1 Wednesday, 21 May 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Madam Registrar.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon. Case number IT-02-60-T, the
7 Prosecutor versus Vidoje Blagojevic and Dragan Jokic.
8 JUDGE LIU: Before we start the cross-examination, are there any
9 procedural matters that the parties would like to bring to the attention
10 of this Bench?
11 Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour. Mr. President, Your
13 Honours, in light of the developments today -- I should say yesterday and
14 today, and last week as well, it would seem to us - and I'm making a joint
15 motion at this moment on behalf of both Mr. Blagojevic's Defence team and
16 Mr. Jokic's Defence team - it would seem the most prudent thing at this
17 point would be to ask that we not go forward with the cross-examination of
18 Mr. Ruez at this point until we've had an opportunity to review the
19 statements that will be generated from both Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Obrenovic.
20 It's our understanding that the Prosecution, sometime in the next
21 two or three weeks, will begin to question these two gentlemen. Obviously
22 this impacts our case tremendously. We do believe that a one-month
23 continuance, irrespective of whether we go forward with Mr. Ruez's
24 cross-examination or not, will be necessary. And let me explain why. All
25 right? I notice that I piqued your interest, Mr. President. I
1 anticipated that sort of reaction. Frankly, I would ask -- I would like
2 to have more, more time, but I think a month is reasonable. And here is
3 the reason:
4 One, it will -- from what I understand, it will take the
5 Prosecution one or two weeks to debrief these two gentlemen, perhaps even
6 longer. They haven't even begun the process yet, even though, for
7 instance, with Mr. Nikolic, the plea was negotiated last week or the week
8 before but they have yet to begin that process, in part because the
9 gentleman that are most familiar with the case and are going to be part of
10 the debriefing process are here. And so obviously while they're here,
11 they may not be able to get to that. Because frankly, it would seem to
12 me, they should have by now had these statements.
13 Secondly, the statements will need to be translated so that we can
14 have them and our clients can have them and review them. We will need to
15 also view the statement very carefully to see what investigation we might
16 need to do, and we might need to do some immediate investigation before we
17 can resume.
18 It must be kept in mind that under the new payment system with the
19 Registrar - and I hate to talk about money and resources, but it's a
20 reality in this case - we have very limited resources at this trial stage
21 for investigative purposes. With these two new developments, Your Honour,
22 it really stretches us to the limit of, one, being able to go forward with
23 the trial and at the same time investigate. And I might say, at least
24 with respect to Mr. Blagojevic, Mr. Nikolic is perhaps the most critical
25 witness for the Prosecution at this moment. And I might be overstating
1 it, and I'm sure if I am, Mr. McCloskey, who has just taken the front seat
2 and is the lead counsel, will be more than happy to correct me.
3 Also in Mr. Obrenovic's negotiated statement, whatever -- you
4 know, the one that was accepted today, it's also -- that also impacts
5 Mr. Blagojevic's case. I don't want to speak on behalf of Mr. Jokic, but
6 clearly it seems to me that it highly impacts the Jokic Defence team.
7 So in light of all these matters, we think that a one-month
8 continuance is not reasonable. You know, we have limited resources, we
9 have to go to the scenes. And what I fear - what I fear - my greatest
10 fear is the Prosecution indicated to us in a letter, which we gave in our
11 motion because I asked for their handwritten notes -- they told us that
12 they're going to give us three weeks before they put these gentleman on to
13 testify. Three weeks is not enough, Your Honour, to prepare, not when
14 they've had seven years to prepare this case. They have the resources.
15 They have an armada of lawyers, investigators, parallels that are out
16 there, you know, night and day, and here I am with my little team. You
17 know, plus one person out in the field. Not the same, Your Honour.
18 The other thing is if, for instance - and I can just see this now
19 happening - they put them on at the end of July. There is the Prosecution
20 sunning, basking in the Mediterranean Sea, you know, relaxing, as they
21 should, when we're going to be out in the field trying to track down
22 witnesses when everybody knows, at least in Europe, August is the month
23 for vacation. And I'm not talking about personally my going on vacation
24 but trying to track down witnesses during the three-week session is
25 clearly not -- not fair and equitable, not when we have these limited
1 resources. So we would like to at least front load as much as we can so
2 that I don't have to come back and say, "Your Honour, I need more time."
3 I think one month is reasonable. I don't know what the Prosecution's
4 position is. I certainly want to give them enough time so they can milk
5 all they want the witnesses that they have right now, the two gentleman,
6 Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Obrenovic. And I'm sure that they're going to want to
7 debrief them, you know, over and over and over again, because, you know,
8 they have a lot of information that they -- and I'm sure that they want to
9 double-check that information, because they're going to be making some
10 sentencing remarks at the conclusion of their testimony.
11 So I think on behalf of both Mr. Blagojevic and Mr. Jokic, one, I
12 would be asking today that we continue the cross-examination of Mr. Ruez;
13 and number two, and more importantly, I'm going to underscore this - so if
14 I can get only one of the two wishes, I would like the latter, which is
15 the one-month continuance. Because clearly we're talking about trying to
16 -- to be adequately prepared for trial. And when you think about the
17 Statute, it guarantees equality of arms. Clearly there's never going to
18 be equality of arms even in a perfect world. However time does permit us
19 to at least having a fighting chance of being properly prepared and making
20 sure that Mr. Blagojevic and Mr. Jokic get a very fair trial, which I am
21 sure is the ultimate goal of this -- of this Trial Chamber. Thank you.
22 JUDGE LIU: Well -- yes.
23 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as counsel for
24 Mr. Jokic, the accused, I would just like to put forward the following
25 remarks: There is no need to repeat the fact that over the last 10 or 15
1 days many vital things have happened which clearly affect the position of
2 both the Prosecution and the Defence in this case. You are well aware of
3 the fact that only last night we received the statement of facts in B/C/S,
4 as well as the plea agreement between the Prosecution and Dragan
5 Obrenovic. You also know that the plea agreement that was the subject of
6 our discussion today, the plea agreement and the guilty plea, three counts
7 of the indictment have been amended that directly concern our client,
8 Dragan Jokic; 46.10, 46.11, and 46.12 of the amended indictment. True
10 We as the Defence team, perhaps due partly to difficult concerning
11 the transcript and interpretation, we have concepts such as control and
12 now the superior -- which is changed into the superior position or
13 superiority, superior command of Dragan Obrenovic. This very much changes
14 the whole thing for us, and the question we're asking ourselves now is:
15 How essential this change to the indictment and how does it concern Dragan
16 Jokic? It is deemed to be essential.
17 It is in the view of that -- in view of that and in view of the
18 arguments put forth by Mr. Karnavas, asking on behalf of both Defence
19 teams for a period of time to be given to us to work through the
20 statements and study the facts, given therein, as well as to discuss these
21 with our client and in view of the amended indictment, we do believe, Your
22 Honours, that it would be fair and in the best interest of justice, in the
23 best interest of the Defence, not to cross-examine Mr. Ruez until we are
24 granted time to do what I have said.
25 I am not saying all of this to in any way obstruct this case. I
1 do not want to bring my team into a situation where we would be putting
2 things off and delaying the case with no need. I'm only saying this
3 because we may well have a situation where we would omit to ask Mr. Ruez
4 about some vital facts concerning this case, facts which might affect the
5 further course of our case.
6 If you accept these arguments and allow us a period of time to
7 prepare all that I've talked about, which we believe a month would be a
8 fair amount of time to be granted, I would ask you therefore to put off
9 the continuation of Mr. Ruez's cross-examination and not to start today.
10 As we've studied today the Rules of Procedure and Evidence as concerns the
11 indictment, I thought that maybe we should pass the floor to my
12 co-counsel, Ms. Sinatra, who will point out the legal framework and the
13 relevant facts, the relevant legal facts which support our proposal, our
14 motion. Thank you very much, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Ms. Sinatra.
16 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour, I think that both counsel
17 Mr. Stojanovic and Mr. Karnavas have well-argued our points. I just
18 wanted to make sure -- and I know the Court is familiar with -- to
19 continue right now with an indictment that is not going to be the final
20 indictment, with continued amendments and fundamental changes in the
21 allegations against the client, the accused here, would be fundamental
22 error at this point and would violate Article 20 and 21 of the Statute.
23 But also, the Prosecution, although they are alleging that they're putting
24 forth this amended indictment, they have not followed the procedures
25 involved with amending the indictment. They have not requested leave of
1 court. Under Rule 73, once we have this proposal before us, then we
2 should have 30 days to respond and object to any amendments to the
3 indictment. I know that recently that period of time was shortened by the
4 Trial Chamber ten days, but now that's renewed because we have new
5 proposals that drastically change the indictment.
6 Now, the other proposals for the amendment of the indictment -- I
7 mean, they might have said they were erratas. But these new amendments to
8 the indictment affect dramatically the allegations and charges against Mr.
9 Jokic. We ask that this Court grant a continuance. We cannot go forward
10 with any cross-examination of Mr. Ruez. And we ask that you stay these
11 proceedings for a minimum of 30 days and allow us an additional amount of
12 time to respond and object to the proposed amendments to the indictment.
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, you mean that we'll have this witness unfinished
14 under the oath for another month, then he comes back, you cross-examine
15 this witness? I am right?
16 MS. SINATRA: Yes, Your Honour, because if we were forced to
17 cross-examine him even at this time and we were able to analyse the
18 changes in the indictment, we would have to re-call him anyway, possibly,
19 for further questioning. So it would -- first of all, I believe it's
20 fundamental error to proceed in the trial, whether it's questioning of a
21 witness or whether it's, you know, another meeting in court to raise
22 issues, until we have a final indictment. But we would in all likelihood
23 need to re-call Mr. Ruez after the final analysis of this -- these
24 proposed amendments anyway.
25 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
1 Let us hear the motive of the Prosecution.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, as far as I recall, there's one
3 difference: Mr. Karnavas would prefer to go on with the cross, and
4 Ms. Sinatra and Mr. Stojanovic prefer to stop the cross. That's my
6 I can agree with them in the sense that there are some small
7 changes in the indictment now. Those changes are clearly outlined in both
8 plea agreements. We will be filing a changed indictment upon the Court's
9 order to do so, and I think the Court has indicated justifiably so that it
10 will give counsel time to respond, as I think they should have.
11 How this affects the questioning of Mr. Ruez and the link between
12 the two issues, I have not understood from their argument. Mr. Ruez is
13 mainly on direct was meant to be talking about crime scenes. He did
14 interview the accused, and maybe they will take him to areas beyond the
15 scope of direct. But any concern they have regarding Mr. Ruez and their
16 ability to cross-examine him, I believe can be solved by bringing Mr. Ruez
17 back and -- which I think we can do.
18 Regarding the length of the continuance, I leave that to your
19 discretion. I would point out to you that Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Obrenovic
20 are certainly not the foundational witnesses of the Prosecution's case.
21 They are co-accused, and as such I will be offering you my view on how
22 much credibility to give them. This case will be based on the witnesses
23 and evidence before you and any weight or value of those witnesses should
24 be based on the evidence as a whole.
25 The process by which the statements you see in the plea agreements
1 was a lengthy and a detailed process with Defence counsel present. Those
2 statements are, in my view, accurate and full statements. Yes, there will
3 be more information, and those materials will be provided to the Defence.
4 I used the three-week estimate based on your previous order that
5 material -- any new material arising should be provided to the Defence
6 three weeks before that material is brought up in court. I'm amenable to
7 whatever the Court feels is appropriate on the timing of any new
8 information from these accused.
9 So yes, I agree there are some concerns with the changes in the
10 indictment as -- that have been made more particular because of the input
11 of the accused, and counsel should have some time, and I believe the Court
12 is talking about time, and I would ask you to use your best judgement and
13 we will of course abide by that.
14 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
15 Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour. I'll try to be short on
17 this one.
18 Well, first, I believe the Prosecutor -- I don't want to say
19 mischaracterised, but perhaps misunderstood my position. I would prefer
20 not to go forward with Mr. Ruez. I'm prepared to the extent that I can,
21 so I'm not in disagreement with the -- the Jokic Defence team.
22 Number two: I must point out that with respect at least to
23 Mr. Nikolic - I don't know about the Obrenovic situation - but with
24 Mr. Nikolic, it would appear that there was a whole lot of shuttle
25 diplomacy going on to agree to the negotiated facts. And I say
1 "negotiated" because I don't have -- when we see that, it is not a
2 statement where, for instance, a tape recorder was there, as the Rules
3 would provide, and you punch that tape recorder and then you record all of
4 the conversations. That's why I motioned for the handwritten notes.
5 Also, depending on what I get from those notes, it may become
6 necessary - and I say this with all due sincerity - it may become
7 necessary for me to ask that everyone present during those negotiating
8 sessions where the client -- the accused was there be subject to
9 questioning, because in my opinion the client -- a client-attorney
10 privilege no longer exists, they all have become witnesses, because we do
11 not have an accurate recording -- a transparent recording from which
12 everyone, the Defence, and more importantly the trial Bench can determine
13 what exactly was said during those sessions. So it's not just the
14 statements that I'm going to be following.
15 And so that's why I made that motion. I made it on an expedited
16 basis. I was told today that there might be a change in the Prosecution's
17 position. They're typing the notes to the extent of what they think are
18 not work product and I should be entitled to review. But I must -- I must
19 stress this point, and I'm very, very concerned about what exactly, how
20 many meetings took place, how many negotiated proffers were offered, at
21 what point did they -- did Mr. Nikolic or Mr. Obrenovic agreed, "All
22 right. I can live with these facts." You know, because -- and I think --
23 because I think that's what we're dealing with. And because of that, it
24 complicated tremendously our investigation.
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, I'm going to object to this -- to
1 this line of speculation and complete misconstruction of what goes on
2 in -- in a discussion with -- in the sort of agreement that went on here.
3 This is -- it's highly inflammatory. It's wrong. It's painting a picture
4 of a process that is a dignified and appropriate process, and I just --
5 I'm sorry to interrupt, but it's -- it's outrageous.
6 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, what's your point on this very
8 MR. KARNAVAS: My point is, Your Honour, that --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel, please.
10 JUDGE LIU: Your microphone, please.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Sorry. My point, Your Honour, is this: Under the
12 Rules, those meetings should have been tape recorded. We don't have that
13 over here. I don't know exactly what transpired, how many meetings were
14 held. And it complicates our situation. And that is why --
15 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, we have received your motion. We
16 are considering it at this moment.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour. I thought I would make
18 some oral argument on behalf of my motion, since we're -- they're closely
19 connected. But I don't want to take any additional time, Your Honour.
20 But if we would have the month, I think it's a reasonable amount
21 of time. The Prosecutor conceded that some time would -- would be needed
22 for the Defence. I appreciate that gesture. And we've calculated it, and
23 we believe a month would be fair for all parties concerned. Thank you.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes. You have to be very brief.
25 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Just a couple of sentences.
1 I will try and give you the arguments, the reasons why we believe
2 that we should not continue with the cross-examination of Mr. Ruez in the
3 light of the indictment that's about to be amended. And it's up to you,
4 Your Honour, to decide whether this is relevant or not.
5 In our transcript, in B/C/S, 46.10, 46.11, 46.12 have been amended
6 from the words under the direction of Dragan Obrenovic and Dragan Jokic.
7 They've been changed "Under the authority of Dragan Obrenovic and
8 direction of Dragan Jokic." So we have prepared ourselves for the
9 cross-examination. We wanted to ask Mr. Ruez who had questioned Dragan
10 Jokic on the 14th of December regarding these circumstances, we wanted to
11 ask how this procedure went and whether these amended arguments are a
12 result of the interview that Dragan Jokic had given. That is why we fear
13 that we are going to miss something that could be in our client's
14 interest. That's our reserve, and that is why we're asking to assist us,
15 so that we can prepare for this part of the cross-examination.
16 We have no other intentions in this respect. Thank you.
17 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE LIU: Well, after hearing the two parties, we had a
20 discussion on those matters. We must confess that the latest development
21 concerning with Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Obrenovic has great impact to this
22 case. So it's very reasonable for both parties to reassess their case,
23 the present situation, the changes. So in principle we agree that we'll
24 have a recess.
25 As for how long the recess will be and when it will start, I think
1 we need further consideration. We may inform you tomorrow.
2 As for the present witness, we decided to continue the
3 cross-examination of the present witness until we've finished with him
4 because we have to attach some credibility to the testimony of this
5 witness. If we let this witness go, still under the oath, for over a
6 month, I think the whole testimony of this witness will be ruined and it
7 would not be fair to the side of calling that witness. Of course, if we
8 received the new indictment -- I mean, the amended indictment. If the
9 Defence team found that there are some points they would like to ask this
10 witness again, it is possible to call this witness back concerning of
11 those new elements, if the Defence counsel show good cause.
12 It is so decided. We'll call the witness and finish the
14 Yes, Ms. Sinatra.
15 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour, I would like at this point -- I believe
16 that you denied our motion to stay the proceedings completely at this
17 point, and so I'd like to ask the Court to certify this decision for
18 immediate appeal under Rule 73 and stay the proceedings at least for seven
19 days until we can appeal this decision.
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, as a normal practice, when we make decisions, I
21 think if there's no other decisions from the Appeals Chamber or no other
22 specific circumstances, we'll carry out that decision, and which you may
23 file a written motion to appeal this decision.
24 MS. SINATRA: So is the President granting us certification to
25 appeal or denying our request for certification?
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, it's difficult for me to make a decision at this
2 moment. I hope you could file a written motion on this point.
3 MS. SINATRA: Could we stay the proceedings until we could get the
4 written motion filed, if we do it within the next 24 hours?
5 JUDGE LIU: I'm afraid not.
6 MS. SINATRA: So we're proceeding.
7 My concern is that the integrity of the proceedings are going to
8 be in question if we're forced to proceed with the trial under the
9 circumstances. And I know that this Trial Chamber wants a fair and a
10 valid trial that's not subject to appeal at a later date. So one more
11 time, I'm just going to stress that we object to proceeding at this moment
12 and --
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, frankly speaking, I fail to see your point,
14 because -- because I have already said that if you found the amended
15 indictment is related to your client, you have the opportunity to call
16 this witness back and question him on that particular point. I think
17 that's fair enough. What's the reason for -- for appeal?
18 MS. SINATRA: The reason for appeal is that it's fundamental error
19 as far as the rights of the accused go to be informed about the charges
20 against him under Article 20. To proceed at this point, it's fundamental
21 error and violates the rights of the accused. And even by going forward
22 and cross-examining a witness, although we will get a continuance
23 afterwards, it's still proceeding with the trial, and I believe that
24 there's fundamental error that's committed here that it affects the
25 integrity of the proceedings at this point.
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, in our view, that the indictment filed by the
2 Prosecution on the 27th of May, 2002 is still valid. We will proceed
3 based on this indictment. I don't see there is any problem.
4 MS. SINATRA: Well, I will file a written motion for
6 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
7 MS. SINATRA: Thank you.
8 JUDGE LIU: Could we have the witness, please.
10 [The witness entered court]
11 JUDGE LIU: I had hoped we had already finished that discussion.
12 MS. SINATRA: We had finished that discussion, Your Honour. And
13 I'm going to go on to something that's not relevant to this witness, if
14 you don't mind.
15 We have not filed a written motion to suppress the interviews and
16 interrogation of the accused from December 1999 and April 2000, and we
17 will follow up with a written motion. But before we are going to
18 cross-examine this witness, we would like under Rule 95, Article 18,
19 Article 20, and Article 21 to allege that these statements were taken
20 illegally and we will be challenging that. And so I wanted you to know
21 ahead of time that we're objecting to the statements and we will file a
22 written motion giving you our exact grounds.
23 JUDGE LIU: Thank you for your information.
24 MS. SINATRA: Thank you.
25 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas, are you ready to cross-examine this
2 MR. KARNAVAS: I am, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE LIU: Well, before that, I have a few words to say.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: To me?
5 JUDGE LIU: No, to the Defence team. If you are going to use any
6 documents during your cross-examination which is not in the list of the
7 Prosecution's binders or lists of the documents, you had better furnish us
8 with a copy so that we could know what you are talking about.
9 Another matter is: As a Defence counsel, you know, during the
10 cross-examination, the witness is always hostile, you know. So I hope you
11 could show patience, professionalism, and be polite to all the witnesses
12 in the future.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Of course, Your Honour. And I hope that the
14 remarks are not made as a result of some -- some of my earlier conduct in
15 this case.
16 JUDGE LIU: No, no, no. Of course.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well.
18 JUDGE LIU: Of course not.
19 You may proceed.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour. Thank you.
21 WITNESS: JEAN-RENE RUEZ [Resumed]
22 Cross-examined by Mr. Karnavas:
23 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Ruez. It might be a little awkward given the
24 way you're situated, so you may want to turn your chair a little bit.
25 I take it you had a restful day yesterday?
1 A. I did. Thank you.
2 Q. And I take it, you know, just to set me at east, you didn't have
3 any contact with the Prosecution?
4 A. No, I didn't have any.
5 Q. Okay. Because rules are rules; right? And you have to follow the
7 A. [No audible response]
8 Q. Okay. Now you're shaking your head. So we need to make a record.
9 A. Sorry, yes, I agree with you.
10 Q. Okay. Good. Now, I want to talk with you a little bit about your
11 background. But before we talk about your background in general, and
12 since we're talking about rules, let me take you back to where we left
13 off, the last item you talked about on direct examination. And let me
14 refresh your memory.
15 Towards the end of the direction examination, you were asked about
16 participating in interviews of two of the accused; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Okay. You remember those interviews?
19 A. Not in detail for all of them.
20 Q. But you remember being there during the interview.
21 A. Beyond -- yes, absolutely.
22 Q. Beyond a shadow of a doubt.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Okay. And you've attended a lot of interviews.
25 A. Yes, indeed.
1 Q. Okay. And I take it that there is a particular procedure that you
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, is that because of your background as an experienced
5 investigator or also because of the procedure that is set in the Rules --
6 you know, under the Rules here?
7 A. Only because of the set of Rules which are -- which apply to this
9 Q. Okay. And so I take it you were familiar with the Rules before
10 you did the interviews.
11 A. I had to be familiar with them, indeed.
12 Q. Of course. And -- and if you were not familiar, you had all those
13 lawyers with you. I mean, there were lawyers with you at the time working
14 for the Office of the Prosecution, and so they could also assist you if
15 you didn't know the Rules; right?
16 A. That was indeed also part of the reason of their presence with me.
17 Q. Okay. And I take it, correct me if I'm wrong. I'm trying to
18 visualise being there, I take it before you interviewed these witnesses
19 you probably had a chat amongst yourselves to decide strategy, who would
20 go first, you know, who would play the good guy or the bad guy, what
21 topics would be divided among the individual questioners. Is that
23 A. I leave it to you to speculate on this, but there is part of truth
24 in what you say, indeed.
25 Q. Okay. All right. I'll leave out the good guy, bad guy routine,
1 but you understand what I'm talking about?
2 A. Sure, I do.
3 Q. Okay.
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, I'm sorry to interrupt, but just
5 remember that you and the witness are speaking the same language, that is
6 English. So the interpreters, you know, find it very difficult to follow
7 you. So I will ask you to make a pause after the witness answers your
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour. Thank you for reminding me
10 of that. I -- I apologise to the translators.
11 Q. Okay. Now, just so we walk through the procedure. Okay?
12 Normally there would be a difference whether the individual was a witness
13 or a suspect; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. All right. And the procedure would be if the person is deemed a
16 suspect, you have to read him his rights.
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. And those rights are right in the -- in the Rules, at least.
19 A. Yes, they are.
20 Q. Okay. And they're very similar to what we see on television. You
21 have the right to -- you know, to have a lawyer present, and anything you
22 say can and will be used against you in a court of law that, sort of
23 stuff, basically. Right?
24 A. I don't refer to American movies when I prepare my job, but you
25 are probably a bit right as well, since some of these rules are coming
1 from civil law.
2 Q. Okay. All right. In any event, there is a distinction when
3 somebody is a suspect and somebody is a witness.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, who would make that decision? Would that be you, or would
6 that be somebody else, or would it be sort of a consensus among the team?
7 A. On this topic, the way we are doing the things is quite simple.
8 Me as the lead investigator of the case, I decide who are the people we
9 should see in priority 1 and then those we should see then in maybe
10 priority 2 or 3, but then the status that applies to them is decided by
11 the person who at that time is called the legal advisor of the team and
12 who then becomes the Prosecutor during the trials.
13 Q. So help me out here. Somebody could actually be a suspect; in
14 other words, you suspect them of having participated and not just a mere
15 witness, in other words, having information, but the team would decide
16 whether to treat that individual as a suspect, where he would have the
17 right to have a lawyer present, or as a witness, where he would not be
18 advised of his rights.
19 A. If we summon a person as a suspect, it is because not only we do
20 suspect that he might be one but also because we already believe that we
21 have hard evidence against him. If we do not have such hard evidence,
22 though we might on a personal -- on our personal psychological ground
23 believe that he might indeed be a suspect of something, if we do not have
24 hard evidence against him, we will summon him probably as a -- as a
25 witness, indeed.
1 Q. Okay. And that was the procedure that was followed throughout?
2 A. As far as I can recall, this is the procedure that we followed for
3 all the -- all the persons that we interviewed through the Ministry of
4 Justice of Republika Srpska, yes, all the Drina Corps officers.
5 Q. All right. Now, would there be a time during the interview, maybe
6 because the witness was not as cooperative as you would like him or -- him
7 to be, that you would inform him that you would turn him into a suspect?
8 A. I don't recall such a situation occurred, but it -- I don't
9 recall. No, I cannot tell you. I would not say for sure this has never
10 happened, because everything depends on how you present the thing. It
11 might be -- it might look like a threat in the way you present it, but it
12 can also be an advise for someone on which indeed you might not have hard
13 evidence but you know that he could provide you some of it if he wanted
15 Q. All right. But I mean, the whole purpose is to squeeze the
17 A. No, the whole purpose is to get truthful information from the
19 Q. Okay. And so by informing him that you would turn him into a
20 suspect when you brought him in as a witness without a lawyer, that is --
21 that is the approach that you would take.
22 A. No. I confirm I have no recollection this ever happened. It's
23 just that under oath I cannot say for sure it never happened, because I
24 cannot be a hundred per cent sure of this. But I have no recollection it
25 ever happened with any of the people we ever interviewed.
1 Q. All right. And I'm not accusing you, by the way, of you ever
2 doing that?
3 A. I understand your point. No worry. I'm just trying to answer
4 honestly to your questions.
5 Q. Okay. Good. Good. And that's all I'm asking. That's all I'm
7 Now, I take it when somebody would come, you would tape record
8 that statement?
9 A. Yes, absolutely.
10 Q. Did you first, before you would begin the questioning process, did
11 you first maybe have a chat with him to sort of negotiate what sort of
12 facts he might agree to before you would start the questioning process?
13 A. No. The only question we asked prior starting the tape was
14 inviting the person to have a coffee at the bar of the -- the Banja Luka
15 facility where we were. But we never talked about the content of what we
16 would discuss before starting the tape.
17 Q. So the coffee was to kind of relax you. Have a coffee, have a
18 cigarette, relax, and then when the -- when the formal questioning would
19 begin, it would be on tape.
20 A. Yes, absolutely. Politeness first, and job second.
21 Q. Right. And during -- when he would have that coffee, by the way,
22 you weren't talking about the incident that he might -- that you might be
23 questioning him about or the information that you might want to get from
25 A. Not in his presence, no.
1 Q. You wouldn't be asking him, "Well, if you could agree to certain
2 facts in advance, so then when you would go on tape later on, you could
3 frame your questions in a way that you would elicit the facts that you had
4 agreed on during the coffee session?
5 A. I'm curious to know what you would come up with, because I know we
6 would not do such a thing.
7 Q. Okay. Well, first of all, let me assure you, these are not trick
8 questions. And I am not trying to suggest that that was the method in
9 which you conducted the investigation -- these questionings.
10 A. Again, feel free. I'm here to answer your questions.
11 Q. All right. So the procedure would be the witness, or if he was a
12 suspect, would come to Banja Luka, step one.
13 A. Yes, he would.
14 Q. Okay. You would invite him at a particular time and -- and date;
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You would offer him some coffee.
18 A. We would make the offer, indeed.
19 Q. Right. And then when the questioning began, it would be done so
20 with a tape recorder tape recording every single word that was spoken.
21 A. Yes, indeed. Now I see the point. Okay.
22 Q. Well, I'm sure you'll be able to share it with us at some point
23 too, but for right now I would appreciate it if you would just follow
24 along with me.
25 Now, when there would -- when there were breaks, as you indicated,
1 the witness might want a break, you and your colleagues might want a
2 break. There was a particular procedure that was followed as well.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And during that procedure was to notify that you're going on break
6 on tape, with the exact time.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You'd have your break.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And after the break, when you went back on tape, you would again
11 notify -- note on the tape what time it was, and you might even ask the
12 witness or the suspect whether anything was talked about during the break.
13 A. Yes, correct.
14 Q. And the whole purpose for having that procedure in place is to
15 make sure that we have some sort of a transparent record from which all of
16 us who were not there at the time could later on figure out and know what
17 exactly happened; right?
18 A. Under any normal circumstances, yes, indeed this is what would
20 Q. Right. It protects you as the questioner.
21 A. For sure.
22 Q. So lawyers like myself would never, you know, try to suggest that
23 something was said when in fact it wasn't, because we have a tape recorded
24 statement that is also going to -- will get transcribed later on; right?
25 A. Right.
1 Q. And of course, if it's ever challenged by the witness as to what
2 he had said, you have his voice and you can say, "Here. Read about it.
3 Hear about it." Right?
4 A. For sure.
5 Q. And of course, if there's ever a question with respect to the
6 translation -- because after all, you're speaking English. There's a
7 translator. It's being spoken in a language which you may not understand.
8 You're going to get the answer in another language. Then it's going to be
9 translated to you. This way we can verify to make sure that everything
10 was done by the number. So everyone, you, the witness, the lawyers, the
11 Court, would know exactly what happened.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. All right. One last question on that area: Would it be fair to
14 say that that was the procedure that was set in place?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. All right. We'll move on to the next segment of my -- my
17 direct -- of my cross-examination. Let's talk a little bit about -- when
18 did you arrive at the -- when did you begin working as an investigator?
19 A. I started working as a police superintendent in judicial police in
20 France in 1987.
21 Q. Okay. Now, and whereabouts in France was that?
22 A. That was in Paris.
23 Q. Okay. So the big city, where everything -- lots of resources.
24 Everything done is in a very specific manner.
25 A. If you say so, yes.
1 Q. Well, correct me if I'm wrong.
2 A. I don't.
3 Q. Okay. Now, before becoming an inspector with the judicial police,
4 I take it you -- one had to go to the police academy; right?
5 A. I was not an inspector. I was a superintendent.
6 Q. A superintendent. Okay. Well, tell us, how did you become a
8 A. In France, there are several ways to become a superintendent. In
9 the police, the way I -- I took was after my law studies, I passed a
10 competition that enabled me to enter the national superior school of
11 police, and at the end of two years of that school you have the rank of a
12 superintendent in France. You don't need to become first an inspector and
13 go through the ranks. So indeed, I'm not a crime scene technician, for
15 Q. Okay. All right. Well, I was going to ask that question, but
16 thank you for volunteering it.
17 Okay. Now, if I have -- and since you're working with the
18 judicial police, I take it that you are dedicated to a particular area.
19 A. No. It is a national police. I later worked in Marseilles and
20 also in Nice.
21 Q. No, but what I meant -- and I apologise for phrasing the question
22 inartfully. You were dedicated to the judicial police department?
23 A. Yes, it is correct.
24 Q. All right. Now, as I understand it, that's the department that
25 does all the investigations for the Prosecution and for the -- the
1 investigative judges?
2 A. Yes, this is correct.
3 Q. Okay. So at -- at some point during a particular case, are they
4 both your bosses?
5 A. Yes, absolutely.
6 Q. Okay. So I take it that when you are in France working as a
7 superintendent in the judicial police, when the case begins you are under
8 the -- the direction of the prosecution to some extent; right? A crime
9 happens; something needs to be done.
10 A. Yes, for sure. The system is very different than in the US.
11 Q. I understand the system. I know your system somewhat, not adds
12 good -- well as you do. But at some point the case may go to the
13 investigative judge; right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Okay. He's the independent judge. He stands between the
16 prosecute and the trial judge; right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. All right. And in fact, he is the one that will be doing the
19 formal questioning of witnesses and suspects; right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And I take it --
22 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, is that question relevant?
23 MR. KARNAVAS: It will become relevant at some point, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Please be soon.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. Thank you for reminding me, Your Honour.
1 Q. But it is they who directed the investigation.
2 A. On paper, yes.
3 Q. Okay. Now you came -- and how long did you work in that position?
4 A. Eight years in the capacity of superintendent.
5 Q. And where did you go from there?
6 A. I joined the ICTY.
7 Q. Okay. Now, you say you joined. Were you seconded from France, or
8 did you quit your job and become a regular employee of the UN?
9 A. The situation is in the middle of two, in fact, I was not
10 seconded. I was an employee of the United Nations, but at the time the
11 Tribunal made a request to France to provide personnel, so there was the
12 first selection among these candidates, and then an ultimate selection
13 done by the ICTY. So I was detached, not seconded, detached, but I was
14 paid by the UN.
15 Q. Okay. And so you were on the payroll of -- of the UN.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And you were under the direction of the UN?
18 A. Yes. Now, when you say ICTY, does that mean in general the
19 Tribunal or does that mean a particular segment, the Registry, OTP,
21 A. Investigation section of the Office of the Prosecutor.
22 Q. Okay. So you were a -- you were a member of the Prosecution team.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Okay. Now, you indicated that you were the chief investigator for
25 Srebrenica case.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Does that mean that you were in charge of the investigation, or
3 does that -- meaning that you would direct how the investigation would go,
4 or that you were just the top investigator among a team of investigators
5 in this particular case?
6 A. There were several stages during this investigation, but at the
7 very early stages I was the only one working on this. There was no team.
8 Q. Okay. So when you're the only one, you can always be the chief,
9 right, because there's nobody behind you?
10 A. That's exactly that.
11 Q. And I take it, since you were the first one, as others followed,
12 and since you had the institutional memory of the case, and of course on
13 your skills and professionalism, you advanced to be the chief
15 A. No. It didn't happen like this. At the early stages, as I told
16 you, there was no team. And some colleagues would go and assist me on the
17 basis of the possibilities that they have to leave their own activities.
18 And after the missions they were returning to their teams and I was
19 continuing with the topic.
20 Q. Well, who was your boss for this investigation?
21 A. Chief of investigations at that time was named Cees Hendricks at
22 the early stages.
23 Q. Okay. And so it is he who would give you your assignments?
24 A. No. I was proposing what to do, and I was not prevented to do it.
25 Q. Okay. Now, was he also attached to the -- part of the Office of
1 the Prosecution?
2 A. He was the head of the investigation section at the Office of the
4 Q. Am I correct in -- okay. At the early stages, then, it is the
5 investigators that are out there investigating Srebrenica and not the
6 Office of the Prosecution?
7 A. No, we are -- I'm waiting for the translation. We are all members
8 of the Office of the Prosecutor. All the people who went with me on field
9 missions were members of the Office of the Prosecutor. They were not
10 just -- they were just not people who were under my command, if one can
11 say so, since they were attached to other teams. It was not a structured
12 team. A team was created early 1997 to deal with this subject.
13 Q. Were any Prosecutors also assigned to be part of this -- this
15 A. The first Prosecutor who joined this case was Mr. McCloskey, who
16 joined me at the end of 1996, and this is -- he was the second permanent
17 member of this team.
18 Q. And in that capacity, what was his position? I mean, since he
19 joined the team, what was he there for?
20 A. We were -- he was working with me, but we were not a structure.
21 When it became a structure, so early 1997, the title of Mr. McCloskey was
22 legal adviser. There was always an legal adviser attached to an
23 investigation team leader. So Mr. McCloskey became this legal advisor
24 early 1997.
25 Q. So he was advising you. So am I fair to assume or conclude that
1 you were in charge and Mr. McCloskey was there to provide you with legal
2 advice and to assist in other ways?
3 A. We were doing everything together. Making all decisions together,
4 even digging in mass graves together.
5 Q. But who was in charge?
6 A. The one in charge is the team leader of the investigation at that
7 time. It was then later the situation changed after I left the Tribunal,
8 but at that time the head of the investigations was the investigation team
9 leader and he was assisted by the Prosecutor who had the name of legal
11 Q. And who was in charge then? What was his name?
12 A. Jean-Rene Ruez. I was in charge.
13 Q. Okay. Thank you and. And so you directed the investigations, how
14 it would go?
15 A. Yes, I did.
16 Q. And who you would select to interview?
17 A. Since we couldn't select all those we were willing to interview,
18 we had to do indeed such a selection.
19 Q. Where the investigation would start?
20 A. I don't understand that point. Sorry.
21 Q. Okay. All right. Let me walk you back. Sometime in July 1995
22 you were assigned to the Srebrenica investigation; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, I was initially requested to go to the field and check the --
24 I mean, how serious the press information was, the press information that
25 came out immediately at that time was about massacres, but there was still
1 no evidence that any massacre had really been committed, and this is why I
2 was sent first, as a kind of assessment mission.
3 Q. And at the time, as I recall, before you were sent, you were
4 already in Tuzla at that point?
5 A. No. I left The Hague, and reached Tuzla via Split.
6 Q. So you made your first trip back in -- in July 1995 in the field.
7 A. Yes. This was my first mission for the Office of the Prosecutor.
8 Q. Were you by yourself, or were there others?
9 A. I was accompanied by Ms. Stephanie Frease, who was also working
10 for the Office of the Prosecutor at that time.
11 Q. Who was she doing?
12 A. She was an analyst.
13 Q. I take it you had a language assistant, or does she speak
15 A. She also speaks Serbo-Croatian, and we had also one language
16 assistant, Ms. Adis Karamuratovic.
17 Q. All right. Now, at some point, were you asked -- when you became
18 the leader of this team, was it you that designed how this case would
19 progress in the investigations phase?
20 A. The investigation was already running since one and a half years,
21 once the -- before the team was created, so at that time it was a natural
22 flow of decisions that had to be made, since there were very clear phases
23 to be conducted in this investigation.
24 Q. Prior to that, prior to the formal team structure, who was the
25 person that sat down and mapped out how this case would be investigated?
1 What -- you know, where the start would be, whether it would be just go to
2 the field, collect evidence, assemble a team, visit the various brigade
4 A. I was making proposals on a written mission plans, and these
5 mission plans were accepted by the chain of command.
6 Q. When you say the chain of command, that would be your boss.
7 A. All the missions were assigned by the chief of investigations, who
8 was John Ralston, after Mr. Cees Hendricks left.
9 Q. Okay. Now, you said written proposals, so there's -- there's some
10 documentation as to what you proposed, you know, and how you proposed the
11 investigations should progress.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And what was the first step that you proposed - do you recall -
14 the first step to be done in the investigation?
15 A. Yes. It was to scan among the -- the initial information obtained
16 by the local Bosniak police as well as the war crime commission, select
17 among a large group of witnesses those we had to interview in priority in
18 order to begin to draft a raw picture of the events and the various areas
19 in which we needed to investigate, one part being the situation in
20 Potocari, the other one the situation in the woods, the other one the
21 situation along the road between Srebrenica and Kladanj, and the fourth
22 main group, all what is mass killings, and that got indeed our attention
23 as a priority 1.
24 Q. Okay. And so that -- that had priority before even visiting, for
25 instance, the brigade headquarters to seize documents.
1 A. Yes, absolutely. Reconstruction of the facts is indeed something
2 indispensable before trying to find out who committed these facts.
3 Q. Okay. But would it be fair to say - and correct me if I'm wrong -
4 that fairly early on in the investigation it was -- you began to have some
5 suspicions from your years as -- as a superintendent as to who might be
6 involved, you know, which brigades might have been involved or civilian
7 authorities might have been involved in the atrocities?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Okay. At what point did you make the decision to -- to go to the
10 Bratunac Brigade headquarters?
11 A. As soon as the possibility was there. In reality, what happened
12 at that time was that we intended to conduct the search, since already
13 such a long time. We didn't have both the manpower to do it by ourselves,
14 nor exactly the timing due to a lot of other aspects of the case we needed
15 to deal with. So in fact, we used the opportunity of a search that was
16 getting prepared by the Office of the Prosecutor in another area of
17 Republika Srpska and enlarge this mission in order to be able to use that
18 manpower put in place for one circumstance, to use it to do three
19 headquarters, so not only the 5th Corps was done but for the sake of
20 another case, but also the Zvornik Brigade search could be done and the
21 Bratunac Brigade search could be done.
22 Q. Okay. My question was when? Before you gave us that lengthy
23 narration which didn't answer my question. So if you could tell us when,
24 I would appreciate it, and then we can go on.
25 A. I wanted to please you by giving these details.
1 Q. Thank you. And I am pleased. I am pleased. But let me do my job
2 too. Let me ask the questions, and you can give me the answers.
3 A. If you want me to answer by yes or no, I can do that as well.
4 Q. I just want you -- I asked a when question, when. You can give me
5 the date, if you recall. If you don't recall, you can refer to some
7 A. I'm going to recall. Give me just two seconds. That was in 1998.
8 Q. Okay. So you get on the job to start the investigation in 1995 in
9 July, and it's in 1998 that you pay your first visit to the Bratunac
10 Brigade headquarters along with the other areas that you were going to
11 search; is that correct?
12 A. No, because in fact in -- I'm waiting for translation. To be very
13 precise, we did pay a visit, as you say it, to the Bratunac Brigade - that
14 was in June 1996 - in order to search and seize equipment that had been
15 taken from the UN battalion that was stored in a container just in front
16 of the headquarters of the Bratunac Brigade. These were flak jackets, as
17 well as blue helmets that had been repainted in grey colour in order to be
18 later used by Bratunac Brigade people after the war.
19 Q. That's an assumption that you're make; right? The paint -- the
20 use of the paint --
21 A. No. It is not an assumption. Talking about it with an assistant
22 of Mr. Blagojevic, he said that that equipment was designed to be used for
23 de-miners, who could not have such quality equipment to fulfil their job.
24 Q. Okay. So you were there in 1996 in the Bratunac Brigade
25 headquarters to seize - that was the word that you used; am I correct - to
1 seize UN equipment?
2 A. To seize UN equipment in possession of the RS military unit
3 Q. I understand. But you were there to seize equipment?
4 A. Yes, I was.
5 Q. Okay. Thank you. So this almost what -- in what year -- what
6 month are we talking about in 1996?
7 A. I don't remember precisely, but it was in the middle of the year.
8 Q. Okay. Now, since you were there to seize UN equipment and you
9 were there on an investigation and you already had by this point nine or
10 ten years' experience as an investigator, did you ever think that it might
11 be a good idea to seize documents or to go and try to find out what, if
12 anything else, might be there at the Bratunac Brigade headquarters? After
13 all, you were there. No sense in making another trip, costing all the
14 donor's extra money for you to go there. Why not say, " By the way, since
15 I'm here, I want to collect all the documents you might have just in case
16 later on they might disappear."
17 A. I would have loved doing that as early as we could access RS
18 territory, but during that mission my backpack was not big enough to
19 vacuum-clean the Bratunac Brigade headquarters.
20 Q. Well, I come from Alaska, and they tell us whenever you go out to
21 the woods, you've got to take your ten essentials because you never know
22 what might happen when you're out.
23 The question is: Since you were going there, as an investigator,
24 would it not be sensible to take the necessary precautions just in case
25 you found all these documents, so you could have them, analyse them, or
1 others to analyse?
2 A. This is a step that unfortunately, due to the way we were
3 organised at the time, we couldn't do before the date we did it. But
4 indeed, I totally agree with you, had we even been able to do that in
5 summer 1995, I would have had pleasure to do it.
6 Q. Naturally -- naturally, if I were to look through your
7 requisitions or your proposals, I would find something in there, in those
8 documents - I don't know if they have been disclosed to us, but I
9 certainly will be making that request, to see every -- all your
10 proposals - but naturally, I would find something there, a piece of paper,
11 with your signature, making the request, either before or after at least -
12 definitely after - to go back to the Bratunac Brigade headquarters to get
13 documents. I would find some kind of a request from you; right?
14 A. No, you would not find that, because during the year 1996, for
15 example, our top priority was based on the information received from the
16 approximately ten survivors of mass executions that we had already talked
17 with, our top priority in 1996 was to identify these crime scenes and
18 start exhumations. We were not in 1996 in any way in a position to start
19 conducting searches in military units. We did not need -- we did not even
20 at that time know if our crime bases was a serious one or not.
21 Q. Mr. Ruez, did you ever make the request; yes or no?
22 A. Before 1998 --
23 Q. 1996, after you went to the Bratunac Brigade, did you make the
24 request; yes or no?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Okay. Did you make a request for resources, yes or no, for that
2 particular mission?
3 A. My request for resources was a bit of the same of your objections
4 that, are continuous -- continuous requests I was making, continuous
5 requests during 1995 and 1996 and 1997 to get additional resources, that I
6 got once John Ralston became chief of investigations, not before he became
7 chief of investigations.
8 Q. But my question was rather specific: Did you make a specific
9 request in writing or even orally for more resources so you could go back
10 to the Bratunac Brigade to get the documents? Because after all, you were
11 able to go there and retrieve helmets.
12 A. It is absolutely not the same type of operation. When you are on
13 a mission, in theatre, to retrieve a bunch of helmets from a container
14 than to organise a search mission in a brigade headquarter. And I repeat
15 my answer to your precise question: No, I did not make such a request at
16 that time. It was out of our range at that time to start doing searches
17 in military facilities in Republika Srpska.
18 Q. Okay. Now -- now, when you say "our range," meaning the -- the
19 Office of the Prosecution range?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. In a case where, according to the Prosecution, is the largest
22 atrocity in Western Europe since the holocaust?
23 A. I share your astonishment, and unfortunately I have to answer yes.
24 Q. But they had resources to send you to collect helmets, and they
25 had to foresight to send you to collect helmets but not documents.
1 A. I've never been sent to take helmets. It occurred that during
2 that mission I had a talk with an American soldier who told me that he had
3 seen this equipment in that container. So through the liaison officer,
4 who was Major Golic at that time, the liaison officer of the Drina Corps
5 with the American Brigade, I made the request to get access to these
6 helmets and check what they were. And this is what we did. And when we
7 realised it was equipment that was belonging to DutchBat, I seized them in
8 order to check who they had been taken from and in what circumstances they
9 had been taken from.
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: I will move on, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, it's time for a break.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Oh, I'm sorry. I apologise.
14 JUDGE LIU: If you've finished that subject.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: I apologise.
16 JUDGE LIU: We will take the break right now.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will resume at 4.00.
19 --- Recess taken at 3.33 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 4.00 p.m.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas. Please proceed.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.
23 Q. Mr. Ruez, before we left off, we were speaking about your visit at
24 the Bratunac Brigade headquarters. We're still there, by the way, back in
25 1996. You were there to, you indicated, to collect some items that
1 belonged to the UN. On that particular visit, did you happen to see Mr.
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 Q. He wasn't there when you first got there; is that correct?
5 A. I went there, I think -- no, only on one occasion, because before
6 I went there, it was an oral request to Major Golic, and that we gave him
7 more or less a week to fulfil the demand, and that was not done the day I
8 was supposed to leave the mission area. So then we went together with the
9 American major, who was our security guarantee in the area, and he made so
10 to enforce my request to get access to this material.
11 Q. Okay. Let me -- let me rephrase the question. I -- I wasn't
12 clear, so I apologise. Okay. When you went there with the American
13 major, when you got to the brigade headquarters, was Mr. Blagojevic there
14 or did he show up shortly thereafter?
15 A. The one who was there was the Lieutenant Lazar Ostojic and to
16 Colonel Blagojevic arrived a bit later dressed in civilian clothes.
17 Q. So the answer to my question is: Yes, he showed up afterwards,
18 after you arrived?
19 A. Yes. Now that you ask if he arrived after, the answer is yes.
20 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, did you manage to collect the items that
21 you were there to collect?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. All right. Did you recognise, by the way, Mr. Blagojevic?
24 A. Yes. He changed a bit, but I do recognise him.
25 Q. Did you recognise him at the time?
1 A. At the time, we didn't know who the commander of the Bratunac
2 Brigade was in July 1995. We had option among two possible names. So I
3 did request Mr. Blagojevic -- Colonel Blagojevic, I asked him only two
4 questions. One was what he knew about the origin and the use of the
5 equipment. He did not answer. He asked me a second question. The second
6 question was: Since when are you the commander of the Bratunac Brigade?
7 I did receive no answer, and got lectured on the fact that the calibre of
8 the weapons used by the American forces, 5.56, were against the Geneva
9 Conventions. But he never answered my question about who he was and since
10 when he was in that capacity commander of the Bratunac Brigade.
11 Q. All right. Let me go back to my questions, and maybe you could
12 answer my questions. When you saw Mr. Blagojevic, did you recognise him
13 to be Mr. Blagojevic; yes or no?
14 A. I had never seen that man before that day, and I couldn't
15 recognise him since I didn't even know who he was, aside that he was
16 presented as being the commander that day.
17 Q. So the answer is no, you did not recognise him.
18 A. I did not recognise someone who I didn't know before.
19 Q. Okay. And is it your testimony today that in 1996 you had never
20 heard of Colonel Blagojevic?
21 A. We knew about two possible names as being head of that brigade in
22 summer 1995. One of these I don't remember today, and the second one was
23 Colonel Blagojevic, but we had no certainty about who was who really in
24 summer 1995. And Colonel Blagojevic did not answer that question when I
25 asked that to him in June 1996.
1 Q. All right. Okay. So the answer is back in 1996, when you went
2 there, you had heard of a Colonel Blagojevic who at one point, sometime in
3 1995 in July, at one point or another, or thereafter or slightly before,
4 was the commander of the Bratunac Brigade; is that correct?
5 A. No. I repeat again: In 1995, the information I got probably at
6 that time both from Bosniak police or contacts with the 2nd Corps of the
7 BiH Army at that time, I asked if they had any information about who was
8 the -- what was the name of the commander of the Bratunac Brigade in 1995.
9 They did not know for sure. I could not get a certainty answer. I was
10 provided with two names. One of these names was Colonel Blagojevic, but I
11 didn't know even in June 1996 if indeed it was Colonel Blagojevic who had
12 been the brigade commander in 1995. I did not know that in 1996.
13 Q. Okay. But you had that information in your memory when you were
14 there in 1996 at the Bratunac Brigade headquarters. That information that
15 you just told us.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Okay.
18 A. That optionally he could have been the one.
19 Q. All right. Now, did you -- did you ever -- at that point, did you
20 try to get a photograph of Mr. Blagojevic to see what he looked like so
21 just in case you ran into him, you could ask him some questions?
22 A. The circumstances at the time were such that the main priority in
23 that area for the people who were assisting us was to create a positive
24 relationship with the VRS armed forces. Had I started taking pictures of
25 all the people from the VRS side we came in -- we came across at that
1 time, I would have jeopardised that relationship. So indeed, I did not
2 take a photograph of Colonel Blagojevic at that time, since I had no
3 certainty about who he was.
4 Q. All right. Well, maybe -- maybe it's the translation. My
5 question was: Did you have a photograph of him? In other words, when you
6 started doing your investigation, as a good investigator and you would
7 hear these names, you would begin to see if there were photographs
8 someplace so you could put photograph, name, and then if the opportunity
9 ever arose and you came up to that person, you could say, "Ah, this must
10 be Obrenovic, this must be Jokic, this must be Blagojevic. Might I try to
11 get information from them?" Did you do that; yes or no?
12 A. The people I was in contact with didn't have any photograph of
13 Mr. Blagojevic available at that time when I asked.
14 Q. Okay. Now, at the time that you were there in 1996, during that
15 session - and I take it you were at the headquarters for a short period of
17 A. A couple of hours.
18 Q. Okay. Did Mr. Blagojevic ever have -- speak with the major? Did
19 they talk at all?
20 A. Yes, they did.
21 Q. If I recall, they might have even had a rakija together?
22 A. We all had rakija together.
23 Q. Okay. And for the record, that's the local home brew.
24 Q. Yes, it is. And in the regulations of the US for those who are in
25 contact with the VRS armed forces they are exceptionally allowed to have a
1 little sip of alcohol with them.
2 Q. Yes. Because US servicemen, especially officers, are not supposed
3 to be drinking in uniform; right?
4 A. This is true for the army personnel, not necessarily for an
5 investigator of the ICTY in specific circumstances.
6 Q. I wasn't mentioning you. I was just worried about the major, so
7 we don't get him in trouble.
8 So all of you, you, the major, Mr. Blagojevic, sat down,
9 comfortable during that two-hour period, had rakija and waited until the
10 business of -- of taking those -- that UN property was finished; right?
11 A. Not right. The situation was quite tense. We -- I had to request
12 the American major to use whatever means possible in order to fulfil the
13 request I was making. I indicated that whatever happened, I would not
14 leave that place without this equipment, and I think that at one point the
15 major said that indeed, he would use any means so that I can fulfil my
16 demand, and I think I said to the major that probably took them -- the
17 colonel, sorry that, he probably didn't wish to have tanks rolling through
18 his barracks, so indeed we ended up getting the equipment.
19 Q. All right. Now, is it your testimony today that Mr. Blagojevic
20 was the commander over there at that particular location at that
21 particular time?
22 A. That day, though he was dressed in civilian clothes, he was
23 obviously the commander of that -- of that place, yes.
24 Q. And that's based on your investigation since then, or is that
25 based on who you perceive to be the highest-ranking officer in the field
1 at that headquarters at that particular time? Which one is it?
2 A. My personal experience is the one of June 1996, but Mr. Richard
3 Butler, who did the military analysis of all the documentation we
4 retrieved from the Bratunac Brigade, will probably give you the details
5 that enable him to say that Colonel Blagojevic was indeed the commander of
6 the Bratunac Brigade during that period of time of July 1995 that we are
7 considering here.
8 Q. Now, see, there you go. That wasn't my question, now, was it? My
9 question was back in 1996. There is no doubt -- there is no doubt, and
10 you don't have to volunteer any information, that back in 1995 in July
11 Mr. Blagojevic was the commander of the Bratunac Brigade. We can agree on
13 A. I don't agree --
14 Q. Now we're talking about 1996.
15 MS. DE LA TORRE: Your Honour.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Ms. De la Torre.
17 MS. DE LA TORRE: I would object. While Mr. Ruez is perfectly
18 capable of defending himself, the argumentative nature of these questions,
19 as well as the fact that he's not allowing the witness to answer the
20 question, is objectionable and unprofessional.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: May I be heard?
23 JUDGE LIU: Let's hear the witness. We can judge. Let's hear the
25 MR. KARNAVAS:
1 Q. 1996.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Okay. That follows 1995. Okay? So we're at the Bratunac Brigade
4 headquarters. I asked you a specific question. Please answer my
5 question. Is it your testimony today that at that particular time Mr.
6 Blagojevic was the commander of the Bratunac Brigade, or is it your
7 belief, based on the fact that he was the highest-ranking officer at that
8 location at that particular moment? Which of the two?
9 A. What made me believe in June 1996 that Colonel Blagojevic was the
10 commander of the Bratunac Brigade that day in June 1996 is because he was
11 the person to which Major Golic was talking to when he was requesting
12 clearances to do or not to do things, that Lieutenant Lazar Ostojic was
13 addressing the colonel as his boss, that the American major with who I
14 was, Major Zeijak [phoen] seemed to consider Colonel Blagojevic as the
15 head of this brigade that day, June 1996.
16 Q. Okay. Now, a major is above or below a colonel?
17 A. At the time of the events, Colonel Blagojevic was Major Blagojevic
19 Q. In 1996?
20 A. In 1996 he was colonel. In 1995, he was major, if I'm not wrong.
21 Q. All right. Well, I'm talking about 1996. That's where we are.
22 We haven't gone to 1995.
23 A. So as far as I remember, Colonel Blagojevic in his rank was
24 colonel in 1996, in June 1996.
25 Q. So he outranked the major.
1 A. The VRS -- the VRS Major Golic, yes, as well as the Lieutenant
2 Lazar Ostojic, yes, but -- yes.
3 Q. Okay. Now, and you said that it was tense, but all of you sat
4 down and had a rakija with Mr. -- with Colonel Blagojevic?
5 A. It's a kind of compulsory tradition when you enter contact with
6 some VRS officers.
7 Q. Compulsory? What, they threaten you that you can't leave the area
8 unless you sit down and drink rakija?
9 A. No. But it's hard to build any kind of even fake but immediate
10 good relationship if you refuse having a drink in such circumstances.
11 Q. And a drink under those circumstances was offered in good faith,
12 was it not?
13 A. Let's assume a drink is always offered in good faith, yes.
14 Q. Okay. Now, you indicated that you had the major from the US army.
15 He was what, SFOR at the time?
16 A. IFOR at the time.
17 Q. IFOR. Okay. Was he by himself or did he have troops with him?
18 A. He had troops with him outside of the building.
19 Q. He was there to protect you -- to offer you security.
20 A. Yes. All of our movements in the area were under the security
21 coverage of multinational division north and of the American forces were
22 based in Camp Lisa, Republika Srpska, just north of Vlasenica town.
23 Q. And how many soldiers did he have with him?
24 A. I don't know. Though, we were always part of the operational plan
25 in order to show us what was happening around us. I don't know, a company
1 of "Bradley" and some of our troops.
2 Q. Okay. Now, you indicated that you had made a request, they didn't
3 comply with your request, so that's when you went to IFOR. And I take it
4 it was the Americans, as opposed to some other unit. And they were there
5 to assist you. So you had arranged this trip, so to speak.
6 A. Yes, we had an appointment with Major Golic, in front of the
7 headquarters of the Bratunac Brigade that day, indeed.
8 Q. Okay. While you were at the brigade headquarters, did you ask
9 the -- the major if he could provide some assistance in seizing documents
10 for you, carrying them, since your -- how was it? Your backpack wasn't
11 big enough to carry all these documents?
12 A. No, I didn't ask him, since the goal of this mission was to find
13 mass grave sites and not a search mission, and it was pointless for me to
14 ask him anything in that sense.
15 Q. I thought the goal of the mission at that point was to seize those
17 A. That was the goal of that last hour of that mission that lasted
18 some ten days, but every day we were hitting mass grave sites.
19 Q. Did you ask the major perhaps to secure the headquarters to make
20 sure that now that you had been there that at least the -- the
21 headquarters would be secure from the destruction of any -- of any
22 documents? Did you ask for any help?
23 A. We already at that time had made the assumption that the clean-up
24 process in these headquarters was already done, since this possibility was
25 already there as soon as the photographs of Nova Kasaba had been showed
1 publicly in front of a UN General Assembly in August 1995. So at that
2 point, no, there was no -- no immediate urgency to try to prevent further
3 more disappearance of documents. And anyhow, I confirmed that I was not
4 in a position at that time to create a mission that had been designed to
5 focus on capturing documentation, since we still at that time did not know
6 what the crime bases we were talking about was a real one or was just
7 other assessments and rumours and hearsay, like you already said several
8 times before.
9 Q. So by that point you had made some assumptions.
10 A. Like everyone does, yes.
11 Q. All right. And might it be correct that even before that time you
12 had made some assumptions?
13 A. No. I arrived there with a total blank mind and open mind in July
14 1995, if this is what you want me to -- to say or not say.
15 Q. No, I'm not trying -- I didn't say 1995, but at some point early
16 on in the investigation you formed some assumptions; right?
17 A. You form 200 assumptions a day when you are conducting an
18 investigation, indeed.
19 Q. Of course. And one of the assumptions was there is no need, at
20 least in 1996, to go to the headquarters because you assumed that the
21 people there who were running the headquarters would have destroyed the
22 documents because after all, if they're guilty, that's what guilty people
23 would do; right? So that's an assumption.
24 A. No, that's not there that. Again, I repeat. Had I had the
25 possibility at that time, in terms of manpower, organisation, or
1 whatsoever, to conduct an investigation in that place, that would have
2 been done. It's one of the first things, indeed. You would think would
3 have to be done one day. So the earliest is always the best. But it was
4 not possible to do that in 1996. I repeat, if that would have been
5 possible, I would have been very happy to do that in 1996 versus in 1998.
6 Q. I agree. Early is better than late. But nonetheless, the
7 assumption had been formed early; isn't that what you indicated earlier?
8 A. Our unit in the area of responsibility of the Drina Corps at that
9 time could have been considered as an interesting place to go and conduct
10 searches, at least to have a quick idea as early as possible of who was
11 who and in what capacity at the time of the events. But again --
12 Q. I'm sorry. I apologise. Go ahead.
13 A. But again, it is not a question that it was considered not
14 important or too late, because it is also never too late. And you know
15 that because even in 1998 we still could find things, but we just couldn't
16 materially take such a course of action in 1996.
17 Q. Okay. And to refresh -- to refresh your memory, you never made
18 those requests in writing. That was your testimony earlier; right?
19 Because the assumption was we don't have the resources, let's do this
20 other work. When the resources come or we have the opportunity to conduct
21 those searches and seizures, then we'll do that.
22 A. Again, that's not the way the thing happened. Things had to
23 happen in a certain chronology. Priority 1 was to interview witnesses and
24 identify possible crime scenes that could then be analysed in order to
25 corroborate their declarations. That is phase 1, 1995. Continued 1996
1 and even later.
2 1996 was a year devoted to identify these places described by the
3 witnesses and mainly try to identify and locate all the primary mass grave
5 By the end of the year 1996, there was an article in Newsweek
6 titling "Genocide without corpses," since all the primary graves had been
7 disturbed in 1995, we only exhumed about 500 bodies by the end of 1996,
8 though the main mass graves were exhumed that year.
9 So 1997 was a year where we -- our main priority was to identify
10 and locate the secondary mass grave sites. Only when all this was
11 finalised and that we knew that potentially we had enough mass graves to
12 match the unbelievable account made by the witnesses could we then
13 seriously start to consider identifying the people who are responsible for
14 these facts. But we had no absolute certainty on these facts before we
15 started in fact exhuming secondary mass grave sites. We could not have a
16 real assessment of how -- of what was really the scale of what we were
17 working on.
18 Q. So if I'm correct, it wasn't until 1998 that you began to have
19 some suspicions that the Bratunac Brigade might have been involved. Is
20 that what you're saying? Is that what you want the Trial Chamber --
21 A. No, I'm not saying that. You know very well that this suspicion
22 is an obvious thing as early as 1995, due to the proximity of the Bratunac
23 Brigade to all the crime scenes that we call the area "south." But I
24 repeat again and again that taking action on this brigade was not the
25 primary focus of this investigation, since when this investigation started
1 we didn't even have one dead body, in terms of criminal facts we were
2 working on. So first, we created -- I mean, we created -- we unravelled
3 the facts. And once we had these facts, we were in a position then to
4 develop the investigation on the perpetrators.
5 Q. Okay. So in 1995, you had -- you formed a suspicion that the
6 Bratunac Brigade was involved because of its location; is that correct?
7 Yes or no? Back in 1995, based on your earlier lengthy answer.
8 A. I think I already have answered yes to this several times. Unlike
9 25.000 people who were deported and ended up in Tuzla, who also had in
10 mind that what happened to them had any connection with the Bratunac
11 Brigade, since it was the town just north to the enclave, indeed one could
12 easily make the assumption during the summer 1995 that Bratunac Brigade
13 had most probably something to do with what was happening. But it was a
14 thought that everyone could have at that time in the area, even only if it
15 was based on hearsay.
16 Q. Okay. Thank you. And that's what I was trying to get you to
17 admit. But that back in 1995, you began to form some assumptions that
18 were perhaps logical, given the location of the Bratunac Brigade, that
19 they must have been involved.
20 A. I already answered this several times, and I agree to even accept
21 your summary of it. No problem.
22 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now -- now we can move on to the next section.
23 Did you make contact with -- with Colonel Blagojevic after this -- this
24 meeting that you had back in 1996? Did you attempt to meet with him
1 A. No. I -- I mean, not in 1996 anyhow.
2 Q. 1997?
3 A. I think that we got in 1996 at one point during a mission
4 information that Major Blagojevic was no more at the Bratunac Brigade.
5 Q. He was in Banja Luka, by the way, where you have a field office;
7 A. I don't know where he was when I was told that he had left
8 Bratunac, and we never had a field office in Banja Luka. We were just
9 borrowing a room when we were conducting interview missions there.
10 Q. All right. I stand corrected. But that room would be used often
11 for interviews; right?
12 A. The first time we used it was end of 1999, and I think Major Jokic
13 was the among the first to go to that place, but 1999.
14 Q. Okay. And you were in this case until 2000, 2001; is that
16 A. This is correct.
17 Q. Okay. All right. Now --
18 MR. KARNAVAS: With the Court's indulgence for one second.
19 Q. When was the second time that you went to the Bratunac Brigade
21 A. That was for the search operation that was conducted mid-1998.
22 Q. Was that the same place where it was in 1996?
23 A. Not exactly the same place, since in 1996 it was a container
24 located in front of the building that is at the entrance of the Bratunac
25 Brigade. And in 1998 the search was conducted in the part of a building
1 at that time used as the headquarters.
2 Q. But in -- okay. The -- let me rephrase the question. In 1996,
3 was it located in the same place where it was located in July 1995?
4 A. I was not at the Bratunac Brigade in 1995. I cannot tell you
5 exactly -- I mean, yes, the brigade was located at the same location, but
6 the actual headquarters might not have been in the same place in 1995 as
7 they were in 1996. But the brigade, yes, didn't move from the Kaolin
9 Q. All right. Maybe -- maybe I'm not phrasing the question right,
10 but -- and perhaps you can refresh my memory. I thought we saw some
11 videos and some exhibits and some photos and there was a whole lot of
12 narrative where often you would be leading the Prosecutor, rather than
13 vice versa -- where you were describing the Bratunac town, various
14 buildings in Bratunac, including the Bratunac Brigade headquarters. Am I
16 A. Yes, you are.
17 Q. Okay. All right. I thought maybe I was incorrect.
18 Now, I take it you identified those -- those markings on the
19 photos; right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. In order to identify them, you'd have to be aware of what they
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Because you want to be exact; right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. All right. Now, the footage and the photos would allow someone
2 that if they actually went -- physically went to that location, they would
3 be -- actually be able to identify photo, building; right?
4 A. It's not the only way, but this is one of the ways, indeed.
5 Q. Okay. So you were able to identify what the building looked like
6 or which building it was back in 1995 where the Bratunac Brigade
7 headquarters were located. In 1996, you go to Bratunac to collect helmets
8 and other gear, not to interview, not to collect documents, not to seize
9 the compound, but to collect certain items. I take it that you knew
10 exactly what compound, what building, what location you were going to
11 before you got there; right?
12 A. No, not at all. It was -- we had been, I think, in Bratunac town
13 only once before we went to take this equipment.
14 Q. I thought you'd only been there -- the first time was in 1996.
15 A. Yes, in 1996 -- in April, we went to Bratunac town in order to
16 identify the Old School, as well as the hangar.
17 The second time we entered that town was indeed to collect the
18 equipment in the container in front of the Bratunac Brigade headquarters.
19 Q. Okay. So now we have you there twice in 1996 and twice failing to
20 take any precautionary measures to locate any documents, because after
21 all, you had made the assumption that documents would have been destroyed
22 because after all, the assumption was back as early as 1995 that the
23 Bratunac Brigade was involved because of their location, so there's no
24 need to search for the documents that might prove who might have been
1 A. No. You are again twisting completely what I have developed, I
2 think, in length so far, which is that the reason why we did not focus on
3 brigade searches in 1996 is that our first missions on the ground were
4 designed to corroborate witnesses' testimonies and ensure that we were
5 indeed facing a crime and not a lot of rumours. So in 1996 there was
6 absolutely no intention to disregard that aspect. There was no
7 preconceived opinion about the fact that it was useless. It was
8 absolutely something that was urgent to be done. The only thing is that
9 it was a material impossibility for me at that time to conduct such
10 operations in 1996.
11 Q. Okay. But now we're talking about your second visit. You're
12 there the second time. Did you know by your second visit to Bratunac,
13 where you are accompanied by this American major and his troops, did you
14 know by then where the headquarters of the Bratunac Brigade were located;
15 yes or no?
16 A. No, I did not know. I discovered that location that day.
17 Q. Okay. Did you have to ask directions from the folks in Bratunac,
18 or was it the major that assisted you, or did you look at a map? How is
19 it that you located it?
20 A. Before leaving Camp Lisa, we had what is called an operational
21 briefing, where we were shown a map, the position of the forces that would
22 secure our action, and on that map -- it was not even a map; it was an
23 aerial photograph -- no, sorry, in 1996 it was just a map. We got a photo
25 And we were shown where the location of the brigade is. Then we
1 were put in vehicles. And when I stepped out of the HUMVEE, I was in
2 front of the headquarters of the Bratunac Brigade that I saw that day for
3 the first time.
4 Q. Okay. All right. Now, let me get back to my question that I
5 asked about 20 minutes ago. Was the headquarters that you visited back in
6 1996, based on the photograph that you were shown in your debriefing
7 before you went off to the field, is that the same place where the
8 Bratunac Brigade headquarters is located based on the photograph and
9 footage and testimony that we've had on your direct examination; yes or
11 A. The information that enables us to pinpoint the location of the
12 Bratunac Brigade in July 1995 is based on the testimonies and the sketches
13 provided to us by the Dutch witnesses who were in Bratunac town and who
14 were going to the Bratunac Brigade facility, where they were having lunch.
15 They drew sketches. They pinpointed the Kaolin Factory as being the
16 headquarters of the Bratunac Brigade. The little building in which we
17 conducted the search in 1996, so the headquarters in 1996, this little
18 building is pinpointed by these witnesses as being the -- the facility
19 where the military police was back in 1995.
20 Q. Right up front.
21 A. Right up front.
22 Q. Before -- where the gate is?
23 A. Where the gate is.
24 Q. Okay. And so for the members of -- of the Trial Chamber, as you
25 drive up to the -- that area, there's a fence with a little side building;
1 is that correct?
2 A. Yes, correct.
3 Q. And in that side building, it would be sort of where -- where the
4 security would be for the compound.
5 A. This is what is pinpointed by the UN soldiers who went to this
6 facility during the days of July 1995.
7 Q. Right. And there is a -- right by the fence over there, there's a
8 lengthy building, and that's where the military police would be located.
9 A. According to these witnesses, yes, that was the situation.
10 Q. Okay.
11 A. In 1995.
12 Q. All right. And then you would have to drive a little bit or walk,
13 you know, 20 or 30 metres at best, maybe 20 metres, and there would be a
14 building, and that's where the factory is located.
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. And it's a fairly large compound; is that correct?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. And there are many different entrances.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. In fact, and my memory may serve me wrong, but at least three
21 entrances in that building.
22 A. This, I don't know. Our search was limited to what we were told
23 was the headquarters of the brigade. We did not search nor visit the
25 Q. During the two hours you were there, did you make any inquiries
1 where the brigade was headquartered back in 1995?
2 A. Do you mean when I was -- when I was there in June 1996?
3 Q. Yeah, having a rakija, sitting -- you know, you're an
4 investigator, everybody is calm and relaxed, having a cigarette, having a
5 little bit of coffee. Did you say, "By the way, where were you guys
7 A. When -- let me finish. No, this is not the way we acted at that
8 time. Since I had asked two questions -- two precise questions to Major
9 Blagojevic that he consciously refused to answer, it was clear that it was
10 pointless for me in such circumstances to try to get any kind of
11 additional information from him.
12 Q. Did you ever eventually find out where the brigade headquarters
13 were located back in July 1995? And that's a yes or no. You don't have
14 to go into a lengthy explanation.
15 A. No.
16 Q. Okay. Now, maybe -- I want to make sure I'm correct. So in 1996,
17 you go to where you assume are the headquarters of the brigade. You don't
18 know where they were in 1995. But until -- from 1995, when you began as
19 the chief investigator in this case, until you quit back in 2001, you
20 never made any inquiries as to where the Bratunac Brigade headquarters
21 were back in July 20th -- back in July 1995.
22 A. I cannot let you present the things like this.
23 Q. No. Well, correct me if I'm wrong.
24 A. I'm going to correct you. The inquiries were made. It's just
25 that the answer did not come. I have no recollection that Momir Nikolic
1 did answer any question -- any -- provide any information on this. And
2 no, we didn't get any information on this, aside, as I repeat, the
3 information provided by the UN soldiers who were in Bratunac town and who
4 were going to the Bratunac Brigade and who all say that this was the
5 location of the Bratunac Brigade.
6 Q. All right. Well, let me take it -- take it slowly here. First,
7 can we agree on one thing, that as you sit here today as the witness, the
8 summary witness for this entire case that you worked on from 1995 into
9 2001, plus the information that you have learned thereafter as a result of
10 the Krstic case and what -- and other things that you might have learned
11 since then, is it fair to say today that you do not know where the
12 Bratunac Brigade headquarters were indeed, to borrow one of your phrases,
13 indeed, back in July 1995? You don't know that today, do you?
14 Specifically, what part of the building. Yes or no?
15 A. I just recalled one thing at the moment. You are talking about
16 it, and you will certainly have an opportunity to have that confirmed or
17 not. But I think -- I recall that during the interview we had with
18 Captain Momir Nikolic, he told us several times that he went back
19 systematically to these headquarters, where he was spending most of his
20 time sleeping and doing nothing, and that these headquarters where he had
21 his bed were indeed -- was indeed this building at the Bratunac Brigade.
22 But this can be checked in the records of his statement.
23 Q. Okay. All right. You begin -- it sounds as if - and I have to
24 say this with all due respect - it sounds as if you're blaming now, you're
25 shifting the blame on Nikolic, Momir Nikolic, for not knowing where
1 exactly the headquarters were for this entire brigade back in July 1995.
2 Because after all, this is a fairly large complex. We have a building up
3 front, and there's a huge factory. So is it not a fact today, sir, that
4 you do not know exactly where in that compound the Bratunac Brigade
5 headquarter was? You have an idea of the vicinity, someplace in this
6 complex, but back on July 1995 or June 1995 or August 1995 you do not know
7 exactly where in that location was Mr. Blagojevic's office, for instance?
8 Isn't that a fact? Take your time.
9 A. I would say that the compilation of the information that I have in
10 my possession, it leads me to believe that the headquarters and the unit
11 of the Bratunac Brigade were in 1995 located in the compound of the Kaolin
12 Factory in Bratunac. I have no clue where the offices of the various
13 components of the HQ were at that time. But as far as I know, the only
14 thing I can say is that it was located at the Kaolin Factory.
15 Q. Okay. Thank you. That's the answer that I wanted to get, that
16 you don't know exactly where it was located.
17 A. It is a precise location, the Kaolin Factory. I'm sorry.
18 Q. Okay. We can agree on that. There's no disagreement there.
19 A. Okay.
20 Q. Okay? Are you happy? Okay.
21 But that's a big compound, is it not?
22 A. It's a fairly large compound in a small town, yes.
23 Q. If I were to ask you today, based on the answer that I just
24 received, if I were to ask you at this moment to draw us a layout of how
25 the headquarters were at the time back in June and July and August 1995 of
1 the Bratunac Brigade, you would not be able to tell us that, to draw us
2 that layout; right?
3 A. This is just what I told you in detail just before. Indeed, yes.
4 Q. Okay. So the answer is you do not know the layout of the
6 A. I do not know. I could not be able to pinpoint any precise office
7 within this compound. I confirm that, indeed.
8 Q. Okay. So there's no need for me to ask questions such as where
9 Mr. Blagojevic's office was, Mr. Momir Nikolic was located where other
10 departments where. There's no need for know go on, because the answer to
11 all of those questions are that you do not know now, today, after all
12 those years in the field investigating this particular case?
13 A. You're absolutely right. I would be unable to pinpoint his office
14 after all these years.
15 Q. Okay. Now, you mentioned Nikolic, and it kind of piqued my
16 interest a little bit. I have to say this. You interviewed him, did you
18 A. I did.
19 Q. All right. I take it you invited him for coffee to Banja Luka
20 before you had an interview with him. Right?
21 A. To return on this coffee thing that you seem to appreciate so
22 much, the reason why I said that we always start by this politeness piece
23 with these officers is that we had been accused by a kind of open letter
24 of the Minister of Defence of Republika Srpska, claiming that we were
25 exhausting people during a 12-hour interview process, not providing them
1 with water, not giving them food, constantly resorting to threat of arrest
2 against them, violating their spiritual integrity and their national
3 dignity and things like this. So just to tell you that indeed Captain
4 Nikolic was treated like all other officers we summoned to come to Banja
5 Luka and that most probably we gave him an opportunity to first go to the
6 bar of this building, where he could have breakfast or whatever he wanted
8 Q. Okay. So the answer is yes, you gave him some coffee before the
10 A. I don't know if we gave him. I don't know if he bought it at the
11 bar. But he had a chance to sustain himself and relax before we were
12 starting the conversation with him.
13 Q. All right. And that was in Banja Luka.
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. 1999?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And in fact, I believe the exact date is 15 December 1999, just in
18 case you don't recall. Would that be more or less?
19 A. I would not have remembered the specific date, but yes, this is
21 Q. Okay. By that point, do you suspect that Momir Nikolic might have
22 been involved in some of these incidents?
23 A. What was suspected is that he certainly had a lot of knowledge
24 about the events.
25 Q. So are you saying that up until that point you did not suspect him
1 to be involved?
2 A. We had absolutely no hard evidence about his direct involvement in
3 the criminal events.
4 Q. And when you say "direct evidence," what are you talking about? A
5 photograph of him actually committing atrocities?
6 A. As an example or even witnesses telling that they saw him
7 committing anything.
8 Q. And that's why back as late as 15 December 1999, you invited him
9 there as a witness rather than as a suspect.
10 A. This is the reason, indeed.
11 Q. Okay. I'll move on to my next segment. And I think that we might
12 almost be through. I want to talk a little bit about the 28th Division.
13 Okay, you've heard of them; right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Okay. Now, you indicated on direct examination that in -- that
16 you believe that there were about 5.000 soldiers of the 28th -- roughly,
17 give or take a few. But that was basically your estimation or the
18 estimation, at least, I believe you put it, the internationals; is that
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And the estimation that -- that you -- that that was made was
22 based on the number of weapons that they had; right?
23 A. Yes. As I said, and as far as we know - but this investigation
24 is, as you know, not on the 28th Division, but not also on the situation
25 inside the enclave prior to its fall - but, and I'm sure that the Serb
1 officers who are in this room will agree with this, that the number of
2 soldiers was determined by the number of weapons, since every man indeed
3 of fighting age had the potential to become a combatant in that context.
4 Q. All right. And so am I clear to understand that your
5 investigation -- you were disinterested at all in learning anything about
6 the 28th Division?
7 A. No. It's not that we were disinterested in learning anything
8 about the 28th Division. It is that one cannot cope with everything.
9 This investigation is an investigation on the crimes committed after the
10 fall of the Srebrenica enclave. It's not an investigation designed to
11 investigate crimes that might have been committed by the 28th. But in the
12 course of this investigation, if we came across elements that could be
13 useful for other cases, we did collect them. So it's not a question of
14 not being interested. It's just a question of not -- it was not the
15 subject of this investigation.
16 Q. Okay. But you would agree with me that at the time of the fall of
17 Srebrenica or before the fall of Srebrenica, in this area that was
18 supposed to be demilitarised by the UN, inside that area, in that enclave,
19 you had a fairly large cache of weapons and a significant number of
20 combatants; is that correct?
21 A. If we eliminate the -- from your sentence the fairly large cache,
22 information that I have no information upon, yes, indeed, there were a
23 significant number of combatants in the enclave, and I don't think anyone
24 disputes the fact that unfortunately this area has never been
1 Q. Okay. But you would agree with me 5.000 weapons in a
2 demilitarised area, that would put the numbers large for weapons?
3 A. Again, yes, I agree with you. And this is not disputed even by
4 the Bosniak side, I think.
5 Q. Okay. Now, you had indicated that -- that the 28th Division or
6 members of the 28th Division were also committing some atrocities in Serb
7 villages; is that correct?
8 A. No, I didn't say that.
9 Q. All right. So you have no knowledge of that?
10 A. I know about the rumours and the hearsay. I didn't work on that
12 Q. So as far as you -- as far as you know, after all these years, you
13 have no knowledge of Naser Oric going into Serb villages, killing Serbs,
14 burning down their houses, committing atrocities himself in 1993, 1994,
16 A. I know all the details of the accusations that the Serbs in this
17 area and elsewhere make against the forces of Naser Oric. But again, I
18 can only repeat that on that topic I have the same information available
19 than any citizen, and I have not worked on this case, but I know -- I know
20 the -- not only the charges brought by the ICTY against him but all the
21 claims that both the population and the arrest officers have against him.
22 Q. Okay. So -- well, when did you hear of Naser Oric?
23 A. As soon as summer 1995.
24 Q. And he has quite a large reputation, does he not?
25 A. Yes, sure.
1 Q. Did you ever try to interview him?
2 A. I never tried to interview him formally.
3 Q. So does that mean informally you tried to interview him?
4 A. That means indeed that I had a contact with him.
5 Q. Okay. All right. Well, that's good. So I take it during that
6 contact you had a conversation, no?
7 A. Yes, correct.
8 Q. All right. And how long did the conversation last?
9 A. Probably more than one hour.
10 Q. Okay. Now, I take it it wasn't about Naser Oric's handiwork that
11 you were discussing at that time, and by that handiwork I mean what he was
12 doing to the Serbs in and around the Srebrenica area?
13 A. There are two ways to collect information.
14 Q. Why don't you answer my question first, and then you can talk
15 about two ways of information collection.
16 A. Okay.
17 Q. What --
18 A. Again, I repeat -- again I, repeat, you are right when you say
19 that that his actions were not the point of this contact, since again I
20 repeat, the investigation I'm in charge of is not on that. Yeah.
21 Q. All right. Okay. But -- all right. Well, might I ask, because
22 you kind of piqued my interest here. I've got to tell you.
23 A. No, you already knew about it.
24 Q. Actually, I did not. But now I'm very fascinated, to be honest
25 with you. If you could tell me, about what year are we talking about?
1 A. I'll try to be as precise as possible. December 1999.
2 Q. December 1999. I take it that's -- that was in Tuzla?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. All right. That's -- was he still a businessman, you know, black
5 marketeering at the time when you met him?
6 A. I honestly don't know what his activities were in the area at that
8 Q. Okay.
9 A. But I know that the rumour says what you say.
10 Q. Okay.
11 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, could you show us the relevance of
12 this set of questions. You have to understand that tu quoque is not a
13 proper defence in this case.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: I totally agree with you, Your Honour. I totally
15 agree with you.
16 JUDGE LIU: We just want to know where you are going to lead us.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: I would be more than happy to, Your Honour. The
18 evidence will -- I think will come in through witnesses from the
19 Prosecution and through our witnesses that the members of the VRS, while
20 you had trained officers at the very top levels, that most of the soldiers
21 were citizen soldiers that were from the surrounding area. So for
22 instance, in Zvornik there would be citizens of Zvornik; in Bratunac, they
23 would be from Bratunac. They were reservists. And they would spend two
24 weeks on, two weeks off. Usually that was the -- the time period that
25 they served.
1 Where I'm getting at is this, Your Honour: That Naser Oric, it is
2 clear -- there's out there, there's plenty of documentation, was going
3 around, while Srebrenica was supposed to be demilitarised, he was sneaking
4 out and he was killing Serbs and he was burning down their villages and he
5 was committing atrocities.
6 Now, here we are today in this trial. If you have an army that
7 part of it -- part of that army -- part of that army is composed of
8 reservists that live in that area that have family members that were lost
9 during these atrocities, they on their own, whether they're serving or not
10 serving, on their own may be committing crimes that are not known to the
11 commander or where the commander is totally unaware of what's going on.
12 If somebody is off duty for his two weeks and hears what's going on and
13 has the opportunity to take personal revenge - I'm not justifying it. I'm
14 not saying that this is a defence. But what I am saying: It is a logical
15 consequence. And if somebody on his own, unknown to the commander,
16 commits a crime, under the laws that we are dealing with here, surely
17 command responsibility would not attach unless it fits within the strict
18 criteria of the law. And that's all I'm trying to get at this point, Your
19 Honour, that they did an investigation, it was selective in a way because
20 they -- if you look and see who was participating during those interviews.
21 You had a Prosecutor, Peter McCloskey, or Mr. Harmon there. You had
22 Richard Butler, who was a military analyst. You had Frasier [phoen],
23 another analyst. You had the professional investigator. All of them --
24 as we see here, the investigator comes in and anticipates what my
25 cross-examination is going to be. And today he's even anticipating what
1 the re-direct is. Surely they should have anticipated that hey, some of
2 these atrocities might have been committed by individuals acting on their
3 own, taking revenge for whatever reason. And I think that as a good
4 investigation they have a duty not just to make an assumption, form a
5 conclusion, and then try to reach for that evidence, excluding any other
6 possibilities and excluding any other efforts to see maybe there's some
7 exculpatory evidence here, maybe there are other avenues that are
9 That's all I'm trying to say, Your Honour. And I'm trying to lay
10 the foundation through this particular witness. But I totally agree with
11 you that you cannot justify saying that an atrocity happened; therefore,
12 you can commit another atrocity. That is totally unacceptable. Even one
13 death is unacceptable. And I would not be here making that argument, and
14 I pray that it never -- I never even insinuate that that is part of our
15 defence, because it is not.
16 JUDGE LIU: Well, I'm afraid that you could not get so much from
17 this witness on this point. I think most of your argument will be
18 presented during your case, that is, the Defence case, at a later stage.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: I agree with you, Your Honour. But I'm trying to
20 also, since the gentleman is here. He might be able to help us out. He
21 mentioned Naser Oric, that he had a meeting with him. I would like at
22 least a few questions. And if you feel that I'm straying away too much,
23 I'll be -- I'll be more than happy to back off. But if I could have some
24 indulgence, Your Honour, just a few moments to see if I can get a few
25 tidbits of information from the gentleman while he's still here before he
1 leaves off for France because I don't have access to him.
2 JUDGE LIU: You may try your luck by asking a few questions, but
3 not prolong.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
5 Q. All right. So now, when you met with Mr. Oric, did -- what was
6 the topic? What was the nature of the conversation?
7 A. The aim was not to collect any statement of -- out of him, since I
8 insist this was not the topic of the investigation, but I was trying to
9 obtain two informations from him: One was in connection with very -- I
10 mean, one very specific event that was -- that happened, I'd say, at the
11 beginning of the confrontation in that area, and that is information about
12 the murder of -- the killing of a man named Zoran Zekic. It is -- Zoran
13 Zekic was an SDS official in that area. And when the Muslim resistance
14 started in that zone - I use their words - the -- the death of Zoran Zekic
15 was used as a propaganda showing that Muslim forces could have victories
16 in this place.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Could the microphone be adjusted for the
18 witness, please.
19 A. -- this man, for instance, was Zoran Zekic.
20 We had other information about this event that we wanted just
21 to -- we wanted to check what was the knowledge of -- of Naser Oric on
22 this. And to put aside the investigation, in a way it's more connected
23 with more -- with the situation of Miroslav Deronjic, all this. It's a
24 bit a side -- a side investigation, if I can say so.
25 Q. Okay.
1 A. And the other point was -- unfortunately, I don't have the name of
2 the person in my head. It was in order to improve our knowledge about
3 involvement of state security personnel during the operation in Potocari.
4 So I wanted to use his personal recollection about one specific
5 individual. It's not that I don't want to give you the name. I just don't
6 recall it at this point.
7 Q. I don't need that.
8 But did the strength of the 28th Division ever come up, given that
9 there was battle activity in -- in the Zvornik area? I mean, you were
10 aware of that; right?
11 A. I mean, we are not, I think, here -- I mean, the Prosecution has
12 never challenged the -- the fact that heavy battles were conducted in the
13 forest. And when we talk about deaths, we only talk about prisoners who
14 went through a detention process. We have never counted battle casualties
15 as victims in this case. I mean, the Srebrenica case. But no, we didn't
16 discuss any -- anything about this battle aspect during this interview.
17 Q. Now, is that because in your mind, as the investigator, along with
18 the Prosecutors and the other analysts, in your mind that the -- the
19 battle activities that happened in that Zvornik area between the 28th and
20 the Zvornik Brigade were appropriate under the circumstances? Right?
21 A. I don't understand exactly the question. But I mean, we have
22 never, you know, challenged that point. I mean, we know that there was
23 heavy fighting going on. We know that that was a heavy burden for all the
24 officers who had to deal with it. And we know unfortunately that they
25 couldn't properly fulfil their duties on this topic because of -- of the
1 additional burden of having to conduct this security operation, like
2 Colonel Popovic would call it.
3 Q. All right. But -- but you don't dispute -- but just to make sure
4 that I understand it, you don't dispute that there were -- there was heavy
5 battle activity and that, at least from my understanding of your answer,
6 that that battle activity was not necessarily improper under the
8 A. Absolutely, no, the battle activity is battle activity, and we
9 have never charged, as far as I know, anyone for -- for the casualties
10 that occurred during this combat activity.
11 Q. Okay. All right.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Are we going to be taking a break soon, Your
13 Honour? If so --
14 JUDGE LIU: Well, if you've finished that subject and change --
15 MR. KARNAVAS: I've finished that subject, Your Honour, and I
16 don't want to take up the Trial Chamber's time. I'm trying to condense it
17 so I can finish today. And I am -- I am confident.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: And I --
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll have the break now, and we will resume at
21 twenty minutes to 6.00.
22 --- Recess taken at 5.10 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 5.41 p.m.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas. Please continue.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.
1 Q. Mr. Ruez, I'm going to switch to another topic. I want to focus
2 your attention, if you could, to that one piece of footage that you
3 introduced as a summary witness and which, I believe, it was Colonel,
4 Colonel Karremans, is speaking with General Mladic the first time to time.
5 Do you remember that footage?
6 A. Yes, I do.
7 Q. Okay. And correct me if I'm wrong. It's my recollection, from
8 watching the video, that at that particular meeting was initiated by
9 Colonel Karremans. Is that -- is that your understanding?
10 A. Yes. I remember I made a mistake when I made a comment on this.
11 I said that this first meeting had been done on the request of
12 General Mladic. But indeed you're absolutely right. It was on the
13 request of Colonel Karremans, as it appears clearly on the video footage.
14 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, during that meeting, it appeared to me
15 that at least prior to the meeting Colonel Karremans had initiated -- had
16 taken some initiatives of his own. And by that what I mean is that he had
17 made some contacts, and in particular one of them being with the -- the
18 BiH government in Sarajevo. Is that correct?
19 A. I honestly don't know if that is correct. I might indeed recall
20 that -- that aspect. I don't remember if it was BiH government in
21 Sarajevo. In my recollection it was the central command in Zagreb that he
22 attempted to get in contact with, or maybe headquarters in Sarajevo, but
23 probably certainly not the BiH government, I would think.
24 Q. Okay. So -- so as far as -- as far as your recollection goes -
25 and it could be that I'm mistaken. I was under the impression from
1 listening to that that, one, he had contacted either his folks in Zagreb,
2 that is, the UN, but also he had some information from the government in
3 Sarajevo, that information being that the folks in Potocari should be
4 evacuated, you know, outside the area.
5 A. I cannot answer on that point. His declarations are in the
6 records. I would invite you to check them. I don't want to recall
7 things --
8 Q. Okay.
9 A. -- instead of him.
10 Q. All right. Did you have an opportunity to interview Colonel
12 A. No, I never interviewed Colonel Karremans.
13 Q. Did somebody else interview him?
14 A. Yes, certainly.
15 Q. Did you have an opportunity to read his -- his statement, the
16 interview statement?
17 A. If that was the case, it was probably in 1996. I don't have
18 recollection of having read his statement in 1996, though certainly if he
19 gave one I did, but I don't recall. I mainly recall his declarations that
20 he made during the public hearing, the Rule 61 hearing, end of June, early
21 July 1996 and it's content, but I don't recall having read a statement he
22 gave prior to that situation, though he might have given one. I just
23 don't recall.
24 Q. Okay. Do -- did you -- I recall receiving some disclosure
25 material with respect to interviews or statements or forms that were
1 filled out by Dutch -- DutchBat soldiers. Was somebody else covering that
2 aspect of the investigation and you were focussing on -- on the mass
3 graves and other areas?
4 A. In a way, yes, since a team of Flemish speaking investigators was
5 put together for the sake of that interview mission that first took place
6 in Hassan, in a Dutch military barracks. I did not take part in that,
7 aside on the point of preparing some questions for those who would go to
8 this interview. This interview process, as far as I remember, was stalled
9 a couple of times, because unfortunately at that time there were some
10 financial problems at the OTP, so the process stalled for that reason at
11 one point. And I was indeed on mission in Bosnia, in Republika Srpska, I
12 think, during this interview process.
13 Q. Okay. Another -- another segment of some of the footage that we
14 saw -- and as you might recall, I -- I stood up and I made an objection --
15 well, I was asking for a clarification. Well, maybe it was an objection
16 as well, because as I recall, you had formed an opinion or a conclusion.
17 And that was with respect to the blue helmets. Do you remember that
19 A. Yes, I remember very well.
20 Q. Okay. In the footage we see someone wearing a blue helmet that
21 obviously belongs to the UN; right?
22 A. Right.
23 Q. And obviously that person is not with the UN that's wearing it.
24 A. Absolutely, yes.
25 Q. Okay. But in looking at that footage, based on the uniform that
1 the -- the gentleman was wearing at the time, can you tell from whether he
2 was a soldier or whether he was MUP?
3 A. I'm going to give you full satisfaction on this. When I said "on
4 this footage you can see a Serb soldier wearing a blue helmet," I said on
5 purpose -- I used on purpose a term that is quite large, "Serb soldier,"
6 since in the way I mean it, it is a word used for whoever is part of a
7 unit resubordinated to the Drina Corps for the sake of the military
8 operation. But you are right to pinpoint what you pinpointed. We know
9 not from the uniform, but Mr. Butler will be the one providing you the
10 details on this, that in this specific area we know for sure are present
11 both soldiers who are professional policemen but embedded in companies
12 formed by the CSB Zvornik in order to reinforce the army for specific
13 military operations. So they are, in brackets part-time soldiers. They
14 only go in combat for very specific situations.
15 And on that same part of the road, that is, between Lolici and
16 Kravica, with Sandici in the middle, are also present elements of a
17 special police brigade, that is, a full-time combat unit. So indeed it
18 could very well be that this soldier is either one or the other. So when
19 I say "soldier," here it means a number of the VRS armed forces that day -
20 because anyhow, he is in a combat operation where his unit is
21 resubordinated to the Drina Corps.
22 Q. Okay. Now, I wasn't prepared to into this area, but I guess I
23 need to clarify a little bit. You're not a military expert. We can agree
24 on that, can we not?
25 A. Though I'm a reserve officer in the French army, indeed I am not a
1 military expert.
2 Q. Okay. All right. Okay. And you're not here to testify as a
3 military expert.
4 A. Certainly not.
5 Q. Okay. We're going to leave that to Mr. Butler.
6 A. That's exactly what I expect to happen, yes.
7 Q. Okay. Okay. So -- and I am sure Mr. Butler is going to fascinate
8 us with the issue of subordination, resubordination, and what have you.
9 However, is it your understanding that everyone at all times during that
10 particular -- during those particular days that were in that vicinity were
11 subordinated or resubordinated, however you want to term it, to the army,
12 or is that an assumption that you're making?
13 A. No, this is not an assumption. This has been one of the main
14 topics during the trial of General Krstic. And as far as I understand the
15 situation, this resubordination aspect is no more a topic, since the Trial
16 Chamber has already ruled on this during the Krstic trial. But I am not
17 an expert of that trial, where I was only a witness at one point.
18 Q. But -- okay. So it's based on that -- that trial that now you're
19 saying that obviously he was a soldier, in your terms, that is, he was a
20 member of the VRS because everybody there in uniform at that time, during
21 those days, was subordinated to the VRS? It's an assumption that you're
23 A. No, I'm not making this assumption. What I am saying is that as
24 far as we know, both special police companies and special police brigade
25 were two units resubordinated to the Drina Corps. But to assist you in
1 where you probably want to lead me to is that I've never said that this
2 soldier was a member of the Bratunac Brigade.
3 Q. Well, I wasn't leading you there, but thank you for volunteering
4 that information. I'm sure it's useful to the -- to the Trial Chamber.
5 Now we can move on to the next area. How many hours would you
6 estimate that you spent on this case or days or weeks or months, whichever
7 is most convenient for you?
8 A. Close to six years, including most of the weekends and most of the
10 Q. Okay. So for about six years, basically Srebrenica has been more
11 or less your life.
12 A. Yes, correct.
13 Q. Okay. And -- but you, of course, were not the only one
14 investigating Srebrenica. There were others.
15 A. Definitely, yes. A large team. If we pile up all those who
16 participated at the moment or another, a very large team.
17 Q. Okay. Well, that's what I'm trying to get at, you know. I'm
18 trying to figure out how large of a team was this.
19 A. It would take you a long time to find out all these details,
20 because the figures evoluted in the time. When I say a large team,
21 counting everyone and counting in this all the exhumation team, all the
22 people we were in contact with for whatever reason in this investigation,
23 including the military personnel who assisted us, either by obligation or
24 sometimes because they felt it was appropriate to do so. But if you are
25 considering the investigation team, the maximum number of investigators
1 that has ever been present at the same time in the team has never been
2 above five.
3 Q. Okay. Would you consider this a -- a complex, highly complex
4 case, medium complex? Where would the range be?
5 A. I would leave it to others to assess the complexity of this case.
6 I've been too close in contact with it to now give an assessment about
8 Q. So are you saying you have no objectivity left as a result of the
9 six years you spent on this case?
10 A. No, I think my objectivity is absolutely intact. What I want to
11 say is that if it is indeed a highly complex case, that I think we
12 finalised quite well, I don't want to give me this compliment. I don't
13 know if it was complex. We just did it.
14 Q. Okay. Well, it was neither meant as a compliment or any other way
15 that you might have taken it. It was merely a piece of information that I
16 was trying to get out of you.
17 A. But I'll just tell you the reason why I can't answer that.
18 Q. Okay. Very well. And I won't push on it.
19 Now, you left in -- in 2001, and it's my understanding - and I
20 might be wrong - it was either before or right after or during the middle
21 of the Krstic case; is that correct?
22 A. It was close to the end of it, indeed.
23 Q. Close to the end of the trial -- the Krstic trial?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Okay. So that's been some time; right?
1 A. Two years, a bit more than two years.
2 Q. Two years. Right. Now, during that two-year period, someone who
3 has spent six years of their life working on this -- working on a
4 particular project, I would imagine you -- you followed -- you kept
5 following the progress of the investigation?
6 A. From a distance.
7 Q. From a distance. But would it be fair to say that you -- you have
8 spoken to your colleagues and friends?
9 A. Yes. Because I came back twice to Europe and met my friends and
10 colleagues and indeed got an update on the evolution of the situation
11 compared with the time I left.
12 Q. All right. Now, you say you came back to Europe. I take it it
13 was outside of Europe.
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. Okay. And before coming here today -- well, before coming to
16 testify, I should say, you did meet with the Prosecutors, did you not?
17 A. Not since I am under oath, but I was here in the weeks before I
18 was testifying.
19 Q. Okay. How long were you here before you testified?
20 A. Three weeks.
21 Q. Three weeks.
22 A. I would think. I arrived here Monday -- Sunday, 12th, starting
23 Monday, 13th, to be precise. May, month of May.
24 Q. Okay. And the purpose for meeting with the Prosecution was to --
25 to assist them in putting together your testimony.
1 A. Yes, correct. Selecting the exhibits the Prosecutor intended to
2 use for this trial.
3 Q. All right. And would it be fair to say that up until the time
4 that you left, a few people, perhaps, you know, Mr. McCloskey being the
5 exception, would have as much knowledge about the case as you would?
7 A. Yes, this is correct.
8 Q. All right. And that's why it was necessary for you to assist
9 their team - and it's a fairly large team, would you not say, that is
10 working -- putting this presentation together? I mean, I see - one, two,
11 three, four - four Prosecutors here in court.
12 A. Yes. I came here to assist them. In fact, narrowing down the
13 testimony compared to the one we did with during the trial of General
15 Q. Okay.
16 A. And selecting the exhibits, since indeed I'm the only one from the
17 team who was present when most of these pictures were taken, and among the
18 ones who can for sure say what they represent.
19 Q. All right. And during that time, as I understand it - and we got
20 a copy of it the other night - the questions were more or less outlined
21 for you, or the areas where there would be -- where you would be
22 questioned on; right?
23 A. Yes. The chronology of -- of the testimony was outlined point by
24 point, I'd say chapter after chapter.
25 Q. Right.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now, was that done by you or was that done by the Prosecutor that
3 did the questioning?
4 A. That was done by the Prosecutor.
5 Q. Okay. And did you just look at and it say, "Okay, this is okay,"
6 or did you have some input into it, sometimes maybe informing her that she
7 should add this or maybe relocate that chapter or ...?
8 A. The Prosecutor, Stacy de la Torre, knows this case extremely well.
9 Q. I didn't ask that question, now, did I?
10 A. No, I know you didn't ask, but --
11 Q. Just answer my question.
12 A. But in order to answer properly your question, I have first to say
13 that. If not, you would not understand my answer. Because of her
14 knowledge, it was not a need for me to -- to change much regarding what
15 she expected me -- what she expected from me during this testimony.
16 Q. All right. So she wrote out that, and you looked at it, and you
17 gave it your stamp of approval, as far as what you thought would be a good
18 compilation of a summary of your investigation and of this case; right?
19 A. We agreed that indeed that was the minimum we could put together
20 in order to -- to assist the Chamber to visualise the areas that the
21 witnesses describe in the course of their various testimonies.
22 Q. All right. Now, you said "we," meaning you and the Prosecution;
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You as a witness, who no longer works for OTP, for the Office of
1 the Prosecution, now in some kind of an expert capacity are working with
2 them, assisting them to assist the Trial Chamber and the rest of us,
3 hopefully, in the presentation of your testimony.
4 A. [No audible response]
5 Q. You're shaking your head. Does that mean yes?
6 A. Yes. Absolutely, yes.
7 Q. All right. We're trying to make a record here. That's all.
8 All right. And that took about, what, two or three weeks you
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Were those full days or half days? And weekends included.
12 A. It was depended on the days. I didn't take records of our
13 activities during these three weeks.
14 Q. Yeah, but you've got almost a photographic memory. You can
15 remember things from 1995. Surely you must remember whether -- how many
16 hours, tell us, in general might you have spent with Ms. de la Torre and
17 the other members of the team in assisting them in preparing your
18 testimony? It's not a trick question, by the way.
19 A. I know it's not a trick question, but -- and we have to split the
20 time spent in two -- in two different things. One is the time I spent
21 with Stacy de la Torre, and part of it is time I spent myself in -- to
22 review material. And as you know, for example, the videotape is three
23 hours and a half, so you look at this entirely is three hours and a half.
24 Then you have to re-look at it again because you realise that some -- I
25 mean, some pieces, for example, would not be inserted at the right
1 moments. I mean, I hardly can give you an estimate of time. I didn't pay
2 attention to that, really.
3 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, during that -- was it just you and Ms. de
4 la Torre, or were -- did you speak with others?
5 A. No, me and Ms. de la Torre.
6 Q. Just the two of you. You didn't have a chance to speak at all
7 with -- with Mr. McCloskey?
8 A. Not about the issue of this testimony.
9 Q. Okay. Did you speak about any other aspects of the case with
10 either Ms. de la Torre or other members of the Prosecution team?
11 A. Nothing specific, no.
12 Q. When you say "nothing specific," what does that mean? That's kind
13 of a vague answer.
14 A. Unfortunately, I have to keep it vague, because being under oath I
15 don't want to say -- to say a straight no, we didn't talk about anything
16 connected with the case. It's impossible for me not to speak about the
17 case and the investigation when I am in contact with colleagues who worked
18 with it. So for sure we probably discussed things, but no subject that I
19 would be able to -- to recall now specifically, a very specific issue.
20 Just in order to check if this would be something correct for you or not
21 correct. So I just can provide this information.
22 Q. All right.
23 A. But yes, we discussed the investigation. We discussed the case. I
24 did it with every single person from the team who I meet, just about to
25 make a little comment or whatever.
1 Q. Okay. And how many members all together on the team would you say
2 you have spoken to? Because I'm trying to get a figure as well of how
3 large this team is presently.
4 A. At this time, though I don't think it's a secret, you have one --
5 an investigation team leader and two investigators who were -- sorry,
6 three, two of them having been in the team since quite a while. The most
7 ancient investigator in the team currently is Mr. Dean Manning, who will
8 come and testify.
9 Q. And then of course the four Prosecutors, plus their -- their
10 assistants and --
11 A. I -- I mean, I'm not focussing on the trial team. I only talk
12 about the part I know about, which is the investigation team.
13 Q. All right. Were you kept abreast of the negotiations that were
14 ongoing at the time of your arrival between the Nikolic Defence team and
15 the Prosecution?
16 A. I didn't give any specifics about what was happening on that
17 topic, but I knew that there was indeed a possibility that at least one of
18 the defendants would plead guilty, yes.
19 Q. Okay. So you were -- just -- you just learned of this
20 information, but you didn't have -- for instance, nobody from the
21 Prosecution said, "Hey, you know, we're negotiating, we're talking. Any
22 thoughts since you met this man? Give us some insight on how he might be
23 thinking or what -- what might we do to persuade this particular
24 individual into -- into pleading guilty?" Did they ever do any of that
25 sort of thing?
1 A. No, nothing of that.
2 Q. Okay. And I take it that you -- you weren't presented with the--
3 I recall it's a statement of facts and admission -- and admissions or
4 something like that, or admissions of responsibility. That's how it's
5 phrased. You haven't looked at that either?
6 A. I had no role at all at any stage of these last developments. I
7 didn't participate at all in any aspect of it.
8 Q. Okay. I take it that -- I take it through our questioning here
9 there wasn't anything that I might have asked that in any way threw your
11 A. No.
12 Q. Okay. In other words, you haven't -- I want to make sure that
13 you've been treated fairly in your cross-examination.
14 A. Be fully assured on that point. Yes. Absolutely, yes. I thank
15 you for that.
16 Q. Okay. Well, I want to thank you very much, sir.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: I have no further questions, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
19 Ms. Sinatra, are you going to conduct your cross-examination now?
20 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour, if I might suggest, I think the witness
21 is probably tired, and I will have probably at least a half day or maybe a
22 whole day of cross-examination. If we could begin tomorrow, I would
23 appreciate it.
24 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think this request is reasonable. But
25 tomorrow morning we will start a little bit later against the schedule. We
1 will start at 10.00 in the morning until 1.00 and in the afternoon from
2 2.30 to 4.30. Do you think that's enough time for you to conduct your
4 MS. SINATRA: It's more than enough time, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE LIU: Are you sure of that?
6 MS. SINATRA: I'm positive.
7 JUDGE LIU: Well, if you don't have enough time, we have to sit on
8 Friday. The situation will be very awkward. We have to sit from 2.15 to
10 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour, I didn't know we were sitting in the
11 morning and the afternoon. I only thought I was starting at 2.15. And I
12 think I'll have plenty of time. Thank you.
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think the Registry issued a new scheduling
14 order that we'll sit a whole day tomorrow. But there are some practical
15 difficulties, that we have to start at 10.00 tomorrow morning. Is that
16 all right for you?
17 MS. SINATRA: Yes, Your Honour. I'll be prepared.
18 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
19 MS. SINATRA: Thank you.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Just a minor request.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Unless I'm interrupting here, because I thought
24 that Ms. Sinatra was -- was finished.
25 The gentleman indicated that there were submission requests - I
1 believe that's the technical term - those written -- the written plans
2 that would have to go up to the chain of command for him to conduct his
3 missions. In light of the -- his answers today, I would like to ask if at
4 all possible the OTP could provide us with those mission requests from the
5 beginning of Mr. Ruez's investigation until the time -- until, in fact,
6 today. I think it's -- I just -- I think it's relevant for the following
7 reasons, Your Honours:
8 One, we need -- it will become obvious during the part of our case
9 and in -- I think it's becoming obvious already through our
10 cross-examination that perhaps some efforts may have been made on behalf
11 of the accused that were not made by the -- by OTP. I'm not suggesting
12 that there's anything in there in particular, but I might -- I believe it
13 might be useful for us to have that. So I am making that request.
14 We don't need to make that decision today since the Court has
15 indicated that should we feel the need to bring back Mr. Ruez, and the
16 Prosecution agrees we can do so -- I'm not suggesting that's going to be
17 the case, but it might give us some insight into the -- into their
18 investigation. I would most appreciate it if the -- if the Trial Chamber
19 could consider this minor request.
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, I don't know if it's minor or big
21 Could I turn to Ms. De la Torre on this issue.
22 MS. DE LA TORRE: Your Honour, as Mr. Karnavas indicated, that his
23 reasoning for wanting this material is to give him some insight into the
24 investigation, which is precisely what Rule 70(A) is designed to protect.
25 That's clearly work product. It falls clearly within 70(A). Not to
1 mention the fact that Mr. Karnavas indicated that in light of his
2 questioning, this material would be relevant.
3 However, Mr. Ruez indicated that those requests did not exist,
4 that he did not make those requests in writing. So Mr. Karnavas
5 apparently is attempting to prove a negative. Mr. Ruez has freely
6 admitted that they do not exist. So his trolling through mission reports
7 for the past six years would simply be a fishing expedition and simply not
8 allowed under Rule 70(A).
9 JUDGE LIU: So you mean that those requests did not exist?
10 MS. DE LA TORRE: He asked Mr. Ruez, as I recall, repeatedly
11 whether or not he would find a mission request which detailed - for
12 example, a request to search the Bratunac Brigade headquarters - and
13 Mr. Ruez repeatedly said that he would not and explained the reasoning
14 behind that in that it was not a priority at that time.
15 So this -- the reasoning behind wanting these mission reports in
16 that they would give insight into the investigation is clearly prohibited
17 by the Rules.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, obviously my learned colleague has not read
20 the Rules very carefully and certainly doesn't know the case law on this.
21 I would -- I used the word "insight." I'm not looking for insight into
22 the gentleman's brain. I'm not looking for their strategy. I am,
23 however, looking to see what requests were made with respect to
24 investigation. They don't have to give the reasoning, but I do -- I
25 believe that in light of our theory of the case and in light of what the
1 Prosecution has indicated in their opening statement, where they
2 repeatedly, and hammered away, that the accused, three at the time, but
3 specifically pointing out to Mr. Blagojevic, went out of their way to
4 sanitise the records, to -- to take away all the documents and do all
5 these other sorts of things. This was also mentioned in one of their
6 other arguments. At some point we should be able to have the opportunity
7 to see what efforts were made by the investigation to do an objective
9 There was a specific reasoning, Your Honour, why I asked how many
10 people were working on this investigation and how many hours this
11 gentleman had put in. Obviously, when we're talking about equality of
12 arms, it's a no-brainer. We can see that there is no equality of arms.
13 Grant you, they have to begin the investigation, and we only need to
14 defend a particular individual. But surely we come after they have had an
15 opportunity to investigate, to speak with witnesses. They have resources.
16 And part of their obligation -- part of their obligation, though it's not
17 crystal clear in the ICTY Statute, though it is in the ICC Statute, that
18 they do have an obligation to look for exculpatory evidence with equal
19 zeal as they would look for inculpatory evidence.
20 And we are in a position, one, we don't have the resources; two, a
21 lot of years have gone by; and three, they've had opportunities which we
22 will never have. And I think in all fairness to Mr. Blagojevic and
23 Mr. Jokic we should be able to see how they progress in their -- in their
25 Mr. Ruez indicated that as early as 1995 he made assumptions.
1 Grant you, he's human, like the rest of us. He assumed that the Bratunac
2 Brigade was involved. Today we learned that it's not until 1998, although
3 he had been to the site where the brigade was located two times in 1996
4 and had the armed forces of the United States, who was over there in IFOR,
5 they didn't bother to collect any evidence; yet today, 2003, Mr. McCloskey
6 stands up and says Mr. Blagojevic was involved in sanitising these
7 records, a burden that he has to prove. Yet I want to be able to show,
8 Your Honour, that we have our own limitations, and I want to be able to
9 demonstrate in my cross-examination and in my own case, in my own
11 So in legion to all of this, because at the conclusion of the
12 Prosecution's case we're going to be following the Rules and we will be
13 requesting for motion of a judgement -- we will file a motion for
14 judgement of acquittal, of course. But more importantly we will be asking
15 indulgence of the Court for a reasonable recess in order to investigate
16 the -- what we have learned so far.
17 So I'm only thinking ahead. I'm trying to assist this Trial
18 Chamber in making sure that we finish on time. I'm trying to expedite the
19 matters. And there is a provision in the Rules, Your Honour, which
20 clearly foresee these circumstances. I could not have written the Rules
21 better myself. It allows the Trial Chamber to look at all this material
22 in advance should the Prosecutor feel that under Rule 70 somehow I am
23 prying into the sanctum sanctorum of the OTP, which is not what I am
24 trying to do.
25 And you can look at them, Your Honours, and you can see what, if
1 anything, should be kept from the Defence, because I would like to remind
2 the Trial Chamber that the issue of disclosure came up very, very early in
3 this case. The record is very clear. Motions have been filed. And it's
4 my understanding, based on the decision that was -- that came down from
5 Judge Schomburg that we should be entitled to their entire file at
6 Srebrenica, barring that which is work product. And this to me, Your
7 Honour, does not seem to fall into that. Maybe there is seem to fall
8 within that category. Maybe portions do. Maybe there are some private
9 thoughts, like Mr. Ruez, as to why they need to do certain things. God
10 forbid, I wouldn't want to pry into that. But I certainly would like to
11 know how they went about it.
12 Because if in 1999 or 1998 they claim certain documents were --
13 were sanitised, and now they want to put the blame on a particular
14 individual, that -- I have a problem with that. And I should be able
15 to -- to see what, if anything, they could have done to solve the case
16 properly and whether the investigation proceeded in an objective manner.
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, we'll look into this matter this evening,
18 especially look into the Rule 70. Then we will make rulings tomorrow.
19 Is there anything you want to add, Ms. de la Torre?
20 MS. DE LA TORRE: Yes, Your Honour. First of all, obviously the
21 suggestion that the Prosecution does not understand Rule 70(A) is absurd
22 and the childish barbs unprofessional. Despite Mr. Karnavas's fervent
23 desire that it be otherwise, Rule 70(A) is very clear. It says, "Reports,
24 memoranda, and other documents prepared by a party in connection with the
25 investigation or preparation of the case are not subject to disclosure."
1 I believe the Rules couldn't be more explicit in this case, and
2 Rule 70(A) applies to these sorts of documents.
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
4 So we are adjourned until 10.00 tomorrow morning.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.19 p.m.,
6 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 22nd day of May,
7 2003, at 10.00 a.m.