1 Thursday, 5
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.25 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good morning, ladies and
6 gentlemen; good morning, technical booth; good morning to the
7 interpreters, the registry staff, the counsel for the Prosecution and for
8 the Defence. Good morning, General Krstic.
9 As you know, we are going to continue with the testimony of
10 witnesses of the Chamber, and we are going to begin with General
11 Halilovic. So, Mr. Usher, can you have the witness brought in.
12 Yes, Mr. Petrusic.
13 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Your Honours, good
14 morning. Good morning, my learned friends opposite.
15 With your permission, before Mr. Halilovic comes into the
16 courtroom, the Defence would like to draw the attention of the Chamber to
17 the following fact. Actually, pursuant to a ruling of the Chamber with
18 respect to the witnesses proposed for today, General Halilovic and the
19 second witness, General Hadzihasanovic, the Chamber gave clear
20 instructions as to the time frame, the subject matter, and the
21 circumstances about which the witnesses will be testifying. I don't think
22 there is any need for me to quote from your ruling, because it is quite
24 Briefly, they are to testify about the period immediately prior to
25 the fall of Srebrenica, the fall of Srebrenica, and the movement of the
1 28th Division during that time period. In view of the fact that
2 yesterday, late in the afternoon, we received some documents referring, in
3 particular, to Witness Hadzihasanovic for the period from 1992 until 1995,
4 which, in form and in content, has been compiled in the form of an expert
5 report, I fear that if we do not abide by your instructions, that we will
6 go outside the scope and frame of the indictment and that we will find
7 ourselves in a situation in which we have been during the past fortnight
8 or so. To be more specific, I think we will find ourself in the same
9 situation as with respect to Exhibit 883, which is being disputed by the
11 Therefore, before we begin the hearing, my objection is intended
12 to request that the parties in the case limit themselves to the time and
13 content envisaged by the ruling of the Trial Chamber dated - allow me to
14 check the date - dated the 15th of December.
15 So I hope Your Honours will give the appropriate instructions to
16 the witness, that he will be asked to testify about those specific
17 circumstances. Thank you, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, do you have a
19 particular date in mind? The order of the Chamber says before, during,
20 and after.
21 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the ruling of the
22 Chamber says: "On the presence and role of the 28th Division of the army
23 of Bosnia-Herzegovina immediately prior to, during, and immediately after
24 the attack of the Serb forces on that division in July 1995 on the column
25 of people who attempted to leave the Srebrenica enclave during the attack;
1 especially its composition, the weapons at the disposal of the people in
2 the column, what happened to those people in the military sense, and
3 particularly their possible links with the operations that the Bosnian
4 forces conducted in the area of the Tuzla and generally the area under the
5 control of those forces on the breakthroughs possibly made by that column;
6 the number of participants in those breakthroughs; the casualties suffered
7 by the column; the time, as precise as possible, as to when the population
8 learnt about the capture, executions, or the sudden disappearance of
9 people from the column; the general circumstances of the taking of the
10 enclave from the standpoint of the civilian and military authorities of
11 the Muslims at the time of the events."
12 Mr. President, I have interpreted your ruling as specifying an
13 extremely very limited scope of time and events that the witnesses will be
14 called upon to testify about, but under no circumstances do I see it as
15 covering a time period which differs from the document that we have
16 received in this particular case signed by Hadzihasanovic, which covers
17 the period from 1992 to 1995. Rather, this document differs in time from
18 the ruling.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Petrusic.
20 Mr. Harmon, do you have any response to this?
21 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, these are witnesses who have been
22 summoned by Your Honours. We don't intend to -- attempt to restrict the
23 Court in its questioning of these witnesses. We intend to sit and listen
24 with interest to their testimony. In respect of my colleague's objection,
25 we have no observation at all on it, other than these are your witnesses.
1 JUDGE WALD: Mr. Petrusic, just so you're somewhat informed of my
2 viewpoint, it seems to me that the order that we issued which talks about
3 just before or immediately before, whatever the interpretation, is a
4 clause which I would interpret, in light of what's already in the record
5 here, to be the few months before the fall of Srebrenica in order to
6 encompass the kinds of testimony which you have presented, as well as the
7 Prosecution, dealing with what may have been the motivations for Krivaja
8 95, and what may have been the motivations for what took place. So
9 roughly I would say, from my point of view, it would encompass the early
10 part of the year of 1995 or the several months just before June.
11 But I would have to say that in terms of any discussion of what
12 provoked either side to do what either side did, it may be that one would
13 incidentally have to allude, at least, to the fact that one side thought
14 the other side was violating some agreement which had been arrived at
15 previously. But to that extent, you know, my interpretation would be at
16 least several months before the fall.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Allow me also to say that, as
18 you know, Mr. Petrusic, the Defence discussed at length the question of
19 the violation of agreements on demilitarisation. You discussed that at
20 length, so perhaps the Chamber should know what those agreements were, and
21 as you know, those agreements go back to 1993. So all those conditions
22 are very important in terms of understanding the Operation Krivaja 95 and
23 all that preceded the events which are the subject of our discussions.
24 So in my opinion, to limit ourselves to a few days or a few months
25 means limiting our ability to understand the whole. This does not mean
1 that General Krstic is responsible for those things, but in order to
2 understand the facts in the indictment, we need to know what preceded
3 them. But please proceed, Mr. Petrusic.
4 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Your Honour Judge
5 Wald, your suggestions are quite appropriate, and it is only natural that
6 if the Defence during the testimony of General Krstic referred to certain
7 documents issued by General Hadzihasanovic or documents directed to
8 Hadzihasanovic, that both parties should review those documents and ask
9 them to be commented upon by General Hadzihasanovic himself for his
10 understanding of the situation.
11 Also, Mr. President, it seems to me that it is in the interest of
12 establishing the truth that if we have one of the creators and one of the
13 participants on the agreement on demilitarisation, that he should be
14 examined on those circumstances.
15 My principal suggestion or objection, and with respect to these
16 two items, topics, I have nothing to detract or add to what you, Your
17 Honour Judge Wald, have said, but my main concern is that the document
18 which the Defence received yesterday afternoon covers the period 1992 to
20 We have documents addressed by Hadzihasanovic to the 28th
21 Division, and vice versa. In the assessment of the Defence, this is a
22 military expert report, and that is how it is headed. And if we were to
23 be faced with the tendering of this document, then the whole situation
24 would change. We would have here a document called a military expert
25 report. That is my opinion, Mr. President. We would have a military
1 expert report which would deprive the Defence of the right to put many
2 questions to the witness. But I do agree with you and what Her Honour
3 Judge Wald said regarding the time period and the topics to which these
4 two Generals should testify.
5 Perhaps it would be best for us to proceed, and if the situation
6 so requires, I assume it is our right to object.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Harmon.
8 MR. HARMON: I will make one observation, Mr. President. Defence
9 Exhibit 160, which is a military expert report prepared by General
10 Radinovic, covers an area that is well before a few months before. It
11 goes back to 1991. As a matter of fact, in footnote 3 of that report, the
12 first witness is identified. That footnote refers to events in January of
13 1992. I merely point this out because I think any restriction that the
14 Defence is seeking to impose on Your Honours' ability to inquire goes in
15 the face of evidence that they themselves have presented to Your Honours
16 and which -- about which Your Honours may wish to raise some questions. I
17 only make that observation and point that out to Your Honours. Thank
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,
20 Mr. Harmon. We shall begin. We shall try to focus on the question of
21 Srebrenica, especially with regard to the agreements on demilitarisation,
22 which more or less define the Srebrenica enclave, focusing in particular
23 on that. But we will not be too strict because, as you know, one says
24 that to understand a fact, one has to view it in perspective. But in view
25 of time constraints, we can't go much further than that.
1 So, Mr. Usher, will you please bring the witness.
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Halilovic.
4 Can you hear me?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning. I can.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You're going to read the solemn
7 declaration given to you by the usher, please.
8 WITNESS: SEFER HALILOVIC
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
11 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You may be seated, please.
13 Questioned by the Court:
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Before anything else is said, in
15 view of your past military responsibilities and your current political
16 responsibilities, I should like to ask you whether it is appropriate for
17 me to address you as General, Deputy, or Mr. Minister, or simply as
18 Mr. Halilovic? What do you prefer?
19 A. Whatever you find easiest, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Perhaps "General Halilovic" is
21 the best. Fine, then.
22 First of all, thank you for coming. I shall now ask you to
23 observe the procedure which I will outline for you. First of all, in
24 answer to questions about identification, could you please spell us your
25 first and last name.
1 A. My name is Sefer Halilovic.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Your date of birth?
3 A. The 6th of January, 1952, in Prijepolje.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] And what is your profession,
6 A. Currently I'm minister for social welfare policy in the government
7 of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] And which is your city of
10 A. I'm now living in Sarajevo, Asikovac Street, number 6.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you. Before we begin your
12 examination proper, I should first like to thank you, on behalf of the
13 Chamber, for responding to our summons. I don't doubt that in view of
14 responsibilities, you are a very busy man, and therefore the Chamber will
15 thank you for the information you conveyed to it in your letter of the
16 23rd of January.
17 I should like to specify for you the framework within which your
18 testimony will fit. You have been called as a Court witness, whereas
19 normally it is the parties that call witnesses to this Tribunal. As the
20 President of the Chamber, it is my duty to indicate to you briefly the
21 conditions under which your examination will take place.
22 In accordance with the solemn declaration you have just taken, you
23 are obliged and expected to tell us the whole truth. The hearing is, in
24 principle, held in public, and we would like to keep it public as much as
25 possible. However, if you should feel it necessary, you can ask the
1 Chamber to make a ruling to go into private session, or even into closed
2 session, which in practice means that during the duration of the private
3 session, the public will not hear your statements, nor any -- and the
4 transcript of your testimony will not be made public.
5 If you have any notes, you may use them to refresh your memory,
6 but we would like to ask you not to read a statement prepared in advance.
7 In accordance with our order issued at the end of December, we ask you to
8 make a spontaneous statement on the facts that you have knowledge of in
9 regard to the attack on the Srebrenica enclave by the Serb forces in July
10 1994 [as interpreted], the fall of the enclave, and the destiny of its
11 military and civilian population.
12 You may perhaps then be examined by the parties, but it is up to
13 them to decide whether they will do so.
14 Judge Wald draws my attention to the fact that I said 1995. In
15 the transcript it says 1994.
16 As I was saying, the Judges will put questions to you. You may,
17 if you so wish to, not answer a question; however, I must caution you that
18 that is only if your reply may incriminate you. This is Rule 90 (F) of
19 our Rules of Procedure, and even then, the Judges may request you to
20 answer, but what you say may not be used against you later on.
21 We will have a break later on, or maybe earlier if General Krstic
22 needs a break.
23 As President of the Chamber, I wanted to tell you briefly, as the
24 parties would do to their witnesses, what are their duties, what are their
25 rights, how things will evolve, so there we are.
1 We are going to focus on the demilitarise -- on the agreements on
2 demilitarisation and from then on. So please, we ask you now to make your
3 spontaneous statement on the points that we have mentioned for more or
4 less an hour, an hour 20, after which we will have a break.
5 So General Halilovic, we are listening to you.
6 A. First of all, allow me to say that I want to make my statement in
8 In the letter addressed to you, I indicated the position I held in
9 the army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina; that is, until 8th of
10 June, 1993, I was Chief of Staff of the Main Staff of the army of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina and member of the presidency of the Republic of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina. In that period, I was actively in command of the army
13 of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I took part in the negotiations
14 on the demilitarisation of Srebrenica and Zepa in April and May 1993.
15 From the 8th of June, 1993, the position of the command of the
16 Main Staff was introduced in the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I held
17 that position until November the 1st, 1993. From November the 1st, 1993,
18 by decision of the presidency, I was placed at their disposal, and I was
19 no longer in the army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which means
20 that since November the 1st, 1993, or rather, from that time until the end
21 of the war in 1995, I have been observing the situation on the
22 battlefronts of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a civilian, as a citizen. In view
23 of the position I held in the army and in the presidency of the Republic
24 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, it is only natural that I followed closely what was
25 happening in the theatre of war, and especially in Srebrenica.
1 I have read a series of publications, books, newspaper reports,
2 and all other reports that I could get hold of linked to the events in
3 July 1995 in Srebrenica.
4 In my speeches and writings, I was critical of the policies
5 conducted by the state and military leadership of the Republic of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina because my position was that the moves they were taking
7 on the battlefront, both in political and military terms, were favouring
8 the paramilitary forces of the Bosnian Serbs and the forces coming from
9 Serbia and Montenegro. A series of measures that were taken with respect
10 to the defence of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and especially
11 Srebrenica and Zepa, played into the hands of our enemies rather than
12 contributing to the defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 In my book, I have given five or six arguments or reasons
14 contributing to the fall of the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves which fully
15 corresponded to the policy pursued by the political and military
16 leadership of the rebel Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina and which suited the
17 aggressor forces against the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The basis
18 for the activities of the rebel Bosnian Serbs were the decisions on the
19 strategic goals of the Serbian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina adopted by the
20 assembly, the so-called assembly of the Serb people in Banja Luka in May
21 1992, or, to be more precise, on the 12th of May, 1992, and which were
22 published in the Official Gazette of Republika Srpska on the 26th of
23 November, 1993.
24 As they are very brief, allow me to read them out. "The strategic
25 goals or priorities of the Serb people in Bosnia and Herzegovina are:
1 One, a state delineation with the other two national communities; two, a
2 corridor between Semberija and Krajina; three, the establishment of a
3 corridor in the Drina River valley."
4 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, it is most
5 reluctantly that I am objecting, but it is my submission that reference to
6 this Official Gazette of Republika Srpska, the witness is going far beyond
7 the subject matter and the scope of his testimony with regard to the
8 developments in Srebrenica.
9 I hope you will not wrongly interpret the position of the Defence,
10 but I think it would be far more effective if the witness could focus on
11 the events in which he was directly involved in or what he may have heard
12 from other sources, but with special regard to the ruling that you made on
13 the scope of his testimony.
14 I apologise for the interruption.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Harmon, what is your
17 MR. HARMON: Again, Mr. President, this is Your Honours'
18 witnesses. We don't have any observations in respect to Mr. Petrusic's
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General Halilovic, perhaps it
21 might be more useful for the Chamber if you were to concentrate on the
22 facts that you participated in as an actor or an observer. We do not wish
23 you to take the position of an expert witness. You are, rather, a fact
24 witness. You told us that you participated in the negotiations on the
25 demilitarisation of Srebrenica. Perhaps you could start with that and
1 then go on to the fall and the developments that followed after the fall
2 of Srebrenica, because we have time constraints, as you know. So if you
3 could focus your testimony on these points, it would be better.
4 In any event, thank you very much for preparing your statement,
5 but if you could go more directly to those points, it would be better.
6 A. If I may, I would just like to quote the third point which relates
7 to Srebrenica and Zepa: "With the establishment of the corridor of the
8 lower flow of the Drina --" the Drina being the river, the borderline
9 river between the two states, between Serb states.
10 I took part in the negotiations on the demilitarisation of
11 Srebrenica and Zepa in April and May 1993. And for the situation to be
12 clearer to you, to make it clearer, let me say that the operation for the
13 realisation of this third goal, the assembly of the Bosnian people in
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, it began in January 1993 at the same time as the
15 attack on the Bosnian Croats on upper Vakuf and the valley of the river
16 Neretva and certain regions of Central Bosnia.
17 The attack was -- they were coordinated by the Serbs and Croats.
18 I would like to remind you of this and then go on to the demilitarisation
20 On the 16th of April, 1993, there was an attack on the village of
21 Ahmici, that is to say, at the same time when there was fierce fighting
22 for taking over the territory of Konjevic Polje, Kamenica, Srebrenica,
23 Zepa, and so on and so forth. The negotiations took place on the 18th of
24 April at the Sarajevo airport, but before that, it was announced from
25 General Morillon as the commander of UNPROFOR in Bosnia-Herzegovina. On
1 the 30th of March, 1993, I received a letter which announced that UNPROFOR
2 units were going to be deployed within the Serb enclave - Srebrenica
3 enclave, I'm sorry - and there was initiative for this already in
4 February, and this was given by President Izetbegovic as a sign of
6 The first agreement was signed on the 17th of April, 1993, at the
7 Sarajevo airport. I and General Mladic signed it in the presence of
8 General Wahlgren as the UNPROFOR representative. I think that the
9 contents of that agreement is well-known to you and it refers to the urban
10 area of Srebrenica. It states that the demilitarisation will take place
11 within the space of 72 hours and that all weapons, mines, ammunition, and
12 materiel, except medical material, in Srebrenica will be handed over to
13 UNPROFOR under supervision of three officers on each side, and that in the
14 town no person which is armed or any armed unit will remain in town except
16 In preparing for this testimony, I must say that I was -- did not
17 have access to any archives --
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General, I apologise for
19 interrupting you, but the interpreters are asking that you slow down,
20 please, because they are having difficulty in following you. Please,
21 would you slow down, General. Thank you, but please continue.
22 A. I did, however, succeed in coming by one particular document,
23 which was compiled by my deputy, General Jovan Divjak, and which was
24 addressed to the command of the 2nd Corps and the command of Naser Oric in
25 Srebrenica. The document was compiled on the 20th of April, 1993, which
1 testifies to the fact that it was after the agreement of the 17th of
2 April, after the signing of the agreement. Negotiations continued, but at
3 a lower level, not at the level of commanders.
4 General Divjak writes in that document as follows:
5 "I inform you that in the negotiations on the demilitarisation of
6 Srebrenica held on the 19th of April, 1993, no significant steps forward
7 were taken, no significant progress was made. We concretised the fact
8 that the aggressor side outside the contents of the already signed
9 agreement on the demilitarisation of the town of Srebrenica insists that
10 all units on defence lines surrender their weapons, thereby, according to
11 their consents, the area be demilitarised, which is marked by the
12 delineation line."
13 I don't want to read the whole text, but let me, if I may, just
14 read one more paragraph from that text:
15 "UNPROFOR understands by the term 'demilitarisation' - and our
16 side completely agrees with that interpretation - the complete
17 demilitarisation of Srebrenica, and there would be no armed persons except
18 the civilian police and a small section around Srebrenica which can be
19 seen with the naked eye."
20 General Divjak goes on to explain that in Srebrenica there should
21 be no armed persons, soldiers, or reserve policemen, and states that they
22 should be pulled out of the town and that the defence lines should be
23 strengthened. He takes note that we have the absolute support of General
24 Morillon and General Wahlgren, and in one particular sentence he says, and
25 I quote: "Mladic has signed an agreement of that kind, and it is his
1 problem that he doesn't know what it means."
2 Therefore, after the agreement was signed of the 17th of April,
3 paramilitary formations of Bosnian Serbs and aggressors from Serbia and
4 Montenegro did not adhere to the provisions of the signed agreement.
5 After the entry of the Canadian Battalion into Srebrenica, the intensity
6 of combat activity fell off. There was less combat action, but there was
7 sporadic shelling and shooting in the town, at the town, from the
8 surrounding hills. The town was targeted from the surrounding hills.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General, I apologise for
10 interrupting, but perhaps we could go more quickly to what we're
11 interested in. Do you have an idea of what was done to proceed to actual
12 demilitarisation following the agreement? What steps were taken towards
13 demilitarisation following the agreement signed?
14 A. After the agreement, in Srebrenica, in this way, we lost seven to
15 eight additional villages. It is true that the evacuation of the wounded
16 began and that all armed units began to withdraw from the town, as was
17 provided for by the agreement, and that humanitarian aid began to enter
18 the town.
19 On the 4th and 5th of May, there was an all-out attack on Zepa and
20 combat went on until the 7th or 8th of May. After that, we were to meet
21 again at the airport, or more exactly, this meeting took place on the 7th
22 of May. The negotiation went on throughout the night but yielded no
24 Mladic asked that all the weapons be handed over to him. General
25 Morillon insisted that the weapons be surrendered to him, or rather, to
1 UNPROFOR, and we ourselves asked that the area of the urban -- the urban
2 area of Srebrenica be demilitarised and that the units be pulled out of
3 the urban area, because Srebrenica and Zepa had already been proclaimed
4 safe areas.
5 On the 8th of May, sometime after midnight - more exactly, around
6 2.00 a.m. - an agreement was signed on the demilitarisation of Srebrenica
7 and Zepa, and in the spirit of the negotiations and in the spirit of the
8 agreement that we signed, I informed the command of the 1st and 2nd Corps
9 and, of course, the command of the defence of Srebrenica.
10 The agreement envisaged the withdrawal of the infantry units one
11 and a half kilometres away from the confrontation line, line of contact,
12 which the forces of the Bosnian Serbs never did. The agreement also
13 provided for the withdrawal of artillery and mechanised units of the
14 aggressor, all of them, to certain regions, and that they be placed under
15 the control of UNPROFOR. That too was never respected.
16 The entry of UNPROFOR units into Zepa, the evacuation of the
17 wounded from Zepa was implemented, did take place, and it was said that
18 our units, when leaving the urban area of Srebrenica and Zepa, would
19 evacuate with them overall combat, materiel, and all other equipment and
20 materiel. In the order compiled by our General Staff, it was provided
21 that the units pull out of the urban area of Srebrenica and Zepa, of
22 course with all their weaponry, and that what they were not able to pull
23 out be placed under UNPROFOR control.
24 This agreement, for our part, was complied with to the letter, and
25 after that, from July, that is to say, from May 1993 onwards up until July
1 1995 --
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General Halilovic, perhaps we
3 could focus a little more closely on June 1995. I think that you
4 mentioned a whole series of sabotage operations by the BH army and, in
5 particular, an operation on the 20th of June, 1995. Do you know who
6 ordered the operation, who issued the orders for that operation, what it
7 consisted of, and what the objectives were, what its targets were? This
8 could perhaps bring us -- throw more light on the fall of Srebrenica
9 itself, give us a better insight into that.
10 A. When we speak of the mistakes made by the Bosnia-Herzegovina
11 republic, its political and military leaders, I'm thinking first and
12 foremost of the fact that they should have liberated -- planned the
13 liberation of Podrinje first, that operation, and only later the other
14 one, Sarajevo one. If they wanted to deblock Sarajevo, measures should
15 have been taken to strengthen the Defence of Srebrenica and Zepa, which,
16 of course, was not resorted to.
17 Secondly, in the spring of 1995, 18 key officers who had command
18 posts at Srebrenica and Zepa were pulled out in order to be trained in
19 Zenica. It would have been logical that at least the 18 officers from the
20 free territory had been sent from Srebrenica to Zepa to train them and to
21 fortify them, to reinforce.
22 Thirdly, an order reached me signed by the Chief of Staff, the
23 representative of the command of the 28th Division in Srebrenica, on
24 diversionary activity during the time of the Sarajevo operation. That
25 order was written on the 20th of June, 1995, and it was signed by the
1 representative of the command of the 28th Division, Major Ramiz Becirevic.
2 Fourth, in view of the fact that we knew what the opposite side
3 was intending, what their strategic interest was in this area, in the
4 Podrinje area, a lot more should have been done towards capacitating and
5 arming the units themselves in Srebrenica and Zepa for a possible defence.
6 And point number five - although there were more reasons, one
7 could have more than five - when the attack on Srebrenica and Zepa took
8 place in July 1995, in my opinion, the Sarajevo operation should have been
9 stopped and all units who were free and capable should have been sent to
10 Srebrenica and Zepa to help the areas that were in jeopardy.
11 And point number six, when the units passed through Srebrenica and
12 Zepa towards free territory of Tuzla and Kladanj, nothing was done to help
13 them, to come to their assistance; that is to say, what was done was
14 negligible, insufficient.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General, I apologise once again
16 for interrupting, but could you explain to us what the strategic interest
17 was or military -- particularly military interest as regards Srebrenica
18 for the Bosnia-Herzegovina army forces and the VRS army forces? What were
19 their strategic interests?
20 A. The strategic goal of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was defined
21 by the constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the platform taken by the
22 presidency on wartime circumstances which was enacted on the 1st of June,
23 1992, therefore, a free Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a state of equal
24 peoples of the Bosniaks, Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Croats, and all other
25 peoples living in that territory. And of course, our strategic goal was
1 to have a free, liberated Podrinje.
2 The strategic goal of the Bosnian Serbs was defined by their own
3 decision, a decision taken by their assembly, which was to have ethnically
4 cleansed the valley of the Drina, and as it says, to do away with the
5 Drina as being a centuries-old border between Serb states, which means
6 that our two sides were on opposite sides in the Drina valley.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General, to move on to the
8 attack on Srebrenica, do you have an idea when the Bosniak authorities,
9 civilian or military, learnt of the attack on the Srebrenica enclave by
10 the Serb forces, and in particular, when were they informed of the
11 transfer of the population, the capture, and then the execution of members
12 of the column and so on and so forth? When did they learn of this? And
13 the BH army forces, did they have military materiel and manpower to
14 prevent the attack or to launch a counter-attack?
15 Could you develop your ideas along those lines, please. May we
16 have your opinion on that area? What is your information on that subject?
17 A. In the Dani magazine published in 1998 as a special edition, Dani
18 magazine, under the title of "How They Sold Out Srebrenica and Retained
19 Power," this was an article written by Mr. Hecimovic, a journalist, he
20 quotes a series of testimonies from the meeting of the SDA Main Board in
21 Zenica, and he quotes the speech on that occasion made by the
22 then-commander Rasim Delic, who, in his 20-minute-long presentation,
23 devoted several minutes to the Srebrenica situation. The meeting of the
24 Main Board of the SDA party in Zenica, and the fall of the enclave of
25 Srebrenica, occurred on the same day; it coincided. He just informed them
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 at the meeting that NATO planes, two planes were active over Srebrenica,
2 and says nothing more on the subject.
3 Hecimovic at that time was a journalist and he was a close
4 collaborator of the prime minister, Mr. Haris Silajdzic, prime minister of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, therefore, he was in a position to know at firsthand
6 what was happening there.
7 I later learnt that the command of the 2nd Corps and the General
8 Staff knew when the operation on Srebrenica started, but from a series of
9 testimonies, the people who were in Srebrenica, both from military and
10 political structures, we can clearly see that they asked for help, both of
11 the command of the 2nd Corps and the command of the General Staff and
12 President Izetbegovic, but that they did not receive that assistance.
13 To answer your question whether they had the power and materiel to
14 help, to come to the help of Srebrenica, I think that they did. First of
15 all, what was needed was, before the Sarajevo operation, to ensure
16 Srebrenica and Zepa, to protect it, and they had enough manpower and
17 enough materiel to do so - that is my opinion - and not to unleash the
18 Sarajevo operation and to leave Srebrenica and Zepa to fend for
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, General. Perhaps we could
21 now move on more specifically to the column, the issue of the column. In
22 general terms, what information do you dispose of with respect to the
23 column, the formation of the column, the evolution of the column, and
24 everything else with respect to the column, how it was pierced?
25 A. From what I learnt talking to people who were in the enclave, that
1 is to say, in Srebrenica, but also from the discussions I had with members
2 of the General Staff, I learnt that, in fact, the General Staff and the
3 presidency did not have any information as to the direction taken by the
4 column from Srebrenica. They reported back once but did not communicate
5 after that, so that in practical terms, the first information as to the
6 direction of the column, whether it was moving towards Zepa or Kladanj or
7 Tuzla, reached them only when the first parts of the column began to
8 appear along the Tuzla axis, which means that along that route of horror
9 from Srebrenica to Tuzla, they were not assisted in any way. No aid was
11 And as to the movement of the column itself and the terrible
12 sufferings that they went through, there are many testimonies to this
13 ordeal, and they can be ranked amongst the greatest horror experiences
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General, do you have any
16 information as to the time when the Bosnian authorities learnt about the
17 capture of one portion of the column and how those authorities actually
18 learnt about the executions and the disappearance of a number of members
19 of that column? When was it that they learnt about it, and how did they
20 learn about it?
21 A. My knowledge about that is based on written documents, and I must
22 admit that I'm not quite sure as to their reliability.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Let me ask you one more question
24 about the column. Was there an operation conducted from the direction of
25 Tuzla at the same time? For example, did Naser Oric receive an order not
1 to go and search for the column? What was the view of the situation from
2 the perspective of Tuzla?
3 A. What Naser Oric told me about it, and what his associates who were
4 in the area of Tuzla at the time told me, was that he had requested help,
5 both from the General Staff and the Corps Command, that a passage be
6 opened through which the column could pass. But he also complained about
7 the lack of understanding on their part. He told me that finally, in the
8 end, he had managed to gather a group of people on his own - that group of
9 people was not very large, maybe 50 members only - and that he had
10 attempted to pierce the corridor at one spot and open up a passage which
11 should have been used by the column. When he spoke about that, he and his
12 associates, they were very angry and resigned. So my knowledge about that
13 particular aspect of the situation is based on their experience and not on
14 my personal knowledge.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you, General. I think
16 that we already have enough information at this point, so we could perhaps
17 have a break now. After the break, the parties will have some questions
18 for you, and after their questions, the Judges might also have questions
19 for you.
20 Let me ask the usher to accompany General Halilovic out of the
21 courtroom first.
22 We will have a 20-minute break.
23 --- Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So, Mr. Harmon, 50 minutes,
1 approximately, for your questions. Your witness.
2 MR. HARMON: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours. Good
3 morning, counsel. Good morning, General. Mr. President, we have no
4 questions of the witness. Thank you.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well, then.
6 Mr. Petrusic.
7 Examined by Mr. Petrusic:
8 Q. Good morning, General. My name is Nenad Petrusic and I am
9 defending General Krstic in this case. I have a few questions for you.
10 Let me begin with the end of your narrative.
11 You told us that it was through the conversations with Mr. Oric
12 that you learnt about the fact that there was no communication, no
13 contact, and that it was because of that that no adequate assistance was
14 ever provided to the units which had attempted to break through from the
15 direction of Srebrenica towards Kladanj.
16 General, I would like to know whether you know Sead Delic, General
18 A. I know General Delic by sight. We never had an opportunity to
19 talk, so I only know him by sight.
20 Q. He was a General with the BH army, was he not, in 1995?
21 A. Yes, that's correct.
22 Q. General, General Sead Delic, I assume because he was an active,
23 high-ranking officer of the BH army in 1995 - unlike yourself who at the
24 time was no longer in any command function with the BH army, if I
25 understand you correctly - was informed about the events which were taking
1 place at the front line. Is that correct?
2 A. Mr. Petrusic, I don't know whether it was on purpose or
3 accidentally, but you have reversed the things in your allegation just
4 now. I stated that I had talks with some members of the General Staff of
5 the BH army, and that in those conversations, they had told me that there
6 had been no contact with them and that they were not informed of the
7 direction which the column had taken; whereas Naser Oric told me that he
8 had requested assistance from the General Staff and the commander of the
9 2nd Corps, General Delic, that is, that they give him the units with which
10 he could open up a passage for the column to pull out.
11 Q. General, would you agree with me that General Delic was informed
12 about the events taking place at the front line in July 1995?
13 A. From what I know - and the basis of my knowledge are various
14 sources, including magazines and a number of statements - one can conclude
15 that General Sead Delic had been informed about the events taking place at
16 the front line up until the moment when the column decided to attempt a
18 Q. General, General Sead Delic in an interview which he gave to the
19 Dani magazine on the 17th of March, 2000, in response to a question put to
20 him by a journalist to the effect that there were two rumours circulating
21 amongst the population from Srebrenica, first of all, that after the fall
22 of Srebrenica, Oric broke through the lines of Serb forces with a number
23 of volunteers, and second story, that he had refused, cowardly so, to
24 attempt that breakthrough, General Sead Delic answered to that question
25 "neither of both." He went on to state that it was on the 13th of July
1 that Oric received an order to take a number of soldiers and officers and
2 launch combat activities in the area of Medzedza.
3 General, you would agree with me that Medzedza is in the area of
4 the breakthrough line of the 28th Division in the direction of Kladanj.
5 Is that correct, General?
6 A. You must admit that from General Delic's statement --
7 Q. Excuse me, General, excuse me for a second. Would you please
8 answer my question, that is, is Medzedza in the area of the breakthrough
9 of the 28th Division in the direction of Kladanj? Could you simply answer
10 yes or no.
11 A. I think that the first part of your question is far more
12 important, but I will answer the second part as well.
13 Q. General, would you please answer my question.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Harmon.
15 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, I have a copy of the article that's
16 being referred to by my colleague and about which questions are being
17 directed to General Halilovic. Perhaps General Halilovic could be shown
18 the article that is the subject of these questions, and he would be better
19 prepared to answer the questions of my colleague.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I think we should perhaps wait
21 for the question and then the answer of the witness. General Halilovic is
22 probably familiar with the article. If he needs it, on the other hand, I
23 think that Mr. Petrusic can provide him with a copy of the article, if the
24 General wishes to have a copy in front of him. But thanks for your
25 intervention, Mr. Harmon.
1 Mr. Petrusic, could you perhaps ask your question once again, and
2 if necessary, could you give the article to the General, please.
3 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. General, would you first of all answer my question, that is, is
5 Medzedza in the area of the breakthrough of the 28th Division which was
6 moving from the direction of Srebrenica towards Kladanj?
7 A. I will answer your question; however, with your permission, I
8 should like to comment on the statement which was given by Mr. Sead
10 Q. General --
11 A. Because you phrased it that way, I think that that portion of your
12 question was more important than the exact location of Medzedza. The
13 question to which Sead Delic responded is far more significant, and your
14 question is a formal one and meaningless.
15 Q. General, it is not up to you to assess the significance of the
16 question. Thank you very much for your opinion, but I insist on my
17 question. Can I please have your answer.
18 A. General Sead Delic merely confirmed what Naser Oric had said, that
19 a number of soldiers and officers had received an order to that effect,
20 and you must admit that such an order cannot be carried out by that number
21 of soldiers and officers.
22 Q. General, you stated that there was no knowledge about the
23 direction which the column had taken in its breakthrough and that nobody
24 knew where they would attempt a breakthrough. Is that correct, General?
25 A. Counsel, I told you what I had heard from the members of the
1 General Staff who held very high positions within the Main Staff of the BH
2 army. They claim that that was correct, that they were not informed of
3 the direction of the moving of the 28th Division up until the moment when
4 they actually appeared in the free territory.
5 Q. General Sead Delic goes on in his interview and he states as
6 follows: "They left in the afternoon hours and then they attempted to
7 establish the contact with the elements of the 28th Division which moved
8 in the direction of Tuzla. A soldier had passed through the area two days
9 ago and came to Kalesija, in the area of the Kalesija, and we concluded
10 from his story that that was also the possible line of their movement."
11 Does that mean, General, that the command of the 2nd Corps was
12 familiar with the direction of the breakthrough of the 28th Division, if,
13 as early as the 11th of July, they had the particular piece of information
14 at their disposal?
15 A. If you should read the answer of General Delic once again, and
16 carefully so, you will realise that he too says at one point that it was
17 their conclusion that it would be possible, and so on and so forth. So he
18 himself was not sure as to the direction of the movement of the column.
19 It was merely his assumption, and he said that it would be possible. So
20 from his answer, we can see that the statements given by the people who
21 held very high positions within the General Staff of the BH army are
22 confirmed, that is, that it was merely their assumption but that they were
23 not sure as to the exact direction of the movement of the column.
24 Q. General Sead Delic goes on and states in his interview that:
25 "The front line, which was two kilometres long, was pierced by
1 the units from Srebrenik [as interpreted]. The 11th Brigade and the 241st
2 and the 242st and 43rd Brigades also took part in the breakthrough. Those
3 units were in the strength of a company. I personally went, together with
4 Senahid Hodzic, the commander of the 281st Brigade there. He was the only
5 commanding officer at the time who managed to reach the area of Baljkovica
6 and crossed over to the other side."
7 Does this mean, General, this statement of General Sead Delic,
8 that the units of the 2nd Corps had participated in the breakthrough and
9 the pull-out of the troops of the 28th Division from encirclement?
10 A. General Delic himself confirms the fact that from these three
11 brigades you have just mentioned, only portions in the strength of a
12 company were engaged; that is, only certain elements were there. So this
13 statement is the confirmation of what Oric told me, that is, that those
14 units were not very strong ones and that without appropriate artillery and
15 other support were unable to conduct such a complex assignment.
16 Q. General, immediately prior to the attack on Srebrenica, and also
17 throughout 1995, that is, not earlier than 1995, were any diversionary and
18 terrorist units, sabotage units, organised in that area, according to your
19 knowledge? Were they active in that area?
20 A. As regards the structure and the organisation of our units, I
21 think that you are quite knowledgeable about that. You know that there
22 are sabotage units within each brigade, so there were such units, sabotage
23 units, throughout BH army brigades. There is nothing in dispute about
25 Q. Is it your knowledge, General, that those sabotage and terrorist
1 units made incursions into the territory which was outside the enclave of
2 Srebrenica, that is, outside the borders of the safe area?
3 A. As regards one order which I had access to -- that is, I have
4 already spoken about one such order that I had at my disposal. As to
5 whether there were several such orders, I don't have any information about
6 that. But I do know that throughout that period of time, that is, from
7 the 8th of May, 1993, up until the fall of the enclave, practically
8 speaking, that is, until the month of July, 1995, there were several
9 attacks by paramilitary forces of Bosnian Serbs. You can learn about that
10 if you read the special report of the Secretary-General of the United
11 Nations, which I hope you have. If you do not, I can provide it to you.
12 Q. You spoke about the attacks of paramilitary forces. Are you
13 referring to the Bosnian Serb army?
14 A. Yes, I am. I've been using the term which was used in United
15 Nations resolutions, Resolution 819 and several other relevant resolutions
16 issued by the Security Council of the United Nations. They used the term,
17 and I think it would be only fair enough for me to use that particular
18 term and not any other.
19 Q. General, it is not my intention to enter into a debate with you,
20 but do you happen to know what term was used in the report of the
21 Secretary-General of the United Nations, if we are speaking about -- since
22 you have mentioned international organisations yourself?
23 A. All institutions belonging to the International Community refer to
24 the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the army of the Republic of Bosnia
25 and Herzegovina. There was some mistakes made from time to time, but that
1 is not important. What is important was the fact that it was a legal army
2 of the internationally recognised state of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
3 Q. I only wanted to say that in the report made by Kofi Annan, the
4 "VRS" term is also used, the army of Bosnian Serbs, that is.
5 A. Well, we can always check that.
6 Q. General, as a high-ranking officer of the former JNA and the BH
7 army, do you think that any conduct of terrorist activities in spring of
8 that year, that is, terrorist activities from the enclave, from the
9 protected area and into the Serbian-held territory, against Serbian-held
10 positions, was something that could trigger offensive action by the VRS
11 towards the area of the enclave, towards the safe area?
12 A. If there had indeed been terrorist activities from the enclave, I
13 consider it to be a mistake. Would you please allow me to finish the
14 question with one more sentence. I think this is an essential issue.
15 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the Defence is happy
16 with the answer of the witness, but it is really up to you whether you're
17 going to let him finish his answer.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General Halilovic, there will be
19 questions of the Judges later on. For the time being, you are here to
20 answer questions put to you by the Defence counsel, and it is really up to
21 them to decide what questions they want to ask of you. You now have to
22 answer, if you want to do so, the question that is put to you by the
23 Defence counsel, and later on, as I have indicated, there will be
24 questions of the Judges.
25 Mr. Petrusic, please continue.
1 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. General, you are one of the signatories of the agreement on
3 demilitarisation. I should like to know -- and of course, you are also
4 familiar with the rights and duties which during that period of time you
5 yourself and, later on, those who succeeded you on your functions, members
6 of the BH army, had to respect. Does that agreement envisage any
7 sanctions for either of the parties in case of non-compliance with the
9 A. While I was still a member of the BH army, the agreement was
10 complied with in its entirety.
11 Q. General, do you have any knowledge whether in the spring and
12 summer of 1995 the said agreement was honoured and complied with?
13 A. Under the assumption that one single terrorist activity had been
14 conducted, then one was supposed to request that the Security Council of
15 the United Nations to withdraw the agreement concerning the safe area, and
16 one had to publicly state that the agreement was no longer binding and not
17 launch an attack which had horrible consequences.
18 Q. General, in those years, did you happen to know, and do you still
19 know, a prominent politician in Bosnia and Herzegovina, an individual by
20 the name of Rusomir Mahmut Cehajic?
21 A. Rusmir Mahmut Cehajic, is his name.
22 Q. I apologise, thank you.
23 A. Yes, I know him. At the time, he was vice-president of --
24 vice-premier, and now he's a researcher. He's a president of a scientific
1 Q. Was he an influential politician in those years?
2 A. At the time he was a vice-prime minister, and he had adequate
3 influence, depending on his function.
4 Q. Did you, General, together with Naser Oric, have an opportunity to
5 talk to Mr. Mahmut Cehajic after the fall of Srebrenica?
6 A. Yes. We talked in the spring of 1996, and that conversation was
7 published by Oslobodenje Daily in the summer of 1996.
8 Q. General, the conversation which was published by Oslobodenje Daily
9 in four segments, in four installments in August 1996, was never
10 authorised. You never denied it, you never denied what you said during
11 that conversation?
12 A. There was no need to deny anything.
13 Q. In that conversation that the two of you had, Mr. Oric states, I
14 quote, "At any time of day and night from the very beginning of the war up
15 until June 1993, until the arrival of Delic, I had contact with commander
16 Sefer through radio line, radio communication. He was the only person who
17 knew exactly what was happening. And when the order on demilitarisation
18 of the town itself was issued, the commander explained to me that we
19 should hand over only non-functional and faulty weaponry, the ones that we
20 could not hide, heavy weapons, which is what I did. We remained deployed
21 along the lines and the weapons were still with us." Is that correct,
23 A. The agreement on the demilitarisation of Srebrenica and Zepa
24 envisaged the demilitarisation of the urban areas of those two towns and
25 the pull-out of all personnel from the area. After I returned from the
1 airport on the 9th of May, I issued an order specifying that not a single
2 piece of weaponry and equipment should be handed over because we had some
3 very bad experience to that effect, that is, with very slow and
4 inefficient decisions by the International Community. So yes, you're
5 quite correct.
6 Q. Is it true that Mr. Oric stated on that occasion that all of the
7 weaponry which had been handed over was not usable and was faulty, and
8 that all other weapons, the ones that were functional, were still kept?
9 A. You just stated that Naser Oric had said that I was familiar with
10 everything that was happening, and that is quite true, but to the effect
11 it was possible to learn about the situation through radio communication.
12 According to a report sent to me by Naser Oric, old and dysfunctional
13 weapons had been handed over, and those who -- those that could still be
14 used were kept, and that is correct.
15 Q. In that conversation, General, you say that you had ordered that
16 only the useless weapons should be surrendered. Is that correct?
17 A. According to the agreement on the demilitarisation of the urban
18 area of Srebrenica and Zepa, we were not obliged to surrender anything.
19 But it is true that I had ordered, if they had to surrender something,
20 that they should surrender what was faulty.
21 Q. General, in your book "Failed Strategy" published in 1998, you
22 also say, I quote, "I returned to headquarters and issued an order to
23 Srebrenica and Zepa that not a single functional piece of weaponry should
24 be handed over or a single usable bullet. After that, I went to see
25 Izetbegovic and was given congratulations for success."
1 General, you're talking about the urban area; however, clearly
2 your order did not apply to the urban area regarding the surrender of
3 equipment and weaponry.
4 A. You must distinguish between the safe area and the demilitarised
5 zone. According to the agreement, the demilitarised zone covers the urban
6 area of Srebrenica and Zepa and what can be seen from the town itself, and
7 within that zone, no armed personnel or military equipment were permitted.
8 Therefore, my order was to pull out from that area, pursuant to the
9 agreement, all armed personnel and military equipment and, of course, to
10 preserve and retain those weapons that we could use should we launch an
11 attack, if that should prove necessary.
12 Q. General, you are familiar with the decision of the United Nations
13 which had a no-fly zone envisaged.
14 A. Yes, yes, certainly.
15 Q. Pursuant to that decision, were military and civilian aircraft
16 prohibited from flying over from one territory to another, that is,
17 specifically from Tuzla to Srebrenica and Zepa? My question is, were
18 flights prohibited?
19 A. Yes, flights were prohibited for military purposes, but units of
20 the air force of the Yugoslav army - I'm referring to airplanes and
21 helicopters - were used during the attack on Srebrenica and Zepa from
22 January 1993 until May 1993. And testifying to this was General Morillon
23 - I think he wrote about it - who personally witnessed the takeoff of
24 aircraft from the Ponikve strip. It was medical material that was
25 transported more than combat equipment.
1 Q. Yes, but such flights were in violation of the United Nations'
2 decision, whether it was partial violation or total, but in any event, it
3 was in violation of that agreement. Would you agree?
4 A. Obviously not, because the opposite side -- I don't want to have a
5 dispute with you regarding the term, used airplanes and helicopters.
6 Q. General, I'm not asking you about the opposing side. I'm talking
7 to you about aircraft of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina or aircraft of the
8 civilian authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina without the approval of the
9 United Nations. Was that a violation of the resolution?
10 A. Partially yes, because we were transported -- transporting food
11 and medicaments mostly, but partially, yes.
12 Q. Is it a violation if ammunition were transported by means of those
13 aircraft and helicopters? Will you answer that question, please, with a
14 yes or no.
15 A. In view of the fact that we were under an embargo and our hands
16 were tied, I think not. Morally, no; legally, one could discuss it.
17 Q. Naser Oric, General, says in this newspaper Oslobodenje, an
18 interview that you attended as did Mr. Mahmut Cehajic, that Sefer sent six
19 helicopters with ammunition. Is that correct, General?
20 A. It is not correct. It is correct that I sent eight helicopters
21 with ammunition, and if I could have, I would have sent 180.
22 Q. General, you were violating the provisions of the United Nations
24 A. The legal norms of the United Nations also guarantee the right to
1 Q. General, in view of the fact that you sent eight helicopters
2 within a short span of time to Srebrenica, was there sufficient weaponry
3 and ammunition in Srebrenica at the time?
4 A. Unfortunately, no. If there had been, the combat operations would
5 have evolved differently in Eastern Bosnia.
6 Q. Could you explain the need for weapons and ammunitions of the 28th
7 Division in Srebrenica, if UNPROFOR forces were present and constituted a
8 buffer zone between the Serb and Muslim sides?
9 A. So as not to misinform the Trial Chamber, I'm talking about eight
10 helicopters in the period from January to May 1993. The UN proclaimed the
11 safe areas, but they never had sufficient forces and resources to secure
12 them. Sarajevo too was a safe area, and 1.600 people were killed and more
13 than a million shells fell on the city.
14 Q. General, on that occasion, did Naser Oric tell you upon whose
15 orders, in the last decade, of April 1995 he and a number of other senior
16 officers left Srebrenica?
17 A. He told me that he left Srebrenica upon orders of the Chief of
18 Staff of the General Staff. In those days, I think it was Enver
19 Hadzihasanovic. And I think he will be here in the courtroom after me,
20 and then you can ask him that question.
21 Q. Thank you. General, do you have any knowledge, during the time of
22 the attack on Srebrenica, how the 28th Division was structured? Let me
23 withdraw that question. Perhaps General Hadzihasanovic can tell us more
24 about that.
25 A. I could tell you, but I think he is more qualified to give you an
2 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, excuse me, but do I
3 have also 50 minutes, so that I can organise myself within that time
4 frame? In the event that I may take a few minutes longer, will you please
5 caution me?
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] If you should overstep 50
7 minutes, there will be no punishment for you. If you do need more time,
8 please do so. We'll allow it.
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Not much, I hope. Thank you.
10 Q. General, you mentioned the 15th of June as the day when the
11 deblocking or the offensive operations to deblock Sarajevo was embarked
13 A. In those days, there were a large number of orders for sabotage
14 operations from the safe areas.
15 Q. As a high-ranking officer of the former Yugoslav People's Army and
16 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina who is familiar with the doctrine and
17 strategy and rules, that that was intended to draw away forces from one
18 battlefront to another [as interpreted]?
19 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel speak into the microphone,
21 A. If there were any such orders, then you should have used them to
22 ask the United Nations to nullify the resolution on safe areas. I think
23 that would have been the proper course for you to take, rather than doing
24 what you did in Srebrenica.
25 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. General, do you have any knowledge that your army or political
2 leadership or Supreme Command asked for the abolition of the safe areas,
3 in view of what you have just said?
4 A. I have no such knowledge whether any such requests were made. I
5 don't know.
6 Q. General, do you have any knowledge regarding the fact that the
7 28th Division had a plan of attack on members of UNPROFOR and their
8 equipment? Of course, that was a period when you were not the commander
9 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the period of 1994, 1995.
10 A. I read about some such plans in the press, but the testimony of
11 Enver Hadzihasanovic will be more appropriate in that context, as he was
12 Chief of Staff at the time.
13 Q. General, I will put a question to you, a hypothetical. If one
14 party to a conflict, regardless of which party that may be, attacks
15 another and violates certain norms and agreements, is it the legitimate
16 right of the other party to retaliate and respond? General, this is a
17 hypothetical question and it doesn't apply to Srebrenica or any other
18 specific situation.
19 General, I'm -- it was the side that you are representing that
20 violated the provisions of the assigned agreement.
21 General, this is a hypothetical question and you obviously don't
22 want to answer it.
23 A. In that case, the opposite side should observe the norms.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Excuse me. If you overlap, it
25 is simply not possible to translate what you are saying. You have to
1 speak one after the other, with pauses in between.
2 And General Halilovic, answer, please, Mr. Petrusic's question.
3 Please continue, Mr. Petrusic.
4 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. General, I'm waiting for your answer.
6 A. You're asking me a question without allowing me to answer it. So
7 hypothetically -- your question is a hypothetical one, and yet you know
8 that the units of the opposite side violated the agreement all the time.
9 And if units of the army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina acted in
10 violation of the agreement, then the lawful procedure would be to ask for
11 the abolition of the decision of a safe area, to withdraw your signature
12 from the agreements, and then you would have the legitimate right to
13 respond; until then, no.
14 Q. General, did the other side too in this case -- I withdraw that
16 General, do you know Hakija Meholjic? Have you heard of him?
17 A. I met him in 1999 or 2000 perhaps, after having read some of his
18 statements in the press.
19 Q. General, he was chief of police in Srebrenica in 1995, or rather,
20 in the period of the safe area until the end of the war. Is that so, for
21 the record?
22 A. As far as I know, yes.
23 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I should now like to ask the
24 technical booth to play a short video film of some 10 minutes. It is a
25 video film made by Dutch television, after which I will have a few
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 questions for the General, General Halilovic. My colleague is correcting
2 me. It will take 12 minutes.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I think that we need an
4 interpreter to interpret from the Dutch into English; right?
5 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President. In the break I
6 spoke to the technical booth, and they have provided a translation so that
7 the Chamber and the parties can follow the film, and not just the witness
8 and the Defence, as there is a translation in the Serbian and in Dutch.
9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters don't have anything.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please.
11 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I think, Mr. Petrusic, that we
13 only have a Dutch version, so we need interpretation. Do you have a B/C/S
15 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Do you mean a transcript?
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] No. Of the video.
17 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The video is in three languages,
18 depending on who is speaking. When they're speaking Bosnian,
19 representatives of the Bosnian authorities, they use their own language,
20 of course; when a journalist is speaking, who is filming, he speaks his
21 language, which is Dutch; and then in a couple of shots we have the
22 English subtitles too. So I think we can look at the video and then,
23 through the questions, clear up anything that may not be clear.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. Let us try, but I
25 see that General Halilovic has something to say.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I understood Mr. Petrusic
2 correctly, the event has to do with 1995, and I think General
3 Hadzihasanovic's opinion would be more relevant, in view of his position
4 in the army at the time, and I fear that we may be wasting time for no
5 purpose, in the meantime.
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we will not be
7 wasting time, because there is a statement by General Hadzihasanovic on
8 that tape - no, I'm sorry - General Halilovic on the video, so I do
9 consider it relevant.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Please let us see the video
12 [Videotape played]
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] We have no sound, to the
14 technical booth.
15 Yes, Mr. Harmon.
16 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, from the little bit I've seen - not
17 heard, of course, but seen - it appears there's Dutch subtitles, and the
18 Prosecution bench doesn't have a Dutch speaker or a B/C/S speaker, and so
19 we are unable to understand, essentially, what may be a significant part
20 of this film. If this film has been available for a considerable period
21 of time, it seems to me the transcripts should have been prepared on this
22 film and made available to us; otherwise we're sitting here like people in
23 a movie theatre watching a foreign film, and it is meaningless to us.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I was proceeding from the
25 principle that we did need an interpreter from the Dutch into another
1 language, but if the footage was in B/C/S, it would be possible to
2 translate, I thought. But there is an interpreter, Thomas Henquet, I
3 understand, to do the translation. Do you have a microphone, Thomas?
4 MR. FOURMY: [Interpretation], Mr. President, it's a technical
5 matter. The video is in three languages, Dutch, English, and B/C/S.
6 Mr. Henquet reviewed the tape yesterday, and if the Chamber so wishes, he
7 is ready to interpret it simultaneously, though he is not a professional
8 interpreter. He's ready to interpret the parts that are in Dutch.
9 There is no transcript today of that footage. That cassette was
10 tendered by the Defence. It was shown by Dutch television for the first
11 time in March 2001, and it was tendered to registry on the 21st of March
12 this year, so there was no time to prepare a transcript in the three
13 official languages of the Tribunal because speakers use different
14 languages in the footage.
15 If you so wish and if necessary, Mr. Henquet may take a solemn
16 declaration. He can go to the English booth, and with the assistance of
17 the technical booth, you would be able to view this video and thus obtain
18 a French or English or B/C/S version as you may require. Thank you.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Harmon, what do you say to
20 this suggestion? Is it acceptable?
21 MR. HARMON: Yes, it is, Mr. President.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] And you, Mr. Petrusic?
23 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well, then. I'm addressing
25 myself to Mr. Thomas Henquet. Could you please get up. Stand up, please.
1 Do you take upon yourself to accomplish this task with loyalty,
2 independence, and impartiality, and in full respect of your duty to
3 preserve confidentiality?
4 MR. HENQUET: Yes, I do.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Henquet has answered with a
6 "yes, I do." I'm saying this because he didn't have a microphone so the
7 interpreters were unable to interpret.
8 Mr. Thomas, please go to the English booth. [In English] Are you
9 ready to start?
10 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, okay. So from the technical booth, are you
12 ready? Okay, let's go.
13 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Alija was telling us about the offer
14 of Clinton. Chetniks would take Srebrenica and kill 5.000 Muslims, and
15 there will be a military intervention. What did we think about that? We
16 rejected that. We didn't think it was normal to have 5.000 people being
18 I can't hear the commentary, I'm sorry. I cannot hear the Dutch
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Perhaps we need to start from
21 the beginning. The English booth tells us that they cannot hear the sound
22 of the commentary in Dutch, so they can't translate it.
23 I think perhaps it would be better to have a break. We've been
24 working for about an hour and ten minutes, so maybe we should have a break
25 and then the technical booth can prepare everything so that things run
2 So General Halilovic, we're going to have a short break.
3 Mr. Usher, a break. Twenty-minute break.
4 --- Break taken at 11.59 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 12.30 p.m.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I think the interpreters and the
7 technical booth have invested a great deal of effort to adapt themselves
8 to a situation which is not usual, and therefore for people to be able to
9 follow the discussion, I am going to ask Mr. Olivier Fourmy to give us the
10 instructions that he has received from the technicians themselves.
11 MR. FOURMY: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. In effect,
12 when we are showing a videotape, the normal thing is to have a transcript
13 of what is on the tape so that the interpreters are able to interpret
15 In this extraordinary situation, and we should like to apologise
16 on behalf of the registry, people wishing to listen in the B/C/S language
17 should listen to it on channel 6 and will have to focus their attention on
18 the headsets because it is technically not possible to delete the volume
19 of the cassette in the public gallery, so at times there will be an
20 overlapping of voices. You will hear the voice of the speaker in the
21 B/C/S, and as the interpretation will be done from the English, there
22 might be some overlapping. But as to what is said on the tape, I suggest
23 that you focus on the interpretation coming from the booths.
24 Thank you, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Does that mean, Mr. Fourmy, that
1 English will still be on channel 4 and French will continue to be on
2 channel 5?
3 MR. FOURMY: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President, that is correct.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. We shall
5 try. Let us have the videotape played now, please.
6 [Videotape played]
7 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "A meeting with American president
8 Clinton, Alija was telling us about the offer of Clinton. Chetniks would
9 take Srebrenica and kill 5.000 Muslims, and then there will be a military
10 intervention, and what did we think about that? And we rejected that. We
11 didn't think it was normal that 5.000 people would be slaughtered.
12 That the American president would have suggested that Serbs would
13 enter Srebrenica and to kill Muslims in order to justify an intervention
14 would be too absurd, but from the UN research, it now seems that this is
15 not too awkward. Some surviving members of the Srebrenica delegation have
16 stated that President Izetbegovic also told them that he had learned that
17 a NATO intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina was possible but could only
18 occur if the Serbs which would break into Srebrenica are killing at least
19 5.000 of its people. President Izetbegovic was heard by UN investigators
20 and denies having made those statements, but he admits having accepted an
21 opinion on the exchange of territories.
22 We talked about an exchange and the exchange of Srebrenica for
23 other territories.
24 UN report: The delegation opposed the idea and the subject was
25 not discussed further.
1 In negotiations we will demand that the maps will be corrected in
2 the Bosnian parliament, that the Bosnian Republic will get Muslim
3 territory along the Drina. The delegation is -- imposed secrecy. The
4 exchange of territories is not -- it was not abolished. We agreed to meet
5 the next day. But after our meeting with Izetbegovic, people started to
6 be bribed. People were taken everywhere. Men came that I didn't know and
7 they made propositions. I've seen those men, but never again afterwards.
8 They spoke individually with us or in groups, sitting at a table. I was
9 sitting at a table together with Mehovic, and they asked us what we
10 thought about Srebrenica for Vogosca, exchanging for Srebrenica for
11 Vogosca, and Zepa for Ilijas. In case I would not accept the exchange, I
12 could be liquidated, so I returned with the delegation to Srebrenica.
13 General Halilovic was aware of the meeting between Izetbegovic and
14 the delegation. According to him, the president spoke also with other
15 representatives of Srebrenica. Izetbegovic offered to exchange Srebrenica
16 for Zepa, for neighbourhoods in Sarajevo, Vogosca, Ilijas and Ilidza. We
17 rejected that. Only half a year after Srebrenica was proclaimed a safe
18 area, it is the Muslim government that discusses the destiny of the Muslim
19 population in Srebrenica. Did Sarajevo sacrifice Srebrenica in 1993?
20 Answer: I think so, yes.
21 From these facts emerges that maintaining Srebrenica was not a
22 prime objective of the Muslim government.
23 Half a year later, the first Dutch blue helmets arrive at
24 Srebrenica. In spite of limited support in Dutch parliament, they are
25 tasked to defend the enclave. This is the Dutch minister for the
2 We know that you are in a very difficult position here and that
3 you have to do a very difficult job here, and you're very important for
4 the future of these people. Lieutenant Colonel Broskij, acting commander
5 of DutchBat, is convinced the Dutch government did not know about
6 the -- but I did give up Srebrenica. I cannot imagine that the Dutch
7 government was aware of those plans, that is, to give up Srebrenica, that
8 those negotiations were going on. I'm really not -- I'm sure that we
9 didn't know that.
10 Interview of the Dutch Defence Ministry for [unintelligible]
11 Srebrenica. You see a lot of people who are really waiting for a future
12 that they don't know -- they don't know what the future will bring, and
13 you see that they realise that they are incredibly dependent upon DutchBat
14 and that DutchBat is really a life insurance for them. DutchBat is a life
15 insurance for them. The question is: Would the Dutch government have
16 sent DutchBat if they had known that the Muslims were considering the
17 secret proposal and maybe have accepted that? Broskij, acting commander
18 of DutchBat, says that this would have been decisive. This is Broskij,
19 the acting commander:
20 Well, the situation would have been different for the Dutch
21 government in that case. I'm certain of that. And perhaps -- Question:
22 -- Answer: We would not have been sent in that case.
23 Early 1995, after a year of relative quiet, tensions increase in
24 the enclave. February, a year and a half after the issue of exchange of
25 territory was discussed -- they're talking about a discussion with Naser
1 Oric. The one general refuses to take Oric with him. Early April 1995
2 Oric would have managed to speak to Izetbegovic and to discuss his
3 presumptions. In the General Staff, according to this man, there was a
4 meeting between Oric and Izetbegovic.
5 I heard from Naser that those two were together in one room during
6 that night. Naser told me that himself. Everything indicates that Oric's
7 fears were confirmed. Oric is back from Kakanj, but then he leaves for
8 good from the enclave and he orders the deputy commander to come with
9 him. After that, he told me, I don't know the exact number, but he sent
10 about 20 officers away, known fighters who participated in heavy
11 fighting. They were trusted by the soldiers and by the people. Each of
12 them could easily gather a hundred people with them that were willing and
13 able to die, able to die. He sent them away to study, to follow an
14 education. Sources confirm that Oric left on his own initiative. The
15 soldiers spoke to Oric just before Oric left. He said he would come
16 back. He said that he would come back and arrange something for our
18 The man who had been in the centre of attention for four years
19 left in silence. DutchBat and the UN left -- knew that Oric has been in
20 safety for three months only after the fall of Srebrenica.
21 Is this his biggest secret? Answer: Probably. His secret
22 and Izetbegovic's secret.
23 Dutch deputy commander: He was a very strong leader.
24 The people, he really -- he was a very strong force behind his
25 brigades, at the moment such a commander, at least, and case is complete.
1 People panicked, especially women, children, and elderly, so the weaker
2 groups. And the little bit of army that was left started to panic. We
3 saw that there was no more leadership, and we had obviously been
5 Around Srebrenica, Serbian troops started to pull together and
6 they started to regroup, restructure. June 1995, everything indicates
7 that the Serbs are preparing their final offensive. DutchBat is
8 preparing -- it's preparing itself. Then something strange happened.
9 Muslim soldiers leave the enclave and plunder the village of Visnjica just
10 behind the defence line. The order came from Sarajevo to change the
11 pressure on the front. In the meeting, I resisted. This could not happen
12 because this would cause problems. The village was very unimportant.
13 Still the order was given, and the guys in Srebrenica followed the order.
14 Why, for goodness' sake? Houses were burned. The attack was led by one
15 of Oric's former allies, former associates.
16 11th of July, 1995, Serbs take the enclave. The Muslims are
17 separated. Women and children are bused to safety. The men stay behind.
18 The remaining army, the remaining part of the army flees through the woods
19 to Tuzla. According to official estimates, 7.000 men were killed with
20 premeditation by Serbs. No one could prevent the fall of the enclave;
21 DutchBat, the UN, but also the Muslim -- the DutchBat Brigade, all the
22 Muslim forces. Everybody remained passive. Shortly after Srebrenica, the
23 enclave Zepa fell into Serb hands.
24 Meanwhile, around Sarajevo, another battle is going on. Suddenly
25 five Serb Ops fall into Muslim hands, therewith, the siege of Sarajevo
1 will soon end. This is the conclusion.
2 I still respect for Dudakovic and the 5th Army Corps, but in three
3 days, take five cities. Where was he all that time? I've been in war
4 myself, and I know what war is. Gorazde was awaiting the same fate as
5 us. Serbs killed more people than was planned. Definitely Gorazde,
6 otherwise Gorazde would have been the same fate as Srebrenica. The
7 International Community needed the genocide to stop this war."
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well, thank you.
9 Mr. Petrusic.
10 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Q. General, sir, you will agree that the man on this video clip
12 speaking about the alleged agreement of Alija Izetbegovic on the
13 liquidation of 5.000 Muslims was Hakija Meholjic; am I right in saying
14 that? For the record, you assert that it was Hakija Meholjic?
15 A. Yes, that's right. It was Hakija Meholjic.
16 Q. General, sir, Hakija Meholjic speaks about meetings that were held
17 in Sarajevo at the Holiday Inn there or at some other location, and you in
18 your book, "The Aborted Strategy," you yourself speak about that, and I
19 quote from page 131 of your book. You say as follows: "I was twice
20 present when Izetbegovic in Sarajevo in the early spring of 1993 offered
21 the representatives of Srebrenica and Zepa that this kind of exchange be
22 conducted, be made to: Srebrenica and Zepa for the environs of Sarajevo,
23 Vogosca, and Ilijas. The proposal after the consultation with the people
24 and with the fighters was resolutely rejected."
25 Was that so, General; that is to say, were you, in fact, present?
1 A. I was present in March and May 1993 when Izetbegovic talked to
2 Murat Efendic and Dr. Becim Hendic [phoen] and some other people from
3 Srebrenica and Zepa, and when they were offered this exchange, Srebrenica
4 and Zepa for the Sarajevo environs, and Mr. Hakija Meholjic spoke about
5 the talk with Izetbegovic and what they discussed about Srebrenica and
6 Zepa, that was in September 1993. So they are two different meetings, in
8 And when Izetbegovic talked to Meholjic and that delegation, and
9 the delegation which came from Srebrenica, in fact, I was not present on
10 that particular occasion, but I did attend the talks in the May, March
11 period, March to May period, 1993.
12 Q. What about the second meeting, September 1993? You were informed
13 about that through the media; is that right?
14 A. The September meeting, 1993, Hakija Meholjic I think spoke to the
15 journal Dani or Slobodna Bosna.
16 Q. Hakija Meholjic was a policeman, or rather, the chief of police in
17 Srebrenica, and he brings -- makes a connection between the leaving of
18 Srebrenica by the commander of the 8th Operative Group, Naser Oric, and
19 his 20-odd men, subordinate commanding officers. So he brings that fact,
20 he ties it in with the agreement which was offered in 1993 on two
21 occasions to the Muslim side.
22 Do you, from what he said, have the same conclusion to make?
23 A. I have already given my answer to your question at the beginning
24 of my testimony. I said that it was a tactical mistake that the
25 leadership, political and military, of Bosnia-Herzegovina made.
1 Q. General, sir, we are nearing the end, and as we do so, I should
2 like to quote a portion of your book, page 132, and I open quotations:
3 "The operation to deblock Sarajevo began on the 15th of June, 1995, and
4 the Chetniks entered Srebrenica on the 11th of July, 1995, with three
5 tanks, two transporters, APCs, and about 200 Chetniks. While the Chetniks
6 were entering Srebrenica, in Zenica the main council was meeting at the
7 Party of Democratic Action, the SDA party, and the security -- there was
8 more security there than was the occupation army in Srebrenica."
9 According to your knowledge, General, that is to say, was your
10 information directed towards this number of soldiers and the equipment
11 they had at Srebrenica?
12 A. What I say in my book, "A Sly Strategy," I based on my talk with
13 David Rhode and his book, "The End of the Game," published in 1997; and
14 also on a special edition of the Dani journal entitled "How They Gave Over
15 Srebrenica"; and also I base this on my discussions with other people,
16 talks to other people who were present in Srebrenica and Zenica, and I had
17 these talks in 1998.
18 Q. And finally, General, I'm going to quote one more sentence, page
19 134 of your book, and I quote: "According to an interview with Holbrooke,
20 Izetbegovic in January 1995 was ready to hand over Srebrenica to the Serbs
21 in the context of a broader solution of the peace question and in order to
22 retain Sarajevo intact. He said that they were not his, and he did not
23 care about that. Mark Dunner [phoen] recorded Holbrooke's statement on
24 that occasion."
25 When you say he did not care about that, that they were not his
1 people, do you mean "he" being Alija Izetbegovic? Is that the "he" you're
2 referring to?
3 A. It is not I who say that. I was quoting Mr. Holbrooke and
4 Mr. Dunner, so I was just quoting what they said.
5 Q. May we conclude that this refers to the then president of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Alija Izetbegovic?
7 A. Here it states precisely that it refers to Mr. Izetbegovic, and
8 there is no need for us to deduce anything. It says so clearly.
9 Q. General, the Defence has no further questions for you. We have
10 completed our examination. Thank you for testifying.
11 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, that completes the
12 examination by the Defence. Thank you.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,
15 Mr. Petrusic. I think that the time has come for our lunch break, that
16 this would be an opportune moment to adjourn. It is customary to have two
17 breaks during the morning session, but we have allowed more time for the
18 technical difficulties that we had.
19 So could we now take a 45-minute break and reconvene after that.
20 But before we adjourn, I'm going to ask the usher to escort General
21 Halilovic out of the courtroom.
22 We adjourn for 45 minutes.
23 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.56 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 1.50 p.m.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Before I give the floor to Judge
1 Fouad Riad, I should like to thank Mr. Thomas Henquet for his very good
2 work and for having assisted us in the interpretation. And having said
3 that, I give the floor, without further ado, to Judge Fouad Riad.
4 JUDGE RIAD: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Questioned by the Court:
6 JUDGE RIAD: General Halilovic, good afternoon. Can you hear me?
7 A. Yes, I hear you very well.
8 JUDGE RIAD: Perhaps you could be in a position to throw some more
9 light on the information you gave us in your testimony and in your paper.
10 My first questions are related to the column in the woods. If you can
11 answer me, I'll be very grateful.
12 What urged the civilians to go into a column into the woods?
13 A. Unfortunately, I can't answer that question, because at that time
14 I was only able to follow the situation there via the media, so I cannot
15 say with any certainty what that was.
16 JUDGE RIAD: What constituted their fears? You know you cannot
17 tell about that.
18 A. Having the experience with Serbian paramilitary formations from
19 the start of war up until July 1995, the deduction is very simple. We can
20 conclude very simply what it was all about and why.
21 JUDGE RIAD: Yes. Go ahead.
22 A. Bearing in mind the experience thus far, and knowing of the
23 methods of warfare that existed in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and
24 how they fought the Bosnian civilians in the first place, and all the
25 experience gained and the fears that they had, we can conclude why they
1 were afraid and why they took that particular road.
2 JUDGE RIAD: You want to say they were afraid for their lives?
3 A. Absolutely so, yes.
4 JUDGE RIAD: The column was, according to your report, at least
5 the majority, composed of civilians. Did I understand rightly? What was
6 the percentage of fighters or of military people in the column, if you
7 know about it?
8 A. I can't say exactly what the percentage of military people was
9 compared to the civilians in the column, but after the breakthrough from
10 the encirclement -- from the enclave, rather, several days later I saw a
11 review of the 28th Division in Tuzla, and there were about 3.000 soldiers,
12 3.000 fighters amongst them, and the information media claimed that they
13 came from the enclave to Tuzla together with the column.
14 JUDGE RIAD: And have you an idea how strongly they were armed in
15 the column?
16 A. The soldiers who were in the column together with the civilians
17 were armed with light infantry weapons. That was shown during the review
18 and ceremony held in Tuzla seven or eight days later, after they had
19 broken through, after they had exited.
20 JUDGE RIAD: And were they in a position to fight, to fight back?
21 A. Their position was a highly precarious one, and according to what
22 I learnt, once again from the information media, they had to walk for a
23 very long time and were very tired. They were exhausted, and a large
24 number did not reach Tuzla at all, so that they were not in a position to
25 defend themselves, to fight.
1 JUDGE RIAD: You mentioned in your report that the Serbian forces
2 launched an artillery against the column. What justified this use of
3 artillery against the column?
4 A. For that kind of use of the artillery, there is no justification
5 or reason, either human or military. The object was to destroy as many
6 military-abled people as possible, or rather, as many Bosniaks as
8 JUDGE RIAD: So it was not a military, a military target?
9 A. According to what I know, they were non-selective in their
10 targeting, so it was immaterial whether they were military or civilian
12 JUDGE RIAD: Was this a peaceful -- these military people in the
13 column able to contact the Muslim forces outside the forest? Did they
14 have means of communication?
15 A. The conclusion that I arrived at is that they did not have the
16 possibility of contacting anyone, and that the -- nor did the Corps
17 Command or the General Staff know which way they were heading.
18 JUDGE RIAD: You spoke about the indiscriminate shooting. What
19 about the executions? Because you mentioned that there was a real hunt
20 after the men in the second part of the column, and upon surrendering or
21 being captured, they were also killed at various sites. Now, was this
22 killing also indiscriminate, or was it directed towards certain fighters
23 or that sort of thing?
24 A. According to what I know, based on the information media and the
25 testimony of those who escaped from the enclave, everybody was killed at
1 random, indiscriminately, regardless of whether they were fighters or
3 JUDGE RIAD: You spoke about people escaping from the enclave.
4 Did you, by any chance, have any contact with some of those who survived
5 to tell you what happened?
6 A. Yes, I did have contact with some of the people who had left the
7 enclave, and their stories, the stories they tell, are far worse than the
8 blackest of horror movies that the human mind has been able to conjure up
9 so far.
10 JUDGE RIAD: Did they tell you that among those that shot them or
11 executed them were soldiers of the Drina Corps?
12 A. When they spoke, they said that the Chetniks shot at them. They
13 didn't speak about -- they couldn't know what the units were, what
14 military formations they were members of, but it is to be assumed that the
15 majority of those who did that were from the Drina Corps. That is what
16 one can conclude.
17 JUDGE RIAD: Could they know that the people who shot at them were
18 military people or were bands of gangsters?
19 A. According to their testimonies, they were army members, members of
20 the military.
21 JUDGE RIAD: Now, going to the entry of Srebrenica, you -- I could
22 gather from what you said, from your report and from what was said also in
23 the -- in what we have just seen now, the tape, that there was a common
24 knowledge that Srebrenica was not well defended or defendable. Was this
25 conclusion -- do you agree with that?
1 A. I said at the beginning that Srebrenica could have been defended
2 but in a different way, if the combat at the battlefront had been
3 conducted in a different way in the theatre of war of Bosnia-Herzegovina;
4 that is to say, the strategy of warfare should have been different and not
5 of the kind that it was.
6 JUDGE RIAD: Now, just to see, first you said that -- in your
7 report that the weapons in Srebrenica represented no threat inside and, of
8 course, it was demilitarised as much as possible. Was that also known by
9 the Bosnian Serb party, that there was so little weapons in Srebrenica,
10 that it was not among the priorities of the Muslim army?
11 A. I think they knew. I think they knew what kind of military
12 potential Srebrenica had, and I also think they knew that this did not
13 pose a threat to their own security.
14 JUDGE RIAD: What makes you think so?
15 A. The Srebrenica enclave is deep in the rear and was surrounded by
16 Serb forces; therefore, at the time of demilitarisation, they knew the
17 materiel and equipment that Srebrenica had, approximately. And the
18 soldiers were able to assess what quantity of weapons had been given to
19 them from the demilitarisation period to July 1995. On the basis of that,
20 they knew that they were no threat to them.
21 JUDGE RIAD: But apart from this military knowledge, do you think
22 there was also some common knowledge, and you are not -- you don't need to
23 answer my question, it was common knowledge that -- which is just the
24 conclusion I drew from the tape and from what we were hearing, that there
25 was some kind of tendency to give up Srebrenica for a broader solution for
1 peace, that's one thing we heard; that the authorities were ready to
2 exchange Srebrenica for other Muslim territories, apparently five
3 territories along the Drina; and the fact that fighters were taken away,
4 the best fighters were taken away. Was there some kind, in your opinion,
5 the political side knew that Srebrenica is really not defendable, the Serb
7 A. The fact that Naser Oric and 18 officers were undergoing training
8 in Zenica, that was common knowledge in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Bosnian
9 public was opposed to this kind of policy and opposed to the division of
10 the republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but in this, public opinion was
11 tested, and it was a sort of preparation for what was to happen, what was
12 to occur later.
13 JUDGE RIAD: I think I have finished my questions. Thank you very
14 much, General Halilovic.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Judge Fouad
17 Madam Judge Wald has the floor.
18 JUDGE WALD: Thank you.
19 General Halilovic, at the time of the 1995 Srebrenica attack,
20 after Naser Oric and his top people had left, who was in charge of the
21 remaining forces of the BiH army, the 28th Division?
22 A. From the documents that I had access to, General Rasim Delic,
23 after maybe a month of time, appointed Ramiz Becirevic, a Major with the
24 BH army, to be the deputy commander or the representative of the commander
25 of the 28th Division.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 JUDGE WALD: Becirevic was on the spot, he was in the area of
2 Srebrenica, at this time, at the time of the siege, in 1995?
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE WALD: Okay. I gather from your prior remarks, but let me
5 make sure that I understood them correctly; is it your feeling, based upon
6 your interviews and your reading, that the remaining forces of the 28th
7 Division in and around the Srebrenica enclave, that they were capable or
8 incapable of putting up a strong resistance without the reinforcement from
9 other parts of the Bosnian army? We talked about your criticism of the
10 strategy of concentrating on Sarajevo, but the forces that were actually
11 there in July, could they have resisted the attack or would it have been
12 militarily hopeless?
13 A. If we should look at the Srebrenica enclave separately, taken out
14 of context of the overall theatre of operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
15 and if those units were to defend themselves on their own, I can only
16 conclude that it would have been very difficult for them to defend
17 themselves on their own. However, in a coordinated action of all of the
18 units within the enclave and the free territory, with the support of the
19 International Community, I think that Srebrenica could have been defended.
20 JUDGE WALD: I understand that very well, but I asked the question
21 because you had made the remark - I don't know whether now it was in your
22 testimony today or quoted in one of the articles - that there were more
23 people acting as security at one of the SDA meetings than there were
24 actually Serbs entering Srebrenica. But I now have your answer to that.
25 Let me ask you further about whether or not you knew whether
1 elements of the Muslim army knew about what was happening in Potocari on
2 the next days, the days after the fall, on the 12th and 13th, the entire
3 evacuation of the women and children, the separation of the men there. To
4 your knowledge, was this something that the army knew, since we've already
5 had testimony in this proceeding that, you know, there were films of it,
6 various people saw it on TV, et cetera? So do you know whether the army
7 knew, and if so, if they had any position on it or whether they did
8 anything about it? I'm now talking about the post-Srebrenica evacuation
9 in Potocari, the events of the 12th and 13th, prior to the executions,
10 just the Potocari part.
11 A. As to what was happening on the 12th and the 13th of July, 1995 in
12 Srebrenica, I learned about that later on from the media. Whether the
13 army was aware of what was happening during those days, I think that
14 General Enver Hadzihasanovic, who is to take the stand after me in this
15 courtroom, will be in a better position to answer your question.
16 JUDGE WALD: I understand that. I understand that General
17 Hadzihasanovic will be able to tell us firsthand about many things, but we
18 also value your opinion as somebody who had a background and has since
19 talked to knowledgeable people. So to the extent that you do feel
20 comfortable in answering the questions, I, at least, would value your
21 opinion on that.
22 With respect to this question, we've seen films and had a lot of
23 evidence about the fact that General Mladic, at the Hotel Fontana, when he
24 was negotiating with the DutchBat General Colonel Koroman, et cetera, kept
25 asking for representatives of the Bosnian army to come and negotiate with
1 him. Whether that was done in good faith or not is a different matter,
2 but the fact is he was saying, "Well, bring me somebody from the army.
3 Bring me somebody from the army," and of course nobody from the army
4 came. So I was interested in whether, even later on, after it was all
5 over and you had a chance to talk to people in the Bosnian army, whether
6 there was a strategy by which they either didn't -- they either didn't
7 know about what was happening in Potocari or they had a strategy why they
8 wished not to enter into any of the negotiations about the removal of the
9 civilian population. It's a long question. I apologise.
10 A. I want to believe that they didn't know what was happening in
11 Potocari on the 12th and the 13th of July.
12 JUDGE WALD: Okay. I only have one very brief question on the
13 column, which you've already been questioned about. Were you able to find
14 out or come to a conclusion, based upon your interviews and your reading
15 material, as to whether or not when the column was formed - and we've had
16 much evidence about the fact that the front part of the column was the
17 military, the middle part were the civilians - whether -- at whose
18 initiative or who made the recommendation that there should be a column,
19 as opposed to, for instance, the men joining up with the women and going
20 to Potocari, or something else? Do you have any idea who made the
21 decision to form a column? The army people were at the head of the
22 column. I think that's pretty clear.
23 A. As far as I was able to learn from the testimony of the people who
24 were there, and also from the media, immediately prior to the decision
25 about the formation of the column and the direction it was to take, there
1 was a meeting of the military and political leadership who were in
2 Srebrenica, and I think that it was them who actually reached that
3 decision. And I think that afterwards they simply informed others that
4 they were about to leave, and then the communication was switched off.
5 JUDGE WALD: Okay. You told us that, from some of your
6 interviews, that the Bosnian Herzegovina army did not know the direction
7 in which the column was moving until, I guess, some actually arrived near
8 Tuzla. I'd be interested in your opinion about that, because we have
9 heard testimony here that, for instance, the Serbian, the Bosnian Serbs,
10 picked up the information about the column as early as the morning of July
11 12th. We have intercepts to that effect. We also have people who saw
12 movies of people being captured from the column and standing on the
13 Sandici fields in Belgrade, and even as far away as China, suggesting that
14 during that week lots of people -- by the couple of days the UN was
15 starting to put out -- the UN representative of human rights was starting
16 to put out documents, Security Council was starting to have meetings.
17 It's just difficult to understand why the Bosnian army wouldn't know the
18 direction that the column was moving. Do you have any thoughts on that?
19 A. The claim that the Bosnian army was not aware of the direction in
20 which the column was moving is -- I must admit, seems to be an unreliable
21 one. They must have known. They should have informed themselves about
22 the direction of the column, and they should have taken measures in order
23 to help them. So that claim seems unconvincing to me.
24 JUDGE WALD: All right. Now, do you know, following along on
25 that, whether or not anybody or any forces in the Bosnian army ever had
1 discussions with the Serbian army about what happened to the so-called
2 missing Muslim men from Srebrenica? Now, this would probably have had to
3 be toward the end of the week or maybe even after the major massacres were
4 already completed, but do you know whether or not there were ever
5 discussions held between the Bosnian army and their counterparts on the
6 Bosnian Serb side as to what happened to the men? And I refer you, for
7 instance, to several pieces of testimony we've had here where General
8 Mladic is reported to have been addressing groups of the Muslim men prior
9 to their execution on fields, and saying to them, "Your own people don't
10 want you, and so therefore I'll have to take care of you." This was after
11 prior declarations by Mladic to earlier groups that, "We'll exchange you
12 for," you know, "on prisoner exchange." Do you know anything about
13 whether or not there were, in fact, any discussions during that week, or
14 soon thereafter, about exchanges of prisoners or what had happened to the
15 missing men?
16 A. I really don't know anything about that.
17 JUDGE WALD: You never heard, even later on, that there were any
18 such discussions about prisoner exchange or what happened to those
19 particular men?
20 Okay. I just have one or two very brief questions to finish up.
21 A. No. No.
22 JUDGE WALD: Okay. I would be interested in your views, if you
23 care to present them, based upon your own study of these events, as to
24 what factors you believe might have led the -- whoever is responsible on
25 the other side to actually execute these thousands of Muslim men following
1 the fall of Srebrenica, considering that the later -- after Zepa, there
2 was an orderly, a reasonably orderly withdrawal of all the forces, and
3 that Srebrenica stands out as a somewhat unusual, in its scope and horror,
5 A. Methodologically speaking, Srebrenica is no different from some
6 other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is true that it is significantly
7 different in terms of the number of the people that were executed. As to
8 why it took place in the Drina River valley, I think the reasons can be
9 found in the decisions issued by the Serbian Assembly in Banja Luka, which
10 I mentioned at the beginning of my testimony.
11 JUDGE WALD: Why would that -- I can understand that might account
12 for siege of Srebrenica and maybe even the evacuation of the people, but
13 why kill all these people as opposed to putting them in prisons and
14 exchanging them later and even putting them in camps, as we well know - we
15 have lots of experience with detention camps - but the immediate
16 executions, which were, at least so far as we know, have been unusual.
17 A. I think that today there are more than 60 settlements consisting
18 of Bosniak population mainly who wish to go back to their homes, but those
19 who were executed no longer have any chance of going back home, and that
20 area was removed from the face of the earth. It was cleansed, and as an
21 area which was between two Serb states.
22 JUDGE WALD: Okay, my final one: Did you, in any of your
23 interviews or your perusal of materials, find out whether or not the
24 Bosnian army was ever aware later on in September and October of 1995 of
25 these reburials of some of the mass graves that were going on in the same
1 area, and if so, whether they had any position or took any action
3 A. I really cannot say whether the BH army had any knowledge about
4 that. I learnt about it by watching satellite footage which was very
5 graphic in its presentation.
6 JUDGE WALD: When did you see that satellite footage,
7 approximately when?
8 A. I think a year or two after Srebrenica.
9 JUDGE WALD: So at the immediate time, and I'm sure you followed
10 newspapers and media because you were interested in the events, but at the
11 immediate time in September and October, you didn't have any awareness of
12 those reburials going on?
13 A. September, October, if you're referring to 1995 --
14 JUDGE WALD: 1995.
15 A. -- then I didn't have any knowledge about that at that time, no.
16 JUDGE WALD: Thank you very much, General.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Madam Judge
19 General Halilovic, I should like to go back to the agreement of
20 the demilitarisation of the enclave. In view of the provisions of that
21 agreement which you have discussed, the agreement of the 17th of April,
22 1993, General Morillon, General Mladic, and yourself, since you were the
23 signatories of this agreement, what did you mean by the term
24 "demilitarisation" itself? What was the interpretation which was given
25 to that term?
1 A. According to the agreement on the demilitarisation, the term is
2 understood to mean demilitarisation of the urban area of Srebrenica and
3 Zepa towns, as well as the immediate surrounding area which could be seen
4 with the naked eye. No individuals under arms could be found in that
5 area, nor could there be any presence of any weaponry in the area. If
6 anyone wanted to enter the safe area, he was supposed to leave the weapons
7 at the entrance into the area.
8 So, the term "demilitarised area" implied the urban areas of those
9 two towns and the immediate surrounding zone around that urban area.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Was there a definition of the
11 urban area contained in the agreement?
12 A. The agreement I told you about specified that there would be a
13 three-member commission which would -- the representatives of the UNPROFOR
14 would be in charge of delineating the demilitarised area.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I know that this issue has to a
16 certain extent already been discussed, but I should like to know whether
17 the agreement envisaged any violations, and in cases of violations, were
18 any sanctions envisaged or provided for by the agreement?
19 A. No, there were no specific provisions to that effect in the
20 agreement; however, it was implied that it was a -- since it was a
21 two-party agreement which was signed under the auspices of UNPROFOR, that
22 if either of the parties is not satisfied with the implementation of the
23 agreement, that they could always withdraw the signature, their signature,
24 on the agreement.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Let me go back to another issue.
1 The transfer of 18 officers who were based in Srebrenica and who were
2 under Naser Oric to undergo training in Zenica, how are we to understand
3 the term "training"; literally or other? What is the exact meaning of the
4 term that you used in respect of those officers?
5 A. In the order whereby they were sent for further education, it was
6 stated that they were to be sent to school, to training or education, and
7 that indeed happened; but it is my opinion that those who were in charge
8 of that order should have been aware of the consequences of such a move,
9 that is, that the combat readiness and capability, defence capability of
10 Srebrenica would be significantly affected.
11 I would never have issued such an order. I would have done
12 something completely different. I would have sent 18 capable people over
13 there to Srebrenica and not move them out of Srebrenica, to teach them
14 what they needed to know over there.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Does it mean that it is your
16 opinion that there was a connection between that particular decision and
17 the attack?
18 A. I think that one can conclude from what I have already said that
19 there is, indeed, a connection between the two.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I don't think we have any more
21 questions for you, General. Let me thank you very much, General
22 Halilovic, for coming here to testify and for having contributed to the
23 clarification of these very important issues. I should like to wish you a
24 safe journey back to your place of residence and a lot of success in your
25 work. Thank you once again.
1 Mr. Usher, could you please accompany the witness out of the
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too, Your Honours. I
4 just wanted to ask if there was any possibility for me to go back tomorrow
5 because there is a return of population to the Podrinje area going on at
6 this time, and that was the reason why I made that request.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, General, it is possible for
8 you to go back tomorrow.
9 [The witness withdrew]
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I think we can now continue with
12 our next witness, General Hadzihasanovic.
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, General
15 Hadzihasanovic. Can you hear me?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Would you please read the solemn
18 declaration that the usher is giving to you.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
20 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 WITNESS: ENVER HADZIHASANOVIC
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 Questioned by the Court:
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You may be seated now. So,
25 General Hadzihasanovic, let me say for the record, that is, let me ask you
1 for the record to spell out your name.
2 A. My name is Enver Hadzihasanovic, and I'm a retired army General.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] What is your date of birth?
4 A. I was born on the 7th of July, 1950, in Zvornik.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] What is your current position?
6 A. I am a General of the federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
7 retired, a retired General.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Where exactly do you live now,
9 in which town?
10 A. I live in Sarajevo in Trampina Street, number 6.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Before we proceed with your
12 testimony, properly speaking, let me first of all thank you on behalf of
13 the Chamber for having responded to the summons we issued for you, and for
14 having accepted to place yourself at our disposal by appearing before the
15 Chamber in this case. Thank you very much for the very detailed letter
16 that you addressed to the Chamber with a number of attachments.
17 I would like to say something about the general framework of your
18 testimony. You have been invited to testify as a court witness in this
19 case, whereas in other cases, normally it is the parties to the case who
20 usually call their witnesses.
21 It is my duty as the president of this Chamber to remind you
22 briefly of the conditions under which your testimony will take place. I
23 know that you are familiar with the procedure that we are going to apply,
24 but let me remind you once again of the overall conditions. I know that
25 you have already appeared as a witness before the Tribunal, before a
1 Chamber that I had the honour to be part of.
2 You have been summoned to tell the whole truth and nothing but the
3 truth in this case. The sessions are public in principle, and we should
4 like to preserve that public character of the hearing as much as it is
5 possible. However, should you deem it necessary, you can always ask the
6 Chamber to order a private or a closed session which, in practical terms,
7 means that for as long as the closed session or the private session lasts,
8 the public are not be able to hear your words, and the transcript of your
9 testimony during that period of time will not be made public.
10 If you have any notes, you may use them to refresh your memory,
11 but we would like to ask you not to read a written statement that you may
12 have compiled in advance. We should like to hear your spontaneous
13 narrative about the events that you are familiar with concerning the
14 attack against the Srebrenica enclave by Serb forces in July 1995, the
15 fall, the subsequent fall of that enclave, and the destiny of the civilian
16 and military population of the area.
17 After that, you will probably receive questions from the parties,
18 and after their questions, the Judges will also probably have a few
19 questions for you. You may refuse to respond to a question, you have the
20 right to do that; however, I have to advise you that you may do so only if
21 your response is likely to incriminate you in accordance with the
22 provisions of Rule 90 of our Rules of Procedure and Evidence. The Judges
23 can oblige you to answer the question anyway, but such an answer of yours
24 can never be used in evidence against yourself.
25 Let me also inform you that we usually make a break after one hour
1 and 20 minutes of testimony, but I don't think that that will be necessary
2 now. We may work a little later today, but we will see about that.
3 Thank you very much for your attention. I hope that I was clear
4 and that you have understood me well, and let me now ask you if you are
5 ready to proceed with your testimony, that is, if you can proceed with
6 telling us something about your career, in particular, in the period of
7 time which followed the year 1993. You have the floor, General.
8 A. I'm ready to begin. First of all, I should like to say good
9 afternoon to the Trial Chamber and to thank them for their hospitality
10 here in The Hague.
11 Let me say that as a military man, I will be speaking about
12 military matters. I don't wish to enter into questions of a political
13 nature; that is not my field. Of course, what I say, I say publicly. I
14 have no request for any other kind of sessions but public ones.
15 I can commence, but I think it would be easier for me, perhaps, if
16 you, Mr. President, were to ask questions and thus guide my presentation
17 so that you hear what you wish to hear from me at this -- these
18 proceedings. I will start in the way that I think would be a good idea,
19 and I will focus on the main events.
20 In 1993, at the end of 1993, in October more specifically, I took
21 on the duty of the Chief of Staff of the General Staff of the army of
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I remained in that post until 1995, the end of
23 1995, when the Dayton Accords were signed, and when, according to those
24 accords, it was necessary to establish the army of the federation, and
25 General Dudakovic took over from me.
1 For one -- I had a pause for one year because I had a traffic
2 accident myself and I was on sick leave because I had received an injury
3 to my leg. I took up my duties again in the Ministry of Defence when I
4 came back from sick leave, and I was the deputy assistant of the Ministry
5 of Defence in the federation for inspection and supervision affairs. And
6 last year in April, I retired as -- I was pensioned as a General.
7 That, briefly, is my curriculum vitae since 1993.
8 I should like to start off by saying something about the 28th
9 Division for me to be able to base my further presentation on this, which
10 was -- and it was located in Srebrenica. I'm not going to take up too
11 much of the Court's time with facts and details because I can hand some
12 documents over to the Court for its use, and one of those documents, which
13 is in three parts, is the structure and organisation of the 28th Division
14 itself, how it was established militarily speaking, and what we thought
15 that informational terms, establishment terms, it was to be organised, how
16 it should be armed, and how it should be established, the army and that
17 division. And that was their basic document according to which they were
18 to function.
19 In 1993 and 1994, we had series reorganisation in the BH army, and
20 we organised the brigades and corps according to the standards as we set
21 them out. It was our great problem how we could do this with the 8th
22 Operative Group that we had up until then in Srebrenica because, in fact,
23 it was a component part of the 2nd Corps of the BH army, and that problem
24 is something that the command of the 2nd Corps wanted us to solve, and the
25 only way of doing this was that we established with the 28th Division the
1 proper communication, which we did not have up until that time.
2 We had a modest means of communication, and when I say that, I
3 mean an amateur radio station where we were only able to open -- to talk
4 about the vital day-to-day questions and issues openly. But in order to
5 be able to protect this communication of ours, we had to send special
6 communication devices which would ensure that. And so in the second half
7 of 1994, we succeeded in doing so, with a group of members of the BH
8 army. We took communication devices. One of them was a PC, a computer, a
9 PC. That was one device of the type that is used in that mode of
10 communication. It had a modem for encryption and so on. And from
11 Srebrenica we got a written paper, and this allowed us to send out written
12 documents. So that is how we sent the documents that I'm able to provide
13 you with.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General, perhaps we could talk
15 about communication. Did the Bosniak authorities -- were they put
16 up-to-date regularly of the events taking place in the Srebrenica
17 enclave? And perhaps you could add the military situation and the forces
18 that were in place.
19 A. That is precisely what I was going on to explain, Mr. President.
20 I said up until then it was the 8th Operative Group, and its structure and
21 organisation did not entirely correspond to the structure and organisation
22 of the BH army itself. And we wanted to put that matter right, to correct
23 it, because without means of communication, we were not able to send out
24 these three documents which I have here.
25 The first document relates to the structure and organisation of
1 the command of divisions. The second document relates to the structure
2 and organisation of one light brigade, and the 28th Division in Srebrenica
3 had five of -- five formations of that type. Zepa too belonged to that
4 division, militarily and organisationally speaking, where one brigade was
5 put up. And the division had a light battalion, and this document is the
6 groundwork for those formations.
7 For us to send this out, we had to send people on foot to actually
8 take these communication devices and to establish communication with
9 them. When this was received, the division was able to become established
10 on the basis of that document, with respect to manpower mostly rather than
11 technical materiel, which was always lacking; it was always in short
13 As far as manpower went, the figures -- the numbers are as
14 follows, the strength of the forces was as follows. If the Court requires
15 these documents, I shall be happy to furnish them. I hope that I won't
16 use up too much time, but I shall have to comment. May I avail myself of
17 that opportunity? May I go ahead?
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, General Hadzihasanovic.
19 You may use those documents, but let us start out from the point of view
20 that the public, in fact, has no knowledge of those documents. Please
21 bear that in mind and proceed. I don't know whether the two parties wish
22 to have the document.
23 Mr. Harmon, let us hear you first.
24 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, if the witness is going to use a
25 document in Court, I think it should be given an identification number and
1 an exhibit number, and then we can refer to the exhibit number during the
2 course of the examination, if necessary.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, what do you have
4 to say on the issue?
5 Mr. Visnjic, then.
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I join the proposal
7 made by Mr. Harmon.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General Hadzihasanovic, in order
9 to be able to organise our discussion -- I don't know whether you have any
10 copies - I don't suppose you do - of that document. Do you have any
12 A. These three documents that I mentioned are very extensive
13 documents, and from them I have made summaries, which I shall be
14 commenting on to save time. The excerpts that I'm going to talk about, I
15 have copies of and can provide them, whereas the documents in their
16 entirety, if you wish to take them to have them photocopied, they are at
17 your disposal.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] If you have copies, we can have
19 them distributed. But what we need to do is to assign a number for
20 identification, for each document, so that we can refer back to it. If
21 you have copies, you can hand them to the usher, who will distribute them,
22 and if you place the document on the ELMO, that would be a help. And we
23 will assign an identification number to the document.
24 Mr. Usher, please take the document.
25 Just a moment, please.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have a total of
2 four copies. I need one and I can hand three over.
3 [Trial Chamber confers with registrar]
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I apologise. I see Mr. Visnjic
5 on his feet. Go ahead, Mr. Visnjic.
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we agree to the
7 witness using these copies, or excerpts from the documents, but not to
8 lose time, after today's session we should like to have permission to take
9 a look at the original documents, because these -- this document is a
10 summary taken from the original extensive documents.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General Hadzihasanovic, you were
12 going to say something. I interrupted you. I apologise. Please say what
13 you were going to say. No? Very well.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What I said was that I have four
15 copies. I need one for myself. Are three copies sufficient for the
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Okay. Very well. You have
18 three copies, that is to say, four in all, four copies in all. As to the
19 original -- we could give a copy to the Prosecution and the Defence, and
20 the registrar will have the other available copy. As soon as you place a
21 document on the ELMO, we shall be able to follow and we shall assign an
22 identification number to that particular document. So the registrar has a
23 copy, the two parties have a copy, and the registrar will make copies for
24 the Judges. So would you please hand over your copy, one for the Defence
25 and one for the Prosecution.
1 [Trial Chamber confers with registrar]
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General, I think that we're
3 ready to begin. Would you place the document on the ELMO. And Madam
4 Registrar will assign a number. What number do we have, Madam Registrar?
5 THE REGISTRAR: C-1.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] C-1. Very well. C-1. The
7 Chamber, number 1.
8 General, please proceed.
9 A. Just to confirm, the documents that I'm going to comment on are
10 the product of the original documents. They are taken from the original
11 documents that went to Srebrenica. According to those documents, the 28th
12 Division in Srebrenica should have had, in total, 5.685 men. That is the
13 total, and it is shown here at the bottom of this column. In actual fact,
14 in Srebrenica it had 5.803 men, and the percentage was 102 per cent, which
15 can be seen down here.
16 On this part of the diagram, you see the structure and
17 organisation of the 28th Division itself in Srebrenica, without the
18 brigade from Zepa. The request by the General Staff of the army was that
19 each unit should have 110-per-cent manpower, a strength of 110 per cent.
20 Here you see that the percentage is 102, but including the Zepa Brigade,
21 which had more men, then the percentage would be 108 per cent, was within
22 allowed limits.
23 I will take this diagram away now and we'll take a look at another
24 diagram relating to manpower. On the basis of these documents, the 28th
25 Division did not have the kind of equipment and weaponry that it should
1 have had, so on this second diagram I'm going to give you the exact
2 figures of what it should have had and what it indeed had. I also have
3 the same number of copies, so I shall hand them over to the usher to
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. Would you mark your own
6 copy. The first document was C-1. This will be document C-2. And you
7 can mark your own document, because you will know which one is yours and
8 which one you have handed to the parties, and you will be able to refer to
9 the document by its identification number, which is C-2.
10 A. [Marks]
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] We now have the second document,
12 which is C-2. Thank you.
13 A. Document C-2 relates to what was necessary, according to the
14 requests made by the division, what they should have had, and the actual
15 state of affairs, that is to say, what the division in Srebrenica actually
16 disposed of, actually had in its possession.
17 We enumerate the basic types of weaponry which it should have had,
18 so that pistols, for example, in the case of pistols, the division in
19 Srebrenica should have had 1.184 -- no. No. It doesn't seem to be
20 right. I apologise. It's difficult for me to follow on the monitor, on
21 the screen. That's better.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General, are you able to follow
23 on the ELMO? When you point things out to us on the ELMO, it comes out on
24 our monitors, on our screens, so we're able to follow too.
25 A. Yes, but I wasn't getting the whole picture on the monitor. I
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 have it now. It's been adjusted. Thank you.
2 Let me repeat. According to the documents that we sent out, in
3 Srebrenica there should have been 1.184 pistols; what they actually had
4 was 62. Automatic rifles, they should have had 4.109 of them; in actual
5 fact, they had 1.947, or 46 per cent. Sniper rifles, they should have had
6 128, and in actual fact they only had 13. Submachine-gun, they should
7 have had 326; they actually had 27. Machine-guns, they should have had
8 90 -- no, 83; in actual fact, they had 15. Mortars, 60-millimetre ones,
9 they should have had 98; in actual fact, they only had 12. 82-millimetre
10 mortars, 36; they had 5. 120-millimetre mortar, they should have had 36;
11 they had none, in actual fact. Hand grenades, hand launchers, 16 they
12 should have had, but they just had 9. Hand-held rocket launchers, that
13 was. Recoilless guns, 82 millimetres, they should have had 36; they had
14 4. Hand-held rocket launchers of the Zolja type, they should have had
15 478; they had 68. Anti-armour Osa-type launchers, they should have had
16 143; they had none. Rocket launchers, hand-held armoured, 9-K-11, they
17 should have had 18; they had none. A light launcher of the Fagot type,
18 9-K-11-F, they should have had 15 of those; they just had 1.
19 Anti-missile rockets, they should have had 15; they didn't have
20 1. Anti-aircraft guns of the 20-millimetre type, one barrel, they should
21 have had 20. In actual fact, they only had 4. Along with this column, we
22 have the percentages which you can look at.
23 So that was the actual situation in Srebrenica as to what it
24 should have been on the basis of these documents.
25 At the end of 1994 in Srebrenica, the overall situation was highly
1 complex and extremely difficult, both with respect to the army and the
2 people, and it became even more complex because all humanitarian convoys
3 had been blocked and because the parachute operation undertaken by the
4 United Nations had always been stopped. And there was every indication
5 that in Srebrenica, the worst things could be expected, that people could
6 just leave without thinking, to leave a situation that was untenable for
7 them. And we tried to organise the army and to tell the people that we,
8 ourselves, wanted to take steps to calm the situation down until a final,
9 better solution was -- had been come up with.
10 And so at the request of the division and according to our own
11 assessments, we wanted to help the situation in the army by sending them
12 more resources and to enable that particular division, if there were any
13 serious problems, to ensure its combat readiness to be able to defend
14 themselves in the days to come until we ourselves were able to undertake
15 other steps and military steps if we failed to find a political solution
16 and if the United Nations were not able to carry out what they promised
17 with respect to the safe area. That was our goal. A division organised
18 in this way and established in this way absolutely was no threat to the
19 Serb army or to anybody else in the region.
20 The division as a whole, for it to embark upon a combat operation
21 with the amount of ammunition that it had would have been completely
22 impotent. We knew that we weren't -- would not be able to furnish the
23 division with what it needed quickly because we were not able to get the
24 materiel and resources to them. Our first attempt was to introduce the
25 communication devices, and we decided to do that on the ground, on land,
1 with a certain number of men that we had at our disposal. But that didn't
2 prove successful. The people that we dispatched, that we sent, were sent
3 into a risky situation. They risked being captured and ultimately
4 liquidated if captured. So it was a high-risk situation for the men.
5 And then we decided to do this with the modest means we had at our
6 disposal and the number of helicopters we had at our disposal, the few
7 helicopters we had. In our estimations, this would be a difficult task
8 and would require a lot of time. We were not able to give the pilots an
9 exclusive military order to fly because we knew we would be sending them
10 to their death, and we -- it was on a voluntary, almost a voluntary basis
11 that these sorties were organised. And we sent ten helicopters. The
12 structure of the helicopters included some weapons and some ammunition,
13 but they were also carrying clothing and sanitary material. They also
14 transported a certain number of doctors and brought out some seriously
15 wounded people and people that were supposed to go on for further
17 It was probably a signal to the army of Republika Srpska that
18 something was afoot and that they could expect some combat operations;
19 however, I say with full responsibility here and now that that was not our
20 objective. Our objective was to establish an army, to establish a command
21 over the army, and that they should act on the basis of orders and
22 commands, but for us to be able to do that, we had to see that their
23 combat readiness was up to par. For us to be able to do this, we needed a
24 lot more time, and time was something that depended on how far we were
25 able to transport these supplies.
1 I have documents here which indicate how much time we would have
2 needed and how many tons of cargo would have been necessary for the
3 division to receive basic resources, that is to say, ammunition for their
4 rifles, one combat kit for mortars and for the anti-armoured devices, and
5 for everything that they were lacking, in fact.
6 And in order not to waste time now, you can use these documents
7 and the tables, and the next table will, I'm sure, will -- be identified
8 as C-3, and it shows just how much material was necessary for Srebrenica,
9 expressed in tons, for them to be able to receive one combat kit and one
10 unit of fire and the other materiel. I will be happy to supply copies of
11 this document as well.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] This will be document C-3.
13 Perhaps, General, instead of analysing the details on the basis of
14 the table, you could perhaps give us an idea of a more general nature.
15 You could tell us about this in more general terms, and may we have your
16 conclusions on the basis of the document.
17 A. Yes. I will try and do so as briefly as possible. And, of
18 course, if you're interested, you can use this table because these indices
19 and this data was taken from the standards that were applicable in the
20 former JNA, and they emerge from the standards for the resources and
21 equipment that I am talking about. Let me just show you two more
22 diagrams, and then I will give you my conclusions and say what I wanted to
24 For the division in Srebrenica, minus one brigade, receive the
25 weapons it lacked, we had to transport a total of 58.4 tons of material.
1 For it to receive the ammunition it needed, this meant an extra 142.6 tons
2 which had to be dispatched and transported. The individual equipment is
3 given on the diagram, and I don't want to comment on that now.
4 At the time, for a division, in terms of weapons and ammunition,
5 this meant something but it did not mean everything, so in the next
6 diagram I wanted to explain that if a minimum of necessary material was to
7 be sent, we had to send a certain quantity expressed in tons.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] This, then, General, will be
9 C-4, document C-4.
10 A. For the men to have just one meal a day, a cold ration, dry
11 ration, which each soldier has to carry with him when he is on an
12 assignment, we would have to have sent, to supply only that one dry
13 ration, which was two kilograms, an extra 11.6 tons would have had to be
14 transported to ensure two kilograms per man per day.
15 When we're talking about clothing, we did not go -- we did not
16 count clothing, shoes, shirts, trousers, and so on, but just tents, and
17 that meant an additional 8.7 tons.
18 To ensure the means of communication within a division required an
19 additional 2.96 tons to be transported.
20 When we saw how many flights a helicopter would have had to make,
21 this was an enormous number, and I show this on my next diagram.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] This next document will be
23 numbered C-5.
24 A. In order to transport the necessary materiel, one combat
25 ammunition set which would be necessary for the division to defend itself
1 for a period of three to five days, they would need -- we would need to
2 send out a total of 8 times an escadrille of 6 helicopters, a squad of 6
3 helicopters, which is something we did not have. For the dry rations and
4 ground canvases and tents, 1 squad plus 2 helicopters, and for all this
5 materiel we would have to have sent 9 squads times 6 helicopters, with 2
6 helicopters flying independently.
7 For that division to engage in combat, according to our
8 assessments, it would need at least 5 combat ammunition sets and all the
9 squadrons I mentioned. And for that to be ensured, a 6 helicopter
10 squadron would have had to fly 28 times, 28 days, plus 2 individual
11 helicopters flying during that time.
12 Our attempts were made with the 10 helicopters I mentioned in
13 different intervals at the end of 1994 and 1995, and they gave hope to the
14 people over there that something was being done, that we were doing
15 something to help them. And that was our main objective, to give them
16 that hope, although we knew that we could not ensure that many number of
17 flights. We had a total of just 6 helicopters; of that number, 2 MTB 17
18 were capacitated to take a cargo of 3 tons. All the other helicopters had
19 a lower-bearing capacity.
20 And we achieved our objective. The situation in Srebrenica was
21 calmed down, the people believed in the army more, had a greater belief in
22 the army, and they believed that, if anything happened, the army could
23 protect them.
24 By doing that, we had achieved one of our goals completely, that
25 is to say, the soldiers formed formational structures, they were
1 established, and we started to supply them with the materiel they needed
2 in addition to what they already had. And this calmed the mood in
3 Srebrenica. However, quite unexpectedly, the situation developed, and
4 what happened was the attack on the Srebrenica enclave by the army of
5 Republika Srpska.
6 There were intimations in the early summer of 1995 that this might
7 happen sometime in April and in May --
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I apologise for interrupting,
9 General, but I think that we'll have to end there for today. We have been
10 working for an hour and a half now, and because of the interpreters and
11 everybody else, we shall have to end there today and take up our
12 deliberations tomorrow morning at 9.20.
13 I'm going to ask Mr. Fourmy, the legal officer, to try to organise
14 the documents, to help you organise the documents so that tomorrow morning
15 we could perhaps proceed with greater speed. We would like to have an
16 overview and a general idea on the basis of the documents but not to go
17 into the details. Yes, they are important for us, but for the public
18 gallery attending these proceedings, we should also like to have a more
19 general view and general conclusions and observations. So I'm going to
20 ask Mr. Fourmy and Madam Registrar to do that together with you.
21 Having said that, we adjourn and reconvene at 9.20 tomorrow
22 morning. The hearing is adjourned.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3.17 p.m., to
25 be reconvened on Friday, the 6th day of
1 April, 2001, at 9.20 a.m.