1 Thursday, 15 May 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Madam Registrar.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning. This is case number IT-02-60-T, the
7 Prosecutor versus Vidoje Blagojevic, Dragan Obrenovic, and Dragan Jokic.
8 JUDGE LIU: Well, before we have the first witness today, is there
9 anything that both parties would like to bring to the attention to this
10 Tribunal? Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours. Before the
12 next witness testifies, I would like -- I'm requesting a curative -- a
13 cautionary instruction to the Prosecution and to the witness that the
14 Prosecutor not ask for conclusions and that the witness not volunteer
15 conclusions based on the summary -- the summaries that he will be given.
16 I brought this matter to the attention of the Prosecution during
17 the 65 ter meeting, mentioning the Milosevic decision. It's an Appeals
18 Chamber decision dated 30th September 2002. During the 65 ter meeting, I
19 believe, and I trust that the Prosecution misspoke when it said that this
20 Trial Chamber is not bound by other decisions. That may be the case with
21 respect to Trial Chamber decisions; however, in the Aleksovski judgement,
22 the appeal judgement, it's very clear, it's been made clear also in this
23 particular case and two appeals, interlocutory appeals, that a Trial
24 Chamber is bound by the decisions from the Appeals Chamber. I'm sure Your
25 Honours know that.
1 So I trust that Mr. McCloskey misspoke at the time. But
2 nonetheless, I think it would be prudent perhaps to caution both the
3 Prosecution and the witness that they're not to provide any conclusions
4 but merely a summary of -- and to comply strictly with the decision of the
5 Milosevic decision, which I'm sure the Prosecution is fully cognisant of.
6 Thank you.
7 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much for bringing to our attention this
8 issue, but we believe that it's a little bit premature to raise it. But
9 as a precautionary measure, we'll take it and we'll tell both parties that
10 the witness should testify as to what he saw and what he heard, not draw
11 any conclusions and opinions.
12 Yes. Shall we start?
13 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour.
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes. I'm sorry.
15 MS. SINATRA: I'm terribly sorry. I do have one matter to bring
16 up before the Trial Chamber, and I think that the record we make in a 65
17 ter meeting is as valid as a record in open court, I'm assuming? Is it
18 public record? Because I want to openly object before we proceed to trial
19 that the Defence counsels do not abide by or accept or acquiesce to the
20 acceptance of the payment proposal by the Registrar. And as an example of
21 how seriously this affects the rights of the accused, I would like to
22 submit what is going to be marked D1/3, and it's a copy of an ethics
23 complaint against the Registry which affects my licence in the state of
24 Texas, and I would like for the Court to be aware of this, knowing that we
25 are going to trial because we have an obligation to our client but by
1 going to trial I want to assure the Trial Chamber that we are not
2 acquiescing and accepting the payment proposal of the Registrar at the
3 moment. We believe it violates the rights of the accused.
4 So may I offer these to the usher.
5 JUDGE LIU: Well, thank you very much. Of course we'll bring this
6 matter to the attention of the Registrar.
7 MS. SINATRA: Thank you. And I'd also like to address the next
8 witness that we have. Basically, I know that this is untimely, and I ask
9 the Court's leave to challenge the competency of this expert witness,
10 which should have been done, I believe, 20 days after we got notice of his
11 being offered as an expert witness. But we never have received a
12 statement of this witness. Therefore, I don't believe that he can fit
13 into the category of an expert. And because we've never received a CV, we
14 don't know his training from the past, it can't be stipulated that he has
15 expertise in any area. I'd like this witness to be treated as a regular
16 witness and not an expert witness and be prevented from coming to
17 conclusions or opinions on any of the witnesses he's interviewed. And
18 under the Milosevic decision, that he not be allowed to summarise any
19 witness statements unless he provides us with a list of the witnesses that
20 he's relying upon.
21 JUDGE LIU: Well, first of all, I have to say that the situation
22 in this case is different from Milosevic's case. I don't think that
23 witness will summarise any statement of the witnesses.
24 Secondly, at the very beginning of the trial I think the
25 Prosecutor will ask some questions, try to qualify this witness, like his
1 background, his experience, whether he has firsthand knowledge of what
2 happened, et cetera.
3 Thirdly, could I ask the Prosecutor to explain to me whether they
4 have treated the first witness as an expert witness or just an ordinary
6 MS. DE LA TORRE: Your Honour, Stacy de la Torre for the
7 Prosecution. Mr. Ruez is a fact witness in this case. He personally
8 visited the crime scenes and will be a foundational witness for all of the
9 evidence presented regarding the crime scenes. However, he can offer his
10 conclusions as to what was found at each of those crime scenes based upon
11 his investigation and his expertise as the lead investigator on this
12 investigation and as a law enforcement official.
13 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
14 MS. SINATRA: Your Honours.
15 JUDGE LIU: I hope that you could bear in mind there are some
16 objections from the Defence team on this very issue and very carefully
17 conduct your direct examination.
18 MS. DE LA TORRE: I understand, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
20 MS. SINATRA: I have one more --
21 JUDGE LIU: Is there anything else? Yes.
22 MS. SINATRA: I would like to ask the Court to rule on a motion in
23 limine, pre-trial, before -- I mean, pre-testimony before Mr. Ruez
24 testifies not to allude to terms such as "massacres", "ethnically
25 cleansed" or holocaust as he did in his prior testimony. Those are
1 prejudicial terms and not terms that a fact witness should be using in his
3 JUDGE LIU: Well, I'm afraid, you know, that request is too high.
4 I think the witness could use whatever language he could, but it depends
5 on the Trial Chamber whether to take it or not.
6 You may sit down, please.
7 MS. SINATRA: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE LIU: Well, Ms. De la Torre, taking your special conditions,
9 this Chamber will permit you to take a seat if necessary while presenting
10 your evidence. If you need to have a short break, just let us know.
11 MS. DE LA TORRE: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Could we have the first witness, please.
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE LIU: Good morning, witness.
15 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
16 JUDGE LIU: Would you please take the solemn declaration in
17 accordance with the paper that the usher is showing to you.
18 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
19 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
20 WITNESS: JEAN-RENE RUEZ
21 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down, please.
22 Ms. De la Torre.
23 Examined by Ms. De la Torre:
24 Q. Mr. Ruez, could you please state your name for the record?
25 A. My name is Jean-Rene Ruez, R-u-e-z.
1 Q. And is it correct to say, Mr. Ruez that, you were formerly
2 employed as an investigator here at the Tribunal?
3 A. Yes, it is correct. I have worked as the Office of the Prosecutor
4 from 1995 through 2001.
5 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters kindly request that the
6 speakers pause between question and answer. Thank you.
7 THE WITNESS: Could you repeat the question. We have to give some
8 delay to the interpreters.
9 MS. DE LA TORRE: Sure.
10 Q. Prior to coming to the Tribunal, could you explain to the Court
11 where you worked.
12 A. Yes. I am chief superintendent currently in the Ministry of
13 Interior, judicial police branch of the French police.
14 Q. And you indicated that you came to the Tribunal in 1995; is that
16 A. This is correct.
17 Q. Do you recall when it was that you arrived at the Tribunal?
18 A. My first day working in the Tribunal was 7 April 1995.
19 Q. When were you assigned to the Srebrenica investigation?
20 A. In July 1995, when the first press rumours reached the Tribunal, a
21 decision was made to check that information and I was sent down to Tuzla,
22 where I arrived -- I think it was 20 July 1995.
23 Q. Were you the first investigator assigned to the Srebrenica
25 A. Yes, I was.
1 Q. When you arrived on the scene in Tuzla July 20th, 1995, did you
2 initiate an investigation that you headed until you left the Tribunal in
4 A. Yes, indeed. As soon as we started with the investigation in
5 Tuzla, it appeared that the scale of the events was huge, and that
6 investigation never stopped, not only when I left -- when I left, it
7 continued. So it's still ongoing.
8 Q. From July 1995 until your departure in 2001, did you focus almost
9 exclusively on the Srebrenica investigation and the events surrounding the
10 fall of the Srebrenica enclave?
11 A. Yes, exclusively. It was my only assignment after that summer
13 Q. Mr. Ruez, before we get into what you discovered during the course
14 of your investigation, I'd like to talk about the exhibits that will be
15 introduced during the course of your testimony. You testified in a
16 previous case; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you have the opportunity to review the exhibits that were
19 introduced during the course of your testimony in the Krstic case in
20 preparation for this trial?
21 A. Yes, I did.
22 Q. And did you assist the Prosecution in selecting the exhibits that
23 you felt were most important with regard to the presentation of your
24 testimony here today?
25 A. Yes, I did that.
1 Q. In the interest of expediency and clarity, did you assist the
2 Prosecution in marking those exhibits with the relevant points of
4 A. Yes, I did.
5 Q. The exhibits that are going to be introduced today and in the next
6 few days during the course of your testimony, the markings that are on
7 them, were those markings made with your guidance and at your direction?
8 A. Yes, absolutely. I -- I indicated what the markings should be on
9 these pictures.
10 Q. Mr. Ruez, could you give the Court an orientation using the map
11 here before you of Srebrenica and where it is geographically, vis-a-vis
12 Serbia and the BiH territory.
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, Ms. De la Torre, I'm sorry to interrupt. Before
14 you come to the specific issues, could you ask a question about the
15 present occupation of this witness.
16 MS. DE LA TORRE: I'm sorry, Your Honour, a question about ...?
17 JUDGE LIU: About the present occupation of this witness. We
18 haven't heard it yet.
19 MS. DE LA TORRE: Sure, Your Honour.
20 A. Yes. Presently I am on a leave of absence from my administration.
21 I requested that leave when I left this Tribunal in April 2001. That
22 means, in other terms, that I am on holidays since April 2001. I'm
23 restarting professional activities in July this year.
24 Q. When you return to your employment in July of 2003, where will you
25 be assigned?
1 A. I've requested to be assigned at the international cooperation
2 service that we have at the Ministry of Interior in France.
3 Q. And what will your duties be in that capacity?
4 A. I will be heading a department in charge of raising funds for
5 international cooperation projects.
6 Q. If you could, Mr. Ruez, using the map before you, could you just
7 orient the Court to Srebrenica and where it lies vis-a-vis the surrounding
9 A. So on this map, the enclave is located at the bottom right of the
10 exhibit, and the grey outline is -- marks the limits of the safe area of
11 Srebrenica. And I say on purpose "the limits," and not "the border,"
12 since borders have never been established. Approximately 4 kilometres
13 east is the Drina River, the Drina River being the border with the Federal
14 Republic of Yugoslavia. And approximately 20 kilometres west of the
15 enclave, the grey outline at the left of the exhibit marks the
16 confrontation line that at that time was separating Muslim-held territory,
17 on the left of the map, from the Serb-held territory, as the east, so at
18 the right of the map.
19 Q. Mr. Ruez, approximately how far is it from Srebrenica towards
20 Tuzla, which would be considered in Bosnian free territory at the time?
21 A. Walking distance in a straight line would be approximately 60
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Ruez. And for the record, you were referring to
24 Prosecution Exhibit 24.
25 Mr. Ruez, we'll move now to Prosecution Exhibit 1.1. And if you
1 could, please, explain to the Court what it is that they're seeing in this
3 THE WITNESS: Full screen?
4 [Videotape played]
5 THE WITNESS: So this video is a helicopter view, filmed from the
6 south of the Srebrenica enclave, flying towards Srebrenica. The aim of
7 this video is to give the Chamber an indication of how the terrain looks
8 like in this area. It's very big hills with deep valleys. It's a kind of
9 a pre-mountainous terrain. And in fact, the south of the enclave is the
10 most difficult terrain in this area.
11 Q. Did you yourself take this footage?
12 A. Yes, I did. This is a view of Srebrenica town. There's a last
13 hill, and then one enters the valley, and at the bottom of this valley is
14 Srebrenica town. The quality is not so -- so good. So it's a town that's
15 stretched inside this valley in between two steep hills. On this view is
16 the centre town, where the former main mosque was and at the time this
17 film was shot the mosque had been transformed into a parking lot.
18 Q. When was this video taken?
19 A. In 1998. The destruction of the mosque of the Srebrenica town was
20 a slow process, but it started instantly during the summer 1995. This is
21 the location of Company B of the UN Battalion that was located inside the
22 enclave, and this is the direction that then will lead towards Potocari,
23 where is located -- it's a pity that the picture disappeared -- just
24 behind the hill that was at the end of that landscape.
25 Q. [Microphone not activated]
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, for the Prosecutor, please. And
2 could the speakers slow down, please.
3 MS. DE LA TORRE:
4 Q. You indicated in the video there was a Company B, which was the
5 headquarters of the UN Battalion. Did the UN Battalion stationed in the
6 Srebrenica area have more than one compound?
7 A. The main headquarters were located in a factory in Potocari,
8 approximately 4 or 5 kilometres away from Srebrenica town. And inside
9 Srebrenica town was a smaller detachment, named Company B.
10 Q. Turning to Prosecution Exhibit 1.3, are you able, using this map,
11 to see not only Srebrenica but also towards the direction of Potocari
12 where the main UN compound was located?
13 A. No. This photograph shows the view that one has on Srebrenica
14 town when coming from the south, so this is the view that the Bosnian Serb
15 soldiers, who were the first ones to enter Srebrenica town, could see.
16 This is the last hill before entering Srebrenica town.
17 MS. DE LA TORRE: Your Honour, if you would prefer, I believe
18 we're done with this map for the time being. And if I would have it taken
20 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. We'll have it moved.
21 MS. DE LA TORRE:
22 Q. You indicated, Mr. Ruez, that this was the view from the south.
23 When the Srebrenica enclave fell in July 1995, what direction -- from
24 which direction did the Serbs advance?
25 A. They were advancing from the south towards the north, so in the
1 direction that -- that the helicopter took when I showed the previous
2 exhibit. This is the direction that the Bosnian Serb army took when they
3 entered the enclave.
4 Q. When did Srebrenica fall?
5 A. The fall of the enclave is dated 11 July 1995, once the population
6 realises that an airstrike that just occurred would not be sufficient --
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I'm going to object at this point.
8 He's giving a conclusion. The witness is giving a conclusion at this
9 point and we don't have the predicate foundation. He's beginning to
10 testify about events which he did not witness. If a foundation wants to
11 be laid as far as who he spoke with and how he has this knowledge, then
12 perhaps I won't be objecting. But so far I haven't heard a basis upon
13 which he can formulate these conclusions.
14 JUDGE LIU: I think the Prosecutor is just asking this question,
15 and later on she will lead us to that point.
16 Am I right?
17 MS. DE LA TORRE: Yes, Your Honour. I can, however, ask Mr. Ruez
18 a few foundational questions with regard to the extent of his
19 investigation in his six years as the lead investigator on this case.
20 JUDGE LIU: And Mr. Karnavas, I have to remind you that the
21 hearsay evidence is acceptable, admissible, in this Tribunal, which is
22 different from other jurisdictions.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I do understand that hearsay is
24 admissible. However, I have no basis of knowing how this gentleman has
25 reached these conclusions, because the foundation wasn't laid. And I do
1 take your point, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
3 You may proceed.
4 MS. DE LA TORRE: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. Mr. Ruez, beginning in July 1995, when you arrived in Tuzla, did
6 you begin speaking to witnesses who had fled and survived the fall of the
7 Srebrenica enclave?
8 A. Yes, absolutely. At that time the situation was that me and a few
9 assistants who were confronted to that situation were facing 25.000
10 refugees who were in the Tuzla area, so the initial process was in fact to
11 scan the work that had been started by local police and the local war
12 crime commission in order to identify the most useful witnesses, in order
13 to begin to have a clear picture of what had happened during -- during
14 these days. So for instance, when I say that the enclave fell 11 July
15 1995, because at that moment the population realised that the airstrike
16 that occurred would not be enough a measure to stop the advance of the
17 Drina Corps, this information is based on the interviews that we conducted
18 with I would say in total approximately 100 people, who more or less all
19 of them used that event, the airstrike event, to mark the moment where
20 they personally considered that the enclave was lost and that the only
21 solution that was left to them was to flee. So this is the reason why I
22 date the fall of the enclave 11 July.
23 Q. And during the course of your six years investigating this
24 particular case, Mr. Ruez, how many people would you estimate that you
25 personally interviewed with regard to these events?
1 A. It would be difficult for me to answer that question, since we
2 interviewed various categories of witnesses, those -- those we call the
3 victims. Others are members of the International Community. Others are
4 former UN soldiers. I don't know, maybe I interviewed personally some 50
5 victims of the events of 1995.
6 Q. And during the course of your investigation, did you supervise
7 other investigators who continued the process of interviewing witnesses
8 with regard to the events leading up to and following the fall of the
10 A. Yes, sure. As soon as a structured team was put in function, I
11 was following the activities of -- following and directing the activities
12 of all the team members and following up with all the information that
13 they could collect related to the subject.
14 Q. And has the -- is the fact that the enclave fell on the 11th of
15 July, has that ever been seriously in dispute with regard to the witness
17 A. I don't think so, since even General Krstic, I think, would --
18 would say that the fall of the enclave is dated 11 of July, since this is
19 the day when the first elements of the Drina Corps entered the town and
20 this is the day where Mladic also entered the town.
21 Q. Have you personally seen videotape dated 11 July of -- and 12 July
22 as well of General Mladic marching through Srebrenica after its fall?
23 A. Yes. And we will present these footages that have been presented
24 on television in Republika Srpska at that time.
25 Q. Based upon your interviews with witnesses who survived the fall of
1 the enclave, were you able to determine how the population reacted once it
2 became clear that Srebrenica was going to fall?
3 A. Yes. In fact, they reacted both by instinct and also by order.
4 Some people took the decision on their own to flee either -- there were
5 two directions of flight. Part of the population, mostly the women and
6 the elderly, fled towards Potocari, and this for two reasons: One was by
7 instinct, to try to find shelter in the vicinity of UN soldiers; but also
8 because the rumour anyhow was spread among the population that this was
9 the course of action that they were supposed to take.
10 For the men, it was another course of action, and also following
11 instructions that were repeated by the people among them, that the men
12 should assemble in an area at the north of the enclave, that is, the area
13 of the villages of Susnjari and Zagarici and this in order then to attempt
14 a break-through out of the enclave.
15 Q. We'll take those two issues separately, Mr. Ruez. So starting
16 just with Potocari and the refugees who made the decision to go to
17 Potocari, based upon your investigation, how many people are estimated to
18 have chosen to flee to Potocari rather than trek through the woods?
19 A. So as soon as we talk about large numbers, it's always difficult
20 to be precise. The general assessment is that approximately 25.000 people
21 fled towards Potocari, and this is the number of people who ultimately,
22 roughly the number of people who ultimately arrived in Tuzla following the
23 deportation process, so approximately 25.000. That group was composed, as
24 I said, essentially of women, children, and elderly, but also of an
25 unknown number of men who didn't want to abandon their families in that
1 circumstance and also men who thought that it was safe enough to stay
2 there and become a prisoner of the Serb forces and later be exchanged.
3 They accepted to take that option.
4 Q. And just for the sake of clarity, Mr. Ruez, what was in Potocari
5 that these people were fleeing toward?
6 A. They were fleeing towards Potocari because Potocari was the
7 location where the main US base was located, so the aim of all these
8 people was to be as close as possible to these UN soldiers in order to be
10 Q. We'll turn now, Mr. Ruez, to Prosecution Exhibit 2.1, which is a
11 videotape of Potocari. If you could, please, indicate to the Judges what
12 it is that they'll be seeing on this particular video.
13 A. Before the video, there was another exhibit that was just on the
15 Q. Prosecution Exhibit 1.3, an aerial view of the entire valley.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. There is -- go ahead.
18 A. So the aim of this exhibit is to -- to show the distance, in fact,
19 between Srebrenica town and Potocari. So this is a still photograph
20 extracted from the videotape that was presented as the first exhibit.
21 At the bottom of the yellow line marks the road that goes down
22 towards Srebrenica town. Then one can see the town itself, that is very
23 thin and long in this valley. And at a distance of approximately 4
24 kilometres, where it is written "Potocari," just behind the -- that hill
25 is the location of Potocari. And at the distance is the town of Bratunac,
1 in the mist, at the top right of the photograph. And the arrow at the top
2 of the picture, pointing towards Konjevic Polje indicates the asphalt road
3 that goes from Bratunac towards Konjevic Polje, and that is located behind
4 that hill.
5 Q. And just for scale, Mr. Ruez, how far is it roughly from Potocari
6 to Bratunac?
7 A. Then from Potocari to Bratunac it's again a short distance of
8 approximately 3 to 4 kilometres, 3 kilometres.
9 Q. Turning now to Prosecution Exhibit 2.1, the video of Potocari, did
10 you take this video, Mr. Ruez?
11 [Videotape played]
12 A. That first part shows again Srebrenica town. I am -- I shot that
13 video in 1998. The beginning is the same than what we saw previously, but
14 then the film is going to switch towards Potocari.
15 And once in Potocari, I'm not the one who filmed the pictures.
16 They were filmed by another member of the Office of the Prosecutor with
17 whom I went on mission in April 1996 and who filmed the pictures that we
18 will see later on the ground in Potocari. So this is going towards
19 Potocari -- towards Potocari, behind this big hill at the left of the
20 picture is going to be the location Potocari.
21 Q. Were you present when this video footage was taken of Potocari?
22 A. This one, I filmed this part, and the part that will follow I was
23 indeed present.
24 So this is Potocari. Potocari is a small industrial area composed
25 of a group of six factories, in fact, seven, I think. Here we can see
1 some of these that we will show later on stills. This is a bus compound,
2 it's a bus company. This is a zinc factory. And then here, here, this
3 main -- this one is -- that's another location, which is called the White
4 House. Just in front is another factory. And here, this main, this main
5 factory is the main UN base in Potocari. It's located in a former battery
6 factory, and it's called the Akumulator factory.
7 So this is filmed from the road. This is coming from Srebrenica
8 towards Potocari, so this is the direction that the refugees took. Here
9 comes one first factory where the people assembled. This one is the
10 Energoinvest 11 of March factory. Then comes the zinc factory, the
11 so-called zinc factory, which is also an Energoinvest building. This
12 building is simply called by everyone "the Blue Building." This is where
13 a water tank was -- was put at the time of the events. And this is the
14 so-called White House, which became a detention site for men who were
15 separated from their families before boarding buses.
16 This large meadow is just in front, in fact, of the UN base. So
17 this is another -- another view, coming from Bratunac town and going
18 towards Potocari. This main building is the UN base. So this is the
19 direction that the Serb soldiers coming from Bratunac took when they
20 entered Potocari.
21 After the UN base is another group of two factories. One is blue,
22 and it's also called by the people "the Blue Factory," and that building
23 was used by the Bosnian Serb forces during the days where they stayed in
24 Potocari as their headquarters. Just in front of it is another building
25 that was not occupied also during -- during these days. All the other
1 factories were packed with refugees.
2 So continuing the drive towards Srebrenica town, after the UN base
3 the main facility is the Expres bus compound, which is a big compound with
4 a big hangar, and that place was also crowded during these days.
5 These buildings are those that are in front of factories that we
6 saw previously. So this is the area of the 11 of March factory, houses in
7 front. All these houses were also occupied by people during the days of
8 the 12th and the 13th July. This -- it's not obvious on the film, but it
9 shows a water pump behind a destroyed house. The reason why this water
10 pump is filmed is because several witnesses relayed later on that they saw
11 dead bodies near water pumps, but there are several of these water pumps
12 in Potocari.
13 Q. And Mr. Ruez, the sites that you are pointing out to the Judges,
14 the different factories, the different buildings, are those referred to by
15 the witnesses in -- with regard to their statements about what occurred
16 once they arrived in Potocari?
17 A. Yes. And this is the reason why we show all these pictures, so
18 that once the witnesses will explain the situation that they have
19 experienced during these days, the Court has an idea of how the -- how the
20 locations look like. And this is the reason why I'm also using the names
21 which are the names that the people who knew the place generally used,
22 like 11 of March, zinc factory, Akumulator factory for the UN base.
23 Q. Along those lines, Mr. Ruez, we have a series of photographs that
24 show each of those particular buildings. Turning first to Prosecution
25 Exhibit 2.2, you have an overview of the area with several buildings
1 pointed out in particular, the first of which would be the UN
3 A. Yes. The buildings of -- of importance on this picture are
4 essentially the Akumulator factory, that is marked as being the UN HQ,
5 headquarters. When one crosses the asphalt road, at the exit of UN HQ is
6 a house that everyone refers to as "the White House." Many people talk
7 about it, saying "the unfinished house." And this is the location where
8 men that were separated from their families prior boarding buses were
9 taken to.
10 Q. Were you able to determine during the course of your investigation
11 where the initial refugees sought shelter when they arrived in Potocari?
12 A. Yes. The UN base was the first destination of -- of all the
13 people who fled Srebrenica town. The UN Battalion there initially
14 accepted the crowd and quickly the factory was overcrowded with about
15 5.000 refugees who took shelter in it. So once the facility was fully
16 occupied, the UN Battalion stopped accepting refugees and the people found
17 shelter in the vicinity of this main factory, so that is in all the
18 factories nearby.
19 Q. Turning to Prosecution Exhibit 2.3, there is another shot showing
20 some of the factories in the area, the first of which would be the Expres
22 A. Yes. So this is a still view that indeed show it is Expres
23 compound, and also at the right of the picture part of the so-called zinc
24 factory. All these facilities were packed with people during the days
25 of -- starting the 11 in the evening through the 13.
1 Q. Turning to Prosecution Exhibit 2.4. There is the Energoinvest
2 zinc factory. There are, Mr. Ruez, two factories that have the name
3 Energoinvest; am I correct?
4 A. Yes, this is correct. This one is the zinc factory. The other
5 one is 11 of March factory. And on this one one can see also the type of
6 landscape that is behind the factory. In this instance, there is a meadow
7 and a house. These elements are important because some witnesses will
8 come and give detail about things that they saw happening behind the
10 Q. Turning to Prosecution Exhibit 2.5, is the other Energoinvest
11 factory that's commonly referred to as the 11th of March; is that correct?
12 A. Yes, correct. This is -- it corresponds to half-destroyed
13 markings that were left on a picture of the building, that is written
14 "Energoinvest," and "11 of March." This factory was also used by the
16 Q. Mr. Ruez, you indicated that Srebrenica fell on the 11th of July
17 and the refugees fled to Potocari. On the day and evening of the 11th of
18 July, was the Bosnian Serb army present in Potocari?
19 A. No. The -- the 11 July -- the advance of the Bosnian Serb forces
20 stopped in Srebrenica town. Potocari became the area where all these
21 people assembled. There were sightings of Serb forces in the vicinity,
22 some spotting of artillery positions on the hills around Potocari, but no
23 physical presence of Serb forces and all the people we talked with report
24 that that evening and that night was calm, the situation was very calm.
25 Q. During the course of your investigation, were you able to
1 determine whether or not there was any contact on the 11th of July between
2 the VRS, the Dutch Battalion soldiers stationed in Potocari, and any of
3 the Muslim representatives of the refugee population?
4 A. There was a first meeting on request of General Mladic. That
5 meeting involved in the evening of the 11th. Colonel Karremans was the
6 commander of the UN Battalion, and two of his assistants. And that
7 meeting took place at the Hotel Fontana in Bratunac town.
8 Q. Mr. Ruez, I don't intend to go into the details of each of those
9 particular meetings, as the Court will have the opportunity to see them on
10 videotape. However, can you tell the Court, these meetings that were
11 called, what was the purpose with regard to the refugees who were
12 currently situated in Potocari?
13 A. The main goal of these meetings, as it will be seen later, was for
14 General Mladic to access representatives of the population. In fact,
15 General Mladic wanted to -- to talk with military commanders of the BiH
16 army from the 28th Division, and these people had already left the area,
17 so no representative of the army could be found. And the civilian
18 representatives had fled as well, so the only thing that the UN Battalion
19 could do to fulfil the demand of Mladic was to try to pick educated people
20 among the crowd and have them volunteer to have contacts with
21 General Mladic.
22 Q. Mr. Ruez, you bring up a good point, which is the presence of the
23 28th Division of the Bosnian army within the enclave. Prior to the fall
24 of the enclave, when the population made a choice of either going to
25 Potocari or trying to break out through the woods, was there a presence of
1 the army within the enclave?
2 A. Yes, absolutely. The -- the Bosniak armed forces in the enclave
3 were known as the 28th Division, commanded by Naser Oric. The number of
4 forces in fact was only dependent on the number of guns available. So the
5 assessment that is done by the military observers, by the UN officers in
6 the area, was that the 28th Division consisted approximately of 5.000
7 armed fighters.
8 Q. We'll discuss after the section on Potocari the events concerning
9 the trek of the column. However, as you stated, it was General Mladic's
10 intention to seek out and meet with representatives of the army at the
11 Hotel Fontana; is that correct?
12 A. Yes, this is correct.
13 Q. At the first Hotel Fontana meeting, were there any
14 representatives, either military or civilian, present at that Hotel
15 Fontana meeting?
16 A. No, there were no -- no representatives, neither of the army or
17 from the civilian side. At the second meeting, one civilian
18 representative showed up. His name is Nesib Mandzic. But as he will
19 explain himself, he was not really a representative. He had no -- no role
20 prior that day.
21 Q. Was Nesib Mandzic selected as a Muslim representative by the
23 A. Yes, he was requested to -- to become a representative.
24 Q. Did he in fact attend the second Hotel Fontana meeting along with
25 the representatives of the Dutch Battalion?
1 A. He was accompanied there by Colonel Karremans.
2 Q. The second Hotel Fontana meeting, when did that occur?
3 A. In the evening of the 11 July.
4 Q. Was there a subsequent meeting held at the Hotel Fontana?
5 A. Following the second meeting, General Mladic reiterated his demand
6 to access military representatives, which again could not be found, since
7 they were already trying to flee through the forest. So the next morning,
8 the 12th July, arrived to discuss the situation with General Mladic three
9 civilian representatives. Nesib Mandzic again, and also a woman Camila
10 Omanovic, and another man, Ibro Nuhanovic.
11 Q. At that third Hotel Fontana meeting, did General Mladic make any
12 statements with regard to how the VRS or the Bosnian Serb army intended to
13 deal with the refugee population?
14 A. Yes. It is at this third meeting that for the first time
15 General Mladic arose the issue of his intention to have all men aged from
16 16 through 60 years of age to be scanned in order to check if they were
17 among well-known war criminals.
18 Q. Did General Mladic indicate what would happen to the women and the
19 children who were currently in Potocari?
20 A. The emphasis during these meetings, when it was a question of
21 deportation, the emphasis was put on the fact that free choice was given
22 to the population, the choice either to leave or to stay. And if they
23 wanted to leave, officially they could leave for the destination of their
25 Q. Based upon your investigation and your interviews, did the
1 representatives at the meeting, Muslim or DutchBat, feel that
2 General Mladic was sincere when he said that the population had the choice
3 to stay or to go?
4 A. I don't know what the people who were present at this meeting were
5 thinking about this. I have no idea. The only thing that we can observe
6 through the investigation is that this alleged freedom of choice was very
7 quickly cancelled by the behaviour on the ground of the Serb soldiers,
8 once they entered Potocari. The obvious aim of that behaviour was to
9 inflict maximum terror to the population and have them flee the area as
10 quickly as possible.
11 Q. Was there an agreement between the Bosnian Serb army and the Dutch
12 Battalion with regard to the escort of the women and children out of the
14 A. Yes. The agreement was that UN vehicles could escort these
15 convoys, that every convoy of refugees would be assisted with UN presence.
16 Q. How were the women and children going to be transported from the
18 A. The operation that was set up was to attract in the area as many
19 buses and trucks as possible and then to use these -- these vehicles in
20 convoys and ship the population from Potocari towards Kladanj, that is,
21 Muslim-held territory at that time.
22 Q. Roughly how far is it from Potocari to the confrontation line at
24 A. By the road, it is approximately 30 kilometres of distance.
25 Q. You indicated that the third Hotel Fontana meeting occurred on the
1 morning of the 12th. When did the deportations begin?
2 A. When the meeting was over, the third meeting dated 12 July, buses
3 were already arriving in Potocari once the UN representatives came back to
4 their headquarters, the buses were already there and very quickly the
5 transportation started.
6 Q. You had indicated previously that throughout the day on the 11th
7 and the evening of the 11th the Bosnian Serb army had not yet entered
8 Potocari. By the time the deportations began, was the Bosnian Serb army
9 present in Potocari?
10 A. Yes. The Bosnian Serb army entered Potocari coming from the
11 direction of Bratunac, at 12.00 in the morning.
12 Q. Based upon General Mladic's proclamation that all males between
13 the ages of 16 and 60 would be separated, did the Bosnian Serb army set up
14 a separation line in Potocari in order to effect that order?
15 A. Yes. As soon as the deportation starts, the first measure that is
16 taken is to set up a cordon of UN soldiers in order to conduct crowd
17 control and avoid -- avoid the situation to become too chaotic. On this
18 photograph that shows the area of Expres compound and zinc factory, at the
19 left of the picture is a house and a path that leads to the asphalt road.
20 More or less exactly at that location, at the end of this path, was set
21 the line I am talking about. So the crowd was at the right of this
22 photograph. There was then a first line of UN soldiers. The people went
23 through this line. The buses were waiting for them at the left of this
24 photograph. But behind the line of UN soldiers were also Bosnian Serb
25 soldiers who started separating the men from the women and the children.
1 Q. For the sake of clarity, Mr. Ruez, you indicated that the UN
2 actually set up their own cordon for crowd control; is that correct?
3 A. Yes, absolutely. But in a measure to in fact protect the crowd
4 from itself, to avoid that people would -- would rush towards these buses
5 and harm themselves in that process.
6 Q. Where did the Bosnian Serb army set up their separation checkpoint
7 vis-a-vis the Dutch security cordon?
8 A. They had soldiers just behind the Dutch -- Dutch line, and also
9 soldiers along this asphalt road, and in between the buses. So as soon as
10 this line was passed, the people were in immediate contact with the Serb
12 Q. When men were separated from their wives and their children, where
13 were they taken?
14 A. We have another photograph of this.
15 Q. Looking at Prosecution Exhibit 2.2, there is an indication on the
16 photograph which you've marked as "white house."
17 A. The previous picture -- the left of the previous picture connects
18 with the right part of this picture. So these two pictures could be a
19 panorama if they were glued together.
20 Q. And for the record, the previous picture was Prosecution Exhibit
22 A. So at the right of the picture is again the asphalt road. So the
23 men were taken -- taken along this road. They passed in between the blue
24 building at the centre of the picture and the building named Blue Factory.
25 And more or less, just before arriving at the UN HQ, at the left side of
1 the road is the so-called white house or unfinished house, as some people
2 call it, and this is the location where the men were taken at the moment
3 after having been separated from their families and prevented to board
5 Q. As discussed earlier, Mr. Ruez, there is a videotape which the
6 Court will view concerning the events that occurred on these particular
7 dates. Are -- have you had the opportunity to look at that video?
8 A. Yes. We also have the Exhibit P2.6 that is a still picture of the
9 white house.
10 Q. On the videotape which the Court will see later today, are you
11 able to see the men -- the separated men in Potocari?
12 A. The 12th July was present in the area a journalist, a Serb
13 journalist, who could film in this -- in this place. And among the
14 pictures he could film in this area was a short footage of this white
15 house with men sitting on the balcony. The footage is interesting because
16 it confirms also both the observations of a UN military observer who was
17 on the spot and who could assess the house, where he could see that the
18 house was crowded with men sitting on top each other, and also adds
19 confirmation to the witnesses who reported having seen these men on the
20 balcony, and the inside of the house was probably full of people, the
21 reason why the men also had to sit on the balcony. Once the house was
22 full, these men were then put onboard of buses, where they were not mixed
23 with the other deported people. And from that white house they were then
24 taken to Bratunac town.
25 Q. You have at this point, Mr. Ruez, the men being separated and
1 taken to the white house and the women and children being put on buses to
2 Kladanj. The route from Potocari to Kladanj, does that travel through
3 Bratunac as well?
4 A. Yes. The direction to go to Kladanj is first going through
5 Bratunac, then driving towards the so-called intersection of Konjevici or
6 Konjevic Polje, then driving south towards Milici, then west towards
7 Vlasenica, and then there is a last stop in a little location named Luke,
8 and after that is a canyon which was the confrontation line at that time.
9 Q. Along that route, were there a series of checkpoints set up by the
10 Bosnian Serb army?
11 A. Yes, there were several checkpoints, more or less in all the main
12 places that I just named. At these checkpoints the Dutch Battalion was
13 escorting the convoys, were stopped, and their vehicles were taken from
14 them, so they could not fulfil the mission that was initially agreed with
15 General Mladic. They could not escort the convoys. At these checkpoints
16 also more or less all the refugees that took the route report about
17 harassment or threats that were -- that they received inside the buses, in
18 addition to the robberies of their belongings and the fact that they
19 had -- they were forced under threat to give valuables of whatever they
20 had with them.
21 Q. You indicated that the Dutch vehicles were taken. What were the
22 Dutch driving at that time?
23 A. For the escort of the convoys, as far as I know, they were using
24 four-wheel drive vehicles. The APCs that got captured by the Serb forces
25 were captured prior to the deportation.
1 Q. In addition to their vehicles, did some of the Dutch soldiers have
2 their personal UN gear taken as well?
3 A. Yes. At these -- at these checkpoints, not only the vehicles were
4 taken but also the equipment and their persons as well. They were taken
5 in detention. One of the locations they were taken to was the compound of
6 the 65th Protection Regiment in Nova Kasaba.
7 Q. In addition to not being allowed to fulfil their duty to escort
8 the refugees to the end point in Luke, were some of the UN soldiers
9 prevented from returning back to Potocari?
10 A. Yes, indeed. That also happened. But it also happened that some
11 of them made the choice not to return to Potocari and to -- the decision
12 to cross the line and reach Muslim-held territory.
13 Q. The UN vehicles and the UN gear, are they distinctively marked in
14 terms of colour or insignia?
15 A. I don't know about that point.
16 Q. Are you aware of whether or not the Dutch Battalion soldiers wore
17 what is commonly referred to as blue helmets?
18 A. Yes, absolutely. That equipment was also taken from them.
19 Q. Once arriving in Luke, were there a number or a few male
20 individuals who had been able to board the buses and manage to pass each
21 of the checkpoints along the way?
22 A. At the very beginning of the process, some men indeed could board
23 buses in Potocari. And the filtering of -- of these men in Luke was quite
24 weak at the beginning, and indeed some men had a chance to -- to make it
25 up to Kladanj at the early stage of the operation, but that seems to have
1 stopped quite quickly.
2 Q. Based upon your investigation, were you able to determine what
3 happened to some of the men who managed to make it all the way to Luke?
4 A. Once arrived in Luke, they were separated from the women and then
5 they were marched towards a little elementary school located a few hundred
6 metres far from the spot where the buses were stopping, and they were kept
7 in detention inside that elementary school.
8 Q. If we could turn back to Prosecution Exhibit 2.3. During the
9 course of the day of the 12th, could you describe the security situation
10 in Potocari. The Dutch Battalion, vis-a-vis the Bosnian Serb army, as
11 well as the Bosnian Serb army, and the Muslim refugees.
12 A. At the beginning, the people felt reassured by the guarantees that
13 were given by General Mladic, who addressed the crowd. But shortly
14 afterwards, during the course of the day, the situation deteriorated. The
15 Serb soldiers started mixing with the crowd. Some UN soldiers were
16 stripped of their equipment. Refugees report seeing soldiers dressed like
17 UN soldiers but speaking Serb, so they concluded that these were Serb
18 soldiers wearing UN equipment. So people couldn't any more trust their
19 environment, and the panic started to spread quickly, especially once
20 separation started inside the crowd, when in the evening Serb soldiers
21 started to separate men from their families among the crowd. And that
22 same situation continued during the night, the separation process.
23 Q. Was there a point in time when the convoys or the buses stopped
24 for the night of the 12th?
25 A. Yes. I don't remember exactly at what hour, but at the end of the
1 afternoon indeed the deportation process stopped, only to restart the next
2 day, the 13th, around 7.00 in the morning.
3 Q. And you indicated that that evening, the night of the 12th, as the
4 refugees waited for the buses to reappear again the next day, the
5 atmosphere was one of panic?
6 A. All the people we talked with referred to that night as a night of
7 terror, terror for various reasons; the first one being indeed groups of
8 Serb soldiers flashing their lamps in the dark to people and separate from
9 the others whoever they wanted to pick in that crowd and leading people
10 away, people hearing screams and not knowing what these screams were
11 about. Their own imagination added to the terror. As an example, a
12 person who was inside these factories and suddenly someone probably threw
13 some -- some sand inside the building through a window, and everyone
14 inside started panicking, wondering what poison was thrown at them. So
15 there was a mixture of -- of terror, based on facts and also terror based
16 on the anticipation and the fear.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
18 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour, I would like to object to this line of
19 questioning. Number one, he is now offering a summary of witness
20 statements that he has interviewed in the past and he is not offering a
21 basis for the witness statements. We don't know who they are. And if
22 they're being allowed to come testify for the Prosecution and we have an
23 opportunity to cross-examine them, then his summary is valid under the new
24 decisions. But if these are witness summaries from people that are not
25 being called by the Prosecution, then the witness summaries that he's
1 offering are hearsay upon hearsay, another level, which has been ruled in
2 the Milosevic case to be inadmissible and unreliable.
3 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think that the Prosecution has laid good
4 foundations, asking some questions, and the witness also mentioned that
5 during his talks with some witnesses who were present at that time. And
6 whenever the Prosecutor asks a question, she will begin with the phrase
7 like "during your interviews at that time and based on your
8 investigations," such as things. We understand that the witness was not
9 present at that time. All his testimony is kind of hearsay evidence. As
10 I said before, that all those evidence, hearsay evidence, is admissible,
11 we'll just bear in mind that point, and we understand later on through
12 other witnesses there will be some corroboration evidence provided by the
14 You may sit down, please.
15 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour, I just had one more object to mention.
16 When she says "and the witnesses felt this," that calls for speculation.
17 As long as it's documentary evidence of what occurred and he has evidence
18 of that, we have no objection. But when it calls for him to speculate
19 what they were feeling and the fear that they were feeling or the
20 circumstances, then I believe it's outside the realm of his investigation.
21 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much to draw our attention to that
23 MS. SINATRA: Thank you.
24 JUDGE LIU: When we elaborate this piece of the evidence, we will
25 take into the consideration of your objection, to see how much weight or
1 no weight at all we should attach to this piece of the evidence. Thank
2 you very much. You may sit down, please.
3 MS. SINATRA: Thank you, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE LIU: You may proceed, Madam Prosecutor.
5 MS. DE LA TORRE: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. Mr. Ruez, based upon your interviews with the witnesses, were they
7 able to describe both the events that occurred the evening of the 12th,
8 how they perceived them, and how they felt based on those events?
9 A. I'm sorry, I don't understand the point of the question.
10 Q. That's all right. Were you able to interview witnesses who
11 described particular events that occurred the evening of the 12th?
12 A. Yes. I will not list the compilation of all the -- the crimes
13 that the people did report during these interviews, since indeed some of
14 them are going to come and will be direct witnesses here.
15 Q. And I won't ask you to go into the details of each crime that you
16 learned or was reported as having occurred that evening. However, did
17 they convey to you, based upon what occurred the evening of the 12th, how
18 they felt the morning of the 13th when they woke up?
19 A. Yes. I don't think any one of them won't confirm one thing, and
20 that is that in the morning of the 13th all the people who were in
21 Potocari had only one desire, and this was to leave this place as soon as
22 possible and board as soon as possible on a bus to get out of there.
23 Q. And was their desire to leave the area immediately based upon the
24 events that had occurred the night and the day before?
25 A. Definitely. On the 13th, in the morning, many women tried to find
1 some -- sorry -- find some water in the area, and many statements talk
2 about sighting of dead bodies near the water pumps or blood stains near
3 water pumps, so it seems that there was an on-purpose intent to leave
4 traces of murders committed nearby these water pumps in order to inflict
5 maximum terror to the people who would discover that in the morning, all
6 this and the clear intent to cancel this alleged freedom of choice that
7 was given officially to the population.
8 MS. DE LA TORRE: Your Honour, this might be a good point to take
9 a break, if the Court is agreeable.
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we'll take a break for 30 minutes. We'll resume
11 at 11.00? Yes, 11.00.
12 --- Recess taken at 10.24 a.m.
13 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
14 JUDGE LIU: Well, before you proceed, Madam Prosecutor, I have to
15 remind you about the time. I was told that this courtroom will be used by
16 another trial, so we have to leave this courtroom at 1.45 sharp. We might
17 have a break for 30 minutes during the two sittings, and you may control
18 the pace to conduct your direct examination.
19 MS. DE LA TORRE: Yes, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes. You may proceed.
21 MS. DE LA TORRE: Thank you.
22 Q. Mr. Ruez, before the break, we were discussing the various reports
23 of incidents that occurred the evening of the 12th of July in Potocari.
24 Were you able to take any one of those accounts and independently verify
25 the information based upon your investigation?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. The witness in particular whose information you were able to
3 verify is an individual who will be and has been submitted by the
4 Prosecution and whose testimony will be before this Court. However, can
5 you explain to the Judges how after the fact you were able to go out to
6 the scene and verify what you were told.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. If you turn to Exhibit 2.3.
9 A. No. The previous one was the good one.
10 Q. Can you explain, using this picture, how it was that you were able
11 to initiate the portion of your investigation that dealt with this
12 particular witness's testimony.
13 A. Yes. This witness reports a very specific series of incidents,
14 that is, that he was hiding underneath a shed that is in fact located on
15 the hill from which this photograph is taken but a bit underneath, and
16 from there he could see the yard of the Zinc Factory, that is, at the
17 right of the photograph, and he could see that some Serb soldiers were
18 taking men away from this area and they were walking with them on this
19 open area towards the arrow where it is written "fence." He then saw that
20 these soldiers and their prisoners passed through a cut that was made in
21 the fence. Then they walked toward the house that is at the bottom left
22 of the picture, and in front of the house at the time of these events,
23 that is, 12 July, there was a cornfield just in front of this house, which
24 is not there on this photograph which is dated 1996, but --
25 Q. Turning to Prosecution Exhibit 2.8.
1 A. I had not finished on the previous one. I'm sorry.
2 Q. I apologise. We'll go back to 2.3.
3 A. Yes. So the event that he describes happens at the angle of
4 that -- that house, which is at the bottom left of the picture, and there
5 he sees that these prisoners are banded on a kind of wooden log and one of
6 the soldiers is hitting them, the men, with a kind of machete, at the back
7 of his neck, and he was together with another man who did count, I think,
8 approximately 80 -- 80 victims of this series of murders that happened
9 behind this house. So once we -- we went on the spot to try to determine
10 if there were some elements that could confirm the story. So indeed, when
11 we go to the Exhibit P2.7, we could find that indeed one of these fences
12 had a cut and on this picture there is a wooden stick that in fact keeps
13 the cut open. The cut is large enough to enable men indeed to go through
14 this fence. So then from there they walked towards where this truck is.
15 The truck was not there at the time of the events. And then they walked
16 left towards that house.
17 The Exhibit 2.8 shows the approximate location of the execution
18 site, and in front was supposed to be a cornfield with high corn. Once
19 these people had been killed, a truck came and then the dead bodies were
20 loaded on that truck.
21 Q. Mr. Ruez, what is the significance -- you have the cornfield here
22 marked. With regard to the witness's account, what is significant about
23 that cornfield and its location?
24 A. If this cornfield, at the time of the events, had been mowed or
25 non-existing, this event would never have -- it would not have been
1 possible for this event to happen here because approximately 30 metres
2 away from this event was the crowd of people who were trying to get
3 onboard the buses, so everyone would have seen the event. At the
4 opposite, if indeed the corn of the field was grown, no one would be able
5 to see from the road what was happening in that location, and most
6 probably also no one would dare to get away from the main crowd and try
7 to -- to move around in this area. So it was indeed a safe spot for
8 killers to operate in that zone.
9 Q. And were you able to verify whether or not the corn was indeed
10 high at the time of the events in question?
11 A. Yes. If we have a look at the Exhibit P2.9. So this photograph
12 is an aerial imagery dated 13 July, so one day after the event that was
13 reported by this witness. The various locations we're busy with at this
14 moment are at the top of the picture. At the top right is written "shed."
15 That's the location from where the witness could see the event. The other
16 arrow at the left is marked "shed." It's another shed, but it's marked
17 the location where in fact there was the cut in the fence. And what can
18 be seen also here is that the cornfield in front of the house is indeed
19 high. One can see the shadow of the corn at the bottom of this corn. And
20 when one looks at the arrow marked "vehicle," there is a vehicle but it's
21 pushed inside the corn, and one can see the shadow of the corn around this
22 vehicle. So on this photograph, of 13 July, the corn indeed was high.
23 What can be seen also on this picture and deserves being mentioned
24 is the crowd of people which is inside the circle, and the location of UN
25 APC is in fact the -- where the separation line is. But this photograph
1 is the 13, and the 13, that line had moved towards north, that is, at the
2 bottom of the picture. The day before, the separation line was more or
3 less exactly at the exit of path that was leading to this killing spot.
4 On the next exhibit, which is 2.10, so it's a blow-up of the same
5 area but on a photograph dated 12 July. Unfortunately, the quality of the
6 copy is poor, but nevertheless one can see a difference with the previous
7 one. First, the separation line indeed is located in front of that house
8 and the path that leads to the killing site. And the vehicle that was
9 pushed inside the cornfield the 13 was in fact on the path the 12, so one
10 could ask himself why this vehicle was moved between the 12th and the 13th
11 to be pushed into the cornfield. This seems to match what the witness
12 declares when he says that a truck came to load with bodies and take them
13 away. In order for that bus -- for that truck to come to the spot, indeed
14 this vehicle was blocking the way and was then pushed in the cornfield.
15 Q. When you conducted this portion of your investigation in an
16 attempt to corroborate this witness's account, did you in fact go to each
17 of the places that are depicted on these photographs and view them from
18 the ground?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. The point from which the witness indicates that he observed these
21 events take place, were you in fact able to verify that you could see that
22 particular area from that location?
23 A. Yes, absolutely. I did not overload the presentation with
24 photographs, but indeed we have additional photographs that show the
25 precise location from where these men could see the events, and being at
1 that location indeed one could see at least the area where he indicates
2 the events happened.
3 Q. Mr. Ruez, you indicated earlier in your testimony that as the
4 refugees fled Srebrenica there were two courses of action, one being the
5 flight to Potocari and the other being the trek of the column. Leaving
6 Potocari, you have the separated men detained in the White House. You
7 indicated that separated men have been detained near the confrontation
8 line in Luke and the women and children are in Kladanj. With regard to
9 the men who chose the latter option, that is, to attempt a breakout of the
10 enclave via the woods, can you explain using Prosecution Exhibit 2.11 the
11 route that that column intended to take?
12 A. Yes. Okay.
13 Q. Where did the column first assemble in an attempt to begin their
14 trek out of the enclave?
15 A. On the 11th, in the afternoon, all the men who did not make the
16 choice to go to Potocari assembled at the north-west of the enclave in the
17 area of the villages Jaglici and Susnjari. From there approximately the
18 figure that the people mentioned when they are asked how many people were
19 there approximately, the -- more or less all come up with a figure of
20 approximately 15.000 -- I mean, 15.000 -- sorry, 15.000 people. Among
21 this crowd, this crowd can be in fact split in two groups. One is the
22 army and the other one is men without weapons. As I indicated previously,
23 the number of soldiers of the 28th Division was determined by the number
24 of weapons available. So approximately one-third of that large group
25 carried a weapon. The armed men were put in front of this -- this column
1 and there was an additional group of armed men at the end of the column
2 and in between there were also people who were carrying rifles, hunting
3 rifles, and things like this. So the process that started during the
4 night, once night fell, there was a path opened in the mine field at the
5 limit of the enclave and the people infiltrated the area one by one going
6 through this mine field. That led to a column stretched on several
7 kilometres, and the evacuation of this area lasted the entire night of the
8 11th to the 12th and also the morning of the 12th. The last ones getting
9 out of the area of Susnjari left before noon the 12th July.
10 Q. Taking a look at Prosecution Exhibit 2.11, in the course of their
11 trek towards the Bosnian free territory, was there a point as which they
12 had to cross an asphalt road in order to continue the journey?
13 A. Yes. But what happened during this -- this trek is that most of
14 the people did not know the area. Most of the people who were inside the
15 enclave were coming from the area of Zvornik, of Vlasenica, places around
16 but they didn't know specifically this -- this terrain. So the
17 instruction that was given to the people was to follow a power line that
18 is running on a hill just south of the road that goes from Bratunac to
19 Konjevic Polje. So this trek is marked in green. The intention was to
20 cross the asphalt road close to Konjevic Polje, follow the valley of
21 Cerska, turn around Udrc Mountain, and then hit north direction Nezuk and
22 try to break the lines in the area of Nezuk. That scenario didn't
23 function like it was initially planned. The column suffered a lot of
24 attacks through shelling but also infiltration of Serb soldiers, so
25 quickly the column was broken in various pieces. Ambushes occurred. And
1 by the end of the day of 12 July the large group of the army who was in
2 front of the column broke through the lines at the level of the
3 intersection of Konjevic Polje. But once this first large group managed
4 to pass these lines the area was sealed off by the Drina Corps and all the
5 area which is marked on this map with a red line shows in fact the
6 blocking position that was set in order to block this -- this column. All
7 those who could not manage the cross the 12 in the afternoon were trapped
8 behind that line and were wandering in this area in small groups,
9 sometimes in huge groups, still continuing to suffer attacks, did not know
10 exactly where to go and what to do.
11 Q. Turning to --
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Yes.
13 MS. SINATRA: I wish to object to the narrative form to the
14 response from Mr. Ruez. He was not answering any question. He had
15 entered into a narrative, and I would like to ask the Court to ask that we
16 keep this question-answer form on direct examination.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Yes. Well, Ms. De la Torre, I think you have to
18 ask questions to lead the witness to the points where we need.
19 MS. DE LA TORRE: Yes, Your Honour.
20 Q. Turning to Prosecution Exhibit 3.2, Mr. Ruez, you have indicated
21 on this photograph a power line. Is this the power line you were
22 referring to earlier as the point of reference for those attempting to
23 escape the enclave?
24 A. Yes, indeed. The aim of this exhibit is to enable the Chamber to
25 have an idea of how the terrain looks like in this area. This area is the
1 area of the village of Kravica. The hill at the right of the photograph
2 is the hill behind which this column was progressing, and this power line
3 is indeed the reference point for them to know in what direction they had
4 to go to.
5 Q. Moving on to Prosecution Exhibit 3.3. This photograph depicts an
6 intersection. Can you explain to the Court the significance of this
7 particular intersection.
8 A. So this is a photograph of the intersection of Konjevic Polje when
9 coming from the direction of Zvornik, so looking towards south, and the
10 big hill that is just in the middle of this picture is the last hill on
11 which the column arrived before trying to cross the asphalt road. So this
12 is an area -- in between this spot and the previous one, this is the
13 entire area where the people who could not cross this asphalt road the 12
14 in the afternoon were trapped behind.
15 Q. Going back to Prosecution Exhibit 3.2 and taking into account the
16 terrain that you saw both in the last picture, 3.3, as well as this one,
17 were the individuals who were trapped behind the line, given the terrain,
18 able to see the Serb positions along the road?
19 A. Yes, they did. And this is what they were doing the 13th in the
20 morning. Overlooking this asphalt road, they could see Serb forces all
21 along but they could also see UN vehicles, UN APCs, they were hearing
22 calls, calls to surrender, calls that were giving them safe guarantees.
23 What they didn't know for sure at that moment is that some of the blue
24 helmets that they could see on the road in fact were worn by Serb
25 soldiers, as we will see later on in one footage, and that the UN APCs
1 driving around were in fact vehicles that had been stolen from the UN
3 Q. Based upon your interviews of individuals who survived this
4 particular ordeal, were they able to describe to you the situation they
5 found themselves in on the 13th, given the fact that they were now trapped
6 behind this road and that the Serbs had taken up positions all along the
8 A. The 13th in the morning, after having suffered many attacks during
9 the night, the people who later on survived the detention process indeed
10 explained that that morning a massive surrender process started, since
11 some groups followed the instructions that were given to them from the
12 Serb soldiers who were on the asphalt road and started a surrender
13 process. And once they started, other groups followed. So in the morning
14 of the 13th a massive surrender process started in this area.
15 Q. Given the terrain at that particular -- at this particular point,
16 Mr. Ruez, were there natural collection points or funnel points for
17 individuals who decided on the morning of the 13th to go ahead and
18 surrender to the Bosnian Serb forces?
19 A. Yes. There were two main funnel points, one is for those who were
20 the most east in this area between Konjevic Polje and Kravica. These ones
21 went down a valley that was leading them to a meadow named Sandici. In
22 reality, there were other meadows also used in this area and where the
23 prisoners were assembled, but ultimately all those who were on various
24 fields in this area of Kravica-Sandici were taken to Sandici and were made
25 to sit on a large meadow.
1 More at the west, those were on -- in the area of a big hill above
2 the intersection of Konjevic Polje. These ones surrendered in that area
3 on the asphalt road and most of them were led towards the little town of
4 Nova Kasaba, where they were kept on a football pitch.
5 Q. Turning to Prosecution Exhibit 3.4, you'd indicated that one of
6 the main collection points was at Sandici. There is an aerial photograph
7 dated July 13th, 1995. Can you describe for the Court what this
8 particular photograph depicts?
9 A. Yes. So one can see in the middle of the picture the asphalt road
10 that goes to the right towards Konjevic Polje, to the left towards Kravica
11 and Bratunac. The dotted line that is coming from the top of the picture
12 marks the path that leads from the top of the hill towards the asphalt
13 road, and this is the path that that those who were trapped on these hills
14 were taking indeed the 13th in the morning.
15 At one point they left this little track and walked towards a
16 building which is labelled "White House," but the people referred to a
17 two-storey destroyed house, because the white house must not be confused
18 with the White House in Potocari, so this is wrongly labelled, in fact.
19 And some vehicles can be seen also on the asphalt road. On this picture
20 one cannot say these vehicles were there in order to take the prisoners or
21 if they were part of convoys deporting people towards Kladanj.
22 What can also be seen on this picture is a -- is a group of
23 prisoners assembled on the meadow. We could make a blow-up of this. The
24 area which is circled in yellow is a large group of prisoners sitting on
25 this meadow. This is an instant shot. It doesn't reflect the amount of
1 prisoners that were taken that day. That's an instant shot at a precise
3 Q. In addition to the collection point at Sandici meadow, you
4 indicated there was another natural collection point at Konjevic Polje.
5 If we turn back to Prosecution Exhibit 3.3. This picture, taken obviously
6 from the ground, can you give the Court an idea of how the individuals who
7 chose to surrender in this area came down and were assembled?
8 A. So in this area, the -- the people who surrendered were reaching
9 the area where this intersection is, and more towards the south they
10 could -- they could come from whatever direction coming down this hill.
11 But then, depending on the surrender spot, they were taken more towards
12 south, to this football field in Nova Kasaba.
13 Q. How far is the football field in Nova Kasaba from this
14 intersection at Konjevic Polje?
15 A. Approximately 3 to 4 kilometres.
16 Q. Turning to Prosecution Exhibit 3.5, there is an aerial image of
17 the football field you referenced as Nova Kasaba. Could you explain when
18 this photograph was taken and what it depicts.
19 A. So this one is also an aerial imagery, dated 13 July, 1400 hours.
20 This shows the football field of Nova Kasaba. The asphalt road is just
21 along this football field. At the bottom right of the picture is the
22 direction towards the intersection of Konjevic Polje, and at the top left
23 the road goes to the entrance of Nova Kasaba. It is just at the entrance
24 of Nova Kasaba. And on this picture, if we make a blow-up of the football
25 field, one can see two groups of prisoners lined in rows. The same
1 situation: This is an instant shot. This picture doesn't say if this is
2 the total amount of prisoners collected that day or if it is only the
3 number of people present at this precise moment.
4 Q. So Mr. Ruez, at this point, as of the afternoon of the 13th of
5 July, you have men separated in the White House at Potocari, men separated
6 as the school at Luke, and men collected on fields both in Nova Kasaba and
7 Sandici; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, this is correct.
9 MS. DE LA TORRE: Your Honour, at this time we have a video that
10 we would like to show the Court. It is approximately three and a half
11 hours long. However, it is divided up into chapters and would be
12 conducive to stopping when the Court requires a recess.
13 Mr. Ruez will have the ability to stop the video at certain points
14 in order to educate the Court as to the relevant figures involved and to
15 describe the events in question.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes, please.
17 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
19 MS. SINATRA: I just wanted to clarify whether this was a
20 videotape made by Mr. Ruez or whether this was a videotape that
21 incorporates the videotape of Zoran Petrovic.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
23 MS. DE LA TORRE: I can answer that. I plan to ask Mr. Ruez a few
24 foundational questions about the video and its collection and creation
25 before we play it. I just wanted to get the exhibit number.
1 Q. Mr. Ruez, Prosecution Exhibit number 21, have you had the
2 opportunity to view that videotape?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And are you aware of how the different pieces of footage were
5 collected during the course of this investigation?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Is, to the best of your knowledge, this videotape a complete
8 compilation of the footage that has been acquired regarding the events
9 from the 11th through approximately the 16th of July, 1995?
10 A. Yes. That's a compilation of all the data we have in office.
11 Q. Were the different sections of footage or pieces of footage
12 collected from different sources?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. In the video, are the sources or is the source of the footage
15 identified with regard to each particular segment?
16 A. Yes, it is.
17 Q. Are there or is there a point in the video where there is a blank,
18 where the screen is black?
19 A. Yes. On -- on the pieces of footage that we -- that are
20 originated from Zoran Petrovic, there are still some missing pieces and
21 there would therefore be some -- some blanks which are the same blanks
22 that exist on the original version that we have of this -- of this film.
23 Q. Were those blanks present on the footage that was actually
24 received by the Office of the Prosecutor?
25 A. Yes, they were there.
1 MS. DE LA TORRE: Your Honour, at this time we would like to play
2 Prosecution Exhibit 21.
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
4 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour, I just wanted object to the portions
5 that were videotaped by Zoran Petrovic who was a Studio B Belgrade
6 independent journalist. And the fact that Mr. Ruez himself has already
7 said that it had been tampered with and edited by Mr. Petrovic before it
8 was given to the Prosecution, therefore its authenticity and reliability
9 is a question.
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think you should have raised this issue during
11 the Pre-Trial Conference, because at that time we asked both party's
12 comments on that compilation of the video footage. But anyway, let us
13 watch this video first. Then we'll see if your objections has any merits.
14 MS. SINATRA: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE LIU: Shall we turn off the lights a little bit so that we
16 could have a better view of that video?
17 MS. DE LA TORRE: Yes, Your Honour.
18 [Prosecution counsel confer]
19 [Videotape played]
20 THE WITNESS: So this is the south of the Srebrenica enclave and
21 it's a build-up of the Serb forces.
22 MS. DE LA TORRE: Your Honour, I believe we're missing the sound.
23 A. Vinko Pandurevic, commander of the Zvornik Brigade.
24 The soldier in black is a member of the 10th Detachment. This was
25 Major Jolovic, the commander of the Drina Wolves, Zvornik Brigade.
1 So this is Srebrenica town. It is filmed from an apartment
2 building nearby the Company B in Srebrenica town. So that's not an impact
3 of coming in. It's an outgoing fire from a mortar that is positioned by
4 Bosniak soldiers at -- nearby a gas station.
5 Here the people are boarding UN trucks, driving them towards
6 Potocari. Then the rest of the crowd will follow by foot.
7 This is probably the area of Susnjari where the men start
9 There is the arrival of the UN base in Potocari of the first
10 refugees coming in.
11 The soldier wearing the blue helmet is a Bosnian Serb soldier, not
12 a -- not a member of a UN. General Krstic, with General Zivanovic.
13 This is at the entrance of Srebrenica town. This is a crew of ten
14 Sabotage Detachment members.
15 JUDGE LIU: Well, shall we have a break at this moment?
16 MS. DE LA TORRE: Yes, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll resume at twenty to 1.00.
18 --- Recess taken at 12.09 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 12.42 p.m.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Shall we continue?
21 MS. DE LA TORRE: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 [Videotape played]
23 THE WITNESS: The people here are -- on the right of the picture
24 are Colonel Karremans, at the left General Mladic, the one doing the
25 interpretation is Jankovic, intelligence officer.
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
2 MS. DE LA TORRE: Your Honour, the next segment is the second
3 Hotel Fontana meeting, which is a bit longer than we have time for in
4 today's session. So we can either cut it in the middle or save it for
5 tomorrow morning, however the Court would like to proceed.
6 JUDGE LIU: We'll save it for tomorrow morning.
7 And before the recess, I'd like to remind the parties that during
8 the proceedings if anyone of the parties would like to approach the
9 witness by furnishing him a document or giving him some technical support,
10 I should ask the permission of this Bench and also do it through the
11 ushers so that to avoid any suspicions raised from the other party.
12 On the other hand, witness, although you have been working with
13 the OTP for quite a long year and testified in other cases, I have to
14 remind you that during your stay in The Hague, while you are doing the
15 testimony, you are still under oath, so do not talk to anybody or do not
16 let anybody talk to you about your testimony. Do you understand that?
17 THE WITNESS: Yes, I do.
18 JUDGE LIU: I will not give you the same warning every day, but
19 you have to bear it in mind, especially during the weekend.
20 THE WITNESS: I will remember that.
21 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
22 We will rise until tomorrow morning, 9.00, in the same courtroom.
23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.27 p.m.,
24 to be reconvened on Friday, the 16th day of May,
25 2003, at 9.00 a.m.