1 Monday, 30 August 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning to everybody in the courtroom.
7 Good morning to you, Witness. I have to remind you again that
8 the affirmation to tell the truth still applies.
9 WITNESS: HAMDIJA TORLAK [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please continue your
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Tolimir, please.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, for Mr. Tolimir.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 May God's will reign in this house. May there be peace in this
17 house, and I wish that this trial be concluded according to God's wishes
18 and not necessarily mine.
19 Thank you, Mr. Presiding Judge.
20 Last time, we left it off when we discussed a topic concerning
21 the outbreak of hostilities in Zepa and Srebrenica. I will have a few
22 questions of you about the War Presidency, the Executive Board, and the
23 president of the War Presidency, given that it was frequently mentioned
24 here and in your statement.
25 Cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir: [Continued]
1 Q. [Interpretation] Please clarify for the Chamber what the role of
2 the president of the Presidency was. Am I correct if I say that
3 according to the then regulation, it should have been occupied by the
4 municipal president? Given that Zepa had not been a municipality,
5 another solution had to be come up with. Could you please explain who
6 elected presidents of war presidencies and specifically the president in
8 A. Good morning.
9 Q. Good morning to you as well.
10 A. The answer is as follows: You are correct when you say that
11 under the then legislation of the Socialist Federal Republic of
12 Yugoslavia, automatically, the municipal president in war conditions also
13 as the president of the War Presidency. You also said that given that
14 Zepa had not enjoyed municipal status, it was only a part of a
15 municipality, I can tell you what I know about how presidents of war
16 presidencies were elected.
17 As far as I know, and from what I could gather later, the first
18 president of the War Presidency, I don't know whether he was appointed by
19 anyone or he was nominated by a group of prominent people in Zepa. They
20 obviously believed that this person would be best suited to fill that
22 As of 1993 onwards, presidents of the War Presidency were
23 appointed by Sarajevo. I don't know whether it was the party who did
24 that or some other political body. It is most likely that the party, the
25 SDA, appointed them, because they received the most votes among the
1 Muslim population. This is as far as my knowledge goes about any
2 appointments and removals of presidents of war presidencies.
3 Q. Who was the first, the second, and the third president?
4 A. As far as I recall, and I said that in my previous testimony on
5 Thursday, I believe, the first War Presidency president was
6 Mr. Benjamin Kulovac. The second, Ago Padzic, and the third,
7 Mehmed Hajric. If there were any other people in between, I can't recall
8 them. This is what I can remember, more or less.
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Tolimir. Could the witness
10 and the accused be reminded to pause between questions and answers.
11 Thank you.
12 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We didn't receive interpretation of the last
14 portion of the witness's statement.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Nor was the question heard, Your Honour,
16 because the microphone was off.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The question was whether all three
18 presidents of the War Presidency were members of the SDA. I hope I
19 understood the question well. My answer is that I am certain of the last
20 two, Ago Padzic and Mehmed Hajric, whereas I am not certain about
21 Mr. Benjamin Kulovac.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Tolimir.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. The appointment of war presidents in Zepa, was it done personally
1 by the president of the republic, Alija Izetbegovic, or was it done by
2 some other bodies of the government or any of the ministers?
3 A. I truly don't have that information. We always used to refer to
4 their appointments as coming from Sarajevo. I was never a member of the
5 party and I wasn't privy to any political processes, so I can't really
6 respond to that. It must have been someone from the political
8 Q. Thank you. So you confirm that Mr. Hajric was also the chairman
9 of the SDA in Zepa. Did the SDA in Zepa include any members of other
10 ethnicities or political parties?
11 A. I have a small correction. I think the SDA chairman in Zepa was
12 not Mr. Hajric. I think it was Ago Padzic. When he was removed from the
13 position of president of War Presidency, I believe he remained in his
14 chairman SDA position. This is what I can recall.
15 As regards the members of the War Presidency, I did not belong to
16 any political party, whereas for others, I don't know. There was
17 Hurem Sakic there. I don't know whether he was an SDA member or not. I
18 truly cannot tell you anything precisely. I don't think it was necessary
19 for one to be an SDA member, to be a member of the War Presidency.
20 However, most of the members were.
21 Q. Thank you. At page 4258, lines 7 to 10, of the 23rd of August,
22 you explained that Mr. Hajric was a "hodja," a cleric. That was his
23 training. At page 4259 of the same day, lines 10 to 13, you say that the
24 position of the president of the War Presidency was supposed to have been
25 held by the municipal speaker, the municipal president, who was
1 Mehmed Hajric. He was the person number one in Zepa. Given that this is
2 unclear, was he also both the municipal president and the president of
3 the War Presidency?
4 A. I'll go back to the beginning.
5 Given that there had been no municipal structures in existence,
6 there were no other positions than the position of the president of the
7 War Presidency, and he was only that. There was no other person to fill
8 the position of the mayor or the municipal president. This was a joint
9 function, a joint position.
10 Q. Thank you. When Mr. Hajric was elected president of the
11 War Presidency, given the fact that he was also a cleric, did this, as a
12 matter of fact, mean joining the clerical and laymen's or civil powers
14 A. As far as I know, Mr. Hajric, as you say, was not a cleric in
15 Zepa. He was a "hodja," however, not a church leader. Before the war,
16 he had worked in a different village. In Zepa, there had been a "hodja,"
17 and he was there throughout the war as well performing that function. As
18 far as I know, he had been a "hodja" in Podzeplje, and once the war broke
19 out, he ended up in Zepa, like I did. In any case, he did not act as a
20 Zepa "hodja," because there was another person during the war doing the
21 same thing, and this was the same person who had been there before.
22 Hajric simply did not do that part of the work at the time.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Tolimir.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. When he was president of the War Presidency, did he also act as
2 A. No, he never did. This was his vocation, so to say, but he acted
3 as "hodja" in a completely different place before 1992. He had his own
4 mosque. When the war broke out, he arrived in Zepa, and there was
5 another "hodja" in Zepa who remained in that position throughout the war.
6 They only referred to Hajric as "hodja" because that was his vocation.
7 However, during the war he was never a "hodja" in Zepa. There was
8 another person there who had been there for some 10 years prior to that.
9 Q. Thank you. Tell us this, please: Did the president of the
10 War Presidency, Mr. Hajric, keep in touch with any UNPROFOR
11 representatives and other international organisations? Did he also
12 perform that task, since you said as follows: The War Presidency was
13 supposed to decide on all issues concerning the life in the enclave?
14 This is what you said in your testimony.
15 A. Specifically concerning Mr. Hajric, I can tell you that as far as
16 I recall, he was in that position less than six months. Namely, at that
17 time there was a problem concerning his appointment, and he did not want
18 to assume that position. And for a month or two, Zepa did not have a
19 person acting in capacity of the War Presidency president. A few months
20 before Zepa finally fell, he accepted the position, so he remained in it
21 only for a short period of time. I basically don't even recall any of
22 his contacts with UNPROFOR, the military observers, or anyone else. He
23 came in the end, a few months before the end, before Zepa fell.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Tolimir.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I was waiting for the transcript.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Let's clarify how mayors or presidents of the War Presidency were
3 elected in Zepa.
4 Could we please have 1D268. It's a letter sent by the Assembly
5 speaker of Zepa, sent to Alija Izetbegovic on the 31st of December, 1995.
6 We are about to see it. You are probably familiar with it.
7 A. Yes, I'd like to refresh my memory.
8 Q. I won't read it out loud. You can remind yourself, and then I
9 will have a few questions.
10 Please zoom in. This is dated the 13th of December, 1995, sent
11 by the then speaker of the Assembly in Zepa, Mr. Cardakovic, to the
12 president of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think this document is really illegible. Is
14 there any way to make it more legible? Mr. Tolimir.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
16 We have hard copies for the witness, and it's also on the screen.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
18 MR. THAYER: Good morning, Mr. President.
19 Is there a translation available? We just got the revised list
20 of cross-examination exhibits, I guess, about 10 minutes ago, so I
21 haven't had a chance to print anything out, look at anything. If there's
22 a translation, it would be helpful for us. We've had no notice.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I'm told that there is no translation yet.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] There is no translation. I will
1 read out a portion of the document.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think your proposal to hand over a hard copy of
3 that document to the witness would be a helpful way. That should be
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could Mr. Tolimir also be
6 asked to read slowly. Thank you.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes. Please continue, but while reading, very
9 slow, please.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 I'm reading from the second paragraph:
12 "The president of the War Presidency of Zepa municipality,
13 Efendija Hajric, Mehmed, is requested to do as follows: At a meeting of
14 the Assembly of Zepa, held on the 30th of December, 1994, there was
15 discussion about a query sent to the president of the B and H Presidency,
16 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, by the newly-appointed War Presidency president of
17 the municipality of Zepa, Hajric, Mehmed, who has still not assumed his
19 And there has been no reply to the query sent on the 6th of
20 November, 1994, comprising seven items.
21 Could we please scroll up. Further down so we can see the last
22 portion. Even more, please. Thank you.
23 And then he continues to say, and I will now read the eighth
25 "... the exercise of the said function and the work of the organs
1 of the municipality. Therefore, we request that you reply to our queries
2 earlier as soon as possible because the situation is very serious."
3 And now I will read the third paragraph from the bottom:
4 "We request that the competent service of the armed forces at the
5 Communications Centre, and in particular General Enver Hasanovic [as
6 interpreted], to forward this communication, together with a query,
7 directly and personally to the president of the R BiH,
8 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, and to inform us thereof."
9 Thank you. And then we see this text. It is signed
10 "C. Cardakovic."
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Now, you've just seen this text. And could you tell us, please,
13 why this request was sent to Alija Izetbegovic? Thank you.
14 A. Well, I will just make a short introduction.
15 I do remember this particular incident. That's what I've already
16 mentioned, and maybe I wasn't clear enough.
17 There was a problem with Mr. Mehmed Hajric accepting the role of
18 the presidents of the municipality, and as far as I recall, he actually
19 declined that offer. And then what followed was all this, the letter
20 sent off. And why they were sent to the president,
21 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, I really don't know. Maybe that was the practice
22 in those days. I don't know if there were some other organs where these
23 were sent, as far as the political aspects were concerned, where
24 communications of this type would be sent. So that's all I would have to
1 Now, as we can see in this particular letter, the problem
2 surrounding the appointment of the president of the War Presidency was
3 something that they felt they needed to inform the president of the
4 Presidency, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic.
5 Q. Thank you. Now, was he -- as president of the War Presidency of
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina, was he authorised to appointment all other
7 wartime presidencies of municipalities? Thank you.
8 A. I don't know how it was -- how exactly it was done, but as far as
9 this particular aspect is concerned, it was something that
10 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic actually did.
11 Q. Thank you. Now, was Mr. Hajrulahovic [as interpreted] therefore
12 appointed by the president, Mr. Izetbegovic?
13 A. Well, I really don't know. I've never seen any paper saying
14 that, and I can't really say, yes, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic did that. But
15 that he did have influence over who was going to be appointed, yes, and I
16 believe that his decision was the final decision. Of course, I assume
17 that somebody would have prepared all the documents and all elements that
18 were necessary for such a decision for the president, but he was the one
19 who would have made the decision. But there must have been other people
20 who would actually prepare all of that in advance for the president.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
23 Let us have a look at the top of this document, please, on the
24 screen. I note we see a date, 31st of December, 1994. In the
25 transcript, on page 7, line 8, there's a reference to the 13th of
1 December of the next year, 1995. Perhaps Mr. Tolimir misspoke.
2 Mr. Thayer.
3 MR. THAYER: Just one, I think, minor transcript correction.
4 There's a reference, at LiveNote page 10, to a Mr. Hajrulahovic, who is a
5 high-level officer within the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I'm not
6 sure that's to whom General Tolimir was referring. I suspect it was
7 either him misspeaking or just a problem with the transcript. But if we
8 could correct that just so there's no confusion later on. The individual
9 whose name is there is also known as Talijan, and I think we're talking
10 about two completely different people.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
12 Mr. Tolimir, you were referring, in line 8 of page 10, to
13 Mr. Hajrulahovic. Was that the person you mentioned or did you refer to
14 another person in your question?
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I can't really recall
16 whether I mentioned that name, but the reference here was to
17 Enver Hadzihasanovic, because we can see that name in the third paragraph
18 from the bottom of this document. And we can see, from this decision,
19 that Hajric was actually waiting for his official appointment by
20 Alija Izetbegovic to this post of wartime president. And I would
21 appreciate it if we -- I would like to tender this document into evidence
22 because it shows that he actually exercised the duties of wartime
23 president in an official capacity and formally. Thank you.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
25 Mr. Thayer, does that clarify your concern about the transcript?
1 MR. THAYER: That does, Mr. President, and I hope my intervention
2 didn't throw us off track from your question to the accused.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think both corrections are now on the
5 Before we decide on the document, Judge Nyambe has a question.
6 JUDGE NYAMBE: Yes. Just a clarification, actually.
7 What's the difference between a cleric and a "hodja"?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In this particular case, we could
9 equate them, actually. Those two terms mean the same thing. "Hodja" is
10 one of the titles for clerics, Muslim clerics. That would be one of the
11 levels that you can reach in your career. But in this particular case,
12 as far as I'm concerned, you can just equate these two terms. They are
13 the same thing to me.
14 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The document will be marked for identification,
16 pending translation.
17 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter 1D268 will be Exhibit D93, marked for
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And I would like to let the Defence know it would
20 be helpful for the other party, the Prosecution, to be informed a little
21 bit earlier about use of a document and not just before trial.
22 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I
24 apologise, once again, for being late in disclosing these documents. We
25 will do our best to avoid that in the future.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Now, during our conversation last week, we discussed the document
3 on appointments of the presidents of war presidencies. Now, could you
4 tell us what that function entails?
5 A. Well, during my earlier testimony, I already spoke about that.
6 As a matter of principle, the president of the Wartime Presidency is the
7 most important individual in a certain town or area. That is the person
8 who co-ordinates the work of everyone else, individuals and
9 organisations, the executive committee, the civilian police, the civilian
10 protection. Next, that title meant that he would be the person
11 responsible for communications with international organisations and their
12 representatives and with UNPROFOR. So, generally speaking, those would
13 be the main functions of the president of the Wartime Presidency.
14 Q. Thank you. You've just told us that this was the most important
15 official. Now, could you tell us what his authorities were vis-a-vis the
16 army and military operations? Thank you.
17 A. In your -- in my answer, my earlier answer, you could see that I
18 did not make any mention of the army. At this time, there was a dilemma
19 in Zepa, and this dilemma was never resolved. The dilemma was the
20 following: whether the Wartime Presidency or, more specifically, its
21 president was also the most responsible person for the army or was the
22 army part of the overall military system, so that the civilian
23 authorities would have no effective influence over any decisions that
24 related to military matters. Now, this matter was also something that
25 caused some personal misunderstandings between the individuals who were
1 in these two positions, the commander of the army and the war
2 president -- War Presidency president.
3 Now, in this very small community, where the Wartime Presidency
4 was in charge of organising the civilian aspects of life, but then, at
5 least in the latter days in Zepa, there was a brigade that was part of
6 other military structures and the chain of command was a different chain
7 of command. Again I have to restate this, this matter was never cleared
8 up and it was never quite clear who actually had precedence, who the boss
9 was, the leading individual.
10 Q. Thank you. In order to clarify this further, could you please
11 tell us the following: When military decisions were made, where
12 Avdo Palic was not bound to act according to orders from the BH Army, did
13 he, himself, make those decisions, and were they made at sessions of the
14 War Presidency; in other words, even matters that related to military
15 issues? Thank you.
16 A. Well, it was like this: Such instances were very few, or at
17 least I cannot recall them. As of 1993 or up until 1993, the army was
18 nonexistent; at least formally, it did not exist. And toward the end of
19 1994 and in early 1995, that is what happened then. Now, as for the
20 decisions, I think -- I think that Colonel Palic, himself, was the person
21 who had the greatest influence when such decisions were concerned. Now,
22 whether there were any other arrangements that I was not privy to, I
23 don't know. But judging by some matters that occurred in 1995, I know
24 that Colonel Palic was almost exclusively the person who made decisions
25 on military issues. So there was not any major influence from the
1 president of the War Presidency.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Tolimir, please.
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 Q. In that case, did the Wartime Presidency have any influence over
5 the army? And if so, what kind of influence was it? And could you tell
6 us, please, whether there were any -- whether there was any military
7 presence in Zepa or not? You've just told us that there wasn't, but
8 let's talk about this as it was, actually, the realities of it.
9 A. Well, I will try to throw some further light on this.
10 Well, there was some influence, for sure, but not -- it wasn't
11 crucial. And let me stress, once again, that as far as I can recall, as
12 of May 1993, up until the end of 1994, December of 1994, when I said
13 there was no military presence, what I meant was that there didn't exist
14 the real organised activities that are characteristic of army activities.
15 There were people who lived in Zepa, who were organised and perhaps
16 registered as members of the certain units, but there were no activities
17 of any kind.
18 Q. Thank you. Well, since we've now described, up to a point, the
19 relationship between the War Presidency and the military, my question is
20 this: Was the Wartime Presidency duty-bound to implement the decision
21 that would be made by the president of the Presidency of Bosnia and
22 Herzegovina and its government? Thank you.
23 A. Well, that would be logical to assume, but I don't really
24 remember that there were many such orders. But speaking within the legal
25 framework, yes, of course, there is no dilemma as to that. If you are
1 part of a system, then, of course, you have to implement the decision --
2 the decisions that are made higher up. But I tried to recall whether
3 there was anything that we, as the Wartime Presidency, received from
4 Sarajevo, as we used to put it, and I don't remember that there was
5 anything like that. But as for the general aspect, my answer would be
7 Q. If the federal government issued a decision concerning the
8 military in Zepa, was the War Presidency in charge of implementing it?
9 Were there any dual chains that were followed or was it only the
10 War Presidency that was in charge?
11 A. It's difficult for me to say because I can't rely on any
12 examples. Anything related to the army arrived from the army. I don't
13 recall a single case when we, as the War Presidency -- I think the
14 federation came into being in 1994. When we received something, that
15 would be related to the army. Had we received any such thing, we would
16 have probably -- dot, dot, dot. I can tell you again that I don't
17 remember any such thing, but, within any case, in the system of
18 functioning, it would have been logical for us to implement the decisions
19 of our political authorities in Sarajevo.
20 Q. Thank you. Specifically, if a decision was made on a general
21 call-up in the federation by the minister, was Zepa also tasked with
22 implementing it; i.e., its War Presidency?
23 A. My answer is, yes, Zepa was part of that political and
24 geographical hold. There is nothing in dispute there.
25 Q. Tell us, please, whether those in the War Presidency from the
1 army, the police, and civil defence, as well as the executive board, were
2 obliged to carry out the decisions of the Zepa War Presidency.
3 A. Look, in principle, yes, of course, although all of the decisions
4 we made had been previously agreed upon. And logically speaking, I'd say
6 Q. Thank you. Was the War Presidency, in the spring of 1995,
7 informed that there was a general offensive underway of the Army of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina? And if so, did they undertake the necessary measures
9 within the enclave to support that?
10 A. I personally do not recall any such notification arriving from
11 the political structures in Sarajevo. I remember what came from the
12 army, though. As for any political structures from Sarajevo, I don't
13 recall ever receiving anything. As for some military orders, I do
14 remember some.
15 Q. Please, on page 20 of the 23rd of August this year, you said, I
17 "There were lines of communication. The most important things
18 were also put before the War Presidency. Still, some key issues, as well
19 as commands within the military organisations, that is something that
20 Commander Palic received through his own lines of command and not from
21 the War Presidency in Zepa."
22 Do you recall this?
23 A. I do.
24 Q. Thank you. You seem to be saying that some things arrived
25 through the War Presidency and governmental organs and other things came
1 through Palic. Would they ever in contravention?
2 A. Probably, I wasn't precise enough when I said that. As regards
3 physical communication, there was only one way to do that, which was, so
4 to say, owned by the army. It provided direct links to the military and
5 the political structures in Sarajevo. When I said that, I had in mind a
6 specific case. I don't recall any special orders or instructions which
7 we, as the War Presidency, received from Sarajevo that were sent by our
8 political authorities.
9 Q. Thank you. Tell us this: Did Avdo Palic inform the
10 War Presidency of some tasks he received where he needed to engage
11 civilians who, of course, fell under the competence of the
12 War Presidency?
13 A. As far as I remember and as far as I think I already testified,
14 most of such activities, if Avdo had to do anything, Colonel Palic, that
15 is, he didn't frequently, if I may say so, inform the members of the
16 War Presidency. He did on one occasion, though, in the spring of 1995.
17 It was the order to undertake certain military activities outside the
18 enclave. I recall that. As for any previous activities, as far as I
19 remember, such things were never on the agenda of the War Presidency.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 Could we please have 1D264 shown in e-court. It is a letter by
22 Avdo Palic, sent to General Hadzihasanovic, brigadier-general, and to
23 Brigadier Naser Oric on the 13th of December, 1994.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. We can see it on the screen. I will quote, since it is rather
1 illegible, and then you can confirm, perhaps:
2 "Infantry Chetnik forces are kept under constant supervision
3 along the entire line of the zone of responsibility. Firing positions
4 Vrtoce, Stoborani, and Rujiste, can intercept any sabotage incursions. I
5 would appreciate any effort made by the General Staff of the Army of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina on the planning of any activities. What would be your
7 suggestions if we took, by force, the weapons stored with UNPROFOR and
8 engage in our own battle? If there is no information forthcoming, I
9 would be forced to seize any opportunity to use small groups to make as
10 many attacks -- carry out attacks against enemy axes."
11 He keeps referring to UNPROFOR in the rest of the letter.
12 My question to you is this: He seemed to have a question for
13 Sarajevo. He basically wanted to know whether he needed to await any
14 further UNPROFOR observer activities and whether they were informed of
15 the situation. He also asked for further instruction. The document is
16 signed by Avdo Palic. What personal battles or incursions is he talking
18 A. I don't know whether I saw these documents three years ago when I
19 testified in another case. There's nothing I can tell you about this. I
20 simply don't know. This was obviously an army matter. It is possible
21 that in late 1994, there were military activities by the VRS and that the
22 situation was a bit tense, more than usual. However, I don't recall that
23 there was any psychosis, the feeling of the final battle coming up. This
24 is something we didn't have at that time. This was simply a letter sent
25 by Mr. Palic to his superiors. I see it for the first time. I don't
1 remember such ambiance, such atmosphere, at the time in late 1994.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
3 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, just, again, to make sure the record
4 is as clear as possible. And I sense we're done with the document, but
5 just when we go back in the future, the general's question referred to an
6 inquiry of Sarajevo. He may have misspoke, and I think it's clear that
7 this document, itself - I don't have a translation - refers to, I
8 believe, the General Staff which was based in Kakanj, which is consistent
9 with what the witness has testified before, the military being based in
10 Kakanj, the political leadership being based in Sarajevo. I just wanted
11 to clarify that for the record. I don't think there will be any dispute
12 from the Defence about that, but I just wanted to make that clear for the
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
15 Could we go back to the top of this document.
16 And, Witness, would you confirm what the Prosecutor just said?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can. The political centre
18 was in Sarajevo, and the Main Staff or the General Staff, whatever the
19 name was, of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina had its headquarters in
20 Kakanj. This is what I mentioned previously. And this is confirmed by
21 the letter, itself, because it was sent to the command post in Kakanj, I
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I don't think I ever said anything
24 to the contrary. We can see the heading, and we see therein who was at
25 what location. Avdo Palic sent this to the Staff of the Supreme Command
1 of the Armed Forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, their command post in Kakanj,
2 Brigadier-General Enver Hadzihasanovic, who was the chief of staff of the
3 Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to the Operational Group 8 Command of
4 Srebrenica, Mr. Naser Oric, who was his immediate superior. I never said
5 anything otherwise.
6 By your leave, I'd like to put the next question to the witness.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: One moment, please.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. While we are on this document, tell us this: In December 1994,
13 when this letter was written, did the War Presidency consider the option
14 of seizing arms from UNPROFOR, and did Avdo Palic want to do this by
15 himself, without the knowledge of other members of the War Presidency, if
16 you know?
17 A. I don't recall that.
18 Q. Thank you. Tell us this, please: In December 1994, as is stated
19 here, did Avdo Palic carry out any consultations with the War Presidency,
20 and how did he inform the War Presidency that he was to send sabotage
21 groups towards Sokolac and other locations, because this must have had an
22 impact on other military activity in the enclave?
23 A. I don't remember that either. I don't know whether there are any
24 documents in existence to that effect. In late 1994, I don't seem to
25 recall any official discussions at the War Presidency sessions about
2 Q. Thank you. Did you know anything about the sending of sabotage
3 groups towards Sokolac and Han Pijesak?
4 A. I know about the case I already testified about. I'm trying to
5 rewind to see whether I heard some things later, but this is the only
6 case I can actually confirm. It was in June or July 1995. I don't know
7 anything about this, though.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Tolimir.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please have 1D266 next.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. In it, on the 13th of December, 1994, Avdo Palic urgently sent a
12 request to the Operational Administration of the command post in Kakanj,
13 this letter. He wanted information -- or, rather, he informed the
14 Operational Administration of the following: He says:
15 "We are hereby sending information --"
16 We can see it well now. This concerns the situation in the
17 brigade. I will quote the second paragraph, staffing levels of the
18 brigade. It says that they have 100 per cent staffing levels, in terms
19 of manpower. Can you see that?
20 A. I do.
21 Q. He then follows it up by saying that 30 per cent of those carry
22 automatic weapons, and that they have 20.000 rounds, 2 mortars, 15
23 shells, 10 hand-held rocket-launchers, as well as 2 hand-held
24 rocket-launchers of a different type, and that every day there are 120
25 soldiers on the lines. This was in December 1994.
1 My question is this: Concerning this information about the
2 staffing levels of the brigade and its daily activities, was the
3 War Presidency informed of it as well, because you were a member of it?
4 A. We were definitely not privy to these details. We were never
5 briefed about such issues by Colonel Palic during our sessions.
6 Q. Thank you. Tell us, please, did you know where the army was
7 stationed and whether there were special facilities to house them? In
8 other words, when they were not on the front-line, where were they
9 accommodated, where were they located, or was it the case that they
10 actually stayed at their own houses? Thank you.
11 A. As far as I know, there were no barracks in Zepa or that type of
12 military installation. But Avdo did have two offices at his disposal.
13 They were at the same -- in the same building where the executive
14 committee was. The building was in down-town Zepa. And when the army
15 was engaged in operations we see here in late 1994, that it was engaged
16 on a daily basis on the front-lines, that there were 120 men sent to the
17 front-line every day. I will not make any remarks regarding this. But
18 once they were -- when they were not on the front-line, they would go
19 home. So there was -- there were no facilities, no barracks or anything
20 of that sort.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. We may remove this
22 document. Or, rather, scroll it up so that we can see the last two
23 paragraphs. Thank you.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. You can see here, in the paragraph before last, in line 3, "the
1 defence of the free territory," and then it says:
2 "We should use to the maximum the lay of the land by blocking the
3 main communications that are passable by armoured and mechanised units of
4 the enemy and, by using our main forces on those axes, prevent the enemy
5 to breach the free territory. In addition, by infiltrating smaller
6 sabotage groups deep behind the enemy lines, we should caress enemy units
7 and, at critical points, ask for co-ordination with part of units of the
8 8th OG."
9 And in the end, it says a number of units should be held at the
10 ready in order to take up the weapons -- or, rather, in order to
11 confiscate the weapons from the Ukrainian Company and in order to prevent
12 them from leaving Zepa. Thank you.
13 Now, could you tell us, please, how are we to interpret this
14 letter of Avdo Palic's where he says that they should launch attacks from
15 the demilitarised zone and keep harassing enemy troops? How did that --
16 what kind of effect did that have on the security of the base, of this
17 area, because this area had the status of a demilitarised zone, and is
18 there anything else that you can tell us about this decision of the
19 War Presidency? Thank you.
20 A. Well, I've told you already at the outset that this is the first
21 time that I have seen this document, and all I can say, in answer to your
22 questions, is this: This was not something that was discussed at any
23 session of the War Presidency, and I think that the position of most
24 members of the War Presidency at the time was not in favour of -- or,
25 rather, the members of the Wartime Presidency were not in favour of these
1 proposals that we see here by Avdo Palic, in other words, to send
2 sabotage groups to infiltrate the enemy territory and so on, because that
3 just exacerbated the situation.
4 Q. Thank you. During your testimony on the 23rd of July [as
5 interpreted], you said that in spring 1993, up until the spring of 1995,
6 the enclave was shelled for reasons that had nothing to do with the
7 enclave, itself. On page 4285 of the transcript of 29th of July, 1995
8 [as interpreted], you said the following, and I quote:
9 "During that time, as far as I can recall, there were occasional
10 shellings of the Zepa enclave, and I believe that the shelling always
11 came as a response to some developments outside of the enclave, and what
12 I'm saying here is, according to what I can remember, there were no
13 attacks or any infantry advances at this time."
14 So we are discussing the period between the spring of 1993 and
15 the spring of 1995. Did I quote your words correctly?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, my next question: Was it possible --
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I think we have to check whether the
19 dates you were referring to are correct. You were referring to the
20 testimony of this witness of the 23rd of July. If I recall correctly,
21 the witness was here on the 23rd of August, this month. And then later
22 on you are referring to a transcript page of the 29th of July, 1995.
23 I think that could be a mistake as well. Please check it and tell us the
24 exact reference.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. You're
1 absolutely right, and I will repeat this portion for the transcript.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. During your testimony of 23rd of August, you said that in the
4 period between the spring of 1993 and the spring of 1995, and also in
5 your last sentence you said on page 4285 of the transcript of 23rd, and
6 in place of "July" it should read "August," 1995 [as interpreted], you
7 say the following --
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sorry, stop. Are you really referring to 1995?
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I apologise. That should be
10 "2010." Thank you. The testimony was in 2010. Thank you. I apologise.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Now we have it on the record.
12 Mr. Thayer.
13 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, while we have this little interlude,
14 it looks like we're moving on to other exhibits. I'm just keeping my own
15 little list here. I don't know if 1D264 and 1D266 were intended to be
16 tendered or not, but -- before we get too far afield. Maybe I missed it,
17 but my list shows that they haven't been offered, and I just wanted to
18 point that out for the record.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. This is our recognition as well, they
20 were not tendered yet.
21 Mr. Tolimir.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Can the witness just answer this one question, and then we can go
25 back to that issue. So my question was this: Was it possible that the
1 shelling came as a result of some reasons that you were not privy to, as
2 a member of the War Presidency, because you were not informed on a daily
3 basis by Avdo Palic on the activities of the Zepa Brigade? Thank you.
4 A. Well, I do not exclude that possibility.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 Mr. President, if there are no objections, I would like to tender
7 these documents into evidence. Thank you. That's 1D266 and 1D264.
8 Thank you. And then I will move on to a new topic.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, do you want --
10 MR. THAYER: No objection, Mr. President.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
12 Both documents will be marked for identification, pending
14 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter 1D264 will be Exhibit D94, marked for
15 identification. 65 ter 1D266 will be Exhibit D95, marked for
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
18 Mr. Tolimir.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 Could we now please pull up in e-court D255.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter correction: D55, page 3 in the
22 English and B/C/S versions.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I repeat the number. That's D55,
24 page 3 in B/C/S, or perhaps I've been misunderstood. We need the
25 Exhibit D55, page 3 both in the English and B/C/S versions. This is an
1 expert report by Viktor Bezruchenko, and the title is "The Fall of Zepa."
2 And we are reading from the part where it says "Military Narrative."
3 Could we see paragraph 8, please, and I would like to refer you
4 to the last sentence. We have before us paragraph 4. We need
5 paragraph 8. Thank you. That's page 3, paragraph 3 [as interpreted].
6 Thank you. Perhaps the witness can read through paragraph 8. This is a
7 description of the Zepa situation and the situation within the Zepa
8 Brigade, as described by the expert.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. I will now just refer you to this part:
11 "This strategy has shown absence of professional military
12 planning and it defied reality on the ground and military logic and,
13 therefore, was a harbinger of a coming disaster."
14 This is what this expert said about the situation in Zepa.
15 My question for the witness: Was it necessary to be told about
16 this by a military expert or could you, yourself, actually see this for
17 yourself on the ground?
18 A. Well, look, I don't know what strategy you're referring here. I
19 believe the strategy that is referred to is what is written in fine print
20 there, in that portion.
21 Q. Thank you. Yes. You may, if you like, read out that portion to
22 yourself. That's where he speaks about infiltrating groups behind
23 enemy -- behind the Serb lines, and that's what I quoted earlier.
24 A. Well, I've already said this in my earlier testimony. Zepa was
25 completely surrounded, and if you look at the number of troops,
1 ammunition available, and weapons that they had at their disposal, in
2 other words, if there had been a serious organised attack, Zepa would not
3 have been able to defend itself, Zepa, itself, if you take it out of
4 context, Zepa, without any assistance from anywhere else. So this, what
5 we can read here, and what Colonel Palic said, although I'm no military
6 expert, but it's all a question of what kind of resources you have. Now,
7 if you have a limited number of bullets, for instance, you can use them
8 up in 15 minutes, for instance. So if you don't have a normal supply
9 line and logistics, I don't know what kind of military strategy could be
10 sufficient to defend Zepa, if that had to be done, only based on their
11 own internal forces.
12 Q. Thank you. Please tell us, was it necessary to launch attacks
13 from the Zepa enclave, attacks on a far stronger enemy, thereby
14 jeopardising the status of the enclave as a demilitarised zone? Thank
16 A. Well, I said this during my testimony three and a half years ago,
17 and I said it a few days ago, that most members of the Presidency did not
18 agree with that tactic because it -- militarily, it could not produce any
19 effects. And, in fact, by doing so, you were just providing an excuse
20 for the Serbian side so that it can open fire on the enclave.
21 Q. Thank you. Was that also unjustified because there were no
22 attacks, as you said a little earlier, in the period between the spring
23 of 1993 and the spring of 1995? So you said that there were no attacks,
24 so was it necessary to launch attacks on the Serb positions?
25 A. Well, I think I answered your question with my previous answer.
1 There was no need for any such activities.
2 Q. Thank you. Is it possible that Avdo Palic, when he resorted to
3 this type of strategy, relied and counted on NATO help, because no one
4 would want to do things that would harm themselves?
5 A. Well, I don't know. I cannot say either way. But there were a
6 few such actions, and they were not logical, to put it that way.
7 Q. Thank you for your answer. During the examination-in-chief, you
8 said that the War Presidency was against attacks being launched from
9 within the enclave?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Can you tell us a little more about that? Thank you.
12 A. Well, that was a reference to an order that had arrived, and
13 I think I was shown that order three and a half years ago when I
14 testified here. I think it was a Defence exhibit. It referred to the
15 period of June 1995, and I think that the situation was -- that the
16 situation was worsened at the time. We received this order from the
17 War Presidency, and Avdo Palic actually did these things, although we
18 were against it. And that's what I said, something to that effect.
19 Q. Thank you. Sir, during the examination-in-chief, you said on a
20 number of occasions that there were instances of supplying weapons by
21 helicopter, and ammunition, to Zepa. This is something that you said on
22 pages 4277 and 4288 [as interpreted] of the transcript, and you said that
23 in response to Judge Nyambe's question on 4288 [as interpreted], in line
24 7 through 18 -- to 12. You've said the following, I quote:
25 "These were BH Army helicopters, or, rather, the then BH Army.
1 These deliveries of weapons and everything else were done by the BH Army,
2 whereby they supplied their units in Zepa and Srebrenica."
3 Thank you. Did I quote your words correctly?
4 A. You did.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please have D63 shown
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, if you look at page 30 of today's
8 transcript, line 17, there's a reference to pages 4277 and 4288. I think
9 that should be corrected. I suppose you mean 4277 and 4278. Is that
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Precisely, Mr. President. I thank
12 you for your correction.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] D63, please. It is the final
15 analysis of the air-lift in Srebrenica and Zepa of the 17th of February,
16 1996, by the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina Air Force.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. You can see the document. It says "Final Analysis of the
20 Srebrenica and Zepa Air-Lift." It is stated that it was drafted by the
21 Department for Cryptographic Data Protection on the 17th of February,
22 1996, that is to say, after Zepa's fall. Hence, we can say that you are
23 being shown now a document which was produced on the 17th of February,
24 1996, after Zepa's fall. Since it was after Zepa's fall, could you
25 please comment, together with me, on the document?
1 A. May I say something?
2 Q. Go ahead, please.
3 A. In the heading, it says "the 17th of February, 1996," whereas
4 just further down, it says "17 February 1995." Is there a mistake
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think we should blow up this part a little bit
7 further so that we can check it.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Perhaps someone was wrong about the
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. The date of production
11 probably is the 17th February 1995. It says "Army of the Republic of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina Command of the Air Force." However, the
13 Communications Centre forwarded this document in 1996.
14 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
15 Q. You can see that it is divided by the line?
16 A. Thank you, although it did strike me strange because exactly one
17 year happened between the two dates.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
19 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I thought we had agreed on what
20 I think we can conclude from looking at the charts, themselves, that this
21 document must have been created sometime after May of 1995, given that it
22 details at least one flight to Zepa of 7 May 1995. So I thought we were
23 all in agreement that the document, itself, was probably created on 17
24 February 1996 and forwarded on the same date, and that as we all are want
25 to do when we're in a new year, we forget that we're in a new year and we
1 put the old year's date. But I don't want to testify, but I thought we
2 sort of shared that understanding about the date disparity here.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This matches with my recollection. But in
4 February, you normally know you're in the new year.
5 I think to clarify this also for the witness, we should have a
6 look at that part you were referring to, Mr. Thayer, where there is
7 mention of an occurrence of May 1995.
8 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, that's page 10 of e-court in the
9 English, and let me just count the pages for the B/C/S. I think page 10
10 of the B/C/S as well.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In B/C/S, it is obviously the wrong page, but --
12 MR. THAYER: I beg your pardon. Page 11 of the B/C/S,
13 Mr. President.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. Now it's clear what it's referring
15 to, an occurrence in May 1995. So everybody agrees this document was
16 produced in 1996, in February.
17 Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 Q. As was just said, in this document, in attachment 2 on page 11 in
20 Serbian and page 10 in English, we have an overview of the sorties to
21 Zepa and the amount of supplies carried, as well as some other
22 information. Please have a look. You can see it on the screen, I
24 A. Yes, I can.
25 Q. In the right column -- sorry, in the second column, it says
1 "Months," that is to say, in what month things were delivered or
2 supplied. Does this correspond to what you know about the helicopter
3 flights coming from Tuzla or Kakanj or federation territory to Zepa; that
4 is to say, the flights which took the helicopters across the territory of
5 Republika Srpska and into the demilitarised zone?
6 A. As far as I know about the number of flights, I can tell you that
7 this tallies. There were about 10 flights before a helicopter was shot
8 down. As for the transfer of materiel and equipment, I can't tell you
9 about quantities. I do know that on a number of occasions, they also
10 carried some officers and people, as I can see here next to the column
11 identifying the amount of actual supplies. I also remember that it was
12 in early May, and here I can see the date of the 7th of May when the
13 helicopter was shot down. That was the last flight.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, would that be a convenient time for
15 the first break?
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I
17 certainly do not object.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We must have our first break now, and we'll
19 resume at 11.00.
20 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. At page 4277 on the transcript of the 23rd August 2010, lines 6
1 to 10, you say as follows:
2 "These helicopters delivered supplies mainly at night. The Serb
3 side didn't take long to notice those helicopters' flight and begin
4 opening fire at them, and the inhabitants of Zepa became familiar with
5 what was being done."
6 Given that even the inhabitants of Zepa, as well as the Serb
7 side, were aware that there were helicopters flying about, did UNPROFOR
8 know anything about them, as far as you know.
9 A. I think I already answered that in my testimony. I truly don't
10 know. I can repeat what I do know. Avdo was in charge of all UNPROFOR
11 contact at the time. The only thing I can say is that it would have been
12 illogical for them not to know.
13 Q. Thank you. Concerning these helicopter flights at night, did
14 UNPROFOR discuss this with anyone; say, the War Presidency? Did they
15 ever protest with the War Presidency?
16 A. I don't remember any discussions or protests made.
17 Q. Thank you. Were the inhabitants of Zepa concerned, once they
18 noticed these helicopters flying, because they could reasonably expect
19 that military activities would follow?
20 A. It's difficult for me to recall what their reactions were,
21 although I did have contact with other inhabitants of Zepa. In any case,
22 quantitatively speaking, these were not large deliveries. If one looks
23 at it from a certain point of view, you could conclude that this could
24 have two sides to it. One was the hope that Zepa would finally be able
25 to defend itself, and the second one could be a reason for concern
1 because of the violation of the agreement that had been signed. I don't
2 remember any precise reactions by Zepa inhabitants. It was quite a long
3 time ago. Please understand that.
4 Q. Thank you. During examination-in-chief, you mentioned the
5 helicopter that was shot down.
6 Could we please have 1D251 shown.
7 So that based on Avdo Palic's report, you could comment. This is
8 an information of the 6th of July -- sorry, between the 6th and the 7th
9 of July --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Between the 6th and
11 the 7th of May, 1995.
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. This is when the helicopter was actually shot down. Perhaps you
14 could have a look and then comment.
15 A. I'll try to read it, although I can barely make it out.
16 Q. We see, in the second paragraph, that:
17 "The following were killed in the helicopter accident"?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. It says "Azim Becirovic, Ramiz Becirovic, Ejub Golic,
20 Mehmet Alic, Samir Karic, Cebo Djeric [phoen]."
21 A. Could we scroll up, please, in the B/C/S. Thank you.
22 Q. Numo Krluc, a certain Cardakovic?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Do you know of these people, and can you tell us who is
25 Ejub Golic, who is Ramiz Becirovic, et cetera?
1 A. We have some people from Zepa and Srebrenica here. I know the
2 people from Zepa, when I read the names on the list. The ones I don't
3 know are from Srebrenica. If you wish, we can go one by one and I can
4 tell you who is from Zepa.
5 Q. Let's start with the first wounded person, Ramiz Becirovic.
6 A. He's from Srebrenica.
7 Q. Any Ejub Golic?
8 A. Srebrenica.
9 Q. Hamed Malic?
10 A. Srebrenica.
11 Q. Mehmed Malic?
12 A. Srebrenica.
13 Q. Samir Karic?
14 A. He might be from Zepa.
15 Q. Emir Salihovic?
16 A. Srebrenica.
17 Q. Dzevad Dzananovic?
18 A. That is the doctor who went from Tuzla to Srebrenica, so he was
19 not from Srebrenica, nor from Zepa.
20 Q. Dzebo?
21 A. From Zepa.
22 Q. The next person?
23 A. From Zepa.
24 Q. Numo Krluc?
25 A. Zepa.
1 Q. You also see the persons who were killed, and I believe they are
2 also people from Srebrenica and Zepa.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Can you tell us how many were from Zepa and how many from
6 A. I might not be precise, but I'll try. The first three were the
7 helicopter crew. It just went off the screen. I don't see the list
8 anymore. Could you please put this list back on?
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes. We wanted to see the last names on the list
10 in B/C/S you were referring to. And now we go back to the first page in
11 both languages, please.
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. My question was whether among those killed, were there any from
15 A. Srebrenica or Zepa?
16 Q. Srebrenica.
17 A. Among those killed, if I look at the last names, there were one
18 or two from Zepa. The rest were not from Zepa. So there were three crew
19 members. Then there were three doctors who went from Tuzla to
20 Srebrenica. Then one or two people were returning to Zepa, and the
21 rest -- well, two or three could be from Zepa, I guess. Homarac could be
22 from Zepa.
23 Q. Thank you. Given that we have people from both Zepa and
24 Srebrenica, as far as you know, why did they travel jointly to Tuzla and
25 going back together to Zepa and Srebrenica?
1 A. In early 1995, there was an initiative, I don't know whether from
2 Srebrenica or from Zepa -- well, it was actually initiated by the
3 General Staff, and a certain number of officers went to the Main Staff of
4 the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina for training and retraining. After a
5 while, they returned to Srebrenica and Zepa. I don't know whether there
6 were also some civilians who were returning, but basically these were all
7 officers who had undergone training with the Main Staff of the Army of
8 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Tolimir speak closely to the
10 microphone, please. Thank you.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, could you please take the microphone
12 a little bit more into your direction. Turn the microphone a little bit
13 towards you, please. Thank you.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Tell us, please -- there were some individuals for Srebrenica,
17 and there were also some from Zepa. Did they meet at the War Presidency,
18 and did the UNPROFOR know about their arrival there and whether they had
19 any contact with the UNPROFOR?
20 A. Is your question whether these individuals from Srebrenica --
21 Q. Well, yes, had a meeting with one of the members of the
22 War Presidency or some of the members.
23 A. Well, I had a meeting with them. At the time when they were
24 supposed to travel, I think this was in winter in early 1995, I had a
25 brief meeting with Naser Oric. He was waiting for this flight, and he
1 came to see me, asking for assistance to the civilians of Srebrenica. He
2 asked me whether we had some stocks of flour because the food situation
3 in Srebrenica was very difficult. So I recall that one meeting. That
4 was sometime before these people left. The meeting was brief, perhaps 15
5 minutes or so. And that is what I can confirm. Now, whether these
6 people had a meeting with some other members of the War Presidency, I
7 really don't know, but there was no official meeting with the
8 War Presidency where these people would be attending as guests. But I do
9 confirm that I had a meeting with Naser Oric.
10 Q. Thank you. Where did these people stay while they were waiting
11 for the flight, and did the UNPROFOR know anything about the helicopter
12 flights or not?
13 A. Well, you see, I don't even think they came to Zepa. They were
14 in the mountains where the helipad was, a temporary helipad. Whether the
15 UNPROFOR knew anything about it, I really don't know. That's my answer.
16 I don't know if they knew about these people being there. But as far as
17 I can remember, they had to wait some five to six days for the helicopter
18 to land because of the weather conditions and so on. You know, the
19 conditions were very complex, and it was difficult to determine the time
20 of the helicopter flight.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 Could we now pull up D67, please, in e-court. D67. This is a
23 document dated 13 of July, 1997, by General Rasim Delic. He's sending a
24 communication to General Hajrulahovic, and with a request that he forward
25 it to the president of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
1 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Could you please take a look at this document.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Tolimir, please.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Before we go on, I would like to
6 tender the previous document into evidence. Thank you.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
8 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter 1D251 will be Exhibit D96.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now I would like the witness to
10 take a look at paragraph 6 of the document we have before us in e-court,
11 the paragraph which begins with the words: "For training ..." And I
12 will read it:
13 "Preparing for the future operation of joining the enclaves, we
14 brought back and returned for brigade commanders two chiefs of staffs of
15 brigades and the 26th Division chief of staff. The division commander
16 who was meant to go on the next helicopter flight did not return after
17 the final flight ended tragically, Naser remained."
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Now, bearing in mind what we've just read, tell us, please, what
20 reference is this to an operation to link up the enclaves of Srebrenica
21 and Zepa, and did you, as a member of the Presidency, have any knowledge
22 about this? Thank you.
23 A. Well, pursuant to this document in paragraph 2, as far as that
24 period was concerned, this information here is incorrect. There were not
25 17 helicopter flights, but 10 only, and only 1 of them was downed.
1 That's just something that I would like to comment on just by perusing
2 this document.
3 Now, as for the operation to link up the enclaves, I don't know
4 anything about that, nor did that make any sense, in military terms.
5 I can give you my opinion on this, but I don't know whether the person
6 who drafted this document -- I don't know whether it's an order or a
7 report, but I don't know how well this person knew the situation. The
8 enclaves at that time were very small and close to each other and you
9 could walk from one to the other, so there was no military sense in
10 trying to link them up.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 Now, could we just scroll the document up a little bit so that we
13 can see the bottom of it and the author of this document. That's right.
14 Could you please go on a little further. We just want the date to be
15 shown. Could you please -- could you please scroll it up a bit. Thank
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Now, here we see this document was drafted by the General Staff
19 of the Army, Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the 13th of July,
20 which means after the fall of the enclave, and this is a report sent to
21 the commander, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, the president of the Presidency.
22 And now if we can look at the last page so we see who signed this
23 document. Thank you.
24 Here, we see it was drafted by Army General Rasim Delic,
25 commander. He reports on the deliveries that were made, all the things
1 that we've seen in the previous document. In other words, this document
2 was signed by Army General Rasim Delic, and he reports to the president
3 on the supplies provided to Zepa.
4 Now, if he, as the army commander, mentions the link-up of the
5 enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa, in military terms, does that mean,
6 maybe, that militarily they had a plan of which you, members of the
7 War Presidency, knew nothing about?
8 A. Well, if they did have any plan, I didn't know about it. Now,
9 again, if I think about it logically, I don't see what they could link
10 up. Maybe this refers to some activities to expand or enlarge the
11 corridor. But we, in any case, did not know anything about it.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 Could we see page 2 of the document.
14 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
15 Q. You can see all the supplies that arrived in Srebrenica.
16 Now let's take a look at page 2. Yes, we have it now. Can we
17 please just enlarge it a bit so the witness can read it.
18 Here, you can see the columns headed "Zepa" and "Srebrenica."
19 The first one is "Zepa," the second "Srebrenica," and the third says
20 "Totals." So you can see, for instance, that 106 rifles were delivered,
21 RPG 7/8, 107 rockets, 12 pieces, and so on and so forth. You can also
22 take a look at the next page to see the supplies that reached Zepa. The
23 first column is Zepa. There, you can see that all these items were
25 Can you tell us whether this actually confirms that weapons and
1 ammunition were sent to the enclave even after it was demilitarised?
2 A. Well, all I can say, of course, is that I know nothing about
3 these quantities and whether the information contained therein is
4 correct. But as for the time when this -- these deliveries were made, we
5 could see that it was in late 1994 and up until mid-May 1995, so that
6 would be the period referred to therein.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 Could we please -- I would like to tender this into evidence.
9 Thank you.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: [Microphone not activated]
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Now I would like us to see 1D263. This is a document dated the
13 9th of March, 1995, and the author of the document is Naser Oric, as we
14 can see from the document. We would just like to take a look at the last
15 sentence, which reads as follows. Now, the document is not very clear,
16 so I will read a portion:
17 "For the time being, I remain in Zepa, certain that you will
18 organise my transport to where you are very soon."
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Can you see that?
21 A. Yes. As you can see, this document is dated the 9th of March.
22 Q. Yes, the 9th of March. As you already mentioned, it was in
23 winter-time. Now, do you know that Naser Oric was in Zepa at this time,
24 and do you know how long he had to stay in Zepa and how long he had to
25 wait for his transport to the territory of the federation, which was in
1 Tuzla, where his command was? Thank you.
2 A. As I said a moment ago, I had that brief meeting with Naser Oric.
3 Whether he remained in the center of Zepa, he, himself, all that time, I
4 don't know. I do know that he was in the hills. But I know that he had
5 to wait for some seven days or so for the flight, and I know that this
6 was something that he arranged with Avdo. So I don't really know a lot
7 about this whole affair. I just know and can confirm that I met with
8 Naser once. We discussed the staple foods and flour that they needed,
9 and that's all I know. He was -- at that time, he was in the center of
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Please tell us, do you know whether on that occasion he met with
15 the War Presidency and whether he attended any of the sessions of the
16 War Presidency in Zepa?
17 A. I cannot recall any such instance where he was -- where he
18 attended any session of the War Presidency. The meeting that I mentioned
19 was in my office. There was no one else there, I think. We just talked
20 about the flour and how best to deliver it. So I don't remember that he
21 was at any meeting of the War Presidency.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 I would now like to tender this document into evidence, please.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be marked for identification, pending
1 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter 1D263 will be Exhibit D97, marked for
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 Could we now have document 1D252, please, 1D252. We're waiting
5 for it to come up. Thank you. There, now we have it.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. This is a document sent by Avdo Palic to the brigadier,
8 Enver Hasanovic [as interpreted], on the 28th of May, 1995, and it reads
9 as follows, I quote, that's item 1:
10 "Measures have been taken to seal off the area controlled by
11 UNPROFOR and the direction of possible withdrawal.
12 "No signs were registered of the situation deteriorating or
13 anything that would indicate a possible withdrawal of UNPROFOR, except
14 for their fear, to an extent, of a possible Chetnik attack."
15 Paragraph 3:
16 "I agreed in principle, in case of an attack, on some sort of
17 co-ordinated action with UNPROFOR and requisitioning the weapons given to
18 them for safekeeping."
19 My question is this: Why were measures taken to seal off the
20 area controlled by UNPROFOR, in view of the fact, as it says in this
21 report, itself, that there were no signs registered of the situation
22 deteriorating? So do you know anything about why these measures were
23 taken? Thank you.
24 A. Well, I know absolutely nothing about any measures. And looking
25 at this letter, perhaps it was really just talk. I don't know that
1 anything was done and whether Colonel Palic really took any action or did
2 anything or just wrote about it to the command. I really couldn't tell
4 Q. Thank you. Now, if Colonel Palic had to take some measures that
5 involved UNPROFOR, was he obliged to inform thereof the General Staff of
6 the army, because they were in charge of contacts with UNPROFOR?
7 A. Well, if we think about it, logic would command that that would
8 be required, because the War Presidency would be responsible for giving
9 their approval for this or at least to be informed of any such measures
10 or actions.
11 Q. Thank you. Now, we see that mention is made in this document of
12 some kind of general agreement with UNPROFOR. So who would be the
13 competent person or institution to have these contacts with them?
14 A. Did I understand your question correctly, who would be the
15 liaison person in UNPROFOR? Is that correct?
16 Q. Yes.
17 A. Well, as far as I know, all the contacts went through
18 Sejmon Dudnjik. So when Avdo says "UNPROFOR," I think he was really
19 referring to Colonel Sejmon Dudnjik, who was the commander of the Zepa
20 mission, the UNPROFOR Zepa mission.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to tender this
24 document into evidence, and I would also like to have document D16 before
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: That will be received.
2 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter 1D252 will be Exhibit D98.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: But before this document disappears from the
4 screen, I would like to clarify one word with the witness.
5 What is the correct understanding of the word "Chetnik"?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will do my best to explain that.
7 Not going into the historical background, a Chetnik is really a
8 pejorative term used by the BH Army, Army of the Republic of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina, when referring to the Serb Army. You may have
10 noticed, during some other -- or in some other exhibits, where even
11 General Mladic uses the term "Turks," which is a pejorative term --
12 derogatory term for Muslim soldiers. They referred to them as Turks. So
13 this was the wartime terminology that was bandied about.
14 Now, as for "Chetniks" in historical terms, that's something
15 else, and I'm just -- I was just making a reference to the use of these
16 terms in the last war.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
18 Now we should have D16 on the screen.
19 Mr. Tolimir.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. While we wait for this document to appear, could we first take a
23 look at the top of the document. As we can see, this is a document
24 produced by the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the General Staff of
25 the army, and then it says "The Command Post at Kakanj" of 17 February
1 1992, and the title is "Taking Measures to Raise the Level of Combat
2 Readiness." And then it says "Order." This order was issued to the
3 Command of the 2nd Corps to the OG Srebrenica Command and the Command of
4 the 1st Zepa Brigade.
5 A. Could we please scroll this document down in the B/C/S so I can
6 just take a look at it?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we do that, please, for the
8 witness's sake?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, could we just see the
10 document through to the very bottom. How many items does this order
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Well, there are seven items or paragraphs on the first page under
14 "Order." Now, we will go to the second paragraph, the paragraph
15 beginning with the words "The aggressor ...," in B/C/S. In English, that
16 begins with the words: "On 16 February ..."
17 So we can see in the seventh line from the top, and I quote. It
19 "On the 16th of February, 1995, the aggressor filed a request
20 with UNPROFOR to declare Zepa a 'non-demilitarised zone,' with the
21 following rationale:
22 "BH Army helicopter flights supplying weapons and ammunition have
23 been registered;
24 "Movements of the BH Army;
25 "Accusing members of the Ukrainian Battalion that they are
1 covering up for the activities and intentions of the BH Army, which is
2 why they no longer guarantee their safety."
3 And also that:
4 "On the night between 15 and 16 February 1995, our helicopters
5 were seen flying over and the infantry fire was opened on them."
6 Do you see this?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. So you see that your army actually submits this request, and it
9 refers to a request from the Army of Republika Srpska that Zepa be
10 declared a non-demilitarised zone. Now, my question for you: Were you
11 aware of this letter where the Main Staff was asking for Zepa to be
12 declared a non-demilitarised zone, the Main Staff of your own army?
13 A. Well, I can't recall that it was mentioned officially in any of
14 the War Presidency meetings in Zepa. These types of letters would always
15 go to Avdo, to Colonel Palic, but whether it was actually ever put in
16 place, I can only say that it was never actually the subject of any
17 discussions at the War Presidency. It wasn't on its agenda for any of
18 the meetings.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
20 MR. THAYER: Again, just so we have a clear record in the future,
21 Mr. President, again I -- perhaps General Tolimir misspoke, but I think
22 it's clear, and I just want to see if there's any dispute on this issue,
23 because there's no dispute from the Prosecution, looking at this
24 document, that what it says is that the aggressor - here that would be
25 the VRS - filed a request with UNPROFOR to have Zepa declared a
1 non-demilitarised zone. I think we've seen this document before, and
2 that's been the understanding. I just note that in General Tolimir's
3 last question, he referred to this request being from the Main Staff of
4 the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I just -- those are two entirely
5 different things, meaning two entirely different things. I don't think
6 that's what the question meant to say, but I just want to clarify that
7 for the record, because the document is quite clear and I think we've all
8 shared that understanding. But if there is a different question, then
9 I think we should make that clear.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, I see, in page 50, line 2, a request
11 from the Army of Republika Srpska.
12 MR. THAYER: Yes, Mr. President. Then the problem is at the end
13 of the question:
14 "Now, my question for you: Were you aware of this letter where
15 the Main Staff was asking for Zepa to be declared a non-demilitarised
16 zone, the Main Staff of your own army."
17 And that's where I think the lack of clarity may come to haunt us
18 if we don't take care of it now.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. Now it is clear, what you are
20 referring to.
21 Would you please clarify this? Is Mr. Thayer right? Was this
22 the right interpretation of your question?
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Tolimir, please.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. My question was this: Did you know that the Main Staff of the
1 VRS sent a protest letter to UNPROFOR, asking for Zepa to be declared a
2 non-demilitarised zone because there were certain activities underway?
3 I apologise if I misspoke. Perhaps this should be corrected for
4 the transcript.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It was only the problem of the words "the
6 Main Staff of your own army," that obviously you're referring to the Army
7 of the VRS.
8 Now, Witness, could you please answer the question.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that the War Presidency of
10 Zepa was not familiar with any such requests. If I can see it properly,
11 this document was produced by the Main Staff of the Army of the Republic
12 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in one item mention is made of the request
13 of the VRS for Zepa to be pronounced a non-demilitarised zone. Hence, my
14 answer is that we were not familiar with this, as the War Presidency of
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 Q. Is it customary -- or would it have been customary to inform the
18 War Presidency and the civilian structures about the new status of Zepa,
19 since there was a request on the table for it to be declared a
20 non-demilitarised zone?
21 A. In principle, the War Presidency should have been informed.
22 Especially, it should have been informed of all matters which had to do
23 with the security and safety of the population in Zepa. I believe this,
24 too, should have been discussed by the War Presidency, or at least it
25 should have been informed of -- in Zepa. However, I must say that there
1 was this key problem of communication here. The only communication means
2 were in the hands of Mr. Palic. Therefore, he was free to select what he
3 would and would not forward to anyone in the enclave. So we did not have
4 communication channels of our own.
5 Q. Thank you. Is there a possibility that Avdo Palic did not show
6 this document to the War Presidency and that he did not share this
7 information with any civilian authorities?
8 A. I really don't know. There is such a possibility, of course.
9 Perhaps he may have conveyed something orally to the president of the
10 War Presidency. In any case, I don't remember this document or its
11 contents being on the agenda of any War Presidency sessions.
12 Q. Thank you. Please scroll up so that we could see the specific
13 items of this order. It is page 2 in the English. In the Serbian
14 version, all of the items are on page 1.
15 We see now item 1, where it says:
16 "Bring the units of OG 8 to full combat readiness, enabling them
17 to be fully prepared to resist a possible attack by the aggressor."
18 These units of OG 8, did this refer to the Zepa Brigade?
19 A. OG 8? What is the date of this document?
20 Q. The 17th of February, 1995, produced by Chief of Staff Brigade
21 General Enver Hadzihasanovic. He sent it to the 2nd Corps Command in
22 Tuzla and to the Command of OG 8 in Srebrenica, as well as to the Command
23 of the 1st Zepa Brigade.
24 A. What is OG 8? Well, is this part of some earlier military
25 structure? I only know of the 285th Brigade in Zepa. I don't understand
1 this particular terminology. I don't know what "OG 8" is. Was that a
2 new organisational entity within the existing system or --
3 Q. Thank you. The 28th Division of Srebrenica, could that have been
4 OG 8 when the superior command referred to it?
5 A. That may well be. Before the final reorganisation when the 28th
6 Division came into being, I think there were some operational groups that
7 were part of the corps, but I'm surprised by the date of this document.
8 I think by that time it should have been the 28th Division, Command of
9 the 285th East Bosnia Brigade, et cetera, et cetera.
10 Q. Thank you. Please look at item 3. I will quote for the record,
11 and then I have a question:
12 "Bringing units to full combat readiness and other measures must
13 be taken under strict secrecy in order to eliminate any grounds on the
14 aggressor's part for violations of the agreement on the demilitarised
15 zone (protected zone)."
16 My question is this: Was the War Presidency supposed to
17 co-ordinate any activity with the Zepa Brigade when undertaking these
18 measures and with the Command in Srebrenica? What was the correlation
19 between the Zepa War Presidency and that of Srebrenica, vis-a-vis the
20 units in Zepa and Srebrenica and their activities?
21 A. Given the situation in Zepa, specifically, it would have been
22 logical for us to do it that way. However, most of the communication and
23 most of those measures were undertaken without the approval or without
24 the War Presidency being informed of them.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 Could we please have D53 in e-court. The title is "Preparation
2 to Carry Out Offensive Combat Activities." Thank you.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Please zoom in.
5 It reads:
6 "Pursuant to a verbal order," and I underscore "verbal order,
7 issued by the commander of the General Staff of the BH Army, Army
8 General Rasim Delic, and on the occasion of the great success achieved by
9 units of the BH Army in the wide area around Sarajevo and Gorazde, as
10 well as on the basis of intelligence that the A/S Command of the
11 Protection Regiment in Han Pijesak is holding part of its units in
12 reserve to intervene in the event of an attack by our forces from Zepa, I
13 hereby issue the following order:
14 "Execute all preparations in the Command of the 28th Land/Army
15 Division to execute offensive operations with a view to liberating the
16 territory of BH, overextending the -- "A/S," I believe it means
17 "aggressor forces," "and inflicting losses on them, co-ordinating action
18 with the BH Army forces carrying out operations in the broader Sarajevo
20 "2. Plan realistic tasks which will assure certain success, on
21 the basis of an accurate assessment and the potential of our forces in
22 Srebrenica and Zepa.
23 "3. The General Staff of the BH Army will regulate, by an order,
24 the commencement of offensive combat activities in the zone of
25 responsibility of the 28th Division."
1 It was drafted by the chief of staff of the Army of B and H on
2 the 17th of June, 1995, that is to say, one month prior to the events
3 we've been discussing. They sent this order to the Command of the 28th
4 Division. It was drafted by the chief of staff of the 2nd Corps,
5 Brigadier Budakovic. We see the addressees. The second one is the
6 28th -- 285th Light Brigade, Zepa.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. The order you mentioned, which arrived from Sarajevo --
9 A. I think this is the order.
10 Q. Was that order discussed by the War Presidency?
11 A. Yes, this is it.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. This order drafted by
13 the General Staff of the army, sent to the 28th Division -- oh, it is in
14 evidence already. I apologise.
15 Could we next have Avdo Palic's letter of the 28th of June, 1995.
16 It is D62, the 28th of June, 1995.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. While we're waiting for this, please answer my question. In that
19 period, in June, before the final activities in Zepa, were you, the
20 War Presidency, informed of any Sarajevo events? And if so, how was that
21 information passed on to you? What do you know about the military
22 activities in Sarajevo referred to in this report, in particular those
23 aimed at Srebrenica?
24 A. At that time, as far as I recall, there was an operation by the
25 1st Corps of the Army of B and H. It was an attempt at lifting the siege
1 of Sarajevo. We had no official information about that, but it was
2 publicised and it was no secret. One could hear it on the radio, TV, and
3 in other media. We knew that at that time the Army of the Republic of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina tried to lift the siege of Sarajevo by using military
6 Q. Thank you. Let's focus on this document. This document was
7 drafted by the 285th Brigade from Zepa. The date is the 28th of June.
8 It was signed by Avdo Palic, as you will see later. It was sent to the
9 2nd Corps Command, the chief of staff, Budakovic, and the Command of the
10 28th Division, to Major Ramiz Becirovic. Before I put any questions to
11 you: Do you know who Ramiz Becirovic was, and why did Palic send this
12 document to him? What was his position?
13 A. I know who he is. At the time, he was the chief of staff of the
14 28th Division, given that the commander, Naser, was not in Srebrenica.
15 Therefore, he was in charge of the 28th Division in his absence. It was
16 Mr. Becirovic at the time. I don't know him personally, but I have
17 encountered his name in some documents and I know who he was.
18 Q. Thank you. You can see what Avdo Palic put in this document.
19 Focus on the second paragraph, where he says:
20 "Upon receipt of the orders given to me by brigade commanders
21 Major Zulfo Tursunovic and Major Ibrahim Mandzic, and by the assistant
22 for intelligence in the division, Captain Ekrem Salihovic, I reviewed the
23 overall situation with respect to this kind of combat action, and, based
24 on earlier instructions issued to the chief of staff, Major Ramo
25 Cardakovic, by the chief of General Staff,
1 Brigadier-General Enver Hadzihasanovic, I decided, together with
2 Tursunovic and Mandzic, to proceed as follows:"
3 This is, de facto, Avdo Palic's decision, and we can read out
4 what he decided.
5 The next paragraph reads:
6 "Form a number of sabotage groups of between a squad to reinforce
7 platoon strength, and dispatch them into the temporarily-occupied
8 territory for the purpose of inflicting on the aggressor as great losses
9 as possible, in terms of troops and equipment, and tying him down, with
10 the new forces he requires, on a line over 20 kilometres wide. The
11 places of attacks and raids by the sabotage-reconnaissance platoon groups
12 were the following:"
13 And here we see what areas these attacks were carried out in:
14 "Group 1: The area of Zljebovi-Pecnik (Han-Kram).
15 "Group 2: The area of Rijeka.
16 "Group 3: The area of Veliki Zep."
17 You know where it is:
18 "Group 4, the area of Solila.
19 "Group 5, the area of Crna Rijeka, where the Main Staff was.
20 "Group 6, the area of Banja Lucica.
21 "Group 7, the area of Crna Rijeka, Bojcino Brdo, close to the
22 Main Staff.
23 "Group 8, the area of Karaula.
24 "Group 9, the area of the village of Visenjica, attacking the
25 units there."
1 Please scroll up in the Serbian. We can see it now. Can we
2 please have page 2 in the English.
3 We have read out the groups he sent -- we will only read out the
4 following parts. In the second paragraph, he said that all sabotage
5 groups carried out their attacks, causing great losses to the enemy
6 troops and equipment. In the third paragraph, he says about 40 Chetniks
7 were killed.
8 Can you see that?
9 A. Yes, I can.
10 Q. And dozens were wounded:
11 "A significant quantity of infantry weapons were seized (one M53
12 light machine-gun, six automatic rifles, one carbine, two radio
13 transmitters, 5.000 rounds and other soldier's equipment). One aggressor
14 soldier was captured in the area of Vrana Kran [phoen]. He was lightly
15 wounded in the area of the chest. His name is Velimir Merdjan, born
16 1975 ...
17 "He is now in Zepa, referring treatment," and so on and so forth.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
19 MR. THAYER: Just two quick points, Mr. President. The first is
20 obviously, and I know we're probably sounding like a broken record on
21 this, but there is no dispute from the Prosecution as to the attacks by
22 ABiH forces from within the enclave of Zepa towards the outside. That,
23 again, is not in contest from the Prosecution, and not putting any
24 limitations on how General Tolimir wants to conduct his cross. He's
25 entitled to take it wherever he pleases. But I just want again to make
1 that clear that that is not in dispute.
2 And the second thing is just a minor, I think, correction for the
3 record. This is already in evidence, but as General Tolimir was reading
4 through the paragraph, it's clear that some of these attacks were carried
5 out, and some weren't. And just for the record, if you want to go back,
6 we can see here that numbers 5, 7, 8, 9, those targets were attacked,
7 whereas targets 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 were not actually attacked. Again,
8 we're not interested in the ins and outs of these. It's not a contested
9 point. But I think in his question, again, maybe General Tolimir
10 misspoke when he summarised this paragraph, but he did say all the
11 attacks were carried out, and it's clear that that is not the case.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
13 Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
15 I was referring to the activities that were envisaged. And in
16 the cases where he was unsuccessful, he did not report on those, but he
17 did report on those activities where he was successful and where he even
18 captured some prisoners of war. So he did not report on those where they
19 were unsuccessful.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. So my question would be this: Was it common practice for a
22 demilitarised zone to have prisoners of war, and is the reference here to
23 Velimir Merdjan, a prisoner of war, the same Merdjan that General Mladic
24 mentioned on the occasion of the signing of the evacuation? Thank you.
25 A. So I should answer two questions.
1 First, I would like to confirm that it is, indeed, the same
2 individual, the same soldier. I just know that his name was Merdjan, his
3 last name. That was number 1. And, number 2, of course, it was not
4 logical for any prisoners of war to be held in a demilitarised zone.
5 Q. Thank you. At the War Presidency sessions, did you ever discuss
6 these issues of pulling out of Zepa and also the major successes that
7 Colonel Palic makes a reference to here?
8 A. Well, you see, the document is dated the end of June, and the
9 attacks on Srebrenica and Zepa began on the 6th of July. There were no
10 analyses made, but there was, one could already sense in Zepa, a special
11 mood. There was an atmosphere where people were expecting for something
12 to happen. As for the situation itself, we were not informed by Avdo of
13 any of this. This was a report for his superior command. And very soon
14 thereafter, the final stages were in place and -- the end game was in
15 place, as it were. We did not discuss any of this at the War Presidency.
16 I can just confirm that we did not discuss any of these matters at the
17 War Presidency, and that refers also to the order from the Presidency
18 that you mentioned earlier.
19 Q. Thank you. Bearing in mind that sabotage operations were
20 launched from Srebrenica and Zepa, behind the Serb lines - some of these
21 operations targeted civilians, others army facilities - were there any
22 discussions at the War Presidency that possibly the BH Army -- the Serb
23 Army would try and take counter-measures in order to prevent and preempt
24 such attacks from the demilitarised zones? Thank you.
25 A. Well, you see, when the War Presidency discussed at its session
1 the order that it had received from the Command of the 285th Brigade --
2 or, actually, the order for the 285th Brigade, the reason why most
3 members of the War Presidency were opposed to such an order was precisely
4 in their expectation that the Serb Army would respond by launching an
5 attack -- military attacks on the Zepa enclave.
6 Q. Thank you. We will now skip the warnings that General Mladic
7 made the UNPROFOR aware of and his expectations what might happen. But I
8 would skip all that and just would like to discuss something else with
10 On page 14 of the transcript of the 23rd of August, you mentioned
11 the role of the board, of which you were a member of, and you said that
12 one of the roles was the distribution of humanitarian aid, and that is
13 the issue that I would like to discuss now.
14 Now, did Colonel Palic have any role in the distribution of
15 humanitarian aid? Thank you.
16 A. As far as I can remember, and I'm not absolutely certain that
17 this relates to June of 1995, but I vaguely seem to remember that maybe
18 certain quantities -- small quantities of humanitarian aid were also
19 allocated for the army. I can't really say for sure. But in any case,
20 the distribution of the humanitarian aid was done according to the list
21 of inhabitants. And for every convoy of humanitarian aid that arrived,
22 the executive committee would take a decision on the amount of
23 humanitarian aid and items that would be distributed per inhabitant.
24 Now, as for the question relating to Avdo, I really don't
25 recall -- I don't have any clear recollection of that. If you have a
1 document to show me, maybe that would help.
2 Q. Very well, we'll do that. But let me ask you: Were there
3 priorities set in the distribution of humanitarian aid, and what did
4 those priorities actually relate to?
5 A. Well, I can't remember if we actually had a list of priorities in
6 distributing humanitarian aid, but I seem to remember generally that all
7 the distributions actually were meant and were envisaged for all
8 inhabitants; in other words, for the civilian population according to the
9 lists compiled.
10 Q. Thank you. Please tell us, how did the members of the Zepa
11 Brigade provide food for their brigade? Did they receive food supplies
12 or did they -- so did they receive them from the civilian authorities,
13 the War Presidency and the Executive Board, or did they just go home and
15 A. Well, generally speaking, there was no organised feeding of the
16 army, as it were. Each member of the army reached humanitarian aid as an
17 inhabitant, a civilian of Zepa. For instance, Mujo Mujic had a
18 four-member family, so that would mean that the family would get four
19 times, let's say, five kilos of flour. They would get 20 kilos of flour
20 in total. So that was the principle according to which the aid was
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 I would now like to see document 1D245 in e-court. This is a
24 letter from Mehmed Hajric of the 5th of May, 1995. He's sending a
25 request to the Government of the Republic of Federation of Bosnia and
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. We have before us what he wrote. In line 13 from the top in the
4 second paragraph, he says the following:
5 "Since this would apply to about 150 such individuals, we wish to
6 ask for your opinion on the validity of this position."
7 And then he goes on. So he mentions here an application for 150
8 people. Could you tell us what this refers to?
9 A. Well, yes. As it says in the document, itself, most inhabitants,
10 then inhabitants of Zepa, over 60 per cent, were not people who were
11 born -- or had been born and lived in Zepa, they were refugees. Now, he
12 discusses here the most difficult conditions, the people in the most
13 difficult conditions, and that they would need to be evacuated and then
14 taken back to their families and reunited with their families. Some of
15 them were in Sarajevo or elsewhere. And now your question was related to
16 that, his opinion and our opinion that these 150 people should be
17 evacuated from Zepa or relocated from Zepa.
18 Q. Thank you. Now, this is my question: You said about 60 per cent
19 of the population in Zepa were refugees. Did all those 60 per cent of
20 the people who were there -- were they all of the same opinion? Did they
21 all want, like these 150 mentioned here, to be relocated and moved to the
22 territory of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
23 A. Well, you see, most of them didn't have any family members
24 elsewhere. Only these 150 people had members of family elsewhere. As
25 for the rest, they were there -- entire families were there in Zepa. And
1 at this time, the situation in Zepa was very bad, and it was the
2 prevailing opinion that Zepa was the worst possible solution for them and
3 that they would be better off if they were someplace else. That is true,
4 that was the predominant feeling among most of the refugees.
5 Q. Thank you. Does that mean --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. What was the opinion of the other 35 per cent?
9 A. Well, the others did not want to leave. They were people who
10 lived there. They had been born and lived there all their lives. Now,
11 whether the percentage was 35 per cent, or 38, or 40, but generally that
12 was the ratio, 40 to 60.
13 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us, was there a lot of pressure from
14 the refugees who wanted to be relocated? And what kind of pressure did
15 you feel within the Presidency, and what did you do about it, and did you
16 get any response from the central authorities?
17 A. Well, you see the document that we still have before us, the then
18 president of the War Presidency had contacted Sarajevo. I don't know
19 what their response was. But this was something that we tried to resolve
20 this situation through a welfare evacuation, as it was called then. I
21 don't even know if there was any response from the Government of the
22 Republic-Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
23 Q. Thank you. Tell us, please -- he says here, in the last sentence
24 of his letter, the president of the municipal Assembly of Zepa:
25 "Please respond and give us your response, as soon as possible,
1 to our communication."
2 Now, my question is this: Why this so important that he urgently
3 requested that he be given a reply, and he referred to it as:
4 "We kindly ask that you urgently give us the government position
5 on these issues"?
6 Now, were you given any kind of dead-line?
7 A. Well, no. I'm sure it wasn't as dramatic as it appears. Perhaps
8 Mr. Hajric had a desire to help these people, but there was nothing else
9 that was especially a burning issue at the time. This trend or desire to
10 leave Zepa was something that was in evidence constantly, so it was
11 always something that the refugees were considering. But I don't recall
12 that there was anything specific at this point in time that would have
13 called for a dramatic call, as presented here in this letter by
14 Mr. Mehmed Hajric. In any case, we see from the document that there was
15 some discussion at the local level, with regard to this matter, with the
16 VRC [as interpreted] officer, Pecanac, I believe. I'm not sure that I
17 recall this particular event.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: VRS.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Thank you. While we still have this document before us, could
21 you please read what it reads under A:
22 "Is it possible at the present time to negotiate a welfare
23 evacuation from Zepa at the local level with Serbian officer
24 Milan Pecanac (negotiations proposed for 10 May 1995)."
25 And under B:
1 "Would the welfare evacuation from Zepa be justified with regard
2 to the current military and political situation in the Republic of
4 Thank you. What can you tell us about this, and was this the
5 position taken by the War Presidency?
6 A. Well, you see, in reference to A, maybe I do recall vaguely, but
7 I am not sure whether these negotiations with Pecanac were held. But if
8 they were, an army officer would have had to be involved in this because,
9 as far as I know, no civilians went to those negotiations or attended
10 those negotiations. But, generally speaking, in wartime I don't know
11 what the position would be on these welfare evacuations. I assume that
12 the response from Sarajevo would be that such evacuations should be
14 Q. Thank you. Now, Hajric referred to this as welfare evacuation,
15 and he's requesting the government and informing the government of it,
16 and he says that he has sought contact with the Serb side. And then he
17 says -- we can see here where he specifically says:
18 "Would a welfare evacuation from Zepa be justified with regard to
19 the military and political situation ..."
20 So my question to you is this: Was this type of -- were these
21 types of communication generally sent to the Main Staff of the Army of
22 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and did you receive any response?
23 A. Well, if we can just go back to the top of the document, and you
24 can see that everything did have to go through military channels. As a
25 member of the War Presidency, I may have been informed of this orally,
1 but I have never seen these documents before. The only way of
2 communicating was by means of the military Paket radio equipment. It all
3 depended on that. Anything that had to be forwarded had to be decided on
4 by Colonel Palic. Any document could have been removed, because there
5 was no possibility to check whether someone, indeed, sent it or not.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 I seek to tender the document on the screen into evidence.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
9 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D99.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please have 1D246 on the
11 screen. It is a letter of Captain First Class Salih to the Main Staff of
12 the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He drafted it following his commander's
13 approval, that is to say, commander of the 2nd Corps.
14 Could we please zoom in for the witness.
15 We see here that he says:
16 "We have unverified information that in the near future, a
17 certain number of people will make an unauthorised and illegal exit from
18 the Zepa zone, leaving through the forest towards the free territories of
19 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina (Kladanj, Olovo)."
20 The second paragraph:
21 "We will undertake the necessary measures to prevent this from
23 Third paragraph:
24 "We therefore inform you of this and request that you bring this
25 information to the attention of the commands of units whose zone of
1 responsibility is in those parts of the republic, so that the members and
2 commands of those units will know how to handle any people who may be
3 deserters, should they not have documents issued by the command of this
4 unit, and so that they can promptly inform us ..."
5 It was drafted by Assistant Commander for Intelligence
6 Salih Hasanovic, sending it to the chief of staff,
7 General Enver Hadzihasanovic, on the 25th of May. Could this letter
8 contain the answer that was never sent to Hajric, when he was never
9 explained how to treat those people who wished to exit, and it was
10 basically 65 per cent of the people that were in the enclave who did not
11 have their homes there.
12 A. Well, obviously this document indicates that there were
13 activities underway aimed at leaving the enclave of Zepa, although this
14 does seem a bit exaggerated when these officers referred to it. The
15 territory of Zepa could independently be left only by those who had arms
16 and those who were fit the most. Only those members of the army could
17 leave who knew where the free passage route was. Women and children
18 could not make that trip. It would include 40 kilometres of terrain
19 crossing two lines of defence. Women and children couldn't do that.
20 Only the best-equipped and trained members of the army could leave the
21 enclave in this way.
22 As for whether the wish to leave existed at the time, yes,
23 indeed, it was the case, much as the case was with Sarajevo. People
24 wanted to leave because they were under a siege. It's only natural they
25 wanted to leave.
1 Q. This request sent by the commander first class, on his
2 commander's orders, to the Main Staff, was it aimed at preventing any
3 departures and people leaving the enclave? Did any authorities work on
4 preventing the civilians to leave for other areas?
5 A. Of course, army bodies wanted to prevent any able-bodied men to
6 leave. It would mean deserting your unit. As for the civilians, in
7 particular women and children, in principle, it wasn't their job to do
8 that. They had nothing to do with the civilians. As for the army, that
9 is correct.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I seek to tender this document,
11 1D246, and then I will move on to the next topic.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This document will be received.
13 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D100.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, before you move to another topic, we
15 must have our second break now, and we will resume at 1.00.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 --- Recess taken at 12.31 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 1.01 p.m.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir, please proceed.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Could we please have P123 shown in e-court. It is dated 13 July
22 1995. It was sent to General Mladic and the command of the Drina Corps,
23 General Krstic, to the Protection Regiment and to the
24 Communications Regiment. It discusses the situation in Zepa, and I
25 signed it. We can see it here.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. I would like to quote you first. At page 4289, line 25, to
3 page 4290, line 3, you say as following:
4 "After Srebrenica fell on the 12th of July, 1995, on the same day
5 the War Presidency of Zepa, via UNPROFOR and Colonel Sejmon Dudnjik,
6 received a request or an invitation for talks with the other side."
7 My question is this: Was all that communication going through
8 Dudnjik and UNPROFOR?
9 A. As far as I know, yes.
10 Q. Thank you. As it is stated in paragraph 1, was there an
11 agreement for a meeting to take place at 2100 hours? It was drafted on
12 the 13th of July, in the afternoon, and it says:
13 "We have established planned contacts with representatives from
14 Zepa, Toplak [as interpreted] and Imamovic. It was arranged previously
15 to meet around 9:00 p.m. We were advised by UNPROFOR that during the
16 day, they were busy consulting with the inhabitants about the conditions
17 of moving out of Zepa and that they were forced to do that due to the
18 decision made by the government in Sarajevo, which stated that they
19 should not move. They advised most of the population and soldiers that
20 they would be granted safe passage or stay in the area of Zepa if they
21 surrendered their weapon and recognised the Serb authority."
22 Is it true that you were unable to attend that meeting because of
23 the activity specified herein?
24 A. Well, first of all, I wouldn't say that there was an arrangement
25 made. Rather, it was requested by your side that the meeting took place
1 around 9.00 p.m. As I said before, first we sought approval from our
2 political and military leadership to be granted leave to talk to you at
3 the local level. I believe during my testimony here, I said that
4 clearly. I said that the request or query was sent to our political and
5 military leadership, asking whether we were allowed to engage in any
6 talks with the Serb side at the local level.
7 I must also say that at the meeting of the War Presidency in
8 Zepa, we did not discuss the things specified in this report, as far as I
9 remember, such as that the population of Zepa should be removed
10 immediately, if they wished to do so, transferred elsewhere. What I
11 remember was that we had a lengthy War Presidency meeting, and at the
12 very beginning we forwarded that question to our political leadership to
13 see whether we were allowed to engage in any talks. Later on, we were
14 discussing things such as who was to go, et cetera.
15 Q. Thank you. Since you said that there was no meeting that evening
16 because you were busy with other talks, making decisions you mentioned,
17 was it also discussed at that meeting who was to attend those talks and
18 whether it was approved by the War Presidency?
19 A. Could we please go back to the document first. I just noticed
20 the date, July 13. On that day, we did have a meeting with your side.
21 On that day, there was a meeting with you at check-point number 2.
22 Q. Thank you. To clarify that, let's scroll up so as to see the top
23 of the document. Go further down the page in the Serbian. Further down.
24 It says: "Delivered at 9.50." It means that this was done by
25 the person typing it. So it wasn't up to me to put the date on the
2 A. I just wanted to reiterate that there was a meeting on the 13th.
3 On the 12th of July, in the evening, we had held the lengthy
4 War Presidency meeting. There was another meeting on the 13th, in the
5 evening or later in the afternoon.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Tolimir.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Do you recall when, on the 12th, you received this invitation,
9 through UNPROFOR, to attend a meeting?
10 A. I think the invitation was received by Colonel Avdo Palic. As
11 far as I remember, it was in the afternoon, perhaps around 2.00 or 3.00
12 in the afternoon. I know that we gathered in the evening and spent most
13 of the night between the 12th and the 13th at that War Presidency
14 session. This is what I recall in particular, and I speak from memory,
15 of course.
16 Q. Let's look at the document, the second paragraph. It reads:
17 "We were notified, through UNPROFOR, that during the day they
18 were busy informing the population about the conditions of moving out of
19 Zepa, and that they were forced to undertake such activities because of
20 the Sarajevo government decision which stated that they shouldn't move.
21 They want to secure the support of most of the population for the
22 decision that was already made."
23 Do you remember having conveyed this information to our
24 representatives at Boksanica?
25 A. I don't remember. I cannot exclude the possibility that
1 somebody, say a member of the War Presidency, did that. But, personally,
2 I did not have any contact with Dudnjik at the time. As far as I know,
3 Colonel Palic was in contact with him.
4 Q. Could he have informed them of this?
5 A. I don't know. I cannot exclude that, but as far as I remember,
6 Colonel Palic on that day was in touch with Colonel Dudnjik.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Tolimir.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Look at para 4 next. Actually, para 5, where it says they
10 informed most of the population and soldiers that they will all be
11 granted free passage or that they would be allowed to stay in Zepa if
12 they surrendered their weapons and recognised Serb authorities. Is it
13 possible that this, too, was conveyed by Avdo Palic, that he told this
14 to -- told Dudnjik about this, and that he passed it on to us?
15 A. Again, I speak from memory. All contact with Dudnjik that day
16 was through Colonel Palic. The overall situation and the feel at the
17 War Presidency session that day does not reflect this information, at
18 least how it was put in your report; for example, the fact that by that
19 time there had already been a decision in place to move the entire
20 population of Zepa.
21 Q. Thank you. Please look at lines 16 and 17, as well as further
22 down the page. It is the fifth paragraph:
23 "We informed the Zepa leadership, through UNPROFOR, that the
24 process of evacuation and weapons surrender has to start at 900 hours on
25 15 July 1995. We are expecting their contacts and the decision."
1 During that day, did you receive any information to this effect
2 conveyed to him by the Serb side?
3 A. I don't recall that. Whoever was in touch with Dudnjik probably
4 forwarded this information to our side, if you had originally sent it to
5 Dudnjik. However, I cannot recall this particular information, though.
6 I don't think it was discussed, as such, at the War Presidency session.
7 Q. Thank you. Please tell us this: Did Avdo Palic attend this
8 Presidency session that lasted all night, and what were his positions and
9 what did he inform you of? Is it possible that he might have conveyed
10 all this information?
11 A. Colonel Palic was present at the session, and I believe that he
12 was the one who conveyed the demands of the Serb side. But I don't
13 remember it being in this shape and form. A discussion ensued regarding
14 what that would mean for us, and then again the issue arose of what to do
15 with the able-bodied men, and we immediately received those demands, and
16 there was discussion on whether we should negotiate or not. But
17 Colonel Palic did attend that meeting, as far as I can recall.
18 Q. Thank you. Please tell me, were you told, via UNPROFOR, that you
19 would have the option to either stay in Zepa or leave Zepa and
20 surrender -- on condition that you surrender the weapons to the VRS?
21 A. I cannot remember every detail, but I tend to think that there
22 were no such demands, or at least not formulated in that way. Now,
23 whether Colonel Palic received all the details and perhaps then presented
24 them to us in a somewhat different form, I don't know, but I don't recall
25 that on the night of the 12th, going on the 13th, there were explicit
1 demands, as shown here. I don't remember any of that.
2 Q. Thank you. Did you discuss the fifth paragraph, where it says
4 "A number of wealthy Muslims inquire, through the UNPROFOR, about
5 the possibility to move out to the territory of the FRY or third
6 countries with their movable property. They wanted to avoid mobilisation
7 in the so-called ABiH."
8 Now, this was relayed to us via UNPROFOR. Now, whether he had
9 actually said this to UNPROFOR or not, can you tell us something about
11 A. Well, I can't remember any of these details. As I've already
12 said, I did not take part in these negotiations or these exchanges of
13 messages, so I can't really say either way. But as far as I remember, it
14 was not presented to the War Presidency at the meeting held on the night
15 of the 12th and 13th of June [as interpreted], 1995, in this form.
16 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell --
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
18 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Just to nip this one in the bud, I think we have our familiar
20 month issue, if you look at the transcript. At least on mine, at
21 page 75, line 24, there's a reference to the 12th and 13th of June, 1995.
22 I think we've had this before. I just want to clarify that now.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think Mr. Tolimir has misspoken. It must be
25 Please carry on.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. It was
2 July, indeed, and I thank Mr. Thayer.
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
4 Q. My next question: Do you have any knowledge about whether part
5 of the population really wanted to move out, via the territory of the
6 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, to third countries so they would avoid
7 joining fighting; for instance, to the US or other places?
8 A. Well, I do not rule out the possibility that there was talk to
9 that effect and that some of the wealthy inhabitants of Zepa maybe voiced
10 their positions in that respect. But I don't recall that as coming to
11 the War Presidency as a specific request. If that was the case and if
12 they did actually send such a request to someone, that is something that
13 I cannot rule out.
14 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber about the way
15 that the discussion proceeded on the meeting that night on the 12th,
16 going on the 13th of July? How did that evolve; do you remember?
17 A. Well, I remember the following: I think Colonel Palic briefed us
18 and said that he had received from Colonel Dudnjik, the UNPROFOR
19 commander in Zepa, a request of the Serb side for negotiations. That was
20 the major -- that was the gist of what Colonel Palic conveyed to us.
21 Now, whether he also mentioned some of the details that you showed us in
22 this report, I can't really recall. But as I've already said before, he
23 did not convey most of these details to the War Presidency. Our overall
24 concern at this meeting was -- or, actually, focused on two major areas.
25 The first one was whether we were authorised and competent to actually
1 negotiate, to enter these negotiations, and in that sense we submitted
2 that request to the civilian and military authorities of Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina, asking for their opinion on whether we had the authority to
4 negotiate at the local level. That was the first area. The second area
5 that was in our focus was probably conjectures and guessing as to what
6 kind of demands we would be presented from the Serb side, because that
7 was the day when Srebrenica fell. We could only assume what those
8 demands might entail. The entire discussion that whole night on the
9 night of the 12th and 13th revolved around these two major issues. As
10 for these details and the specific demands that the Serb side presented,
11 I can't recall any of that.
12 We also discussed at length the option where we would receive a
13 negative response from Sarajevo or Tuzla, if they were to say that we
14 were not allowed to negotiate at the local level. But then the position
15 prevailed that we should try and see how best to deal with this, because
16 in the end it was our fate and our skins that we had to consider. But
17 whatever somebody on the side would have to say in the final analysis,
18 their lives were not at stake because they were not in Zepa. So that was
19 the prevailing tone of all the discussions at this session of the
20 War Presidency in Zepa.
21 Q. Now I would like to move on to the meeting of 13th July 1995.
22 In examination-in-chief, when asked by the Prosecutor when you
23 left from Zepa to Boksanica, which was check-point 2 of UNPROFOR, you
24 said you couldn't remember because it was a long time ago and that you
25 didn't take any notes at the time. This was on page 4293, lines 6 and 7
1 on the transcript. My question is this: At the meeting in Boksanica,
2 did you take any notes, did you write anything down, or was it the same
3 as what you said of the 12th of July, that you did not take any notes?
4 A. Are you referring to the meeting of the 13th of July?
5 Q. Yes, that's what I'm referring to. And is that correct?
6 A. Well, I really don't remember whether I took any notes or not on
7 that day, the 13th. And if I did, they would have been lost. So
8 everything I said about that meeting and everything that is in my
9 statement is really -- are things that I can just recollect.
10 Q. Well, since you can't recall this, I will remind you of what you
11 said during the examination-in-chief. And if some of it is not correct,
12 just say so.
13 You said the following, and I quote:
14 "As far as I can recall at this meeting, the Serb side was
15 represented by Colonel Zdravko Tolimir, UNPROFOR was represented by
16 Colonel Sejmon Dudnjik, and I was there, and Mujo Imamovic. At the very
17 beginning of the meeting, General Tolimir said something to the effect of
18 this, Srebrenica has fallen, now it is Zepa's turn. We have two options
19 here. We are offering the following: You should all -- you can all
20 leave Zepa, be evacuated, board buses, and leave. And then I asked him
21 whether that meant that people who were 35 years old could join their
22 families and move out to the territories of the BH Army, and
23 General Tolimir said, Yes, of course. And then if we decided to refuse
24 the first option, the second option would be -- or the second alternative
25 would be the military option; in other words, the military occupation of
2 And then you said the meeting did not last long and so on. I
3 believe that my translators translated this properly and conveyed your
4 words correctly. This is on transcript page 4294, lines 8 through 21. I
5 tried to quote what you said.
6 A. Well, yes, that's exactly what I said. They translated that
8 Q. Thank you. Now, here we are talking of events 15 years ago.
9 This event is significant for me and for you; for me, because I'm the
10 accused in these proceedings, and for you, because you had to make
11 decisions about the Srebrenica civilian population. Now, my question is
12 this: Before you came to testify here, did you check and go through any
13 of the documents relating to the meeting of the 13th of July or is
14 everything that you have said here actually reconstruction based on your
16 A. Well, everything I said here was based on what I could remember.
17 I had no notes of any kind, and I didn't read up on this subject before I
18 came to testify here.
19 Q. Thank you. My next question: At this meeting, as well as the
20 ones that followed with General Mladic, was the key issue, in fact, the
21 surrender of weapons of the BH Army in Zepa and the surrender of the
22 weapons that the able-bodied men had? Thank you.
23 A. As far as I can recall, the talks always involved a whole package
24 deal, if I can put it that way. So it was they involved the evacuation
25 of the civilians and the surrender of weapons and able-bodied men. At
1 times, they would have to surrender these to the UNPROFOR, at other times
2 to the VRS. But, in any case, it was always a package deal, if I can
3 define it that way.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 Could we now please pull up 1D261. That is a document that is,
6 in fact, part of the diary of Mr. Fortin. The Defence recently
7 established, comparing this document with the diary, that the pagination
8 is different, and in the electronic disclosure suite, the name of this
9 colonel was not mentioned by Ms. Carolyn Edgerton.
10 And could we have D585, page 60 in English. And I hope, when
11 discussing this excerpt, that it does not fall under Rule 70 and that we
12 may show it in public. On the 65 ter list disclosed to the Defence on
13 the 5th of September in 2008, this document appears under number 751.
14 And the Defence also referred to this document in its pre-trial brief
15 which, again, is a public document. Could we please have page 2 in both
16 the B/C/S and English versions. We would like to see paragraph 8, which
17 reads as follows -- well, first of all, let the witness read through this
18 document, and then I will read it out.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, we have some problems with the
20 numbers. You were mentioning 1D268, and then later on D589, but there is
21 no document with the number D589. We have just reached D100. Can you
22 help us?
23 Mr. Thayer.
24 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I may be able to offer a more direct
25 solution. If I understand what General Tolimir wants to show the
1 Trial Chamber, it is a report of a meeting that was held by
2 Lieutenant-Colonel Indjic on the 13th of July, in the afternoon, and I
3 believe what he is showing us here is a summary of that meeting that's
4 contained in Colonel Fortin's diary. And as I think the Trial Chamber
5 has already seen through Colonel Fortin's testimony, what he did was,
6 basically, cut and paste some of the reports that he participated in into
7 his diary, in addition to providing his own contemporaneous recollection.
8 We actually have a copy of the actual report that this excerpt from the
9 diary is reproducing, except without the actual formatting of the report.
10 That report is already in evidence as P596, so we can go directly to P596
11 without having to go through the circuitous route of putting up
12 Colonel Fortin's summary of it or reproduction of it. So if it's all the
13 same to the Defence, we can look at the real McCoy, as it were, P596, and
14 look at the actual report, itself. And that did come in through
15 Colonel Fortin, himself, originally, this report. So I just offer that
16 instead of having to deal with all the translation issues that we had for
17 Colonel Fortin's diary; for example, it's in French, it's in B/C/S, it's
18 in English. There were three different versions of it that we need to
19 juggle, and we can just go directly to 596.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
21 Mr. Tolimir, what do you think of this proposal of Mr. Thayer's?
22 Is that helpful for your examination?
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'd like to thank Mr. Thayer. We
24 wanted to see 1D261. It's all there. This should save me some time and
25 enable me to put a few more questions. I have no idea what is in the
1 documents offered by the Prosecution.
2 Let's look at page 2 in Serbian, and it will all be crystal
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I'm not sure if we have the same document on the
5 screen now.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] We do. Paragraph 8, which reads --
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] "The CO of the Rogatica Brigade,
9 accompanied by General Tolimir and local Bosnian authorities, met at
10 Ukrainian check-point 2 at noon today. The Serbs asked the Bosnians in
11 the Zepa pocket to drop their weapons, after which the civilian
12 population may either leave or stay. The Bosnian authorities were due to
13 meet immediately after in the village to discuss their options. The
14 Serbs gave them until 3.30 p.m. to decide. At 6.30 p.m., an answer was
15 still awaited. The Bosnians indicated they needed until noon tomorrow."
16 That's all I wanted to quote from this document.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. This is a report of the Ukrainian Battalion commander sent to
19 General Gobillard in Sarajevo. That was in the period of time when you
20 were there. He mentions the choice given to civilians to leave or stay.
21 If I recollect correctly, he based this on a document. Am I right in
22 assuming this?
23 A. What do you want me to answer, exactly, the choice between
24 leaving or staying, or what is your question?
25 Q. The question is this: In this Ukrainian Battalion commander's
1 report, does it not read that the civilians would be either allowed to
2 either leave or stay? Does it say so?
3 A. Yes, it's in there in paragraph 8.
4 Q. Thank you. Since Dudnjik kept notes, did he accurately inform
5 his command, and would you allow for the possibility that this report is
6 more accurate than yours or my recollection?
7 A. Well, if he kept notes, then that's it, although I don't know
8 what exactly he wrote down.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
10 MR. THAYER: And if there is evidence that Colonel Dudnjik kept
11 notes, we'd appreciate knowing what that is. That's, I think, the first
12 we've heard of Colonel Dudnjik allegedly having notes. If there is a
13 basis for that statement in the record, we'd like to know what the basis
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
16 We've heard that the Prosecution wants to raise a procedural
17 matter before we adjourn today. Perhaps we can leave it at this point
18 for today and continue with this document and the matter mentioned in
19 this document for tomorrow. Is that possible? Then you could think
20 about which part or which kind of document you would use for continuation
21 of your examination. We have only three minutes left for today. Do you
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
24 I just wanted to put the last question for today.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Did Dudnjik participate in that conversation on the 13th?
2 A. I think he did.
3 Q. Did you see him taking any notes?
4 A. I truly cannot remember. However, he was there and he did
5 comment on the situation.
6 Q. Did he send this report to his command, the report I just read
8 A. I don't know. If there is a document in existence to that
9 effect, if it's an official document, then there you go, but I don't know
10 what he sent to his superiors. On the right-hand side in the English
11 version, I see that it's supposed to be a report, but I can't know what
12 he wrote. Yes, he was at a meeting. Yes, he participated. But as for
13 whether he kept notes, I don't remember that.
14 Q. My last question: Did he report from the meeting that I offered
15 that civilians may either leave or go following the surrender of weapons?
16 Did he report this to his command in Sarajevo?
17 A. Well, if it's in the report, he did. I have no documents to rely
18 on any of this. I cannot confirm this or deny. If it's in the report, I
19 have no doubt that he wrote it.
20 Q. So this was merely an offer of his? Actually, he's discussing my
21 offer, where I said that they could either leave or stay. Is that
22 correct or not?
23 A. As I said, I didn't keep notes, I don't remember that, but I
24 cannot deny that.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I will stop now and
1 resume tomorrow. Tomorrow, we'll have time enough to discuss all of
2 UNPROFOR's reports, discussing these matters. Thank you.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you, Mr. Tolimir.
4 This last question was, in fact, an interesting set of questions.
5 That concludes your examination for today. We have to continue tomorrow.
6 Will you address the Chamber with your procedure matter in the
7 presence of the witness or --
8 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, if the witness could be excused.
9 There is no reason for him to be subjected to this.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Okay. Then, again, thank you very much for
11 today's attendance, and we will continue tomorrow in the afternoon.
12 [The witness stands down]
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
14 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 The three matters are:
16 First, with respect to the Prosecution's ongoing compliance with
17 the Trial Chamber's 92 bis decision generating the proper lists,
18 delineating which categories the various exhibits fall into, the
19 Trial Chamber granted us an additional 30 days on top of the 30 days the
20 Trial Chamber had originally ordered. We have been working to comply.
21 I can tell the Trial Chamber it is taking a lot longer than we even
22 thought when we first asked for the additional 30 days. The process is
23 extremely time-consuming to be able to identify the documents and then go
24 through the entire transcripts to make sure that we've caught all of the
25 exhibits and categorised them correctly. We will have a troche ready to
1 go to Registry by this Friday. However, it will fall far short of the
2 approximately 120 92 bis witnesses that were subject to the
3 Trial Chamber's decision, about half of which were 92 bis straight and
4 the other half of the 92 bis with cross. I can just tell the
5 Trial Chamber that there's just no way that we're going to be able to
6 finish this project in the near future, much less by this Friday. I can
7 tell the Court it's going to require weekend time, which is not a problem
8 because we're always working on the weekend anyway, but we're working on
9 the weekend to get ready for our witnesses. So we're going to do what we
11 What I propose is that we, every week, provide the Trial Chamber
12 and Registry with a minimum of five packages -- five witnesses ready to
13 go to the Registry so the Registry can make sure all the proper P numbers
14 are assigned. The first troche that we'll have this Friday, I think,
15 will number approximately a dozen witnesses. Doing the math, that's
16 going to be another probably four months, at a rate of a minimum of five
17 a week, before we can complete that project: I think we'll be able to do
18 more than five a week, frankly, but some of these witnesses are extremely
19 extensive, days and days of testimony, which is time-consuming, and
20 unfortunately we do not have unlimited resources to do that. It's work
21 that needs to be done, ultimately, with attorneys who have handled these
22 witnesses overseeing and actually involved in the process, in addition to
23 Ms. Stewart and some other members of the staff.
24 So I would ask the Trial Chamber for the flexibility to allow us
25 to proceed along that schedule, a minimum of five a week. I'm sure we
1 can do better than five, but I'd hate to promise something and not be
2 able to deliver, particularly how it's looking so far.
3 So I spring that on the Trial Chamber, but I wanted to give the
4 Trial Chamber a heads-up relatively in advance of this Friday's
5 dead-line. That's item 1.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I ask you: You mentioned, more or less, 12,
7 a dozen, witnesses. Are they covered by the list of witnesses calling
8 for September?
9 MR. THAYER: Yes. What we have done is we have tried to at least
10 prioritise the witnesses who are coming who are 92 bis with cross. There
11 are a couple who are listed for September, some of the experts, for
12 example, who are among that dozen. So, certainly, we've tried to
13 prioritise those witnesses. And I should have added, the straight 92 bis
14 witnesses, naturally, I think, would be towards the tail end, because we
15 want to focus on the witnesses that are coming before the Trial Chamber,
16 and that's how we've approached the project thus far, so that's where --
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think that is appreciated, and the Chamber will
18 consider your submission, and we'll come back to that tomorrow.
19 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
20 And if I could go into private session very briefly for the other
21 two matters.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Private.
23 [Private session]
11 Page 4627 redacted. Private session.
18 [Open session]
19 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We have to adjourn for the day. We will
21 resume -- Mr. Tolimir.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Just a brief administrative matter,
23 Your Honours.
24 This accused, that is, me, has been, for over 1.145 days, working
25 here, and this affects my ability to actually work properly, and I would
1 really appreciate it if you could see to it that the Detention Unit
2 authorities no longer apply those measures.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the witness please
4 repeat what exactly it was that was being done in the Detention Unit?
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you were, I think, referring to the
6 nightly checks. Is that correct?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am referring to the fact that in
8 24 hours, I am being checked on a number of occasions --
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sorry, we are running out of time. And we have
10 discussed that earlier, and you know our decision of last week. We will
11 proceed with that problem, and you know our decision.
12 We have to adjourn now. We can't go further. And we will resume
13 tomorrow in the afternoon at 2.15 in Courtroom I.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.52 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 31st day of
16 August, 2010, at 2.15 p.m.