1 Wednesday, 19 July 2000
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.
5 [The accused entered court]
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good morning, ladies and
7 gentlemen, the technical booth, the interpreters, the legal officers,
8 court reporters, Ms. Kirsten. Good morning, Mr. Harmon, Mr. McCloskey,
9 Mr. Cayley. Good morning, Ms. Holmes. Good morning, Mr. Petrusic,
10 Mr. Visnjic. Good morning, General Krstic.
11 We're going to continue our case. Today, Mr. Butler, you're going
12 to answer questions which the Defence counsel has for you, and I remind
13 you that you are still under oath.
14 Mr. Petrusic, finally it's your turn. Your witness.
15 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] First of all, may I say good
16 morning, Mr. President, Your Honours, my learned friends from the
18 WITNESS: RICHARD BUTLER [Resumed]
19 Cross-examined by Mr. Petrusic:
20 Q. Good morning, Mr. Butler. Mr. Butler, the cross-examination by
21 the Defence, as already established with the Prosecution early on, will be
22 based on your report which you produced on the 5th of April and the 15th
23 of May.
24 In your report, dated 5 April, in a brief historical survey, you
25 said that the army of Republika Srpska was formed from the remnants of the
1 former Yugoslav People's Army, so I should like to ask you to explain this
2 concept of the remnants of the former JNA and I would add with a question,
3 was that the only element from which the army of Republika Srpska was
5 A. In reviewing the documents that we seized from the VRS,
6 particularly those pertaining to the early years, they discuss the issue
7 of the fact that the army of Republika Srpska was -- or essentially
8 evolved from those units that remained behind when the remainder of the
9 Yugoslav National Army withdrew in May of 1992.
10 So in that sense, the embryo of the army came from those military
11 formations. We also understand -- I also understand from reading that
12 material that many of the territorial organisation based units that were
13 there were wrapped into the army as it was formed and it became a formal
15 As the months progressed through mid and later 1992, elements of
16 what we traditionally call the paramilitary units, those units that were
17 operating outside of a lawful command and control of either the army or
18 the party at the time, many of those units by presidential decree were
19 either folded into the army and placed under illegitimate command or they
20 were disbanded.
21 So in that respect, that is my understanding of how the initial
22 nucleus of the army formed, the elements that folded into the army of
23 Republika Srpska through mid-1992.
24 Q. And the army of Republika Srpska was a constitutional category,
25 was it not?
1 A. The army of Republika Srpska was a legally formed entity by the
2 Republika Srpska constitution and its rules and regulations were codified
3 in both the defence law and the law on the army, yes, sir.
4 Q. The doctrine of the army of Republika Srpska, did it differ from
5 the doctrine of the former JNA?
6 A. My analysis of the doctrine as it evolved from 1992, when the VRS
7 formed out of the remnants of the JNA in Bosnia, through 1995 indicates
8 that there were no major substantive changes with regard to command and
9 control and organisational structure.
10 Now, clearly there were probably a number of minor changes that
11 occurred as a result of the learned experience from combat in the prior
12 three years.
13 Q. One of the elements of that doctrine were the combat operations
14 assigned to certain military units. The combat operations engaged in by
15 the army of Republika Srpska, as part of its doctrine, were they defensive
16 and static as opposed to the JNA which, in its doctrine, envisaged as its
17 main principles offensive combat operations?
18 A. The JNA doctrine as I understand it, while it discusses the
19 offence as a significant doctrine, gives just as much attention to other
20 aspects of the doctrine as well to include defensive operations and
21 particularly to include the conduct of military operations in occupied
22 territory. So in that regard, I would not say that the JNA-based doctrine
23 is weighed in favour of the offensive.
24 In reviewing the army of Republika Srpska operations, while it is
25 fair to say that as a whole the army reflected the political goals, which
1 was a strategic defence, after the Republika Srpska had achieved the
2 majority of the territorial gains which it desired by the end of 1992,
3 certainly at the corps and brigade level, offensive operations were
4 conducted in a variety of situations depending on the tactical situation
5 or operational situation on the ground.
6 Q. Mr. Butler, in the documents seized from units of the army of
7 Republika Srpska, were the regulations from August 1992, I think -- so my
8 question is, did those regulations apply to the 4th Corps of the former
10 A. The 4th Corps JNA documents, those particular regulations, were
11 not part of seized material. They were part of documents that were
12 provided to us by the BiH government which they gained custody of when the
13 JNA left Sarajevo in 1992.
14 Q. The Drina Corps, was it established in the area of responsibility
15 of the 4th Corps of the former JNA?
16 A. To my knowledge, only a small segment of that, which would include
17 the 2nd Romanija Brigade and some elements near Gorazde would have been
18 included in the area of the former 4th Corps of the JNA.
19 Q. Is it possible to deny the assertion, bearing in mind this fact
20 that you have just referred to, that the Drina Corps did not act according
21 to the rules for the 4th Corps of the former JNA?
22 A. I do not believe I ever made the assertion that the 4th Corps JNA
23 rules were specifically applicable to the Drina Corps.
24 Q. Mr. Butler, I put this question to you because in the footnotes of
25 your April report, reference is made to the regulations of the corps of
1 the ground troops, number 4, referring to the 4th Corps of the former JNA,
2 and that was the reason for my question.
3 A. As I recall that footnote, sir, the idea that I was trying to
4 bring forward was the fact that the 4th Corps JNA regulations at the time
5 represented an excellent example of how a corps would take the base JNA
6 regulatory documents and how they would institutionalise those rules and
7 those series of instructions in order to ensure that they were operating
8 in accordance with the base JNA documents.
9 In that respect, it was my analysis that the 4th Corps document
10 represents an excellent example of how to do that, and further, as the JNA
11 transitioned into the VRS and as the 4th JNA Corps transitioned to become
12 the VRS Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, that that would be an excellent example
13 of how those regulations would still be adhered to.
14 Q. Every corps of the former JNA had its own regulations, did it
15 not? And those regulations and -- were those regulations of an internal
16 nature, that is, were they applicable to that corps alone?
17 A. My understanding of how the system worked is that the answer is,
18 yes, each corps would have made its own series of internal regulations.
19 They would have been certainly applicable to that corps. As part of that
20 process, those same regulations would have been subject to the review of
21 the parent organisation. In the case of 4th Corps, it would have been the
22 2nd military district; in the case of the VRS Corps, it would have been
23 the Main Staff of the VRS. The presumption is that an individual corps
24 would not be permitted to publish instructions that were so far out of
25 line from the base documents and regulations that that corps would
1 essentially be operating under an entirely different series of guidelines
2 than the other formations of the army.
3 Q. In the process of transition of the former JNA and the
4 establishment of the army of Republika Srpska which was founded in May
5 1992, as well as the Drina Corps which was established in December 1992,
6 if this is a well-structured army which respects the constitution and the
7 law on the army, was it essential to have a normative document for the
8 corps to serve as a guideline for its activities?
9 A. It would be normal to do that. My understanding is that in fact
10 it was done.
11 Q. Mr. Butler, let us now move on to a second section, and that is
12 the Commander and the Chief of Staff of a VRS Corps.
13 The Corps Commander, does he realise his function of command
14 directly without any intermediaries?
15 A. The Corps Commander, by both the regulations and the practical
16 application as demonstrated, commands the corps through the series of
17 intermediaries, as you've used the word, or at least how it's been
18 translated, which, in effect, are his subordinate commanders and staff.
19 Q. There may be a problem in the translation. Does the Corps
20 Commander command directly and without intermediaries, independently
21 without intermediaries?
22 A. He commands through his intermediaries, yes, sir.
23 Q. So his intermediaries, if we can call them that, issue orders to
24 lower-level units.
25 A. The Commander is the position and function that issues the order;
1 the staff, the intermediaries, are the mechanism by which his instructions
2 are formulated into an order and then passed down to subordinate units.
3 That is my understanding of the documentation, sir.
4 Q. To make myself quite clear, an order issued by the Corps Commander
5 to a brigade, is it issued by the Commander, or is it the Chief of Staff
6 who issues that order to the brigade?
7 A. Technically, sir, it could be both, or it could be either,
8 depending on the circumstances.
9 Q. In your report, paragraph 2.1, you say that the right to control
10 and command units and institutions of the corps is the exclusive
11 responsibility of the Commander; however, your previous answer, as I
12 understand it, negates this statement that you made.
13 A. No, sir, that's not a correct interpretation. What I mean to say,
14 depending on the circumstances, and as I also discuss in my report, is
15 that once the Commander issues a broad directive, in many cases the Chief
16 of Staff operating within the guidance and the framework of the Commander
17 is empowered to issue supplemental orders or orders to the lower units,
18 the brigades or the staff, in order to further the Commander's guidance.
19 I don't mean to imply in any way, shape, or form that anyone other than
20 the Commander commands the corps.
21 Q. And the right to issue guidelines within the framework of the
22 orders given by the Corps Commanders, the orders or commands given by the
23 Corps Commanders, what about those?
24 A. Again, within the framework of the orders or the guidance given by
25 the Corps Commander, presumably at the discretion of the Corps Commander,
1 the Chief of Staff, and even Assistant Commanders and other staff
2 officers, can issue orders to the subordinate formations, again, in
3 keeping with the orders and directions of the Commander.
4 JUDGE RIAD: Excuse me, Mr. Butler. In fact, you said before it
5 could be either according to the circumstances. So we have to be very
6 clear. "Technically, sir, it could be both, or it could be either,
7 depending on the circumstances." This has to be completely put into
8 form. Thank you.
9 A. Yes, sir.
10 JUDGE RIAD: To clarify it for us.
11 A. Yes, sir.
12 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Further on, Mr. Butler, you talk about the concept of unified
14 activities. We're now talking about the Chief of Staff, so the Chief of
15 Staff has a unique role within the structure of the corps.
16 My question is whether this idea of a unique role, is it a legal
17 concept, and whether the rules governing the corps include any such term,
18 as you have used to describe its role as unique?
19 A. As the corps rules articulate, the Chief of Staff, as concurrently
20 the Corps Deputy Commander, is the only person who, other than the
21 Commander, is authorised to pass orders to subordinates. When he's -- as
22 the Chief of Staff is the only other person designated as the Corps Deputy
23 Commander, in that sense he is unique; and under the JNA regulations as
24 adopted, that specific role and responsibility is articulated.
25 Q. But regarding his basic activities as Chief of Staff, there is no
1 mention of the fact that he passes on the Commander's orders and that he
2 has this unique role that you referred to. Those duties are listed under
3 ten points.
4 A. Going back to the base JNA regulations which I've cited in my
5 report, I believe under the roles and responsibilities of the Chief of
6 Staff, those issues are, in fact, raised; that as the Commander of the
7 staff, a large portion of his function is taking the Commander's guidance
8 and orders and putting it into a format where it can be transmitted down
9 to subordinates. Those are all -- those are all detailed as part of those
11 Q. Are the directives regarding command part of the regulations of
12 the corps?
13 A. The directives pertaining to command are found in the two base JNA
14 documents, the Corps Rules on Peacetime and the Base Corps Rules
15 Provisional. As an example, those provisions of command were articulated
16 in the 4th Corps JNA document which I used as an illustrative point.
17 Within the Drina Corps specifically, as I do not have the Drina
18 Corps instructions during the wartime period, I'm unable to say whether or
19 not those tenets of command are articulated in them.
20 Q. According to the rules and regulations of the 4th Corps of the
21 former JNA, the Corps Commander does issue directives.
22 A. That is correct, sir.
23 Q. From the documents that you had access to during your research
24 work, did you ever come across a document which would point to the fact
25 that the Corps Commander or the Chief of Staff of the corps is authorised,
1 is empowered, to issue directives?
2 A. If I understood that correctly, sir, what you asked me was, have I
3 come across a document that specifically authorises or empowers a Corps
4 Commander to command his corps. Is that correct, sir?
5 Q. No. My question was: In the material that was available to you,
6 did you -- were you able to reach a conclusion that the Corps Commander
7 was empowered to issue directives in the sense that they are issued by the
8 Supreme Commander and the Main Staff, directives not orders? I'm
9 referring to the directives as an act, that is, within the purview of the
10 Supreme Commander and the Main Staff?
11 A. I did not come across any documents which could indicate that the
12 Corps Commander is authorised to issue instructions for areas or
13 activities that are within the purview of either the Main Staff or the
14 Supreme Command, no, sir.
15 Q. Can we therefore say that the Corps Commander issues assignments
16 to its subordinate units through orders and commands?
17 A. That would be a fair statement, sir. Yes, sir.
18 Q. Mr. Butler, can we say that as regards the function of the Deputy
19 Commander, there are no special powers of the Deputy Chief of Staff --
20 Deputy Commander, I'm sorry, except the fact that he can take over the
21 role of a Commander in those circumstances when the Commander is not
22 capable of exercising his function?
23 A. I would argue that the powers and authority to assume that
24 Commander's role and function in those circumstances in fact qualify as
25 uniquely special powers which only he possesses as the Chief of Staff.
1 Q. Special powers. But only in the absence of the Commander.
2 A. As was noted in the regulations, it's not just the physical
3 absence of the Commander, it's also under circumstances where the
4 Commander may be unable to effectively exercise command, sir. So it's not
5 just qualified on a physical absence.
6 Q. The Commander, therefore, and we are talking about the Corps
7 Commander, can in that case be present in its area of responsibility and
8 have at the same time the Chief of Staff take over the role of the Corps
9 Commander; would that be your interpretation?
10 A. I can envision a circumstance, for example, the Commander on a
11 portion of the battlefield or for a technical reason, unable to
12 communicate with his staff and where immediate decisions had to be made,
13 where the Chief of Staff, understanding the Commander's temporary absence,
14 would in fact issue the required orders. So certainly the regulations
15 make provisions for those types of exceptional circumstances, yes, sir.
16 Q. Those circumstances, are they regulated by the corps regulations
17 or by the law of the army or some other statutory acts or sublaws?
18 A. There are actually within the framework of -- certainly if not
19 law, certainly within the regulations where it is expected that in the
20 absence of orders in an extraordinary circumstance, that the next higher
21 ranking individual would give the required orders.
22 We see at the very lowest levels that idea manifested in the
23 service regulations of the VRS published in 1992, where even at the lowest
24 levels of the army, it is expected that in the absence of orders, should
25 the circumstances dictate, the senior officer or senior person present
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 would issue orders to be taken.
2 Q. I'm clear on that, Mr. Butler. However, what I'm interested in is
3 whether in those statutory laws and sublaws there's any provision for the
4 particular circumstances in which that can take place. When I say
5 "circumstances," I refer to certain operations that are being conducted,
6 the unavailability of the Commander, or any other reason for this
7 particular situation to take place.
8 A. I do not believe that any of those more detailed types of guidance
9 are found in any of the base defence laws or laws on the army, sir, no. I
10 believe they're all found only within the relevant military regulations
11 and orders that pertain to the operation of the army.
12 Q. In combat operations, when they do take place, and also in the
13 absence of combat operations, the corps -- the Chief of Staff of the corps
14 is the person who is coordinating the work of the Corps Command; is that
16 A. Yes, sir, that's a fair statement.
17 Q. I think that we can agree that the Drina Corps, as well as other
18 corps of the VRS, were under the immediate command of the Main Staff of
19 the army of the Republika Srpska.
20 A. Yes, sir, that is correct.
21 Q. The Main Staff of the VRS, does it get directives, not orders but
22 directives as a statutory law, from the Supreme Commander?
23 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Mr. Butler, and I
24 apologise to Your Honours and the President. When I say "directive as a
25 statutory act," I am saying that for the benefit of the interpreters
1 because the directive is very often translated as an order, which is a
2 different act, which refers to an act of command, and I would like to
3 avoid any misunderstanding in this area.
4 A. In that sense, the Main Staff receives its -- the directives and
5 guidance, if you will, from the Supreme Command of the Republika Srpska.
6 That would be the chief agency responsible for ultimately directing the
7 course of the war.
8 JUDGE WALD: Mr. Butler, excuse me, but in answering
9 Mr. Petrusic's questions, he drew our attention to the need to
10 differentiate between the directive and the order of command. But I'm not
11 sure from our end we understand in the way you answer the question what
12 you conceive to be a directive versus an order, and an example would be
13 very helpful.
14 A. I believe the best practical application of an example would be
15 going back to one of our early exhibits which was Republika Srpska Supreme
16 Command Directive 7, which in essence articulated out the broad orders and
17 guidance of the political leadership to be, in turn, executed by the
19 The Main Staff takes operation -- Directive 7 and then publishes
20 their version of it, which is Directive 7/1, which takes that guidance and
21 expands upon it for the Corps Commanders. It takes much of that guidance
22 and puts it in the phrases and terms of operational orders for the
23 military unit. So I believe that is what Mr. Petrusic is referring to as
24 the process.
25 JUDGE RIAD: So ultimately, what is the sanction of disobeying a
2 A. Under the laws of the army and the general laws on military
3 service, the disobeying of such directives and orders of that nature
4 qualifies as a punishable offence, sir.
5 JUDGE RIAD: So both orders and directives are compulsory?
6 A. Yes, sir.
7 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you.
8 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. I think we can clarify this situation in the following manner:
10 The directives are acts which can be issued only by the Supreme Commander
11 of the armed forces of the Republika Srpska and the Main Staff of the
12 VRS. The directives as such cannot be issued by a corps, a brigade, and,
13 of course, by other lower units such as platoons or companies. Would that
14 be correct, Mr. Butler?
15 A. I believe maybe where we're mixing it up is an issue in how the
16 words translate in context. In my view, a directive is a very broad set
17 of guidance. Mandatory guidance, but guidance just the same. An order is
18 a much more specified, much more -- I don't want to say specified
19 directive, but it's a much more specified product. So in a sense, from
20 echelonment of command, I would agree that the Supreme Command level and
21 the Main Staff would issue the broader directives, and the Corps
22 Commanders would issue more specified orders.
23 But at the same time, particularly if you look at operations
24 order 7 or directive 7, some of the guidance in that particular directive
25 is very specific, and is, in fact, literally copied by the Main Staff in
1 its transmission to the corps. So I wouldn't put orders and directives in
2 an apples and oranges type of cart that one level of command can issue and
3 another one can't. And again, maybe that's the way it's coming out in
4 English for my interpretation or my view of the words, sir.
5 Q. You said that the disobeyance of directives, specifically in this
6 case you refer to Directive 7, entails sanction, and it is a punishable
7 offence that entails a certain responsibility.
8 In that directive, Directive 7 and 7/1, one of the tasks was that
9 the army of Republika Srpska achieve certain objectives during the year
10 1995. Those objectives were not reached, and to your knowledge, were any
11 Superior Commanders held responsible for that, for failure to obey the
12 directive, to execute the directive?
13 A. That's a rather broad channel, but what I would say along that
14 framework was that certainly the army is obligated to attempt to meet the
15 goals of the directive, and if they fail to attempt to meet those goals,
16 they would -- or they could conceivably face sanctions by the President of
17 the Republic.
18 In taking your point further, sir, as the Court and history is
19 aware, on 4 August, President Karadzic did, in fact, attempt to remove
20 General Mladic as a member of the Main Staff for circumstances. In a
21 sense, that could infer the army, or certainly the Chief of the Main Staff
22 in the army, incurring a form of a penalty for failing to meet the object
23 of the directive, sir.
24 Q. Since you have mentioned it, did he try to punish him or to
25 relieve him from his duty for not entering Tuzla, which was the objective
1 of the directive, or for what happened in Srebrenica; or was that
2 something that had been going on for quite a while between the two of
3 them, that kind of disagreement or conflict?
4 A. Certainly my understanding is that by 1995 there was a general
5 disagreement between General Mladic, as the Chief of the Main Staff of the
6 army, and the political leadership as to the conduct of the war.
7 Having said that, I believe it would be speculation on my part if
8 I tried to identify a specific cause as to why President Karadzic tried to
9 relieve General Mladic, sir.
10 Q. You stated, Mr. Butler, that the directives were issued by the
11 political leadership, including the Directive 7. That particular
12 directive was signed by the Commander of the armed forces of the Republika
13 Srpska, that is, Radovan Karadzic. So he did not sign it as the President
14 of a political association or a political party, he signed it in his
15 capacity as the Supreme Commander. How can you therefore conclude that
16 this was a directive issued by a political leadership?
17 A. In reviewing the RS laws on the army and defence, it specifically
18 articulates that the President of the republic is also the Supreme
19 Commander of the armed forces. Because of that statement, I base my
20 conclusion on that.
21 Q. The conclusion that it was issued by political leadership.
22 A. Yes, sir.
23 Q. Mr. Butler, it was not my intention to dwell on the issue of
24 directives for such a long time; however, there are certain things that
25 need to be clarified. Would it not be preferable to say that the
1 leadership was that of a state and not just political leadership, but
2 state leadership, because Mr. Karadzic was the President of the State --
3 Head of State?
4 A. That is a correct statement, sir, yes.
5 Q. So the directive was issued by the President of the Republic and
6 the Main Staff and it -- when it reaches the corps, does the corps then
7 analyse this directive and does it transform it into an order or a command
8 which, in turn, are subsequently transmitted to lower units as a form of
9 statutory command documents?
10 A. In a broad sense, that is how the process should work, sir, yes.
11 Q. Does the Chief of Staff issue orders in any other case, except for
12 the case when he is replacing or acting on behalf of the Commander, in the
13 sense that you have mentioned it, for example, due to his absence?
14 A. Yes, sir. According to the regulations, the Chief of Staff is
15 also designated as the head of the corps staff and is empowered to issue
16 orders to the subordinate officers of the corps staff.
17 Q. Therefore, an order can be issued by him only when he is replacing
18 the Commander or acting for the Commander.
19 A. No, sir, that's not what I meant to imply. What I meant to say
20 was that when he is in his role functioning as the Corps Deputy Commander,
21 those circumstances apply. When he is performing the functions, his
22 normal functions as the Corps Chief of Staff, under the regulations he is
23 empowered to issue orders to the corps staff officers who are subordinate
24 to him. The issuing of orders that he does, while in theory within the
25 framework and guidance of the Corps Commander, should not require the
1 Corps Commander's either physical presence or detailed guidance in order
2 to perform the effective functioning of the job, sir.
3 Q. His is the role of the Deputy Corps Commander only when the Corps
4 Commander is not there, only when the Corps Commander is absent.
5 A. As the regulations note, it's not just a physical absence, sir.
6 It is other circumstances where the Corps Commander is unable to
7 effectively command. So again I would be hesitant to tie that condition
8 to a physical absence.
9 Q. In your previous answer, it was stated that the conditions of a
10 physical absence of the Commander are not provided for in the
12 A. No, sir. What I said was that the provisions for the physical
13 absence of the Commander were not broadly provided for under the defence
14 laws or army laws, sir.
15 Q. The Assistant Commander for Security, does he have a dual kind of
16 subordination, the one that's going towards the Corps Commander and the
17 other one towards the Chief of Security Service of the Main Staff?
18 A. I would not, under the circumstances, use the phrase "dual
19 subordination," which would inadvertently imply a dual chain of command.
20 The Corps Assistant Commander for Security, by the regulations, is
21 subordinate to the Corps Commander. There is, in fact, a chain, a
22 communications link, where technical guidance, where management issues,
23 administrative issues flow to that next higher level, that being the Chief
24 of Security of the Main Staff.
25 Q. In his activities and reporting, is the Assistant Commander for
1 Security always obliged to inform the Corps Commander about his activities
2 in all cases?
3 A. As I noted in previous testimony, my readings of the security
4 regulations note that issue. However, it also -- again, taking into
5 account the specific role of the security officer, in the case where the
6 Corps Commander himself may be the object of the investigation, in that
7 regard certainly the security officer would not inform the Corps Commander
8 of that fact; however, that decision would most probably have been made by
9 the Commander of the superior echelon above that. But for the daily
10 activities of the Security Branch, the Assistant Commander -- Assistant
11 Commander for Security would be informing the Corps Commander of those
13 Q. In your report, on page 39, points 8 and 9, you talk about the
14 Chief of Staff and you say that in performing his duties he coordinates
15 the activities of the corps staff and the work of subordinate commands and
16 ensures complete unity of action in relation to directives and the ideas
17 of the Commander.
18 A. Notwithstanding different words for translation, the gist of that
19 is in fact correct, sir, yes.
20 Q. When speaking about directives, did you mean directives as a legal
21 document issued by the Main Staff and the Supreme Commander, or did you
22 mean a command document issued by the Corps Commander?
23 A. In this regard, it is a document issued by the Corps Commander.
24 Q. Does the Commander or Chief of Staff coordinate the work of
25 subordinate units?
1 A. There are two aspects to look at that question. In a narrow
2 aspect, it would not be the function of the Commander or the Chief of
3 Staff to coordinate the internal activities of a select subordinate unit.
4 In that regard, that is the purview of the subordinate unit Commander and
5 his staff.
6 On a broader perspective, it would be the Corps Commander and
7 corps staff's responsibility to coordinate the activities of multiple
8 subordinate units to ensure that more than one unit, in this case, more
9 than one subordinate unit is acting in concert with each other and towards
10 the goals of the corps order.
11 So within the narrow confines of the unit, no, sir; but within the
12 parameters of coordinating the activities of the subordinate units, yes,
14 Q. You said that the Chief of Staff of the corps is obliged to
15 monitor the ability of units and to submit to the Commander reports on the
16 results of this supervision. The results of subordination, this
17 [indiscernible], does it exist at all within the system of command in the
18 army regardless of the level, be it the corps, lower level units, or the
19 superior command?
20 A. If I could ask you to repeat, sir. There was a word that didn't
21 come through in translation, and I think it's kind of critical to the
22 question, so if I could ask you to repeat the question, sir.
23 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] For the interpreters, it is page
24 39, paragraph 8.10, third: "The Corps Chief of Staff --"
25 A. Okay, sir, I understand.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. "The Corps Chief of Staff is required to monitor --" third, "The
2 Corps Chief of Staff is required to monitor the readiness and the ability
3 of subordinate units, to execute the orders of the Commander and to report
4 the results of the compliance back to the Commander." The key word here
5 is this compliance. And my question is whether such a wording, the
6 results of the compliance, can be found in any command or control document
7 at the level of the corps which the Commander transmits to lower echelons,
8 subordinate units, or he may receive such a document from a superior
9 command containing such a wording.
10 A. With respect to the regulations, I believe that the direct literal
11 translation refers to the phrase "and ensures they are carried out," which
12 I then take in English to infer ensures compliance. The practical
13 application of that, and it is as you suggest, sir, endemic through the
14 entire chain of command, the daily and interim combat reports which notify
15 from lower to higher the results of operations for the subordinates for
16 the benefit of the higher command to realise what is occurring, what
17 missions are being accomplished, what missions cannot be accomplished and
18 what the status of them is, so in that sense, it is in fact completely
20 Q. The regular or interim combat reports, periodical or operative
21 reports, and all the other kinds of reports that exist, are they sent to
22 the superior command by the Corps Commander or the Chief of Staff?
23 A. With regard to the corps level reporting echelon, the report is
24 sent out in the name of the Corps Commander to the Main Staff. This is
25 not to mean that on each and every day the Corps Commander authors the
1 report. The responsibility of putting together the report rests within
2 the broad responsibilities of the Chief of Staff; however, in most
3 practical applications, that duty then is further delegated to the duty
4 officer. But at the end of the day, and as articulated in the Main Staff
5 guidance, the Main Staff expects the daily report that it receives to be
6 an accurate reflection of the events in the command, and further, if the
7 Commander's signature is on it, that he is, in effect, validating the
8 accuracy of that report, sir.
9 Q. Such a report, may it be sent by the Chief of Staff if the
10 Commander is present?
11 A. I don't see any reason why that wouldn't be feasible, sir, no. It
12 would again be up to the individual Commander in question.
13 Q. Lower level subordinate units, in this case brigades, do they send
14 their regular and interim reports to the Commander, to the Corps
16 A. As evidenced in the variety of exhibits that have been produced to
17 date, on certainly a minimum of a daily basis, the reports are sent to the
18 Corps Command, yes, sir.
19 Q. We are now referring to paragraph 8.12 in which you say: "That
20 despite his more limited command authority, the Corps Chief of Staff still
21 assumes a significant degree of responsibility pertaining to the
22 commission of illegal acts."
23 You're here obviously making a certain distinction in relation to
24 criminal responsibility. I don't know whether I'm making myself clear. I
25 don't quite understand what the comparison is with when you talk about the
1 degree of responsibility.
2 A. In the SFRY regulations pertaining to the application of the Rules
3 of International Law of War, there are three broad categories where they
4 define where an officer or soldier can be held liable. One of them, and
5 as previously discussed, is the category of superior responsibility; the
6 second one is the category of individual responsibility; and the third one
7 is the category of individual responsibility for carrying out illegal acts
8 under orders.
9 In the sense of paragraph 8.12, in that regard I am specifically
10 qualifying it as the responsibility for breaches of the Rules of Law of
11 War committed on orders.
12 Q. When the Chief of Staff is acting as the Chief of Staff when his
13 Commander is present, does he have to be aware of any violations of the
14 provisions of the law of war, or in other words, are there any
15 circumstances when he may not have any knowledge about it or may not have
16 been informed about it?
17 A. Clearly, as you indicated in the question, it would be impossible
18 to make the assumption that just by virtue of the individual being the
19 Chief of Staff that he would be knowledgable of 100 per cent of the
20 activities to occur at a given time, particularly with regard to illegal
21 acts which may have occurred. So I would agree that that's a physical
23 Q. The function of Chief of Staff, does it consist primarily of
24 collecting information of an operational nature about the progress and
25 outcome of combat activities, logistics support for those activities, and
1 the like?
2 A. Those activities that you've discussed are in the spectrum of his
3 responsibilities to collect information about and monitor the activities
4 of, yes, sir. Along the same vein, the other two branches, the morale,
5 legal, and religious service and the security service would also fall
6 within his purview to have to monitor the activities of and be aware of
7 what is happening with those as well. He has responsibility for doing
8 that throughout the entire corps staff, sir.
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I would like to
10 suggest we have a break now, but of course I will stand by your decision
11 whether that suggestion is acceptable to you or not.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes. [Interpretation] I think it is a good time
13 for a break.
14 So we are having a 20-minute break now.
15 --- Recess taken at 10.50 a.m.
16 --- On resuming at 11.13 p.m.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, you may go on.
18 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Q. Mr. Butler, let me now move on to the report about the military
20 events in the area of Srebrenica, that is, the Operation Krivaja 95.
21 Before I begin with specific questions, I just want to note that
22 you probably were given a very specific assignment by the Prosecutor as to
23 the particular area that had to be analysed, but I should like to know
24 whether you think that for the purpose of having an overview of the
25 situation in Srebrenica and all the events that took place at the relevant
1 times, and also before the area was proclaimed as a safe area, during that
2 time and after the fall of Srebrenica, do you think that it would have
3 been a good idea to discuss the period from 1992 until the area was
4 proclaimed as a safe area, though you do deal with that period to a
5 certain extent?
6 So my question is actually: Do you think that that period would
7 also contribute to a general overview of the situation and tell us more
8 about the causes and effects of the events and developments that took
9 place there?
10 A. As I noted in the introduction to the narrative, and as you so
11 noted, sir, it is a limited scope of analysis with respect to three
12 specific areas.
13 On a broad level, I'm aware of the events that occurred there and
14 occurred in Eastern Bosnia in general from 1992 to 1995 and have included
15 some of them in order, again as you note, to place the issues of July 1995
16 into context. However, and again, an analytical judgement on my part, I
17 did not feel that a long analysis and review of historical events from
18 1992 through the beginning of the safe area and from the safe area on
19 would be required in order to analyse the military events that occurred
20 from 1 to 11 July 1995 and the events that occurred subsequent to that,
21 which the analysis represents my trying to link military units and
22 individuals to known crime scenes.
23 Q. You say that main seat of the Drina Corps was established in
24 Vlasenica. I assume that by that you are referring to the command post of
25 the Drina Corps as being in Vlasenica.
1 A. Yes, sir, the headquarters of the Drina Corps in Vlasenica.
2 Q. Apart from Srebrenica and Zepa, which were declared safe areas,
3 was a part of the Gorazde safe area also under the responsibility of --
4 under the area of responsibility of the Drina Corps?
5 A. My understanding is that some units of the Drina Corps held
6 positions along parts of the Gorazde safe area. So with that regard, I
7 make the inference that with at least some territorial area, the Drina
8 Corps had some responsibility for the Gorazde safe area, yes, sir.
9 Q. Can we say, therefore, that the forces of the VRS, by making
10 certain plans, by drafting certain plans, had the intention to prevent
11 military activities of the Muslim formations, and I am referring mainly to
12 the 8th Division and the Tactical Group of the Srebrenica safe area, and
13 the intrusion of such forces to the rear area of the Drina Corps units
14 which were deployed along their static positions around the safe area?
15 A. The VRS documents that we have indicate that the Bratunac Brigade,
16 the Milici Brigade, and the Skelani Separate Battalion were, in fact, in a
17 static defensive posture around the Srebrenica safe area with the goal of
18 preventing Muslim movement in and out of the safe area, smuggling
19 operations, as well as combat raids.
20 Q. Those plans, did they have as an objective to prevent the linking
21 of the two enclaves, the Srebrenica and the Zepa enclaves, bearing in mind
22 the fact -- an undisputed fact, if I may say so -- that an area had
23 actually remained between the two enclaves which was not covered by the
24 forces of the Drina Corps, and that there was some unhindered
25 communication between the two enclaves which was used for some smuggling
1 operations but also for purely communication purposes? And is it true
2 that the enemy forces of the Drina Corps were intruding in that area and
3 conducting combat raids against the units of the Drina Corps and the
4 civilian population?
5 A. Okay, sir, there are three questions embedded there. Let me go
6 over them one at a time.
7 As to the first one, did the plans have an objective to prevent
8 the linking of the two enclaves, Srebrenica and Zepa, that is in fact
9 clearly articulated in the plans. Specifically, we see that articulated
10 in both Drina Corps operations -- I'm sorry, the Main Staff Directive 7/1
11 and the Supreme Command Directive 7 to ensure the physical separation of
12 the enclaves.
13 The second question, my understanding of the VRS documents as
14 we've received does in fact confirm that despite the deployments of the
15 Milici Brigade, the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade, and the Skelani
16 Separate Battalion, there was, in fact, a gap in the lines which the
17 Muslims used for both communications and smuggling. So in that respect,
18 that's also correct.
19 And that, again, leads to your third question, is it true the
20 enemy forces -- I assume when it says -- translated "enemy forces of the
21 Drina Corps," I assume you're referring to the Muslim military forces,
22 were they operating in that zone and conducting combat raids. Again, the
23 answer is yes.
24 Q. Was there any danger, if I may say so, for the forces of the VRS,
25 or specifically the forces of the Drina Corps, for a linking of the two
1 enclaves to take place. First of all, the linking of the Srebrenica and
2 Zepa enclaves, and subsequently the linking with the area of Tuzla, that
3 is, with the forces of the 2nd Corps of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
4 A. In that regard, and again, qualifying my expertise as based on the
5 VRS documents and orders that I've read which reflects that situation,
6 again, my analysis reflects what I read in those materials. In that
7 regard, the VRS was extremely concerned about the linking of the Zepa and
8 Srebrenica enclaves. I do not get a reflection, certainly from the 1995
9 period documents that I possess, that there was such a broad concern that
10 the Muslims in Srebrenica, the 28th Infantry Division at that time, would
11 be able to physically establish a cohesive link, a combat link, with the
12 forces of BiH 2 Corps.
13 Now, having said that, and as previously noted in testimony, there
14 was in fact a relatively active passage between Srebrenica and the forces
15 of BiH 2nd Corps in Tuzla which smugglers and couriers carrying material
16 orders and ammunitions frequented along that line. So while not a
17 physical linkage, certainly a tenuous line of communications existed
18 between the Srebrenica enclave and the Muslim forces in Tuzla, sir.
19 Q. Mr. Butler, what we have been discussing so far, does that
20 constitute military elements which led the army of the VRS and the Drina
21 Corps forces in certain of their intentions?
22 A. I believe you're referring to -- and if I can rephrase the
23 question just to make sure I understand it accurately: Are the military
24 forces that you're referring to, would they be the Muslim military forces
25 in question?
1 Q. No. There has probably been a misunderstanding. Speaking about
2 the intentions of the VRS, about the concerns relating to the Srebrenica
3 and Zepa enclaves, were those elements, those aspects which did exist at
4 the time, that is, the intrusion of the enemy forces into the formations
5 of the army of Republika Srpska and the civilian population, the potential
6 danger of the linking up of the two enclaves, do these things present --
7 constitute exclusively military aspects, military elements that guided the
8 VRS army in their decisions when it comes to certain military operations
9 and combats at that time?
10 A. Yes, sir, they certainly do.
11 Q. Pursuant to Directive 7 and 7/1 of the Supreme Commander or the
12 Main Staff, were military -- rather, combat operations around the enclave
13 and in the direction of the enclave, were they intended to be very
14 restricted in their scope; that is, was the objective to separate the
15 enclaves and to bring them down within the boundaries -- within the
16 confines of the safe areas in question?
17 A. Yes, sir. That intent is pretty clearly articulated in both
19 Q. The boundaries of the safe areas which were established pursuant
20 to a resolution of the Security Council issued in May 1993, did they
21 remain fixed, the same, as they had been established by the Security
22 Council, or did those boundaries change during the period of time when the
23 safe area was in place?
24 A. The short answer is that I don't know that. I do know from the
25 documents from both the VRS and from the UNPROFOR forces that both the VRS
1 and the BiH were unhappy with the relative boundaries that were
2 established, and there was constant conflict between the two over what the
3 boundaries were, but I am unable to go into any specifics over what issues
4 or why.
5 Q. Mr. Butler, reading through your findings, I fear that we may lose
6 continuity for the Chamber and the public, but my intention is to refer
7 exclusively to your findings so that I hope the Chamber will have
8 understanding for my method of doing this cross-examination, and of course
9 you as well, Mr. Butler, because we will be referring to it from time to
10 time again.
11 When the military operations in the enclave started on the 6th of
12 July, 1995, were there any activities or combat activities against the
13 United Nations forces, or rather the UNPROFOR, the Dutch Battalion?
14 A. The combat activities that occurred with regards to the Dutch
15 Battalion, as described by the Dutch Battalion, were a series of combat
16 activities that in most cases weren't directed against them per se;
17 however, they did receive fire in specific instances, but were designed to
18 put the relative Dutch observation posts in a position where they were
19 untenable and the Dutch would abandon those posts and even move further
20 into their own lines or towards Srebrenica or place themselves in the
21 custody of the army of Republika Srpska.
22 I have no indication from the documents that the army of the
23 Republika Srpska specifically targeted the Dutch as a military target with
24 the specific intent of defeating them on the battlefield in a classic
25 military sense.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, but I was expecting
2 Judge Riad to make a comment.
3 Q. A part of the Dutch Battalion forces, did they surrender to the
4 forces of the VRS, and analysing their statements, did you come to any
5 such conclusion?
6 A. I believe using the phrase "surrender" is, in effect, unfair. The
7 accurate statement that I would use is that given the situation, they
8 placed themselves in the custody of the VRS. In my mind, "surrender"
9 implies defeat or a defeated enemy, and clearly in the case of the Dutch,
10 this was not the case. It was just a case of placing themselves in the
11 safe custody of the army of Republika Srpska.
12 Q. So without the use of force or weapons, one could call it a
13 voluntary placing of themselves in the custody of the VRS, that they did
14 so voluntarily, in a sense; of course, on the basis of their assessment of
15 the overall situation regarding individual observation posts?
16 A. I would agree with that statement up to the point of "without the
17 use of weapons," because clearly there was weapons fire involved as part
18 of the process.
19 Q. But not directed against the members of the Dutch Battalion. When
20 they placed themselves under the protection of the VRS?
21 A. In most cases, from the Dutch statements, that's true; however,
22 there are two specific incidents where Dutch witnesses report, and it's
23 reflected in their reports, that they were specifically engaged by the
24 army of Republika Srpska directly. So I would agree with you: In the
25 majority of the cases, that's true. There are still, in fact, specific
1 instances where they were targeted.
2 Q. Mr. Butler, in the course of your analytical work on this case,
3 and it has taken quite some time, did you acquire any knowledge as to the
4 casualties of the Muslim forces during the operations from the 6th until
5 the 11th of July, 1995? When I say "casualties among the Muslim forces,"
6 I'm referring to the population, the Muslim population that was in
7 Srebrenica and around Srebrenica at the time.
8 A. The documents that we have pertaining to the situation in the
9 enclave or in Srebrenica proper, that we have from the Muslims' talks
10 about the situation and does talk in broad terms that they are taking
11 casualties. Those casualties, the specific numbers are not delineated.
12 So on a broad sense, yes, the Muslims took casualties, both
13 military and civilian; but I have no way to qualify that in a scheme of
14 numbers, sir.
15 Q. Apart from being an analyst, you are also a military man, a
16 military officer of the Army of the United States, and in any event, you
17 have a great deal of military experience. So taking into account
18 statements that a large number of shells were fired, up to 200, within a
19 relatively short period of time, so on the basis of your professional
20 experience, would you say that the number of casualties would be enormous
21 if the target had been the column formed in the town of Srebrenica or the
22 town of Srebrenica itself and the surrounding locations inhabited by
23 Muslim population?
24 A. As part of, as you note, being an analyst and having military
25 experience, one of the dangers is when one receives a report, as you've
1 noted here, the large number of shells fired, up to 200, in a relatively
2 short period of time, it's dealing with a general abstract like that. The
3 reports don't qualify whether we're talking about large-calibre shells
4 capable of causing significant damage and casualties, and they don't
5 qualify whether it's a small-calibre shell such as a 30-millimetre
6 anti-aircraft round which, hitting a building, would qualify as a shell
7 impact, but unless it hit a specific person or target, wouldn't have
8 that. So in that respect, I don't want to take a single number and try to
9 extrapolate a large number of casualties.
10 However, along the lines of the regard that you've noted,
11 considering the military dispositions of the VRS and the fact that in many
12 cases they had direct lines of observation to the civilians in the town or
13 the column as -- or the assembly at the UN base Bravo in Srebrenica, had
14 those been the intended target, it's reasonable to assume that they would
15 have suffered significant casualties.
16 Q. When the Muslim inhabitants gathered and assembled, their
17 gathering and the decision to abandon the town, did it come about
18 spontaneously, or was it based on a decision taken by a certain
19 leadership, be it a military or a civilian leadership?
20 A. As I've noted in the narrative, my understanding of the chain of
21 events that occurred is that sometime on the late evening of 10 July, the
22 Muslim leadership in Srebrenica made the decision to abandon the town. I
23 believe it was a combined military-civilian decision that did that, but
24 because of the lack of data, I can't be 100 per cent sure of that.
25 Q. On the basis of the documents available to you, is it possible to
1 infer or was it possible for you to conclude that the population of
2 Srebrenica was the target of combat operations? Was the population of
3 Srebrenica the target of combat operations?
4 A. I have never made the contention that the civilians of Srebrenica
5 were the target of the operations. I do not believe that, and I have no
6 evidence from the VRS which indicates that in the actual military takeover
7 of the town of Srebrenica, that civilians represented the target.
8 Q. The group of several thousand, and data differ, ranging from
9 10.000 to 15.000 that had assembled in Jaglici and Susnjari, was that
10 group armed?
11 A. As I believe I've noted earlier, that is in fact -- the column is
12 a mixed military and civilian group. There were many soldiers, perhaps up
13 to 1.000, who were part of that column and who were armed.
14 Q. You're referring to the column that numbered 10.000 to 15.000
15 civilians and military men.
16 A. That is correct, sir.
17 Q. The column that is moving from Jaglici and Susnjari.
18 A. That is correct, sir.
19 Q. The indictment upheld by my learned friend Mr. Harmon, we find the
20 fact that one-third of that column was armed. We hear from you today that
21 about 1.000 members of that same group, 1.000 of the Muslim fighters, were
22 under arms.
23 A. My understanding of the composition of the column reflects that
24 one-third of the column were military members or potential military
25 members; the remaining two-thirds were not. I don't believe, considering
1 the state of weapons that the 28th Division at the time had, that we could
2 make the case that 5.000 people in that column were, in fact, armed.
3 JUDGE RIAD: Excuse me. What do you call potential military
5 A. The 28th Infantry Division had a large number of members on its
6 rosters, at least, the rosters that we have from the early 1995 time
7 frame. Again, their consideration of the eligible military population
8 pool were those military members between the age of 15 and 65. In many
9 aspects, because they didn't have enough weapons, these people were
10 technically considered part of the military but were not actually in and
11 present in formations.
12 One of the customary practices that used to occur within the scope
13 of the Muslims while they were in the enclave is the fact that unarmed
14 soldiers would come up to the lines, take the weapon of the soldier who
15 was going off-duty, and they would use that weapon during their period of
16 duty. So it's within that framework where I qualify it as potential
17 military members.
18 JUDGE RIAD: So does that mean that they were armed?
19 A. Most of the members of the 28th Division as organised in
20 Srebrenica did not -- were not under arms. They qualified as members of
21 the military, as members of the military organisation, but because of a
22 lack of weapons, they were not armed.
23 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Mr. Butler, on the basis of which data are you saying that there
1 were about 1.000 armed combatants?
2 A. The two pieces of information or two bodies of information that I
3 used to make that determination are the various witness and survivor
4 accounts from people who trekked as part of the column, and also the
5 information and understanding of the army of the Republika Srpska in their
6 own intelligence reporting about the column.
7 Q. Intelligence information of the army of Republika Srpska about the
8 armed members of the column refer to the 13th and 14th of July, that is,
9 when the column had partially been broken up, when it was entering the
10 area of Mount Udrc and is trying to make a breakthrough towards Nezuk,
11 Nezuk and Bajkovica, when it is split into three different directions.
12 And intelligence information of the Zvornik Brigade come from several
14 A. I believe the first intelligence report on the column originates
15 from the early morning hours of 12 July as based off of intercepted
16 communications from local commanders who are along the Nova
17 Kasaba-Konjevic Polje-Milici road. In that regard, they are referring to
18 the column earlier, and certainly we see other written reporting coming
19 out on the evening hours of the 12th July to the Drina Corps pertaining to
20 their estimates of the column. So there's two separate series of
21 reporting, sir.
22 Q. Mr. Butler, I have here a book entitled "Crafty Strategy," Sefer
23 Halilovic, the Commander in Chief of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I
24 will not tender it into evidence in this part of the trial, but I would
25 like to show you a report by Mr. Halilovic who says that the strength --
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: Excuse me. I'm going to have to object at this
2 point, Mr. President. If there are documents or reference materials that
3 were going to be used by the Defence to cross-examine Mr. Butler, the
4 Prosecution believes it's entitled to at least see copies of those at the
5 time that they are being used to question the witness.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, what is your
7 response to this objection?
8 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I withdraw the question, and I will
9 continue with the cross-examination. I will withdraw the intention to
10 show this text to the witness.
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: Well, if that's counsel's wish. We don't wish to,
12 obviously, infringe on his right to cross-examine. We would just like to
13 be able to see what he is using to cross-examine.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. Surely the parties always
15 have the right to put any questions, so long as they are relevant and put
16 properly. So I think that we have a problem here. It is possible to
17 quote a sentence from a text, but we have to have the text, and the
18 Prosecution says they don't have the book. So it is quite possible to
19 read a part or a paragraph and ask a question regarding that paragraph,
20 but there's always the problem of context, so perhaps you could prepare
21 your question for a later stage and provide the Prosecution with the
22 appropriate text. But you have already said that you are withdrawing your
23 question, and after these comments, you may proceed, and you can prepare
24 for that question later on if you wish.
25 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] In the course of the proceedings,
1 the Prosecution will certainly be provided with this document that I
2 referred to just now.
3 Q. Mr. Butler, are you aware of the fact that in Srebrenica in 1995,
4 there were 6.000 soldiers?
5 A. I couldn't claim to give you that number as an exact count, but I
6 would say that that's certainly within the realm of the numbers that I've
7 seen, sir, yes.
8 Q. In your examination-in-chief, you said that the column which was
9 partly armed and partly unarmed, that is, consisting of civilians as well,
10 was a legitimate military target.
11 A. If I recall correctly, in answer to a question by Judge Wald, the
12 answer that I gave was, my understanding of the SFRY application of the
13 Laws of Land Warfare, that under their rules that were applicable, that
14 they would not consider the column -- or that they in fact would consider
15 the column to be a legitimate military target, yes, sir.
16 Q. Would it be correct to say when this partly armed column started
17 off towards Jaglici, Bajkovica, Konjevic Polje, Udrc -- no, not Bajkovica,
18 I'm sorry, Ravne Buljim, then across Konjevic Polje towards Udrc, and from
19 there on towards Nezuk, that it was actually engaging in a breakthrough as
20 a combat operation?
21 A. That is an accurate description of the operation, yes, sir.
22 Q. Would it be correct to say that in the minds, though it is
23 difficult to discuss minds as a subjective category, but could it be said
24 that among the military leadership, there must have been awareness that
25 along that route, they would be engaged in combat with the army of
1 Republika Srpska which was holding its static defensive positions?
2 A. I would say that from the BiH military side and the column, that
3 that would, in fact, be a fair assumption.
4 Q. So this cannot be described as a march when it is known that that
5 march has to pass through enemy territory; and when I say "enemy
6 territory," I mean territory under the control of the army of Republika
8 A. I guess I wouldn't qualify it as certainly an administrative
9 march, and as it was understood by certainly the VRS, again going to your
10 previous description, it was a breakthrough operation.
11 Q. I'm asking you this because during the course of the proceedings,
12 we heard terms such as "march" being used. So along this route, in the
13 course of the breakthrough, if at a certain point in time the two parties
14 engage in combat, the Serb and the Muslim, can anything else be expected
15 but casualties on both sides, at least in the initial stages of that
16 contact or conflict?
17 A. Militarily speaking, that's a fair assumption, yes, sir.
18 Q. On that way, through the area -- that is, reaching the area of the
19 Zvornik Brigade, when the head of the column reached the boundary of that
20 area, whereas the end of the column at the same time was south of the
21 communication line Konjevic Polje-Kasaba, the operations that were
22 conducted by the Drina Corps in terms of searching the area, were they
23 legitimate military operations or activities, bearing in mind the fact
24 that it was already evident that the column of the 28th Infantry Division
25 was located in the area?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. The sweep operations and the military activity pertaining to
2 engaging the column, as it were, would certainly qualify as military
3 activities. My review of that aspect of the activity, and again,
4 qualifying -- you know, as a lawyer, it's not my place to make a judgement
5 of whether or not it's legitimate or not from a legal sense, but certainly
6 the activities that occurred relevant to the combat engagement of the
7 column fall into a category of normal military activity which one expects.
8 I wouldn't see anything improper or wrong in conducting those military
10 Q. The operations in question were, therefore, the ones that were
11 conducted on the 13th and the 14th as well as in the course of the
12 following days, in the area south of the route and also combat activities
13 that had already started in the area of the Zvornik Brigade south of the
14 Konjevic Polje-Kasaba road.
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm going to object to that, Your Honour. It's
16 not a question. It should be proper. It's also compound and vague as to
17 time and place.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, what is your
19 response to the objection?
20 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I believe that the question was
21 asked in an appropriate manner, especially bearing in mind the fact that
22 we had discussed the issue during the examination-in-chief. I'm referring
23 to the 13th of July, the combat activities and the sweep-up operations
24 that were taking place south of the Konjevic Polje-Kasaba road.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. McCloskey, do you wish to
1 add something to your objection after Mr. Petrusic has responded to it?
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President. I have no objection to the
3 overall subject matter, certainly. My objection was, as can be read from
4 the question itself, there is no question. It's merely a statement, and
5 he's not even asked to comment on the statement. Not only that, but it's
6 talking about some very serious activity but over a broad range of time
7 and is not specific to the area geographically or -- so he's not even
8 asking Mr. Butler to speculate. It's just an impossible question.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] It is beyond dispute that the
10 issue, the contents of the question, is pertinent. I know that the
11 parties can ask any questions as long as they are relevant and pertinent
12 and relative to the subjects that are discussed, and as long as they're
13 related to the examination-in-chief. But at the same time, we have to
14 have a proper question. If we make assertions, then we will risk the
15 situation of having things in the transcript that need to be further
16 discussed. We really need to have proper questions with a question mark
17 at the end of it.
18 I should like to mention something else as well. We have been
19 hearing this witness for awhile now, and he's an expert witness. Bearing
20 that in mind, it is my opinion that we can discuss his opinions and we can
21 debate his report because we have an expert witness here, and they often
22 testify or give evidence about their opinions and conclusions; however,
23 when we ask an expert witness for an opinion, we have to ask a proper
24 question. So the assertion should be in the form of a question, and we
25 have to avoid compound, composite questions, and we have to avoid posing
1 alternative questions, but we have to go directly to the matter.
2 So, Mr. Petrusic, could you please ask your question in a direct
3 manner, please.
4 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. When we
5 will show the exhibits to Mr. Butler, I will go back to my previous
6 question, but for the time being, I'm going to withdraw it.
7 Q. Mr. Butler, if the police is under the military command during the
8 combat operations, is it the case that the police continues to be under
9 the military command once the operations in question are completed?
10 A. The RS law pertaining to the Ministry of Interior Forces
11 specifically articulates that the police units under military command are
12 under military command for a designated period of time previously agreed
13 by the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of the Interior, and the
14 President of the Republic, in that context.
15 Having said that, I can't make a blanket statement which says that
16 after the end of a military operation that relationship ceases. If it was
17 the intent of the parties that made the agreement, in which case this is
18 up at the Supreme Command level, that it continue longer, then it would.
19 Q. As far as I can understand, you cannot state that that
20 relationship continues after the cessation of the combat activities.
21 A. No, sir. What I said is that that relationship continues or ends
22 when it was designated by the authorities that made the relationship. I
23 can't say that the trigger for ending that relationship is the end of
24 combat activities or the end of a certain date. I mean, it's whenever the
25 agreement or whenever the specified organisation and tasking ended.
1 Q. The Supreme Command or the Main Staff, do they suggest the use of
2 units to the Ministry of the Interior, that is, the units of the police?
3 Do they merely suggest their use, and is it the Minister of the Interior
4 who makes the final decision as to whether such units will be deployed or
6 A. Again, my readings of the pertinent law believe me to understand
7 that the way that the situation works is that the military, in this case,
8 the Main Staff, would request special police support for a determined
9 period and that the Ministry of the Interior, or perhaps even specifically
10 the Minister of the Interior, would make that decision in conjunction with
11 the Minister of Defence and the Supreme Commander of the armed forces.
12 Q. In your report, in your opinion, you speak about the fact that
13 General Major Milenko Zivanovic was replaced or, rather, succeeded by
14 General Major Radislav Krstic, and the date you give for that is the 13th
15 of July.
16 A. That is correct, sir.
17 Q. When you make this claim, this conclusion, rather, do you take
18 into account the decision of the President of the Republic of the 14th of
19 July whereby it was decided or, rather, decreed by the President of the
20 Republic that the commander of the corps in question would be Radislav
21 Krstic? The decision in question came into force on the 15th of July.
22 A. Yes, sir, I did take that into account, and I believe I have
23 addressed it in both the written version of the narrative and in my
24 testimony, sir.
25 Q. So the Corps Commander, General Major Radislav Krstic, when did he
1 effectively take duty, as of which date? Could you give us the date,
3 A. Based on my analysis of the information, it is my opinion that
4 General Major Krstic began exercising command of the Drina Corps in the
5 late afternoon, early evening hours of 13 July 1995.
6 Q. The only person who was empowered to name, to appoint Corps
7 Commanders, was it the President of the Republic or the Supreme Commander
8 of the armed forces.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, I'm sorry, I have
10 to interrupt you once again, but your question had to be who is the person
11 who is empowered to appoint commanders, otherwise you're simply making an
12 assertion with the question mark at the end.
13 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I base myself on the general
14 assumption that it was the President of the Republic, but I do accept your
15 suggestion, Your Honour.
16 Q. So, Mr. Butler, who is the person that is empowered to appoint the
17 commander -- Corps Commanders?
18 A. Under the relevant laws in question, it would be the President of
19 the Republic, Radovan Karadzic.
20 Q. Did the President of the Republic do that in his decree of the
21 14th of July?
22 A. He, in fact, did that, sir, yes.
23 Q. Pursuant to that decree, did General Major Radislav Krstic take
24 office on the 15th of July or did the decree in question come into force
25 on the 15th of July?
1 A. The decree as written comes into force on 15 July. As to the
2 second part of your question, when did General Major Radislav Krstic take
3 office or, in the sense that I infer, begin to exercise command, I would
4 refer back to my earlier answer, that my opinion is he started exercising
5 command on 13 July 1995.
6 Q. If we bear in mind the statutory laws regulating the appointment
7 of Corps Commanders, is it true that General Krstic was able to start
8 exercising his function as a Corps Commander in a legitimate and legal
9 manner pursuant to an authorisation by General Mladic?
10 A. If one makes the assumption that General Mladic was, in fact,
11 following an order or directive from the Supreme Commander, then one could
12 in fact do that, in which case General Mladic is essentially operating
13 under the delegated authority of the Supreme Commander to do that.
14 Q. Which directive do you have in mind when you speak about delegated
16 A. I do not have a specific directive in mind. I base that back
17 under the general principles that subordinates, in their operations, when
18 they give orders and directives, in almost all cases they're giving them
19 under the authority of their superior commander. I have no specific order
20 or directive that designates General Mladic to appoint anyone as a Corps
21 Commander, and specifically under the army law it notes that that
22 authority cannot be delegated from the President.
23 So again, as I noted earlier, if one makes the assumption that
24 General Mladic did, in fact, give this order, the inference has to be that
25 he is giving such an order on the authority of the President of the
2 Q. From the documents that were available to you, you could not reach
3 a conclusion as to such powers and authorisations, that is, that the
4 Supreme Commander would transmit such authority to the Commander of the
5 Main Staff.
6 A. I have no information which would indicate that did or did not
7 occur, sir.
8 Q. Mr. Butler, if the appointment of a Corps Commander is made
9 pursuant to some presidential power, and following the logic -- following
10 that logic, such a presidential power or authority can be delegated,
11 therefore, to vice-presidents and not to the Commander of the Main Staff.
12 Would you agree with that assertion?
13 A. Sir, I would have to go back to the original article on the law,
14 but I believe it is extremely specific that that power is vested only with
15 the President. There is no where in my reading of that specific article
16 anything which can be inferred any form of a delegation that can occur. I
17 believe it is extremely specific on that point.
18 Q. I accept that the law is very clear in that respect, but I went
19 back to the issue of delegated authority because you actually raised it.
20 As far as I understand you, Mladic was the person who was delegated to
21 appoint General Krstic as a Corps Commander at one point. And I spoke
22 about delegated authority in that context. But I think we understand each
23 other and I can agree that the President of the Republic was the only
24 person who was able to do that.
25 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I should like to
1 suggest a break at this point.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, this is, indeed, a
3 convenient time for a break.
4 We will have a 20-minute break at this point.
5 --- Recess taken at 12.27 p.m.
6 --- On resuming at 12.51 p.m.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, you may continue.
8 I apologise for the delay. We were here waiting but I think there was a
9 misunderstanding. The break was 20 minutes and not 30 minutes. So having
10 said that, you may continue, Mr. Petrusic.
11 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Q. Mr. Butler, we were talking about the regulations governing the
13 appointment of the Corps Commander. My next question is whether you have
14 any information about what is known as the takeover of duty in the army of
15 Republika Srpska, command duties at certain levels, both at the corps
16 level and at the lower echelons, and also in the Main Staff itself?
17 A. My understanding of the process and the documents that I have
18 reflects that that is at the brigade level which reflects a -- or when
19 circumstances allow, a formalised transition of command, or even in
20 respect with a formalised transition of duties, where it's customary that
21 the outgoing person who held those duties, be it a Staff Officer, be it a
22 Chief of Staff, be it a Commander, goes through a briefing process of
23 letting the incoming individual know the status of the unit, where they're
24 going in respect to duties and responsibilities and what the goals are for
25 improving the unit. And then as that transition is done, the incoming
1 officer assumes those duties.
2 I have the document at the brigade level. I assume that the same
3 would hold true for both the Corps and the Main Staff.
4 Q. The day of the appointment to a certain position, in this specific
5 case, the appointment by the President of the Republic of General Major
6 Krstic to the position of Corps Commander, is that the same day when the
7 transition is carried out between the outgoing Commander, General Major
8 Zivanovic, and the incoming Commander, in this case General Major Krstic?
9 A. My understanding is that it is not the same day, sir.
10 Q. So it must be some later date.
11 A. My understanding is it is, in fact, a later date.
12 Q. On the basis --
13 JUDGE WALD: Excuse me. The answer is which is the later date.
14 I'm sorry. Which takes place after the other. I couldn't understand the
16 A. My understanding is that the actual transition takes place later
17 than --
18 JUDGE WALD: After the debriefing.
19 A. Yes, ma'am.
20 JUDGE WALD: Thank you.
21 JUDGE RIAD: Excuse me. Later than what?
22 A. Let me try again because I see it on the transcript. The
23 actual -- in the case that we're talking about, the actual transition of
24 command takes place later than the 15 July 1995 date on the order from the
25 President of the Republic. As to a more specific portion, when during
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 that transition phase it takes place, I don't know.
2 JUDGE RIAD: Excuse me. When you say takes place, do you mean
3 factually, on the ground, or officially?
4 A. When, at a specific point in time in that transition, when there's
5 a document that is signed by the outgoing Commander or the outgoing Staff
6 Officer, the incoming Commander and the incoming Staff Officer, at what
7 point in time in the transition that document is physically signed, and
8 that's what I mean when I say "takes place."
9 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you.
10 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. The documents that you had at your disposal did not include a
12 document on the transition of duty between the outgoing Commander and the
13 incoming Commander who is taking over those duties; is that correct?
14 A. That is correct, sir.
15 Q. In view of the fact that a corps can be described as a significant
16 military formation in every sense of the word, that is, that it is
17 composed of quite a number of subordinate brigades with their specific
18 locations, in your opinion, that process of transition or takeover of
19 duty, does it require a minimum of, let me say, ten days for the incoming
20 Commander to become acquainted with the units and everything else he needs
21 to learn about when taking over the duty of Commander?
22 A. In my army, that would be a fair statement because, for the most
23 part, the Commander is not anyone who has grown up or come through the
24 unit. In this particular instance, I wouldn't say that that would be
25 required when the Commander of the organisation is the former Chief of
1 Staff. There is a presumed detailed working knowledge of the aspects of
2 the corps in this case.
3 Q. In your army, Mr. Butler, from the day of the transition of
4 command between the former and the new Commander, does that mark the
5 beginning of the rights and duties of the new Commander and the
6 termination of duties of the former Commander?
7 A. In the US Army, that process, in all but emergency or sudden
8 circumstances, that transition process occurs prior to the effective date
9 of the order from the superior authority. In rare instances where a
10 Commander is relieved for an unexpected reason, then that transition
11 occurs afterwards. But the customary procedure is that all of the items
12 that are required to be done prior to the assumption of command are
13 accomplished prior to when the effective date of command is designated.
14 Q. Mr. Butler, from your own experience, was it to be expected -- at
15 the time when the Corps Commander, that is, General Zivanovic, was
16 replaced by General Krstic, were the conditions appropriate for such a
17 replacement to take place just then?
18 A. I would say that the conditions were not appropriate for the
19 transition process, but the actual replacement or changeover of command
20 doesn't fall into that programme.
21 Q. Just to remind you, we're talking now about paragraph 15 of your
22 narrative, when you say: "In the confused fighting --" so paragraph 15:
23 "In the confused fighting that follows, the Zvornik Brigade forces were
24 pushed aside and the Muslim column began to envelope the rear areas of
25 three battalions of the Zvornik Brigade."
1 A. Sir, the English language version that I have, the only paragraph
2 15 is in the executive summary. I believe we have a numbering -- we're
3 out of sequence here from the version you're using and my version.
4 Q. Just a moment, please. Let me check between the two versions.
5 In the Serbian version, it is page 3, paragraph 15, beginning with
6 the words: "As these first two mass executions are under way, the head of
7 the Muslim column comes into contact with Zvornik Brigade assets."
8 A. Okay, sir, we're on track.
9 Q. "The Muslim forces," or, rather, "column on that occasion began to
10 surround the rear areas of the three battalions of the Zvornik Brigade."
11 How large is that area held by a battalion, in this case holding a
12 defensive posture?
13 A. As indicated on the map, and I believe it's Exhibit 2 which lays
14 out the positions, I mean, coming -- not off of memory, I would say that
15 each battalion held a frontage of between two to three kilometres, sir.
16 Q. According to the rules on the structuring of units, is that
17 designated as the area of activity of a battalion?
18 A. I presume we're talking the battalion rules at this point, sir.
19 My understanding of those rules is that in the defence, that even for an
20 infantry battalion, that is an extended frontage that is longer than
21 normally doctrine would want it to be.
22 Q. Could you conclude as to how large a territory it would be in
23 kilometres that was surrounded by the Muslim forces or enveloped?
24 A. Are we referring to the actual front line positions, or are we
25 referring to a more broader figure which would include the rear zones of
1 the battalion, sir?
2 Q. In view of the fact that these three battalions have their own
3 area of operations, their own zones, and that that territory was enveloped
4 or, rather, those battalions were enveloped, can you tell us in kilometres
5 how large that area would be?
6 A. I could say it would be a large area. But rather than throw out a
7 figure which could be completely inaccurate, I'd ask for time to do the
8 actual calculations on a map.
9 Q. Considering that you said that it is a large area, at that point
10 in time, was the Muslim column a serious, a respectable military force in
11 relation to the Zvornik Brigade which was holding a defensive position?
12 A. As I've testified previously, it certainly represented a
13 significant military threat, even more so because of the fact that it was
14 approaching the battalion defensive positions from the rear in positions
15 where they weren't adequately able to defend themselves.
16 Q. In that conflict, in view of the fact that units of the Zvornik
17 Brigade were holding fortified defensive positions, was it to be expected
18 that there would be considerable losses on the Muslim side, that is,
19 within the moving column?
20 A. As I've noted in my previous testimony, while the army of the
21 Republika Srpska, the Zvornik Brigade particularly and those battalions
22 specifically, were in fortified positions, it's again worth noting that
23 the fortified positions were facing the main line of confrontation against
24 the forces of the BiH 2nd Corps in the Tuzla area. They were not facing
25 and not geared towards dealing with an enemy column approaching from the
1 south. The quick deployments that were made by the Zvornik Brigade in
2 that respect were immediate deployments to hill or defendable locations;
3 they would not have qualified as fortified areas, sir.
4 Q. But the conflict -- an armed conflict did occur, did it not? Or,
5 rather, let me ask you, did an armed conflict occur? Of course, there
6 were casualties on both sides, weren't there?
7 A. In the context of the military operations that occurred in that
8 area, there were, in fact, casualties on both sides, yes, sir.
9 Q. In the course of your analysis, did you come to learn where the
10 Muslim casualties from that column were buried?
11 A. As part of my analysis, that was one of the questions that I posed
12 to the investigation team which deals with those issues specifically
13 relevant to the crime scene. And what the investigation has revealed was
14 that for the most part, and almost exclusively in that case, that the
15 Muslim casualties that occurred from that column were not, in fact, buried
16 but were left on the surface as surface remains.
17 Q. So they were never removed from that area?
18 A. My understanding is that at a point in time after the war, that
19 there were, in fact, some efforts on the part of both the BiH and the
20 Republika Srpska to police up the surface remains in that general area.
21 Q. Was it not to be expected, Mr. Butler, that an army or a corps and
22 a brigade, such as the Drina Corps and the Zvornik Brigade, to restore the
23 battlefield, precisely what is referred to in the regular, interim, and
24 combat reports by Mr. Pandurevic?
25 A. In respect to the combat operations, and particularly if you
1 intended to occupy the specific ground where that had occurred, it would
2 be reasonable and certainly was mandated within the JNA instructions that
3 the casualties be policed up and disposed of in a sanitary manner, yes,
5 Q. The agreement between the two armies, I'm referring to your
6 previous answer, was this limited to an agreement or were those remains,
7 in fact, policed up from the surface?
8 A. Sir, to be honest, I don't know the answer to that question. I
9 know that there was a process involved and I do not know the specifics of
11 Q. In the course of your research, did you learn that in that area
12 there were prisoners of war who were sent by the Zvornik Brigade or a
13 superior command to the collection centre or to the camp at Batkovici?
14 A. As I've discussed in my previous testimony, that at a certain
15 point in time, Muslim prisoners taken by the Zvornik Brigade were, in
16 fact, sent by the brigade and the superior command to the Batkovici
17 collection centre, yes, sir.
18 JUDGE WALD: What's the certain point in time?
19 A. I believe, as I have indicated earlier, based on the daily combat
20 reports of the Zvornik Brigade, the 22nd of July begins the first series
21 of instances where we see that occurring.
22 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. When you say that the first series of instances began on the 22nd
24 of July, was that the date when they were captured or is the 22nd of July
25 the date when they were received and registered by the International Red
1 Cross in the Batkovici camp? So the process of taking prisoners, did that
2 occur prior to the 22nd of July?
3 A. As reflected on the 22 July Zvornik daily combat report, that is
4 the date that they give that they're in the possession of the command of
5 the Zvornik Brigade. I can't speculate as to when they would have been
6 registered by the ICRC at the Batkovici camp, sir.
7 Q. Do you know, or did you learn in the course of your investigations
8 about the number of prisoners from that area and from the column that were
9 transferred to the camp in Batkovici?
10 A. My understanding, based on the work of the investigation team, is
11 that they have a designated number of individuals who were transferred
12 from the camp who were previously at the Bratunac Medical Centre, and I
13 believe that number is approximately 120. I don't know for sure.
14 I know from my analysis and from dealing with the investigation
15 team that after 22 July, approximately 100 Muslim prisoners, collected
16 over a series of days, were accounted for by the Zvornik Brigade and
17 presumably went to the Batkovici collection centre, but I don't know
18 that. And the only other prisoners that I know that would qualify into
19 the prior category would be the two identified survivors of the
20 Branjevo -- two of the identified survivors of the Branjevo Military Farm
21 massacre who were later taken into custody by, I believe, the Republika
22 Srpska police and later emerged through the camp at Batkovici when the war
24 Q. The 10th Sabotage Detachment is a unit of the Main Staff of the
25 army of Republika Srpska, is it not? Is that correct?
1 A. That is correct, sir.
2 Q. Is there any evidence to prove that this unit was subordinated to
3 the Drina Corps at the time when the Commander of the Drina Corps was
4 General Krstic?
5 A. I have no technical evidence that supports that during that period
6 that you've mentioned that the 10th Diversionary Unit was under the
7 command of the Drina Corps, sir.
8 Q. We're now talking about the 16th of July and the military farm at
9 Branjevo where executions were carried out by the 10th Diversionist
10 Detachment and the units sent from the Bratunac Brigade.
11 Mr. Butler, can you tell us what that unit consisted of?
12 A. Which unit, sir, the 10th Diversionary or the unit from the
13 Bratunac Brigade, sir?
14 Q. The unit sent from the Bratunac Brigade.
15 A. My understanding, based on the records from the Zvornik and the
16 Bratunac Brigade, is that during that period the unit consisted of two
17 platoons of infantry and, as noted also, a small element of the military
18 police of the Bratunac Brigade who were in Pilica.
19 Q. So according to your understanding, at the military farm in
20 Branjevo there were two platoons from the Bratunac Brigade; is that
22 A. No, sir. Two platoons of the Bratunac Brigade were deployed in
23 the Zvornik Brigade area. I do not believe that two full platoons were
24 located in the zone of the -- or in particular at the Branjevo Military
25 Farm that day, sir.
1 Q. So at that time they were under the command of the Commander of
2 the Zvornik Brigade, were they?
3 A. At that time the elements of the Bratunac Brigade would have been
4 under the command of the Commander of the Zvornik Brigade, yes, sir.
5 Q. And elements of the military police from Bratunac or, rather, the
6 Bratunac Brigade, when you describe them as elements, could you explain,
7 using military terminology, what you mean when you say "elements"? Do you
8 mean an individual, several individuals, a platoon, a company, a
10 A. I believe the direct quote from the military police platoon
11 journal during that period comes out in English as "a small portion." I
12 take that to understand, considering the fact that the military police
13 platoon probably numbers approximately 30, that we're talking an element
14 of perhaps five, ten; maybe one vehicle, maybe two. I can't be specific
15 because the actual document isn't specific. I would only assume that
16 they'd have to have their own transportation to get back up there. So I'm
17 qualifying the number as extremely small.
18 Q. So we can talk about individuals belonging to the military police,
19 can we?
20 A. In that aspect, I believe it's accurate, sir.
21 Q. Mr. Butler, you talk about the identification of the Lieutenant
22 Colonel Popovic, Assistant Commander for Security of the Drina Corps, and
23 you mention the date of the 16th of July. You say that he was overseeing
24 the execution process on that date, Lieutenant Colonel Vujadin Popovic.
25 A. Yes, sir, I make that conclusion.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. On the basis of what? Can you tell us that, please?
2 A. The primary documentation that I use would be the series of
3 intercepted telephone communications that discusses the issue in a series
4 of three or four rapid conversations of Colonel Popovic, needing the fuel
5 up at Pilica to finish the job, "job" unspecified; the fact that in the
6 Zvornik Brigade technical records, we have the confirmation that the fuel
7 was, in fact, distributed to him on the dates given in question when he
8 was supposed to be there; the fact that there was no significant military
9 activity up in that area, certainly none which would have required his
10 presence; and the after-the-fact part of the investigation that shows
11 those specific areas would be crime scenes.
12 Q. So that would be the information on the basis of which you
13 concluded that Popovic was, indeed, on the site of the execution.
14 A. On the site of the execution and relative to the fuel part of the
15 process, yes, sir.
16 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Mr. McCloskey was
17 about to object or ...
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. McCloskey can respond, but I
19 think that he's just now preparing his redirect examination, no?
20 Mr. McCloskey, did you want to say something?
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: No, Mr. President. We're just twitching around
22 over here a bit.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well, then. Thank you.
24 However, I will take this opportunity to make a short break because we
25 will be working until 2.30 today, and we should split the remaining
1 working time in two parts.
2 We will have a 20-minute break now. We usually have two half-hour
3 breaks which makes one hour, or three 20-minute breaks. Today we decided
4 to have three 20-minute breaks today. This will be our last break today.
5 But it will be only a 20-minute break. [In English] Twenty minutes.
6 --- Recess taken at 1.32 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 1.50 p.m.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Petrusic, you may
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.
11 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 Q. Mr. Butler --
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Excuse me. We cannot continue
14 because General Krstic is not here yet. Thank you for reminding me.
15 THE REGISTRAR: There are a few interpreters not in the booth
17 [The accused entered court]
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, Mr. Petrusic, it
19 seems that you can continue now.
20 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. Finally. Mr. Butler, considering the type of the Bratunac
22 Brigade, can you tell us whether it had a military police amongst its
24 A. By the structure of a former JNA Light Infantry Brigade and that
25 structure adopted by the army of Republika Srpska, military police are not
1 normally found as part of the structure. However, in the case of the
2 Bratunac Brigade, apparently the Commander, of his own volition, organised
3 a group of individuals as a Military Police Platoon to perform the role
4 and functions of military police.
5 Q. If we bear that fact in mind, could you tell us who it was who
6 would put the military police in question in use?
7 A. The technical aspect of overseeing the functions of the military
8 police would fall under the purview of the brigade Assistant Commander for
9 Security and Intelligence. The command of the police platoon would be
10 exercised by the Brigade Commander.
11 Q. Would that constitute also a legal aspect of the use of the
12 military police?
13 A. In that regard, I'm not qualified to answer the question, sir. I
14 don't know and would not know if whether or not the organisation of the
15 Military Police Platoon is structured, authorise them to have the bona
16 fide military police and law enforcement roles and aspects in question.
17 My assumption is that it would because the organisation was bona fide by
18 the Brigade Commander, but again I can't answer that question.
19 Q. Mr. Butler, considering the material that was available to you and
20 relating to the Bratunac Brigade, did you come across a piece of evidence
21 which would indicate that Lieutenant Colonel Blagojevic put into use a
22 certain number of policemen from that particular platoon, that is, the
23 Military Police Platoon, on the 16th of July?
24 A. What I have is from the 16th of July the journal that notes what
25 the police are doing. I cannot specifically say that Colonel Blagojevic
1 directly and specifically ordered them to do those functions.
2 Q. Was it possible that this was ordered to them by someone else?
3 A. As I indicated earlier, the role of overseeing the military police
4 would have fallen under the purview of the Brigade Assistant Commander for
5 Intelligence and Security, and either further down in the command chain,
6 the Military Police Platoon Commander could have ordered them to do this
7 as well.
8 Q. I have to go back to one of your previous questions, Mr. Butler.
9 You said you had the journal of the military police or the journal of the
10 platoon. I don't think I understood you correctly. What kind of journal
11 did you have in mind? Whose journal was it?
12 A. This is the -- and perhaps "journal" is an inaccurate word. This
13 is a logbook that shows the daily activities of the Military Police
14 Platoon of the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade.
15 Q. In the rules and regulations relating to the land army in
16 peacetime, talking about the security body, Article 29 --
17 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Just a second, Mr. President.
18 Mr. Visnjic has helped me. This is the additional material relating to
19 the report on the command responsibility, footnote number 10.
20 The issue discussed is the role of the security body, Article 29,
21 paragraph 9 -- Article 29, paragraph 9 -- where it is stated as follows --
22 we can put it on the ELMO if the Chamber deems it necessary or if it will
23 be of assistance to Mr. Butler.
24 Q. Could you please turn to the next page, paragraph 9, please. The
25 passage reads as follows: "Expertly directing security organs and the
1 military police in the corps command and units and in other JNA units in
2 the zone of responsibility, organising, directing and coordinating their
3 activities, providing assistance and controlling their work, especially in
4 regard to counter-intelligence work and tasks."
5 Mr. Butler, does that mean that the Security Organ can use the
6 military police belonging to the Bratunac Brigade?
7 A. If I can clarify your question. Are you referring to can the
8 corps Security Organ ...
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. My reading of that would be that while they can technically manage
11 that, the actual usage of the military police would be contingent upon the
12 approval of the echelons commander, which would mean that presumably for
13 the corps to request the use of the police to do that, the Corps Commander
14 would have to either order that to occur or the subordinate Brigade
15 Commander would have to receive that in the form of a request from the
16 corps security officer, approve it, and to make his unit available for
17 their use. Yes, sir.
18 Q. The rule pertaining to the security organs of the armed forces of
19 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of 1984 states as follows --
20 MR. McCLOSKEY: Excuse me.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone to the counsel, please.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Could we get an exhibit number or some reference
23 so we can know where to go to find what counsel is referring to?
24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we need one second
25 for this. I'm sorry for this interruption.
1 It is within the same documents as the previous quotation and it
2 can be found in footnote 34.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Is that enough for you, Mr. McCloskey?
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, I think we've got that document. Thank you.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Okay.
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] If the Chamber thinks it is
7 necessary, we can put the material in question on the ELMO.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: No, really, it is not necessary. You can
9 continue, Mr. Petrusic.
10 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. In paragraph 16, the following is stated: "The Security Organ is
12 subordinate to the commanding officer of the command, unit, institution or
13 staff of the armed forces in whose strength it is placed in the
14 establishment, and it is responsible to that officer for its work, while
15 JNA security organs in organisations for NVO are responsible to the
16 competent Assistant Federal Secretary for National Defence."
17 In paragraph 18, it is stated as follows: "The security organs of
18 the superior command, unit, institution, or staff of the armed forces
19 provide and they are --"
20 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, but the interpreters do not have the
21 relevant text.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, Mr. Petrusic, but the
23 interpreters are telling me that they do need the text on the ELMO. I
24 have to change my previous decision. So if we can please have it on the
25 ELMO now.
1 Yes, Mr. Petrusic, please continue.
2 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. I am referring to paragraph 18, and I will repeat: "The security
4 organs of the superior command, unit, institution, or staff of the armed
5 forces provide specialist administrative services for security organs in
6 subordinate commands, units, institutions, and staffs of the armed forces,
7 provide assistance to these organs, and organise, direct, coordinate, and
8 supervise their work."
9 In relation to the same issue, we have one additional rule, that
10 is, one additional paragraph.
11 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] If I can have the assistance of the
12 usher, please.
13 Q. Paragraph 49 states in its second passage the following: "An
14 officer, under paragraph 1 of this item," which we have discussed, "may
15 pass on information that constitutes an official secret to other
16 authorised Security Organ officers or other persons only with the
17 authorisation of his superior officer in the Security Organ."
18 Mr. Butler, does this mean that the Corps Commander could not --
19 that is, his Assistant Commander for Security was not under the obligation
20 to inform him about the usage of the military police?
21 A. No, sir, I wouldn't interpret that at all. I would refer back to
22 the base paragraph which starts the programme, paragraph 16, placing the
23 Security Organ directly subordinate to the commanding officer of the
24 commanding unit. The Security Organ manages the military police.
25 Under the theory that you've surfaced, what that means is that the
1 Security Organ of a superior Command can bypass a subordinate Brigade
2 Commander, in effect bypass the subordinate Brigade Assistant Commander
3 for Security and Intelligence and directly task the military police. And
4 I don't believe that that's a militarily realistic scenario under the
5 regulations as stated, sir.
6 Q. I could agree with you regarding paragraph 16. But paragraph 49
7 of those same rules excludes the Corps Commander -- whereas the Commander
8 for Security and Intelligence of the Main Staff, without giving the
9 Assistant Commander for Security to inform his Corps Commander about
10 certain activities. I think that in this paragraph, paragraph 49, this is
11 explicitly stated.
12 A. I disagree, sir. I don't share that interpretation at all,
13 particularly the phrase "and other persons" or "other persons."
14 With this regard, and again based on the theory that you've
15 advanced, even in a circumstance where that could occur classified as a
16 secret, somebody has to inform the Brigade Commander that his military
17 police or elements of his units are being taken away from him. They
18 cannot just disappear in isolation and not let anyone know where they're
19 going or what they're doing.
20 Q. Is the Assistant Commander for Security authorised to take that
21 unit and use it, according to Article 29 [as interpreted], point 9, of the
22 Rules on the Authority of the Corps Command?
23 A. Could I ask you to show me that particular passage, please. I
24 don't seem to have it in front of me.
25 Q. This abstract was under the ELMO a moment ago.
1 A. My apologies. I thought you were referring to a different --
2 could you restate the question again, sir, please.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Excuse me for interrupting. We
4 are talking about paragraph 49, are we not? Because I see in the
5 transcript it mentions Article 29, point 9, and on the ELMO I can see that
6 we're looking at Article 49.
7 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The question relates to Article 29
8 of the Rules on the Authority of the Ground Forces Corps Commander, which
9 was previously on the ELMO, Article 29 of those regulations.
10 A. I do not have those rules in front of me, sir, no. I'm sorry. I
11 believe -- here we go. I believe this is what we're referring to, sir.
12 Q. Yes, that is it precisely.
13 A. I'm sorry.
14 Q. Page 2, please, point 9. So my question is: Can the Security
15 Organ commit the use of the military police? Can the Security Organ, the
16 Assistant Commander for Security, deploy the military police?
17 A. And we're discussing this in the context of the Corps Assistant
18 Commander for Security deploy the subordinate brigade military police;
19 correct, sir?
20 Q. Yes, precisely. I thought we cleared that point up at the
22 A. I just want to make sure that it didn't change, sir.
23 In that respect, I would say no, sir, because when one looks at
24 the functions of the Security Organ at the superior unit as well as the
25 Security Organ at that level, in both cases it specifically notes that it
1 is the function of the Assistant Commander for Security to advise the
2 Commander on the uses of the military police; to be able, on one hand, to
3 say that the Assistant Commander for Security and Intelligence -- or
4 Security, in this case, at the Corps, who has to advise the Commander and
5 recommend courses of action for the Corps military police, can in and of
6 his own volition pass the military police of a subordinate brigade without
7 informing either the Brigade Commander or the Brigade Assistant Commander
8 for Security and Intelligence doesn't make logical sense, sir. And
9 because of that, I would disagree with your statement, sir.
10 Q. Mr. Butler, that is not what I am claiming. I was just quoting
11 from a legal provision of these rules. To conclude with that, your
12 opinion disowns or refutes this Article 29 or, rather, paragraph 9 of
13 Article 29.
14 A. No, sir, that's not correct. What I am saying is that when you
15 read the series of the regulations and the articles in their totality, in
16 an entire context, it becomes clear that the role of the Assistant
17 Commander for Security at both the Corps and at the Brigade echelon is to
18 determine tasks and uses for the military police and to propose them for
19 the adoption of the relevant Commanders.
20 It is within that entire context that I make the conclusion that
21 it is not militarily sound or feasible that a superior Assistant Commander
22 would reach down to a subordinate unit and do that in isolation. So based
23 on my total analysis of all the material relevant to these regulations,
24 that's where I make my conclusion.
25 Q. If the Assistant Commander for Security of the corps orders the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 use of the police, the Assistant Commander for Security and Intelligence
2 of the Main Staff, would you still maintain your opinion that the
3 Assistant Commander for Security at the corps level would be obliged to
4 advise the Corps Commander about it?
5 A. Sir, if you just wait for a second. That was a long question and
6 I want to read the whole transcript before I answer.
7 Okay. I'm afraid I'm confused with the question, sir. Could I
8 ask you to restate it, please. It doesn't make sense to me.
9 Q. If the Assistant Commander for Security at the corps level
10 receives an order on the use of the military police from the Assistant
11 Commander for Security and Intelligence Affairs of the Main Staff, would
12 the Assistant Corps Commander for Security in that case be obliged to
13 advise the Corps Commander of the same in that case?
14 A. Now I understand, sir. In that regard, if the Assistant Commander
15 of the corps received instructions pertaining to the use of the military
16 police, and considering that the military police are subordinate to the
17 Corps Commander, the Assistant Commander for Security of the corps should
18 inform the Commander as to what the utilisation instructions are. He
19 should be informed of that, yes, sir.
20 Q. Mr. Butler, your opinion and the formal regulations governing the
21 competencies of the Corps Command and the Security and Intelligence
22 Service regulations differ substantively. But in any event, I will not
23 have any more questions for you in this regard.
24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I beg you for your indulgence,
25 Mr. President, for a moment.
1 Q. Mr. Butler, we're going back to your report, when you're speaking
2 about the engagement of Colonel Slobodan Cerovic and the intercept of the
3 conversation between Cerovic and Beara.
4 My question is: If triage, which is the subject of that
5 conversation, can be defined as an operation which may mean separation of
6 the wounded from the fit or separation of the more seriously wounded from
7 the lightly wounded, could the word "triage" or the concept of triage also
8 mean separation of military-aged, armed men from unarmed, or women and
9 children from the men who are fit for military service? Generally, can
10 this term have multifold meanings in a broader context?
11 A. In fairness, sir, the military lexicon defines the term in a
12 medical sense. I would hesitate to get very far down the road speculating
13 what the phrase "triage" might mean in various other forms of potentially
14 criminal or noncriminal applications. It is the word that they used, and,
15 as I generally note, I try not to put additional or more meaning into
16 their words than is self-evident.
17 JUDGE RIAD: I'm sorry. What do you mean by "self-evident"?
18 A. Sir, they use the phrase "triage." One possible explanation is,
19 as Mr. Petrusic forwards, there could be multiple possibly explanations.
20 All I'm saying as part of my analysis is here's the word that was used, as
21 translated, and I would prefer not to try to speculate as to what they
22 really mean behind that individual word, sir.
23 JUDGE RIAD: So it's not self-evident.
24 A. Agreed, sir.
25 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Butler, this word, "triage," do you use it exclusively in the
2 way defined in the dictionary?
3 A. Do I use it personally in a military sense or in an individual
4 sense, sir?
5 Q. In your report.
6 A. Triage, as described and in my report, I believe, refers to a
7 separation process, but I'm not specific as to who the separation process
8 is. I use "triage" in the report, again, as a quotation of what the
9 translation notes.
10 If you could direct me to a specific paragraph in question, maybe
11 I can clarify it further for you in that regard, sir.
12 Q. That is quite sufficient. It is the word used in the conversation
13 between Colonel Cerovic and Beara.
14 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I would suggest we
15 adjourn for today.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Petrusic, we're going
17 to accept your suggestion. It is most appropriate.
18 We've come to the end of our work for today, and we will meet here
19 again tomorrow at 9.30 to continue the hearing. Thank you very much, and
20 have a good afternoon, all of you.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.32 p.m.
22 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 20th day of July,
23 2000, at 9.30 a.m.