1 Monday 20 November 2000
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.25 a.m.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good morning, ladies and
6 gentlemen; good morning to the technical booth, the interpreters, the
7 Office of the Prosecutor, the counsel for Defence. Good morning, General
8 Krstic. I think that today we will be continuing the testimony of General
9 Krstic, but I see that Mr. McCloskey has something to say. But I think it
10 would be Mr. Petrusic's turn.
11 In any event, Mr. McCloskey, you have the floor.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President, thank you. Good morning.
13 There is a brief matter that the team felt was important to try
14 and clear up, if possible, regarding the end of the testimony of General
15 Krstic. And what I'm referring to is there was an exchange that I had
16 with Mr. Petrusic, and General Krstic also entered into it briefly,
17 regarding -- there was a suggestion that the Defence had requested
18 personal items from the Prosecution and that they had not received certain
19 personal items, including, as you recall, General Krstic mentioned he
20 had not received his mother's death certificate. And Dean Manning has
21 since returned, who is the investigator that handled those personal items,
22 and I would like to just provide you with some documents to show you what
23 occurred in that exchange shortly after General Krstic's arrest.
24 If I could first direct the Court's attention to what we have
25 marked OTP Exhibit 836/1, and to summarise, this is a brief report that
1 Dean Manning has made for us outlining some of the events. General Krstic
2 was arrested on December 2nd, and on December 3rd, 1998, we received the
3 personal items from ICTY investigator Plony Bos. And you can see from
4 this report that on 7 December 1998, Christian Rohde from the Registry
5 asked Mr. Manning for personal items to be returned to General Krstic, and
6 Mr. Manning went through the material and just pulled out what he believed
7 was not relevant to the case and provided it to Christian Rohde, and that
8 is in Exhibit 836/2. You can see, if you have that before you, that that
9 is just a list of several items that Mr. Manning provided to Christian
11 I would call your attention to the top of that list, photocopied
12 pages of newspaper articles and 21 pages of photocopied pages of printed
13 and handwritten paper, including medical reports.
14 So if we see OTP Exhibit 836/3, this is the 21 pages that are
15 referred to in that receipt, and on the fourth page of that 21 pages is,
16 in fact, General Krstic's mother's death certificate.
17 OTP Exhibit 836/4 is some kind of a medical document,
19 Exhibit 836/5 is some kind of a medical book for General Krstic
20 with his medical entries in it that was also returned.
21 Now, 836/7 is a note/memo to Mr. Harmon from Christian Rohde that
22 he just did recently for us basically saying that the goods that he got on
23 December 2nd he turned over personally to General Krstic, and it is our
24 understanding that this is the material that I just went over, including
25 his mother's death certificate.
1 Exhibit 836/6 is the complete listing of the personal property
2 which Mr. Manning did after he turned over the initial personal items, he
3 made a complete listing of all the material left -- well, everything that
4 we received from Plony Bos, and then he provided this final listing to
5 Christian Rohde as the complete list of the personal items of General
6 Krstic. And neither Dean Manning nor anyone from the Prosecution had
7 received any more word from Christian Rohde or from the Defence regarding
8 any request for any materials until it was brought up in court.
9 We have, of course, been in touch with Mr. Petrusic and Mr.
10 Visnjic and have provided other materials and will continue to provide
11 anything that they ask for in this regard, and I hope that will shed some
12 light on the matter.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. McCloskey.
14 Mr. Petrusic, have you any comments to make? It seems to me that
15 either these documents have been returned to you, to General Krstic, or
16 they are in the possession of the Registrar. Have you any comments to
18 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. President, Your
19 Honours. Good morning, my learned friends from the Prosecution.
20 It is hard to make any comments because we received this list only
21 a few minutes prior to the beginning of the hearing. Perhaps we need to
22 look through the list with General Krstic. I am recalled of our last
23 sitting when a dispute arose over a telephone directory, and that is when
24 I intervened, claiming that that telephone booklet has not been returned.
25 But now looking through the list, it is very difficult to say whether it
1 is quite complete or not, though of course I'm not expressing any doubts
2 into the best intentions of the investigator and the Registrar of this
3 Tribunal to act in accordance with the Rules of Procedure. But I hope
4 that we will be able to resolve this problem with our learned friends from
5 the Prosecution, as we have been able to do so far generally.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Perhaps you could include
7 Mr. Christian Rohde from the Registry who could help you to resolve this
8 problem, because after all, this is a problem that you need to deal with.
9 So we will not spend any more time on it, except if there really is a
10 problem, which I think is not the case.
11 I see Mr. McCloskey is still on his feet. Do you have anything
12 more to add on this matter?
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: No, Mr. President. I will sit down.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. Then you may be
15 seated for the moment.
16 So we're going to resume our work as agreed, that is, the
17 testimony of General Krstic today, and at the end of the testimony, we
18 will resume with the witnesses. Perhaps it would be fair to tell the
19 Prosecutor so that they can prepare that as we are going to hear other
20 witnesses, you must be ready to be very concise and concrete in your
21 examination, which means to act in pursuance with the provisions of Rule
22 90, which you are very familiar with, which says that the
23 cross-examination, I'm lost for the moment -- in any event, this is the
24 question of the cross-examination not going beyond the scope of the
25 examination-in-chief. I know that we are flexible in that respect, but
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 flexibility still means that the cross should take more or less the same
2 amount of time as the examination-in-chief. There is the question of the
3 credibility of the witness and other matters that are relevant for the
4 case, but we must also bear in mind the obligation of the Chamber making
5 sure that the process is expeditious and fair. And I'm saying this in
6 advance to the Prosecutor so that they can prepare and make the best of
7 their time.
8 So we're now going to give the floor to Mr. Petrusic for his
10 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Could I ask the usher for Exhibit
11 428, Prosecutor's Exhibit 428, and D25. This is a map. I don't know
12 whether the Prosecution have this map.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic is referring to
14 Exhibit D25, I think.
15 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] So as not to waste time, Mr. Usher,
16 would you be kind enough to give Mr. Harmon a copy of this exhibit.
17 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Mr. Petrusic.
18 WITNESS: RADISLAV KRSTIC [Resumed]
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 Re-examined by Mr. Petrusic:
21 Q. Generally, according to the order for combat operations envisaged
22 by Operation Krivaja 95, the task was to narrow down the enclaves of
23 Srebrenica and Zepa. So would you please tell us briefly whether that
24 was, indeed, the task or, rather, the aim of Operation Krivaja 95?
25 A. Yes, that was the goal of the Operation Krivaja 95.
1 Q. Could you, on this map, show us which were the lines that were to
2 have been reached according to this operation plan? So take a pointer or
3 a marker, please, to show us.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I think there seems to be a
5 problem with the ELMO. We are not having the picture on the monitor. No
6 one seems to be having it. There's a problem. Perhaps it needs to be
7 switched on. I don't know.
8 Has the technical booth tested the equipment prior to the
9 beginning of hearing, Madam Registrar?
10 THE REGISTRAR: Every morning before we begin we always check the
11 equipment, and there were no problems this morning.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] But we still have work to do and
13 it's not working. Can the question be resolved, please.
14 JUDGE RIAD: I think it's on the wrong channel.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] In any event, the picture is a
16 little bit like the weather here. It doesn't seem to have the proper
17 colours, as far as I can see. So let's look and read it, if we can.
18 Mr. Petrusic, let's try and proceed.
19 A. [Marks]
20 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
21 If this picture is acceptable, and if the technical booth says this is the
22 best that they can do, shall I continue?
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. General Krstic is always
24 doing his work. We just need to be told what it is he's doing.
25 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed.
1 Q. General, will you please tell us which are the points that you
2 were to have reached according to this order? So could you please explain
3 what it is you have just drawn.
4 A. The aim of the Operation Krivaja 95 was for the units engaged in
5 the operation to reach this line Kak --
6 Q. Could you please move up to the microphone.
7 A. Kak, Alibegovac, Zivkovo Brdo, Banja Guber, Divljakinje, Predova.
8 Q. Was that the narrow area that the enclave should have been reduced
9 to, according to the order?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Will you please put your initials using the same marker that you
12 used to draw those lines.
13 A. [Marks]
14 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Could I ask the usher to leave the
15 map there and to place Exhibit 463 on the ELMO. Leave the map, please.
16 Leave the map. Put it on top of the map. Yes, that's fine.
17 Q. So we now have an exhibit, your order issued on the 13th of July,
18 1995, at 2030, ordering the search of the terrain along the line Ravni
19 Buljim, Zvijezda, Siljato Brdo, Slapovici, along the right bank of the
20 Jadar River, Domastar [phoen], Zeleni Jadar. You are giving assignments
21 to the Bratunac Brigade, the Skelani Battalion, and the Milici Brigade; is
22 that correct?
23 A. Yes. What you have just read is the task for the Bratunac
25 Q. Could you, on this same map, draw the line along which the
1 Bratunac Brigade was to carry out a search of the terrain?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Could you please tell us the circles that you have made have the
4 lines, what features are they? And these are the assignments of the
5 Bratunac Brigade.
6 A. Yes, the Bratunac Brigade was to have carried out the search of
7 the terrain along the Ravni Buljim, the Zvijezda feature, Siljato Brdo,
8 the village of Slapovici inclusive, along the right bank of the Zeleni
9 Jadar River, not counting the factory compound of Zeleni Jadar.
10 Q. In relation to that line, was a direction of movement
12 A. Yes, in relation to this line, they were moving in the southerly
13 direction searching the terrain towards the area of deployment towards
14 Zepa, and the area of use of that Brigade was Podovan [phoen], Stublic,
16 Q. Please, will you please your initials on that line.
17 A. [Marks]
18 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] For the transcript, for the record,
19 let me say that according to the order of the 13th of July, 1995, as shown
20 in Exhibit 25, this is the direction for the search of the terrain by the
21 Bratunac Brigade marked in red marker.
22 Q. In paragraph 2 of the same order, you are giving an assignment to
23 the Skelani Battalion. Will you please indicate in the same way as you
24 have done for the brigade their direction of movement? General, will you
25 use the same marker because it all applies to the one and the same order;
1 in other words, use the red marker.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General Krstic, if possible,
3 could you tell us the locations that you are going to mark because in that
4 way we can follow. Very well. Thank you.
5 A. So the Skelani Battalion was assigned to search the terrain to the
6 village of Slapovici, not including the village itself; then Kostur, Zedz,
7 in this direction. It's not indicated on the map. The line of
8 separation in relation to the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade was the
9 right bank of the Zeleni Jadar River, so this is this area here.
10 Q. Will you mark it with a circle, please. So in this area, this is
11 the area where the Skelani Independent Battalion is operating.
12 A. Yes, the Independent Battalion Skelani.
13 Q. So will you please right down the word Skelani, SB Skelani.
14 A. [Marks]
15 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Again, for the record, under
16 paragraph 2 of the same order, dated the 13th of July, 1995, the direction
17 of action by the Skelani Independent Battalion has been marked on Exhibit
18 25 with the letters SBS having been indicated.
19 Q. Under paragraph 3, you are giving an order to the Milici Brigade
20 as well. Could you please explain to us and draw the direction along
21 which they acted?
22 A. The Milici Brigade was assigned the task to search the terrain
23 from the line of separation with the Bratunac Brigade and the Independent
24 Skelani Battalion. So it is this line deep within its own territory,
25 behind the protected area, the safe area, towards Milici, Derventa, and
1 Mount Javor. So it is in this direction.
2 Q. Will you please indicate that? Move the map to the right
3 slightly, please.
4 A. [Marks]
5 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] For the record, the direction of
6 action of the Milici Brigade has been marked in red marker with 1 MLPBR.
7 Q. Can it be said that the assignment that you issued to these units
8 to search the terrain, what was it, within the Srebrenica enclave?
9 A. Yes, it was the assignment given to the units to search the
10 terrain within the Srebrenica enclave, whereas the Milici Brigade searched
11 the terrain to the south-west, deep within its own territory, that is, to
12 the south-west of the safe area of Srebrenica, towards Javor Mountain.
13 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Could I ask the usher for the
14 exhibit 464, Prosecution Exhibit 464.
15 Q. This is an order dated the 14th of July, 1995, issued by the
16 Commander of the Bratunac Brigade, Vidoje Blagojevic, who is referring
17 to your order of the 13th of July that we have just been discussing, and
18 when you drew it on the map the direction of activities of these units.
19 So in relation to this order, can you show us the units of the Bratunac
20 Brigade that are searching the terrain on this same map, using a blue
22 A. Yes. This is an order written by the Commander of the Bratunac
23 Brigade and addressed to his subordinate units, tasking them to search the
24 terrain and pursuant to the order that he has received from me. So he
25 divided up the tasks by battalions and he designated the features and
1 lines up to which they should search the terrain. So for the 1st
2 Battalion, the 1st Battalion was tasked to search the terrain, and he says
3 the junction of the road Konjevic Polje -- Bratunac-Konjevic Polje, and on
4 this map, Konjevic Polje is not indicated. It is along the road from
5 Bratunac in the direction I am showing, and roughly at the top of this
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Harmon, I think we
8 can't see anything and I think we have to make a break.
9 Does the technical booth have the same picture as we have here in
10 the courtroom, Madam Registrar?
11 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, they do.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] But our picture, it's true that
13 we cannot see Konjevic Polje on the map, as General Krstic says. In
14 brief, we can't see anything. So perhaps it would be best to take a
15 15-minute break, and I would like to request that the conditions be
16 regulated so that we can work normally. That's the only thing we can do
18 So we're going to have a 15-minute break.
19 --- Break taken at 10.00 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 10.25 a.m.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I hope that the machine has
22 decided to work properly now, but we'll see.
23 Mr. Petrusic, you have the floor. Please proceed, if conditions
24 permit. I hope they will.
25 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. General, let us look at the order of the 14th of July, issued by
2 the Commander of the Bratunac Brigade, Vidoje Blagojevic - it is OTP
3 Exhibit 464 - and the tasks and assignments which he gave to his
4 subordinate units.
5 A. As I said, the Commander of the Bratunac Brigade related in
6 concrete terms what his subordinate units and battalions were to do. He
7 issued orders pursuant to the orders which he received from me. So that
8 the 1st Battalion was given the assignment of searching the terrain up to
9 the crossroads of the Konjevic-Bratunac-Konjevic Polje area. And Konjevic
10 Polje should be in this direction but I can't see it on the map. The map
11 has been cut.
12 Next there was Jerestica, Lupoglav, the village of Susnjari,
13 Potok Lamenac, the village of Pale, the Zvijezda feature.
14 The 2nd Battalion was given the task of searching the terrain
15 around Potok Lamenac and joining up with the 1st Battalion. Then we have
16 Potok Lamenac here. Then we have Prijemska Kosa, the village of
17 Cumanac -- Cumavic. Then Gradac, Prijemska Kosa, and connecting up with
18 Prijemska Kosa.
19 The 3rd Battalion received the assignment of searching the terrain
20 from Obli Vis, Gradac, Prijemska Kosa, and joining up with the 2nd
21 Battalion, not counting the Zvijezda feature. Next we have Zeleni Jadar,
22 the right bank of the river of Zeleni Jadar, the village of Slapovici, and
23 Siljato Brdo. I am going to mark this. The 1st Infantry Battalion; then
24 we have the 2nd Infantry Battalion; and the 3rd Infantry Battalion.
25 The 4th Battalion received the assignment to go to the former
1 defence lines where it was positioned and to control the area in front of
2 it from Lupoglav -- from Lupoglav to Ravni Buljim. So that is the 4th
3 Infantry Battalion, towards Mratinsko Brdo. So from its previous
4 positions to control that whole area, and also towards the village of
5 Sandici, which is in this direction up here.
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] For the record, the lines of action
7 of the Bratunac Brigade, that is to say, its battalions, the 1st, 2nd,
8 3rd, and 4th Battalions, on the map have been indicated by General Krstic
9 in a blue marker pen.
10 Q. I should just like to ask you to put your initials somewhere there
11 along those lines, please, General.
12 A. [Marks]
13 Q. General, looking at these two orders, that is to say, your order
14 of the 13th of July, which you determined the tasks, among others, of the
15 Bratunac Brigade, and the order of the 14th of July, which the Bratunac
16 Brigade sent further down to its subordinate units, was there any
17 deviation with respect to your order?
18 A. We could say there was deviation, especially when the order was
19 issued to the 1st Battalion. That goes outside the borders of the safe
20 area, the protected area. And according to my order, I specify the area
21 within the safe area to be searched, within the Srebrenica safe area, that
22 is to say, from the north-east towards the south and south-west, that is
23 to say, towards the area of deployment of the brigade towards Zepa --
24 engagement of the brigade towards Zepa.
25 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] May I now ask the usher to place
1 OTP Exhibit 432 on the ELMO.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, I apologise for
3 interrupting, but perhaps I could take use of this pause to ask you a
5 General Krstic, looking at this map here where you have indicated
6 the deployment of several units, especially the Bratunac one, you told us
7 that Konjevic Polje was not on the map. But the axis Konjevic
8 Polje-Bratunac, could you indicate that for us on the map? Can you see
9 the axis, the Konjevic Polje-Bratunac axis? Could you just indicate
10 that? Mark it, please.
11 A. From Bratunac to Konjevic Polje, I'll show you the road. As we
12 see Bratunac on the map, it is this road here.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. And now
14 another question: Looking at the path traversed by the column, what we
15 have been calling the column, there is Susnjari in the direction of
16 Konjevic Polje. Can you indicate that axis for us, please? Susnjari
17 Jaglici, towards the direction -- in the direction of Konjevic Polje.
18 A. I think you meant the village of Susnjari, most probably.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, that's right. I didn't
20 pronounce it properly.
21 A. Yes. This is the direction.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. Can we,
23 therefore, say that there is this portion of the terrain where the
24 searching operations coincided with the road traversed by the column, the
25 route traversed by the column?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes. But the time at which the searching of the terrain took
2 place was on the 14th, it began on the 14th, and on the basis of all the
3 facts, this can be seen from the report of the secretary. And there were
4 no vestiges of the column at that time, except perhaps some groups within
5 the protected area, armed groups.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, General.
7 Mr. Petrusic, please proceed.
8 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, for purposes of
9 illustration, I should like to inform the Chamber that it was the
10 Defence's intention to make use of the big map of the Zvornik Brigade, but
11 we have been handicapped in that respect so we have had to make due with
12 the small map which is not the best possible choice, but that's what we
14 We are now with Exhibit 432, which is a piece of information
15 General Tolimir sent to the forward command post, General Gvero, and
16 Krstic personally, on the 9th of July, 1995.
17 Q. General, at the time this report arrived, and we can see that it
18 was at 2350 hours, most probably, had you attained -- were the goals
19 attained with respect to the order for combat activity Krivaja 95?
20 A. I spoke about this earlier on. No, we had not achieved our
21 objectives at that particular time, that is to say, on the 9th of July.
22 We had not accomplished the assignment which the Corps Commander set in
23 his order, apart from the fact that the forces of the 1st Battalion, that
24 is to say, portions of the Zvornik Brigade, between the 9th and 10th of
25 July, took up Zivko -- positions at Zivkovo Brdo, Zivkovo Brdo here, but
1 the forces of the 28th Division, in the course of the night between the
2 9th to the 10th, refuted the forces of this battalion from these positions
3 and took control of it again. It was only on the early morning hours,
4 that is to say, at about noon on the 10th - I spoke about this - where we
5 were able to realise that goal, the goal of the Operation Krivaja 95,
6 which was set by the Commander of the Drina Corps, that is to say, to
7 emerge on the Kakali [phoen], Begovac, Dzevko Brdo [phoen] line, Banja
8 Guber, Petola [phoen].
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I should now like to ask that
10 Exhibit 481 be distributed.
11 Q. This is an order referring to mobilisation. It was written on the
12 17th of July 1995, and it is signed by you and it was received by the
13 Zvornik Brigade on the 24th of July, 1995.
14 In your previous testimony, in response to a question from
15 Mr. McCloskey, you said something in this regard, that is to say, when you
16 signed the order. So let us clear up some matters. To the best of your
17 recollection, when did you sign this order? First of all, let us take
18 note that it is your signature, is it not?
19 A. Yes, it is my signature. In answer to the question I was asked by
20 Mr. McCloskey, I misspoke at one point and said that I signed this
21 statement -- this order on the 21st or 22nd, as far as I remember, after I
22 reached the command post at Vlasenica. What I wanted to say was: after my
23 return from handing over my duty between me and General Zivanovic, from
24 Han Kram, when I returned to the forward command post in the village of
25 Krivaca, that is to say, at the forward command post at that time which
1 was Godzenje. And this document was brought there, and another document,
2 I don't remember which one, but that is when I signed this particular
3 order, of course without looking at the date at all when the order was
5 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I should like to ask the usher for
6 OTP Exhibit 792 now, please.
7 Q. This is a regular combat report of the Bratunac Brigade. I think
8 it will be easier for you if you look at that part in the handwritten
9 version. Colonel Blagojevic.
10 In the fourth paragraph from the top, in the English version it is
11 paragraph 2, the last sentence which states: "In the zone of
12 responsibility of the Brigade, the president of the Republika Srpska and
13 the Commander of the DK, Drina Corps, were in Srebrenica in the brigade's
14 area of responsibility today."
15 Now, in the course of your examination by the Prosecution, there
16 was some things that needed to be cleared up with respect to the
17 translation of this, as well as other things, and you contested the fact
18 that you were there with the president of the Republika Srpska at that
19 time. Can you tell us now how you would have written that report had you
20 been present when the president of Republika Srpska?
21 A. I did contest that. But I didn't even seen see the President of
22 the Republic, nor was I with him at all, nor did I even know that he was
23 in the area of responsibility of the Bratunac Brigade at all. Had I been
24 there instead of Colonel Blagojevic, I would have written the area of
25 responsibility of the brigade, in the course of the day, that they were
1 there together, the President of the Republika Srpska, Dr. Radovan
2 Karadzic, and the Commander of the Drina Corps, General Krstic, that they
3 were there together. I would have put it this way. Because here, in this
4 order, you cannot see that we were there together, which we were not, in
5 fact. We were not there together.
6 So I repeat: I did not know that he was there; I did not see the
7 president, President Karadzic, at all.
8 Q. General, sir --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
10 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I apologise, but the
11 translation -- the interpreters have read the translation from the English
12 text, they read out the English version of this exhibit which is how the
13 problem arose. Now I should like to ask Mr. Petrusic, for purposes of the
14 record, to read the sentence again and then the interpreters can interpret
15 what they hear and not what was written down in the report, to clarify
16 what the General was just saying.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, go ahead.
18 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Therefore, that sentence which has been contested, that is to say,
20 its translation in the Serbian version reads as follows: "In the zone of
21 responsibility of the brigade, in the course of the day, the president
22 of Republika Srpska visited it, as well as the Commander of DK."
23 There is no need, General, for you to say anything else because
24 you have given us an answer to that question already.
25 The Prosecution maintains, General, that you remained Commander of
1 the Drina Corps on the 13th of July -- became commander. If we start out
2 with the assumption, and the Prosecution will ask a hypothetical
3 question, I'm sure, as well, let us assume that that is so, would you
4 then, as Commander of the Corps, and bearing in mind everything that had
5 happened not only in the area of the Zvornik Brigade but also in the area
6 of the Vlasenica and Birac Brigade, that is to say, right down the front
7 line towards the 2nd Corps of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as a
8 Commander, would you have undertaken any action? Because quite obviously
9 the situation there was very complex, highly complex.
10 A. Had I at that time been the Commander of the Drina Corps, my basic
11 preoccupation would have been the 28th Division of the army of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina; that is to say, its conduct and its breakthrough
13 towards Tuzla. And then my basic preoccupation uppermost in my mind would
14 have been the state of affairs in the Zvornik Brigade and the Birac
15 Brigade, and even the Vlasenica Brigade, because that was the area and
16 their zones of responsibility through which the 28th Division passed
17 through. So I would have written a series of orders to those brigades,
18 depending on -- as the need arose, and there was the need to do so.
19 Then I would quite certainly have set up a team with a corps
20 command which would have been on the spot with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd
21 Brigade as reinforcement and assistance to those brigades in their battles
22 of the 28th Division, and the forces of the 2nd Corps of the army of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina, attacking from the Tuzla direction towards Zvornik and
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
1 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I should like to ask the usher for
2 the next exhibit now, please, 649B. This is an order of the Main Staff,
3 dated the 17th of July, 1995.
4 Q. And your response prompts me to ask you, in connection with what
5 you said, that you would have certainly formed a team that would have been
6 on the spot in the area of responsibility of those brigades. So my
7 question is: From this order, can we conclude that the Main Staff could
8 be said to be taking over the task of forming those teams, what you said
9 the Corps Commander should do or whoever is authorised by the Corps
11 A. This order, issued by the Commander of the Main Staff, on the 17th
12 of July, 1995, is the most conspicuous example of the way in which the
13 Main Staff is taking over command of part of the area of responsibility of
14 the Drina Corps by forming its own command group which is taking over the
15 command role in the area, as indicated in this order.
16 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Could I now have Exhibit 402,
17 tab 3, footnote 34, the Rules of Service of the Security Organ in the
18 Armed Forces of the SFRY. I'm referring to Article 49.
19 Q. First of all, General, these Rules of Service, were they taken
20 over from the former army, that is, from the JNA, and applied to the army
21 of Republika Srpska?
22 A. That is the Rules of Service of the Security Organs in the Armed
23 Forces of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia which was taken
24 over in its entirety by the army of Republika Srpska or, rather, its
25 Security Service that operated throughout the war.
1 Q. Would you please look at Article 49 of those rules, please,
2 paragraph 2, and could you briefly comment and explain that rule.
3 A. With the Trial Chamber's permission, I should like to read it.
4 THE INTERPRETER: We do not have a copy.
5 A. This is Rule 49 of the Rules of Service: "The data which
6 constitute an official secret, the officer in paragraph 1 of this Rule,
7 may inform other officers in the Security Organ or other persons only by
8 authority of his superior in the Security Organ."
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. General, in view of the quotation you have just read out, do you
11 recognise in this rule a situation that applied within the Drina Corps or,
12 rather, the Security Organ of the Drina Corps?
13 A. In my earlier testimony I said something about this. I remember
14 saying that the Security Organs carry out certain tasks but that they do
15 not inform, nor did they seek permission from their commanding officer in
16 the command structure for this.
17 I think that I mentioned an example when one of the commanders in
18 the Drina Corps, and I am referring to the Commander of the 1st Zvornik
19 Infantry Brigade, when he reported to the Drina Corps Commander and the
20 Main Staff that his superior officer, his commander, was not reporting to
21 him regarding activities within his jurisdiction but that he was directly
22 reporting to the Security Organ of the Superior Command of the Drina Corps
23 and the Main Staff. I do not have that exhibit, and I think that the
24 Defence doesn't have it either. Perhaps we will be able to get hold of
1 An obvious example of the implementation of Rule 49, paragraph 2,
2 of the Rules of Service of the Security Organ, by the Security Organ, is
3 the behaviour, treatment, and attitude towards prisoners of war from the
4 28th Division of the army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
5 The individual responsible for all these tasks that I have listed
6 was Colonel Beara, of course, designated by his superior, that is, the
7 Commander of the Main Staff. The same individual also engaged a certain
8 number of senior officers from the Security Service of both the Main Staff
9 and the Drina Corps, and together with them he carried out all the tasks
10 relative to the treatment of prisoners of war from the 28th Division.
11 Therefore, bearing in mind the provisions of this rule, all the
12 tasks that they carried out were, for them, an official secret, as this
13 rule is marked as "Military Secret, Strictly Confidential." Therefore,
14 they did not report up the chain of command about things that they did. I
15 am speaking at least with reference to the Drina Corps, so that the
16 command of the Drina Corps, and also subordinate brigade commands, were
17 not informed of what they were doing. Naturally and most probably Colonel
18 Beara did report to his superior officer regarding those activities.
19 This can be clearly seen also from the reports of the brigade
20 commands; in the first place, the Zvornik and Bratunac Brigades, where
21 there is hardly any mention of what is being done in their areas of
22 responsibility or by whom with reference to prisoners of war from the 28th
24 Of course, Colonel Beara and the others, in implementing the tasks
25 assigned to them by the Main Staff, did engage, in addition to officers
1 from the Security Service, some other individuals, some other persons
2 outside the Security Organ, and we were able to see that during the course
3 of these proceedings.
4 When it comes to Lieutenant Colonel Popovic as the Chief of the
5 Department of the Drina Corps, he received his assignments from Colonel
6 Beara, and he had no obligation, pursuant to the provisions of Rule 49,
7 nor was he allowed to report to anyone in the Corps Command without the
8 approval of Colonel Beara, because it is clearly stated here -- that is
9 clearly stated here when the rule says that the officer from the Security
10 Organ must not report to anyone without being authorised to do so by his
11 superior officer in the Security Organ.
12 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Your Honours, the
13 Defence would thereby end the re-examination of General Krstic.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you very much,
15 Mr. Petrusic.
16 Perhaps it would be convenient to have a break now. So we'll have
17 a 15-minute break and we'll come back for the questions of the Judges.
18 --- Recess taken at 11.02 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 11.19 a.m.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Let us resume.
21 Judge Fouad Riad, you have the floor, sir.
22 JUDGE RIAD: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Questioned by the Court:
24 JUDGE RIAD: Good morning, General Krstic. Do you hear me?
25 A. Yes, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE RIAD: First I would like to wish you good health, and I
2 hope you are in a condition to exchange some questions and answers with me
3 and shed some light on points which have been already raised here and
4 perhaps it can make us see more clearly.
5 I'll just -- I'll not repeat things which have been said but I'll
6 just refer to them. One, of course, we were just talking now about the
7 search operations around Srebrenica and the order you gave to the Bratunac
8 and Milici Brigades on July 13th. I believe you signed this order as
9 Commander. You wrote Commander beside your name. But you were not yet
10 appointed Commander, were you?
11 A. Your Honour, Judge Riad, I signed that order as the Commander of
12 the Operative Group of the forces engaged towards Zepa, and within that
13 group was both the Bratunac and Milici Brigades and the Skelani
14 Independent Battalion later.
15 JUDGE RIAD: So you would not be the Commander of the Drina Corps,
16 you did not sign it as Commander of the Drina Corps.
17 A. No, as Commander of the Operative Group forces engaged towards
18 Zepa. And within that group were these two brigades, the Bratunac and
19 Milici Brigades.
20 JUDGE RIAD: I see. I'm not a military man. That was not
21 supposed to be signed by the Commander of the Drina Corps himself?
22 A. No, it was not supposed to be signed by the Commander of the Drina
23 Corps, General Zivanovic, because I was appointed by General Mladic as
24 Commander of the Operative Group of forces engaged towards Zepa.
25 JUDGE RIAD: Now, it was also mentioned here by one of the expert
1 witnesses - you were present, of course - I think it was Mr. Butler, he
2 said that when the authorisation sent by President Karadzic was sent for
3 the VRS to take the enclave on the 9th of July, it came with the
4 instruction to be delivered personally to General Krstic. Was that true?
5 And why was that? Why not to the Commander of the Drina Corps?
6 A. Could you please repeat the first part of your question?
7 JUDGE RIAD: Good. When President Karadzic sent the authorisation
8 for the VRS to take the enclave of Srebrenica on the 9th of July, that was
9 Mr. Butler's testimony, it's mentioned, and it was accompanied with the
10 instruction that it should be personally delivered to you. In what
11 capacity was that?
12 A. From President Karadzic, through the Main Staff, I think it was
13 forwarded by General Tolimir, came the instructions to continue the
14 attack. This was a time when units of the Drina Corps had still not
15 reached the line designated by the order issued by the Commander of the
16 Drina Corps. I was at the forward command post; next to me was General
17 Gvero from the Main Staff, the Assistant of the Main Staff Commander for
18 Morale, Legal, and Religious Affairs. That same day at the forward
19 command post, General Mladic arrived together with General Zivanovic, in
20 the afternoon.
21 JUDGE RIAD: My question, perhaps you would not even answer it, so
22 was this the regular attitude in the army or was it some kind of bypassing
23 Mladic or bypassing Zivanovic and addressing everything to you directly?
24 Especially that President Karadzic praised you after that and apparently
25 showed great esteem?
1 A. It was not bypassing of higher levels of command, such as the
2 Commander of the Drina Corps and General Mladic. I don't know whether
3 General Tolimir knew that General Mladic and General Zivanovic would come
4 to the forward command post that day. I don't know that. But I am
5 repeating that the time -- at the time when this order was issued, the
6 Drina Corps units had still not achieved the tasks envisaged by the
7 Commander of the Drina Corps. But he knew that General Gvero was at the
8 forward command post and that I was at the forward command post, and that
9 is why he put first personally to General Gvero and then personally to
10 General Krstic. If he had known that on that day, that afternoon, General
11 Mladic and General Zivanovic would arrive there, then certainly they would
12 not have sent that document to me but rather to General Zivanovic or to
13 General Mladic.
14 JUDGE RIAD: Well, I will not dwell more on that, of course. The
15 order was rendered by you, and I believe you even asked to have a report
16 on the 17th of July, a report on the operation, what we call the search or
17 sweep operation. Did you get any report?
18 A. No, I did not receive any report. That report went to the command
19 post at Vlasenica. I'm sorry. That wasn't an operation. It is a
20 customary action of the search of terrain which was absolutely necessary
21 to make sure that the units engaged in the Zepa operation would not be
22 attacked from behind.
23 JUDGE RIAD: So if I understand rightly, after you give the order,
24 you are not concerned with what happens in the army.
25 A. I was not particularly concerned, but I was concerned to make sure
1 that these units that would be attacking Zepa should not be attacked, and
2 that was, among others, the reason that prompted this order. As I said
3 earlier, one of the corridors used by units of the 28th Division was
4 Srebrenica, Podravanje, Brestovik, Zepa, and this is also noted in the
5 reports of some of the commands of the BH army, when we read out a list of
6 people who crossed through this territory and reached Zepa or Gorazde.
7 JUDGE RIAD: On a personal level, were you more or less -- did you
8 attach importance to knowing what happened in this search which took
9 place, if men were arrested or anything?
10 A. I did think about it, but no specific reports about it reached
11 me. But later on, in the course of these proceedings, we saw that the
12 Commander of the Bratunac Brigade, in his reports, did not for a moment
13 point out that he had prisoners of war, nor that he had any problems in
14 that regard. But he had to carry out a search of the terrain.
15 JUDGE RIAD: Now, also it so happened that you were in Zepa with
16 General Mladic during the negotiations with the Muslim authorities, and it
17 became known that the Muslims refused to surrender, if I remember rightly,
18 and the claim that there has been a disappearance in Srebrenica and they
19 didn't want to go through the same fate.
20 Now, also did this raise any concern in your mind about what
21 happened, and prisoners, how they were treated and what happened to them,
22 being already the man who gave the order for the sweep or the search?
23 A. No, I had no information about prisoners throughout my stay in
24 Zepa. I spoke about that earlier on. The responsibility was taken over
25 by the Main Staff, headed by General Mladic and his assistants. My prime
1 concern was to carry out the assignment I had been given with respect to
2 Zepa. And after learning later what happened to those prisoners, and I
3 thought about it, such a thing could not have happened in Zepa.
4 JUDGE RIAD: You were also in Potocari, in the Fontana Hotel and
5 then in Potocari on the 12th. Did you watch or notice anything happening
6 when they were screening the men, or was it done in secret? Was it clear
7 that men were being screened and how they were screened? Just taking note
8 of it, noticing it, even if you did not interfere.
9 A. Your Honour, for the time I was there in Potocari, and this was a
10 very brief period of time, I simply was not able to see anything, nor did
11 I hear from anyone that anything in particular was happening with respect
12 to the separation of men from their families at the UNPROFOR base. I was
13 not able to notice that anything was being done secretly in that
15 Let me also add that General Mladic's order to continue the attack
16 and the takeover of the command of the Drina Corps after the entry into
17 Srebrenica, I understood that as a pursuit of the 28th Division members,
18 their disarming, and the demilitarisation of the safe area. That is how I
19 understood the whole issue. It never occurred to me that anything would
20 happen in connection with the prisoners of war such as I learnt about
22 JUDGE RIAD: I don't want to pursue this, but didn't the people
23 negotiating or the Muslims there claim that they cannot surrender because
24 there has been killing? If I understood rightly, it was said also by the
1 A. At the meeting in Bratunac, on the 11th in the evening, and on the
2 12th, I didn't hear anything like that from representatives of the Muslim
3 people who were attending the meeting. They simply expressed concern and
4 said that they could not carry out the demand of General Mladic for the
5 28th Division to surrender and lay down their weapons, but they
6 insisted that they should be transferred to free territory, that is, the
8 JUDGE RIAD: Another point. You were in Potocari on the 12th, you
9 said that, and one of the expert witnesses, I think it was Colonel
10 Kingori, said that you were seen, and also another witness, Witness F,
11 from the Dutch Battalion, they said that you were seen near the white
12 house talking with high-ranking officers, Nikolic, I think, and in the
13 company of Vukovic, the 12th and the 13th, and there were shots being
14 heard around. Did you hear any shots? Did you have any idea of what was
16 A. Your Honour, as I said, I wasn't even near the refugees, not to
17 mention being close to any kind of white house or being in the company of
18 Nikolic or Vukovic. I didn't see those people then, nor did I hear any
19 shots. Immediately after the meeting in Bratunac on the 12th, I headed
20 through Potocari and Srebrenica and I returned after giving an interview
21 to Republika Srpska Television. I simply, for reasons of health also,
22 could not stand for long, nor could I move easily, such as some people
23 claimed that I walked around and spent any length of time there. That's
25 JUDGE RIAD: Well, I'll ask you also about your visit to the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 families. Witness DA, if you remember, said that you visited his mother,
2 you went to visit, I think, his parents or his family, and then you
3 visited your mother-in-law. I don't remember the date but I think it was
4 the 13th.
5 Now, Witness DA said that he had received orders from Zivanovic on
6 the 12th that he should go immediately to Treskavica, and you persuaded
7 him nevertheless, when he met you in front of your headquarters, I think,
8 you insisted that he would go with you to these social visits. Now, was
9 that a priority? What was the importance of these visits at a time when
10 the tension was growing and you were giving orders for sweeping and
11 searches? What was the importance of these visits?
12 A. I didn't understand Witness DA as having said that he had to
13 return to Treskavica immediately. He acted in the way he was ordered to
14 by General Zivanovic. My intention was to visit the wounded in the
15 military hospital of the Main Staff in Sokolac, and our return towards
16 Zepa took us along the way where his parents lived and we stayed there
17 very briefly, maybe 15 or 20 minutes. That's all that we spent with my
18 wife's family, which was quite close to the forward command post of
19 Krivaca. It is a village between Han Pijesak and Krivaca. It is very
20 close by.
21 JUDGE RIAD: So the main purpose was with the hospital, the visit
22 of the hospital, and not the families; is that right?
23 A. Yes, the main purpose was to visit the hospital and the wounded in
24 that hospital. I felt it my duty to do that.
25 JUDGE RIAD: Was that part of -- did you do that often? Was that
1 part of your tours when you toured, to visit the hospital, to visit your
2 soldiers? I mean, many people do it, presidents of states do it too. But
3 was that part of your assignment?
4 A. Yes, I frequently visited the wounded in the Main Staff hospital,
5 and particularly when I was Brigade Commander in Sokolac, and that
6 hospital in Sokolac. I considered it my duty to visit the wounded since I
7 was in the area. It is the Romanija plateau. And hoping that my visit
8 would have a positive effect on them and their recovery. The majority of
9 the wounded were from the 2nd Romanija Motorised Brigade of which I had
10 been the Commander until August 1994.
11 JUDGE RIAD: I understand what you said. But was this on the
12 occasion of wounding, in particular, done to some of your soldiers or a
13 routine visit? Was it a consequence of a battle, of a great disaster
14 which required your visit?
15 A. At the time of the attack on Srebrenica, and later Zepa, from
16 Olovo towards Sokolac, an attack was carried out by forces of the 2nd
17 Corps of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is, the Olovo Brigade.
18 There were quite a large number of wounded soldiers and fighters from that
19 brigade. I learnt about that and I felt it my duty to visit them, and I
20 did visit them in the Main Staff hospital.
21 JUDGE RIAD: Now, speaking of visiting, you also visited -- when
22 you became a Commander, I think, you visited certain Drina Corps units,
23 the Birac, I think, Zvornik, Bratunac Brigades. I think you visited them,
24 and you did not visit other units. But other units, you asked for a
25 report, to be briefed by Colonel Andric. Now, I don't remember exactly
1 which units you did not visit. But why did you visit certain units and
2 not others and ask for some reports about some units and not about
3 others? And you can verify which ones you did not visit or did not ask
4 for reports. I think you did not ask for a report concerning Zvornik or
5 Bratunac and you did not tour them; is that right?
6 A. After I returned from Zepa and became Commander, I focused on the
7 units I knew least well as the Chief of Staff, because I hadn't had
8 occasion to familiarise myself with them and I was less familiar with that
9 territory than I was with the Romanija plateau area, and that is the area
10 of Birac and central Podravanje; the 1st Zvornik Infantry Brigade which
11 was engaged on the front towards Tuzla; and then the 1st Birac Brigade,
12 headquartered in Sekovici, which was also engaged towards Tuzla and
13 Zivinice. I also toured the Vlasenica Brigade towards Kladanj, and I
14 later toured with the Bratunac and Milici Brigades as well.
15 I had no special reason to visit the 2nd Romanija Brigade because
16 I knew it very well. I was its Commander and it was engaged on the front
17 towards Kladanj and Olovo.
18 JUDGE RIAD: Now, during all your roundabouts and whereabouts,
19 according also to Witness DB, you were supposed to have a signalsman, a
20 soldier with a mobile receiver, who would always accompany you to ensure
21 communication, and it was up to you to use him or not use him. Did you
22 always have him with you? Did you always take advantage of this
23 signalsman to know what was happening in your visit to the hospital, to
24 the families, to the units?
25 A. No, I didn't always have a signalsman with me.
1 JUDGE RIAD: Well, that's what DB said, Witness DB. You did not
2 have? You had no right to have it as a General? You could have -- it was
3 up to you to have him or not to have him?
4 A. Yes, that is true.
5 JUDGE RIAD: And you preferred not to have him sometimes?
6 A. It depended on the need. If I was going to units where something
7 in particular was happening, such as combat operations or a high intensity
8 of combat operations - this was mostly the front towards Tuzla, Zivinice,
9 Kladanj, and Olovo - then I did have a signalsman with me. On other
10 occasions I didn't take a signalsman with me.
11 JUDGE RIAD: I don't have the advantage of being a military man,
12 but don't you think during time of war you would need to know what
13 happened the next moment?
14 A. Yes, but one makes an assessment, daily assessments, long-term
15 assessments, as to potential developments in the area of responsibility of
16 the Corps. All the commands, brigade commands, are closer to the command
17 post in Vlasenica so that it was easy to reach their commands and
18 positions from Vlasenica, especially in the area of Birca and central
20 As for units on the 2nd Romanija Brigade and the 1st Podrinje and
21 the 5th Podrinje Brigades, then I would take a signalsman with me because
22 they were further away. But in the car, I only had a radio receiver, a
23 RUP 12, and nothing more than that. I had no telephone line.
24 JUDGE RIAD: I would like also to ask you something concerning the
25 withdrawal of some of your soldiers from the Zepa operation. I believe
1 you heard from Colonel Milanovic that some of the troops from the Bratunac
2 Brigade were pulled out from Zepa, and the same happened to the Zvornik
3 Brigade troops. I think General Zivanovic called you, saying that
4 Pandurevic himself had to return because of the importance of the
6 Now, having been already at the source of the order in Srebrenica,
7 and since soldiers from your own battalions, your own units, were being
8 withdrawn, did you find out why they were withdrawn, or you did not
9 bother? Because that could have caused you a lot of harm too.
10 A. Your Honour, when it is a question of the return of units who were
11 engaged towards Zepa and had previously been engaged towards Srebrenica,
12 it was only parts of the 1st Zvornik Brigade, commanded by Brigade
13 Commander, at the time Colonel, Vinko Pandurevic. General Zivanovic, the
14 Corps Commander, called me on the 14th and ordered that that part of the
15 Zvornik Brigade led by the Brigade Commander must return to its own area
16 of responsibility immediately.
17 Now, when it comes to the Bratunac Brigade, it was engaged towards
18 Zepa, but at the same time, and we saw this on the basis of the exhibits,
19 somebody from that brigade pulled out one to two companies and sent them
20 to the area of responsibility of the Bratunac Brigade. I don't know who
21 did that, nor do I have any reports about that. But pursuant to orders to
22 engage towards Zepa, that brigade as a whole was engaged there as a
23 whole, in its entirety.
24 JUDGE RIAD: I mean, you were the General. Would it have been an
25 obstacle if you asked to know what was happening, to ask for a report?
1 Wouldn't that have been their duty, to give it to you, and to know what
2 your men were taken to do?
3 A. General Zivanovic was the Corps Commander. It is his right. If
4 he would have ordered me that Colonel Pandurevic, with his part of the
5 unit, should return straight away to its area of responsibility, that for
6 me was sufficient, because he was in the area, he was able to monitor the
7 situation, and he knew what was necessary to be done at that time and what
8 should be undertaken.
9 JUDGE RIAD: All right. I'll not dwell on this point. Now, just
10 during the last session this morning, you mentioned an order of the
11 Commander of the Main Staff of the 17th of July, General Mladic, to take
12 over some of the command. Now, could you clarify -- of course, we know
13 General Mladic was a very powerful General, that he went all over the
14 place and his word was law. But there is also a regulation in the army.
15 Was he entitled to take over, or should this pass through the chain, the
16 normal chain of command?
17 A. Your Honour, he had the right to take over command in the part of
18 the area of responsibility of the Corps; that is his inalienable right,
19 according to the existing rules, the rules prescribing this. It is on the
20 basis of them that he took action with respect to the concrete situation.
21 At the meeting of the Bratunac Brigade, on the 11th, in the
22 evening, he said that that area, that the 28th Division was his concern,
23 and "all of you others should move in the direction to Zepa." This order
24 of the 17th is the most obvious example of taking over the command in part
25 of the zone of responsibility of the Corps.
1 JUDGE RIAD: Well, then, perhaps you don't agree with Witness DB.
2 Last week, I think he said that the chain of command and the Srebrenica
3 operation remained intact despite the intervention or the presence of
4 Mladic. So you don't agree with that.
5 A. Well, I don't know to what extent that witness was able to follow
6 the conduct of General Mladic. He was not with Generals Mladic,
7 Zivanovic, and myself at all at any time; I was. And I saw and heard what
8 General Mladic was ordering and what his behaviour was like, what his
9 conduct was.
10 JUDGE RIAD: To your knowledge, he took over only for one
11 operation or for the totality?
12 A. General Mladic took over command when he ordered that the entrance
13 into Srebrenica should be prolonged and later on, when it came to the
14 evacuation of the population from Potocari, when it came to that question,
15 and everything else that happened with the prisoners of war, as well as
16 later on; the command in the zone of responsibility of the Bratunac and
17 Zvornik Brigades, that too.
18 JUDGE RIAD: Now, the fact that everything happened according to
19 his planning, was this done in secret or was it known by everybody, what
20 was happening?
21 A. Your Honour, I don't know about any secret plans. I have already
22 stated that the order to continue the attack and to enter into Srebrenica,
23 I came to know because of the 28th Division, and the disarming of the
24 protected area. That is how I came to understand it.
25 JUDGE RIAD: Well, then, you heard, in fact, about what happened,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 [redacted]. You heard about the killings at Nova
2 Kasaba stadium, and you said that was in August. That was the first time?
3 A. [No interpretation]
4 JUDGE RIAD: Madam Registrar, can we go in private?
5 [Private session]
13 Page 7385 redacted – private session
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5 [Open session]
6 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Just one
8 moment, please.
9 I think that this is an opportune moment to take a break. We're
10 now going to have our long break, which means one hour.
11 --- Recess taken at 12.14 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 1.20 p.m.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Let us resume our work, and we
14 have questions by Judge Wald.
15 JUDGE WALD: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 General, I have only about eight or nine questions and I don't
17 think they'll detain you too long.
18 My first question is: When you found out about the column of
19 Muslims that was moving toward Tuzla, did you know that it was containing
20 mostly civilians and only a lesser portion of actual military members of
21 the 28th Division?
22 A. Your Honour, I learnt about the column moving towards Tuzla. What
23 I learnt was that in the column there were members of the 28th Division of
24 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that they were armed. I did not know
25 that in the column there were civilians as well.
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13 English transcripts.
1 JUDGE WALD: So what was your assumption - assumption - when you
2 found out about the column and you began to find out that, indeed, some of
3 the members of the column were being captured as they made their way
4 through Tuzla, which we do have various exhibits showing that that
5 information, that their capture was at least relayed on? What was your
6 assumption of what was being done with those that were captured?
7 A. I did not have any earlier assumptions, up until the time, the
8 moment, that I learnt in what area and in what direction the capture had
9 taken place of those people. So prior to that I had no information at all
10 that capture had taken place on the route between Nova Kasaba, Konjevic
11 Polje, Kravica.
12 JUDGE WALD: So you don't remember during that week -- during the
13 week of the 13th to the 17th, when you were admittedly conducting the
14 operations for Zepa, you didn't know that anybody or you didn't receive
15 any information that any captures were made of people in that column? I
16 just want to make sure I understand your answer. You didn't know that
17 they'd captured anybody from the column during that week; is that your
19 A. I didn't know at all, no. I just learnt that there had been a
20 breakthrough towards Tuzla, and that was on the 12th, in the evening, when
21 I arrived at the command post in Vlasenica. I learnt that from the duty
22 operational officer in the Corps command who received information from
23 the duty officer of the Main Staff of the army of Republika Srpska. But I
24 did not know at all, I had no knowledge or information whatsoever during
25 that period that any capture had taken place, and I did not know what had
1 happened to those people who had been captured.
2 JUDGE WALD: As regards your July 13th order which dealt with
3 searching the terrain, which you have explored with us just what
4 responsibilities certain brigades had for searching the terrain to follow
5 up on your July 13th order, did you ever inquire or get any information
6 whether any remnants were picked up in that terrain search? Not from the
7 column, in that terrain search, whether they picked up anybody.
8 A. As far as I recall, and there was an exhibit about that here, only
9 one of the reports from the command of the Bratunac Brigade reached the
10 forward command post at Krivaca and me. And the situation in the area was
11 represented as being normal, nothing special, according to that report,
12 which would allow conclusions to be made of any kind that the brigade was
13 collecting up any remnants after the breakthrough of the 28th Division.
14 JUDGE WALD: If anybody -- any remnants had been picked up
15 pursuant to the July 13th, the terrain order, of searching the terrain, if
16 anybody had been captured, what would your orders have required would
17 happen to those people? On the search of the terrain order, if they
18 picked up anybody, how would those people have been disposed of?
19 A. I spoke about that earlier on. It is my position, and in fact I
20 was duty-bound by the Rules and Regulations of International Laws on War,
21 and the Geneva Conventions as well, that I behaved towards these persons
22 as prescribed and determined, and that those people should be taken to the
23 collection area for prisoners of war, which is precisely what the Zvornik
24 Brigade did during a certain period of time with a number of prisoners of
25 war that were collected up. And they handed them over to the collection
1 centre at Batkovici, near Bijeljina.
2 JUDGE WALD: Now, when you heard about the column marching towards
3 Tuzla, you tell us that you never heard that anybody was captured from
4 that column. But under what -- your understanding, if somebody had been
5 captured from the column, what would you have assumed would be done with
7 A. What should have been done was in the spirit of the Rules and
8 Regulations, that was the conduct that should have prevailed, of the
9 Geneva Conventions. And had I been in the area, that certainly would have
10 been how it would have been.
11 JUDGE WALD: Okay. Let me just ask you one other -- well, I have
12 more than one, but one question which refers to your earlier testimony
13 this morning, when you said that if you had actually been given an order
14 to dispose of these Muslim prisoners by execution or the like, you would
15 have, under the laws of your own army as well as international law,
16 refused the order. I think that was the substance of your testimony. You
17 would have refused to obey the order.
18 My question to you would be: If you had been actually standing on
19 the spot of one of these execution sites and General Mladic was there and
20 General Mladic was giving the orders that resulted in the execution of the
21 prisoners, but he was not ordering you to do it, he was ordering it
22 directly to people in your command, but if you were standing right there
23 beside him, do you think you would have had any obligation under your own
24 army code or under international law to do anything, or would you have
25 been equally impotent and just have to stand there?
1 A. I personally feel that General Mladic, in front of me, would never
2 have issued anybody an order of that kind because I, as a General -- I am
3 a General and I was surprised by his order that the forces of the Drina
4 Corps at that time should be engaged towards Zepa. And it is not by
5 chance that I was assigned to be the Commander of that Operative Group,
6 and it is not by chance that all the brigade commanders from that area
7 were engaged towards Zepa.
8 JUDGE WALD: But indulge me: If you had been, we know it's an
9 assumption, but if you had been there, do you think there would have been
10 anything you could have done under the laws of your own army and
11 international law?
12 A. Perhaps I could have done something. But let me go back to what I
13 already said, that the continuation of the attack, I understood to be, by
14 the 28th Division, the demilitarisation of the zone, and I understood it
15 in no other way but that. So I could not have even dreamt of what would
16 happen after that in the area when it comes to the question of the
17 prisoners of war.
18 JUDGE WALD: If I understand you correctly, General, your answer
19 is had you actually been standing there on the spot when General Mladic
20 issued some of these orders, maybe there was something you could have
21 done. Is that a correct interpretation of your testimony? You said
22 "Perhaps I could have done something."
23 A. Well, if I could not have done something, I would have left the
24 area on pain of all the consequences that would have happened to me.
25 JUDGE WALD: All right. Thank you. By the 20th of July, when you
1 participated in the formal takeover ceremony of the command, according to
2 your narrative of the account, from General Zivanovic, did you have some
3 expression, either express or implied, from General Mladic that he had, in
4 effect, returned the command of the entire Drina Corps to you, that he was
5 no longer in charge of any part of its operations? And if so, was that
6 something express, or did you just imply that from the circumstances? In
7 other words, when did he give you -- to your knowledge, when did he give
8 up the part of the operation that you say he took away from you?
9 A. General Mladic never gave me back part of the operations after
10 withdrawing the forces of the Drina Corps from Srebrenica and sending them
11 towards Zepa.
12 JUDGE WALD: So --
13 A. I apologise.
14 JUDGE WALD: Go ahead.
15 A. The very fact, the very fact that he, on the 17th, wrote the order
16 and formed a command group to command that and implement the order goes to
17 bear out what I've been saying, because it was his intention after the
18 19th to continue cleaning up the area from Konjevic Polje to Cerska, to
19 Udrca and the positions of the units at the front towards Tuzla, and that
20 is what, in fact, it says in the order. He ordered that a plan be
21 devised; he ordered the commanding officer of that group in the Main Staff
22 to do that.
23 JUDGE WALD: So are you saying that as long as you remained
24 Commander of the Drina Corps, General Mladic still had charge of this
25 cleanup operation, or until it was completed, whenever that was? Is that
1 what you're saying?
2 A. At the Vlasenica command post, I returned there on the 2nd of
3 August when the situation in that area, and I'm thinking of the
4 Bratunac, Srebrenica, Zvornik, Sekovici, Vlasenica area, when it was
5 almost quite normal -- almost normal. And after that I commanded the
6 forces not only in that area but all the forces in the area of
7 responsibility of the Drina Corps. I do not know when the command group
8 designated by General Mladic left the area. I must be quite frank: I did
9 not even know at that time that that particular command group had been
10 formed and that an order for that existed. I learnt about that -- it was
11 only later that I learnt about that.
12 JUDGE WALD: You answered one of Judge Riad's questions about why,
13 when you did -- after the formal takeover of the command on the 20th, you
14 did not visit some particular areas personally, Zvornik and Bratunac, and
15 you said that was because in many ways you were already familiar with
16 those parts of the command. But my question to you would be: Given that
17 by that time, according to your testimony, I believe, you had some notion
18 from your source as to what had actually happened in that part of the
19 territory during this week of July, did you not have some feeling of
20 necessity to go visit that area and see what remained, what effect it
21 might have had on the troops, et cetera, once you found out what had
22 happened and it had primarily happened in those areas?
23 A. At that time I still had responsibilities towards Zepa. As for
24 the situation in the area of Bratunac, Srebrenica, and Zvornik, Milici,
25 Vlasenica, and Sekovici, I was informed about that by Colonel Cerovic on
1 the 20th, when the hand over of duty took place and when he came to the
2 forward command post at Godjenje and said that there were problems in the
3 area of responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade which were caused by the
4 28th Division; and that the situation had now been normalised in the area
5 and that things were functioning and that the command was functioning
6 properly, the command of the brigade. And I did not feel the need, nor
7 did I have the time, to leave the Zepa area and to go to that other area,
8 because the Zepa operation at that time was, I would say, in its final
10 JUDGE WALD: After Zepa was completed, and going later into
11 August, and even into September, did you ever hear anything about mass
12 graves, burials, exhumations, that sort of thing, in the months -- in the
13 fall months, late August/September, after the campaigns had been
14 finished? Did you ever hear any reports - radio, newspaper, just rumour -
15 that there were graves and burials and reburials?
16 A. Your Honour, I said earlier on that everything that happened later
17 on the grave sites and digging again, that this was done in far greater
18 secrecy than the killing itself of the war prisoners.
19 JUDGE WALD: Okay. You testified this morning that it was
20 possible for security officers, even of the Drina Corps, or intelligence
21 officers, rather, to carry out projects that went just straight up the
22 line through the security device and that were kept secret from the
23 regular Corps Command. I'm trying to understand: If one of those
24 intelligence security operations which was directly under the supervision
25 of the Main Corps security head, if those were carried out with the
1 necessary assets, both men and machinery vehicles, of the Corps, like the
2 Drina Corps, would that mean that no record would be kept in Drina Corps
3 records of the commandeering of those men or those vehicles? In order for
4 that to be secret and kept secret from the command, how could it happen?
5 If they needed five men to work for them or they needed three vehicles to
6 work with them on something that was secret, how could that be kept
7 totally outside of the knowledge of the regular Corps Command? I mean,
8 wouldn't there be a record, as we saw before, that a vehicle went from
9 here to there or these people were requisitioned to go here and there?
10 A. Yes, I did speak about the application of paragraph 49 of the
11 Rules of Service for the Security Organs, and that paragraph was made use
12 of fully by them when it came to the relationship and treatment towards
13 prisoners of war. I also said that they, and this was enabled them by
14 paragraph 49, that they probably had engaged a portion of men outside the
15 Security Service. Perhaps, I say perhaps, they were people that they had
16 associated with before in the Security Service. Perhaps they thought that
17 everything was evolving in secrecy. But actually it was impossible to
18 hide it all from the eyes of the public. The command of the Drina Corps
19 never saw any records about the engagement of people or vehicles,
20 requisitioning them, for this assignment headed by the Security Service
21 and the head of the Security Service in the Main Staff, Colonel Beara.
22 The situation did not allow us at the time, that is to say, in the
23 area of responsibility of the Corps, to make inventories of any kind or
24 look through documents of that nature, and it is for the first time here,
25 after the Prosecution presented its evidence and exhibits, I learnt that
1 there were cases when vehicles were engaged from the Zvornik Brigade.
2 Now, whether the Chief of Staff of that brigade knew about that,
3 and later on the commander, I don't know, I can't say.
4 JUDGE WALD: The rest of my questions, General, are very specific,
5 factual questions and shouldn't take very long. I just have a few of
7 As Commander of the Zepa operation, who did you report to and
8 when? When you were conducting the Zepa operation, who were you making
9 your reports to and where, when?
10 A. Your Honour, they were daily reports which were sent to the Main
11 Staff of the army of Republika Srpska for the simple reason that General
12 Mladic designated me to command the units that were engaged towards Zepa.
13 JUDGE WALD: Okay. My next question is: You indicated some
14 visits to your family in the area at the relevant time. I think on July
15 12th and 13th. When you visited your family or your wife's family, did
16 any discussion come up of these news reports which, we are told by other
17 witnesses, were going on about what was suspected to be happening in the
18 area, to the column and to the prisoners?
19 A. On the evening of the 12th, after I went from the Vlasenica
20 command post, I visited my mother, went to visit my mother, and she lives
21 near my wife's family in the village of Leskovac, on the road towards
22 Zepa, further on. And that same night I went to spend the night with my
23 wife's family, and at the time nothing was talked about for the simple
24 reason that nobody knew anything about it. It was between the 12th and
25 13th of July. Nor was there anything on the information media at all
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13 English transcripts.
1 which they could have heard or that I could have heard. There was
3 JUDGE WALD: Okay. Given that you were designated, according to
4 your testimony, by General Mladic to take over the Zepa operation on, I
5 believe it was, the night of the 11th - I mean he told you about it; maybe
6 it was the morning of the 12th - did you ever hear from General Mladic why
7 he needed your presence at the Fontana Hotel meetings, if you were to have
8 nothing to do with the evacuation or anything that happened and he wanted
9 you to move on and go on up to Zepa? Why did he say that you needed to
10 come to those meetings at all?
11 A. Well, on the 11th, in the evening, at the Bratunac meeting, I was
12 designated the commander of the forces towards Zepa. I did not know that
13 I would be attending the meeting on the evening of the 11th or the 12th,
14 because he didn't tell me that after the meeting on the evening of the
15 11th, most probably due to certain reasons concerning General Zivanovic,
16 perhaps, who was there, and on the 12th, wrote the order for the
17 engagement of the buses for the evacuation of the population from
18 Potocari. So probably General Mladic assessed that somebody ought to
19 attend the meeting. Now, whether he gave him the task to go to the
20 command post at Vlasenica and what he was to do there, at the time, on the
21 11th -- on the evening of the 11th, and 12th in the morning, I did not
23 JUDGE WALD: Okay. You testified, I think, that for some
24 reasonably sizable blocks of time, you were without communication
25 facilities. For instance, from 6.00 to 10.00 on the 12th of July, because
1 the Pribicevac command centre had been disbanded, and then again from the
2 afternoon to the evening of the 12th of July. I'm wondering how could
3 that be. If you were in the middle of getting ready for the Zepa
4 operations, how could you afford to be without communication facilities
5 for any number of hours?
6 A. Your Honour, I did not need any communication facilities because
7 the commanders of the brigades attended the meeting of the 11th, in the
8 evening, at the command headquarters of the Bratunac Brigade, and they
9 also heard General Mladic's orders, what they were supposed to do. And on
10 the 12th I went past the units at Viogora, and I saw a number of their
11 commanders and units along the road. I spent a short space of time there
12 and continued on to Vlasenica, to the command post there.
13 JUDGE WALD: But wasn't this the time period when you were just
14 learning about the column moving toward Tuzla, and there was some fear
15 that, in fact, some of the 28th might move in the direction of Zepa?
16 A. I said earlier on that there was no assignment of that kind from
17 General Mladic or General Zivanovic that I received. I didn't receive
18 anything like that. And so I didn't consider it to be my responsibility
19 to follow anything in that regard because General Mladic was there, his
20 assistants were there, General Zivanovic was there, they were all there
21 and there was just me, one person who had received an assignment to pull
22 out forces from Srebrenica and the area and to engage them towards Zepa.
23 So that was my prime preoccupation. My sole preoccupation was Zepa.
24 JUDGE WALD: Okay. I only have two short questions. One, you
25 mentioned that you did see Kosoric at the Potocari checkpoint briefly on
1 the 12th of July. Did you ask him or did he tell you what he was doing at
2 the Potocari checkpoint on the 12th of July? Did he give you any notion
3 of what was his involvement, if he had any, in the Potocari evacuation,
4 since I believe you said he was fully involved in the Zepa operation as
5 the head of intelligence?
6 A. Yes, I said something about this previously. He did go with me to
7 pass through Potocari, through Srebrenica, to Pribicevac, and further on
8 to Viogora and towards Vlasenica and Zepa. After I stopped at the
9 Potocari checkpoint, I ordered him to report to me at the forward command
10 post in Krivaca which he did do on the morning of the 13th. As to any
11 information that could have happened at 12 -- on the 12th at noon in
12 Potocari and Vlasenica, he told me nothing about that.
13 JUDGE WALD: Was Kosoric with you most or all of the time starting
14 when you got to the forward command, for that entire week that you were
15 there, or did he come and go?
16 A. I apologise. Are you thinking of the Pribicevac or Krivaca
17 forward command posts?
18 JUDGE WALD: Wherever you were. I mean, the basis of my question
19 is: Was he close by to you for most or all of that week?
20 A. He was with me the entire time at the forward command post, both
21 at Pribicevac and later on at Krivaca.
22 JUDGE WALD: So he was with you all the time during that week.
23 My last question refers to something one of the Defence witnesses
24 said. He said that in the VRS, as in most armies, you have a lot of
25 written rules and regulations, but very often in combat, in emergency
1 situations, those rules and regulations have to go by the board and oral
2 commands take their place. In other words, a person in command may make
3 an oral order that doesn't follow out all of the written requirements that
4 are in the rules. I just want to know if you would agree with that
5 statement, if that's your experience too, that in combat command emergency
6 situations, very often oral orders are given that do away with
7 requirements in the regulations that they be done in writing and have all
8 sorts of technical requirements to them? It's a general question.
9 A. An oral order can be issued, especially if it is a short order.
10 But when it was up to me, I never stepped outside the frameworks of what
11 was prescribed by the rules and regulations as to the control and command
12 of the units, the troops.
13 JUDGE WALD: All right. My very last question has to do with the
15 I believe you testified that during General Mladic's visit to the
16 Krivaca forward command post on the 15th of the July, he told you that you
17 would be "soon taking over as Corps Commander." At that point did you ask
18 him for further details of when that would happen, or did he offer any, or
19 did he simply say: "Soon you will be taking it over," and you just waited
20 to see what would happen after that?
21 A. Your Honour, it never burdened me, this taking over of higher
22 duties. The duties I had and the post I had, this was not something that
23 I thought about, nor was I happy to take on any extra duties. I didn't
24 ask him for any explanations. I continued to perform my duties and tasks
25 which emanate specifically in connection to the Zepa operation.
1 Perhaps ...
2 JUDGE WALD: Okay. Thank you, General.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you, Judge Wald.
4 I think perhaps it would be convenient to have a break now, not to
5 begin, since we only have five minutes. So we'll have a quarter of an
6 hour's break.
7 --- Recess taken at 1.55 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 2.15 a.m.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General Krstic, I will now have
10 a few questions for you. It is true that one is at an advantage when
11 speaking last, but I do have a few questions.
12 You explained at the beginning of your testimony that you followed
13 your education and your career in a multiethnic environment without any
14 hatred or animosity between the various ethnic groups. In that
15 connection, you expressed your surprise when, upon returning to
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992, you were able to note that only Serb soldiers
17 were members of the VRS army ranks.
18 My question is the following: In your opinion, what was the
19 objective of this war between the BH and the VRS, specifically?
20 A. Your Honour, with respect to the ethnic composition of the army of
21 Republika Srpska, I said that my brigade, the one which I took over
22 command of from another commander was monoethnic; however, I know for a
23 fact that many units in the VRS had among their ranks members of other
24 ethnic groups, that is, Bosniaks and Croats.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. But, General Krstic, was
1 this true for 1995 or only for the beginning of the conflict?
2 A. Even in 1995 this was true. In my opinion, I am, in the first
3 place, a career soldier. I have never been a politician, though a General
4 in a certain sense should not get involved in politics but should be
5 familiar with politics. And I said that I found it extremely hard to
6 accept everything that had happened in the area of the former Yugoslavia,
7 and particularly so in the territory of my republic, where I was born and
8 where I grew up in a multiethnic environment. The war in Yugoslavia and
9 in Bosnia-Herzegovina was provoked by the policies pursued by all three
11 Why did the war break out? I spoke about that at the beginning.
12 And the person most responsible for all this were the politicians who, in
13 those days, represented all three ethnic groups and all the other
14 ethnicities inhabiting the former territory of the former Yugoslavia.
15 For me, as a person who was born and grew up in a multiethnic
16 community, and especially being an officer who was in command of units
17 that were multiethnic, this was extremely painful, especially when I
18 reached the area and took over control of this command, the members of
19 which were only Serbs at the time.
20 I came voluntarily to the army of Republika Srpska, as did all my
21 colleagues of other ethnic groups who abandoned --
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General, I'm sorry for
23 interrupting you. You said that politics was for politicians, and the
24 war, for Generals, and that the Generals do not determine policies.
25 However, are you aware of the political objectives which you did not
1 determine, but are you aware of the political objectives of that war?
2 A. No, I did not know. I could just think about it. The objective I
3 was aware of was the defence of the people I belonged to, and nothing more
4 than that. Nothing more.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So are you telling me that --
6 when I'm asking you what was the objective of the war, are you telling me
7 that the objective of the war -- the objective of the VRS was to defend?
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] But to defend who?
10 A. I came to the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina when the war was in
11 full swing already.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. Perhaps we can
13 develop this question on another occasion.
14 You spoke about your return to Bosnia-Herzegovina. When exactly,
15 and I mean what month, did you return to Bosnia-Herzegovina?
16 A. I returned in the month of June to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, fine. Did you take the
18 decision to return to Bosnia-Herzegovina on your own personal initiative,
19 or were you obeying an order or following anybody's suggestion in that
21 A. I decided on my own accord to return to the place where I was
22 born. And as I said earlier on, I had hoped and was convinced, in fact,
23 that the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina would not escalate to the extent it
24 did, but unfortunately that was not to be the case.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General Krstic, do you know
1 other military people who were not of such high rank as you, perhaps,
2 other military men originating from Bosnia, Serbs from Bosnia, who
3 remained in the former JNA?
4 A. I came from the Pristina Corps, that is, from Kosovo, and I
5 testified about that earlier on. I was the most responsible there as the
6 Brigade Commander, in Kosovska Mitrovica, and I couldn't have left until
7 it was -- it collapsed ethnically into its component parts. And then I
8 realised that I had nothing more to do in the army of Yugoslavia, so that
9 I had to go back to where I was born and where I came from. I do not
10 believe that any officer from the Pristina Corps who was born in the
11 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, regardless of what ethnicity he was,
12 remained in the army of Yugoslavia. So I am not aware of that. In my
13 brigade, not a single officer remained, be he a Serb, a Croat, or a
15 Before all these things happened in the former Yugoslavia and
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that brigade was a multiethnic brigade, and I can say
17 in all sincerity that as the Brigade Commander, I was proud of that fact.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. General Krstic, did you
19 know or did you hear reference to an order, maybe it could have been
20 secret, a secret order, dated January 1992, an order by Milosevic to
21 transfer to Bosnia-Herzegovina all JNA officers born in Bosnia?
22 A. No, I was not aware of any such order. All I knew was that once
23 the war had broken out in the former Yugoslavia, first in Slovenia and
24 then in Croatia, that there were transferals of a certain number of
25 officers to the war-swept areas. I cannot say, nor do I know, what ethnic
1 group those officers belonged to.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. Upon your arrival in
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, you were appointed Commander of the Romanija Brigade
4 which you have referred to. What exactly was the area of responsibility
5 of that Romanija Brigade?
6 A. When I was appointed Commander of the 2nd Romanija Motorised
7 Brigade, at the time it was fully engaged on the front lines towards
8 Kladanj, Olovo, and Vares. That was the area of responsibility of that
9 brigade. It's the western part of the Romanija plateau, closer to Central
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Was there any correspondence
12 between this area of responsibility that you have just mentioned and the
13 self-proclaimed autonomous region of Romanija, proclaimed in 1991, and
14 then integrated with the self-proclaimed province of Srpska?
15 A. While I was still in Kosovska Mitrovica, I heard of certain
16 regions being formed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. As for
17 the area of responsibility of my brigade, it has nothing to do with that
18 Romanija province, self-proclaimed Romanija province, because anyway, that
19 is not the same area because Kladanj, Olovo, and Vares do not belong to
20 the Romanija plateau. The Romanija plateau includes the municipalities of
21 Pale, Sokolac, and Han Pijesak.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You qualified as short the
23 one-month-long period from the 1st to the 28th of September, when you were
24 transferred from the Commander of the Motorised Brigade of Romanija to the
25 Chief of Staff of the Drina Corps. You also said that this period of time
1 was fixed in advance. And you also qualified as normal the period of four
2 years that you served as Lieutenant Colonel before becoming promoted to
3 Colonel. Could you tell us how long, generally, it takes to be promoted
4 from the rank of Colonel to the rank of General, in practice?
5 A. I had the rank of Colonel for almost three years after being
6 Lieutenant Colonel. As far as I know, the time it takes to be promoted
7 from Colonel to Major General is not fixed in any way or by any rules and
8 regulations, instructions, orders, or laws. My promotion to the rank of
9 Major General, I do not consider to be anything exceptional because I had
10 served as Colonel for all of three years, and the position of Chief of
11 Staff, according to establishment in the army of Republika Srpska, is held
12 by a Major General. And I was promoted to that rank in May 1995 after
13 returning from treatment at the Military Academy in Belgrade. And before
14 that I was appointed to the position of Chief of Staff of the Corps in
15 1994, in August.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] At a certain point in time, and
17 even today, you said that during the wartime period there were many rules
18 that were not observed. Could it happen, could the same situation occur
19 in relation to the transfer of responsibilities between the former Chief
20 of Staff and the new chief of a corps, a Corps Commander, between the
21 former and a new Corps Commander?
22 A. Mr. President, as far as I know, I didn't say that the rules were
23 not implemented in wartime, at least as far as I am concerned. It was
24 customary in the former Yugoslav People's Army, and later in the army of
25 Republika Srpska, that after one is appointed to a certain position, a
1 process has to take place, a process of takeover duty between the former
2 commander and the new commander that is being appointed to that post. I
3 was appointed to the position of Corps Commander by President Karadzic on
4 the 15th of July, 1995, and the takeover of duty between me and General
5 Zivanovic was carried out on the 20th of July, 1995, on the 20th or the
6 21st of July, 1995.
7 It was customary at the lower levels of command, lower levels in
8 relation to a corps command, that upon the takeover of duty, the whole
9 ceremony takes place in front of a lined-up unit; however, the corps
10 command is an operational unit and a war was going on which did not allow
11 for such a takeover of duty to take place in a ceremony in front of
12 formally lined-up units. But present at that takeover were the most
13 responsible officers on behalf of the Main Staff, the Commander of the
14 Main Staff, his assistants, and the corps commanders -- some of the corps
15 commanders of the army of Republika Srpska, as well as representatives of
16 the authorities. So that everything was done as prescribed and as was
17 customary in the former army, the Yugoslav People's Army, and in the army
18 of Republika Srpska.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. But, General, you
20 explained that when you were in command of the 2nd Romanija Motorised
21 Brigade, sometimes you would take prisoners of war. What were the centres
22 where these prisoners of war were held in captivity?
23 A. Your Honour, I spoke about that. There are two places, when we
24 are talking about the 2nd Romanija Motorised Brigade, where prisoners of
25 war were detained or, rather, where they lived, and those were Knezina, a
1 locality west of Sokolac, in the direction of Olovo; and before that
2 I found the Brigade Commander in Sokolac itself, and the prisoners of war
3 were held in a locality called Cavarine, near Sokolac. So they were in
4 appropriate facilities, in dwelling apartments -- in a building with
5 several apartments. And in Knezina too there was a proper building,
6 which was a building belonging to the agricultural cooperative that used
7 to house the administration of that agricultural cooperative, in that
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] What was done exactly when
10 prisoners of war were captured, according to your experience?
11 A. I have testified about that earlier on. When prisoners are
12 captured, the units that captured the prisoners, and this would usually
13 occur on the front lines, they would report to the Superior Command, that
14 is, the brigade command, and then the Chief of Security or his officer
15 would go to the subordinate unit that carried out the capturing of
16 prisoners, take over those prisoners and bring them to the place where
17 they would be put up or where some war prisoners were already being held
18 in detention.
19 I said that they were treated fully in accordance with the Geneva
20 Conventions and other rules and regulations. They were given the same
21 food as our troops and our officers, and --
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I beg your pardon. I apologise
23 for interrupting you, but to speed things up a little because we are
24 pressured by time: Did you have any experience with prisoners of war as
25 the Commander of the Drina Corps?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. As the Brigade Commander and as the Chief of Staff or Corps
2 Commander, I did not -- I did not have occasion to have any kind of
3 experience when I held that position [As interpreted]. And I've already
4 said who was responsible for the treatment of prisoners of war. I think I
5 spoke about that at length. Even those prisoners of war that were
6 captured in the area of responsibility of the Zvornik and the 1st Birac
7 Brigade, they were regularly handed over at Batkovici to the centre where
8 they were taken over for exchange, Batkovici being near Bijeljina.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Visnjic.
10 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, a minor remark for
11 the transcript. The General said that as the Brigade Commander he did
12 have experience, but as Chief of Staff and Corps Commander he had no
13 experience with prisoners of war, and I think that the transcript needs to
14 be corrected to that effect. That would be my suggestion.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. That is what the General
16 said, except with regard to the Zvornik and Birac Brigades.
17 General, you explained during your testimony that the Chief of
18 Security was an essential component of the command of the 2nd Romanija
19 Motorised Brigade when you were its Commander. The Chief of Security, did
20 he have a major role in all units and at all levels, be it brigades or
21 corps, or was it something specific to your way of command, or was it
22 specific to that particular brigade? What I mean is, when you say that it
23 is an essential component, does that mean for you personally or in the
24 organisation as a whole?
25 A. Let me say that as Brigade Commander, for me it was a very
1 important element both in peacetime and wartime with regard to the overall
2 activities of the Security Service, whose main duties are linked to
3 intelligence. So he's an advisory body in any command. And when this
4 is functioning properly, there are no major problems, especially in
5 conditions of war.
6 Let me also add that as Chief of Staff and Corps Commander, and
7 especially as Chief of Staff, I had no occasion to be in charge of the
8 Security Service. In those days I was not the Corps Commander, because
9 the Chief of Security was subordinated to the Corps Commander and to his
10 own Security Service, according to the chain of command, as indicated in
11 the Rules of Service of the Security Organ. Therefore, he is an important
12 link in the counterintelligence activities in any unit.
13 After taking over duty as Corps Commander, and I think I spoke
14 about that too, I simply did not want to have anything to do with that
15 officer, having learnt from my experience with the exceptionally good
16 quality of the work of the head of security in the 2nd Motorised Romanija
17 Brigade. So how that officer came to have that duty, I don't know. I'm
18 not aware of his qualities. I found him in Vlasenica. And I'm not aware
19 of his qualities as an officer in the Security Service.
20 But I also know that I did have certain problems with him, and the
21 head of the Security Administration, as the Brigade Commander, who had, in
22 a sense, accused me that together with a president of a municipality, I
23 had collaborated with the Muslims while I was Brigade Commander, while I
24 was undergoing treatment at the Military Academy. And in Meljine, they
25 arrested this municipality president. And because of their attitude
1 towards me, that they wanted to get me involved in all that, this dispute
2 between them and me continued.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] In any event, General Krstic,
4 you explained that Colonel Popovic, the head of security of the Drina
5 Corps, was placed under the direct orders of the Commander-in-Chief, that
6 is, of General Mladic. On what date did that take place? Have you any
7 precise idea about that?
8 A. I learnt about that later, when I learnt about all the events that
9 I have mentioned with respect to the prisoners of war of the 28th
10 Division. Most probably the date was the day when the separation started
11 of men in Potocari from their families, the separation of men from their
12 families in Potocari. The officer that I mentioned told me this, that he
13 was -- that he was ordered personally by General Mladic to place -- that
14 he is being placed under the command of Colonel Beara.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, General Krstic, but knowing
16 that the security officer is such an important element and almost an
17 indispensable element, and if General Mladic is appointing you as
18 Commander of the Zepa operation, how do you explain the fact that General
19 Mladic took away from you this officer when he himself had Colonel Beara?
20 A. Mr. President, General Mladic did not take him away from me. He
21 remained in the command in Vlasenica together with the Corps Commander. I
22 did not have a security organ in Zepa all that time. I didn't know where
23 that man was, what he was doing, and under whose orders he was doing what
24 he was doing. I have said I don't know how many times that all my
25 knowledge came much later. Whether General Zivanovic, as Corps Commander,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 gave any instructions from the 12th onwards, I don't know.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] But did you feel the need for a
3 security officer in the Zepa operation?
4 A. No, I didn't feel such a need. I didn't feel it. But perhaps it
5 would have been normal for that person to come by occasionally to that
6 area. But I was not the one deciding about that. It was only the Corps
7 Commander, General Zivanovic, who had any authority over him or, according
8 to the chain of command, right up to the Main Staff.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] But was there someone who
10 replaced Colonel Popovic in his duties in the Zepa operation?
11 A. Mr. President, no. He was not at the Pribicevac forward command
12 post even during the Krivaja Operation. He only came on the 11th, as we
13 saw. He arrived in Srebrenica on the 11th. Prior to that, he didn't even
14 visit the forward command post at Pribicevac, which seems to imply that
15 someone else was giving him instructions, the Corps Commander and his
16 superior security department.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] We have already spoken today
18 about the checkpoint at Potocari, on the 12th of July, and you admitted
19 that Popovic was with you at that checkpoint; is that true?
20 A. When the meeting ended in the Fontana Hotel, I headed forward and
21 I was followed by the head of the Intelligence Department, Kosoric. I
22 didn't see that Lieutenant Colonel Popovic was following us. And when I
23 reached the checkpoint to give that interview, I noticed him. I had no
24 contact with him. I didn't ask him what tasks he had been assigned; I had
25 no right to ask him that, because that was the right that his Corps
1 Commander had or his own Security Service.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. But, General Krstic, do
3 you know where he went from that checkpoint in Potocari? You left. Do
4 you know where Colonel Popovic went?
5 A. No, Mr. President, I had no idea, nor was I interested where he
6 would go.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] At that point, at that Potocari
8 checkpoint, you gave an interview to the television; is that true?
9 A. Yes.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Were you in a position to grant
11 that interview? And why did the TV choose you, to interview you; do you
12 know that?
13 A. I can say quite freely that this was a coincidence, that I was the
14 first. They weren't waiting for me, they were waiting for General Mladic
15 and the Corps Commander, or someone else from the civilian authorities
16 from the area. Maybe somebody from the MUP. But I happened to be the
17 first to come along. I gave that interview, but as usual I didn't do it
18 gladly because I don't like to speak to journalists and to appear on
19 television. I simply had no incentive to do that. But they simply came
20 across me. The interview was brief; maybe it took seven or eight minutes
21 in all, as you saw.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Do you know the journalists, the
24 A. No.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Did the reporters know you?
1 A. I don't believe they did.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Were you aware that in answering
3 the questions of reporters, or in agreeing to give an interview, you could
4 have been seen as one of the major protagonists of the operation against
5 Srebrenica, or at least of implicitly approving that operation?
6 A. I never gave the matter any thought, and I don't regret granting
7 that interview, because they introduced themselves as being a crew from
8 Republika Srpska Television. They asked me for an interview, and you are
9 aware of the contents.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, we know the interview.
11 Were you in a position to refuse to grant that interview? Could you have
12 refused to be interviewed?
13 A. Maybe I could have refused to be interviewed, but there was no
14 reason for me to avoid granting that interview since they were there.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You also said that Colonel
16 Popovic was sick after Srebrenica. Can you tell us when he took up his
17 duties again?
18 A. Mr. President, I really cannot say on what date he took up his
19 duties again.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] But in any event, he did go
22 A. Yes, he did. I think this was at the end of August or the
23 beginning of September; I don't know the exact date. But before he came,
24 I had already learnt what I have told you about.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You also explained that you
1 tried to punish Colonel Popovic for his participation in the Srebrenica
2 events. We've already discussed that today. Why did you "choose" - if I
3 might say so in quotation marks - why did you "choose" Colonel Popovic?
4 A. There can be only one reason: Because he was part of the Corps,
5 and at the time I had learnt only about his involvement, so such an
6 officer had to be removed in accordance with the prevailing conditions at
7 the time. I tried in the way I have described but I did not succeed.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, we know that already. Were
9 there any other persons in the Corps who also took part?
10 A. I didn't learn anything to the effect that anyone else from the
11 Drina Corps had taken part in that, especially what he had done together
12 with Colonel Beara.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So can it be said that your
14 source mentioned only Colonel Popovic as having participated in those
16 A. Yes, precisely so, and that he used units together with the
17 Security Department of the Main Staff that were not part of the Drina
18 Corps. I was convinced that he was the only one from the Drina Corps.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Let me move on to another
21 What was the customary procedure for a transmission of orders
22 coming from the Commander-in-Chief when they have to be carried out by a
23 brigade unit? What is the normal procedure of transmitting such an order,
25 A. The customary procedure, if an order is issued from a command
1 post, is for orders to be in writing, with all the necessary parameters
2 that an order needs to contain. However, an order may also be issued
3 orally on the spot if the commanding officer happens to be in the area of
4 responsibility of one of his subordinate units. Oral orders are most
5 frequently brief orders.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I don't know. We have this
7 order of the 14th of September, Prosecution Exhibit 704. Do you remember
8 that order?
9 Perhaps the usher can show General Krstic this order, Exhibit 704.
10 General, should this order have passed through the Corps
11 Commander, then through the Zvornik Brigade Commander, even if the person
12 expected to implement the order, in this case Captain Trpic, was directly
13 named in the order?
14 A. I beg your pardon, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I think that is not the order;
16 it's not the right one. Maybe some references have been incorrect.
17 I also see that it is now 3.00 so perhaps we have to make a break,
18 because the questions that I still have cannot be finished by 3.30 or
19 something like that. General Krstic has to go to the hospital tomorrow, I
21 Is that so, Mr. Visnjic and Mr. Petrusic? Can you tell us
22 something about that?
23 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President. If we can go
24 into private session, I will explain my reasons.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, very well. Let's go into
1 private session, please.
2 [Private session]
3 [Open session]
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I see we are in public session
6 We are going to adjourn for the day. Tomorrow we will have a
7 witness, and when that witness completes his testimony, we will resume my
8 questions for General Krstic. Because I was unable to complete my
9 questions today, I don't have the courage to ask the staff to stay on, so
10 we have adjusted our programme accordingly, that is, in accordance with
11 current needs.
12 We will stop there for today and we will resume tomorrow at
13 9.30. We wish you a good recovery, General Krstic. Thank you.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3.07 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 21st day of
16 November, 2000, at 9.30 a.m.