1 Wednesday 19 November 2014
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.39 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone in and around this
7 Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case
9 IT-09-92-T, the Prosecutor versus Ratko Mladic.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
11 Could the witness be escorted into the courtroom. Meanwhile, I
12 deal with a few matters.
13 I do understand that the Prosecution wanted to raise that P3761
14 was not fully uploaded into e-court.
15 MR. WEBER: Good morning, Your Honours.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning.
17 MR. WEBER: That's correct. And that we'd ask that the
18 court officer be instructed to replace the current version of
19 Exhibit P3761 with the revised version uploaded under 65 ter 03098A.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now I have no recollection, but I would have
21 to look at it, whether we considered that we were invited or at least
22 that we were expected to admit more than what was uploaded at the time.
23 Could you tell us what the document is and what is now added, what was
25 MR. WEBER: Your Honour, I'd have to check and I can further
1 report back at the outset of the next break. I do know that it stems
2 from a decision on the Prosecution motion for admission of documents from
3 the bar table.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I am aware of that. I even could tell that you
5 it's -- apparently it's the Serbian Republic Ministry --
6 MR. WEBER: Yes.
7 JUDGE ORIE: -- of Interior Sarajevo, Security Services Centre,
8 Banja Luka, with a number, information in connection with dispatch number
10 So we have a description. But, of course, what I'm wondering is
11 what --
12 MR. WEBER: The --
13 JUDGE ORIE: -- did we look at when we admitted it and what is
14 now extra.
15 MR. WEBER: What is, I'm being informed is, extra is that the --
16 there's a full list of prisoners that we would like to attach that
17 relates to the document which was not uploaded previously.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Then may I take it that Defence will have a
19 look at it as well, whether the list of prisoners is something that needs
20 further attention yes or no.
21 [The witness takes the stand]
22 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Sarenac. Perhaps you are a bit
23 surprised to see three Judges rather than two.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yesterday I was, for urgent reasons, unable to sit.
1 That's the reason why you saw two Judges yesterday and why you see three
2 again today.
3 I read that you were reminded by Judge Moloto yesterday that you
4 should not speak with anyone. I now remind you to something different;
5 that is, that you gave a solemn declaration yesterday that you'll speak
6 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I'd remind you
7 that you're still bound by that solemn declaration.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Weber will now continue his cross-examination.
10 Mr. Weber.
11 MR. WEBER: Thank you, Your Honours.
12 WITNESS: RAJKO SARENAC [Resumed]
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 Cross-examination by Mr. Weber: [Continued]
15 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please have Exhibit P4583 for
16 the witness, page 278 of the B/C/S original and page 324 of the English
18 Q. And, Mr. Sarenac, I didn't mean to ignore you, but just for
19 expediency I calling out the number. Good morning.
20 A. Good morning, sir.
21 Q. Coming up before you will be -- I see that we're not in the
22 English correct spot yet.
23 Coming up -- well, what's before you now is part of
24 President Karadzic's statements at the 50th National Assembly of
25 Republika Srpska held on the 15th and 16th of April, 1995, in
1 Sanski Most. Yesterday we left off discussing the operations in Kupres
2 in early April 1992, and I'd like to read a portion of his statements to
3 you now.
4 Toward the bottom of the page in front of you --
5 MR. WEBER: Your Honours, this ask in the middle of the
6 translation, middle of the page in the translation.
7 Q. -- President Karadzic states:
8 "Gentlemen, we got the officers we asked for. I asked for
9 Mladic. General Ninkovic, then a Colonel, and General Perisic had
10 visited me before that, and I had noticed Mladic's blunt statements in
11 the newspapers. He was already in Knin then."
12 MR. WEBER: Could we please have the next page of the B/C/S.
13 Q. "I took an interest in him and together with Krajisnik, I went to
14 General Kukanjac's office and listened to him issuing orders and
15 commanding around Kupres and Knin. We spent countless nights in the
16 office of General Kukanjac at the time [sic]."
17 Were you aware that President Karadzic had listened to
18 General Mladic's orders around Kupres from General Kukanjac's office.
19 A. This is the first time that I hear of it. I'd never heard it
20 before, nor did I know about it.
21 Q. Thank you. We're done with this document.
22 Sir, I'm going to move on an and discuss some other things with
23 you. I want to discuss with you the 1st Guards Motorised Brigade. In
24 paragraph 9 of your statement, you state the 1st Guards Brigade:
25 "Received all orders from the VRS Main Staff (from the commander
1 and the Chief of Staff)."
2 Is it correct that all orders to the 1st guards Motorised Brigade
3 came from General Mladic and General Milovanovic?
4 A. Well, if it did happen, and I'm trying to recall it, that we were
5 attached to some unit, for instance, to the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps or
6 some other unit, then we would -- it would be possible for us to receive
7 orders directly from them; in other words, from the units that -- whose
8 complement we were part of, temporarily at least.
9 Q. Do I understand correctly that absent you being specifically
10 resubordinated to another corps, that your orders came from either
11 General Mladic or General Milovanovic?
12 A. Well, that would be the regular way. However, if we were
13 resubordinated to somebody else, for instance, to a -- the commander or
14 the command of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, in that case, we could
15 receive orders from the commander of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps or
16 whoever else, whichever other unit we were resubordinated to.
17 Q. Okay.
18 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please have Exhibit P4995 for
19 the witness.
20 Q. Mr. Sarenac, this is a 12 January 1993 VRS Main Staff order on
21 the establishment of the 1st Guards Motorised Brigade from General Mladic
22 and signed for him by General Milovanovic. In the beginning of the
23 order, there's reference to another order dated 15 December 1992 from the
24 commander of the Army of Republika Srpska which was done at the request
25 of the Supreme Commander.
1 Is it correct that General Mladic ordered the establishment of
2 the 1st Guards Brigade in December 1992 after a request from
3 President Karadzic?
4 A. I wasn't there at the time, and I didn't have occasion to see
5 this document, so I really can't tell you anything about that. This is
6 the first time that I see this document.
7 Q. Okay. Maybe you can help us with the next paragraph then. The
8 order discusses three purposes of the Guards Brigade. The third purpose
10 "To allow the Supreme Command to directly intervene in case of a
11 threat to vital axes, sectors or features."
12 Is it correct that the 1st Guards Motorised Brigade was a
13 manoeuvre unit, meaning that it was intended for deployment and use in
14 any part of the territory of Republika Srpska?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Were you aware that the formation of the 1st Guards Brigade was
17 completed by 19 January 1993?
18 A. Well, that was the -- somebody's wishful thinking. However,
19 that's not correct.
20 Q. Okay. Let's go through some things then. Before doing so I just
21 want to go over the Command Staff structure. In 1993 and 1994, the
22 commander of the 1st Guards Brigade was Colonel Milenko Lazic; correct?
23 A. The first commander was Colonel Rajak, the second was
24 Colonel Lasic, the third Lieutenant-Colonel Lalovic, and I don't think I
25 need to name all the others. The fourth was Samardzic.
1 Q. You mentioned Mirko Trivic in your statement. Mirko Trivic was
2 the deputy commander of the brigade; correct?
3 A. He was the chief and also the deputy brigade commander up until
4 about the summer of 1994, when he was reassigned as commander of the --
5 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear what brigade.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- and replaced by
7 Lieutenant-Colonel Lalovic, Dragan.
8 MR. WEBER:
9 Q. In the brigade --
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Weber, may I interrupt you for a moment.
11 MR. WEBER: Sure, of course.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The witness mentioned four commanders of the
13 brigade. The fourth name is not recorded because he said:
14 "... I don't think I need to name all the others."
15 But then he mentioned the fourth name. It should be put on the
16 record what he said.
17 MR. WEBER: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
18 Q. Mr. Sarenac, did you hear Judge Fluegge's question? And if you
19 could repeat the last commander of the brigade.
20 A. Yes, I did hear it. It was Zdravko Samardzic.
21 MR. WEBER: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: And the interpreters didn't hear the name of the
23 brigade that the witness referred to at line 23 or 24 of page 6.
24 MR. WEBER:
25 Q. You were speaking about Mirko Trivic, sir, and you said he was
1 reassigned as commander of the, and then it cuts off. Could you please
2 repeat what you -- the last part of your sentence was.
3 A. Is that about Mirko Trivic? Lieutenant-Colonel Mirko Trivic when
4 I arrived at the brigade was the Chief of Staff and also the
5 deputy commander in the brigade. He remained at that post until the
6 summer of 1994. In the summer of 1994 he was reassigned as commander of
7 one of the brigades of the Herzegovina Corps and was replaced by major,
8 who had already been a member of the brigade, Djurdjevic.
9 Q. Sir, you were the assistant commander for morale and religious
10 affairs of the brigade; correct?
11 A. That's correct.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And to clarify it, the question by Judge Moloto
13 was not properly answered. That was all about the 1st Guards Motorised
14 Brigade; is that correct?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I'm not sure -- what do you
16 mean all this was about? What I mentioned about Trivic?
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No. You told us the four commanders of the
18 brigade, but the name of the brigade wasn't mentioned. Is that the
19 1st Guards Motorised Brigade what you are talking about, about the four
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I am talking about the
22 1st Guards Motorised Brigade. The brigade that I was a member of as
23 assistant commander for morale, information, and legal issues.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
25 I think this is now clarified.
1 MR. WEBER: Thank you, Your Honours. And I appreciate the
2 assistance. I'm flipping back and forth on the screen here and I don't
3 have the separate LiveNote, so I really do appreciate the assistance.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We know that there is a problem with LiveNote.
5 MR. WEBER:
6 Q. Sir, Zeljko Stupar was the assistant commander for intelligence
7 and security in the brigade; correct?
8 A. That's correct. Unfortunately, he is deceased.
9 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please have 65 ter 1061 for the
11 Q. Sir, coming up will be a 24 January 1993 VRS Main Staff order
12 from General Mladic concerning the initial deployment of the
13 1st Guards Brigade. When it comes up --
14 MR. WEBER: And if we could maybe have it even enlarged for the
16 Q. -- could you please review item 1 of the order and confirm that
17 your brigade was composed of the battalions described in the document?
18 A. Well, this is a per establishment of the brigade.
19 Q. The order indicates that there was a mechanised battalion and two
20 motorised battalions in your brigade. Is it correct that the
21 Guards Brigade possessed tanks and armoured vehicles?
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. There's also a reference to a mixed artillery battalion. Is it
24 correct that your brigade possessed 120-millimetre mortars and pieces of
1 A. Yes. Some artillery pieces but all right, you could say that.
2 MR. WEBER: The Prosecution tenders 65 ter 1061 into evidence.
3 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
4 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar, the number for 65 ter 1061 would
6 THE REGISTRAR: Number P6927, Your Honours.
7 JUDGE ORIE: P6927 is admitted.
8 MR. WEBER:
9 Q. Mr. Sarenac, I now want to discuss with you operations of the
10 1st Guards Brigade in the spring of 1993 in Eastern Bosnia.
11 You discuss these operations in paragraphs 11 to 16 and in
12 paragraph 18 of your statement. Before we discuss them, my question is:
13 Is it correct that the brigade was deployed to the areas of Cerska,
14 Bratunac, Skelani, and Srebrenica between March and the end of
15 April 1992?
16 A. The brigade was sent from where it was accommodated. It was sent
17 to various missions, according to orders from the Main Staff. So I don't
18 understand your question when you say was it deployed there. It wasn't
19 just deployed. We were directly involved. We would be sent to carry out
20 the mission.
21 Q. Okay. The missions you carried out were in the areas Cerska,
22 Bratunac, Skelani, and Srebrenica; correct?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. At the end of paragraph 11 of your statement, you state that:
25 "After successful combat activities, we were sent to liberate
1 Serb villages between Bratunac and Srebrenica."
2 Is it correct that this was after your -- as you're describing
3 it, mission, in Cerska and after Cerska was liberated?
4 A. Yes, after that date.
5 Q. During the VRS operations to take over the areas of Cerska and
6 Konjevic Polje, Muslim civilians were escaping from these areas toward
7 Tuzla or Srebrenica. You were aware of this; right?
8 A. Well, we didn't fight the civilians. We fought the armed units
9 of --
10 JUDGE ORIE: Witness --
11 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear what brigade.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But if someone happened to be in
13 the way, that's --
14 JUDGE ORIE: -- the question was whether you were aware of
15 civilians escaping. The question was not whether you attacked civilians.
16 The question is whether you are aware of civilians escaping.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I wasn't aware of it. I was
18 not aware of it.
19 MR. WEBER:
20 Q. Sir, I put it to you that, in fact, the VRS units attacked and
21 shelled Muslim civilians who were passing through VRS lines. Correct?
22 A. I do not remember any such cases. After all, the
23 1st Guards Motorised Brigade was not the only unit that was there to
24 carry out a combat mission.
25 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please have 65 ter 09563 for
1 the witness.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, when you emphasise that the
3 1st Guards Motorised Brigade was not the only unit there, do you say,
4 well, it may have been others, or do you say I'm not aware that it
5 happened at all, or do you say it may have happened but then it must have
6 been some other unit? It's not clear to me what you meant by emphasising
7 this fact.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, let's be clear on this. Why
9 would there be civilians in an area where there were combat operations?
10 That's one thing. And secondly, I did not know of that.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. So the first question is why they should be
12 there. If you don't know whether they were, is it -- not a question you
13 possibly could give us an answer to. Therefore, also not useful to
15 Please proceed, Mr. Weber.
16 MR. WEBER: Thank you, Your Honours.
17 Q. Sir, this is a combat report from Vinko Pandurevic dated 2
18 March 1993, and I want to direct your attention to the first part of it.
19 In this document, the command of the Zvornik brigade informs the
20 Drina Corps command that at around 8.30 hours, columns of civilians and
21 soldiers with pack animals were noticed from Udrc and Rasevo towards
22 Konjevic Polje, and it indicates the columns were hit with every
23 available means.
24 Sir, your brigade was operating in this area. How is it that you
25 are not aware that the VRS shelled and attacked the columns that included
1 Muslim civilians during these operations?
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic.
3 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Objection. Misquote. Where it
4 says the Guards Brigade operated in this direction along this axis.
5 Cerska is a far broader area than the one referred to in this document.
6 MR. WEBER: Your Honour, the brigade operated in -- I went
7 through multiple areas at this time, so this is a fair question,
8 including --
9 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps you could make it very specific and then
10 rephrase it.
11 MR. WEBER:
12 Q. Sir --
13 MR. WEBER: I'm not sure in what way I can make it more specific
14 aside to ask him.
15 Q. -- could you explain to me how you're not aware of the
16 Zvornik Brigade using all available means against Muslim civilians --
17 well, columns that included Muslim civilians? You were active as part of
18 operations in this area at the time; right?
19 A. This is the commander of the Zvornik Brigade, and he is sending a
20 report about the activities of his brigade. There's no reference to the
21 Guards Brigade here, so I disassociate myself from any report. I am not
22 familiar with that report of his, and I did not know that he did that.
23 Q. So do you allow for the possibility that the Zvornik Brigade
24 undertook these activities during the operations in Eastern Bosnia in
25 March 1993?
1 A. That I do not know. His superior command knows. I don't.
2 Q. And, sir, we'll come to some other documents. But, in fact, you
3 were acting in co-ordination with the Drina Corps at this time; correct?
4 A. Yes, but everybody had his own area of responsibility and area of
6 MR. WEBER: Your Honour, The Prosecution would tender the
7 document into evidence.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Document 9563 receives number P6928,
10 Your Honours.
11 JUDGE ORIE: P6928 is admitted.
12 MR. WEBER:
13 Q. In paragraph 12 of your statement, you discuss the
14 Kevaric [phoen] hill by Srebrenica. Is it correct that your brigade
15 broke through to the Kevaric hill on 16 April 1993 and put the flag of
16 Republika Srpska on the TV relay there?
17 A. I think that that is correct because -- well, you're asking for a
18 precise date or something else. Well, that's the way it was. And
19 nothing further.
20 Q. Sir, you don't always have to explain. I'm going to try to ask
21 you very specific questions so we can move through things.
22 In May 1993 --
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Weber.
24 MR. WEBER: Yes.
25 JUDGE ORIE: You put a date and an event together.
1 MR. WEBER: Okay.
2 JUDGE ORIE: And then what the witness tells us, that that is
3 approximately how it went, but apparently he may be -- he asked whether
4 the specific date you mentioned was -- was what you were seeking to have
5 confirmed and that is, of course, because of your question. And
6 therefore, in all fairness to the witness I think he was, under those
7 circumstances, he should have asked in view of his own knowledge, not
8 knowing practical -- exactly the date but knowing that these kind of
9 events went on during those days.
10 Please proceed.
11 MR. WEBER: Okay. And, Your Honour, I was actually trying to be
12 fair to the witness. I'm sorry if I didn't clarify that. I knew that he
13 was trying to explain. I understood it.
14 Q. Sir, in May 1993 your brigade took part in the liberation of Zepa
15 and Gorazde; correct?
16 A. In May 1993? Well, yes. Well, it's not the liberation of Zepa
17 and Gorazde. It is combat operations around Zepa and around Gorazde.
18 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please have Exhibit P4324 for
19 the witness.
20 Q. This is a 1 May 1993 VRS Main Staff combat order for the
21 liberation of Zepa and Gorazde from General Milovanovic. We see on this
22 front page that it was addressed to several commands, including the
23 Drina, Herzegovina, and Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. Your brigade and the
24 Visegrad Tactical Group.
25 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please go actually directly to
1 page 6 of the B/C/S original and page 8 of the English translation.
2 Q. At the top of the page before you --
3 MR. WEBER: And, Your Honours, this is at the bottom of the page
4 in the translation.
5 Q. -- there's the section on the tasks of the units. According to
6 the first task, the Drina Corps, reinforced by the 1st Guards Brigade and
7 other formations --
8 MR. WEBER: If we could please have the next page of the
10 Q. -- are tasked to:
11 "... swiftly come out to the right bank of the river Drina,
12 liberate Zepa and Gorazde, and put Gorazde and the entire Podrinje region
13 under their control."
14 These were your orders at the time; correct?
15 A. Yes, we received orders.
16 Q. You received these orders; correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please go to page 10 of the
19 English translation. And for the witness, if we could go to the bottom
20 of the page before him.
21 Q. Sir, at the bottom of the page before you, which is in the bottom
22 half of the translation, the order indicates that the 1st Gmtbr along
23 with one battalion of the 1st Podrinje brigade and another company shall
24 attack in the direction of Zepa. Your brigade carried out this attack;
1 A. Well, the brigade acted in accordance with the given task at
2 Kasik [phoen]. Zepa itself was not attacked but this was the route that
3 was taken. But the ultimate objective was not reached.
4 Q. Okay.
5 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please go to page 7 of the
6 original and page 11 of the translation.
7 Q. In the upper third of the page before you, the order goes on to
9 "Upon the liberation of the wider region of Zepa, the civilian
10 population shall be provided with the organised exit to the premises of
11 the so-called Central Bosnia."
12 This was also part of your brigade's orders; correct?
13 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Objection.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right.
15 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] I think it would be fair to read
16 the entire sentence to the witness.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Well, the witness answered the question already.
18 But if you think that further context is needed, re-examination is, of
19 course, the most appropriate moment to add whatever context you consider
20 relevant, Mr. Stojanovic.
21 Please proceed, Mr. Weber.
22 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please have Exhibit P5173 for
23 the witness.
24 I didn't know if Your Honours had any other questions on the last
25 document. I'm sorry I didn't ask before moving on.
1 JUDGE ORIE: No. One second, please.
2 Please proceed.
3 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please have Exhibit P5173.
4 Q. Mr. Sarenac, this is a 22 May 1993 VRS Main Staff combat order
5 for the liberation of the general area of Gorazde from General Mladic.
6 This document was sent to the commands of the Drina and Sarajevo-Romanija
7 Corps and the command of the 1st Guards Brigade. We can see that on the
8 front page here. And if we could in the translation go down to item 2.
9 Under item 2, General Mladic orders:
10 "The task of the Army of RS is to carry out offensive operations
11 and" -- in the original, it says "ocisti," "central Podrinje. Disperse
12 and destroy Muslim armed forces in the general area of Gorazde and enable
13 the Muslim civilians to move away (relocate) to other areas (central part
14 of the former BiH) or to accept ..."
15 MR. WEBER: And could we have the next page of the translation.
16 Q. "... the authority of Republika Srpska and thus create conditions
17 for the return of the Serbian population to the left and right banks of
18 the Drina River."
19 Sir, these were your tasks during the liberation of Gorazde;
21 A. These are tasks that were given to all the units that took part
22 in the liberation. Well, I cannot say Gorazde. It's not that we were
23 liberating Gorazde. In these offensive activities, we did not enter
24 Gorazde. We were stopped. Otherwise, that had been the order of the
25 superior command.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Witness, unfortunately the question doesn't
2 relate to what happened on the ground. The question is were these your
3 orders. I think you can either say, yes, these were our orders, or no,
4 these were not our orders.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, we received an order, no
6 doubt. It can be seen here in the content --
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Witness, you received this order. Not just an
8 order. This one.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, right now, while I'm reading
10 it, if it's identical then this is the order we received. That order.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: If it's identical to what?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, if it's identical.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Identical to what?
14 THE WITNESS: If it's the identical order. I mean, I don't know
15 whether it's a forgery or some other form of document. But if this order
16 has to do with offensive combat operations in the specific case of
17 Gorazde, then we received that order. I don't have that order here with
18 me in my pocket. I am reading this now just as you are reading it.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just a second, just a second. You are not being
20 asked to tell us whether this is identical to the order that you
21 received. You are being asked whether you can remember from your own
22 memory that this order is exactly the same order as the one you received
23 during combat.
24 JUDGE ORIE: And perhaps in order to further clarify, the order
25 being liberating Gorazde. Because the document may say a few other
1 things as well, but we are focusing on the liberation of Gorazde.
2 Did you receive an order -- do you remember to have received an
3 order to liberate Gorazde?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I remember that we were carrying
5 out a combat mission towards Gorazde and that order was received by the
6 Guards Brigade; that is to say, we received an order because without an
7 order we would not be carrying out such combat operations vis-a-vis
8 Gorazde, say from Rudo to Gorazde. I mean, I don't know now -- I mean,
9 from Rogatica towards Gorazde, things like that. So we did receive an
10 order and it is on the basis of that order that we acted.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And then you were stopped. You were unable to
12 liberate Gorazde, if I understand you well.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] International forces entered
15 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
16 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please have Exhibit P3071,
18 Q. Mr. Sarenac, this is a 30 May 1993 VRS Main Staff report on the
19 conclusions from the assessment of the situation. The report mainly
20 addresses the situation in the Podrinje throughout the spring of 1993.
21 So you are aware, the document was recovered along with some of
22 General Mladic's notebooks in the year 2008.
23 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please have page 3 of the
24 original and page 4 of the English translation.
25 Q. Sir, on this page we see the section on strategic and operative
1 situation and problems. This is on the lower half of the page in front
2 of you. In the second paragraph of this section, the report states:
3 "Representatives of the Main Staff of the Army of
4 Republika Srpska have been in the zone of operations of the Drina Corps
5 since January this year, who comprise the IKM, are focused on planning
6 further operations, and they are commanding certain operations in order
7 to carry out the task set, which is the liberation of the entire area of
9 Is it correct that General Mladic was one of the VRS Main Staff
10 representatives commanding from positions in the Podrinje; specifically,
11 Drina Corps forward command posts?
12 A. I'm not aware of that, and I am not aware of General Mladic being
13 at the forward command post. I am unaware of that.
14 Q. What Main Staff representatives are you aware of?
15 A. I don't know about them being there either. I was on a combat
16 mission with my own unit, and after all I didn't have the right to ask
17 around as to who was where.
18 Q. Okay. The next paragraph discusses how this task is being
19 carried out through tactically separate battles. The end of the
20 paragraph states:
21 "This achieves the strategic objective formulated in the stand."
22 And then there's a subquote:
23 "So that the river Drina is not the border towards Serbia."
24 Sir, the combat operations you were a part of was furthering this
25 strategic objective; correct?
1 A. My task is to carry out that task. In this specific case, a
2 combat mission without being involved in any kind of politics.
3 Q. Sir, I'm not asking you about politics. That was the strategic
4 objective of the battles that you were a part of. Were you aware of that
5 or not?
6 A. Well, I know that I was on a combat mission. Now, if you are
7 asking me about the strategic objective further on, to tell you the
8 truth, I don't know. I wouldn't know how to answer that question. I
9 know what I did, where I was, and who I was with. As for political
10 events, I don't know.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, the question has been answered.
12 Mr. Weber.
13 MR. WEBER: Your Honours, I don't know if this a good time for a
14 break or I could keep on going. It's -- I'm going to be on this document
15 for a little bit longer.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Then it's perhaps wiser that we interrupt here and
17 that you will --
18 MR. WEBER: Okay.
19 JUDGE ORIE: -- continue after the break.
20 Could first the witness be escorted out of the courtroom. We'd
21 like to see you back in 20 minutes after the break.
22 [The witness stands down]
23 JUDGE ORIE: Before we take that break, the Chamber is puzzled by
24 P3761, what you wanted to attach. It is a short report with a list of --
25 a two-page list of names attached of prisoners from Kljuc. The Annex A
1 to the Prosecution motion to admit evidence from the bar table,
2 municipalities component, gives as the ERN range in English 0301-8622 to
3 0301-8624. That means three pages. Yes, three pages: 22, 23, 24.
4 What is at this moment in e-court in both languages is a
5 three-page document, the first page being a document dated the 20th of --
6 the 29th of August, 1992; the second and the -- or let me just have a
7 look. Yes, the second and the third page list of 67 names. So the
8 Chamber is puzzled by what is there newly now to be uploaded which is not
9 yet in e-court.
10 MR. WEBER: Your Honour, if I could, if we could -- I'm not quite
11 fully familiar with it, I'm just reading off of some other stuff here.
12 If we could address it at the outset of the next break --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
14 MR. WEBER: -- that would be greatly appreciated just so we could
15 correctly inform you.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's in itself okay. I reminded the Defence
17 several times that --
18 MR. WEBER: Yeah.
19 JUDGE ORIE: -- they should not just read out things they had not
20 verified themselves --
21 MR. WEBER: Yes.
22 JUDGE ORIE: -- and we are not adopting such an approach because
23 we're asking ourselves what you are presenting to us, what does it mean,
24 what is it exactly what you want us to do; that is, to admit two
25 additional pages of -- or include in what we admit the two pages. The
1 same what I said several times to the Defence is even if a text is
2 prepared for you, it's your responsibility to verify it because you start
3 reading it.
4 MR. WEBER: That --
5 JUDGE ORIE: I'm -- I --
6 MR. WEBER: That's we'll understood and I agree with you,
7 Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I can't say that I myself always fully perform
9 that but at least I try to do my utmost best to try to understand what we
10 are talking about.
11 If that is clear to you, then you have 20 minutes of rest,
12 Mr. Weber, to think about it. Although you have done that already.
13 We resume at --
14 Yes, Mr. Traldi, you are there, I take it...
15 MR. TRALDI: I'd come down to address the document, Your Honour,
16 and it's my error this morning, of course. But can I briefly provide our
17 explanation to the Chamber if that suits you.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Well, since I have it in front of me at this moment
19 and since we dealt with it, if you could do it in one or two minutes,
20 then we would appreciate that.
21 MR. TRALDI: Yes. Your Honour, our annex to the bar table motion
22 that you were referring to a moment ago explained the relevance of this
23 document, I think it's at page 87, by noting that the document reflects
24 that at least 1.161 non-Serbs had been transferred from Kljuc to Manjaca
25 camp. That's reflected by the full list now uploaded as 03098A and by
1 the attachment at the end of the full list. It's not uploaded -- it's
2 not reflected by the introductory page and the partial two pages of the
3 list which were uploaded as 65 ter 03098 and subsequently were admitted
4 as Exhibit P03761.
5 So both -- so the ERN range that we set out in the motion
6 correctly reflected what had been uploaded, but both the ERN range and
7 the upload referred only to part of the document and to part of the
8 document that did not fully reflect what we informed the Chamber we were
9 seeking to tender and did not fully reflect the basis for which we were
10 seeking to tender the document.
11 I had spoken briefly to Mr. Lukic about this this morning and had
12 been informed that the Defence didn't object, but I'm not sure. I
13 haven't spoken to him in the last hour.
14 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour, in light of the motion we didn't --
15 we said to the Prosecution that we do not object to admission of this
16 whole document.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Which means the whole document, not only the
18 first two pages of the list but the full list, so as to establish or at
19 least to seek to establish the full number of Kljuc prisoners that were
20 detained at the time.
21 MR. TRALDI: Of course what it establishes is a matter for the
22 Chamber to evaluate.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. No, that's -- that's why I said "seeking to
24 establish." I have chosen my words in view of what you just said.
25 One second, please.
1 Yes, my mistake. We were under the impression that it was about
2 a -- the English version only, but that's not the case. And that also
3 could not deduced from the e-mail which was sent in relation to this
5 MR. TRALDI: I should say that's my fault as well, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE ORIE: No. I say that the e-mail is correct where the
7 misunderstanding comes from. Perhaps we haven't read it sufficiently.
8 Madam Registrar, you are hereby instructed to replace what is now
9 known in e-court as P3761, in both languages only three pages, now to be
10 replaced by 65 ter 03098a, which should be the same document with
11 additional pages containing the list of prisoners from Kljuc.
12 We resume at five minutes to 11.00.
13 --- Recess taken at 10.36 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
15 JUDGE ORIE: We're waiting for the witness to be escorted into
16 the courtroom.
17 Mr. Weber.
18 MR. WEBER: Your Honour, I did have one other housekeeping matter
19 that we maybe can address quickly. It relates P6926 which was admitted
20 yesterday. After court yesterday, the translation booth notified the
21 Prosecution of a translation error in the end of the first sentence of
22 the quote that was read in, that it should at the end of the sentence
23 read "and Serbian army." We greatly appreciate the translation booth
24 notifying of us of this and we wanted to inform the Chamber that that's
25 been brought to our attention and we've also requested a revised
1 translation, and then we'll further inform the Chamber when that's
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I take it that there's no problem with that as
4 far as the Defence is concerned.
5 There was another matter, I think with P6126, that parties wanted
6 to make further submissions, if I remember well.
7 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
8 JUDGE ORIE: I misspoke, 6925. I think there was a wish to make
9 further submission on admission, I think it was. I think it was the
10 document --
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It's the newspaper article from Vreme.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Newspaper article. First of all, I think the
13 parties would still consider where Vreme was published. That it was
14 Serbian seemed not to be in dispute but where it was published. And --
15 [The witness takes the stand]
16 MR. WEBER: Your Honours, I wasn't in court yesterday when this
17 was discussed and I'm not sure what the status of the discussions are
18 between Mr. Jeremy and the Defence.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Then we'll wait for a further report on that
20 and we'll not forget about it.
21 MR. WEBER: Thank you, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Weber.
23 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please go to page 1 in the
24 B/C/S original and page 2 of the English declaration in the document
25 before us.
1 Q. Sir, we left off discussing this VRS Main Staff report from the
2 30th of May 1993, and I would like to focus on a couple other sections of
3 it with you. Earlier in this report, there's a discussion of the
4 situation in the Podrinje. I'd like to direct your attention to the
5 bottom of the page before you, which is the first full paragraph in the
6 translation. The paragraph starts:
7 "The loss of most of the Podrinje and intensive combat operations
8 in the general sector," and then there's four villages that are
9 referenced, "and other places in the Drina valley has provoked fear or
10 even panic among the Muslim soldiers and population ..."
11 Is it correct that this was the result of the VRS operations you
12 were a part of?
13 A. Well, this is an assessment, someone's assessment. And I believe
14 that it is partially correct because everyone is afraid of war. And the
15 people from that area, they surely were anxious and they were surely
16 afraid, especially among the civilians there was a lot of fear.
17 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please go forward to page 4 of
18 the B/C/S and page 5 of the translation.
19 Q. Sir, I'm going to be directing your attention towards the bottom
20 of the page. On this page we see three main problems that are listed.
21 This is after a discussion of how the VRS had to halt operations on
22 17 April due to pressure from public opinion.
23 I just want to draw your attention to the third problem that
25 "Preventing the Muslim population from returning to previously
1 abandoned villages and towns."
2 After this list of problems, there is a discussion of
3 possibilities for further operations.
4 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please have the next page in
5 both versions.
6 Q. Sir, in the middle of the page --
7 MR. WEBER: And, Your Honours, this is also in the middle of the
8 page in the English, too.
9 Q. -- the report states:
10 "Our tactical moves and propaganda should develop in them the
11 feeling that they live in ghetto-type enclaves and that their destiny
12 depends on the Serbian people and the Army of the RS. This influence
13 should result in the population in these areas and sectors gradually
14 moving out, with those who moved out before being reluctant to return."
15 The next paragraph then states:
16 "This means that attack operations in Podrinje are possible and
17 much needed in order to take important land features, inflict losses on
18 the Muslim forces outside the demilitarised zones, and create general
19 insecurity among soldiers and the population as a result of living in
20 complete encirclement and isolation in the so-called safe areas."
21 Sir, after May 1993, the objective of the VRS was still to have
22 the Muslim population move out by making their lives unbearable in
23 ghetto-type enclaves, including Srebrenica, Zepa, and Gorazde; correct?
24 A. No, that's not the case. And for the reason that the areas were
25 declared demilitarised areas, and the disarming of the combat troops was
1 supposed to be finalized in all areas in Podrinje, in which case there
2 would be no provocation of the Serbian side. Again, they wouldn't
3 provoke the Serbian side into carrying out attacks because throughout
4 this period, they kept attacking the Serbian army, the Serbian
5 population, from those areas.
6 Q. Sir, I --
7 A. So their fighters --
8 Q. Sir, I put it to you that your evidence is contradicted by the
9 VRS Main Staff documents that we've been looking at; the two orders and
10 also this report. And I also add --
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. --
12 MR. WEBER: I'm putting my case, Your Honours. If I could
14 Q. And I also note that -- I put it to you that you were actually a
15 part of these propaganda activities as an assistant commander in morale
16 guidance and religious affairs. So I put it to you that your answers are
17 not credible -- that your answer is not credible, the one you just gave.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Before you answer the question, Mr. Stojanovic.
19 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honour.
20 Firstly, the Prosecutor claims that this is a Main Staff document. Now
21 from the document we have before us, we can see either the signature or
22 the stamp or the author of this document on the last page.
23 JUDGE ORIE: This is comment on discussing the content of the
24 document, Mr. Stojanovic.
25 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Well, okay. I won't comment. I
1 just have an objection. We don't have a chain of custody of this
2 document, the source of this document, how it was obtained. All of this
3 should be cleared up before the witness should give his answer.
4 JUDGE ORIE: [Microphone not activated] Mr. Stojanovic, this
5 is -- there's something -- well, yes.
6 Mr. Stojanovic, this is a document in evidence. You can't just
7 now start challenging the authenticity. I don't know whether it was done
8 at the time, I don't know whether we ruled specifically on that, that's
9 one. So that's inappropriate to do.
10 Second, the document -- the heading reads: "Main Staff of the
11 Army of Republika Srpska." For that reason alone, Mr. Weber is entitled
12 to put the document as he did to the witness. So both objections, the
13 first one is denied. The second is an inappropriate challenge to the
14 authenticity of this document which is in evidence.
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE ORIE: And therefore to the extent that is a objection to
17 the question, and I wonder whether it is, but if you understand it like
18 that, it's denied.
19 Mr. Weber put it to you that what you're telling is contradicted
20 by this document and other documents he has shown to you. And he has put
21 to you what the position of the Prosecution is, that these were the real
22 objectives as described in those documents and that you were part - in
23 your function - part of that, and perhaps you take over here, you were
24 part of that --
25 MR. WEBER: Yes.
1 Q. As the assistant commander for morale, religious, and legal
2 affairs in your brigade, that you were a part of promulgating this
3 feeling within the Muslim population in the enclaves.
4 A. I was not in a position to do that either in terms of the
5 equipment that I had or the technical assets that I had at my disposal to
6 be able to carry out something like that. So absolutely not. How could
7 I do this on the Muslim side? What -- what could I use? A radio? I
8 didn't have a radio set. TV? None. Any kind of loud-speaker system,
9 no. We didn't have any of that. We didn't have any of that at our
10 disposal. So we did not have the technical means to carry that out. Had
11 we wanted to do so, we would still not have been able because we had
12 nothing to do with it.
13 MR. WEBER: Your Honours, we do have some other evidence about
14 other events later on. I was going to then move on to another topic. I
15 don't know if you have any other questions.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Proceed as you wish.
17 MR. WEBER:
18 Q. Sir, in paragraphs 19 to 22 of your statement, you discuss joint
19 operations with the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps in July and August 1993. Is
20 it correct that the operation you were discussing is Operation Lukavac
21 1993 -- or, I'm sorry, Operation Lukavac 93.
22 A. What operation am I talking about? Well, I'm just answering
23 questions. We can broach the topic of Lukavac 93.
24 Q. Sir, I'm just asking you to clarify that the operation that
25 you're talking about in your statement when you're referring to events
1 that you were a part of in July and August 1993 that you're talking about
2 Lukavac 93?
3 A. Correct, yes.
4 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please have 65 ter 31616 for
5 the witness.
6 Q. This is a 11 July 1993 SRK command order from General Galic to
7 continue combat operations in accordance with the Lukavac 93 plan. We
8 see that this order was sent to multiple brigades, including the
9 Guards Brigade, from the IKM. Is it correct that this IKM was on
11 A. I suppose so, but where exactly this post was, I don't know.
12 Q. Sir, in paragraph 19 of your statement you state that the brigade
13 was tasked to act jointly with the SRK from the region of Jahorina
14 mountain, and then you say: "(Bijele Vode)." This was the location of
15 the IKM; correct?
16 A. That is the forward or the beginning line where we were actually
17 introduced to combat. Now, where the forward command post of the
18 Sarajevsko Romanija Brigade was, I really don't know. Most probably in
19 Lukavica, but I don't know. I don't know if it was on Mount Jahorina.
20 Q. Okay. Let's on in that order.
21 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please have page 2 of both
23 Q. Under item 4.1 of this order General Galic orders the
24 1st Sarajevo Mechanised Brigade, which is noted as Smbr, to hold the town
25 of Sarajevo, and the translations says "under siege" but I see in the
1 original it says "blokadi," and provide on the axis of Lucevic [phoen] in
2 a co-ordinated action with the 2nd Sarajevo Brigade, which is noted as
3 the 2nd Slpbr.
4 MR. WEBER: Could we have the next page in the English
6 Q. General Galic then states:
7 "After the 1st gmtbr," your brigade, "comes out and seized the
8 Pijevac and Bojista feature. They shall capture the general area of
9 Lucevik in a co-ordinated action with the 1st Gmtbr, thus liberating the
10 Trnovo-Sarajevo road."
11 Sir, these were your orders at this time; correct?
12 A. These were orders that we received, the 1st Guards Motorised
13 Brigade, and pursuant to this order there would follow orders from our
15 Q. The town of Sarajevo was being kept under blockade by the SRK
16 while you carried out these operations in Trnovo; correct?
17 A. I wouldn't know anything about that. I was not a member of the
18 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. In this particular case, we were attached to
19 the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, but only for the combat mission on --
20 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the site.
21 MR. WEBER:
22 Q. Sir, could you finish the last part of your statement, "but only
23 for the combat mission on..." Did you mention a location?
24 A. I said that we received orders -- or this order was received,
25 this order from the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps was received, it wasn't our
1 order. Now, based on this order we then issued our own order to carry
2 out a combat mission towards Trnovo. So from Jahorina on -- onto
3 Trnopolje. I don't know if you understand me.
4 Q. I do. Thank you for that clarification. In paragraph 20 of your
5 statement, you refer to the specific date 11 July 1993 and state that my
6 unit, together with part of the SRK units, entered Trnovo headed by the
7 VRS Main Staff commander.
8 The other SRK units that you were referring to were the
9 1st Sarajevo Mechanised Brigade and the 2nd Sarajevo Brigade; correct?
10 A. Well, I don't know -- I know how we went to Trnovo and with whom.
11 But as for the arrival of various brigade, they arrived after us. So all
12 those brigades that were employed in this combat mission towards or on
13 Trnovo, they arrived after us. At what time exactly I don't know, but
14 most probably in the course of that or the following day.
15 MR. WEBER: The Prosecution tenders 65 ter 31616 into evidence.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Document 31616 receives number P6929, Your
19 JUDGE ORIE: Admitted.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I seek clarification --
21 MR. WEBER: Of course, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: -- with respect to the last answer.
23 You were asked -- you were talking about the units who arrived
24 later than your unit. Are these units who arrived later the
25 Sarajevo Mechanized Brigade, the 1st Sarajevo Mechanised Brigade and the
1 2nd Sarajevo Brigade?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're asking me if those are the
3 units. If you are asking me specifically to name the units, I can't
4 really answer it clearly because I don't know. But as for the units from
5 the Sarajevo-Romanija or the Herzegovina Corps, these units - after the
6 first small group of people entered Trnovo - these units came after us.
7 They entered the city, the town, without fighting.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You said these units. Are these the units I
9 asked you about.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't tell you exactly which
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know that.
14 JUDGE ORIE: I'm still a bit --
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't remember.
16 JUDGE ORIE: -- confused. Because in the answer you just gave
17 you were talking about units from the SRK and the -- or the
18 Herzegovina Corps. Now, in your statement I only read that units that
19 were with you when you went to Trnovo, although they arrived later, are
20 units of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. Were they or were there units of
21 the Herzegovina Corps involved as well? Or don't you know?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do know. Let me try to clarify
23 this. We were in the area of responsibility and subordinated to the
24 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, and as can you see from this order we received
25 the order from the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps and we implemented, carried
1 out that order in full. Now after a small group entered, including the
2 commander of the Main Staff, after us the other units from the
3 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps and the Herzegovina Corps entered. So both of
4 these corps. But they came from different directions. Now if you would
5 like to know the axis of their movement, I can tell you that too.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Well, I'm not asking you that. When you said this
7 commander of the -- of the Main Staff was included in the small group
8 that entered. Commander of the Main Staff of what exactly?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of the Army of Republika Srpska,
10 General Mladic.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So you say he was with you when the small
12 group entered first Trnovo.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] With me. With me.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Okay.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was there with him. But he is
18 more deserving as far as entering is concerned than I am.
19 JUDGE ORIE: You've answered the question.
20 Please proceed.
21 MR. WEBER:
22 Q. I'm going to change topics and we're just going to finish with
23 two brief other topics here and then we'll be done. Is it correct that
24 General Mladic ordered the arrest of members of UNPROFOR and
25 international humanitarian organisations in the event of NATO air-raids
1 against RS units and facilities?
2 A. When?
3 Q. All right. Let's look at something specific.
4 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please have 65 ter 31617.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps the witness could already answer the
6 question --
7 MR. WEBER: Okay.
8 JUDGE ORIE: -- whenever.
9 MR. WEBER: Ever. Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If we're talking about Lukavac 93,
11 never was an order issued to anyone. If later, I mean, what happened, I
12 was not at that location then.
13 MR. WEBER:
14 Q. Sir, I tried to not confuse the topics and make clear to you that
15 I was changing topics, so the topic I changed to was whether you were
16 aware General Mladic --
17 A. All right.
18 Q. Okay. Did General Mladic ever order the arrest of members of
19 UNPROFOR in the event of NATO air-raids against RS units or facilities?
20 A. Ever. That's a bit too broad. Please. There are concrete
21 results. That did occur. But then in that unit the 1st Motorised Guards
22 Brigade, I wasn't serving there. I was serving in Bileca, so I don't
23 know what to say to you with regard to that question. I don't know. I
24 don't have that information and --
25 JUDGE ORIE: So the question was whether you have any knowledge
1 of General Mladic ordering the arrest of members of UNPROFOR at whatever
2 point in time. Are you aware of General Mladic issuing such an order or
3 do you say, no, I never -- I have no knowledge about him issuing such an
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I heard about that, but I, for
6 instance, have not received such an order. I did hear that people were
7 tied to light houses, members of UNPROFOR were being brought in, but that
8 is guess-work. And, please, I don't wish to talk about guess-work. I am
9 here to tell you about what I know.
10 JUDGE ORIE: That's fully understood. When did you learn about
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's a long time-period. You're
13 taking me 20 years back now. I found out, say, on TV, through the news,
14 newspapers. Somehow I did find out. People talk. I mean, what can I
15 tell you? Well, you know yourself, don't you?
16 JUDGE ORIE: Well, my next question would have been how did you
17 learn about it, but if I listen carefully to your answer, I understand
18 that you learned from it -- learned it through the media and by rumours.
19 Any other source of information apart from those that you
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Weber.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Please, Mr. Weber.
25 MR. WEBER:
1 Q. You were a member of the 1st Guards Brigade, actually a part of
2 its command staff, in 1994; correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please have 65 ter 316 --
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
6 MR. WEBER: One second.
7 Could the Prosecution please have 65 ter 31617 for the witness.
8 Q. This is a 19 April 1994 VRS Main Staff order from General Mladic
9 to the VRS corps and your brigade, among other units, to the commands
10 specifically. We see it is based on a verbal order from the
11 RS president, Radovan Karadzic. Directing your attention to item 4 of
12 the order, where General Mladic orders:
13 "Immediately increase measures for the security and control of
14 UNPROFOR and international humanitarian organisations. In the event of
15 massive air-raids against RS units and facilities, disarm them and arrest
16 them [sic] immediately, confiscate their weapons and combat equipment and
17 use them for PVB," which is indicated as "anti-aircraft warfare."
18 Sir, as a member of the Command Staff that -- that received this
19 order, how are you not aware of it?
20 A. What's the date on this order? Could you please give me an
21 answer to that?
22 JUDGE ORIE: April 1994, Witness. The 19th.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Well, as you assume, I have
24 told you through my answers up until now where I was then. When this
25 order arrived - 1994? - is it 1994 or -- no, 1994, yes. Yes. I've lost
1 sight of this. I don't remember this order now.
2 MR. WEBER:
3 Q. Sir, I put it to you that General Mladic did issue such orders in
4 1994, in April of 1994.
5 A. Maybe I was on leave. Maybe I was somewhere. I don't remember
6 this order.
7 Q. Okay.
8 MR. WEBER: The Prosecution will tender the document.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Document 31617 receives number P6930,
11 Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ORIE: P6930 is admitted.
13 MR. WEBER:
14 Q. Sir, this will be my final topic to discuss with you today.
15 In paragraph 9 of your statement, you state as part of a
17 "The brigade fought the enemy honourably and not a single crime
18 has ever been attributed to it."
19 This is your evidence; correct?
20 A. Yes, that's correct.
21 Q. Wilful abandonment is a serious crime in the military; right?
22 A. A court-martial should have such persons executed.
23 MR. WEBER: Could the Prosecution please have Exhibit P5060 for
24 the witness.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Weber, do you read paragraph 9, especially in
1 view of the last ten words, approximately, to also deal with crimes
2 committed against the internal order?
3 MR. WEBER: I view that as in addition. That it's a general
4 statement, followed then more specific information related to what you
5 just said. Is ...
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 MR. WEBER: And, Your Honours, I don't think it's fully clear.
8 JUDGE ORIE: One second, please.
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Weber, the Chamber is inclined not to read the
11 last -- well, let's say, the last portion of the sentence as adding
12 something to what previously --
13 MR. WEBER: [Overlapping speakers].
14 JUDGE ORIE: -- but rather as explaining what was said before;
15 that is, fighting the enemy honourably. Fighting the enemy.
16 MR. WEBER: Well, Your Honour, I --
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And I don't want to -- I don't want to have
18 any discussion in front of the witness about it at this moment. But from
19 your first question if you would read it entirely differently, then you
20 would first have to clarify the issue with the witness because then
21 apparently there are several ways of understanding his statement in this
22 respect and we should find out what he meant.
23 So, therefore, I'm not --
24 MR. WEBER: Sorry, I just --
25 JUDGE ORIE: -- opposing against putting any further questions on
1 it but at least this issue should be resolved before we [Overlapping
2 speakers] follow-up.
3 MR. WEBER: Sure. No problem. Well, I -- I agree, I think it's
4 unclear and we should ask the witness. So I agree with Your Honours.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So I leave it to you how to do that.
6 MR. WEBER:
7 Q. Sir, your statement reads:
8 "In executing its combat tasks," then there is a hyphen, "and
9 throughout the war it executed combat tasks," and then another hyphen,
10 "the brigade fought the enemy honourably and not a single crime has ever
11 been attributed to it," and then there's another hyphen, "neither a crime
12 against captured enemy soldiers nor against civilian population."
13 Maybe the most -- fairer thing to do is: What are you trying to
14 say here? Are you saying that these are things that relate to the
15 execution of combat tasks? Are you saying three separate things, or are
16 these three things that you list between the hyphens somehow related?
17 MR. WEBER: And I do have a B/C/S version, Your Honours, if he
18 needs to see. Oh. And, Your Honours, actually Ms. Stewart brought to my
19 attention that actually in the B/C/S it does not appear with the hyphens.
20 So I'm not sure if this translation is actually full on.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then -- okay.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You should put that on the screen.
23 MR. WEBER: Okay. Could we please have paragraph 9 of
24 Exhibit D786.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: I guess part of the confusion on the part of the
1 Chamber, sir, is your reference in relation to this paragraph to wilful
2 abandonment of duty.
3 MR. WEBER: I will eventually come back to this in later
4 questions, but --
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: If can you separate it from this paragraph, we'll
6 follow you perhaps better.
7 MR. WEBER: Okay.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: But because you put the two together --
9 MR. WEBER: All right. I agree.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: This is what we want to understand.
11 MR. WEBER: Your Honour, I think that I can even finish this
12 without even making reference to the paragraphs. If it's --
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Thank you so much.
14 MR. WEBER: I see -- I see you're -- so noted.
15 I'm just going to continue on. Could the Prosecution please have
16 Exhibit P5060 for the witness.
17 Q. Sir, this is a 7 November 1994 order from General Mladic. It
18 discusses the wilful abandonment of the 1st Guards Brigade forward
19 command post in Ostojici. Under item 1, General Mladic orders the
20 apprehension and initiation of proceedings, criminal proceedings, in the
21 1st Guards Brigade against you and Colonel Stupar for abandoning this
22 command post. Is it correct that you committed this crime by leaving
23 your post to go to Kalinovik?
24 A. Mr. Prosecutor, Mr. Weber, I am very glad that you've raised this
25 question and that you've put it forth here for public debate. I have
1 been suffering on account of this for 20 years. You have freed me of
2 this rage and this suffering. And from this moment, I feel
3 rehabilitated. I'm going to tell you the truth here.
4 Q. Sir, I'm not asking --
5 A. This order --
6 Q. I'm just asking you --
7 A. Please.
8 Q. Did you --
9 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, Witness, you started your --
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no.
11 JUDGE ORIE: No, Witness, please listen to me.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Please.
13 JUDGE ORIE: One second. One second.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm listening.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Weber put to a question. Whether that is a
16 relief to you or not, how you emotionally experience that question is not
17 an issue that should be raised. If you're happy --
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All right.
19 JUDGE ORIE: If you're happy that he deals with the matter,
20 that's okay, but please focus on answering his question and the question
21 was whether you had committed the crime of abandoning the command post by
22 going to Kalinovik.
23 Did you do that, or did you not do that?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Well --
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Please. Please, may I just say
2 something else. Please allow me to say this. It has to do with me.
3 Somebody else should speak about this but I want to say this to you.
4 This order is a forgery. This is abuse of authority, abuse of power.
5 This is a different person. Not the commander of the General Staff,
6 General Mladic. General Mladic did not sign this. This was done behind
7 his back. Please.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, Witness, I'll stop you there.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you've asked me.
10 JUDGE ORIE: No, I have not asked you that. I asked you whether
11 you committed that crime and that was what Mr. Weber asked you and you
12 have clearly answered that you did not commit that crime. Now you add
13 that something, which way apparently upsets Mr. Mladic, who is now to sit
14 down immediately -- sit down, Mr. Mladic. Mr. Mladic, sit down and don't
15 speak aloud.
16 Okay. Now, I take it that -- I do not know, as a matter of fact,
17 but certainly if the Defence is surprised by this document - I do not
18 know whether they are or not - they'll certainly ask for more time to
19 explore the matter. But I do understand from Mr. Stojanovic that he is
20 not surprised at all, so if there is any matter to be raised further the
21 Defence will do that when re-examining you. At this moment, please focus
22 on answering the questions that are put to you by Mr. Weber, and you have
23 given a clear answer, you did not commit that crime. You even added,
24 although it wasn't asked, that you considered the document which is shown
25 to you to be a forgery.
1 Next question for Mr. Weber.
2 MR. WEBER:
3 Q. Sir, in fact, you were detained as a result of this order;
5 A. Yes.
6 MR. WEBER: I have nothing further.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Weber.
8 Mr. Stojanovic, any questions in re-examination?
9 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] A few, Your Honour, and I don't
10 think this is going to take very long. I also appreciate the effort made
11 by our witness.
12 Re-examination by Mr. Stojanovic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] I would like to ask in view of your experience
14 and the rank you held, please tell the Chamber whether an official
15 document of the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska would have to
16 have at the end of the text a signature and a stamp of the commander of
17 the organ that is adopting this document?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. The second thing I want to ask you: A document, that is a
20 document of the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska and that
21 constitutes the conclusions of the Main Staff regarding an assessment of
22 the situation in the theatre of war, would entail the need to familiarise
23 the subordinate units about this as in any organised army?
24 A. Yes.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Weber.
1 MR. WEBER: The questions are getting leading.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it's very leading, Mr. Stojanovic. Now the
3 witness has answered the question, but would you please refrain from
5 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
6 Could we please have P3071 in e-court.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mladic, this is the last warning. We do not
8 accept you standing up or speaking aloud. If it happens again, you'll be
9 removed from the courtroom.
10 Please proceed.
11 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Colonel, sir, you see the document before you, the one that you
13 had the opportunity to comment upon a moment ago. It says that it is a
14 document of the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska. There is a
15 number, there is a date, and then in the right-hand corner there is just
16 this hyphen. My question: A document like this, conclusions of the
17 Main Staff assessing the situation, would that have to be sent to the
18 subordinated units of the Army of Republika Srpska?
19 A. Of course. And here it cannot be seen whether this document was
20 sent to anyone at all or to whom it was sent.
21 Q. Thank you. And now let us look at the last page of this
22 document. My question: During your long career, did you ever have an
23 opportunity of coming across a document that at the end of the text did
24 not have a signature or a stamp or the name of the author of the
1 A. I never came across such a document, and I believe that this is
2 an invalid document.
3 Q. Thank you. The next thing I wish to ask you: During the war,
4 during all of those years of war, did you have any operative knowledge at
5 any point in time that within UNPROFOR there were persons that had the
6 task of guiding the air force to targets of the Army of Republika Srpska?
7 A. Well, this is a form of special warfare that many armies in the
8 world use against their enemies. That's what SFOR did, UNPROFOR,
9 international forces. They have resources for everything. They have a
10 response for everything. And during combat operations, we knew what the
11 boundaries of our own power were.
12 Q. Thank you. In case of a NATO bombing of facilities and units of
13 the Army of Republika Srpska, according to the position that was held by
14 your unit too, would that mean that UNPROFOR had sided with one of the
15 warring parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
16 A. Yes. And I would resist such forces with all means that are
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Weber.
19 MR. WEBER: He has answered but the question was speculative, the
20 form of question. It also called for a conclusion. It's not eliciting
21 facts at all.
22 JUDGE ORIE: And it was leading.
23 Mr. Stojanovic, these are at least three useful comments which
24 might assist you in phrasing your next question in a more appropriate
1 Please proceed.
2 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. And I will finish with the following question.
4 Colonel, during the preparation for your appearance before the
5 Court, I had occasion to see a lot of documents, the last of which had
6 been presented to you by the Prosecution. Now I would like you to
7 briefly, as briefly as you can, tell this Court why you answered the way
8 you did and why you feel that you had not committed any kind of
10 JUDGE ORIE: Wait. Stop. One second.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Would you please allow me,
12 Mr. President.
13 JUDGE ORIE: No. One second. You can answer part of that
14 question. We -- the way -- why you answered the question the way you did
15 is not something that is relevant for us. But what you feel is also not
16 of primary importance for us. Apparently you take the view that you did
17 not commit that crime. You can briefly explain to us the factual
18 circumstances on which that opinion is based. So tell us what happened
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Please.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Facts, well, first, the order - and
23 I've already said this - this order was not signed by the commander,
24 General Mladic. It's a forgery and an abuse of official authority by
25 another person.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. I stop you again. I stop you again.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Where else -- what else can I tell
4 JUDGE ORIE: Well, if you say I never went to Kalinovik,
5 therefore I didn't commit that crime, or I was after being arrested it
6 was established within two days that it had got nothing to do with me,
7 these are all facts. Your opinion about whether the document is a
8 forgery or not, that is what the parties will further discuss. And you
9 don't have to argue on that. But tell us what happened factually which
10 makes you convinced that you did not commit that crime.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, first, let me say this. I
12 was a member of the 1st Guards Motorised Brigade. I had a high degree of
13 authority over the entire complement. Somebody didn't like that. The
14 Guards Brigade had its war path, and it was determined to carry out its
15 tasks professionally. Many people did not like that and one unit had
16 occasion, or actually it happened to the unit, it so happened that that
17 entire personnel left the -- the spot, it was at battalion level, they
18 fled and then in a day or two the enemy arrived and they captured their
19 technical assets.
20 In order to cover this up, the -- this was -- claiming that this
21 was under the command or rather in the area of the Guards Brigade,
22 although this technical equipment was never in the area of the
23 Guards Brigade, somebody used this to actually accuse the responsible
24 officers for this area of responsibility, and that was the two of us, and
25 they accused us of this. But this is not true.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Simply, you said: A unit at the battalion level.
2 What was the name of the unit?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was a unit that was not within
4 the complement of the 1st Guards Motorised Brigade. It was under the
5 command of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps.
6 JUDGE ORIE: I wasn't asking who commanded that unit. My
7 question was: What was that unit; that is, what was the name of that
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I don't know exactly its
10 name. It was the armoured mechanised battalion of the Sarajevo-Romanija
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You were talking about a person, or persons,
13 or a group that disliked all this. Do you have any knowledge about names
14 or could you otherwise describe that group?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am not sure I understood you
16 quite clearly. What group are you referring to?
17 JUDGE ORIE: You say somebody used this to accuse the responsible
18 officers for this. And later you said, They accused of this. And you
19 said it's not true. Who accused you? What person or what persons
20 accused you of?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was accused by the officers who
22 actually had command over that battalion. They blamed the Guards Brigade
23 and the responsible officers from the Guards Brigade that were at the IKM
24 at that time, the Guards Brigade IKM.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Do you have any names?
1 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]
2 JUDGE ORIE: I do not receive interpretation. Could you --
3 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, perhaps the
4 witness should have the opportunity to explain this -- well, I'll repeat
6 JUDGE ORIE: No. I asked a question, and I expect the witness to
7 answer that question.
8 Witness, do you have any names of those who accused you?
9 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] I will reiterate, Your Honour, I
11 JUDGE ORIE: No, Mr. Stojanovic.
12 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. I just would
13 appreciate it if the witness feels that should be necessary, if he is
14 about to mention specific names, that perhaps we move into private
16 JUDGE ORIE: Well, at this moment I do not see any specific
17 reason why we would need to move, and the witness has not applied for
19 Do you know any of the names of those who accused you?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These were people who were
21 protecting themselves and one man from -- I can't tell you publicly the
22 names. If we can move to closed session.
23 JUDGE ORIE: What's the reason why you can't tell us? Or perhaps
24 you explain that in private session, why you have a reason not to tell us
25 in open session.
1 We move into private session.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
3 [Private session]
11 Page 28573 redacted. Private session.
2 [Open session]
3 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber leaves the topic as it is.
5 Mr. Stojanovic. Any further questions for the witness?
6 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we have no further
8 Q. And we would like to thank the colonel on behalf of
9 General Mladic for his testimony and appearance before this court. Thank
11 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. No further questions in --
12 MR. WEBER: Correct.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Judge Moloto has one or more questions for you,
15 and Judge Moloto, I'm just addressing you, do you think we can deal with
16 it in a one or two -- a few minutes, because otherwise we would take the
17 break. We're not yet at the break time.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated] I just want to seek one
19 answer and depending on -- one question, and depending on the answer that
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
22 Questioned by the Court:
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: You mentioned that you were detained as a result
24 of these allegations. Who detained you?
25 A. Most probably the person who issued that order.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: I beg your pardon.
2 A. I was ordered to go --
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Witness, I beg your pardon. You must have seen
4 the person who came to say to you, I'm taking you into detention. So I
5 don't expect you to say most probably. You must have seen the person who
6 physically took you into detention. Who was that?
7 A. There were two policemen and a commander --
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Their names, please.
9 A. -- who were charged with taking the two of us into a detention
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Their names.
12 A. I don't know their names.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, you say they were charged with --
14 A. I only know --
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Who had charged them with that task?
16 A. Colonel Ratko Vucetic charged them with that task.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
18 JUDGE ORIE: No further questions.
19 Then, Mr. Sarenac, this concludes your testimony. I would like
20 to thank you very much it -- no, before I do so, I have one question for
21 you, a short one.
22 Earlier Mr. Weber put a question to you where I got the feeling
23 that you might have misunderstood that question. That was a question
24 where you answered, well, we don't have a radio, video, no television, so
25 how could we possibly have instilled fear on the Muslims. You remember
1 that question and that answer you gave? Otherwise I'll read it to you
2 literally, but if you remember that would be --
3 A. I do, I remember it. I remember it. I remember both the
4 question and my answer.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Now, I got the feeling that you may have
6 misunderstood the question. So therefore, I'll try to --
7 A. I didn't.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Well, that still has to be established. I would, as
9 a matter of fact, like to put the question or a similar question again to
10 you - I'm looking at Mr. Weber to see whether I -- I understood his
11 question well - and I would invite you to answer that question.
12 What Mr. Weber did put to you was that you, by performing your
13 duties as an assistant commander for morale, religious, and legal
14 affairs, that by performing those duties, you gave support to operations
15 which Mr. Weber, on the basis of documents, believes to have been aimed
16 at the objectives described in those documents, including that Muslims
17 should leave territories or, if they had left already, that they should
18 not return. That is what Mr. Weber put to you, that by doing your job,
19 that you supported what he reads was the aim of all that in the
21 Could you please comment on that?
22 A. I understood Mr. Weber to imply that I, too, was part of this
23 propaganda machine and that I -- that had an influence on the feelings
24 and fear of the other side, and I replied that we didn't have any
25 technical means for any type of propaganda and fear --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Let me stop you there because there's where
2 the misunderstanding may be. I think Mr. Weber also included by
3 performing your duties as an assistant commander for morale, religious,
4 and legal affairs, so irrespective of whether you used radio or
5 television but by giving support to those operations with the aim of
6 those operations as he found them in those documents, that you also
7 participated and that you also supported or were part of that machinery
8 which had those aims in their operations.
9 A. No, please, you have to understand. It was war time. There were
10 three warring parties. Everything else should be clear from that. We
11 were at war. We didn't cuddle each other. It was a bloody, fierce war,
12 unfortunately, with many casualties, many dead, many people missing.
13 Many traumas remain and all the ethnicities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are
14 suffering from it, and that's very difficult. And I think that from
15 this, it must be clear to you what my aspirations are, where I stand.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. At least now I have the feeling that you
17 commented on the question as it was intended and clarified to you.
18 Have this triggered any further questions? Not.
19 Then I started already thanking you. I continue that. I would
20 like to thank you very much for having come to The Hague and for having
21 answered all the questions that were put to you by the parties, by the
22 Bench, and I wish you a safe return home again.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, allow me to say
24 thank you and to say that I appreciate you having me here as a witness,
25 and I also wish you success in your work. And I would like to greet all
1 of your associates as well as General Mladic. He was my war time
2 commander, so please bear with me.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I think you were instructed by the Victims and
4 Witness Section not to do what you did last, isn't it? You,
5 nevertheless, did it. Okay. It's not appreciated. Please follow the
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wasn't instructed by the Victims
8 and Witness Unit.
9 JUDGE ORIE: We'll verify that. If it has not been done, then,
10 of course, you can forget about it. But if you were instructed not to
11 send any personal greetings to the accused, then we'll verify that.
12 Mr. Weber.
13 MR. WEBER: Your Honour, just because it's not clear what just
14 happened on the actual written record, I believe the witness saluted
15 General Mladic.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, he did that briefly.
17 You may follow the usher. And, again, a safe return home again.
18 [The witness withdrew]
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic, any challenge of the authenticity of
20 any document which has been admitted previously should take the form of a
21 reconsideration of the decision on admission rather than to let a witness
22 tell us that a document is a forgery. If he has any facts to his
23 knowledge, ask about those facts. But that's the proper way of dealing
24 with the matter. And I think that both of the documents that you asked
25 questions about, whether he had ever seen a document unsigned, well, this
1 Chamber has seen documents unsigned, so the witness must have not looked
2 very well, perhaps, at the time or may have missed something.
3 But we're always open for questions of authenticity. First of
4 all they should be raised, first, at the time a document is tendered. I
5 think for the last one authenticity was not raised. There was an
6 objection against that document but not, as far as I understand, on the
7 basis of authenticity but you'd rather prefer to have it introduced
8 through a live witness. But whatever it is, a new decision requires a
9 motion to reconsider and that should have a proper factual basis.
10 Leave it to that. We take a break and we'll resume at 20 minutes
11 to 1.00.
12 And is the Defence ready to call its next witness?
13 We -- we take a break.
14 --- Recess taken at 12.19 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 12.43 p.m.
16 JUDGE ORIE: While we're waiting for the witness to enter the
17 courtroom, the Chamber wondered, since we had a bit of a delayed start,
18 whether we could not have a little bit over one hour and then finish for
19 the day. And then the parties are urged to see whether it would be
20 possible to conclude the testimony of this witness - it's only a very
21 short statement - today.
22 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] I think it will be all right,
23 Your Honour.
24 JUDGE ORIE: And I see that Mr. MacDonald is also nodding in the
1 [The witness entered court]
2 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon, Mr. Djeric. My I invite you to make
3 the solemn declaration, of which the text is now handed out to you.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
5 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
6 WITNESS: ZORAN DJERIC
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 JUDGE ORIE: Please be seated, Mr. Djeric.
9 You will first be examined by Mr. Stojanovic. You'll find him to
10 your left. Mr. Stojanovic is counsel for Mr. Mladic.
11 Please proceed, Mr. Stojanovic.
12 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
13 Examination by Mr. Stojanovic:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Sir, good afternoon and welcome to this
15 courtroom. Could you please state for the record slowly your first and
16 last name.
17 A. My name is Zoran Djeric.
18 Q. Mr. Djeric, at one point in time, did you make a statement to the
19 Defence of General Mladic, a written statement?
20 A. Yes.
21 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could we please
22 have in e-court 65 ter 1D01692.
23 Q. Mr. Djeric, you can see before you on the screen a statement, and
24 I would like you to tell the Court whether the signature on this page of
25 this written statement is yours.
1 A. Yes, it is.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Could we now see the last page
4 of this document, please.
5 Q. Mr. Djeric, does your signature appear on the last page of this
6 statement? What you see here, is that your signature and did you date
7 this statement?
8 A. Yes, this is my signature, and I also entered the date in my own
10 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would now like
11 to look at paragraph 7 of this statement.
12 Q. In the first sentence, we see a date. It says: "It was only in
13 November 1992 ..."
14 Now, Mr. Djeric, let me ask you this: Did you point out to me
15 before you came to this courtroom that it should read -- that this should
16 actually read "it was only in December 1992"?
17 A. Yes, that's correct. It should be it was only in December 1992.
18 There should be a correction there.
19 Q. Thank you. Now that you've corrected this date, if I were to put
20 the same questions to you today in this courtroom, now that you've taken
21 this solemn oath, would your answers be identical to those contained in
22 this corrected written statement that is before you?
23 A. Yes, they would be.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to
1 tender the statement of Zoran Djeric, 1D01692 being the 65 ter number.
2 MR. MacDONALD: No objection, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Document 1D1692 receives number D788,
5 Your Honours.
6 JUDGE ORIE: D788 is admitted.
7 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, with your leave at
8 this point in time I would like to read out the summary of
9 Witness Zoran Djeric's statement.
10 JUDGE ORIE: The statement is one page and a half, so the summary
11 is supposed to be pretty much shorter.
12 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Exactly, Your Honour.
13 Up until the war, the witness, Zoran Djeric, worked in Rogatica
14 in the wood processing industry. It is that position that he held when
15 the war broke out in 1992 in his town. The witness will testify about a
16 deterioration in inter-ethnic relations from the autumn of 1991 about the
17 arming of Muslims, about the organisation of patrols among the local
18 population, and about people leaving his area to join the National Guards
19 Corps, ZNG, and to go to Vukovar.
20 In April 1992 with his family he left the town of Rogatica as a
21 precaution, because he lived in a part of town where the majority
22 population was Muslim. Immediately upon arriving in his native village,
23 he joined the self-organised Serb village guards.
24 Up until 1992, they did not have any contact with the VRS and
25 they acted with full independence on the basis of the principle of
1 self-organisation. It is only at the end of June or beginning of
2 July 1992 that these self-organised units were all linked up in an
3 integrated system.
4 In December 1992 after the attack on Sjemec, he was assigned to
5 the mortar squad of the Rogatica Brigade and remained in that position
6 until the end of the war.
7 He is aware that in December 1992 a group of Muslims took a bus
8 from Rogatica to Olovo, but the Muslims would not take them in. So when
9 they returned to Rogatica, the municipal authorities put them up in a
10 facility that was called Rasadnik. Otherwise, he himself had his Muslim
11 friends stay at his place. But when the war broke out, as he was unable
12 to guarantee their safety, they left his house.
13 Finally, he says that he is unaware of any kind of unlawful order
14 aimed against the Muslims or any organised activities against Muslim
16 Your Honours, that is the summary of this witness's statement.
17 Allow me, just briefly, to put a question to this witness.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Please do so.
19 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Please have D788 in e-court.
20 And could we focus on paragraph 4 of this statement.
21 Q. You see it before you now, Mr. Djeric. It is paragraph 4 of your
22 statement. And you say that you left town and that was done for the sake
23 of prevention, as a precaution, because it was impossible to have an
24 evacuation. Could you please explain to the Court what the real reasons
25 were when you described it this way, the real reasons for your decision
1 in April 1992 to leave Rogatica with your family.
2 A. In the street where I lived before the war conflict broke out in
3 Rogatica, there were about ten Serb houses. The rest were Muslim houses.
4 So as the minority population in the territory of the municipality and in
5 that street, we had to evacuate for the sake of prevention because, quite
6 simply, conflict was hanging in the air. Since we did not have the
7 possibility to evacuate later as things developed, we decided to do it on
8 time, if I can put it that way. That proved out to be good, correct, and
9 true, for my family and for the other families from that street. That is
10 what I can say about that. And if there's anything else, I am prepared
11 to answer any other questions.
12 Q. In the area where you lived, were there any other families of
13 Serb ethnicity that decided to leave Rogatica for the same reason before
14 the armed conflict broke out?
15 A. Well, yes, I've mentioned that in my statement. As far as I can
16 remember, people also decided to leave because our position was such that
17 there was no possibility for us to evacuation in one direction only,
18 eastward, that is to say, towards the Karanfeld [phoen] Street where the
19 majority population was Serb. We were in an industrial zone and we could
20 not go north or south or west, especially during the night if there were
21 to be some incidents then.
22 Q. I'm going to end with the following question: Did you notice
23 whether there were any neighbours of yours who were of Muslim ethnicity
24 who, before the armed conflict broke out, left Rogatica as well?
25 A. As far as I knew, as I socialised with these people, it was
1 mainly women and children that were leaving. Also for the sake of
2 prevention because no one could forecast when the clashes would start and
3 what their that nature would be.
4 Q. Mr. Djeric, thank you. At this point in time we have no further
5 questions for you.
6 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Stojanovic.
8 Before I give an opportunity to the Prosecution to cross-examine
9 you, I've one question in relation to your statement. Did you study the
10 indictment against Mr. Mladic?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I am aware of some details,
12 but I didn't see that.
13 JUDGE ORIE: What do you know about charges in relation to events
14 in Rasadnik? Do you know what he's charged with?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As for these events in Rasadnik,
16 I've referred to that in my statement. One group of people who were put
17 up there later, in December, were --
18 JUDGE ORIE: No, no, I'm going to stop you. Could you tell us
19 what you know about the charges? What do the charges say about an event
20 in Rasadnik, the indictment?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I haven't seen that. I
22 really haven't seen that. If you explain it to me, I'll try to answer.
23 I don't know exactly what the charges are in relation to Rasadnik. Is it
24 ethnic cleansing or is it something else?
25 JUDGE ORIE: Well, your statement reads:
1 "As regards the Rasadnik incident referred to in the indictment,"
2 and then you give some comments. Therefore, I wondered whether you are
3 aware of what is in the indictment in relation to Rasadnik.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I just know that a certain number
5 of people of Muslim ethnicity were staying there. I know that. I can
6 say that. I knew some of these people who were there. That is what I
7 stated in my statement. I don't know if I understood the question
9 JUDGE ORIE: Well, the question simply was if you are commenting
10 on what is in the indictment about an event in Rasadnik, I was wondering
11 whether you had knowledge what is in the indictment about Rasadnik. But
12 apparently I do understand that you have no knowledge about what
13 Mr. Mladic is charged with in relation to Rasadnik. Which is okay. I
14 mean, but ...
15 Do you know or don't you know? If you don't know, just tell us.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I don't know.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
18 Mr. MacDonald.
19 You'll now be cross-examined by Mr. MacDonald. Mr. MacDonald is
20 counsel for the Prosecution, and you find him to your right.
21 Cross-examination by Mr. MacDonald:
22 Q. In your statement at paragraphs 3 and 4, you state that you moved
23 to Borike and joined the Serb guards in April 1992. Your commander there
24 was Rajko Kusic. That's right?
25 A. That's right.
1 Q. So you were, in effect, part of the Rogatica Serbian Territorial
2 Defence. That's right, isn't it?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Your unit was deployed in sections and platoons; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. If I can take you to the first line of paragraph 6 of your
7 statement. We actually have it on the screen in front of us already. It
9 "By at least mid-1992, we had no contacts with the army and we
10 literally operated on the principle of self-organisation."
11 But it is actually true that by the end of April 1992, your
12 commander, Rajko Kusic, was reporting about your unit's location, tasks,
13 and weaponry to the JNA, wasn't he?
14 A. Over there where I was, that is where local guards were
15 organised, and we spent most of our time there until we were asked to go
16 to different points. That was the beginning of the war; that is to say,
18 Q. Who asked to you go to different points?
19 A. When I went to the separation line in 1992, then I was called by
20 the command. This was in December after our positions at Mount Sjemec
21 were attacked.
22 Q. Sorry, in your previous answer, you said: "We spent most of our
23 time there until we were asked to go to different points. That was the
24 beginning of the war ..."
25 So I understood that you were asked to move in April of 1992. Is
1 that right or wrong?
2 A. No, no. We were local guards. There's -- that was guard duty
3 that we had and we were providing security for our village.
4 MR. MacDONALD: Can the Prosecution please have P06814 on the
5 screen, please.
6 Q. This is a report on 30th of April, 1992, on the combat readiness
7 of the Territorial Defence units. It's from the command of the
8 Territorial Defence battalion in Rogatica, and it's signed by
9 Rajko Kusic.
10 MR. MacDONALD: If we can have page 4 in the English and page 2
11 in the B/C/S, please.
12 Q. Now, Mr. Djeric, if I can ask you to lack at the bottom of the
13 B/C/S document on the screen in front of you, three units up, as it were,
14 do you see the words "territorially based detachment, Borike."
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And the first part states:
17 "Deployed per platoons and sections."
18 And you confirmed that you were deployed in platoons and sections
19 and it lists a number of different areas. Were you deployed in those
21 A. For a while, perhaps in the beginning of May, I was securing the
22 IKM at Borike. That is all, in addition to the local guards until the
23 beginning of December.
24 Q. You were securing an IKM. That's a forward command post, isn't
1 A. Yes, in one period of time. And then we were returned to provide
2 local guard duty.
3 Q. Who ordered you to secure the IKM at Borike in the beginning of
5 A. Well, we received orders from the IKM. I'm certainly not going
6 to say that it was the beginning of May, but it was during the month of
7 May and not earlier than that.
8 Q. You received orders from the IKM. Who was based at the IKM? Who
9 was giving you those orders?
10 A. We received that orally by radio communication from the command
11 of the IKM that we should report at Borike to provide security for the
13 Q. Yes, I appreciate it's from the command of the IKM. Who was
14 that? Which unit?
15 A. Well, units of the Territorial Defence of that place; that is to
16 say, Borike itself.
17 Q. Perhaps if we turn back to the document in front of you, you'll
18 see in the next two paragraphs, after it says deployed per platoons and
19 sections, there are the words: "Control and closing down of the axis,"
20 and it says that's towards a number of areas, and then it gives a list of
21 the weaponry in the unit.
22 Firstly, do you recognise that that is the weaponry that you had
23 in your unit?
24 A. Well, the weaponry was mostly long barrels, semi-automatic
25 rifles, M48 rifles, and automatic rifles.
1 MR. MacDONALD: Perhaps if we can go back to the first page in
2 this document.
3 Q. Witness, near the top of this document before the main body, do
4 you see the words "pursuant to order dated 21st April 1992, I hereby
5 submit a report ... "
6 Do you see those words?
7 A. Yes, yes.
8 MR. MacDONALD: Can the Prosecution please now have P06813 on the
9 screen, please.
10 Q. Witness, this is an order from the command of the
11 1st Romanija Brigade to the battalion of the Territorial Defence,
12 Rogatica, for delivery of reports regarding Territorial Defence unit
13 battle readiness. Do you see it is dated 21st April 1992?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So your commander, Rajko Kusic, is responding to an order to
16 report on the battle readiness of, amongst others, your unit. That's
17 right, isn't it?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. So, Witness, your commander reporting to an order of this brigade
20 command. Clearly you did have contact with the army. This contradicts
21 what you said in your statement, doesn't it?
22 A. I said that we were not linked up. As far as the command is
23 concerned, our commander, I'm not saying that they were not linked up as
24 far as these events are concerned, and I'm not saying that they did not
25 have any contact.
1 Q. Witness, I'm going to read the first sentence of paragraph 6 of
2 your statement back to you. At just the first part:
3 "By at least mid-1992, we had no contacts with the army."
4 Now, that's not correct, is it.
5 A. That is our knowledge. Perhaps I do not remember some dates
6 literally so that I could put them in a particular sequence as required
7 by the statement. Perhaps I did not link up all of this properly.
8 Q. Okay. I'd now like to play a video --
9 JUDGE ORIE: Before we do so, Mr. --
10 You say, I didn't have the chronology on my mind. In your
11 statement, you say calls were sent to us to report to the meeting point
12 in Borike where we would be given further assignments, but this did not
13 happen until July 1992.
14 You told us a few minutes ago that you'd go to the IKM late -- in
15 late May or early June, and certainly before July, that contradicts your
16 statement where it gives a very precise time indication. Do you have any
17 explanation for that?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was a short period of time,
19 perhaps five, six, or seven days that we provided security there. And
20 then we returned again, I mean, to provide security in our native
21 villages. Again, perhaps in these statements I did not give the exact
22 sequence of these events, but it was a short period. So it wasn't
24 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, to reveal that there was an IKM and that
25 you were ordered to go there would also reveal that it was not just
1 self-organised. Would you agree with me? Even if only for a short
2 period of time that at least you were part of a greater context, a
3 greater organised force?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Later we became linked up in
5 a more organised set-up and that is what I said in my statement.
6 JUDGE ORIE: What I put to you is that by not saying anything
7 about the five or six days, that this might well introduce a wrong
8 impression of the real situation.
9 If you have any comment to it, please give it. Otherwise, I'll
10 ask Mr. MacDonald to continue.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I don't have any comment to
12 that. Perhaps I omitted something in my statement.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. MacDonald.
14 MR. MacDONALD: I'd now seek to play a video, Your Honours. It
15 is approximately four minutes long and there are three different clips.
16 The transcripts, I think, have been handed out to the booths, although
17 I'm afraid I didn't get it checked with CLSS beforehand, so we will have
18 to play it twice.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
20 Witness, we'll look at the video twice, that's for very technical
21 reasons, and give you an opportunity to carefully see it.
22 MR. MacDONALD: My apologies, Your Honour. I didn't give the
23 65 ter number. It is 22430b.
24 [Video-clip played]
25 MR. MacDONALD:
1 Q. Mr. Djeric --
2 JUDGE ORIE: We have to look at it twice, isn't it?
3 MR. MacDONALD: Ah.
4 JUDGE ORIE: For the Chamber to understand what the video tells
5 us --
6 MR. MacDONALD: I was just going to ask him to identify the
7 person in the clip just now, but I'm happy for it to be run through it.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. And then we return through it again.
9 You can put that question.
10 Do you recognise the person speaking on the video-clip?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 JUDGE ORIE: And it is?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Rajko Kusic, the commander of the
14 light brigade.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now next time if you do that, don't give his
16 name on the video itself so that might bring some thoughts. But let's
17 look at it again so that we also know what Mr. Kusic tells us.
18 MR. MacDONALD: I would seek after each clip to ask a question,
19 Your Honours. Is that --
20 JUDGE ORIE: We can do it portion by portion. Unless there is a
21 relation or whether the following portion sheds some light on it, and
22 then of course it would be a -- a waste of time to limit ourselves to --
23 but if it's limited to that portion, fine.
24 Please proceed. So we first now look at the --
25 [Video-clip played]
1 "THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Of the 1st Podrinje Light Infantry
2 Brigade is particular in many mays. First what is particular is its
3 beginning. The embryo of the brigade was created on 6 March 1992 as a
4 forward section of the 216th Brigade of the former Yugoslav People's Army
5 with the headquarters in Han Pijesak. After the mobilisation and the
6 secession of Slovenia and Croatia had taken place, the decisions on
7 withdrawing the JNA and the mobilising in Bosnia and Herzegovina brought
8 about the mobilisation of the 216th Brigade.
9 "Some military conscripts from the municipality of Rogatica, who
10 had not been assigned to the 216th Brigade, were within the strength of
11 the Territorial Defence of the former Army of Yugoslavia in the territory
12 of the Rogatica municipality. Together with some other military
13 conscripts from the municipality, I was one of those.
14 "Since the TO failed to function and the SDA mostly carried out
15 the setting up of their armed forces of the Ministry of Interior, the
16 Green Berets, and the TO did not function; that is, it was not
17 functioning. By creating armed forces of the Muslim army through the MUP
18 and the party of SDA, some of the military conscripts volunteers as
19 reinforcement of the 216th Brigade, and since they were stationed in
20 Gucevo and Han Pijesak and a battalion of military conscripts from this
21 area was in Gucevo, we had gathered on a voluntary basis, about 50
22 volunteers, and expressed a desire to join the defence of the state, and
23 a reinforced platoon was formed which remained in this area, the Borike
24 location, which came out in Borike on 6 March 1992 under the command of
25 the 216th Brigade. That was the first embryo of the brigade."
1 MR. MacDONALD: For the record, Your Honours, the video has been
2 stopped at 02:13:03.
3 Q. Mr. Djeric, this -- this is your commander stating that the unit
4 in Borike came out on 6 March 1992 and was under the command of the
5 216th Brigade. You must have known that the unit you were joining was
6 under the command of that brigade when you joined it?
7 A. Yes. Well, I was a member of the reserve corps of the
8 216th Brigade in Han Pijesak.
9 Q. When were you a member of the reserve corps?
10 A. Before the war broke out, in the 1990s, in 1990 and 1991, Autumn
11 of 1991, when the Muslims deserted the unit. We reinforced that unit as
12 a reserve force.
13 Q. So if I've understood you correctly, in autumn 1991 you
14 reinforced the 216th Brigade as part of their reserve corps; is that
16 A. Yes. But even earlier on, that was my war time deployment and
17 some -- every two or three years we would have exercises where we would
18 be deployed at Han Pijesak.
19 MR. MacDONALD: I would seek to play the next portion of the
20 video Your Honours.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Could we ask, the 6th of March which is mentioned as
22 the date of, if I could say, the rebirth or the -- does that ring a bell
23 to you that there was activity on the 6th of March as described by
24 Mr. Kusic?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the time I was in Rogatica and
1 I'm not very familiar with those activities, the coming out of men in
2 that territory. I was still engaged and I had some activities within my
3 company, so I'm not really familiar with the very beginnings, the events
4 at the very beginning.
5 JUDGE ORIE: What do you mean by your company? That's an
6 ambiguous term. In English at least.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I mean, the work organisation
8 where I worked, the enterprise, the company, the lumber industry.
9 JUDGE ORIE: So you were not in way aware involved in the restart
10 of the -- of the unit Mr. Kusic is talking about? You say I'm not very
11 familiar, which is a bit of an ambiguous term as well. Did you know
12 about it?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, partly. I knew something.
14 JUDGE ORIE: What did you know?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I knew that a unit was being
16 established which was, as the commander said, the embryo of the Serbian
17 army in those areas.
18 JUDGE ORIE: And when you earlier testified that you were sent to
19 secure the IKM in -- certainly before July, was that in the same context
20 of that unit?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did see some officers from time
22 to time, but these men who were there, I didn't see them in that
23 environment, when I went to secure the IKM.
24 JUDGE ORIE: What men?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The men who were with
1 Commander Kusic at that point in time.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But Commander Kusic is talking about Borike,
3 isn't it? Were there more units or more command posts?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I too am referring to Borike.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But there was only one unit, one command post
6 in Borike?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, that is so.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. MacDonald.
9 We play now the second part? Yes.
10 We re-play now the second part of the interview. Please
11 carefully listen.
12 [Video-clip played]
13 "THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] The company that was then within
14 the strength of the 216th Brigade and together with that battalion took
15 part for the first time in Visegrad from the 18th to 22nd of April 1992,
16 where they eliminated the Green Berets; that is, where the Muslims
17 rebelled in order to create the border with Serbia that is to secede from
18 Yugoslav which was the main objective.
19 "The units took part in co-operation with a battalion of the
20 216th Brigade of the Uzice Corps in order to calm the situation down;
21 that is, they did not act offensively but in order to protect the Serb
22 civilians. That took place between 18th and 22nd of April. They
23 continued to exist within the 216th Brigade which provided security to
24 the civilians and maintained order in the region of Podrinje from
25 Visegrad, Medjedja, Ustipraca, Gorazde."
1 MR. MacDONALD:
2 Q. Near to the time -- ah. For the record, the video is stopped at
4 Near to the time you joined this unit in Borike, a company took
5 part in combat operations in Visegrad with the 216th Brigade, and then
6 continued to exist within the 216th Brigade in that region. You must
7 have known about that as well.
8 A. Yes, I knew that based on this statement. But also when I was
9 there, I was briefed. Although, I did not take part in those offensive
10 operations but I am aware of that event. And we could see it here, too,
11 in this video insert.
12 MR. MacDONALD: I seek to play the last portion of the video,
13 Your Honours.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Let's have a look at the last portion.
15 [Video-clip played]
16 "THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] With the decision of the 19th of
17 May on the establishment of the VRS, it was obvious to us, and we took
18 that road, to organise ourselves on instructions and creating units with
19 all elements of the system of command and control."
20 MR. MacDONALD:
21 Q. Mr. Djeric, now, your unit joined the VRS on 19 May 1992, didn't
23 A. Yes. Up until then the former Yugoslav People's Army was the
24 only legitimate regular military force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. On the
25 19th of May, the Army of Republika Srpska was established.
1 Q. Witness --
2 JUDGE ORIE: And could the witness also answer your question,
3 preferably. And your unit joined the VRS on the 19th of May, once it was
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes.
6 MR. MacDONALD: And the Prosecution seeks to tender the
7 video-clip, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar, I take it that you're waiting to
9 receive the CD.
10 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
11 JUDGE ORIE: It's there, almost. Madam Registrar once you've
12 receive the CD, could you assign a number to the video.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honours. Document 22430b receives
14 number P6931, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE ORIE: P6931 is admitted.
16 MR. MacDONALD: I'd seek to move on to my final topic, Your
18 JUDGE ORIE: Please do so, Mr. MacDonald.
19 MR. MacDONALD:
20 Q. Mr. Djeric, at the end of your statement, you say:
21 "None of the orders I am aware of was illegal."
22 For the sake of clarity, do you accept there may have been
23 illegal orders and you were simply not aware of them?
24 A. I was not aware of any such orders, but I cannot claim that there
25 were none. As far as I knew, all orders were within the bounds of the
1 Geneva Conventions on war activities.
2 MR. MacDONALD: Nothing further, Your Honours. Thank you.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. MacDonald.
4 Mr. Stojanovic, any further questions for the witness?
5 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
6 Re-examination by Mr. Stojanovic:
7 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] The video that now bears the
8 number P6931, if I jotted that down correctly, with the assistance of
9 Ms. Stewart, I would appreciate if we could see the part from 01:40
10 through 02:00.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could you repeat the portion. It is not properly
13 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] I will repeat that,
14 Your Honours. So I would seek the assistance of Ms. Janet, could we
15 begin with 01:40 up until 02:00.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE ORIE: Could we start this portion.
18 [Video-clip played]
19 "THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] We gathered on a voluntary basis
20 about 40 volunteers and expressed a desire to join the defence of the
21 state and a reinforced platoon was established which remained in this
22 area, the Borike location."
23 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for your assistance.
24 Q. Mr. Djeric, now in this excerpt, and you had occasion to hear it
25 for the third time, Kusic said:
1 "We had gathered on a voluntary basis about 40 volunteers and
2 expressed a desire to join the defence of the state..."
3 Now, my question is this: Did you at any point in time during
4 that period, or up until today, have any information about the manner in
5 which these people began gathering, beginning with the 6th of March,
7 A. Well, as Mr. Kusic said in his statement, everything was
8 organised on a voluntary basis. I can say that there was a very
9 difficult heritage in those areas, historical heritage, and people
10 organised themselves lest, heaven forbid, 1941 should repeat itself.
11 That is what I know about the organisation from these beginnings.
12 Q. Thank you. I will conclude with the following question in view
13 of your last answers given to my learned friend, Mr. Prosecutor.
14 When did you, in your village, learn and when did you organise
15 yourselves as members of the VRS? When did you learn of it and when did
16 you organise?
17 A. Well, after it was established on the 19th of May, that is when
18 we joined the Army of Republika Srpska because up until then the
19 Yugoslav People's Army had been the only legitimate armed force. At that
20 time we realised that this force was non-existent and we believed that we
21 had to do something and organise ourselves, if you understand my meaning.
22 Q. When you, specifically you yourself, when did you for the first
23 time receive your assignment in the VRS?
24 A. As for the first combat operations, I received a written report
25 on the 20th of December. This is when I was assigned directly to combat
1 operations because in the previous days there was combat activity in the
2 general area --
3 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the place names,
4 two place names, at the end of the witness's answer.
5 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Mr. Djeric, thank you for coming to testify before this Court.
7 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
8 questions for this witness.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Djeric, when you said in the previous days there
10 was combat activity in the general area of ... what exactly? Because the
11 interpreters missed what general area you were referring to.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The general area of the Sjemec
13 mountain and the Pesurici village.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that. Before -- I don't know whether
15 you have any questions at this moment. I would have one or two questions
16 for you Witness, Mr. Djeric.
17 Questioned by the Court:
18 JUDGE ORIE: First of all, I am taking you back to paragraph 8
19 where you are commenting on the Rasadnik incident referred to in the
20 indictment which, by the way, took place as charged in August, but you
21 are commenting on what happened in December, so -- but irrespective of
22 that, you described that Muslims were sent by bus and then refused to
23 enter and then went back to Rogatica, and you said then:
24 "Since they were returned to Rogatica, the municipal authorities
25 placed them at a facility in Rasadnik."
1 And you are saying that this happened in 1992. Why were they
2 placed by the authorities in Rasadnik?
3 A. Well, this is all I can say about that incident. They were sent
4 on a bus to Olovo where the separation line was --
5 JUDGE ORIE: That's what we find in your statement. What I'd
6 like to know is when they were refused and returned to Rogatica, why were
7 they placed at a facility in Rasadnik?
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Why?
10 A. Well, for security reasons they could not return to the area
11 where they had lived before, before -- because the combat operations were
12 under way, and in order to prevent, forestall anything from happening to
13 them, they were put up there.
14 JUDGE ORIE: That was in December?
15 A. [No interpretation]
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Were they given any free choice --
17 A. Yes.
18 JUDGE ORIE: -- or were they -- so they were not placed but they
19 were given a choice whether to go home or not to go home, and if they did
20 not want to go home, they were placed in Rasadnik? Is that how it
21 happened? If you know. I don't know whether you were present.
22 A. I don't know if they were offered. I wasn't there. But I don't
23 know if they were offered any other option other than they -- than to go
24 for an exchange, towards Olovo.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Now a minute ago, I asked you, were they
1 given any free choice? You said yes. And on my next question, you now
2 say that you don't know. Are you aware that that is rather confusing for
3 this Chamber.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The interpreter was late
5 in answering to the previous question.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that I knew that they were
7 offered the option to go for an exchange, to go to Olovo. Now whether
8 that was their free choice or whether there were any other connotations,
9 I can't really claim with any certainty because I did not take part in
10 those events. I was already --
11 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, I think this -- this "yes" was misplaced
12 in the transcript.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- on the front line at that -- in
14 those days.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Mr. -- we're still waiting for the
16 translation, Mr. Lukic.
17 MR. LUKIC: Sorry. I think that this "yes" in line 19 of page 81
18 was misplaced in the transcript.
19 JUDGE ORIE: The interpreters informed us about a problem there.
20 But it is clear now that the witness cannot tell us whether a real free
21 choice was given to those who were placed in Rasadnik.
22 I have no further questions. Have my questions trigged any need
23 for further questions?
24 If not, Mr. Djeric, this concludes your testimony in this court.
25 I'd like to thank you very much for coming to The Hague and for having
1 answered the questions that were put to you, put to you by the parties
2 and put to you by the Bench, and I wish you a safe return home again.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you for making it possible
4 for me to speak before an organ of justice.
5 JUDGE ORIE: You may follow the usher.
6 [The witness withdrew]
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE ORIE: Although there was a decision which I could read but
9 I don't want to stress -- to extend the time too much, unless you say
10 that seven minutes would be okay. But otherwise, I more or less
11 indicated that we would finish after a little bit over one hour. Perhaps
12 it's better to do that. Unless the Defence would strongly encourage me
13 to read the -- you are not, Mr. Lukic. That's clear and fully
14 understandable. I leave it to that.
15 We adjourn for the day and we resume tomorrow, Thursday, the 20th
16 of November, 9.30 in this same courtroom, I.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.51 p.m.,
18 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 20th day of
19 November, 2014, at 9.30 a.m.