1 Wednesday, 1 October 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Court Deputy, call the case, please.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is Case Number
7 IT-02-60-T, The Prosecutor versus Vidoje Blagojevic and Dragan Jokic.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. Good morning, ladies and
9 gentlemen. We were told that the counsel would like to bring some matters
10 to the attention of this Bench.
11 Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour. At the conclusion of
13 yesterday Mr. McCloskey informed me that when during the debriefing
14 sessions of Mr. Deronjic who yesterday pled out, he entered a plea of
15 guilty, and obviously until that point in time I would suspect that the
16 Prosecution would not be able to provide us with any material as a result
17 of those debriefings. But it was brought do Mr. McCloskey's attention
18 that during the debriefing on the evening of the 13th of July, 1995, the
19 famous meeting between Deronjic, Beara, and allegedly Mr. Nikolic, which
20 he has indicated, Mr. Deronjic has indicated that Mr. Nikolic was not
22 Now, I have not seen the material. This was a representation made
23 to me by Mr. McCloskey who also indicated to me has not seen the material.
24 So I would if it would be possible for Your Honours to get that
25 information, and if it does exist, I don't wish to reopen cross, but
1 perhaps a question from the Bench may be worth asking the witness, who is
2 under oath, as to whether indeed he was there and how can he account for
3 Mr. Deronjic's version who obviously knew in advance what Mr. Nikolic had
4 agreed to in his statement of facts because it has been widely publicised.
5 And I think this is a critical issue.
6 And again, I wish to point out that from the disclosure material
7 that we have provided, it is obviously that a meeting took place between
8 Deronjic and Beara. The disclosure material does reflect that. And it
9 fits into what I believe is the confabulation process of taking part facts
10 and adding fiction to bolster his own importance and perhaps make himself
11 a more pleasing, shall I put it that way, cooperative witness for the
12 Prosecution in exchange for a lenient sentence. Thank you.
13 JUDGE LIU: First of all, Mr. Karnavas, we do not know if
14 Mr. Deronjic is going to be a witness in our case. We don't know yet.
15 Secondly, we have not received any information about that debriefing
16 session, let alone the contents of that debriefing session. Maybe we
17 could turn to Mr. McCloskey who could shed some light on this issue.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President. When we get a moment, we will
19 get the debriefing material together and provide it to counsel and
20 everyone. That process is -- assembling it is underway. It's a lot of
21 material, and we're trying to identify the material from 1995.
22 What I told Mr. Karnavas yesterday was my recollections of one of
23 the things that he said that may be contradictory somewhat to some of the
24 testimony as my obligation under Rule 68. It was something to the effect
25 that he didn't think he was there, he might have been there, wasn't there.
1 Went around in that kind of tone, and I think Mr. Karnavas is right, we do
2 need to get the material to see precisely what he said.
3 So I was sort of informally meeting my Rule 68 obligation as I
4 recalled one thing. There may be others. And we will get that material -
5 they're working on it now - hopefully by the end of the day. And as I
6 mentioned, if there's something in there obviously that is relevant for
7 cross-examination, we have no objection to bringing Mr. Nikolic back. And
8 we're deciding on whether he's going to be a witness. I think so. I
9 think he's obviously a historical figure that I think the Court should
10 see. I don't have the energy for him right now, but we'll put him on
11 soon, I believe, and we'll make that official and make the filings as is
12 appropriate. But I would lean towards yes at this point.
13 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
14 Well, Mr. Karnavas, we could mention that meeting, but we have to
15 base our questions on the materials at our hands. We could not base any
16 information on the hearsay evidence. We'll see, you know, how it goes.
18 Is there anything --
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Ms. Sinatra.
21 MS. SINATRA: Yes, Your Honour, this morning I filed a letter with
22 the Court confidentially providing the proofing notes that the motion for
23 continuance of live testimony was based upon. And I just would ask the
24 Court now that you have that evidence before you, to reconsider the motion
25 to continue the testimony of Mr. Obrenovic. And as you review this
1 document, you'll see that it differs from what the Prosecutor held out
2 yesterday as the evidence toward Mr. Obrenovic. I'd like to the Court
3 please to look at -- I think it's page 4. There's no numbers there. But
4 the page that begins, "Regarding the documents handled handed over to the
5 Office of the Prosecutor on 2 June 2003 by Dragan Obrenovic" it's only a
6 page and a half. And once again, I would ask you to reconsider the
7 decision that you made yesterday, if you would, please.
8 JUDGE LIU: Well, Ms. Sinatra, yesterday I believe we said clearly
9 that the reason for us to deny your motion is that your motion did not
10 provide us with sufficient evidence to constitute some prima facie case
11 for us to act otherwise, the other way around. And so we made a decision
12 to continue the proceedings today. But if you have some evidence, if you
13 have a good cause, of course, we'll consider it. But we have made a
14 decision that we'll continue the proceedings under the condition that you
15 have the right to call him back in the future time.
16 Please give us some time for us to study your documents.
17 MS. SINATRA: Yes, Your Honour, I will. And you are quite
18 correct. You didn't have this evidence before you, so it sheds a new
19 light on the motion. And I appreciate you reviewing this document and
20 withholding a ruling until later on today. I would like to urge the Court
21 to issue a ruling before Mr. Obrenovic takes the stand on this issue
22 simply because we need, I guess, an order from the Court or some vehicle
23 for Mr. Stojanovic to not just have a cursory review of the documents that
24 are in the Office of the Prosecutor. But he needs some time to go through
25 them. We need to ascertain how many documents need to be translated and
1 get that procedure underway as soon as possible. He only had one hour to
2 review hundreds of documents which he chose 70 out of that might be
3 relevant, but that was without reading the documents in total, and we
4 would like to have time to review the evidence that is in the custody of
5 the Prosecutor at the moment.
6 JUDGE LIU: Well, Ms. Sinatra, I think we'll continue the
7 proceedings today, and I give the opportunity to revisit this issue in the
8 future. So I don't think you are in the disadvantaged position. But we
9 have to finish that witness.
10 MS. SINATRA: Mr. Nikolic or Mr. Obrenovic?
11 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Obrenovic.
12 MS. SINATRA: Then I would ask the Court to stay the proceedings
13 and allow us to file an immediate request for certification for appeal of
14 this decision, and I have the document. I can file it at the next break,
15 Your Honour.
16 JUDGE LIU: Well, if you're not satisfied with our decision, of
17 course you may appeal. But I don't think there's sufficient reason to
19 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour, our argument, of course, is that just
20 being able to object to the testimony that Mr. Obrenovic is offering has
21 to be an informed and effective representation of Mr. Jokic. And without
22 the documentation which of course at this point could not be translated,
23 to put Mr. Obrenovic on the stand pre-emptively before we have the
24 evidence to review and before we can even investigate the new 19 pages of
25 debriefing that the Prosecutor has just disclosed to us, I think that
1 although we're listening to his testimony, we have to be prepared to
2 object. We don't know whether it's authentic. We don't know whether
3 there's other issues that he's relying upon until we've reviewed the
4 documents. So I understand the Court's rationale; hear him on direct and
5 then we'll deal with it before the cross starts. But I do believe that
6 the fact that you haven't had the evidence, we don't have any translations
7 and we have new pages that need to be investigated affect the ability to
8 object during the direct examination also.
9 JUDGE LIU: Well, whether you're going to appeal or not, that is
10 your right. I don't believe that the Trial Chamber has anything to say on
11 that. But I have to say that pending the decisions of the appeal, we'll
12 continue to hear Mr. Obrenovic because we believe that your right is still
13 intact since we give you the opportunity to revisit this issue at a later
15 MS. SINATRA: Okay. I understand the Court's ruling.
16 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
17 MS. SINATRA: But I would like for you to reconsider the motion in
18 light of the evidence that's presented to you at another time today.
19 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
20 MS. SINATRA: Thank you.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, the proofing notes in question were
23 provided to everyone on Friday, including the Court. I assume that was
24 well known to everyone based on my statements yesterday. So that -- what
25 she has provided is not new. Everyone has had that since Friday. And
1 again, there's no indication in those proofing notes of any conspiracy.
2 But we also will, if they will work with us to identify whatever they want
3 translated, we'll see to it that that material gets translated as soon as
4 possible. But the vast majority of it has already been translated, but we
5 will work with them to get that material translated.
6 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much for your cooperation.
7 Well, another issue is that yesterday Mr. Blagojevic made a
8 request to raise some questions to Mr. Nikolic. We looked into the Rules
9 of Procedure and Evidence as well as the jurisprudence and the practice of
10 this Tribunal. We believe that since the accused has the counsel to
11 defend his interests, there is no need for him to represent himself again,
12 that is, to ask any questions directly to the witness. That will cause
13 very complicated procedural problems. At the same time, we also recognise
14 that this witness is a very important witness detrimental to his case. So
15 this Bench tentatively suggests two ways to deal with this issue: The
16 first one is that Mr. Blagojevic could write down all the questions and
17 pass that piece of paper to his counsel and ask his counsel to read it out
18 word for word, which means that there should be no change of the contents
19 of the question. The second approach is that according to the rules, the
20 accused has the right to make a statement. If Mr. Blagojevic would like
21 to make a statement, he may do so with the understanding that he won't
22 really give up his right of remaining silent. And this statement is not
23 under oath and should not be cross-examined by the Prosecution.
24 Mr. Blagojevic.
25 THE ACCUSED BLAGOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
1 JUDGE LIU: What do you think of our suggestions?
2 THE ACCUSED BLAGOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, to be quite
3 frank, I had expected you to allow me to put several questions of a very
4 practical matter to the witness. Taking into consideration all the
5 circumstances that surround me, essentially not through any basic fault of
6 mine, I was put in this position by others. And it appears that I will
7 have to continue struggling for the truth, which is what I want to do. My
8 position continues to be clear. Mr. Karnavas is not my counsel, and he's
9 not defending me in this case. I have no contact with him. He brought
10 here - I don't want to offend anyone - I brought here a -- he brought here
11 a person who will prepare the material for cross-examination who is not
12 qualified for this. So everything is being devalued and geared to his own
13 personal interests, which I'm unable to identify. But in any event, this
14 is to the detriment and weakening of my position. I don't think that my
15 asking a few practical questions to Mr. Nikolic would not cause any
16 problems. They would be designed simply to clear up the overall situation
17 which cannot, by reading documents or by any statement of mine, be brought
18 to life in the way in which that would be possible if I were to be allowed
19 to put him -- some questions to him.
20 He cannot avoid answering if I were to do that. So I appeal to
21 you, Your Honours. I have a very profound interest in the truth being
22 established. I think that I will testify in these proceedings, but I
23 don't know how. Under these circumstances, I don't see how I can. I do
24 wish to testify. I do wish to convey my understanding of the situation
25 and my role in it in the interest of truth so that you would have that
1 point of view to consider as well for establishing the truth.
2 What I've heard here so far I think is of such a scope that would
3 warrant my participation, that would benefit all, and would throw light on
4 my situation, my position, my commanding and my work in that critical
5 period. That is why I appeal to you to allow me to do this because
6 Mr. Karnavas has betrayed my faith. I never knew him before we met in the
7 Detention Unit. I showed him 1.000 per cent trust and confidence. He has
8 betrayed that, and he's brought me in a situation when I have to decide to
9 trust him or not. I have decided not to trust him, that he's decided to
10 play around with me, and no one can do that. And that trust cannot be
11 restored in the way he thinks he can restore it, by playing around with
13 So I appeal to you once again, allow me to put a couple of
14 practical questions to the witness.
15 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Blagojevic, I believe that this Bench has
16 travelled X miles to help you help yourself. You have to understand, we
17 asked you to put your question on a piece of paper and ask somebody to
18 read it out. It's a way to give you a chance to ask questions. The
19 difference is it's not asked by yourself but by somebody else.
20 THE ACCUSED BLAGOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, please, I'm
21 sorry for interrupting you. That was not my intention. Allow me, I have
22 prepared that. There's no problems with that respect. I don't want to
23 make any uncontrolled statements. I want to put my thoughts in order.
24 But I appeal to you for this possibility, I don't wish to tire you out.
25 Let me tell you this, I don't need to ask the witness because I have to
1 tell the truth. I have to address you when I feel that I have to deal
2 with something, when it is very hard for me. I do wish to address this
3 Honourable Court with these words. Now, whether you will ask him these
4 questions, whether he will answer them or not. It's up to you to decide.
5 I don't need to put the questions directly to the witness. I just wish to
6 bring forth something that I feel I have to do without entering into any
7 legal complications because these are things that I do not understand, of
9 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Blagojevic, I believe that the rule gave you
10 the right to make a statement at any time you feel proper, and there's
11 still an opportunity for you to be a witness, to testify before this
12 Court. This is a Tribunal. We have the Rules of Procedures. We have to
13 do everything in accordance with those rules and procedures. As for the
14 counsel issue, the Appeals Chamber has made a decision already. No matter
15 we like it or not, we have to comply with it. I think we should put this
16 matter behind. There's no way for us to do at this moment.
17 If you want directly ask some questions to the witness, I have to
18 say that I'm sorry about that.
19 THE ACCUSED BLAGOJEVIC: [Interpretation] I'm afraid I didn't
20 understand you, Your Honour. I just heard that you said that if I want to
21 ask some questions directly to the witness, I'm sorry about that. That is
22 the part I heard in translation.
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes. I mean that you could not directly ask questions
24 to the witness.
25 THE ACCUSED BLAGOJEVIC: [Interpretation] I wish to address Your
1 Honours, to address the Court, to present my reactions regarding my
2 position and in the interest of truth, which I wish to be established.
3 JUDGE LIU: So you want to make a statement, if I understand you
5 THE ACCUSED BLAGOJEVIC: [Interpretation] I don't know, Your
6 Honour, what a statement means. I don't know what that means. I just
7 thought I would convey what I had intended to say in response to the
8 examination-in-chief and the cross-examination of this witness.
9 JUDGE LIU: Well, of course you may make a statement, but I have
10 to tell you that anything in the statement you are going to make will be
11 used against you in the future. There's a possibility for that. You have
12 to understand that. If you have counsel, the counsel will tell you what
13 is the right of silence and what are the consequences of making a
14 statement. Do you understand that?
15 THE ACCUSED BLAGOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, that is what I said,
16 that I don't understand the implications of a statement. But I wanted to
17 say what I thought was of essential significance for my position, nothing
18 more than that. If I can't ask the witness any questions, I just wanted
19 to ask you to give me the opportunity to tell you what I had in mind.
20 Because this is very important for me. I think that I need to prove my
21 innocence in this Court, and I will do so to the best of my ability and as
22 far as my intellect allows me to do.
23 JUDGE LIU: Well, you may make a statement, Mr. Blagojevic. And
24 you don't have to prove your innocence because you are innocent.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Blagojevic, you may make a statement, and
2 we'll call the witness in. I think the witness is also entitled to hear
3 what you are going to say.
4 You may sit down for a moment.
5 THE ACCUSED BLAGOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
7 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, I don't know. I don't want to
8 complicate this, but is there any way for counsel and the client to
9 consult on this matter? I have no objection. I think your ideas are
10 great. I just -- seems like we're -- that would be ideal, or he could
11 refuse on the record, then we would know what he wished on that score.
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, I believe that I've explained to Mr. Blagojevic
13 very clear what are the consequences of making a statement; that is, he
14 somehow gave up his right of silence. Anything he says may be used as
15 evidence against him in this case or may be quoted by other cases as
17 Mr. Blagojevic, do you understand that?
18 THE ACCUSED BLAGOJEVIC: [Interpretation] I do absolutely, Your
19 Honour. I understand fully.
20 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Thank you.
21 So could we have the witness.
22 [The witness entered court]
23 JUDGE LIU: Good morning, Mr. Nikolic.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE LIU: I'm sorry for the delay this morning, because we had
1 some procedural matters to discuss.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am here to wait.
3 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Blagojevic made a request to make a
4 statement to address to the Bench, to the Judges. And his request is
5 permitted by this Chamber. He will make a statement addressed to us. We
6 would like you to hear this statement, but -- but you have no right to
7 raise any questions and make any comments. Do you understand that?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. Mr. Blagojevic, you may do so.
10 You may sit down. You may sit down, please. You may sit down while
11 making your statement.
12 THE ACCUSED BLAGOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
13 WITNESS: MOMIR NIKOLIC [Resumed]
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 THE ACCUSED BLAGOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I shall try
16 to adjust these notes in view of the fact that I am addressing you. So I
17 am interested in learning in which form the information was conveyed from
18 the command of the 2nd Light Infantry Brigade regarding the number of
19 able-bodied Muslim men in the Potocari region on the 11th of July 1995.
20 When I say "in what form," I mean was this information in writing or
21 orally conveyed?
22 After that, I'm also interested in hearing when, what time of day,
23 was the witness, that is, Mr. Momir Nikolic, conveyed that information.
24 When did he receive it?
25 My next query is who conveyed this information to the witness from
1 the command of the 2nd Light Infantry Brigade. Rank, name, and position
2 of that person.
3 My next query: Where was that information archived, if it was in
4 written form? So what happened to it after it was received?
5 Also, I would like to know which person was in charge of
6 intelligence and security affairs in the command of the 2nd Light Infantry
7 Battalion on that day, that is, on the 11th of July 1995. Rank, first,
8 and last name.
9 My next query is whether the chief of the intelligence and
10 security organ in the 1st Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade throughout the
11 duration of my being in command of that same brigade, including in July
12 1995, so whether the chief of the intelligence and security organ knows
13 that he was never on the list of operations duty in the brigade. He was
14 never listed as a duty operations officer.
15 I would also like to know whether the chief of the intelligence
16 and security organ in the 1st Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade knows that
17 throughout the duration of my command of the 1st Bratunac Light Infantry
18 Brigade he had his own duty based on his own plan outside the list of
19 operations duty in the brigade.
20 And when we have these two facts in mind, I would like to know who
21 ordered Mr. Momir Nikolic to be the duty officer on the night between the
22 12th and 13th July 1995, and when this order was delivered.
23 My next question which I would like the witness who testified in
24 this Honourable Chamber to respond to, and I will use his own term because
25 in those days, in the period which such great significance is being
1 attached to, so I'm going to use his term, the term of coordination. So
2 my question is, and I'm using the witness's term, who did you coordinate
3 on the 12th of July and the 13th of July, 1995 in Potocari among the
4 officers of the command of the 1st Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade, rank,
5 first, and last name, and duty. Furthermore, whose activities did you
6 coordinate on the 12th and 13th of July 1995 in Potocari of the officers
7 of the 2nd Light Infantry Battalion.
8 My next question, or rather what I would be interested in learning
9 about, whose activities did you coordinate on the 12th and 13th of July
10 1995 in Potocari of the officers of the command of the 3rd Light Infantry
11 Battalion? Who were you the coordinator of in Potocari from the military
12 police platoon on the 12th and 13th of July, 1995? Further, in your
13 testimony in this Honourable Tribunal, the witness said that on the 12th
14 and 13th of July, 1995, the engagement of the military platoon -- military
15 police platoon, one squad was securing General Mladic. They even went to
16 Zepa with him. One squad provided security for members of UNPROFOR in the
17 secondary school centre. One squad was securing the command of the 1st
18 Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade, plus they were engaged at the yellow
19 bridge checkpoint, plus providing security for the Fontana Hotel. He
20 testified that this platoon numbered some 30 or so soldiers, 30 soldiers.
21 I would like to know how is it possible in Potocari on the 12th
22 and 13th of July 1995 there could be 10, 12, to 15 military policemen from
23 the military police platoon of the 1st Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade as
24 testified to before this Honourable Tribunal.
25 I would also like to know, the witness testified in this Court
1 that he subsequently investigated and found out that participating in the
2 mass execution of captured Muslims in the warehouse in the village of
3 Kravica on the 13th of July 1995 in the afternoon, that participating in
4 that execution were two soldiers, members of the Bratunac Light Infantry
5 Brigade and who were locals from the village of Kravica, or what he called
6 the local commune of Kravica. I would like to know if Mr. Momir Nikolic
7 knows their names, their first and last names, and which lower unit they
8 belonged to within the framework of the 1st Bratunac Brigade. I'm talking
9 about these two soldiers.
10 Before this Honourable Trial Chamber, the witness testified that
11 the order to rebury the victims in Glogova was received by
12 Lieutenant-Colonel Vujadin Popovic, chief of security of the Drina Corps
13 and that this order was conveyed to him orally. I would like to know when
14 exactly he received such an order. Where was he when he received that
15 order? How was that order conveyed to him? Was it in personal contact,
16 through communication devices, by courier, or by some other means?
17 He also said that he briefed the commander of the 1st Bratunac
18 Brigade, Colonel Blagojevic, about this. That is, he informed me. I
19 would like to know when this happened, when he did that, the time, the
20 date. Where he did that. Under which circumstances that occurred, that
21 is, was it a briefing, a command meeting, or under some other
22 circumstances? And I would also like to know whether he passed --
23 allegedly passed this on only to me.
24 And I could select any date, but I'll select one particular one,
25 and I'm asking Mr. Nikolic, is he 100 per cent sure that he met with me
1 and that he allegedly informed me on the 12th of July in the period from
2 20 to 2100 hours in my office in the headquarters of the 1st Bratunac
3 Light Infantry Brigade?
4 Your Honours, thank you. What I wanted to say to Your Honours I
5 have been able to do and that brings to an end this list of my queries.
6 Thank you.
7 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much, Mr. Blagojevic. I shouldn't make
8 any comments on your statement, but I think some questions you raised are
9 also the questions in our mind.
10 Well, we'll continue the proceedings. Mr. McCloskey, your
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President. And I hope you don't
13 mind if I take some cues from Mr. Blagojevic and ask some of those
14 questions on redirect.
15 JUDGE LIU: That's your decision. It's your redirect.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 First of all, if we could go to Exhibit P107, an intercept from 13
18 July. And if we could give the witness the B/C/S version and put the
19 second page of that intercept on the ELMO.
20 Re-examined by Mr. McCloskey:
21 Q. Mr. Nikolic, you mentioned in your cross-examination that there
22 was an indication in this intercept that --
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Lack of foundation, Your Honour. There's a lack of
25 foundation with respect to this particular piece of evidence. The
1 Prosecutor needs to lay a foundation, whether this witness is competent to
2 comment on a conversation that occurred with two other individuals and not
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, I believe that the piece of
5 document was used in the direct examination, and there are some questions
6 asked to this witness, and this witness answered that his name was
7 mentioned in that piece of evidence.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: I agree with you, Your Honour. But at this point
9 he's being asked to interpret what two other people are talking about. We
10 do know from the witness list, I believe, that one of the speakers on that
11 intercept will be here to testify. And that matter should be clarified
12 through him and not through Mr. Nikolic who is going to be speculating as
13 to what these two individuals were discussing. Thank you.
14 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, I agree with you in certain parts
15 of your intervention, but we could not call Mr. Nikolic again just for
16 this piece of documents in the future. So I'll ask Mr. McCloskey to
17 proceed while bearing your objections in mind on this particular issue.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE LIU: You may proceed.
20 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you.
21 Q. Do you recall testifying in response to Defence counsel's
22 questions on cross-examination regarding whether or not you had knowledge
23 relating to -- whether your commander met with superior commanders? Do
24 you remember those questions on cross?
25 A. Yes, I do remember, Mr. Prosecutor.
1 Q. You made a reference in answering Mr. Karnavas that there was an
2 intercept that indicated information on that subject. Is this the
3 intercept that you were talking about?
4 A. Yes, this is the intercept that I spoke about during the
6 Q. Can you be specific now? What in this intercept were you
7 referring to in responding to Mr. Karnavas's question about your commander
8 meeting with superiors?
9 A. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor. On page 2 of this intercept, there is a
10 question: "Where is your commander?" And then what follows is:
11 "Please, where is your boss?" "Up there, with the people from up there."
12 That's the part I meant. Colonel Blagojevic is Jankovic's commander. He
13 is up there, and what is up there is the office where he is. And now with
14 who from up there? I interpret this as the superior from the superior
15 command. That was my answer, and that is my interpretation now.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 Now if we could go to the Defence Exhibit D21/1 -- sorry, D22/1.
18 That is the October 24th, 1994, order from Mladic. You could put the
19 B/C/S in front of the witness. And now I would provide the Court with
20 what we have in consultation with Mr. Karnavas marked D21/1 bis, which is
21 the revised English version of the translation. If you recall Defence had
22 their own version, and we have been able to now get an English version,
23 and there's no major indication at this point of any major difference.
24 But since this is the official version, I thought it would be a good idea
25 to use it.
1 Now, in paragraph 1 of this document, it talks about the field
2 work of the VRS security and intelligence organs primarily includes
3 intelligence and counterintelligence tasks which depending on the
4 situation make up about 80 per cent of their total engagement. Then it
5 says the remaining 20 per cent of their engagement consists of
6 administrative and staff, military police, and criminal/legal tasks and
7 duties. So your duties on the 12th and 13th, did they involve the
8 military police and prisoners?
9 A. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor. They did include that on the 12th, that is
10 to say, military police duties and also professional leadership over the
11 military police.
12 Q. All right. Now you've used this term "professional leadership."
13 And let me go to paragraph 2 of this and ask you a question about that.
14 We in the first sentence see: "The security and intelligence organs are
15 directly commanded by the commander of the unit or institution of which
16 they form part."
17 Now, that is basically right out of the rules that we've already
18 gone over, that first sentence, isn't it?
19 A. Yes, yes.
20 Q. And then it says: "But with regard to professional activities,
21 they are controlled centrally by the security and intelligence organs of
22 the superior command. This indicates their full independence in the
23 implementation of intelligence and counterintelligence tasks and operative
24 combinations based on the authority set forth in the law and the authority
25 of the appropriate superior organs of the service in applying methods and
1 means of work, in accordance with the law."
2 Are the various -- let me -- you have spoken at length at this
3 point about what you felt were your professional responsibilities related
4 to your task. Can you briefly explain to us again what you mean by those
5 professional responsibilities, how they relate to your superior command,
6 so we can understand how they are different from the other work of the
7 security branch, if they are.
8 A. To put it briefly, from a professional point of view, the superior
9 authorities of the security and intelligence organs, say in the Drina
10 Corps, are manifested in the following way: By carrying out first of all
11 this military or specialist training that pertains to security and
12 intelligence matters. Then, what is carried out is approval, giving
13 approval or asking a subordinate to do something in relation to the
14 application of certain methods related to the security organs in their
15 work. So that is how these organs are instructed, that is to say, the
16 organs in the subordinate unit. This is what the superior command does.
17 Then what is suggested is the formation of certain professional
18 organs pertaining to intelligence in relation to collecting intelligence,
19 establishing certain groups, observation points, consultations from that
20 point of view, in relation to the area of responsibility, its specific
21 characteristics, et cetera. However, in principle, the only specific
22 characteristic, the only thing with regard to which the security organ is
23 fully independent and is related to the superior security organ is a
24 request, and everything that has to do with the application and approval
25 of certain methods of work of security organs when carrying out this work
1 actually. Because the security organ in a subordinate command, say, the
2 Bratunac Brigade, does not have the right to introduce certain methods or
3 to apply certain methods in its work before putting a request to the
4 superior security organ, and then this submits a request to a service,
5 ministry, secretariat, et cetera. They come up with their own request in
6 this respect, and then they retroactively give an answer to the
7 subordinate command that sought the request in the first place.
8 So that is the post that comes in envelopes, sealed envelopes,
9 that comes to the security organ personally. It is not the commander or
10 anybody else in the unit that can open this mail. This is a specific
11 characteristic, and this is where there was always confusion quite simply
12 because commanders did not want to understand or could not understand that
13 the application of such methods is approved by the organ. And this is
14 regulated by the rules of service. Now at which level, who approves this,
15 and how, they simply could not live with that, that this mail could not be
16 looked at, that this is a secret, and that is the method of work of the
17 security organs. This would be it in the briefest possible terms.
18 Q. Did Colonel Jankovic or Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic or
19 General Mladic ever tell you to keep the operation to murder the Muslim
20 men secret from your commander?
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, if I may object here for a second.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: I don't believe that the gentleman indicated that
24 he ever spoke with -- well, I retract that. I withdraw the objection. I
1 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY:
3 Q. Let me try that again, or do you understand the question?
4 A. Yes, yes. Mr. Prosecutor, I never received from a superior
5 commander, and also in this case, any order or suggestion that with regard
6 to questions that pertained to my own tasks, to the Bratunac Brigade, to
7 the area of responsibility of the Bratunac Brigade, that I should keep
8 this a secret. I can say to you now -- I mean, I have a document here in
9 front of me that I received from the Prosecution where one can see quite
10 clearly everything that I did. That was in my safe, and also what I left
11 in my safe after I had left. So this communication can be seen quite
12 clearly, how I worked, what I did, and the public nature of my work, and
13 also keeping everything in compliance with the rules of service in the
14 Bratunac Brigade.
15 Q. Would it make any sense for the superior command to keep this
16 secret from Mr. Blagojevic?
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection. Calls for speculation.
18 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, maybe you have to rephrase your
20 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. What would be the military -- the consequences of the units that
22 you've described, the elements of the military police, elements of the 2nd
23 and 3rd Battalion, what would be the consequence of those units being used
24 for this operation for two days, three days including the 14th, of the
25 military police, what would be the consequences for the use of those -- if
1 those units were used without the knowledge of your commander?
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Again, I'm going to object at this point, Your
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: These are the fundamental issues of the case. If
5 counsel doesn't want to get to them, I think there's enough evidence --
6 MR. KARNAVAS: I object to the commenting of the Prosecutor.
7 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, maybe you could break your
8 question up, establish it step by step, and then come to this final
10 MR. McCLOSKEY:
11 Q. Military police were used for three days minimum for a murder
12 operation of this sort --
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection. There's no testimony that they were
14 used for a murder operation. There's no testimony from this witness that
15 he saw or that he heard military police were actually murdering anyone.
16 JUDGE LIU: Well --
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, may I respond to his speeches?
18 JUDGE LIU: No, no, no. Maybe the murder is not a good word.
19 Maybe you could ask "used for the operation" in a certain place.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: And I would not object to that, Your Honour.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, this was pure and simple an operation
22 to murder people.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: I do object to that commenting. What it was, he's
24 indicating what they were doing. The testimony is clear, they were used
25 for security purposes. Now, if he wishes to phrase it in that manner,
1 that's consistent with the testimony, I would have no objections. But to
2 suggest that they were actually out there murdering --
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: That is not what I'm suggesting. Your Honour, the
4 evidence in this case --
5 JUDGE LIU: We are not going to spend much time debating on that.
6 Mr. McCloskey, just ask a question according to the way I suggested.
7 MR. McCLOSKEY:
8 Q. What would the military consequences if commanders weren't told
9 what their troops were doing?
10 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection. Objection. It goes beyond the scope of
11 his knowledge. He hasn't been established as an expert in this area. Now
12 he's asking for a legal conclusion from this particular witness.
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, I think this question is okay
14 because the witness is somebody in the army, has been there for a long
15 time. Of course he will know the consequences if a commander was not told
16 what their troops were doing. Of course.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, might we have like a predicate? Would
18 he know first of all? And then -- I think we are assuming -- I think that
19 had a predicate, do you know -- very well, Your Honour. I accept Your
20 Honour's remarks.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, you may proceed, Mr. McCloskey.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY:
23 Q. Mr. Nikolic, do you remember the question?
24 A. Could you please repeat it once again.
25 Q. What would be the consequences militarily if a commander didn't
1 know or wasn't told what his various units were doing?
2 A. Well, I can only say that I can present my personal position. In
3 my opinion, it is absolutely impossible now for a commander not to know
4 what his troops are doing.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection, Your Honour. I'm going to object. It's
6 nonresponsive --
7 MR. McCLOSKEY: He's objecting to what I say and he's interrupting
8 the witness --
9 JUDGE LIU: No, no, no.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: It's not nonresponsive to the question, Your
12 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas, you have to be very patient. I think I
13 told you that a different cultural background will have a different
14 answer. The witness is going to tell us what's in his mind. He's going
15 to answer this question, but he would like to answer it step by step. We
16 have to be patient.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: I will, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Nikolic. Please continue.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have said that with regard to this
20 question, I can present my personal position. I find it incredible that
21 the commander of a unit would not know or would not receive the tasks that
22 his troops were supposed to carry out. Hypothetically, that could happen
23 as well. But right now, I really don't know what the sanctions would be
24 if his troops were to be carrying out certain tasks without his knowledge.
25 I'm really not a military expert. I'm not in that field. Perhaps I can
1 speak about concrete units in my own section, in the police. But right
2 now, I wouldn't like to go into this analysis, and I don't think that I
3 could give an adequate answer because I don't know. I don't know what
4 would happen, what the consequences would be.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY:
6 Q. Fair enough. You mentioned on cross-examination that an
7 intervention unit from the Bratunac Brigade was working in Potocari, I
8 believe, on the 12th and 13th. Could you tell us in more detail what
9 intervention unit, from what unit?
10 A. In the 2nd Infantry Battalion, there was a unit. It was not
11 within the establishment of the 2nd Infantry Battalion; that is to say
12 that the battalion according to its formation had a reconnaissance squad.
13 But in this battalion, there was the so-called intervention unit or
14 intervention platoon under the command of Zoran Milosavljevic, nicknamed
15 Kokara. And that's the unit that was in Potocari. In my testimony I said
16 that I saw this officer. He belongs to that unit, and this is from the
17 2nd Light Infantry Battalion.
18 Q. And what was this intervention unit and Mr. Milosavljevic doing in
19 Potocari on those days as far as you know?
20 A. What I saw when I toured the area was that the unit of
21 Zoran Milosavljevic was trying to secure order there and to provide
22 security for that part of the plateau where people were assembled, about
23 30.000 of them. And I saw him on the first day, on the 12th, that is. I
24 saw him doing what I said just now.
25 Q. And do you know roughly how many of his unit were with him there?
1 A. I spoke to Zoran Milosavljevic in Potocari, and he said to me that
2 his platoon got there - I'm conveying what he said - that he had been the
3 region of Caus, and from there his entire platoon went down to Potocari.
4 When I spoke to him then, there were about 10 soldiers from that platoon
5 standing around him. I knew them personally. I know these soldiers.
6 Q. Do you know roughly what the strength of his platoon would have
7 been at that time, aside from these 10 soldiers if, in fact, his entire
8 platoon was in Potocari?
9 A. The strength of that platoon is about 30 soldiers, or rather
10 according to establishment, a platoon has 30 soldiers. I don't know
11 exactly the extent to which it had this kind of manpower. This is a
12 personnel issue. But for me, it was a platoon. That's how it was
13 represented. I don't know exactly whether it had 100 per cent of the
14 required manpower, a bit more, a bit less. I really don't know that.
15 Q. Was the work that you saw this platoon doing and the work you've
16 described the other infantry battalions doing in Potocari necessary to the
17 operation to move the women and children out of town and separate the
18 Muslim men?
19 A. Well, for the most part, that platoon and all the soldiers who
20 were in Potocari were working with the same objective in mind. I could
21 not make any particular distinctions, but the one single objective was to
22 secure the area in Potocari, then to separate the men from the women, to
23 provide security for them, and to remove them to Kladanj, even forcibly.
24 That was the task of all the units that were in Potocari.
25 Q. Okay. You testified that on the 11th, you received intel
1 information from, I believe, the 2nd Battalion about the number of
2 able-bodied men in Potocari. Can you tell us in particular what form you
3 received that information in, written or oral or courier?
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Multiple choice to the witness.
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Multiple choice to the witness. He's leading the
7 witness. He asked a question, and then he's giving him options.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes, this time you are right, Mr. Karnavas.
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: Just trying to speed things up.
10 Q. What form did you receive that in?
11 A. In relation to the information of that day, in terms of what was
12 going on in Potocari, and from the 2nd Infantry Battalion, I received
13 information in writing. And what I have here in this document that I
14 referred to, I have the following: That this written information came to
15 me from the battalion every day, and I have a document stating that after
16 I had left, they remained in my safe where they had been archived when I
17 left. And the number is 11, here in this document. Daily report from the
18 battalion of the brigade. So this is a document in written form. This
19 report I received in writing. And in addition to that piece of
20 information, I received lots of information in written form from the 2nd
21 Infantry Battalion.
22 Q. Mr. Nikolic, could you provide the document you're referring to
23 the usher so we could get this marked and identified properly. Thank you.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes, what kind of documents?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I just wish, Your Honours, for you
1 to see, for it to be seen from this document that I received daily reports
2 from the battalion every day. It can be seen that I left them in the safe
3 when I left the brigade and that these are the documents that I had all
4 the time, inter alia, the other documents I had are listed here, too. So
5 this statement refers to daily reports from the battalion. I state -- I
6 claim that I received daily reports from the battalion in writing. But I
7 also received oral reports in that period, before that period, and after
9 There is a document, a Prosecution document, that I got in which
10 it can be seen that the daily reports from the brigade remained in my
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Could we just do it step by step, you know, Your
14 Honour. Lay a foundation to this document. I can only assume that the
15 two gentlemen here, Mr. McCloskey, and Mr. Nikolic, didn't meet last night
16 and that this document -- it seems kind of coincidental that he just
17 happens to have this particular document.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: This is a big conspiracy, Your Honour. I confess.
19 JUDGE LIU: No, no, no.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: I would just like step-by-step process where he can
21 show, demonstrate on the document how it is that he was given -- that that
22 document was given to him on that particular night, that he saw it and he
23 viewed it because it goes directly to the question posed by the
25 JUDGE LIU: Mr. McCloskey, was this document disclosed to the
1 Defence before? Or you just, you know --
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: I don't know what he's talking about at the
3 moment. I think I know what he's talking about. But if we could get the
4 document, I could find the English translation, we could get everybody a
5 copy of it so Mr. Karnavas can ask the questions. I can also ask him a
6 few more questions about the document. I just wanted to get it marked so
7 we had a number for it at this point.
8 JUDGE LIU: You have to answer my question.
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm sorry?
10 JUDGE LIU: Has this document ever been disclosed to the Defence?
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: I don't know what the document is, Your Honour.
12 But we gave everything to the Defence that we gave to Mr. Nikolic, so I
13 believe it must have. But until I see the document, I'm a little
14 reluctant to say. I'm 99.99 per cent sure everyone's got this document.
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour. Well, again, we need a
17 little foundation. And I think if he's going to be making reference to a
18 document, we should be provided, the Prosecution can look at it without
19 any further testimony, and perhaps give us an opportunity to see whether
20 we have it or give us a copy of it. And then proceed.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Let us have a look at that document. Yes.
22 Do we have the translation of this document? You don't have it at
23 your hands.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, Mr. Nikolic apparently has brought
25 a bunch of his B/C/S documents that he used in the preparation of his
1 Defence and the preparation of his testimony. I wasn't involved with
2 assembling this material with him. I can only guess that this is a
3 document that we have provided him and everyone else, and it shouldn't
4 take us long to get the English translation of it. I'm sorry, we're all a
5 little tired.
6 JUDGE LIU: Well, it's time to have a break. And maybe we'll
7 break until 11.00. And during the break, the Registrar will consult with
8 Mr. McCloskey and Karnavas about this document and to see if there's any
9 translation of this document, whether it has been disclosed to the
10 Defence, and then we'll come back to this document.
11 Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you. Might I also ask that if there are any
13 other documents that the gentleman has that he's going to be disclosing at
14 this point as part of his redirect, to save time, he might want to let
15 Mr. McCloskey and myself know what they are so we can expedite the
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll instruct the Registrar to see to it.
18 We'll resume at 11.00.
19 --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
21 JUDGE LIU: Well, I've got a translation of this document. It
22 seems to me that the problem concerning this document has been solved
23 during the break. Am I right, Mr. McCloskey?
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President. And just to give a slight
25 background on this, if you recall Mr. Nikolic testified, I think it was on
1 direct, about a commission that was formed and that they destroyed
2 documents. We were able to find this document that refers to the
3 commission after that and got an English version and provided shortly
4 after that a copy to Mr. Karnavas. And so he knows what it is. He has
5 had it. And now that we can see what the document is, this is, in fact,
6 something that's well known -- not for a long time, mind you, but is well
7 known now. And I can, just for the record, try to clear up this issue.
8 JUDGE LIU: Could you inform us about the ID number of this
9 document so that we could find it.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: It's now designated P94.
11 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
12 You may proceed, Mr. McCloskey.
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you. I think we'll just start with going
14 over a bit this document if we could, and let me give you a copy of the
15 English that we can put on the ELMO. If you could use yours, that would
16 be great.
17 Q. All right. Mr. Nikolic, let me just start with a couple of brief
18 questions. This says -- it's dated 4 April 1997, and it's entitled: "The
19 command of the 501st Infantry Brigade." Can you tell us what the 501st
20 Infantry Brigade is in -- was in 1997.
21 A. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor. The 501st Infantry Brigade is the successor
22 of the 1st Light Infantry Brigade, that is, after the transformation of
23 the army, there was a change of name, and it became the 501st Infantry
25 Q. So you said the 1st Light Infantry Brigade of Bratunac. Is that
2 A. Yes, yes.
3 Q. All right. Now you had testified about a commission that was
4 formed and about the destruction of documents. Does this -- this document
5 have anything to do with that?
6 A. Yes. That is precisely the document that I referred to in my
7 testimony which contains the documents that I am leaving behind in the
8 safe in the presence of this commission. And the documents that I
9 destroyed are certainly not on this list.
10 Q. So which of the documents you destroyed are not on this list?
11 A. All the documents that I destroyed are not on this list.
12 Q. Are any of the documents on this list in existence in the files
13 that we provided you?
14 A. As far as I can recollect and as far as I remember the contents of
15 all the documents that I received from the Prosecution, I do not see any
16 document on this list which was among those disclosed to me by you. So
17 these are documents that were not contained among your documents.
18 Q. So do you know what happened to these documents that are listed on
19 this exhibit?
20 A. All I can say is that these documents are documents that remain
21 within the command of the 501st of the infantry brigade in the safe of the
22 security organ. And my successor may know what happened to those
23 documents. I really don't.
24 Q. This document says that this material was handed over. Who was it
25 handed over to?
1 A. These documents were, as stated here, handed over by commission to
2 my successor, Lieutenant Lazar Ostojic from the 501st Infantry Brigade.
3 Q. Number 20, there's some jewellery listed that you personally
4 handed over to the commission. What's that?
5 A. Yes. Under number 20, it says: "Major Momir Nikolic personally
6 handed gold jewellery from the war booty." And this jewellery is listed
7 from 1 to 6. This is jewellery that was, among other things, handed over
8 to me by MUP bodies when the prisoners who came from the Republic of
9 Serbia were handed over to me.
10 Q. All right. Now, prisoners from Serbia, could you briefly tell us
11 when you got prisoners from Serbia.
12 A. I can, Mr. Prosecutor. We had prisoners from Serbia in the period
13 from the 20th of July 1995 up until and including shall we say the 16th of
14 October 1995. That would be those dates. And I have the records when,
15 who, where were taken over and handed over. I have a complete list of
16 those persons.
17 Q. That was material provided you by the --
18 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, I think the redirect should be
19 strictly confined in the cross-examination. The purpose of the redirect
20 examination is to give an opportunity to rebut certain points raised by
21 the cross-examination. I hope you could function within this scope.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Your Honour.
23 Q. You mentioned in an answer to one of my questions that this
24 document was some authority showing your receipt of intel reports from the
25 2nd Battalion. Can you tell us what in this document you were referring
2 A. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor. I was referring to the documents in this
3 record under the number 11 where it says: "Daily reports from the brigade
4 battalion." Those are documents and reports received from the battalion
5 sent to the 501st Infantry Brigade after I left.
6 Q. Okay. On the 11th of July, do you know when you received the
7 written report that you've mentioned getting from the intel section of the
8 2nd Battalion?
9 A. I'm really not able to tell you exactly at what time a standing
10 instruction issued by me to the intelligence and security organs in
11 infantry battalions was, that in the afternoon, written information be
12 sent in connection with intelligence information collected during the day.
13 Q. Do you know who from that battalion, and their name and rank,
14 authored this report that was sent to you on the 11th?
15 A. I do know, Mr. McCloskey. On that day and on those days, from the
16 infantry battalion for the forwarding of information, Jovanovic Zoran was
17 in charge. I think he's a lieutenant or 2nd lieutenant, and he was acting
18 deputy battalion commander. But because of the situation in that
19 battalion at the time, because of the changes, he had previously been the
20 intelligence and security organ in the battalion. He was --
21 Milenko Jovanovic was appointed to that position. In the meantime,
22 pursuant to my proposal and the order of the brigade commander,
23 Colonel Blagojevic, Jovanovic was sent to attend a training course in
24 Bileca, and I requested, and this was in agreement with --
25 Q. Okay. It was a simple question. We don't need to go into too
1 much detail. You can always explain your answer, but I think we got the
3 A. I'm sorry. I apologise, Mr. Prosecutor.
4 Q. You heard Mr. Blagojevic's question regarding whether or not you
5 were ever an operations duty officer. We've heard your testimony on that
6 point. Based on his question, do you have any changes to make to your
7 testimony regarding whether or not you were ever duty operations officer?
8 A. I do, Mr. Prosecutor. That is absolutely not true. Never was
9 there in the security organ a duty officer. So there was no parallel duty
10 service. There was operations duty service in the brigade, and there was
11 duty service in the military police. So those are the only two types of
12 duty service that I knew existed and functioned.
13 I personally, even before Commander Blagojevic and during his stay
14 in the Bratunac Brigade, I was on innumerable occasions the operations
15 duty officer in the Bratunac Brigade. For the sake of truth, let me add
16 that I could, I had approval and permission from Commander Blagojevic when
17 necessary in order to perform my duties to find a replacement, and I could
18 leave. I had that authority, and I want to say that.
19 Q. Did you receive an order on the 12th to be the -- sorry, let me
20 try that again.
21 Who ordered you to be duty officer on the 12th?
22 A. There is no order. I was the duty officer pursuant to the plan of
23 duty service for that period. And as I have already said, that plan of
24 duty service is approved by the commander or the chief of staff if
25 authorised to do so. So I was on duty according to the plan of duty
2 Q. Regarding Potocari on the 12th and 13th, you've mentioned the
3 presence of elements of the 2nd Battalion. Did you specifically
4 coordinate with any individual from the 2nd Battalion?
5 A. Yes, in my testimony, I said that there were two officers present
6 there, Zoran Milosavljevic. I gave him instructions and told him what he
7 should do, how he should secure the area, what his role was, and the like.
8 Similarly, to the soldiers who were with Zoran Kovacevic. I also told
9 them that they should take care of the refugees, assist in their
10 evacuation, and that on that day they should work together with the other
12 Q. Same question for the 3rd Battalion.
13 A. From the 3rd Battalion, on the first day, I saw a number of
14 military conscripts. I didn't have any contact with the commanding
15 officer from the 3rd Battalion. I said that in my earlier testimony as
16 well. But I did see that they were present on the 13th in larger numbers
17 than on the 12th.
18 Q. All right. Given that you have testified that the Bratunac
19 military police platoon had 30 members on -- in the period of July, can
20 you break down for us, for the 12th and 13th of July, as you did in
21 direct, but as concisely as you can, what numbers of military police
22 officers were fulfilling what duties on the 12th.
23 A. I can tell you approximately. One squad was engaged in securing
24 General Mladic. And in my testimony, I said, if that's what you're
25 referring to -- is that what you meant, that I should go and enumerate
2 Q. Yes, and make sure you tell us how many people are in a squad. So
3 go by numbers, each assignment, each number, so we can see roughly where
4 the 30 are working.
5 A. I can say that. There was one squad which numbers 9 men, was
6 providing continuous security for General Mladic. In my testimony, I said
7 that that squad, on the 12th, when General Mladic was present in Potocari
8 was with General Mladic in his security detail.
9 In view of their participation in Potocari, I mentioned a number
10 that were in Potocari at the time. One soldier was the duty person in the
11 premises of the police. One policeman was on duty at the entrance to the
12 headquarters. He was securing the entrance to the headquarters of the
13 Bratunac Brigade. One military conscript was engaged at the bridge,
14 though this was a permanent task between Bratunac and Ljubovija. Two
15 military conscripts or rather police officers were engaged as
16 reinforcements to the people manning the checkpoint at the yellow bridge
17 towards Potocari. We had two drivers, and that would make about 15 men,
18 including the security for General Mladic who were occupied with those
19 duties. I don't know whether I left anything out.
20 The other police officers -- no, I'm sorry. There were two
21 patrols. One to secure UNPROFOR members, and I don't think I've left
22 anything else out. And I said between 12, 13, or 15 men could have been
23 engaged at that point in time for other assignments. And I said among
24 other things that most of them were engaged in Potocari.
25 Q. You said two patrols, one to secure UNPROFOR. How many men in a
1 patrol? How many men are you talking about there?
2 A. Two police officers. In most cases, depending on the needs.
3 Sometimes only one, but in most cases while UNPROFOR members were in
4 Bratunac, there were two of them.
5 I apologise. All this is visible from the daily reports of the
6 military police platoon. Their daily engagement for various assignments
7 can be seen from the daily reports that I received from the Prosecution.
8 Q. Those were the -- what we refer to as the "military police log"?
9 A. Yes, those are the daily reports of the military police platoon.
10 Q. Can you name the individuals that your investigation identified --
11 I'm sorry, let me try again.
12 You looked into whether or not there were any Bratunac Brigade
13 members at the Kravica. Do you have -- did you receive any information --
14 what information did you receive naming any individuals?
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: Sorry, Your Honour.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: What were the names of the people that he has
17 already indicated? What were the names?
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. Karnavas.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor, I spoke in concrete
20 terms about the participation of members of the Bratunac Brigade on the
21 basis of what I subsequently collected as information. So there was
22 Nikola Popovic, who is a member of the military police platoon of the 1st
23 Light Infantry Brigade. And I said that they were locals, that they were
24 born in Kravica. And a member of the 1st Infantry Battalion, his name is
25 Martic, Martic is his surname. I will remember the first name in a
1 moment. Milovan Martic. Those are two members. One is from the military
2 police platoon, and the other from the 1st infantry battalion of the
3 Bratunac Brigade.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY:
5 Q. All right. Regarding the reburial, when as best as you can recall
6 did Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic first contact you about that job?
7 A. Mr. Prosecutor, in my testimony I said that to the best of my
8 recollection, this was sometime in September, maybe at the beginning of
9 September. But the exact date I really don't know when this was. But in
10 any event, it was in September.
11 Q. And what form did that contact take?
12 A. Mr. Vujadin Popovic came to Bratunac, and the two of us met in my
13 office in the headquarters of the Bratunac Brigade. On the first
14 occasion, there were other visits in that connection. That was not the
15 only contact linked to this operation with Vujadin Popovic.
16 Q. During this first contact about the reburial operation, were there
17 any other people present?
18 A. No. On that occasion during the first contact, no one was
19 present. I was alone. I am alone in that office anyway, so the two of us
20 spoke together alone.
21 Q. How long after you were informed of this operation by Popovic did
22 you inform your commander, Blagojevic?
23 A. I think this was immediately after. I can't say whether it was a
24 day or two or five hours, but immediately after. When the requests were
25 made to me regarding the operation, I informed Commander Blagojevic on
1 what the demands were, and I conveyed to him what I said in my statement,
2 where the order was coming from and what the order meant. So
3 Commander Blagojevic was informed in due time about everything that was
4 intended to be done in connection with the reburial.
5 Q. Now, you've described the various units, civilian and military,
6 that were involved in the reburial. But my question is who, if any, of
7 the other officers of the Bratunac Brigade did you specifically inform
8 about this reburial operation?
9 A. I informed and discussed this operation with the commander of the
10 military police, Mirko Jankovic, because according to that plan the
11 military police had a role to play. I can speak about that in detail.
12 Also, during the operation itself, when Mr. Jovanovic Dragisa returned
13 from Trnovo, he was the person who knew about the operation and who took
14 part in it. In that period of time, only Colonel Blagojevic, Mirko
15 Jovanovic -- Mirko Jankovic and Dragisa Jovanovic were informed. Apart
16 from them, I did not inform any of the commanding officers in the brigade
18 Q. How sure are you that you met with your commander, Blagojevic, on
19 the evening of the 12th of July and informed him of these events we have
20 been speaking about?
21 A. I'm sure, Mr. McCloskey, 100 per cent sure that that evening I met
22 with Vidoje Blagojevic, that I informed him about everything that was
23 going on on that day, that we talked about all the matters that I
24 testified about here. I'm 100 per cent sure that that evening I saw
25 Commander Blagojevic and that I spoke to him.
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President. I don't have any
2 further questions.
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
4 Any questions from the Judges? Judge Vassylenko, please.
5 Questioned by the Court:
6 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mr. Nikolic, in the statement of facts and
7 acceptance of responsibility, you stated that: "In the morning" - it's
8 page 2 of the document, end of part 4 - "in the morning of 12 July,
9 Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic told me that the thousands of Muslim women and
10 children in Potocari would be transported out of Potocari toward
11 Muslim-held territory near Kladanj and that the able-bodied Muslim men
12 within the crowd of Muslim civilians would be separated from the crowd,
13 detained temporarily in Bratunac, and killed shortly thereafter. I was
14 told that it was my responsibility to help coordinate and help to organise
15 this operation."
16 And then you mentioned a number of units which were assigned to or
17 tasked to fulfill this operation, and you coordinated the activity of
18 these units. So these units made up kind of a special task force to
19 implement the operation.
20 A. Your Honour, I would not call these units special operations task
21 force. These were the existing resources in the territory. That is what
22 I know. And resources came from the main staff, from the commander of the
23 Drina Corps, the Bratunac Brigade, and the other brigade. So it was
24 nothing else, nothing but those units that participated in combat
25 operations. And after combat operations, they happened to be in Bratunac.
1 To my mind, these are no special forces.
2 It was not my understanding that the evacuation was a special
3 task. This meant continuing an operation that had already started. The
4 combat part had been completed on the 12th when the enclave was taken, and
5 then the second part of the operation continued, which meant those
6 activities that I've already spoken about.
7 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: And then, when and by whom these units were
8 tasked to participate in the operation.
9 A. What was conveyed to me and what I testified about here is that
10 Colonel Jankovic said to me that the units are the participants that are
11 supposed to carry out this operation and take part in it and that they had
12 already received their tasks. This is what I know, and this is what I was
13 told in front of Fontana on the 12th of July in conversation with
14 Colonel Jankovic.
15 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mr. Nikolic, whom these units were subordinated
16 to when the operation was underway? And whom these units had to report
17 about fulfillment of the tasks, of their tasks?
18 A. These units that were engaged in Potocari, according to the
19 hierarchy, were subordinated to their commanders. Therefore, since these
20 were units from the complete structure of the Army of Republika Srpska,
21 from battalions, brigades, corps, up to the main staff, that is the chain
22 of command and subordination. Depending on the structure they belonged
23 to, they were subordinated to the main staff, to the commander of the
24 Drina Corps, to the brigades that took part in this operation. And they,
25 Your Honour, had their own commanders. Their commanders commanded them.
1 And as far as I know, every one of these structures was supposed to report
2 to their commanders, their superior officers.
3 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: And what was your role in this operation as
5 A. My role, Your Honour, in this operation was the following: The
6 units that were given tasks in these operations were the ones I was
7 supposed to help. I was supposed to establish some contact and some order
8 in the area. I was supposed to try to resolve problems should they crop
9 up, and I was supposed to focus on the main point, and that is to evacuate
10 the population, the women and children, as soon as possible to the free
11 territory under Muslim control. And that part of the men should be
12 separated temporarily, singled out, and transported to the facilities in
13 Bratunac that I already testified about.
14 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mr. Nikolic, was there a division of labour
15 between these units, the units taking part in the operation? Were some
16 units or elements of some units tasked first to mop up and detain the
17 refugees and prisoners; second, to separate able-bodied Muslim men from
18 the crowd; third, to transport women, children, and elderly to the
19 Muslim-controlled territories; fourth, to kill able-bodied Muslim men; and
20 fifth, to bury and rebury bodies of the killed persons?
21 A. Your Honour, I cannot give an affirmative answer to your question.
22 I can only tell you that as for the deployment of the units, it's the one
23 I found when I came to Potocari. That is to say, that certain units were
24 at the site where the separation was taking place. Certain units were
25 helping, or rather securing the corridor for the passage of civilians who
1 were singled out for transport. Certain units were helping with the
2 buses. A number of units were linked to the facility where the men were
3 being separated. So I did not take part, and I do not know. I do not
4 know about a meeting -- or rather, at that time I did not know about the
5 meeting where all of this had been planned and where specific orders were
6 issued to these units.
7 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mr. Nikolic, yesterday you testified that your
8 powers included such as to make suggestions and proposals, and if
9 necessary, to issue orders in the sense of having the main say as to what
10 will be done, when and where in a technical sense, in an organisational
12 A. Yes, yes, Your Honour, I said that. When I said that during my
13 testimony, I explained it. I explained the action I could have taken. I
14 mentioned the example. For example, when there was a problem with the
15 buses, providing security for them, their passing through the town of
16 Bratunac where a problem cropped up. Then the problem of omissions where
17 people were being separated actually. I was supposed to give suggestions
18 in that respect and to give orders to have things done in a way which
19 would make it possible to carry out the evacuation and the entire
20 operation as efficiently as possible. My powers were within that scope.
21 And I underline once again that immediate command over the units in
22 Potocari was exercised by their commanders who were there, and of course
23 the individual commanding officers.
24 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mr. Nikolic, in the statement of facts and
25 acceptance of responsibility, you admitted "I coordinated and supervised
1 the transportation of the women and children to Kladanj and the separation
2 and detention of able-bodied Muslim men." And who coordinated and
3 supervised the killing of the separated Muslim men?
4 A. Your Honour, in Bratunac, there was no organised, planned killing.
5 In Bratunac where I was engaged and where the Bratunac Brigade was
6 engaged, that is where the temporarily detained men were kept in the
7 manner which I described. And the operation of killing took place in the
8 Zvornik territory after the captives were transferred to that territory on
9 the 14th of July 1995.
10 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mr. Nikolic, describing the events which took
11 place in the evening 12 July between 18 hours and 21 hours, you admitted
12 that "it was apparent to me that Colonel Blagojevic was fully informed of
13 the transportation and killing operation and expected me to continue to
14 carry out the duties related to those operations that I had begun that
16 How can you comment on this statement made by yourself?
17 A. Yes, Your Honour. I can make comments in the following way: On
18 the 12th in the evening, I informed Commander Blagojevic about the general
19 situation and as I put it in this statement of mine. Colonel Blagojevic
20 did not suggest to me at any point in time, nor did he forbid me or issue
21 an order that would be contrary to that, that I should stop doing this,
22 that I should not be engaged in these tasks, or that I was not supposed to
23 do anything about these tasks. So I was given no orders that were
24 contrary to that.
25 Had by any chance the commander of the unit given me the following
1 order: "Captain, you did that. These are not my orders. I do not know
2 about this operation. You should not go on doing that," I could have
3 continued doing that irrespective of his prohibition, but then
4 Mr. Blagojevic, the commander, would the next day or in the forthcoming
5 period simply suspend me from the duty I held. He would have started an
6 investigation. He would have taken measures and asked for criminal
7 proceedings to be brought against me.
8 That evening, after my reporting, after I informed my commander,
9 nothing happened to the contrary, and no order was issued to me, meaning
10 that I should stop doing this, that I should not be engaged in this task.
11 And that is my explanation. And after that, until the operation was over,
12 until the burial and reburial of the graves, several months after that,
13 Colonel Blagojevic never did anything in terms of prohibiting my
14 participation in this or taking proceedings in case I had refused to carry
15 out his orders. No such thing happened.
16 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mr. Nikolic, what was the most critical time
17 period of the killing operation?
18 A. Your Honour, I have partly given an answer that for Bratunac, the
19 most critical days were the 12th and the 13th, and also between the 13th
20 and the 14th, until the transport to Zvornik, that is. The most critical
21 moment related to the killing is one that I'm not aware of because I do
22 not know how, in which way the killing in the Zvornik Brigade started and
23 went on. I just had information that this was going on after the 14th.
24 And we all knew, all of Bratunac knew, all the officers, we all knew that
25 this was going on in Zvornik. But I really don't know about the details
1 in respect of all of this, and I do not know what the most critical moment
2 was in respect of the killing because this was not in the territory of the
3 Municipality of Bratunac.
4 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Then Mr. Nikolic, you told us that you were a
5 duty officer in the Bratunac Brigade from the morning of 12 July until the
6 morning of 13 July 1995. So it was at the beginning. As you just said,
7 it was the crucial time period of the operation. How it came that you
8 were appointed duty officer in the brigade and being coordinator of the
10 A. Your Honour, I explained the way in which the duty service
11 operates in the brigade. That is to say that duty service in the brigade
12 is based on the plan of operations duty, and that is a plan that is made
13 for seven or three days or ten days or even a longer period. I have also
14 said to you that I was duty officer before that and then, and I could have
15 been sent from this duty to other tasks that had greater priority than the
16 duty roster. And that then I would be replaced by persons from the
17 Bratunac Brigade. It so happened according to the plan that I was on duty
18 that day. I was being replaced by colleagues from the brigade. So when
19 this task was being carried out, I had assignments immediately on the
20 morning of the 12th, and this made it incumbent upon me as head of the
21 security of the brigade to do so because it had to do with providing
22 security for the head of the main staff.
23 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mr. Nikolic, in your interview given in May
24 year 2003 at the Scheveningen Detention Facility, information report dated
25 23 June year 2003, page 2, you stated that during one meeting, the attack
1 on Srebrenica was analysed. There was a conflict between Blagojevic and
2 Krstic which resulted in Blagojevic later standing up and leaving the
4 Can you tell us what caused this conflict.
5 A. Your Honour, this is an information report, and I know exactly
6 what the issue was, what the question was, rather. And I know what my
7 answer was in respect to this question. Meetings were discussed, and I
8 said that I have information that at one meeting, and I then expressed my
9 fear that I'm not quite sure which meeting this was. But nevertheless, I
10 do have information that at one of these meetings at the command of the
11 Bratunac Brigade, there was a conflict between General Krstic and
12 Colonel Blagojevic. What I heard, what I had received by way of
13 information, was that General Krstic and Colonel Blagojevic had clashed
14 over the way in which the Bratunac Brigade, or rather the battalion of the
15 Bratunac Brigade would be engaged. I did not say that I attended the
16 meeting. I did not mention that in the interview. I did mention the
17 exact date. I was speak being tentatively in those terms that within that
18 period of time, that that had happened as well.
19 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: But what caused this conflict? Why this
20 conflict arose?
21 A. What I had by way of information was that General Krstic was
22 unsatisfied with the way in which the battalions were engaged, or rather,
23 the Bratunac Brigade during the attack operations against the Srebrenica
24 enclave and the directions in which they had been engaged. That is what I
25 heard was the reason for this conflict.
1 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Okay. My next question relates to the
2 destruction of the documents. You testified that at -- on 23rd of
3 September, transcript page 49, that you handed over the safe to the chief
4 of intelligence, Major Pajic. And you turned this safe and destroyed the
5 documents. Who ordered destruction of the documents?
6 A. Your Honour, I said in my statement and I assert now that with
7 regard to the destruction of documents, a certain number of documents from
8 my safe, I had not received orders from anyone. I destroyed these
9 documents. Simply, the documents that pertained to certain issues related
10 to Srebrenica. I destroyed these documents. I did not receive orders
11 from anyone. And as for the rest of the documents that I handed over, or
12 rather, that stayed in the safe are on this list, are recorded here.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
14 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: And Mr. Nikolic, why did you decide to destroy
15 the documents?
16 A. Your Honour, at that time, that period, I was simply afraid of the
17 consequences. I knew what had happened around Srebrenica in that
18 operation. I had certain documents that analysed and gave innumerable
19 names and details, and quite simply I was afraid to hand over these
20 documents to anyone. These were my personal documents. They did not
21 relate to the documents that I as the head of the intelligence and
22 security organ were doing. These documents remained in the safe, and they
23 pointed out all the details, every minute detail related to the operation.
24 And quite simply, I was afraid. I knew that what was underway were
25 searches of the commands by SFOR. I took these documents, and I destroyed
2 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Can you describe the documents you destroyed.
3 A. I can, Your Honour. Among others, there was my diary which
4 contained everything that was going on in the period while I was in the
5 army by dates, times, names. Also there were many names, many pieces of
6 information that were handwritten, not typed out. So this was the type of
7 document involved. Diary, notes, my opinions, et cetera. That's the kind
8 of document -- the kind of documents that were there and that I burned
9 when I left.
10 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Did you destroy any documents containing orders
11 from your superiors and documents signed by yourself?
12 A. No, Your Honour. Here, on this list it can be seen that I left
13 the orders that came to me because I think there was no need to destroy
14 these documents.
15 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mr. Nikolic, can you tell us what civilian
16 bodies have functioned in the Municipality of Srebrenica at the time of
17 the operation.
18 A. In Bratunac and in the territory of Bratunac, until the operation
19 started, there were authorities that were functioning and that called
20 themselves the authorities in exile, and they had their offices in
21 Bratunac, not in Srebrenica.
22 After the fall and after the liberation of Srebrenica, in
23 Srebrenica a public security station was established straight away. I
24 know that, right after the fall. And I also know, and I have information
25 that after the fall, Mr. Miroslav Deronjic, the commissioner for civilian
1 affairs appointed by President Karadzic, was given the task to establish
2 all the civilian authorities in Srebrenica. That is to say, new
3 authorities in a newly liberated municipality.
4 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: And what was the relationship between you as
5 coordinator of the operation and the civilian authorities in the
7 A. With the civilian authorities in the municipality, I had no
8 special relationship except in one instance when at the request of
9 Major Kingori, it was requested that the water in Potocari be secured.
10 And I called up Ljubisa Simic, the president of the municipality in
11 Bratunac, and requested that water tanks be provided for the people in
12 Potocari. That was my only contact and only request to those bodies.
13 As far as I know, all the other contacts were maintained at the
14 level of General Mladic, Miroslav Deronjic, and the leadership -- the
15 civilian leadership of Bratunac Municipality including members of the
16 leadership from Srebrenica.
17 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Thank you. I have no more questions.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE LIU: Thank you, Judge Vassylenko.
20 Judge Argibay.
21 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Thank you. Mr. Nikolic, I first want to ask you a
22 very curious question, because you mentioned your first day that you were
23 talking about the positions of different battalions, forces, et cetera.
24 And you spoke about so-called cockade or star region. Can you tell me
25 what that is.
1 A. I can, Your Honour. It is a position, a feature, a hill situated
2 in the area of responsibility of the 2nd Infantry Battalion. It is a
3 position at which a certain number of soldiers were stationed from the
4 membership of the 2nd Infantry Battalion. And it is from that hill
5 Potocari can be seen and an area in front of Potocari can be viewed
7 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Okay. Thank you.
8 As I remember, you told us that Colonel Jankovic arrived in
9 Bratunac when Colonel Blagojevic was in the forward command post. Is that
11 A. I said that to the best of my recollection, Colonel Jankovic
12 arrived around the 7th or 8th in Bratunac. And it is true that at the
13 time, the commander, Blagojevic, was at the forward command post at
14 Pribicevac. But let me just mention, I think I failed to mention that in
15 my testimony, and that is that during those days, officers who took part
16 in the operation would come in the afternoon or in the evening when the
17 operations were over for the day. So they would come to the headquarters
18 of the Bratunac Brigade, so I'm really unable to name exactly who they
19 were. But there were comings and goings of participants. I'm not quite
20 sure who, but I do know that they would come to the headquarters of the
21 Bratunac Brigade in the evenings of those days.
22 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Who received Colonel Jankovic at the Bratunac
23 Brigade headquarters?
24 A. At the Bratunac Brigade headquarters, I don't know exactly who
25 received Colonel Blagojevic. I know --
1 JUDGE ARGIBAY: I was talking about Colonel Jankovic.
2 A. I beg your pardon. I said I didn't know who exactly received him,
3 but I do know that I was within the barracks compound when they arrived.
4 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Who assigned him to your office? Who said he
5 could sit and use your office?
6 A. I assume that he was given an assignment by his commander, and
7 that is General Ratko Mladic who told him to go to the Bratunac Brigade.
8 This is just my assumption. I didn't hear or see that, who gave him the
9 assignment to report to the head of the security and intelligence organ in
10 Bratunac and to be in his office during that time. But I can only assume
11 that. But I can say that as a rule and almost always, officers from a
12 superior command when coming to the command post of a unit or brigade,
13 that they first contact the commander or chief of staff or the operations
14 officer on duty. And after that, having conveyed to the commander why
15 they are there, what their assignment is and what their requests are,
16 after that they are assigned to officers if they are staying there for a
17 while. And I can say with certainty that every arrival to a subordinate
18 unit begins with a meeting with the brigade commander, chief of
19 staff -- or the chief of staff in the absence of the commander, or the
20 operations duty officer if both the commander and chief of staff are
21 absent, which is rare.
22 JUDGE ARGIBAY: The commander was absent at the time?
23 A. Yes, the commander was absent.
24 JUDGE ARGIBAY: So you cannot tell who Commander Jankovic
25 presented himself to?
1 A. I cannot say who he presented himself to. I said the next officer
2 that he should have contacted would be the chief of staff of the brigade.
3 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Was there a deputy commander?
4 A. No, Your Honour. According to establishment of the light infantry
5 brigade, the chief of staff is also the deputy commander.
6 JUDGE ARGIBAY: And who was the chief of staff at the time?
7 Sorry, I can't remember all the names you mentioned, so you just say it,
8 please say it again.
9 A. The chief of staff of the Bratunac Brigade and also deputy
10 commander was Major Novica Pajic.
11 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Okay. Where was Major Pajic on the 11th July?
12 A. What I know is what I read from the document, the order. So I
13 don't know -- I didn't know at the time where the chief of staff was. But
14 I read from the document that Major Pajic, according to the assignment,
15 was within the 1st Infantry Battalion at the time.
16 JUDGE ARGIBAY: So was he in the field or was he in Bratunac?
17 A. Again, I have to tell you that I don't know whether at the time he
18 was in Bratunac or in the field. I just told you that I know that I read
19 in a document that on the 11th, he was engaged within the 1st Infantry
20 Battalion, if you're asking me about the 11th.
21 JUDGE ARGIBAY: When did your commander come back from the forward
22 command post?
23 A. As far as I can remember, my commander returned in the afternoon
24 or evening from the forward command post on the 11th, I think.
25 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Did you meet him when he came back?
1 A. On the 11th in the evening, I did not meet with
2 Commander Blagojevic in person, nor did I have any personal contact with
3 him on the 11th in the evening.
4 JUDGE ARGIBAY: And you didn't have any contact on the 12th in the
6 A. No. In the morning of the 12th, there was no meeting, no
7 reporting, no briefing. And there was no meeting in the brigade
8 headquarters, nor did I personally have a meeting with
9 Commander Blagojevic.
10 JUDGE ARGIBAY: General Mladic was in Bratunac on the 12th in the
12 A. Yes, General Mladic, on the 12th in the morning, he was in
13 Bratunac, and he was also there on the 11th, in the afternoon and the
14 evening of the 11th.
15 JUDGE ARGIBAY: And did your commander went to meet his superior
16 officer from the Drina Corps and from the armed forces of Republika
17 Srpska, that is, the supreme commander in the military field? That was
18 General Mladic at the time.
19 A. I'm afraid I didn't understand the question, Your Honour. I
20 understand the question was whether my commander went to meet with -- that
21 was the interpretation. Could you please repeat your question. What
22 exactly you had in mind.
23 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Under this hierarchy, usually the one who is under
24 some other and who is at home, and it was Bratunac for the 1st Light
25 Infantry Brigade, is going to meet and to receive and to say "welcome,"
1 maybe to his superiors. That's military etiquette, I think. So that why
2 I'm asking if your commander was receiving General Mladic and General
3 Krstic and General Zivanovic, if I don't remember wrongly.
4 A. Your Honour, General Krstic and General Mladic and a group of
5 these senior officers from the main staff and the corps command had been
6 present for days already in Bratunac. As far as I can remember,
7 General Mladic from the 7th or 8th; General Krstic even before that. And
8 according to what I know --
9 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Sorry to interrupt you, but at the time you told
10 us that your commander was in the field. He was in the forward command
11 post. So I was asking when he returned to Bratunac, did he made the
12 honours to these special visitors?
13 A. Your Honour, they were together in the field, in the same field
14 where Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic was, in that same area General Mladic and
15 General Krstic were, and many other officers. They were all in the same
16 place, they were together along that axis.
17 JUDGE ARGIBAY: How many meetings do you know, if you know, was
18 Colonel Blagojevic invited to share with the higher command?
19 A. I don't know that, how many meetings he was invited to, because
20 these are things that are not passed on to me. These are personal
21 contacts between superior commanders and their subordinates, so I really
22 don't know.
23 JUDGE ARGIBAY: You told us during your testimony, I think, that
24 General Zivanovic was the one who told you about the Srebrenica operation,
25 and at one point or other you stated that you either were with Zivanovic's
1 circular group or with Krstic, there was a conflict between the two
3 A. Yes, Your Honour. I said that there was a conflict between
4 General Zivanovic and General Krstic. And it lasted a long time, and we
5 were all aware of that conflict.
6 JUDGE ARGIBAY: And were you in the circle or group of
7 General Zivanovic?
8 A. No, Your Honour. I was not within the circle of either of those
9 senior officers because I was a reserve officer with a low rank, and I was
10 not one of the officers who could in any way influence either side. In
11 those days, when General Zivanovic was corps commander, I executed the
12 orders he issued to me. When the corps commander became General Krstic, I
13 again executed orders received from General Krstic as the corps commander.
14 And that was my attitude towards commanding officers, or specifically
15 General Zivanovic and General Krstic.
16 JUDGE ARGIBAY: What about your commander, Colonel Blagojevic?
17 Was he siding with one or the other general?
18 A. I really don't know that. I don't know what the attitude of
19 Colonel Blagojevic was. I don't know.
20 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Okay. You told us that the then commander of the
21 Zvornik Brigade - that was Lieutenant-Colonel Pandurevic, if I got it
22 right - was present at a meeting at the Bratunac Brigade headquarters on
23 the night of 11 or 12th July. Did your commander, Colonel Blagojevic,
24 attend that meeting, too?
25 A. Yes, Your Honour. As far as I can recollect, this meeting that I
1 spoke about was attended by all the participants in the Srebrenica
2 operation, the offensive on Srebrenica. All the commanders of the units,
3 groups, all the commanders participating in the operations attended that
5 JUDGE ARGIBAY: So there were a lot of people there.
6 A. Yes, there were a lot of senior officers there who were
7 participants in that operation.
8 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Did Colonel Jankovic attend that meeting?
9 A. I really don't remember with precision whether he was there. I
10 know only that many people attended, so I don't know for sure. Possibly
11 he was there. If you're asking about the meeting on the 12th, I think
12 that on that occasion, I didn't attend that meeting. I was not present,
13 but according to the information at my disposal, that meeting was attended
14 only by commanders of assault groups and units that participated in the
15 Srebrenica offensive. And Colonel Jankovic was not one of those.
16 JUDGE ARGIBAY: The thing is I have a little bit of confusion
17 about the confusion of the names of the units and all that because, for
18 instance, I found in one place that you talked about the 2nd Motorised
19 Brigade. Is that the complete name, or are you referring to another one
20 and I'm absolutely out of the picture?
21 A. Possibly, Your Honour, that I didn't tell you the full name of the
22 brigade. I was speaking about the various units that participated in the
23 attack on Srebrenica, and then as far as I know - and I probably mentioned
24 that unit - I don't know its exact name even now. I know it was the 2nd
25 Motorised or Mechanised Brigade from Sokolac or Han Pijesak.
1 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Do you remember the name of the commander of this
3 A. I think it was Lieutenant-Colonel -- I can't remember now. I know
4 the lieutenant-colonel personally. I know his first and last name.
5 JUDGE ARGIBAY: In one of the parts of the -- in part of your
6 testimony, and it's page in the transcript 1.640, you said that there was
7 Zekovic. Can it be that person? Because you said: "Commander Zekovic,
8 chief of the 2nd Motorised Brigade." Could it be the lieutenant-colonel
9 you're talking about?
10 A. No, I think I was talking about Sejkovici, a commander from
11 Sejkovici. I don't think I mentioned Zekovic. Maybe it's an error in the
12 transcript. I don't think such a commander exists by that name. I spoke
13 about a commander from Sejkovici who participated in the operation of
14 Srebrenica and that is Colonel Andric.
15 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Is Colonel Andric the same that was in 1999
17 A. Yes, he is an officer who after the Srebrenica operation became
18 chief of staff of the Drina Corps.
19 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Yes, I want some clarification if you can.
20 Remember the clips of the videotape you saw when you identified two
21 persons, one from the Panthers from Bijeljina, and the other one wearing a
22 bandanna probably from the 3rd Infantry Battalion, I remember you said.
23 Remember you saw those videos?
24 A. Yes, yes.
25 JUDGE ARGIBAY: What were the soldiers doing there?
1 A. One of those does not belong to the Bratunac Brigade. He's the
2 soldier known as Gargija. He belonged to the Panthers. And I really
3 don't know what he was doing there. This other one on the photograph
4 known as Lika, I don't know his full name, was present there according to
5 what I saw as an individual. And I really don't know what his concrete
6 assignment was. I saw him on the photograph, and that's all I know about
7 him. And I conveyed my assessment as to what kind of people they were,
8 the information I had about them as a security organ, and that's all I
9 said in my testimony.
10 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Okay. So we are not sure if they were acting
11 under orders in that place, or were they acting on their own, you can say
13 A. I cannot. Regarding the first one, I can say that he came of his
14 own accord because the Panthers, as a unit, did not take part in that
15 operation. He belonged to that unit, and it was a hundred kilometres from
16 Bratunac. As for the second one, I can't claim anything because he
17 appears there as an individual in the company of this other one who is a
18 member of the Panthers. So I really cannot judge what the two of them
19 were doing there.
20 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Okay. When you had some information to deliver or
21 to report to your commander and the commander is not at headquarters, do
22 you have any means to communicate with him?
23 A. Yes. There is always a line or almost always a line of
24 communications between the commander and the headquarters of the Bratunac
25 Brigade. I personally didn't have any communications device through which
1 I could get in touch. So I personally, Your Honour, didn't have any
2 communications, means which I could use to communicate with the commander
3 directly in his absence. But such communication devices did exist in the
4 communications centre in the headquarters of the Bratunac Brigade.
5 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Okay. Thank you. But they just tell me we have
6 to have a break now.
7 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we'll have a break. We'll resume at 1.00.
8 --- Recess taken at 12.27 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 1.03 p.m.
10 JUDGE LIU: Judge Argibay, please continue.
11 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Mr. Nikolic, I only want two or three little clarifications
13 because I have a little bit of confusion with the dates. You told us that
14 you knew from the 12th July that these prisoners were going to be executed
15 and that you were standing in front of the Hotel Fontana before the third
16 Hotel Fontana meeting with Popovic and Kosoric, waiting for the DutchBat
17 representatives and the civilians representatives from Srebrenica to come,
18 and you were already talking about the execution. Am I correct?
19 A. Your Honour, you are right. Everything you said was right in
20 relation to my presence and the conversation that took place and what I
21 knew before the third meeting from the conversation with
22 Lieutenant-Colonel Kosoric and Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic, namely, that I
23 knew what would be done in Srebrenica, who would be transported, and who
24 would be separated from Potocari, temporarily detained, and ultimately
25 executed. That is what I knew because I heard this piece of information
1 from the two lieutenant-colonels in front of the Fontana Hotel.
2 JUDGE ARGIBAY: And at that time, you came with prospective
3 execution sites?
4 A. At that time, I suggested a site for temporary detention, and I
5 gave the names of these sites during my testimony. We then had a
6 discussion in front of Fontana about execution sites in the territory of
7 the Municipality of Bratunac.
8 JUDGE ARGIBAY: So these executions were supposed to take place in
9 the Bratunac Municipality?
10 A. I have said during my testimony that we discussed sites for
11 execution, two sites, at that. And I can draw the conclusion that the
12 execution of these people was supposed to be organised in Bratunac.
13 JUDGE ARGIBAY: And there were no preparations underway for that
14 operation at the time?
15 A. I don't know, and I did not testify about that particular matter.
16 I don't know whether there were any preparations. At that time, I did not
17 know anything about the executions in Bratunac in greater detail. I don't
18 know if I testified about this, but subsequently, that is to say, after a
19 while, after the operation was completed, I heard, or rather, I received
20 information concerning some action that was taken in the territory of the
21 Municipality of Bratunac with a view to having this execution carried out
22 in Bratunac.
23 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Because if I remember correctly, it was by the
24 night of 13 July that you have this meeting with Colonel Beara and your
25 brother-in-law, I suppose, that was from the municipality, and they
1 decided that the executions would take place in the Zvornik Municipality.
2 Isn't that correct?
3 A. At this meeting, and I know because I was present at the meeting,
4 the main speaker regarding this particular matter, where the prisoners
5 would be going and also the main opposition came from Mr. Miroslav
6 Deronjic, the then commissioner for civilian affairs who had been
7 appointed by President Karadzic. The Muslims who were taken prisoner were
8 supposed to be taken to Bratunac, and in Bratunac, and around Bratunac
9 there should be no execution or killing whatsoever, no way. That pertains
10 to the question that was discussed at that meeting.
11 JUDGE ARGIBAY: I see. Can you tell me what were the proposed
12 execution sites in Bratunac, the two you mentioned just now.
13 A. Yes, Your Honour. Two sites were mentioned; namely, the area of
14 Ciglane, the socially owned company in Bratunac, and the area where the
15 lead and zinc mine is, the lead and zinc mine of Sase in Sase.
16 JUDGE ARGIBAY: You remember the document that is for
17 identification purposes marked D36/1, the one from Mr. Vasic telling the
18 story of Mr. Kovac coming into -- in contact with General Mladic, Krstic,
19 Beara, and others in - let me find it - Vlasenica. Remember that
21 A. I do. I do remember, Your Honour. I do remember this document
22 and roughly the substance of the document.
23 JUDGE ARGIBAY: From this document, the impression is that the
24 executions were ordered only on 13 July at about 0700 hours. How come
25 that this gentleman is telling us that the order came after the incident
1 in the Kravica place, detention place, and not beforehand, as you tell us
2 that from the 12th you know about that?
3 A. Your Honour, I cannot comment upon the way in which this document
4 was compiled. And also, I cannot comment upon its content and its
5 truthfulness. I really cannot. I really am not capable of making any
6 comment regarding that document in that sense, why it was written then,
7 why it was not written beforehand. I really can't. It's a MUP document,
8 and I don't know how it came into being or when or why something like that
9 was written.
10 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Thank you. I have no further questions.
11 JUDGE LIU: Well, I just have a few questions. The first question
12 is related to Kravica warehouse. In your testimony, which I believe in
13 the page 1.739, you testified that: "As an intelligence officer, it was
14 my duty and within my purview to gather intelligence from such sources as
15 I previously defined as my colleague, or rather, collaborators. At
16 Kravica and throughout the Bratunac Brigade, I had people I worked it, and
17 they would cooperate with the security organ. I really can't bring into
18 the public eye the names of the people I had worked with."
19 Who are those people? If you need, we could go to the private
20 session so that they are not in the public eye.
21 A. Your Honour, there is no need. I shall explain this to you, and I
22 think that we will fully understand each other with regard to this
24 In this document that we discussed a short while ago, that is to
25 say the record of the 501st Infantry Brigade, it says under item 1:
1 "Associates of the security organs." Then it also says: "Persons that
2 the security organ uses as a source of information."
3 Further on, it says: "The application of methods of work of the
4 security organs and records of persons." And finally, it says: "The work
5 plan of the security organs, 1 act." Under item 1, the associates of the
6 security organ are associates that the security organ in accordance with
7 the rules of service engages for the needs required by their work in the
8 area of responsibility and in the territory of the unit involved. In this
9 case, the Bratunac Brigade.
10 "The associates or collaborators of the security organs are known
11 by their names and surnames only to the head of the security organ who
12 engages them and selects them. The superior command - that is to say, the
13 command of the corps - is aware of a network of persons who are the
14 collaborators of the security organs, but the corps command does not have
15 the names and surnames of these persons. It has the pseudonyms of these
16 persons, and also the particulars of these persons. As for the
17 information contained in the document informing the superior command about
18 the engagement of such collaborators, in addition to the pseudonyms, there
19 are also defined assignments and the line of work of the security organ
20 collaborators of the brigade." Everything that I'm telling you now is
21 defined by the rules of service of the security organs of the armed
22 forces. I availed myself of this right and obligation that I had.
23 And then there is a further paragraph that relates to persons that
24 the security organs uses as a source of information. It contains the
25 names and surnames of these persons, their particulars, and also a brief
1 description of the way in which these persons are used. In principle, in
2 principle, these persons are engaged on a voluntary basis, and on the
3 basis of their consent to work on compiling intelligence and other
4 information that is important for the security organs. This is defined by
5 the rules of service. The names and surnames of these persons are never
6 revealed, either to the superior commander in the brigade or the superior
7 officer in the professional chain of command, that is to say, the superior
8 security officer.
9 I've already explained what is presented to the superior command.
10 As for the results of the engagement of these persons and the information
11 collected that is of interest to the brigade, that is essential to the
12 brigade and its security, as for this information, the superior officer,
13 the superior commander, is informed through briefing, personal contact,
14 and in other ways.
15 Now, even if I wanted to, I could not give the names of these
16 collaborators I used. I simply do not know them off the cuff. But the
17 list of persons I used as collaborators remained under seal in a sealed
18 envelope in my safe, and I handed this over to my successor,
19 Lieutenant Lazar Ostojic.
20 JUDGE LIU: Let me ask you a specific question: In your plea
21 agreement, you took the responsibility of the Kravica warehouse, and it
22 indicates that "Mr. Borovcanin," if I pronounce it right, "was present."
23 And we asked if you knew who participated in that incident. During the
24 direct examination you didn't mention his name. Why?
25 A. Your Honour, I don't know whether this was an oversight on my
1 part. But if so, I can tell you now that after information was gathered
2 about this incident, I knew immediately after that, and I can confirm that
3 right now as well, that Mr. Borovcanin was commander of the forces that
4 were in Kravica, that took part in the killings there, and that
5 Mr. Borovcanin was commander of all units of MUP in that area from Kravica
6 to Konjevic Polje. And of course, the units that were in Potocari, or
7 rather the part of the units that were engaged in Potocari.
8 If I said anything to the contrary, I do apologise.
9 JUDGE LIU: You said "after information was gathered." What's the
10 source of the information? Can you explain to me?
11 A. The source of this information were my associates, my
12 collaborators, who were engaged in the village of Kravica.
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, another set of questions is about those
14 meetings. I think I got a little bit confused with all those meetings as
15 you said during the questions by the Judges, you could not remember
16 exactly on which day what kind of meeting was held. But please do your
17 best, give us a rough idea on a day-by-day base what kind of meeting was
19 Let's begin from 11th of July. So far as you remember, was there
20 any meeting on that date?
21 A. Your Honour, in my testimony so far, I have said that I have a
22 dilemma regarding the meeting that was held at the command of the Bratunac
23 Brigade which was attended by the commanders of the assault groups or the
24 combat groups or the commanders of these groups. That is to say that I'm
25 not sure whether this meeting was held on the 11th or the 12th. But I do
1 know that in that period, such a meeting was held. That was the first
3 The next meeting, as I've said, I also know that in the morning of
4 the 12th, a meeting was held at the command of the Bratunac Brigade, and I
5 know that what was conveyed to me, and later on I was reminded here
6 through a document that the Prosecutor showed me, that in Bratunac on the
7 12th in the morning hours, a meeting was held at the Bratunac Brigade
9 And the third meeting that I testified about and that I spoke
10 about was the meeting on the 13th at the command of the Bratunac Brigade.
11 I said with regard to that meeting that I'm sure that it was held on the
12 13th at the command of the Bratunac Brigade. Then in my testimony I said
13 that in the period from when the officers from the corps command came,
14 certain meetings were held. And I know that officers did come to attend
15 these meetings at the brigade command. However, I was not a participant
16 in these meetings, and I don't know the exact dates when they were held.
17 That is what I know. And that is what I can recall.
18 JUDGE LIU: Well, in your testimony you said that Mr. Deronjic
19 asked you to take part in a meeting on 13th July 1995. Is that true?
20 A. That's not what I said, or perhaps it was a slip of the tongue if
21 I said it. I said that as for this meeting with Miroslav Deronjic at his
22 office, that I went there on the request of Colonel Beara after the
23 briefing upon my return from an assignment in Zvornik.
24 JUDGE LIU: Why were you asked to take part in that meeting?
25 A. At that time, and now, I really have no idea why I went with
1 Colonel Beara. He simply ordered me to go with him. I can just guess in
2 relation to the situation that prevailed in the town of Bratunac. I think
3 that this was one of the reasons why I was supposed to be present there,
4 because questions related to the security of the town, the danger
5 involved, that is what was being discussed. And also the fact that
6 thousands of Muslim prisoners were coming in to town on buses and in
7 trucks, and that this imperilled the town in a way.
8 JUDGE LIU: I'm interested in your relationship with your
9 commander Blagojevic, both working relationship and personal relationship.
10 Can you shed some light on that?
11 A. Yes, Your Honour. I never had any conflicts with
12 Colonel Blagojevic as a person, not related to the relationship that we
13 had as officers in a command. I've known Colonel Blagojevic all my life.
14 I know the family he comes from. He also knows my family. As officers in
15 the brigade where he was the superior officer and where I was his
16 subordinate, we had very correct relations in terms of cooperation and,
17 generally speaking, in terms of carrying out the tasks that were set
18 before us.
19 What I wish to say is that Colonel Blagojevic, to a large part, or
20 for the most part, respected proposals that were made for the use of units
21 concerning which I made proposals in accordance with the relevant
22 regulations, and I can say that we most often did not agree only in one
23 single segment. And that has to do with using the military police
24 platoon. There were certain disagreements on that score in the following
25 sentence: I insisted that the military police platoon should be engaged
1 in military police tasks. The commander of the brigade on several
2 occasions issued orders to use the military police platoon contrary to the
3 proposals that I had made. I will give you a concrete example. For
4 instance, Trnovo, where the Bratunac Brigade was engaged. After the
5 brigade commander passed a decision to use the military police platoon in
6 such a way, or rather, part of the military police platoon, I used that
7 part of the platoon to carry out this task. The commander personally went
8 with them to have this combat assignment carried out in the area of
9 Trnovo. And then when they got there, he had a problem because he had
10 engaged them for that particular task. And this problem was contrary to
11 my original proposal.
12 After that, after the problem that was caused by this engagement
13 which was contrary to the proposal I made in respect of the use of this
14 unit, then Commander Blagojevic called me from Trnovo asking me to come to
15 Trnovo which is 180 kilometres away to resolve this problem with this
16 squad of the military police which had been engaged on his orders and not
17 in accordance with my proposal.
18 And of course, I got into the car then. I went there, and I
19 resolved the problem in the way in which such problems are resolved, by
20 issuing orders, not beseeching people. I am saying that even in Trnovo,
21 the commander had all the necessary resources for resolving the matter.
22 He had a battalion of the military police from the Sarajevo Majevica
23 Corps [phoen]. He could have issued an order to disarm these ten men. He
24 could have issued an order to have these ten men detained, and he could
25 have resolved the problem, not engage me for that particular matter.
1 So this is a concrete example of when we did not agree. And there
2 is one thing where we absolutely disagreed. Can I tell you about that as
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, I just asked you generally, you know. There's
5 no need to give me the concrete examples unless it's related to that
6 critical period. Is it related to that critical period? What I mean is
7 from the 6th of July to the 17th of July.
8 A. No, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Thank you.
10 My last question is that throughout your testimony, you
11 continuously mentioned that the person you were responsible to or is your
12 direct commander is Mr. Blagojevic. But we heard very few evidence that
13 during the period, from the 6th to 17th of July, there are a lot of
14 contact between you and Mr. Blagojevic. My question is during that period
15 did you receive any order or instructions from your commander,
16 Mr. Blagojevic?
17 A. In my testimony, I said when I did receive certain assignments. I
18 mentioned the dates. That was in this period at a briefing prior to the
19 attack, sometime between the 3rd and the 5th of July, when I was given one
20 of my assignments. And also, after my informing Commander Blagojevic on
21 the 12th, when he did not oppose, and my understanding was I had his
22 agreement for continued engagement. And again on the 13th, after the
23 morning briefing when I went to execute the tasks that had started on the
24 12th in Potocari.
25 True enough, Your Honour, in that period of time, there were no
1 regular meetings that we usually held. There were no briefings. And why
2 there were no documents or records about orders issued is explained by
3 this, by the fact we didn't have regular meetings, regular briefings at
4 which orders are issued and then the commander is briefed about the
5 execution of those orders.
6 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
7 Any questions out of Judges' questions? Mr. McCloskey.
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: If I could make just one clarification on your
9 last point, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: One of the exhibits, the meeting notes of the
12 command meetings that we will be offering into evidence has a meeting
13 where I believe Mr. Blagojevic is present, and Mr. Nikolic is issued an
14 order to go to Potocari to do something. And that will be in the exhibit
15 as we offer it.
16 But aside from that clarification, unless you want me to ask him
17 about that --
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, you have to put it in the form of a question
19 rather than you yourself explaining to us.
20 Further examination by Mr. McCloskey:
21 Q. Mr. Nikolic, do you recall the command meeting notes that I just
22 spoke of?
23 A. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor. If you're talking about the notes in the
24 preparatory stage for the attack.
25 Q. And was that what you are referring to where you said that was at
1 one point where your commander had issued you a task?
2 A. Yes, that is the note on that meeting when, among others, I
3 received an assignment, too.
4 Q. Do you remember what that task was?
5 A. The task was for me in that period to ensure a megaphone and to
6 find the most favourable position in the area of the 2nd Infantry
7 Battalion that can best be heard in Potocari.
8 Q. What was that about?
9 A. All I can say now is that the aim was probably during the attack,
10 should the need arise, for the Muslims to be called to surrender. And
11 from those documents, the task is not quite clear to me either. But that
12 is the only possibility. I can't see any other.
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: Nothing further, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
15 Mr. Karnavas.
16 Further cross-examined by Mr. Karnavas:
17 Q. Did you carry out that task?
18 A. Mr. Karnavas, as far as I can recall, in that period of time, I
19 never had the need to make any announcements from the yellow bridge.
20 There was no need for me to ensure a megaphone. There were plenty in the
21 brigade headquarters that had been seized from the international
22 organisations. And among the other equipment seized there were
24 Q. Let me ask you again the question. Do you recall my question?
25 A. Yes, Mr. Karnavas. I do remember your question.
1 Q. Could you answer it, please. Did you carry out that task? Yes or
3 A. I did not, Mr. Karnavas, because there was nothing for me to
5 Q. Were you asked about this by the Prosecution during the proofing
6 sessions or at any other sessions?
7 A. I don't know, Mr. Karnavas. We spoke about many things, including
8 that, so I don't know any longer what exactly the Prosecutor asked me. We
9 discussed all kinds of things, including reports, briefings, and
10 everything else.
11 Q. Well, with respect to this particular order, did he ask you to
12 give some explanation? Yes, no, or maybe?
13 A. It is not an order. These were assignments issued, assignments
14 defined at the briefing.
15 Q. All right. Did you discuss the assignment, the one we're
16 discussing right now? Did you discuss that with the Prosecutor during the
17 proofing sessions? That's what I'm asking.
18 A. I think we did.
19 Q. And what was your -- what do you mean "you think"? You either did
20 or you didn't, or you don't recall right now? Which of the three?
21 A. Mr. Karnavas, I said that we did discuss all documents, including
22 that document.
23 Q. Okay. Now you no longer think; you know that you discussed it.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Okay. Thank you for that straight answer. Now, could you please
1 tell us what exactly you told the Prosecutor at the time that you
2 discussed this particular assignment. Concretely tell us.
3 A. I said more or less what I just said here in this courtroom.
4 Q. Which is?
5 A. What do you mean now? The contents of what I said?
6 Q. Yes. What exactly did you tell the Prosecutor? Did you tell him,
7 for instance, that you recall seeing that assignment? That you didn't
8 carry out the assignment because of other reasons? What exactly if
9 anything did you tell the Prosecutor regarding this particular assignment?
10 A. I told the Prosecutor that on the basis of what it says in the
11 report, I don't know what the gist of that assignment was, and that I
12 assume that the aim and purpose of my engagement was what I said a moment
13 ago, and that is should at a particular point in time I be engaged to call
14 on them to surrender with the help of a megaphone. That's what I said.
15 Q. Do you recall receiving that assignment? Today, do you recall
16 receiving that assignment from your commander?
17 A. I said that I recall that assignment, only -- or rather, I
18 remembered it once I took the report to read it because there were so many
19 assignments that I really can't remember each and every detail and each
20 and every assignment. But I was reminded by it, and I know that I
21 attended that meeting.
22 Q. Okay. So it was after your memory was refreshed through your
23 lawyers with the documents presented to them by the Prosecutor that you
24 recall the assignment?
25 A. Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
1 Q. Thank you. I do have one question with respect to the meeting
2 that was raised by Judge Argibay. You indicated today that
3 Mr. Blagojevic definitely, or at least that was the impression that I got,
4 that he definitely attended this meeting of commanders, but you can't
5 recall whether it was the 11th or the 12th. Is that your testimony?
6 A. Mr. Karnavas, I said that that meeting was attended by commanders
7 of the assault groups, and as far as I know, all commanders who
8 participated in the attack on Srebrenica and that that meeting was held in
9 the Bratunac Brigade and that I am certain if they were all there, that
10 Commander Blagojevic was there, too. That is what I said.
11 Q. Okay. And you're certain because you saw Colonel Blagojevic
12 coming out of the meeting?
13 A. I am certain because if this was a meeting of the commanders of
14 assault groups, because I knew -- I heard afterwards what had happened at
15 that meeting and what the discussion was that they held.
16 Q. Okay. Now, is that the meeting where you claim there was this
17 argument between General Krstic and Colonel Blagojevic, in the presence of
18 General Mladic and Colonel Blagojevic just up and left the room? Is that
19 the one we're talking about?
20 A. No. I was speaking of the meeting with the commanders of the
21 assault groups. And according to my information, what was discussed were
22 future combat activities and the continuation of the operation against
23 Zepa. Now, whether other matters were also discussed and what was
24 discussed, I said that I wasn't present at that meeting, and that I did
25 not know the details as to who said what. I just conveyed the main thing
1 that I heard about that meeting.
2 Q. Did you ever tell the Prosecutor that there was a meeting where in
3 that meeting, there was General Mladic, there was Krstic, there was
4 Colonel Blagojevic, and others. And in that meeting, in the presence of
5 General Mladic, there is this argument between Colonel Blagojevic and his
6 commander, General Krstic. And during that meeting, Colonel Blagojevic
7 just walks out of the room. Did you ever tell this to the Prosecutor?
8 Yes or no or I just don't recall. Which of the three?
9 A. When we spoke, I told the Prosecutor that I remember one of those
10 meetings at which there was this conflict between General Krstic and
11 Colonel Blagojevic. And I said that I know that I heard from
12 Colonel Blagojevic that the two of them quarrelled, rather, there was a
13 scene after which Colonel Blagojevic offered his resignation and walked
14 out. It was along those lines that the Prosecutor and I discussed the
16 Q. And as I understand it, you also indicated at that time that this
17 was in the presence of General Mladic, who was chairing the meeting
18 apparently, or would have been chairing the meeting considering he was the
19 supreme commander.
20 A. I think that I didn't say that. I said that when we discussed
21 that meeting, that General Krstic was there, and that the conflict arose
22 between the two of them. I think that in connection with that event, I
23 did not enumerate all the commanding officers who were present in the
24 command of the Bratunac Brigade.
25 Q. Very well.
1 There are two questions that I would like to ask that were
2 raised -- that were based on the redirect, if that's permitted. If it's
3 not, that's fine.
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, generally speaking, you have to ask the
5 questions within the scope of judge's questions.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: I understand, Your Honour. That's why before I
7 asked them -- if I can just tell you what the questions are, and then you
8 may decide.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: One has to do with the gentleman named -- who is
11 nickname is Kokara, a rather colourful character that was described as
12 being seen. I would like to know whether that gentleman is on the video,
13 one of the videos that Mr. Nikolic has seen. And is it not a fact that he
14 has had this gentleman arrested, and so there's a personal history between
15 Kokara and Nikolic. That's the one question.
16 And then the other one dealt with a clarification, and that is the
17 gentleman has indicated today, as in the past, that he received his orders
18 from Colonel Popovic regarding the reburials sometime in September. And I
19 believe it's the beginning or middle of September. That's the ballpark
20 figure. We do have a document that shows that asanacija was referred to
21 in the meeting on the 16th of October. And my question was -- today he
22 indicated that he notified his commander after Colonel Popovic informed
23 him, which would be sometime in September. My question would be: Was
24 this another one of those meetings where it was four eyes and four ears
25 only, because then there would appear to be at least no other verifiable
1 evidence to substantiate, other than this gentleman's statement as to
2 whether that meeting did, in fact, take place.
3 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas, I'm afraid you could not ask those
4 questions. Maybe the second question is underlying. I think Judges
5 raised it, but the sense and direction is different with yours. But
6 anyway, this witness gave his evidence today here. And you have the full
7 opportunity to verify his testimony at a later stage and call the other
8 witnesses or in your case in chief at a later stage.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
11 Mr. Stojanovic.
12 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just one question
13 in the context of the questions put by His Honour Judge Vassylenko.
14 Further cross-examined by Mr. Stojanovic:
15 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Nikolic, in answer to a question by
16 Judge Vassylenko, you said that before the handover of duty, you destroyed
17 most of your personal documents, your diaries, notes, or your opinions or
18 reflections. Among those documents, was there a single document related
19 to the reburial activities?
20 A. Mr. Stojanovic, among those documents, there was an official
21 report that I compiled after completing that operation, and it was
22 destroyed. And as you can see from these minutes, there is an item
23 regarding consumption of fuel. So only my official report was destroyed,
24 my own analysis of that whole operation. And everything else stayed
25 behind in the safe. You have here a list of what remained in the safe.
1 Q. So my question is why did you destroy that official report in view
2 of the fact that you said that you destroyed these documents generally
3 because you said you were afraid that there were a lot of names and you
4 were aware of searches in brigade headquarters? So can this explanation
5 be used to support what you said yesterday, that this was probably a
6 secret operation?
7 A. Mr. Stojanovic, I can give you a very frank answer to this
8 question. I destroyed those documents which compromised both me and the
9 Bratunac Brigade. So I destroyed that particular document that you're
10 referring to.
11 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions, Your
13 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
14 At this stage, are there any documents to tender into the
15 evidence? Mr. McCloskey.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President. I have about ten documents.
17 There are several others that we discussed, but for a proper
18 authentication of those military documents, we will be providing that
19 through the normal course. And I can just briefly go over these ten.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes, please.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: P81, that's the compilation of the plea agreement
22 and material associated with it. P82 is also part of that plea agreement
23 material. P83 are the JNA brigade rules. P84 are the JNA rules of the
24 security organs. P85 is the map showing the brigade's area of
25 responsibility. P86 is the aerial photograph that the witness marked.
1 P87 is the aerial photograph of Bratunac town that the witness marked.
2 P88 is the videoclip of the arrival at the Hotel Fontana. P89 is the
3 videoclip of General Krstic and Zoran Kovacevic doing their press
4 interviews in Potocari. P90 is the videoclip of the people coming in to
5 Potocari, the fellows with bandannas. P93 is the videoclip of the
6 soldiers of the Bratunac Brigade that are along the road.
7 P94 is that Bratunac Brigade document relating to the destruction
8 of documents. And that is my one exception. Since the witness seemed to
9 be so familiar with that document, I think that by his own testimony is
10 probably sufficient to authenticate it.
11 And the other exhibit is a matter of a private session exhibit,
12 P95. And the rest, we'll be providing detailed information on where these
13 documents came from. They mostly were seized from various searches.
14 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. Any objections? Mr. Karnavas.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour. With respect to P83 and
16 P84, it is our belief that the documents tendered by the Prosecution were
17 incomplete, were not complete. We didn't use those rules; we provided our
18 complete set of rules. So I would prefer, of course, for the Trial
19 Chamber to have the complete set, and I brought this matter to
20 Mr. McCloskey's attention. So either both sets can go, or one could be
21 replaced for the other.
22 So with respect to P85, I guess I'm drawing a blank over here as
23 to whether this map was actually used. And I guess I'm -- and again, I'm
24 not stating that it wasn't. But if I could have my memory refreshed.
25 As far as all the rest, I have no objections.
1 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
2 Mr. McCloskey, how about the document P85, the map?
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: My memory -- I think you asked me if he could look
4 at a map, and I found a map, and he pointed out a few things on the map.
5 It's the map of along the road, and I don't know. I know our
6 recollections may be fuzzy, but I remember you asking me that. It's a
7 small map that shows the basic area, and he pointed to it. Judge Argibay,
8 I see she's got that.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: My memory is refreshed at this point. And I have
10 no objections, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
12 Mr. Stojanovic.
13 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have no
14 objections regarding the exhibits tendered. But we would suggest that it
15 would be more appropriate to admit the entirety of the rules that were
16 referred to here, bearing in mind our own cross-examination when it was
17 stated that security officers could not be duty officers. We have no
18 other remarks.
19 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
20 Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm sorry, Mr. President. We missed one. It's a
22 videostill of Zoran Kovacevic in Potocari. It's when everything broke.
23 And I just had him circle it, if you recall, and circle the person on it.
24 That is also an exhibit, P96.
25 JUDGE LIU: I guess there's no objections because I think it's a
1 clip from the documents we have already admitted into evidence; that is,
2 P22. Right?
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. That's correct.
4 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. I see no objections.
5 So those documents are admitted into evidence. And as for the
6 documents P83 and P84, we hope that the Prosecution could submit us with a
7 complete set of that documents, because really we just have the part you
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, of course. Absolutely, of course,
10 Mr. President. We've got the complete translated set, and we'll make sure
11 you get all of that.
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
13 Well, Mr. Nikolic, thank you very much --
14 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I'm sorry. At this moment, are there any
16 documents for the Defence to tender?
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE LIU: I just received your list, amended list.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes. And it may need to be amended again.
20 Yes, Your Honour. D12/1, we did discuss that, so I would ask that
21 that be admitted. D15/1. D16/1.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, I'm sorry.
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: We don't have his amended list, and it may get
25 complicated --
1 JUDGE LIU: Sure, sure. I think there are so many lists flying.
2 Final, final, final lists.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm sorry, I might have that. Janet just pointed
4 out to me that maybe I do have it.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: It's dated 30 September 2003.
6 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, that's the one I've got.
7 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. Let me go back. D12/1. D14/1, I bypassed
9 that the last time. That's the intelligence support of the armed force
10 JNA manual. D15/1. D16/1. Okay, on D17/1, we haven't been able to
11 locate it yet. And I guess what my position would be, at this point we're
12 not going to tender it -- we're not going to move it into admission. But
13 I did speak with Mr. McCloskey, and we are trying to solve that problem.
14 But I can assure the Court as an officer of the Court that we have never
15 received any official documents outside of Mr. McCloskey. And had we
16 received such a document, I would deem it physical evidence which I would
17 be duty-bound to turn over to the Prosecution.
18 D18/1. D20/1. D21/1. D22/1. D23/1. D24/1. D25/1. D26/1.
19 D27/1. D28/1. D36/1. D37/1. D38/1.
20 With respect to D39/1, of course, that's sort of an issue of
21 contention as far as whether the gentleman should be coming here to give
22 live testimony or whether if he should be moved into 92 bis, and of course
23 I believe after yesterday I made a compelling reason why he should be
24 coming in here live versus that coming in here under 92 bis. And then
25 D40/1. D41/1. And finally, it just occurred to me as I was going through
1 all of this, I would just like to make sure because the gentleman has
2 given various statements and has had briefing notes, with respect to
3 Mr. Nikolic, everything that he has given the Prosecutor from his
4 statement back in 1999 to the statement of facts and acceptance of
5 responsibility to the additional information or the information report
6 from Mr. Bursik to his statement of -- that he gave subsequently
7 thereafter and all proofing notes also be moved in because we refer to all
8 of it. And I think that it's necessary. So when it comes times for us to
9 argue our cases, we then have all of these sources of information, provide
10 them -- collate them into our arguments with respect to the finding of
11 facts the Court needs to make.
12 JUDGE LIU: Mr. McCloskey.
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President. As for D12, I would
14 object. It seems to be a letter from a police department. It's not an
15 official document. I would object to it coming for the truth of the
16 matter in it. It's unclear, this area, whether this is a criminal
17 conviction, some sort of administrative thing. It's very unclear, and
18 without official documents, I think this just muddies the water.
19 I have no problem with P83, the brigade rules, or D14, the
20 intelligence support. D15, the service regulations of the military, no
21 problem. No problem.
22 D16, the July 2nd order of the Drina Corps, that is a -- I have no
23 objection to that. We would be offer the authentication of that later.
24 But if it's simpler to come in now, I don't really care how it comes in.
25 I know that is an authentic document.
1 We are working with Mr. Karnavas on D17, on the 5 July document.
2 It appears genuine to us, and I'm sure we'll track it down. I hope we'll
3 track it down.
4 D18, the Bratunac Brigade search, no objection. Again, we will be
5 providing the authentication for that.
6 D19, this health centre letter, again, this is a hearsay document
7 related to --
8 JUDGE LIU: It's not tendered.
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: Sorry. Thank you.
10 D20, we get into these business records of that company relating
11 all those issues. I would object to those as all hearsay, of little
12 relevance, and not any probative or substantive value. And that is D20/1,
13 D21/1, D22 -- I'm sorry.
14 D22 is the headquarters of the RSA instruction. That's the 24th
15 document. No objection to that. And we just have our -- the two
16 translations of that document.
17 And then D23 through D27 are those documents related to the
18 companies which I don't think are helpful or relevant or substantial.
19 D28, the 13 July command of the Drina Corps search, no objection.
20 I think the next one is D36. Your Honour, this is a letter from
21 Mr. Vasic who at the time of the events as we have learned was the head of
22 the -- what's referred to as CSB Zvornik. He has been interviewed as a
23 suspect several times by the Prosecution. That material everyone has. In
24 the process of his various interviews, he provided us with this letter.
25 And it's basically him writing a letter about what Kovac, who was the
1 acting minister of interior at the time, what Kovac told him that Kovac
2 heard Mladic say. So it's the most quadruple hearsay imaginable, and as a
3 result for the purposes of questioning during cross-examination, no
4 objection. But as a substantive document that has any kind of weight or
5 credibility, I would object.
6 Now, the statement of Mile Petrovic, again, a statement to be used
7 for cross-examination or to impeach the witness, I have no objection for
8 it being used at that point. But a document to come in substantively is,
9 I believe, against the rules. It should either come in as 92 bis or the
10 person should testify. So I would object to both of the statements of
11 Mile Petrovic, D37/1 and D38/1.
12 Now, the materials related to the statements of Mr. Nikolic, it's
13 my understanding that these sorts of statements from witnesses the Court
14 did not want to be admitted into evidence. And so I would like to be
15 consistent for this witness as well. If -- because of his unique
16 situation, if the Court deems it appropriate to have all these statements,
17 I wouldn't object. But I think it makes sense that we remain consistent
22 JUDGE LIU: Maybe you should have something -- so, you finished?
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, that's it, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Well as for Document D12/1, we believe that is a
25 police document. And there's some relevance in this case, so it's
1 admitted into the evidence.
2 As for the D17 and D18, the Prosecution promised us to work with
3 Mr. Karnavas to find the source of these two documents. And whenever they
4 establish the source of these two documents, we will admit them into the
5 evidence. But not at this moment.
6 D20, admitted.
7 As for the documents D21, D22 until 27, we believe that those
8 documents have some relevance to the credibilities of this witness. As
9 for how much weight we would like to attach to these documents, that's
10 another matter. So those documents are admitted.
11 D28 is admitted since there's no objections.
12 D36 is admitted. D37 until D41 are not admitted into the evidence
13 because they are the statements of the witnesses. As our practice, we do
14 not admit those previous statements into the evidence.
15 It is so decided.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: I believe as to 40 and 41, the Prosecution had
19 indicated rather than bring the individual here, that they would not
20 object to the statements coming in, under 92 bis I would take it.
21 As far as 38 -- 37 and 38, I would totally agree. And in light of
22 the importance of this particular witness, and the upcoming events with
23 respect to Mr. Nikolic, I would request that Trial Chamber exercise its
24 powers under Rule 98 and that Mr. Petrovic be brought here to testify as a
25 witness on behalf of the Trial Chamber. It's obvious that he's willing.
1 He's been around. I think his testimony would be extremely important
2 prior to the sentencing of Mr. Nikolic. And I have noted today from the
3 Prosecution that they do intend to call very shortly the only other
4 potential witness on that occasion, and that is Mirko Jankovic. And I've
5 looked through the statement of Mirko Jankovic. He doesn't recall any of
6 the events that this witness has testified. However, he does comment with
7 respect to Petrovic and describes him as an honest man, an honest and a
8 decent man.
9 So I think in light of that, Your Honour -- and I agree with the
10 ruling that the statements should not come in at this point. But given
11 the critical importance of this particular witness, at this juncture, I
12 would prefer for the Court to exercise its discretion as at the present,
13 and I'm sure the Prosecution would not object to it, to bring the
14 gentleman as quickly as possible. And I know it would be somewhat of an
15 interruption in the Prosecution's case. But I think this is an issue that
16 is relevant. Somebody is being accused of killing six individuals, and
17 there's no other evidence other than this gentleman's testimony. But we
18 do have an official statement given to the Bratunac police. We do have
19 another statement, albeit to my investigator, and we also have a witness
20 by the Prosecution who doesn't-- in his interview does not recount this
21 event ever happening.
22 So I think prior to Mr. Nikolic being sentenced I think this is
23 important because again, it would be a violation of the plea agreement if
24 it turned out that that information was false. It would also be perjury.
25 And I think that is something that the Court can consider in aggravating
1 the sentence well above the plea agreement that was arranged. Thank you.
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: Briefly, Your Honour, there's nothing to stop
4 Mr. Karnavas from calling this witness himself in these proceedings.
5 That is what, I believe, is appropriate. And of course, perhaps at the
6 end there may be suggestions of Court witnesses. But I think as the
7 system goes, he can perfectly call this person.
8 JUDGE LIU: Well, we'll consider the requests from Mr. Karnavas.
9 We couldn't make a ruling on the spot today.
10 Yes. Mr. Nikolic, thank you very much for coming to give your
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, for hearing
13 me out, for having the patience to hear my testimony over the past eight
15 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. And the guard will show you out of the
17 [The witness withdrew]
18 JUDGE LIU: As for this afternoon's hearing, we are going to hear
19 Mr. Obrenovic at 4.00 in this courtroom.
20 Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: Sorry, from 4.00 until how long?
22 JUDGE LIU: Until 5.30.
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you.
24 JUDGE LIU: The hearing is adjourned.
25 --- Luncheon recess taken at 2.19 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 4.03 p.m.
2 JUDGE LIU: Well, good afternoon. Before we start, are there any
3 matters that the parties would like to address to us? Yes, Ms. Sinatra.
4 MS. SINATRA: Yes, Your Honour. I have filed a motion that I
5 think requires an immediate ruling from the Trial Chamber. But if you
6 want me to discuss it, I'd like to go into private session since the
7 document was filed confidentially.
8 JUDGE LIU: I acknowledge that this motion for the certification,
9 but I just received it 10 minutes before 4.00. I did not have a chance to
10 read it. And Ms. Sinatra, I can assure you that we'll consider your
11 application. And before we make any decisions, I think the Bench's
12 decision we made this morning will be valid.
13 MS. SINATRA: Yes, Your Honour. Just for the Court's information,
14 I have consulted with the Prosecution about when they think these
15 documents might be translated. And I have been assured that they can't
16 give us a time frame until tomorrow. So I'd just like the Court to know
17 tomorrow that I have been trying to seek an answer to that so that we can
18 figure out how to solve the problem.
19 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much for your effort. This is also the
20 question would like to know.
21 Are you going into the details of this motion?
22 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour, if you haven't had a chance to read it,
23 I don't know. We won't have a chance to take it up this evening prior to
24 Mr. Obrenovic's testimony. But it's the same arguments that I've put
25 forward to the Trial Chamber with the exclusion of the fact that there is
1 no definite time when the translations might be completed. There are
2 confidential documents attached to this. And the Chamber does have a
3 chance to review this, I would like to go into private session before the
4 5.30 deadline, if possible.
5 JUDGE LIU: You know -- you mentioned that there's nothing new in
6 these filings.
7 MS. SINATRA: No, Your Honour, other than my arguments before,
8 it's the same argument that I am asking for you to certify for the Appeals
9 Chamber to decide on an emergency situation. But there is an additional
10 aspect because the Trial Chamber denied my request for the Zvornik Brigade
11 SFOR documents yesterday, and I just wanted to clarify that I'm only
12 requesting these documents if they are in the possession of the
13 Prosecutor, which, you know, they have been disclosed a lot of these
14 documents that were seized. If they have the duty shift book for other
15 months, we need it cross-examination, examination of Mr. Obrenovic.
16 JUDGE LIU: Well, could I turn to Mr. McCloskey.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, there is a collection that we have
18 all been referring to as the "SFOR" collection. That is a collection that
19 was seized a few years ago by SFOR. They did a rough scanning of it, the
20 United States army did. They provided us with electronic copies and
21 returned the originals to the Republika Srpska authorities. And we spent
22 several weeks with the United States trying to make these things
23 searchable. They are roughly searchable. There's about 250.000 documents
24 in this electronic thing, 18 CDs. All those have been provided probably
25 years ago to everyone by now.
1 This is the collection that I believe the Blagojevic team was able
2 to find the October 24th document relating to the security instructions
3 from Mladic. We had not found that ourselves. It can't be found by
4 searching, unfortunately. You have to go through every document. So I
5 applaud them on being able to find that because we hadn't been able to.
6 Now, having said that, counsel has all these documents and has had
7 the same opportunity the Blagojevic team has. And we have searched and
8 searched and searched for anything relevant that we could find. And as
9 I'm sure the Jokic team has. We have no knowledge that there is any
10 logbook or a copy of a logbook in that material. And that's -- this is
11 material that counsel's had for a very long time. And we have been, you
12 know, looking for the logbook since it was mentioned by counsel a while
13 back. And it has been -- I have questioned Mr. Obrenovic and his counsel
14 about that, that is the subject of the proofing notes. We don't have it,
15 and they don't have it. And according to Mr. Obrenovic, it was not one of
16 the documents that he was able to obtain before his arrest. So no one has
17 it. No one knows where it is. And everyone's been trying and making all
18 the best efforts possible. And that's about all I can say about that
19 particular document that she is interested in.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Ms. Sinatra.
21 MS. SINATRA: Thank you, Your Honour. I would just like to
22 clarify, I know that the July duty shift book is missing, so just to prove
23 the procedures, normal procedures of the Zvornik Brigade, we asked for
24 June and August. And if they have June and August, or any other month of
25 a duty shift book from the Zvornik Brigade, we're asking for disclosure of
1 it. The documents that he's talking about were given to us on CD, of
2 course, the Blagojevic team has Zylab. We don't have the ability to
3 search these documents efficiently, and they are gigantic CDs. And when
4 you do a search, you can't come up with -- it doesn't say duty shift book.
5 The terminology is something totally different so we're not able to find
6 it. I think I'm just asking for a confirmation from the Prosecution that
7 either they have looked for another duty shift book in their documents,
8 they have -- I know they don't have a July duty shift book because we have
9 already come to that conclusion in our discussions. But if there's an
10 alternative month that we can use, that's what I'm requesting. It says
11 June or August, but I'll take any month in the 1995 period.
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think that Mr. McCloskey has already answered
13 your question. I think your team met with the difficulty in searching out
14 of those documents. It's the same on the Prosecution side. The
15 Prosecution has already disclosed all those documents to your side, and
16 it's your responsibility to find them.
17 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour, my question again is just a
18 confirmation. I don't think that it's in the documents that they gave me.
19 Because what they think I'm asking for is a book that's missing. I'm
20 asking if they have some evidence of a duty shift book for any other month
21 in 1995. And I will accept the Prosecution's answer. If they say they
22 don't have it, then we'll move forward. But I'm just asking for a
23 confirmation one way or the other from the Prosecutor.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, the vast majority of material we
1 have from the Zvornik Brigade was obtained in a search of that brigade in
2 1998, I believe. That material, we have the original documents for. It
3 was very carefully indexed by this team, and that index has been provided.
4 And all the scans of all those documents have been provided on CD which is
5 searchable. And they have had that for, I think, years now.
6 Now, this is the first I've heard of that they want other books.
7 We've always worked well with them and tried to find things that they may
8 not be able to find. And we will, if she is looking for June, we'll make
9 sure we take a look for June. But again, that's about all I can say. I'm
10 not aware of a June book, or I'm not really aware of exactly what book she
11 is talking about. As you'll hear, there's a lot of books. And we'll try
12 to make that as clear as possible. But we'll work with them as we always
13 have and we'll try to sort it out best so that we can find these things.
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
15 MS. SINATRA: Thank you, Your Honour. I will try to get with the
16 Prosecutor after Court today and see if we can find that. But also I
17 think it's really important that maybe the Trial Chamber take a moment to
18 look at the request for certification because it requests a stay of the
19 proceedings before Mr. Obrenovic testifies. I know the Trial Chamber has
20 ruled on that, and since I had a ruling on my request to the Trial
21 Chamber, I'm now asking for a certification to appeal the issue.
22 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much to draw our attention to this
23 motion for certification, and also I noticed that the proceedings this
24 morning was attached. Am I right? At the back of this motion.
25 MS. SINATRA: It was the proceedings from yesterday evening,
1 before we broke, and also the confidential information. Although the
2 Prosecutor has not asked us to keep it confidential, I believe that it
3 should be so.
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, Ms. Sinatra, as I told you that the Trial
5 Chamber has made a decision concerning your two motions already, and
6 yesterday we denied your two motions. And today you filed this
7 certification for appeal, we want to know whether in these motions there's
8 something new that we should consider. But if you inform us there is
9 nothing new in this motion, I'm afraid that we could not accommodate your
11 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour, the new information was the document
12 that I filed with the Trial Chamber this morning. I don't know if you've
13 had a chance to review the proofing notes. But also, because there's a
14 different standard to be set under Rule 73(B) which is asking for
15 certification, it's to determine whether the denial of the continuance of
16 the live testimony based on the new disclosures of potential documents
17 that have not been translated, based on the 19 new pages of debriefing
18 from the witness who is about to take the stand, that it does affect the
19 fair and expeditious conduct of the proceedings and the outcome of the
20 trial. So the test under 73(B) is different from the request we made
21 earlier. And other than the fact that we have consulted with the
22 Prosecution, the documents have not been reviewed by the Defence.
23 Mr. Stojanovic has not had been opportunity other than a cursory review of
24 70 documents to determine how relevant they are. We really don't believe
25 that it's going to be in the best interests for the defence of Mr. Jokic
1 to proceed with the direct examination of Mr. Obrenovic at this time.
2 And there is no new evidence here other than what I've presented.
3 I think we just need the Trial Chamber to grant or deny the certification
4 and the stay of proceedings one way or the other. I do hope the Trial
5 Chamber has reviewed the document that we filed this morning.
6 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
7 Mr. McCloskey.
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: Very briefly, Your Honour, the proofing notes that
9 counsel's speaks of -- the proofing notes that was provided on Friday,
10 last Friday, so that is not new. Also, Mr. Stojanovic came over Monday
11 night and was able to go through the new documents, and we photocopied him
12 all the ones that he picked out from the new documents. And so I just
13 wanted to make that clear for the record.
14 JUDGE LIU: And could I ask you a question. How soon could we get
15 the translation of those documents which you believe that is most crucial?
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: We have identified the new documents, and we have
17 identified with the help of Mr. Stojanovic the ones he's interested in, so
18 by priority of what they are interested in we have asked a very urgent
19 request from the translations unit. And I don't have a time frame yet.
20 Mr. Waespi is working on that. Well, he should be working on it. I see
21 he's behind me at the moment. But as you know, the translation has been
22 excellent in that regard in helping us out. So hopefully, very soon. But
23 there are a -- you know, a fair amount of pages, as counsel has said. And
24 I would have a better idea for you tomorrow, I hope.
25 JUDGE LIU: And how many pages altogether?
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: It looked like about 50 to 70, I think. But
2 again, I have not had time to go through them. Those were the new
3 materials. How many Mr. Stojanovic actually picked out is something like
5 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE LIU: I leafed through this motion, and I believe this only
8 consists of four pages, and the others are the annex. And after
9 consultations with my colleagues, we are going to deny that motion for the
10 certification of appeal. As we made a decision yesterday, the Trial
11 Chamber suggested to the counsel for Mr. Jokic that they might have
12 another opportunity to visit this issue at a later stage, which means that
13 they could have the opportunity for further cross-examination of Mr.
14 Obrenovic. In the meantime, we urge the translation section to have those
15 relevant documents translated as soon as possible so the Judges will be at
16 a better position to see whether they are of crucial importance or not.
17 It is so decided.
18 Could we have the witness, please. In the meantime -- yes.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: I was just going to call Dragan Obrenovic, the
20 next witness.
21 JUDGE LIU: In the meantime, we notice that Mr. Obrenovic's
22 Defence team is here. And this Trial Chamber allowed you to be present to
23 observe the proceedings. But I have to remind you that you are not a
24 party to these proceedings; you are just counsel for Mr. Obrenovic. So
25 there's no right on your part to make any intervention during the whole
1 proceedings. You might consult your client on the legal issues, but not
2 on the factual issues. Thank you.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE LIU: Mr. McCloskey.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President.
6 Good afternoon. Could you please state your name and spell your
7 last name for us.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. McCloskey, my name is Milomir
9 Obrenovic, Dragan. Obrenovic, Dragan.
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, wait a minute. I think that the
11 witness has to make a solemn declaration.
12 Good afternoon, Witness.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE LIU: Would you please make the solemn declaration.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand, Your Honour.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
17 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
18 WITNESS: DRAGAN OBRENOVIC
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down, please.
21 Yes, Mr. McCloskey. You may proceed.
22 Examined by Mr. McCloskey:
23 Q. Mr. Obrenovic, have you had a chance to carefully look at the
24 indictment against you in this case?
25 A. Yes, I have had an occasion to do so, Mr. McCloskey.
1 Q. And after reviewing that indictment and consulting with your
2 counsel and entering a plea agreement with the Office of the Prosecutor,
3 did you plead guilty to that indictment?
4 A. Yes, I did plead guilty.
5 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour.
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
7 MS. SINATRA: I'm going to have to object because that's a
8 misstatement of his plea. He pled guilty to one count in the indictment,
9 prosecutions, not to the whole indictment.
10 JUDGE LIU: Well --
11 MS. SINATRA: Well, for clarification purposes. The public is not
12 aware of that.
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, if you want to be more specific, yes.
14 MS. SINATRA: Thank you.
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY:
17 Q. Did you plead guilty to the persecutions count of that indictment
18 which included all the facts of the indictment?
19 A. Yes, I did.
20 Q. And do you stand by that plea today?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And in your plea agreement, you agreed to testify truthfully as a
23 Prosecution witness. Do you stand by that?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 Q. And that plea agreement and materials is P115, Your Honours.
1 Mr. Obrenovic, can you tell us where you were born.
2 A. I was born in Rogatica, the Rogatica Municipality in
4 Q. And when?
5 A. On the 12th of April, 1963.
6 Q. Where is Rogatica in relation to, let's say, Srebrenica roughly?
7 A. Mr. McCloskey, Rogatica in relation to Srebrenica is situated to
8 the southwest, on the road from Sarajevo to Gorazde. It is in Eastern
9 Bosnia, in fact.
10 Q. Roughly about how far away from the Srebrenica area?
11 A. Taking the road, about 150 kilometres. As the crow flies, it's
12 nearer, of course.
13 Q. And where did you grow up?
14 A. I grew up in Rogatica.
15 Q. And where did you go to school?
16 A. I went to primary school in Rogatica, and to secondary school in
17 Belgrade, the military gymnasium there. Then I went to the military
18 academy for the ground forces. I graduated after two years in Belgrade
19 and spent a further two years in Banja Luka. And that was my schooling.
20 Q. Can you describe how old were you when you first began formal
21 military training?
22 A. I don't know what you consider by "formal military training." I
23 went to military school at the age of 15, and I received a commission.
24 Q. All right. Well let's talk about the military school --
25 A. -- As second lieutenant.
1 Q. -- At 15. How old were you when you graduated from that school
2 with a commission?
3 A. Well, I graduated from secondary school when I was 18, and the
4 academy when I was 23 years old.
5 Q. Can you tell us about the -- just some about the military academy,
6 what kind of training you received.
7 A. At the time, the military academy for the ground forces was
8 organised in the following way: The first two years were general streams,
9 general courses if I can put it that way. And year 3 and 4 were
10 specialist training courses. So during the first two years, we would
11 study general subjects and basic military training, whereas in years 3 and
12 4, we would undertake specialist courses for the branches and services. I
13 was in the armoured and mechanised units sector, so I was trained within
14 that sphere, for armoured and mechanised units.
15 Q. What year did you graduate?
16 A. I graduated in 1986.
17 Q. As a second lieutenant?
18 A. I received the rank of second lieutenant, yes, after graduation.
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Ms. Sinatra.
20 MS. SINATRA: I'm sorry, but Mr. McCloskey is leading the witness.
21 But for foundation purposes, I'm going to ask the Court just to recognise
22 that I'll allow him to lead the witness for foundation purposes at this
24 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
25 MR. McCLOSKEY:
1 Q. Upon graduation as a second lieutenant, what assignment did you
2 receive? What did you do after graduation?
3 A. I went further on to do professional military service in the
4 Jastrebarsko garrison in the Republic of Croatia. And I was the commander
5 for the tank platoon.
6 Q. And how long were you in that job as the commander of the tank
8 A. I was a commander or komandir of the tank platoon for six months.
9 Q. And then what was your job?
10 A. After that, I took up the post of commander of the tank company.
11 Q. And was that in the same location, or were you transferred
13 A. Yes, it was in the same garrison, the Jastrebarsko garrison, the
14 same brigade, in fact.
15 Q. Okay. And can you now just briefly go through your military
16 career describing your various assignments, what years you had them, up
17 until the beginning of the war in Bosnia in 1992.
18 A. So I was commander of the tank company until 1990. In 1990, I
19 started being acting deputy commander of the armoured battalion. And I
20 remained in that position until I came to Bosnia. When the war started in
21 Croatia and when the Yugoslav People's Army started withdrawing from
22 Croatia, the unit that I was serving in was relocated to Tuzla, the
23 Dubrave airport. We came there, the entire unit, in the month of October
24 1991, and that is when I became acting commander of the armoured
25 battalion. Then I became acting commander. Before that, I was acting
1 deputy commander.
2 On the 28th of February, 1992, this battalion was entrusted with
3 the task of being relocated to Mali Zvornik and Zvornik, and that's where
4 we happened to be when the war broke out in Bosnia.
5 Q. So what was your position when you were stationed in Mali Zvornik
6 at the time the war broke out?
7 A. I had the duty of the commander of the armoured battalion.
8 Q. And can you just continue describing your career as -- after the
9 war broke out.
10 A. This unit and I, along with it, remained in the mentioned site, at
11 the Mali Zvornik and Zvornik locations until the Yugoslav People's Army
12 withdrew from Bosnia-Herzegovina. That is to say, the 19th of May, 1992.
13 This unit was relocated to the Vrsac garrison on the 20th of May, 1992.
14 And I went with that unit to the Vrsac garrison. I stayed there all the
15 way up to the 1st of December, 1992. But I was returned for Zvornik for a
16 period of 30 days. To be more precise, between the 15th of June, 1992,
17 until the 20th of July the same year, I was sent there to help out. I
18 spent the rest of the time, as I already said, at the Vrsac garrison.
19 On the 1st of December, 1992, I was given orders to go to the Army
20 of Republika Srpska. I reported at Crna Rijeka and I was stationed in the
21 Drina Corps. And from there, I was appointed acting chief of staff of the
22 1st Zvornik Infantry Brigade. And that's where I practically spent most
23 of the time during the war.
24 Q. And how long were you the chief of staff of the Zvornik Brigade?
25 A. I was appointed as acting chief of staff first. That was on the
1 1st of December, 1992, somewhere up to the month of April 1993. And that
2 is when I was appointed chief of staff actually. I was chief of staff
3 practically all the way up to when everything that happened in Srebrenica
4 started. From the 4th of July, 1995, I was deputy commander of the
5 Zvornik Brigade until the 15th of July, until about noon, when I continued
6 performing my duties as chief of staff in accordance with the
8 On the 8th of August, 1995, I was appointed acting commander of
9 the Zvornik infantry brigade, and I remained in that position until the
10 15th of September the same year. After that, again, I was chief of staff.
11 Q. Can you just continue through the period of your arrest.
12 A. Then I was chief of staff all the way up to the 30th of April,
13 1996, when I was appointed acting commander of the 303rd Motorised
14 Brigade, as it was known by then. And I was in this position then, deputy
15 commander of the 303rd Motorised Brigade until, I think, August 1998 when
16 I was appointed commander of the 505th, because by then the 303rd had been
17 turned into the 505th. And I remained in that position until my arrest on
18 the 15th of May, 2001 -- no, I'm sorry. It was the 15th of April. 15th
19 of April, 2001.
20 Q. So was the 303rd and the 505th formerly known as the Zvornik
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Can you describe for the Court the duties of a chief of staff,
24 just try to give them a broad outline to give them a feel for what your
25 job was, what your duties and responsibilities were throughout the wartime
1 period up until you became actually commander of the Zvornik Brigade.
2 A. I'll try. The duties of a chief of staff are rather complex.
3 According to the establishment, the chief of staff is at the same time the
4 deputy commander of the brigade. He is practically the head of the staff
5 in the brigade. He controls the staff of the brigade and practically it
6 is planning that is within his ambit to put it as briefly as possible.
7 Q. Can you tell the Court what the staff is made up of, what
8 officers, what units?
9 A. Mr. McCloskey, the staff is part of the command of the brigade.
10 Now I am specifically speaking about the staff of the brigade, the staff
11 is part of the command of the brigade. And specifically, I'm going to be
12 talking about the Zvornik Brigade at that time. So it was headed by a
13 chief of staff. And then there was the operations and teaching section
14 which was headed by the assistant chief of staff for teaching and
15 operations affairs. And then he had three or four officers in this
16 regard. Then the next section was the section for personnel affairs, and
17 this assistant commander also had two officers, one for the replenishment
18 of manpower, the other one for personnel. And then there was the
19 assistant commander of the section for intelligence and security. Then
20 there was the organ of the arms and services. According to the
21 establishment of the Zvornik Brigade, it was the head of engineering who
22 was there. Then there was the head of communications signals. We had a
23 chief of signals. We were supposed to have an head of anti-aircraft
24 defence, but we didn't have one.
25 Then we were supposed to have a chief for artillery, but we didn't
1 have one either. And then also one for BHO. We did have one of those.
2 In addition to that, the staff had a staff office involving two persons.
3 One person took care of the mail, and the rest -- or rather, this other
4 person was practically involved in typing and other such matters. And
5 then there was the command of the actual -- there was the staff officer.
6 So that is all as far as I can recall right now.
7 Q. So all those positions you mentioned were part of a staff that you
9 A. Yes, yes, exactly.
10 Q. Okay. Now, in the translation I got, it said that you were -- you
11 oversaw the intelligence and security units. Is that correct?
12 A. No, it is not correct. Only the intelligence section, only
13 intelligence. There were two sections in the command. There was
14 security, directly subordinated to the commander, and the other one was
15 for intelligence affairs, and that was within the staff. These are two
16 different entities involving different people.
17 Q. So who was the security officer for the Zvornik Brigade that was
18 directly under the commander?
19 A. At the time of what happened in Srebrenica, the assistant for
20 security was Second Lieutenant Drago Nikolic.
21 Q. Can you briefly describe for the Court, you've described the
22 staff. What other officers served the commander in the organisation
23 besides yourself, the staff, the security officer? What other assistant
24 commanders were there?
25 A. If you allow me, in order to present this picturesquely, the
1 commander of the brigade has three entities. One entity has the staff of
2 the brigade. Perhaps I can put that first. Then the second entity is
3 logistics, the entire group that has to do with logistics. And the third
4 entity are assistant commanders, or rather, the section for morale, the
5 section for security. So assistant commanders were the following persons:
6 The assistant commander for security. At that time, it was Second
7 Lieutenant Drago Nikolic. Then there was assistant commander for morale,
8 religious and legal affairs, and the assistant commander for logistics.
9 Q. Can you just briefly describe what the assistant commander for
10 morale, religious, and legal affairs did?
11 A. He was head of that section that we referred to just now, the
12 assistant commander for morale, religious, and legal affairs. To put it
13 very briefly and in the simplest possible terms, there were a few people
14 in this section who were involved in matters related to combat morale,
15 information issues, practical issues that involved burials, visits to
16 wounded men, information, things that belonged to that section.
17 Q. And who was that assistant commander in July of 1995?
18 A. In the Zvornik Brigade in July 1995, the assistant commander for
19 morale was Major Nenad Simic.
20 Q. Who was the assistant commander for logistics in the Zvornik
21 Brigade at that time?
22 A. The assistant commander for logistics of the Zvornik Brigade at
23 the time was Captain Sretan Milosevic.
24 Q. Can you describe for us in more detail what the logistics organ
25 did. What was their -- what were their main tasks?
1 A. With your permission, I would portray this properly if I were to
2 refer to all the organs involved in their service. So in the section for
3 logistics of the Zvornik Brigade was the traffic service, the technical
4 service, the medical service, and the financial service. And there was
5 also veterinarian. And the names themselves show what they dealt with.
6 So the traffic service planned traffic and provided security for them,
7 practically for the units of the brigade. The technical service ensured
8 the technical aspect of the life of the units. That is to say,
9 maintenance and repair of vehicles and ammunition systems and ammunition
10 and things that had to do with fuel. So in the roughest possible terms,
11 that is what was done by way of overhaul.
12 Then the quartermasters provided uniforms, clothing, et cetera.
13 Then the medical corps took care of the medical aspect, that is to say
14 treating the wounded and so on and so forth. And the veterinarian service
15 also examined animals that were later used for food and so on and so
17 Q. Along with the staff and the assistant commanders in the
18 departments you described, were there actual infantry battalions in the
19 Zvornik Brigade at the time?
20 A. Yes. In addition to the command that we spoke of just now, the
21 Zvornik Brigade had units within it that were battalions, divisions,
22 companies, and one independent platoon.
23 Q. How many infantry battalions did Zvornik have in July of 1995?
24 A. In July 1995, the Zvornik Brigade had seven infantry battalions,
25 and they were numbered from 1 to 7.
1 Q. Can you give me roughly how many men were in a battalion.
2 A. In these mentioned seven infantry battalions, the average numbers
3 involved from 450 up to 550 men. It changed from month to month.
4 Q. Okay. What other units were in the Zvornik Brigade besides the
5 infantry battalions?
6 A. Besides the infantry battalions, we had a manoeuvre battalion that
7 was called the Wolves from the Drina, Vukovica Drina or the Podrinjski
8 Odred, or detachment depending on the papers that we see. There were also
9 divisions. One division for artillery and another one for anti-aircraft
10 support. There were a few companies, including the signals company, the
11 engineering company, the military police company. Then the mentioned
12 staff officers, and there was the logistics battalion.
13 Q. How many military policemen were in the military police company?
14 A. Again, in different periods it varied. If I remember correctly,
15 there were between 95 to 110 of them depending on the period involved.
16 But that was the range.
17 Q. And the engineering company, how many men were in the engineering
19 A. If I remember correctly, they had between 80 to 100 soldiers.
20 Q. And who was the commander of the engineering company in July of
22 A. In July of 1995, the commander of the engineering company was
23 Dragan Jevtic.
24 Q. And going back to your staff that you described, one of the staff
25 positions you described, I believe, is chief of engineers. Who was the
1 chief of engineer in July of 1995?
2 A. In July 1995, the chief of engineer was Major Dragan Jokic.
3 Q. Do you see Mr. Jokic in Court today?
4 A. Yes. Yes, I do.
5 Q. Is he sitting with his hand on his chin next to the security
7 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
8 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour, I'm sorry, that's not an independent
9 identification of the accused when he describes him as he's sitting there
10 with his hand. I would like an independent identification by
11 Mr. Obrenovic.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes, yes, you're right at this point.
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: I wasn't aware identification was an issue, Your
14 Honour. I'm sorry.
15 JUDGE LIU: Well, normally it's not a big issue in this courtroom,
16 but when you ask the witness to identify somebody, you give a very obvious
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: I did that on purpose obviously because I didn't
19 think it was an issue. I'm sorry, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY:
22 Q. Do you see Dragan Jokic in the courtroom today?
23 A. I do see him, Mr. McCloskey.
24 Q. Can you describe for us where he is.
25 A. On my left, the fourth person in this row where I sit.
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: Let the record reflect that he has identified
2 Mr. Jokic.
3 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, he said "the fourth person in
4 this row where I sit." What does it mean?
5 MR. McCLOSKEY: This is why I tried to cheat earlier, Your Honour.
6 I'm sorry.
7 Q. Could you try to do a little -- I've got a better angle than the
8 Judges do on the rows. So if you could try to do a little better, a
9 little clearer explanation of where Mr. Jokic is, we can sort that out.
10 A. To the left of the guard. This is the door that I walked through.
11 The first person sitting there is the guard, and the next person is
12 Mr. Jokic.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
15 MR. McCLOSKEY:
16 Q. Now, can you describe for us what the activities of -- the normal
17 activities of the engineering company were throughout the war.
18 A. They worked in different periods of time, but this is primarily
19 what they did. From the domain of engineering, that is to say laying
20 mines, establishing minefields in the advance area and in other areas, and
21 also the maintenance of minefields. Then also the building of
22 fortifications. These are dugouts for ammunition and for soldiers. Then
23 building roads, communication roads and so on. Generally speaking, work
24 from that domain.
25 Q. And did the engineering company in the period of around July 1995
1 have any heavy equipment?
2 A. Yes, they did.
3 Q. Can you just describe to us - I don't need precise detail, but
4 what you recall - what kind of heavy equipment they had.
5 A. In July 1995?
6 Q. Please.
7 A. In July 1995 in the engineering company, there was part of this
8 equipment that we had from the military fund. That is to say what was
9 owned by the Army of Republika Srpska. And when necessary, certain
10 machinery could have been mobilised when it was needed. For the most
11 part, we used this heavy mechanisation by way of various bulldozers, the
12 ones we had there at the time. They were either owned by us or by
13 companies that made them available to us. And then various digging
14 machinery, loaders, and then trucks for transporting different kinds of
15 cargo, a few tractors. That's about it.
16 Q. Okay. And the -- where was the location of the brigade command?
17 The brigade command headquarters? Just roughly. We'll get a map later on
18 to get more precise.
19 A. The command and the staff of the Zvornik Brigade were at the
20 Standard barracks. This is the former footwear factory Standard in
21 Karakaj. I think this was about 3 kilometres downstream, or to the north
22 of the town of Zvornik, right on the banks of the Drina River.
23 Q. And did the engineering company have its own building or
25 A. The engineering company was stationed in another building that our
1 brigade had, also in Karakaj. But further to the north on the road
2 towards Bijeljina, perhaps a kilometre away from the brigade command.
3 That's where there were some prefabricated buildings of the youth centre,
4 and that is where that company was staying.
5 Q. What else in the way of equipment or buildings were at the
6 engineering company headquarters?
7 A. It was five or six prefabricated buildings if I can remember
8 correctly. That's where the soldiers slept. Officers were nearby. Also
9 there were weapons and masks, protection masks and other related
10 equipment. Whatever a unit of that format would have. And then there
11 were some mining devices, ammunition and storage. Perhaps some spare
12 parts for the maintenance of technical equipment, for signals equipment,
13 some food. That would be about it.
14 Q. Where were the excavators and loaders you talked about? Where
15 were those normally kept when they weren't working?
16 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
18 MS. SINATRA: I'm sorry the witness has not mentioned excavators
19 or loaders. That was not mentioned in this testimony.
20 JUDGE LIU: I think the correct word is bulldozers.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: I thought he mentioned all three, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE LIU: Well, you may ask a question to this witness what kind
23 of equipment. When we have this confirmed, you may proceed with this
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Q. Can you tell us what kind of heavy equipment the engineering
2 company had in July -- around July of 1995.
3 A. Mr. McCloskey, the engineers company in the period we're
4 discussing had heavy machinery of the following type: First, various
5 types of trucks, dump trucks, for the transport of various loads, cargos.
6 Then the other machinery was as follows: It had diggers, one or two of
7 those. I don't remember the types. Then bulldozers, also two or three
8 types. And ULTs. So those were the machines that were used.
9 Now, property-wise, some of them belonged to us. That is to say,
10 the Army of Republika Srpska. They were the owners of the machinery. And
11 the other portion of the machinery was requisitioned from firms in Zvornik
12 that had that kind of machinery.
13 Q. I'm sorry, did you say that we have a rovokopac?
14 A. Yes. I said kopac, diggers. I don't know whether that's the
15 right term. I'm not an engineers' man myself.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Ms. Sinatra.
17 MS. SINATRA: I'm sorry, Your Honour, but Mr. McCloskey is leading
18 the witness. He never said -- I'm sorry I can't pronounce. Mr. McCloskey
19 put that term in his testimony.
20 MR. McCLOSKEY: I think she is wrong, Your Honour. We had this
21 problem, I think, before with the translations of the various things. It
22 really isn't an issue in contention.
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Ms. Sinatra.
24 MS. SINATRA: I'm sorry, Your Honour, the witness himself said he
25 didn't say that word.
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, maybe the witness will be the right person for
2 this question.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY:
4 Q. Mr. Obrenovic, can you describe the duties of the chief of
5 engineering and how he related to the engineering company. But first, you
6 could describe the duties and responsibilities of the chief of engineers,
7 Mr. Jokic, in 1995.
8 A. As I've already said, Mr. Jokic was chief of the engineers within
9 the various arms in the brigade headquarters. And roughly speaking, the
10 duties of the chief of engineers would be as follows: First, we have
11 planning. It would be his duty to plan and propose to the chief of staff
12 or commander the deployment of engineering machines and machinery in
13 combat or for combat. He would also propose in the process of
14 decision-making, decisions with respect to securing the engineers and the
15 deployment of machinery. He would also be in charge of seeing that all
16 the machinery is used properly once a decision has been taken to deploy
17 it. He would also see that the soldiers in the engineering company were
18 trained properly. And that, for the most part, would be the focus of his
20 Q. Now, if one of his proposals on the use of the machinery was
21 adopted by yourself as chief of staff or the commander, what were his
22 responsibilities relating to the carrying out of your orders or the orders
23 of the commander relating to engineering, the engineering job?
24 A. There were two possibilities, and the commander would decide
25 which. In the Zvornik Brigade at that time, the commander of the
1 engineers brigade was Jevtic Dragan, Jevtic Dragan who wasn't a
2 professional soldier, but a reservist. Then the commander's decision was
3 that the chief of the engineers, and not only the chief of the engineers,
4 but also chief of communications, artillery and so on, would spend
5 practically all his time with the unit, and then sees that his proposals
6 are put into practice. He would assist the commander of the engineers
7 company to carry out the orders given by the commander.
8 Q. When you say that he sees to it that the -- to carry out the
9 orders, does he have authority to issue instructions consistent with those
11 A. Yes, he does, within the scope of what the commander or chief of
12 staff ordered in the first place.
13 Q. Can you give us an example of how that might practically work, if
14 you can recall a situation where Mr. Jokic proposed something and then
15 assisted in having that job carried out by issuing instructions.
16 A. Well, for example, the most common situation was when we were
17 building a road between one and another battalion, for example. And the
18 chief of the engineers unit would say how this could best be done. Now,
19 if the commander or I myself were to accept the decision he had taken and
20 his proposal, that is, when the commander made his decision, that decision
21 would be translated into an order, both oral -- rather, oral or written.
22 It didn't matter. And Jokic, or rather, the chief of the engineers would
23 put this into practice with the engineers company. There was the company
24 commander there, but as I said, he was a reservist, so Jokic for all
25 intents and purposes would help in putting this into practice,
1 implementing what was ordered.
2 Q. So was Mr. Jokic a reservist?
3 A. No, no. The commander of the engineers company was the reservist.
4 He was a reserve soldier acting as a commander. Komandir Jokic was a
5 professional soldier like myself.
6 Q. Can you briefly describe what knowledge you have regarding
7 Mr. Jokic's military training and experience, just briefly.
8 A. Mr. McCloskey, I really can't give you any details. I can tell
9 you roughly that Major Jokic graduated from military academy in the
10 engineers, and that in the JNA he always served in the engineers units. I
11 know that he is a qualified engineers man. Now, as to the details, I
12 really can't say.
13 Q. Okay. Can you describe for the Court the duties and
14 responsibilities of the brigade operations duty officer.
15 A. You mean the duty officer? The duties of a duty officer can be
16 general and specific. The general duties are prescribed by the rules of
17 services in the army, and they are the same for all operations, duty
18 offices in the brigades of the army. And these would be as follows,
19 roughly speaking: They must be well acquainted with the situation, the
20 tasks, and deployment of his subordinate units, the battalions, companies,
21 et cetera, of the Zvornik Brigade. He must also monitor the situation in
22 the area of responsibility of his unit in the brigade, the duty officer
23 which he is. Next, to monitor the situation in neighbouring -- in his
24 neighbouring units, that is to say, brigades on his left and to his right.
25 Next, to monitor the situation on the adjoining territory and
1 maintain links with the subordinate units with battalions and companies.
2 And to maintain links and communication with the centre of civil defence
3 in Zvornik as well as communications with the MUP, and communications with
4 his superior, or rather duty operative commands of the Drina Corps. Next,
5 he would have to have an overview of the units that are deployed outside
6 the area of the Zvornik Brigade, in the different terrains in the field,
7 and monitor units who are on special assignment and on various states --
8 in states of emergency and on various states of alert.
9 Next, following orders by the brigade commander or the duty
10 officer in the Drina Corps, he can issue orders to subordinate duty
11 officers in battalions and independent companies. Next, another of his
12 duties would be in extraordinary situations and extraordinary times, to
13 issue orders to subordinate duty officers. And as soon as possible, to
14 report back to the brigade commander and the duty office in the Drina
15 Corps of the latest developments. That for the most part to the best of
16 my recollections would be most of the general duties that a brigade
17 operations duty officer would have.
18 Now, special duties in the brigade, in the shortest possible terms
19 would be as follows: They would be regulated by the corps commander and
20 would involve a list of duty officers when the shifts take place, what
21 type of uniforms are to be worn during shiftwork, the logbooks and records
22 kept of shifts. So practical, technical details. So these special duties
23 were specific to each unit, and the Zvornik Brigade had its general tasks
24 and then the units would have their specific tasks.
25 Q. And how long did a duty officer's shift normally last?
1 A. The rules of service provided for 24-hour shifts, and that's what
2 it was like. Due to certain circumstances, shifts would be longer or
3 shorter, but this was pursuant to decisions taken by a commander under
4 extraordinary circumstances.
5 Q. Was there a normal starting time for this 24-hour shift?
6 A. If I remember correctly, that would be around 8.00 or 9.00 in the
7 morning. The shifts would replace each other I think at 8.00 a.m.
8 Q. And how was it determined who would be holding the duty officer
9 position for a 24-hour period?
10 A. The commander would prescribe a list and the order of duty
11 operations officers. And then he would list the officers. Higher ranking
12 officers were duty officers, and there were assistants, too. Then one of
13 the staff from the operations department on the list -- on the basis of
14 this list of duty officers would compile another list for each individual
15 day. The lists would be compiled for a fortnight in advance, and it would
16 be adjusted if the need arose because two weeks was a rather long period
17 of time for planning.
18 Q. So if we have a duty officer and an assistant -- first, let me ask
19 you, from whom did the commander allow duty officer positions to be filled
20 by? What people were qualified by your commander to be in the duty
21 officer position?
22 A. At the time, the duty officers would be everybody except the
23 commander and myself. So the assistant commanders, the various chiefs of
24 the different arms and services, and the departments and sectors
25 mentioned. But they would be commanding officers with higher ranks which
1 knew the position and situation in the brigade, at least roughly, based on
2 their experience.
3 Q. How about Drago Nikolic, the chief of security? Did he have to do
4 his tour of the duty officer job?
5 A. Yes, he would be a duty officer, too, although there was some
6 conflict between him and the commander. But yes, he was a duty officer,
8 Q. Can you describe the conflict you mean. What are you talking
10 A. Drago Nikolic, as a security officer, asked to be relieved of
11 working as a duty officer because of the responsibilities he had in this
12 other area. However, the commander did not accept that; and as a result,
13 there was a certain amount of -- well, not conflict. I might have used
14 the wrong word. But friction, let's say. There was a certain amount of
16 Q. All right. Was Mr. Jokic, Dragan Jokic, ever a duty officer?
17 A. Yes, he was on the list of duty officers. And he would take up
18 his duties according to the list. When his name was down for it and when
19 he didn't have any other jobs to do in the field elsewhere.
20 Q. How about the assistant duty officers? What sorts of people were
21 allowed to hold that post?
22 A. The assistants were mostly people with lower ranks and lower
23 positions. Officers with lower ranks or NCOs, that kind of thing.
24 Q. And what was the job of the assistant duty officer?
25 A. The duty officer would be up for a break at 1.00 a.m., and he was
1 required to be ready for duty by 6.00 a.m. So after midnight, his
2 assistant would replace him and deal with any urgent matters. During the
3 day, he would be at hand to help the duty officer and go about the regular
4 business of a duty officer's assistant; that is to say, he would be in
5 charge of the cashbox, documents, things like that. He would see that
6 everything was stored properly and that everything was in order.
7 Q. Where did the duty officer work?
8 A. There was an office at the headquarters in the building of the
9 brigade headquarters, and that was called the office of the duty officer.
10 The office had a table, some communications devices which allowed him to
11 maintain communications with the persons I listed earlier on. He would
12 have maps with the areas in which the units were deployed, and that's
13 where he would spend his time on duty.
14 Q. What floor was that on, the duty officer room?
15 A. In the headquarters, it would be on the first floor, the upper
16 storey, the first room by the staircase on the landing.
17 Q. And where was that in relation to the -- to your office, the chief
18 of staff?
19 A. The chief of staff's office was on the same floor. You went down
20 the corridor to the very end, and it would be the one but last office on
21 the right-hand side. That's where my office was, or the chief of staff's.
22 Q. Where was the commander's office in relation to your office and
23 the duty officer's office?
24 A. The commander's office was opposite my office.
25 Q. On the other side of a hallway? Is that what you mean?
1 A. Yes, that's right. Mine was to the right; his was to the left of
2 the corridor.
3 Q. You mentioned communications equipment in the duty office. Can
4 you describe as best as you can recall what kind of equipment.
5 A. If I remember correctly, there were telephones, and it would be
6 linked to a switchboard within the barracks, an internal line. Then there
7 was another telephone with a wire communication with all the battalion
8 commands. That's two telephones. There was a third telephone which was
9 an ordinary civilian telephone. 076 was the code. And another extension
10 which was connected to the switchboard.
11 Q. And where was the switchboard?
12 A. The switchboard was on the upper storey in the same headquarters
13 building, to the left. When you went a floor higher, it would be on the
14 left to the right of the corridor.
15 Q. If the duty officer wished to call and speak to someone at the
16 Drina Corps in Vlasenica, how would they do it?
17 A. He could do so in the following way: First of all, he could use
18 the civilian telephone, just like any other civilian, an ordinary civilian
19 telephone. The next possibility would be to use a radio relay device,
20 RAT, with the help of the switchboard. So he would have to ring up the
21 switchboard, ask for Zlatar, and then through this radio relay device,
22 they would be able to connect him.
23 Q. Can you confirm to us what Zlatar is.
24 A. Zlatar was the code name for the command of the Drina Corps in the
25 plan for the communications.
1 Q. Now, the way you just described going to the Drina Corps command
2 or Zlatar through the switchboard, could that be a protected, safe line,
3 or was that an open line?
4 A. It was I would say an open line, because it was an radio relay
5 R800 device which would be listened into.
6 Q. Okay. How about the civilian line? How secure was that?
7 A. Well, the civilian line could be tapped. But it appeared later on
8 that it was less tapped into than the other relay line and turned out to
9 be safer, in fact.
10 Q. Was the civilian line an actual wire line?
11 A. It was both a wire line across the floor, and it was also a link.
12 Q. When you say "link," what do you mean?
13 A. Well, a relay device once again.
14 Q. When you say "tapped into," what do you mean by that?
15 A. The radio relay device used radio relay waves to put out modulated
16 sound signals.
17 Q. So have you described all the ways a duty officer can communicate
19 A. The command of the Drina Corps, there was another possibility.
20 And that was through the use of a code station, an encrypted teleprinter
21 device. But this implied the transference of written information, and
22 that was completely secure.
23 Q. Was there...
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'll get it out. I'm sorry, Your Honour.
25 Q. Was there a relay centre somewhere above Standard that assisted in
1 these communications?
2 A. There was a communications centre on a hill above Zvornik, and
3 that was able to establish radio communication which could also be
4 intercepted. The other thing that existed was the radio relay interim
5 centre. That could also be intercepted. Then there was the civilian
6 telephone, as I've already said, and the coded, encrypted station which
7 coded written messages, and that was a secure line which could not be
9 Q. Where was this radio centre you just described?
10 A. The radio relay intermediary centre -- or interim centre was at
11 Gucevo which was a hill on the way to Loznica.
12 Q. Did the duty operations officer have a radio that he could
13 communicate on as opposed to the telephones and the lines and the
14 switchboard you were talking about?
15 A. He would use one of those telephones, that is to say, they would
16 connect him at the switchboard. So yes, he could. He could have a radio
17 communication. Not directly, but through the switchboard at the radio
19 Q. Can you explain - maybe this should be the last question - how
20 that switchboard -- what that switchboard could connect the duty officer
22 A. The switchboard could connect the duty officer to all subordinate
23 units, all the battalions, divisions, and companies that we mentioned
24 earlier on, whether inside the barracks or deployed at their positions
25 somewhere. Next, it could ensure communication with the superior command,
1 or rather the command of the Drina Corps, the Drina Corps headquarters.
2 And via that, with the main staff, and with neighbouring units as well,
3 the Bratunac Brigade, for example, the 1st Birac Brigade, and the other
4 units which were Bijeljina.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Obrenovic.
6 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, it's time...
7 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
8 Well, Mr. Obrenovic, now you are a witness in this case, and you
9 are under the oath. So during the period you're under the oath, do not
10 talk to anybody about your testimony, and do not let anybody talk to you
11 about it. Do you understand that?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I have understood.
13 JUDGE LIU: I will not remind you every time. I just remind you
14 once. You have to remember it until you have finished your testimony.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
17 We'll resume at 9.00 tomorrow morning. The hearing is adjourned.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.32 p.m.,
19 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 2nd day of
20 October, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.