. As far as I remember, as far as I
9 remember, the signature is similar. As to the stamp, I can't really see
10 it properly, what it says. But there is a stamp, and there is a
11 signature, and it says: "Vidoje Blagojevic" which means -- I assume this
12 is his signature, plus this stamp on this document. Now, I'm not an
13 expert witness to be able to identify actual signatures and stamps.
14 Q. Okay. Now, if you look at the order itself of 14 July 1995, can
15 we assume or conclude that the order that was prepared by your commander
16 on the 14th July 1995 was based on the order that he had received from his
17 commander on the 13th of July 1995?
18 A. Mr. Karnavas, one could say that this order by the brigade
19 commander from the Bratunac Brigade dated the 14th of July, we could say
20 that it was based, it was founded on the order from the command of the
21 Drina Corps.
22 Q. Okay. Well, let's be a little more precise. The order from the
23 Drina Corps, as you will see on the -- the top left portion, it says:
24 "Strictly confidential, number 01/4-157/5." Do you see that?
25 A. Yes, I see that.
1 Q. And if we go now to the other document dated July 14th, which is
2 D18/1 for identification, it says on the first line: "On the basis of
3 strictly confidential order number 01/4-157/5." Are the numbers not the
5 A. That is correct, Mr. Karnavas -- it is correct, Mr. Karnavas, that
6 Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic, the brigade commander, is referring to the
7 order of the Drina Corps command, and the number it says here.
8 Q. Now, the Drina Corps has ordered your commander to search the
9 terrain, to search a particular area of terrain. Is that not right?
10 A. Yes, that's correct.
11 Q. And when you look at your commander's order, in fact, he does task
12 the 1st infantry battalion, the 2nd infantry battalion, the 3rd, and the
13 4th, does he not?
14 A. Yes, yes, that's what the order says.
15 Q. And I take it when you look at this order, paragraph 1, there are
16 some numbers and some letters and some trig points, I take it those are
17 references that one would find on a map, are they not?
18 A. Of course. Most of these places can be found on a map.
19 Q. And I take it Momir Nikolic, chief of intelligence and security,
20 would be able to find these points on the map, would he not?
21 A. Given the necessary time, yes.
22 Q. Okay. And the task has a particular completion date, does it not,
23 or an anticipated completion point, does it not?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. That completion date is 16 July 1995? Well, let me rephrase.
1 There are two dates, 16 July and 17 July 1995. The search is to
2 be completed by 16 July 1995, under paragraph 5, or at least that's what
3 it appears to say. Is that correct?
4 A. That's what it says.
5 Q. The starting point, this was issued on the 14th, they were to
6 commence immediately. Is that correct? Under point 5, search will --
7 A. "They were to commence immediately and complete by the 16th of
8 July 1995."
9 Q. That they would commence immediately and complete it by the 16th.
10 And then it has another date, the 17th, and that's when they would have
11 to report to their commander, your commander, that the task had indeed
12 been completed pursuant to his order dated 14 July 1995. Is that
14 A. Mr. Karnavas, it's all here in the order.
15 Q. I know it's here in the order. I want you to confirm it.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: That is inappropriate for him just to match and
19 mix. There's no point to that.
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, you have to ask a question to this
21 witness, whether he received this order or not, whether he knew of this
22 order at that time, or along this line.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: I will, Your Honour.
24 Q. Have you ever seen this order before when you were working as the
25 chief of intelligence and security of the Bratunac Brigade?
1 A. I did not receive this order, and it was never addressed to me
2 personally, at least as far as I can remember. I don't see anywhere in
3 this order that I was involved or the police platoon. I don't see why
4 there would have been a reason for this to be sent to the chief of the
6 Q. Were you aware as the chief of intelligence and security that an
7 order had been issued by your commander for the various battalions to
8 search the terrain pursuant to an order that had been issued by the corps
10 A. I'll answer the first part of your question first. I was aware of
11 the fact that brigade units, that is, battalions, were engaged in
12 searching the terrain throughout this period. I did not know at that
13 time, however, pursuant to which order, nor was I familiar with the
14 content of the order written by the commander and everything it says here.
15 The way this reads, these orders were sent directly to units participating
16 in the search. I knew about the units engaged in the -- in searching the
17 terrain. I did not pursuant to which specific order the commander had
18 issued this order. And I did not see this order prior to coming here and
19 receiving it as part of the package of documents that the Office of the
20 Prosecutor has provided me with.
21 Q. All right. Do you have any doubts as to the authenticity of this
22 order that was provided to us by the Prosecution?
23 A. I have no doubts about any of the documents presented by your side
24 or the Prosecution. I don't even wish to comment on that. All I can do
25 is offer my opinions. All I can do is answer questions, whether I
1 received something or not. But I can't be made to act as an expert here.
2 I'm not here to judge the authenticity of any documents. It's simply not
3 my job.
4 Q. Okay. Let's switch to another topic. You were asked a question
5 by the Prosecution whether there was a separate chain of command. Do you
6 recall being asked that question?
7 A. I recall the question the Prosecutor asked towards the end of
8 examination-in-chief, whether at one point there had been a takeover or
9 disturbance in the chain of command of the Bratunac Brigade. If I
10 remember correctly, that was the question in relation to a dispatch, if I
11 remember correctly, from the main staff about the appointment of three
12 officers, if I remember correctly. And I tried to answer that question.
13 What I said was that there was no disturbance to the chain of command in
14 the Bratunac Brigade. That's what I said, if that's what your question
15 was about.
16 Q. Mr. Nikolic, did you ever have to go around your own commander and
17 report directly to Popovic, Kosoric, or Beara, or whatever else you
18 thought you might need to report to?
19 A. I never had a need to go around any commander. I'm not speaking
20 only ever Commander Blagojevic. I never had a need to go around any
21 commander as for reporting on matters that were within my purview of
23 Q. Okay. So your answer is that you didn't have a need. My question
24 did you ever do it?
25 A. No. I didn't go around anyone. Whatever was defined as my task,
1 my responsibility, my duty from either of the areas that I was in charge
2 of, I never felt the need to go around any of the commanders in terms of
4 Q. All right. Under the rules -- well, let me ask you this: Have
5 you ever heard the term "counterintelligence"?
6 A. Of course.
7 Q. All right. Now, when you are engaged -- have you ever engaged in
8 any activities that could be characterised as counterintelligence? I'm
9 not asking for specifics, but if you could just tell us in general yes or
11 A. Mr. Karnavas, counterintelligence activity and counterintelligence
12 assessment means the uncovering, monitoring, and prevention of activity
13 carried out by elements or intelligence services of the enemy against your
14 unit, your command, your institution, individuals from your units or
15 buildings in which weaponry and equipment is stored. This is common
16 knowledge. Everything that concerns counterintelligence activity and work
17 or taking measures, taking counterintelligence measures, including the
18 drawing up of a counterintelligence assessment, all of this is done by the
19 organ within the unit.
20 I was constantly making these assessments. I was constantly
21 monitoring the activity of all those that I believed could have a
22 detrimental effect on my own unit.
23 Q. Okay. So the answer to my question is yes?
24 A. Yes, in this context that I was talking about now.
25 Q. All right. Now, when you were engaged in counterintelligence, in
1 your position as the chief of the security organ, are you required at all
2 times to inform your commander of your activities, or can you bypass your
3 commander, conduct your activities, and report to a superior command
4 through a separate chain of command?
5 A. Mr. Karnavas, there is no need for me to report to a superior
6 command through bypassing my own commander. These assessments, the
7 assessment of a potential threat or a potential enemy, group or
8 individual, I would file this away myself because this would pose an
9 immediate threat to my brigade, not to the corps command. We're talking
10 about the security and safety of my units. Why would I need to report
11 this to the corps command and bypass my own commander at the same time?
12 I assure you, there would have been no need for me to report this
13 to the corps command simply because an issue like this would have been of
14 interest first and foremost to the safety and security of my own unit.
15 This is a perfectly legal and usual task for a security organ. It
16 includes no secrets whatsoever.
17 Q. Were you ever issued orders from your superior command to conduct
18 counterintelligence activity? I'm not talking about gathering information
19 now. You're receiving an order, say, from Popovic or Beara for you to
20 conduct what would be characterised or what you would assess to be
21 counterintelligence activity.
22 A. There were no such orders that I received from Popovic or anyone
23 else in relation to anything like this.
24 Q. All right. Now, as I understand it from your testimony, maybe I
25 have it wrong, but I was under the impression that all the mail that comes
1 in to the Bratunac Brigade, even when directed to the security organ, it's
2 read by the commander before it gets to you.
3 A. Mr. Karnavas, I never said anything quite like that. What I said
4 is that all mail arriving in the form of orders, instructions,
5 announcements would be coded, received through the communications centre
6 in a coded form. These were daily telexes that would go to the
7 communications centre. After that, after that, there were regulations
8 describing how and to whom this mail should then be sent. The regulation
9 prescribes that all mail reaching the Bratunac Brigade command should be
10 sent to the commander directly and personally, and then he may, if he
11 pleases, go through it, see who the document is addressed to, and then the
12 mail would be distributed throughout the brigade.
13 Or the commander may choose to authorise someone else in the
14 command, the chief of staff, or the chief of operations and training to go
15 through the mail and set aside whatever they believed was of interest.
16 The commander may decide to entrust someone with this task, an officer
17 from the brigade command. Any officer might go to the communications
18 centre and tell the man working there, having received a telex for the
19 security and intelligence organ, they would tell them: "Take this
20 straight to Nikolic, leave it on his table." Or the assistant commander
21 for logistics, for example, the commander could always make certain
22 aberrations from the usual regulations concerning the incoming mail and
23 the distribution of this mail.
24 Q. Did the commander of the Bratunac Brigade open your mail, mail
25 that was addressed to you as head of the security?
1 A. I believe I said this, with the possible exception of one single
2 case, and it has been a long time so I hope I remember this correctly,
3 there was no need for me to receive my mail in an envelope. While Colonel
4 Blagojevic was there, as far as I can remember, I received no mail
5 whatsoever in envelopes. Those were the usual channels. While the
6 previous commander was there, I'm talking about Commander Ognjenovic,
7 there was one such case where I informed the corps command about a
8 suspicion I had that certain crimes had been committed by Commander
9 Ognjenovic, and then I received from the command --
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: Object. That was a specific answer to a specific
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes, let the witness finish first, Mr. Karnavas.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: For the record, it's not responsive.
14 JUDGE LIU: We can only judge that after we hear what the witness
15 is going to tell us. You may continue, Mr. Nikolic.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So Mr. Karnavas, it only happened
17 once that I needed to use this method, as I said in my testimony, when
18 there was -- there were grounds to suspect that the brigade commander had
19 committed a criminal offence or that he was involved in some form of
20 criminal activity. And if you received authorisation from the corps
21 command to continue to gather intelligence concerning these crimes, then
22 this mail coming and going then the mutual reports between you and the
23 superior command -- between me and the superior command in this case would
24 travel in sealed envelopes addressed to the chief of security of the Drina
25 Corps, and no one opened this mail.
1 The consequence of my work, of my work on this specific case was
2 that the brigade commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Ognjenovic, following an
3 investigation by the main staff was removed from his post. It was proven
4 that my suspicion had been well founded, my suspicion about him having
5 committed a criminal offence.
6 MR. KARNAVAS:
7 Q. Mr. Nikolic, listen to the question: Did the brigade commander
8 have the right to open your mail? Yes or no?
9 A. The brigade commander did not have the authority to open my mail,
10 mail that was addressed to me, sealed across, addressed personally to
11 Momir Nikolic, chief of intelligence and security. As for all the rest,
12 as for normal, everyday mail, it wasn't even closed. So Commander
13 Blagojevic had -- would have an opportunity to familiarise himself with
14 everything else that was addressed the same way.
15 Q. Were you required to show your commander - and I'm not talking
16 about Colonel Blagojevic, any commander - were you required to share all
17 of your reports with your commander, your immediate commander, before
18 sending them off to Beara or Popovic?
19 A. Mr. Karnavas, as for my regular daily reports, usually the
20 commanders at my brigade didn't insist on these reports being brought to
21 them personally for them to review them. What I know is that the
22 commanders I worked with had sufficient confidence in my work. They were
23 always fully informed about my reports to the superior command whenever
24 security and intelligence information was involved, or anything else for
25 that matter.
1 Q. So my question was were you required to show your commander your
2 reports before sending them up to the Drina Corps security, or even
3 further higher? Were you required at all times? Yes or no?
4 A. Mr. Karnavas, under the law, my obligation was to show the
5 commander the report, but this was not the established practice because
6 the commanders did not insist on me showing them my reports. They didn't
7 always request that, not all the commanders were the same.
8 Q. Let me rephrase the question. Did all of the information that you
9 passed on to your superior commanders in the security organ, did you pass
10 all of that information to your commander or commanders, since you went
11 through quite a few of them, at all times prior to sending that
12 information either orally or in a report to the Drina Corps?
13 A. Mr. Karnavas, again, you've asked me countless questions like
14 this. As a rule, or rather, almost never, you never forwarded oral
15 reports to the corps commander or the superior command. If you write up a
16 report, then that's a written report to the corps command. So that was
17 your first question, if I remember.
18 The next question, you asked if I got it right whether I informed
19 both the commander and the corps command about all the information I
20 received. If the commander requests to review a report that I'm sending
21 in writing, it means that the commander gets an opportunity to see what I
22 write and what I sign. That's, I believe, what you asked me. Now, as for
23 selective reports, now for the commander and now for the Drina Corps,
24 there were no such things. I'd report on the day's activity to the
25 commander and throughout the evening. That was the usual way to perform
1 these tasks.
2 Q. All right. So based on your answer, if your commander wished to
3 see your report, he would have to ask you to share that report -- for you
4 to share that report with him before you send it up to the Drina Corps.
5 That's your answer?
6 A. No, no, Mr. Karnavas. That's your answer. My answer, Mr.
7 Karnavas, is the following: The commander has no reason to request
8 anything from me; rather, he gives me an order and he says: "Captain
9 Nikolic, as of today, before you send another report to the Drina Corps,
10 every report you send must be brought and left on my table first. That's
11 on order." If he tells me: "Captain Nikolic, you are free to send on
12 security reports to the Drina Corps command" and then two or three days
13 later, whenever there's a briefing, then you inform me" then that's what I
14 do. What I do depends on the commander. Not on me. I know there's a
15 rule it's my obligation to inform the commander about everything, but as
16 for the mode or rather the method as to how I was to inform him, that was
17 something decided by the commander, not by me.
18 Q. Are you familiar with an instruction that was drafted, signed --
19 make sure I got the title right- "Commander Lieutenant-General Ratko
20 Mladic" dated October 24th, 1994, with respect to the management and
21 command of security intelligence agencies of the Republika Srpska army.
22 Are you familiar with that instruction?
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: If specific documents are going to be referenced,
25 if we could see that or have a copy of it.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: We're going to be getting it. I was just merely
2 asking the question if he had ever heard of it.
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Obviously we're going to be providing it to him and
5 to Mr. McCloskey from whom we received it.
6 MR. McCLOSKEY: Again, just to clarify the record, this doesn't
7 have any ERN numbers on it. And we'll work with Mr. Karnavas to figure
8 out where it came from. But it's not a document that I'm familiar with.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, if he were to look at the original
10 version, Mr. McCloskey's not familiar with it because obviously he didn't
11 read the document because it's in Serbian and to be translated. This is
12 our translation. But we received this, and I believe the document has
13 some numbers on it, DAO1-0961.
14 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, it's very late and everybody's
15 tired. Are you going to proceed on this document? Or we stop here? It
16 depends on you. How long are you going to use for this document?
17 MR. KARNAVAS: I think this document is going to take some time,
18 Your Honour. So --
19 JUDGE LIU: So could we break now?
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Absolutely. I just wanted to, like, get it in.
21 But I think this would be a very good time.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: I just wanted to clear up, this number that Mr.
24 Karnavas has referred to is not an ERN number but it is a number that we
25 do recognise from one of your collections. So he has helped us out on
1 that reference, and we'll be able to find it, I'm sorry.
2 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: We're not playing any games, Your Honour. We're
4 just doing our best, doing our best.
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes, yes.
6 Well, shall we resume next Monday morning, 9.00 in the same
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes, the hearing is adjourned.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
11 at 4.31 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
12 the 29th day of September, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.