1 Monday, 5 July 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE LIU: Well, good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Mr. Court
6 Deputy, will you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-02-60-T, the Prosecutor versus Vidoje Blagojevic and Dragan Jokic.
9 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
10 Well, Mr. Stojanovic, are you ready for your first witness?
11 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, the witness is
12 ready. There is no need for any protective measures, as proposed by the
14 JUDGE LIU: And could we have the witness, please.
15 Well, by the way, Mr. Stojanovic, I've received the list of
16 exhibits to be shown to the first witness and you did not indicate the
17 status of those documents, whether they have already been admitted or
18 not. And we see that there are some Prosecutor's documents' number
19 there. Is it necessary for you to have your own number there? To us, so
20 long as the document is admitted, the effect and the weight are same, no
21 matter they're submitted by the Prosecution or by the defence.
22 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Just for
23 identification purposes we gave the Defence numbers, but these are
24 exhibits which were obtained from the Prosecution, which means that
25 finally, the already-given numbers to these exhibits will be used, the
1 numbers under which these exhibits have been admitted into the evidence.
2 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, good morning, Witness.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE LIU: Will you please make the solemn declaration in
7 accordance with the paper Madam Usher is showing to you.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
9 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
10 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down, please.
11 WITNESS: DUSKO VUKOTIC
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Mr. Stojanovic, the witness is yours.
14 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Examined by Mr. Stojanovic:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, sir.
17 A. Good morning.
18 Q. Could you please introduce yourself to the Trial Chamber.
19 A. Your Honours, my name is Dusko Vukotic.
20 Q. I would like you to spell your name because of the interpreters.
21 Could you please spell your first name and last name.
22 A. D-u-s-k-o V-u-k-o-t-i-c.
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vukotic. Could you please tell us your date of
24 birth and where you were born.
25 A. I was born on the 22nd of June, 1960 in the village of Trsic in
1 the municipality of Zvornik.
2 Q. That's in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. Mr. Vukotic, where did you grow up and where did you go to
6 A. I was born in a family of five and I went to elementary school,
7 to the first four years of elementary school, in Trsic, where I was born.
8 Two years of elementary school. After that, class 5 and 6, I completed
9 in the village of Kozluk, which is also in the municipality of Zvornik in
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
11 In 1972, my family moved to the village of Nikinci in the
12 municipality of Ruma in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. That is in
13 the territory of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
14 what's today known as Serbia and Montenegro. This is where I finished my
15 high school. Actually, I completed the classes 7 and 8 of my elementary
16 school in the village of Nikinci, then I went to the Stevan Puzic High
17 School in Ruma, after which in 1979 I enrolled in the Faculty of
18 Philosophy in Novi Sad, which I completed in 1974 --
19 THE INTERPRETER: In 1984. Interpreter's correction, in 1984.
20 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. When you say "the Faculty of Philosophy" did you attend a special
22 department or did you specialise in your studies at the Faculty of
24 A. The faculty includes several scientific groups and I graduated in
25 the subject of philosophy.
1 Q. Once you completed your education did you immediately begin to
2 work or did you continue to specialise in a different topic?
3 A. Once I graduated at the Faculty of Philosophy, I gained the title
4 of Professor of Philosophy and very soon I began to work in the same
5 school which I attended -- in the same high school that I attended. I
6 got a job in that same high school and also in another high school in
7 Ruma, which is called Milenko Brzak Uca, and I taught philosophy and
9 Q. And how long did you work as a professor at school?
10 A. I worked as a professor very briefly, for only six months because
11 already as a student I got married. In the third year of my studies,
12 I -- me and my wife had a daughter. The salary of a professor was not
13 enough to live normally, and there was a vacancy in the People's Army, in
14 the newspaper or the bulletin of the former Yugoslav People's Army,
15 whereby it was possible for those who completed universities and at the
16 same time had already served in the army in certain branches and services
17 could become professional soldiers after passing additional examinations.
18 At the time, the Yugoslav People's Army offered certain benefits, so I
19 applied for this vacancy, after which I underwent medical examinations
20 and other tests, and in Banja Luka I went to the training centre for the
21 mechanised and armoured units where I passed the tests and got the rank
22 of lieutenant, so that I began my professional career in the former
23 Yugoslav People's Army in 1986.
24 Q. Does that mean that when you applied for this vacancy you had
25 already served in the military, and in which service had you served, if
2 A. Yes. I had already served my military term. I attended the
3 school of reserve officers in the armoured units division in Banja Luka.
4 Q. The fact that you had to be a reserve officer, was that one of
5 the conditions in order for you to be able to apply for this vacancy?
6 A. Yes, that is correct.
7 Q. Thank you. Let us now turn to your professional military career.
8 So from 1986 you were a member of the Yugoslav People's Army.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And what did you do until 1992?
11 A. In September 1986 I was assigned as commander of the 1st Tank
12 Platoon of the Tank Company as part of the armoured battalion in Ruma. I
13 think after about a year spent in this job I was sent to Pozarevac, to
14 the Guards Brigade, which was also an armoured guards brigade. I was
15 sent to train as commander of a company where I stayed for three months,
16 after which I returned to my home unit in Ruma and I returned to my duty
17 as commander of the 1st Tank Platoon.
18 In 1988, I -- this unit was actually transferred to Sremska
19 Mitrovica to be a part of the 453rd Mechanised Brigade at the time. And
20 in this 453rd Mechanised Brigade, I was appointed commander of a tank
21 company. And as commander of the tank company, I stayed there until the
22 16th of August, 1992 when I joined the Zvornik Brigade in Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina. By that time I already had the rank of captain.
24 Q. Could you please tell us a little bit about how it came about
25 that you transferred or came to Zvornik to the territory of the Zvornik
1 Brigade and to join the Army of Republika Srpska, the VRS.
2 A. I cannot remember the date exactly when the officers and younger
3 officers, junior officers, non-commissioned officers from the 1st Army of
4 the Yugoslav People's Army were called upon in Belgrade to attend a joint
5 meeting at the Yugoslav army hall in Topcider. Combat operations at the
6 time in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina were well underway. In
7 view of the fact that in the former Yugoslav People's Army, following the
8 events in Croatia, Slovenia, it was quite common for officers from the
9 Yugoslav People's Army who were members of various ethnic groups mainly
10 joined the composition of their newly formed national armies. So in the
11 same way, we - members of the Serbian ethnic groups who were born in the
12 territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina - received a similar call, which I
13 responded to, because I received this call officially through my command,
14 the command of the 453rd Mechanised Brigade.
15 Q. May I just interrupt you for a second.
16 A. Please go ahead.
17 Q. This call, was it received by officers who were born in the
18 territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina or was it also received by other
19 officers who were not born in that area? I'm now speaking about that
20 specific meeting at Topcider.
21 A. As far as I know, at that time, that meeting, which was held in
22 late July or early August 1992, was attended mostly by officers and NCOs
23 who were born in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 Q. Who conducted the meeting and how did it proceed, this meeting
25 that you started to describe for us?
1 A. The meeting was attended by many senior officers. When I say
2 "many," I think there were more than 300 of them, up to perhaps even 400.
3 But there was no roll-call, so this is just my personal assessment that
4 the meeting was attended by 3 to 4 hundred senior officers.
5 The meeting was opened by someone from the command of the 1st
6 Army of the JNA at the time. I really cannot remember who it was, of the
7 officers. The meeting was attended -- we were introduced, actually, at
8 the meeting to Mr. Ratko Mladic. I don't remember the rank he held at
9 the time. I don't remember if he was major general or lieutenant general
10 already. We were also introduced to Mr. Zdravko Tolimir.
11 The meeting mostly consisted of a presentation of a
12 military-expert view of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
13 Mr. Mladic, on that day at that meeting, presented to us the situation in
14 Bosnia and Herzegovina, certain areas of combat operations with emphasis
15 on certain conflicts in certain areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and he
16 stressed at the time that in Bosnia and Herzegovina the Army of Republika
17 Srpska which was just being formed at the time did not have enough expert
18 personnel who could command under the concept of people under weapons and
19 that that concept of the conflict. Perhaps I would make a mistake if I
20 said that at the time there was an explicit order by Mr. Ratko Mladic for
21 us to respond to this call, that we had to respond to the call and come
22 to the Bosnia and Herzegovina. And I must say that at the time the
23 command of the 1st Army was very cautious in issuing explicit orders
24 about our participation and about our departure for Bosnia and
1 Q. Let me interrupt you at this point. Did you personally receive
2 any direct order that you had to go to Bosnia and Herzegovina, or was it
3 simply an appeal, a suggestion, a request?
4 A. At that point in time, it was not a strict order that we had to
5 go to Bosnia and Herzegovina. This led to a very poor response because
6 as far as I can recall, out of that entire group, out of those 3 or 4
7 hundred officers, I think that on the 16th of August only about 60
8 officers went there with me, so that the response to this suggestion was
9 poor. However, with the passage of time orders arrived, and in the
10 meantime I did receive an official order about my stay in the Army of
11 Republika Srpska.
12 Q. And what would have happened if you hadn't gone? Would there
13 have been any consequences with regard to your professional career?
14 A. It's hard to speculate about that now, but I think there would
15 have been consequences because I know that for the most part officers who
16 refused such orders did not remain in the army. I think that for each
17 one of us our existential concern for our family - and I have to mention
18 that in the meantime my wife and I had had another daughter - I didn't
19 think about it much. I also have to point out that at that time I felt
20 it to be my patriotic and professional duty to respond to the call of the
21 people. I have to say, however, that with hindsight my opinion is that
22 the evil would have been far greater had professional officers not taken
23 part in the conflict among the peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Stojanovic, as you understand, the
25 character and the nature of the armed conflict is not the subject matter
1 of this case and we are interested in what happened when the witness
2 joined the Zvornik Brigade, especially during the critical period of
3 1995. Would you please pass this section and come directly to the
4 subject matter of this case.
5 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. This was my
6 last question in this area.
7 Q. Mr. Vukotic, we will now continue from the 16th of August, 1992,
8 when you arrived in the Zvornik Brigade. Would you tell us briefly what
9 you did on your arrival in the brigade.
10 A. On the 16th of August, with 60 other officers I arrived in Han
11 Pijesak, where I was assigned to the Zvornik Brigade. I already then had
12 the task of forming a reconnaissance sabotage unit whose first task would
13 be to liberate the Zvornik-Drinjaca-Milici-Vlasenica communication, in
14 view of the fact that at that time this was one of the main
15 communications on the Sarajevo-Zvornik-Bijeljina route and it was
16 unusable. Another route was being used which was extremely risky.
17 As of the 19th of August, 1992, I assumed the duty -- I can't
18 recall exactly what the title was at the time. I think I was the leader
19 or commander of the Reconnaissance Sabotage Unit, and from the
20 already-existing reconnaissance platoon and the already-existing sabotage
21 platoon, I was to form a Reconnaissance Sabotage Platoon --
22 THE INTERPRETER: Company - interpreter's apology.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And these two units were to be
24 melded into a larger unit and this was to become in fact a Reconnaissance
25 Sabotage Detachment. Official orders arrived to this effect from the
1 Main Staff through the Drina Corps, and these arrived in the Zvornik
3 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Would you please tell us how long you performed the duty of
5 commander of the 1st Reconnaissance Company, which then became a
7 A. I have to point out that while establishment-wise this larger
8 unit was being formed, combat activities were going on. This was not
9 purely theoretical work, but there were already certain combat activities
10 going on.
11 On the 31st of October, 1992 I was wounded in the village of
12 Kitovnice, not far from Zvornik, and after my wounding I went for medical
13 treatment and rehabilitation. I stayed there for about a month.
14 On my return, I again assumed the duty of commander of the
15 Reconnaissance Sabotage Detachment, because in the meantime it had been
16 established and it was lined up in May 1993 on the FK Drina Football
17 Stadium in Zvornik. There I reported to Mr. -- or rather, to
18 General Milenko Zivanovic, who was then the commander of the Drina Corps.
19 It was actually the commander of the Zvornik Brigade who reported to him,
20 and I reported to the commander of the Zvornik Brigade.
21 I remained at that post for a very brief time, actually; until
22 July 1993, I think. Another officer took over from me on that day and
23 because of the consequences of my wounding - and this was causing me ever
24 greater problems - I went to the brigade staff.
25 Q. Let me interrupt you here. This Podrinjski Detachment, the
1 Reconnaissance and Sabotage Detachment; did it have a popular name, so to
3 A. In establishment term, it was called the Podrinjski Detachment
4 of Special Forces, but people referred to it as the Drina Wolves, because
5 it was formed from the nucleus I have just mentioned, the corps I have
6 just mentioned. And this name had already been used to describe the
7 sabotage platoon.
8 Q. Who at that time was the commander of the Zvornik Brigade? We
9 are referring to the summer of 1993.
10 A. When the Podrinjski Detachment of Special Forces was being
11 established in the form I have described and in the form in which I lined
12 up the unit, the commander was already Mr. Vinko Pandurevic. I think at
13 that time he was a major by rank.
14 Q. Was Vinko Pandurevic the commander of the brigade in July 1995?
15 A. Yes, he was.
16 Q. And in 1993, who was the Chief of Staff and the deputy of the
17 brigade commander?
18 A. I think at that time, while I was commander of the Podrinjski
19 Detachment of Special Forces, the Chief of Staff was already Mr. Dragan
21 Q. And this duty of Chief of Staff and commander of the Zvornik
22 Brigade, was it something he performed in July 1995?
23 A. Well, I'm certain about July 1995. I'm not so certain about July
24 1993, because in the Zvornik Brigade quite a few chiefs of staff took
25 turns. So if I am mistaken, I hope it will not be held against me,
1 because I really can't recall, but I think that Mr. Obrenovic was there
2 in July 1993, and I'm certain he was there in July 1995.
3 Q. Thank you. And who took over from you as commander of the
4 Podrinje Detachment?
5 A. The detachment popularly known as the Drina Wolves was taken over
6 by Mr. Milan Jolovic as its commander.
7 Q. In this period - I am referring to the period up to 1995 - did
8 you get to know Dragan Jokic?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Would you briefly tell us where you met him and how, and what
11 duty he was performing at the time.
12 A. I met Mr. Dragan Jokic for the first time in the Vidikovac Hotel,
13 which is located 2 kilometres or a kilometre and a half to the north --
14 or rather, to the south of Zvornik, where the Reconnaissance Platoon was
15 quartered. And as I have described, later the Podrinje Detachment was
16 formed from that unit. That is when we met for the first time, and I
17 think at that time Mr. Jokic was the commanding officer in charge of this
18 unit, which was quartered in this hotel. I think that he was training
19 this unit at the time and looking after them, and this was the first time
20 I met him. What his duty was establishment-wise and what his official
21 title was establishment-wise, I'm not sure. I'm really not sure.
22 Q. At one point in the second half of 1992 did he perform the duty
23 of chief of staff of the Zvornik Brigade?
24 A. As I say, I must be cautious in making statements about who was
25 performing what duty at that time. I think it's very likely he was
1 already the chief of staff of the Zvornik Brigade. He did hold that post
2 in one period; I'm sure of that, but I'm not sure in what period. I am
3 sure, however, that Mr. Jokic was Chief of Engineers in July 1995.
4 Q. Thank you. We shall return to his position as Chief of
5 Engineers, but allow me first to briefly go through your professional
6 movements until July 1995.
7 In 1993, in the second half of that year, you went to the command
8 of the staff to the intelligence and security organ. Did I understand
9 you well?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Does this mean that at that time in the Zvornik Brigade the
12 intelligence and security organ was a single organ?
13 A. No. The intelligence and security organ underwent certain stages
14 of unified action and separate action. At that time I was the assistant
15 of the Chief of Staff for Intelligence Matters, and this intelligence
16 department had two officers, myself - at that time, I think I was a
17 captain or a captain first class, I can't remember exactly - and I had a
18 clerk. The security organ was a separate organ, but later on there was a
19 brief period when this organ was unified, and then there was a third
20 stage and that is the subject of my testimony today. And in that period
21 it was again separate. To be quite precise: In 1993 when I was assigned
22 to the brigade staff, at that point it was a separate organ. I was the
23 assistant of the Chief of Staff, and Mr. Nikolic was then the Chief for
24 Security, that is, the assistant of the Commander for Security.
25 I remained at that post -- or rather, from that post, without
1 changing my establishment post by an official order. I was sent to the
2 area of the then - I think - I think 7th Infantry Battalion, because the
3 battalions also changed their establishment names, so I will stick to the
4 location to describe the units. I was sent to the village of Lokanj, to
5 the Lokanj Battalion, and this was a little bit before the new year of
6 1994. I think it was in November, because at that time there were major
7 offensives of the Teocani Brigade against the line of defence of our
8 brigade, and at that time the battalion line was broken through and 14
9 soldiers of Republika Srpska were killed. These men had remained in the
10 hands of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
11 Q. Mr. Vukotic, just one second. I would like to ask the usher to
12 show you a document. It's a document on the structure of the Zvornik
14 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] And for identification purpose,
15 Your Honour, this is a part of Mr. Richard Butler's report, Prosecution
16 Exhibit P357 [sic]. And for identification purposes this is Defence
18 Q. Mr. Vukotic, once you get this document --
19 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Stojanovic, what's the number for the
20 Prosecution's exhibit? I think something is wrong.
21 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] This is Prosecution Exhibit 367.
22 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. It has already been admitted
23 into evidence, I suppose?
24 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is part of
25 the evidence on the military events in Srebrenica from Mr. Richard
1 Butler's report, so this is a segment from that report.
2 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
3 [Microphone not activated] Thank you very much. You may proceed.
4 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may I continue?
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
6 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 Q. Mr. Vukotic, you have in front of you a document of the structure
8 of the Zvornik Brigade in the relevant period in July 1995. Let us just
9 briefly go through the document. At that time, who was the commander of
10 the brigade?
11 A. At the time the commander of the brigade is Vinko Pandurevic.
12 Q. Who was the Chief of Staff and the deputy of the commander of the
14 A. The Chief of Staff and deputy commander to have brigade at the
15 time was Major Dragan Obrenovic.
16 Q. Who is in the inner command?
17 A. The inner command is the commander, the Chief of Staff, or the
18 deputy commander, the assistant commander for security.
19 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Stojanovic, could -- yes, we have put it on
20 the ELMO. And I hope it could be blown up, since the words are very
22 Thank you.
23 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will
24 ask for it to be zoomed in to the maximum, because it's not very easily
25 visible. And then we can confirm through this witness what is stated
2 Could I please ask the technical -- the technicians to zoom in as
3 much as possible so that we could see the positions in the brigade.
4 Q. If I may ask you for the transcript to repeat the answer to the
5 last question, which was who constituted the inner command.
6 A. The inner command of the brigade comprised the following: The
7 commander of the brigade, Mr. Vinko Pandurevic; the Chief of Staff and
8 also the deputy commander of the brigade, Mr. Dragan Obrenovic; the
9 assistant commander for security, Mr. Drago Nikolic; the assistant
10 commander for morale and religious affairs, I think at that time that was
11 Mr. Nenad Simic; and the assistant commander for logistics, Mr. Sreten
12 Milosevic. I must emphasise - and I assume this is something that this
13 Trial Chamber already knows - and that is that the command of the brigade
14 depends on the kind of brigade that we're talking about. In this case
15 we're talking about an infantry brigade, in view of the fact that there
16 are different brigades than the commands and the staffs of those brigades
17 are adapted to that and they can be different. In this case, this was
18 the structure of the Zvornik Infantry Brigade at that time.
19 Q. Does that mean that these five people that we have termed as the
20 inner command by establishment are practically above the officers in the
21 staff of the brigade?
22 A. Yes, in any case that is so.
23 Q. Could you please help us. Could you explain the structure of the
24 Zvornik Brigade Staff in July 1995. Who was at the head of the staff
25 and, according to your recollection, who were the officers who were in
1 the Zvornik Brigade Staff?
2 A. Please understand the following: The names and functions are
3 something that I can speak about only in cases where I am sure. Why am I
4 emphasising this? For the reason that there were very frequent changes
5 on establishment posts. What I am sure of, though, is that in July 1995
6 the Chief of Staff of the brigade, Mr. Dragan Obrenovic, he was at that
8 The chief for communications, who was also part of the staff --
9 even today I'm not sure whether this was Mr. Petrovic or Mr. Mico
10 Jovicic. I'm not sure. But it was definitely one of those two, Petrovic
11 or Mico Jovicic.
12 The staff command commander - and I'm sure of that - was
13 Mr. Milenko Jovanovic at that time. The assistant Chief of Intelligence
14 was myself, Mr. Dusko Vukotic. The assistant for personnel affairs or
15 the chief of the so-called personnel section was Mr. Mihajlo Galic, who
16 spent the longest time at that post. The assistant for training and
17 operations was Mr. Miro Dragutinovic.
18 I cannot recall -- oh, yes. The Chief of Engineering was
19 Mr. Dragan Jokic.
20 Whether we had anyone in charge of artillery at that time, the
21 chief of artillery, if we did have such a person, then it was
22 Mr. Maksimovic, although it seems to me that at the time he was the
23 commander and I cannot remember who was the chief at that function for
24 the artillery.
25 I also don't know if we had filled the establishment post of
1 chief of the so-called PVO, anti-aircraft defence. I cannot remember
3 I'm speaking - and I'm not looking at this diagram much because
4 it's not very easy to see; and even if I could see it well - for example,
5 I could see Milenko Kajtez here, but I'm not sure that in 1995 -- I mean,
6 that officer was in the brigade, but I'm not sure that at that time, the
7 time we're dealing with, he was actually at that post. So I'm not sure
8 of that and I would not like to say whether he was or not.
9 Q. Was there a post in the staff structure of the commander or chief
10 of the staff office or the staff command, as it is in the terminology of
11 the VRS?
12 A. Yes. I already said that the staff headquarters commander was
13 Milenko Jovanovic. The staff command, the word itself, indicates that
14 this was a kind of technical section providing administrative services,
15 so I am not sure whether this is something that is considered as a
16 formation. That is why I didn't mention it, even though we did have a
17 staff office. We had soldiers and officers who were doing those duties,
18 but I'm not sure whether that staff office is actually included in the
19 structure of the staff.
20 Q. These chiefs, the staff officers of the branches and the
21 assistant chiefs, who were they directly subordinated to?
22 A. First of all, I can speak about myself, of course, and I can
23 speak about general things from these military-expert regulations and
24 rules, to the extent that I'm familiar with them and to the extent to
25 which I understood the functioning of the staff. Generally speaking, it
1 is clear that the Chief of Staff heads the staff, and that from the
2 preamble and the attributes we were the assistants of the Chief of Staff
3 in certain areas, and that in itself points to a certain degree of
4 subordination. It points to who is managing and organising the work of
5 the staff, who has the function to issue orders within the staff and who
6 has the function to provide advisory functions, and who participates in
7 certain sections of the work.
8 So the precise answer to your question is that the Chief of Staff
9 manages and organises -- manages the staff and organises the work of the
11 Q. Thank you. Let us now comment on your post, and then you can
12 help us as much as you can about the Chief of the Engineering Service.
13 So you were the assistant of the Chief of Staff for Intelligence Affairs.
14 A. Yes, that is correct.
15 Q. Did you have any subordinated units that you were controlling and
16 commanding in a certain sense, in a military-expert sense?
17 A. No. In that sense, at that point in time, no. In the
18 military-expert sense, the concept -- the main concept and the military
19 rules spoke about the Chief of Staff -- or the assistants of the Chief of
20 Staff for Intelligence were to deal with the expert use and the expert
21 training. They were supposed to work on the training and to propose to
22 the Chief of Staff of the manner these units are supposed to be used,
23 because according to military regulations the Assistant Chief of Staff
24 for Intelligence, in his description of his duties, has the priority to
25 secure combat operations in the -- from the intelligent aspect. And the
1 intelligent securing of combat operations is carried out by the gathering
2 of intelligence or information about the other side. And this gathering
3 of information or data, as a rule, is carried out in several ways: It's
4 done through reconnaissance; through sabotage activities; it's carried
5 out by gathering data from the population, from the local population;
6 it's carried out through electronic surveillance and anti-electronic
7 activities; it is carried out by taking information or obtaining
8 information from prisoners of war. These are all methods and ways in
9 which the Assistant Chief of Staff, following the gathering and the
10 checking of information, can influence the intelligence-securing of
11 combat operations.
12 Q. Allow me just to interrupt you for a second. You said amongst
13 other things that the information you gathered also came from statements
14 taken from prisoners of war.
15 A. Yes, that is correct.
16 Q. What is the level of the duties or responsibility or the attitude
17 of the intelligent organ towards prisoners? Or more simply put: Who is
18 responsible for the prisoners of war?
19 A. The information -- the intelligence officer has the right only to
20 take information, as far as prisoners of war are concerned; primarily, of
21 course, this relates to information concerning the unit which the
22 prisoner of war comes from, or all information that the prisoner of war
23 can provide in order to secure their own combat operations, and this
24 delineates the obligations of the intelligence officer towards the
25 prisoners of war: care about his life, his provision of food, his
1 status. All of those things provided under the Geneva Conventions is
2 something that the security organs are in charge of. That's what they
3 are responsible for. Specifically. I'm talking about general things.
4 Securing prisoners of war or guarding them is the duty of the military
5 police, which is under the security organ. Providing meals, food,
6 hygiene, and that kind of care is indirectly the care of the logistics
7 command. So the essence is -- to make it very simple -- is as follows:
8 Their lives in any event are primarily under the care of the security
9 organs and indirectly under the care of the logistics officers, the
10 Assistant Commander for Logistics who is in charge of providing material
11 supplies for his own unit, his own units, as well as prisoners of war.
12 Q. Thank you. During that time, did you have the opportunity to use
13 these methods to interview prisoners of war in order to gather
14 information and intelligence about the enemy? You can say yes or no,
15 because we will discuss this in more detail later.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. Let us just go back to this chart of the structure of
18 the Zvornik Brigade. Below you there is the name of Milos Petrovic or
19 Milos Petkovic.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Could you please tell us who that was, because later on he might
22 crop up during your testimony.
23 A. Petkovic Milos was a mobilised person who was in this organ
24 before I arrived to the intelligence organ at the brigade command, and he
25 was performing the duty of intelligence affairs clerk. At the time -- or
1 during the stage when the intelligence security organ prior to this
2 period was a single unit, at that time he also performed this same
3 function. With my appointment as Assistant Chief of Staff for
4 Intelligence, he continued to perform this work, even after the work of
5 these two organs was separated.
6 Q. Does this mean that in the structure of the Zvornik Brigade the
7 security organ in July 1995 was completely separate from the organ for
8 intelligence affairs?
9 A. This is an indisputable fact.
10 Q. Thank you. And only one more question, very briefly: The
11 intelligence organ professionally, according to the hierarchy, was it
12 also subordinate to the intelligence organs of the Drina Corps?
13 A. Yes. All intelligence information -- or rather, all intelligence
14 reports that were submitted to a superior, so the reports went up the
15 chain of command and information went down the chain of command.
16 Respecting this principle, the military rules provided for us as the
17 Chief of Staff for Intelligence -- his duty was not only to provide
18 intelligence for combat operations but also the intelligence officers in
19 the brigade were directly subordinate to the so-called intelligence
20 departments at the next level up. In this case, it was the intelligence
21 department of the Drina Corps. To be quite precise and to explain this
22 fully, the Assistant Chief of Staff, when assigned to the brigade, was in
23 terms of discipline responsible to the Chief of Staff. He could not
24 leave his post or go to perform any task without getting approval for
25 this from the Chief of Staff. But as for his professional work, his
1 professional instructions, he always had to consult, especially in more
2 difficult cases -- when I say "more difficult," I mean the following: If
3 an intelligence organ with respect to a source of information had to use
4 an unusual source -- to be quite specific, if he wanted to collaborate
5 with somebody from the enemy ranks -- he first had to get approval from
6 his superior intelligence department.
7 Q. Thank you. Let us now focus on the Chief of Engineers. I
8 understood that you said he was also a staff officer.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. At that time, it was Dragan Jokic.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. What were the authorities and competencies of the Chief of
13 Engineers and were they at the same level at the authorities and
14 competencies of your service?
15 A. Yes. The Chief of Engineers was primarily or was supposed to be
16 an educated officer specialising in the engineers and Mr. Jokic, as far
17 as I know, did have this training. I never talked to him about his
18 education, but as far as I can tell he was educated in engineering and
19 his knowledge of the professional convinced me that it was in fact his
20 specialty. Analogously, he was also Assistant Chief of Staff, just like
21 I was, and in the military and professional sense he was to advise the
22 Chief of Staff with regard to his specialty. This did not mean that the
23 Chief of Staff had to accept his advice as competent, but in principle
24 that was what was envisioned, because no commander and no chief of staff
25 can be familiar with every segment of military professionals. That is
1 why there were various officers with various kinds of knowledge holding
2 various posts who had an advisory role, because it was supposed that they
3 knew their areas of expertise better than the chief of staff did. And in
4 this mosaic of general knowledge before a decision was made, the chief of
5 staff was supposed to hear out his assistants in order to be able to
6 propose the most efficient solution in a given situation.
7 Q. Thank you. At that time - and I'm referring to July 1995 - was
8 there an Engineers Company in the Zvornik Brigade?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And did it have its command structure at the time, as far as you
11 can recall?
12 A. As far as I know, like any company of any other purpose, it did
13 have its own command structure. I think that at that time, whether it
14 had a chain of command with a komandir, a deputy komandir and platoon
15 leaders, well, I don't really know. I didn't go into that. But I do
16 know that they had a company commander. I know that this establishment
17 post was filled. I can't remember about the rest. So the answer to your
18 question is yes; at that time the engineers did have an Engineers
19 Company, which had its own commander.
20 Q. The commander of the Engineers Company, did he according to the
21 rules actually command the Engineers Company?
22 A. As a rule, yes.
23 Q. Is it possible in a situation of war, of combat operations and
24 intensive fighting, the chief of staff or the brigade commander issues
25 orders directly to the Engineers Company?
1 A. In situations of war, especially in the situation we are
2 referring to at this period, there was a lot of that, perhaps more than
3 the regular use of units, because the military hierarchy at that point in
4 time -- there was a principle of unity of command and the principle of
5 subordination, but this could not be viewed ideally or typologically
6 because chaos prevailed. There was chaos everywhere: In depth, at the
7 front line, at the defence sector, at the point where there was contact
8 between the BH army and the VRS army. There was a breakthrough by large
9 numbers of soldiers. There were situations, the kind of situations that
10 you describe, and there were many more of these than the rules would
11 normally allow.
12 Q. Allow me to ask you briefly about Dragan Jokic, which is the
13 reason we are here today. Can you describe for us his personality, his
14 influence in the staff, his character, his position and the authority he
15 held in the staff at that time, and his relations with the Chief of
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Stojanovic, it's a compound question. It's
18 so big, you know. And I understand that the witness is eager to give the
19 evidence, but you have to take, well, lead, you know, to direct this
20 witness to some specific answers. Let's deal with those, you know,
21 questions one by one. We want you to put to the witness some questions
22 in very concrete form.
23 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will.
24 Q. Mr. Vukotic, can you tell us what the position of Dragan Jokic as
25 a person was in this staff structure in July 1995 and the following
2 A. I told you when I first met Dragan Jokic, and, of course,
3 throughout these evil times which are now behind us, I formed a personal
4 impression about this man, both as a professional and as a person. I
5 feel that in the professional sense, regardless of his expertise and
6 level of knowledge - because there is no doubt that he knew more than
7 anyone else in the brigade about his specialty - I feel, however, that
8 the attitude of his superiors towards him was never proportional to his
9 knowledge. I never thought about why this was so, but to be quite
10 specific, he did not enjoy any position of authority.
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Waespi.
12 MR. WAESPI: It's just not responsive. Now he talks about the
13 attitude of the superiors towards Mr. Jokic, which wasn't the question.
14 JUDGE LIU: Well, I quite understand that. Maybe that's the
15 difference between the two legal systems, the common-law system and the
16 civil-law legal system. And it's almost time for the break.
17 And, Mr. Stojanovic, I hope that you could reorganise your
18 question and ask some specific questions, one by one.
19 And, Witness, during the break I hope you could think all those
20 questions over. In this trial you have to be very responsive to the
21 questions directly put to you. Most of the questions could be answered
22 by simply saying yes or no. If the Defence counsel need more
23 information, he will ask you some specific questions following up your
24 answer. Do you understand that?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand, Your Honour. In my
1 desire to assist the Court I felt it was important to say as much as
2 possible. But I will respect your instructions. And of course, it's
3 much easier for me to reply with a yes or no.
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, I quite understand that -- your eagerness to
5 assist us is quite understandable.
6 For instance, the last question the Defence counsel asked you is
7 just about the position and the structure of Mr. Jokic in that brigade.
8 And later on he will - I'm sure he will - ask you a question about your
9 impression towards Mr. Jokic and his character. Then we'll follow up.
10 Yes. Let's now take a break, and we'll resume at quarter to
12 --- Recess taken at 10.16 a.m.
13 --- On resuming at 10.46 a.m.
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Mr. Stojanovic, please continue.
15 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. Mr. Vukotic, let us continue where we left off. I will ask you
17 again to try to keep your responses as brief as possible, and I will try
18 to direct you in your replies.
19 A. Yes. Very well.
20 Q. This is the system of work before this Tribunal.
21 If you recall, we left off when talking about the position of
22 Dragan Jokic in the staff of the Zvornik Brigade. I would like to know
23 your opinion about the authority Dragan Jokic wielded in the staff of the
24 Zvornik Brigade.
25 A. Briefly, Dragan Jokic did not have any authority in the staff,
1 but his subordinate liked him very well. He was well liked, both as a
2 person and as a professional with expert knowledge.
3 Q. When you say he did not have any authority, what do you mean by
5 A. I mean to say he did not participate sufficiently in the work of
6 the staff and I think he was not esteemed by his superior officers.
7 Q. And who were his superior officers?
8 A. The chief of staff and the brigade commander.
9 Q. And in what way do you think he was not esteemed sufficiently or
10 did not have enough authority?
11 A. I think that Mr. Jokic, first of all, conditionally speaking, he
12 was seen as an eccentric personality. He had his own lifestyle. He was
13 a person who was quite retiring, who did not put himself forward, who did
14 not care about leaving an impression as a professional soldier. He was
15 not assertive. And also, he was not willing to suck up to his superiors
16 so that what he said was not really taken into account sufficiently.
17 Q. Does this mean that he did not manifest ambition, that he was not
18 an ambitious man who wanted to advance in his career?
19 A. Yes, absolutely. We can view him in that way. Neither I -- nor,
20 I think, my colleagues, but I'm referring primarily to my own
21 impressions - I never felt that he was ambitious, that he wanted to reach
22 high-ranking positions in the army, or that through his activities he
23 expressed a desire to impress his superiors so as to advance in his
24 career as soon as possible to get promotions or more important duties in
25 the establishment.
1 Q. And what was his attitude toward the authority of high-ranking
2 officers, establishment-wise?
3 A. Establishment-wise I think that he tried to perform his work in
4 the best possible way he knew, but he was not a person who would grab at
5 jobs in order to focus attention on himself. So my impression was that
6 he had a slight fear of authority, especially the superior command. I
7 think that sometimes unfortunately he was prone to doing something
8 ordered to him from the Superior Command which was not part of his sphere
9 of duties and his area of work. I think he had some fear from the
10 security organs. I'm not sure, but that was my impression.
11 Q. Compared to Dragan Jokic, the way you have just described him,
12 what was Dragan Obrenovic's authority in the staff command?
13 A. Dragan Obrenovic had considerable authority in the staff command,
14 and he had every right to it, in view of his efforts, his diligence, and
15 also his professional knowledge, because Dragan Obrenovic was an officer
16 who throughout their military career, right from their training up until
17 the performance of various officer duties, achieved very high results and
18 had a pronounced professional ambition, which they achieved based on
19 their work. And therefore he enjoyed a high -- he was held in high
20 esteem by his subordinates as well as colleagues and his superiors.
21 Q. What was the authority of Vinko Pandurevic in that sense? What
22 kind of an officer was he?
23 A. If I could grade these levels of authority, Vinko Pandurevic's
24 authority was even greater than that of Dragan Obrenovic, of course,
25 because of his formation, duty, and his rank also. Also, Vinko
1 Pandurevic was graced with something that Dragan Obrenovic did not have,
2 besides his military professional knowledge and skill. Vinko Pandurevic
3 had a broadness which exceeded the specific military professional
4 knowledge. He had a sense. First of all, he was very eloquent; he was a
5 good speaker, which was captivating and gave the impression of a broadly
6 educated officer. They were both brave, Pandurevic and Dragan Obrenovic.
7 This is a characteristic that they shared. They were not just men of
8 theory. But in the practical sense, in the period that we're talking
9 about they were exceptionally brave officers. Of course, this is my
10 personal impression and my experience of them. I have no intention of
11 imposing my experiences and opinions as a rule.
12 Q. In the structure of the Zvornik Brigade Command, in the
13 establishment sense, was the responsibility of the logistics -- Assistant
14 Chief for Logistics, for Security and for Morale, was that above the
15 position of the Assistant for Engineering?
16 A. In the formation sense, if we're talking about assistant
17 commanders, as the term itself says, the more formation duty of the
18 assistant commander for security, assistant commander for logistics,
19 defines these people as members of the inner command. Therefore, this is
20 a superior formation position regardless of the rank that a certain
21 officer at that duty has.
22 So in brief, the answer to your question would be yes.
23 Q. Due to their formation or establishment and the job that they
24 were doing -- and when we're talking about Pandurevic and Obrenovic, did
25 they enjoy more authority as officers than Dragan Jokic?
1 A. I think that the answer would be yes, but the real answer could
2 only be given by Mr. Pandurevic and Mr. Obrenovic.
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vukotic. Please allow me to move forward now and
4 ask you to help us to understand the events relating to this period
5 following the fall of Srebrenica.
6 Can you remember when the preparations began for parts of the
7 Zvornik Brigade to go to Srebrenica?
8 A. I don't know the exact date when preparations began for departure
9 for Srebrenica. I know that I did not take part in these preparations as
10 a staff officer, and I don't know when the Zvornik Brigade units moved to
11 the Srebrenica sector. I know when first information reached me about
12 the capture of Srebrenica by the VRS, but the exact date of when the
13 planning of this operation began and when the unit left for that area, I
14 cannot remember. My only participation in this entire event is the
15 specific task that I was given, just like I had been -- I had the task in
16 similar operational situations, was to have my radio surveillance
17 personnel to a location where this radio surveillance group can take part
18 in the so-called repeater connection or relay, meaning that in places
19 where you could not have tactical communication between the units via the
20 so-called UKT devices or apparatus, where you could not have direct
21 connections between two participants using hand-held devices, Motorolas,
22 in view of this -- the fact that this unit had a stronger, more powerful
23 repeater, it could relay information from one participant to another when
24 they were unable to establish direct communication. So they participated
25 actively in maintaining communications amongst our units. The other task
1 was to use electronic surveillance and to record and note down
2 conversations between participants of the other side.
3 Q. Can you remember whom you sent there and when did you send them?
4 A. I don't remember the exact date. The group usually left -- I'm
5 speaking about experiences from other operations. They would usually
6 leave together with the units that were leaving for the sector. They
7 were leaving the seat of the brigade to the combat operations sector.
8 Sometimes due to preparations, they would leave earlier. In this case, I
9 cannot remember whether they left together with the rest of the brigade
10 or if they left a day earlier. All I know is that -- I know that one of
11 them was Milenko Panic, who from the beginning of the operation, from the
12 beginning of his work to maintain the communications, as I explained, and
13 who surveyed the enemy radio communications, Milenko Panic had the call
14 sign of Premier, and I cannot remember who was there with him at the
15 time, but I remember that the eavesdropping group included soldiers who
16 gathered information in this way for me. I'm not talking about this
17 specific group, but generally.
18 At the same time, they were also assisting the Drina Special
19 Operations Sector. We had Milenko Panic, Budimir Zekic, and there was
20 another soldier whose name I cannot recall.
21 Q. Did I understand you properly that their call sign or their code
22 name in that period of time when the Srebrenica events were taking place
23 was Premier?
24 A. Yes. I must stress this was a group of soldiers which --
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Waespi.
1 MR. WAESPI: I'm not entirely clear what we are talking about.
2 One of the questions before was: Can you remember whom you sent there
3 and when did you send them? So it would be helpful to know what group
4 is, are they sent to, what were they supposed to do. I'm not clear at
5 this point. And now you're going into details.
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes. You may, you know, ask some questions to clear
7 that up.
8 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Very well, Your Honour. We will
9 clarify that.
10 Q. Let's just go back. This group had the code name or the call
11 sign Premier at the time.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Who did these soldiers belong to?
14 A. They were in the establishment structure of the Podrinje Special
15 Forces Sector. They were sabotage and reconnaissance units and they were
16 below a detachment. However, in the sphere of information gathering,
17 information about the enemy side were given to the commander -- their
18 commander as well as to me as the assistant -- Assistant Chief of Staff
19 for Intelligence.
20 Q. Who was their commander, the one that you mentioned?
21 A. Their commander was Milan Jovic.
22 Q. Information about the enemy that they had gathered was supposed
23 to be forwarded to whom?
24 A. The information about the enemy side was provided to the
25 commander and to me as Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence.
1 However, they also had direct communications with the brigade command,
2 with the centre in the headquarters of the brigade, where from -- by
3 telephone or wire communications they were able to report certain
4 information directly to the duty operations officer or relay information
5 if they felt that they were too sensitive from an intelligence point of
6 view, so that the duty operations officer could find either the chief of
7 staff or myself or the commander to whom they were directly subordinated.
8 I'm now speak about situations where for any reasons they did not have
9 secure communication at that point in time to be able to relay the
10 information they needed to convey.
11 I repeat: They could convey their information directly to the
12 Chief of Staff and to the commander of the brigade if they were in the
13 position to do so.
14 Q. Very well. Mr. Vukotic, did you ever, as Assistant Chief of
15 Staff for Intelligence, did you ever perform the function of duty
16 operations officer in the brigade?
17 A. No.
18 Q. In the system, is the Assistant Commander for Security, was he
19 ever in a position to perform the duty-operations-officer function?
20 A. No, I don't think so.
21 Q. Thank you. Where was this listening post situated? What was the
22 name of that location?
23 A. As far as I can remember, the location was at Mackov Kamen.
24 Q. Is this some mountain or a hill?
25 A. Yes, Mackov Kamen is - it seems to me, I was never there myself -
1 but I think that there is a repeater there -- there was a repeater there
2 already and that there was a communications centre there. Geographically
3 it was at such a distance and at such an elevation, to use the military
4 language, from where it was possible to monitor the so-called tactical
5 and even operational communications of the other side as well as of one's
6 own units. When I'm talking about tactical communications, I'm thinking
7 of short-wave communications, and -- which are followed by units of that
8 tactical compositions. The other ones are the radio relay communications
9 being maintained between the corps, brigades and so on between different
10 corps, so amongst units of a higher level than those at the tactical
12 Q. Thank you. At one point you said that this listening post could
13 have direct communications with the centre at the brigade command.
14 A. Yes, that is correct.
15 Q. Just for the purpose of clarity: Where was this radio centre of
16 the Zvornik Brigade Command in that period, in July 1995?
17 A. I don't know if you're speaking about the -- could you please
18 clarify your question. Do you want me to say where the brigade radio
19 centre was, the main brigade radio centre? The main radio centre of the
20 brigade was at the actual headquarters of the brigade, at the Standard
21 Barracks. I don't know. At the time I didn't -- I never went there.
22 That communications centre was for a while at the Vratolomac Hill, but
23 this is also very close to Standard. The soldiers that I am speaking
24 about, they were not there; they were at a completely different location
25 because the radio communications centre are subordinated to the
1 communications chief, so they are part of the Communications Platoon,
2 which is a brigade unit.
3 Q. Thank you very much. We are now coming to the 11th of July. At
4 that time, who was in command of the Zvornik Brigade?
5 A. That's a difficult question, and I'll explain why. At that
6 moment, as far as I was concerned, the commander was Vinko Pandurevic,
7 speaking of the 11th. I do not have optical visibility with Vinko
8 Pandurevic because he was in the barracks. As soon as I have no
9 visibility with the naked eye, I don't know where he is; but I don't
10 believe that already at that moment there was something on paper, an
11 official order, as to who the brigade commander was. For my purposes, on
12 the 11th the commander was Vinko Pandurevic.
13 Q. Where was Vinko Pandurevic on that day, to the best of your
14 knowledge, on the 11th?
15 A. You have to believe me if I say that I don't -- I did not try to
16 find out in particular. As a officer, as a subordinated commanding
17 officer, you did not receive any reports as to where the commander was.
18 There didn't seem to be any need for it. And even if he was dislocated
19 to another place within the barracks, he did not feel it necessary to
20 inform me.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Waespi.
22 MR. WAESPI: Yes. The objection is the question is quite simple
23 and he could have answered it in a brief way.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Of course, I agree with you, but the witness
25 already said at the beginning of his answer that it is a difficult
1 question and I think we should allow the witness to explain why.
2 You may proceed, Mr. Stojanovic.
3 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 Q. At one point, you said that "it is a difficult question." Why
5 did you say that?
6 A. Because the answer to this question has its normative stipulated
7 aspect and a factual aspect. The legislative aspect is that there is a
8 current valid order that the commander to have brigade is Vinko
9 Pandurevic, whereas the factual situation means -- Who is the person who
10 at that moment is responsible for the condition of the brigade? Since I
11 have at that moment no information at which point Vinko Pandurevic is
12 located, it is only logical that if he is not in the zone of
13 responsibility of the brigade, his assistant or the Chief of Staff of the
14 brigade performs the duties of brigade commander for that time.
15 Q. Thank you. I think we have received an answer to the question I
16 wanted answered.
17 Where were you, Mr. Vukotic, on that 11th of July?
18 A. I know that I was in the zone of responsibility of the brigade.
19 As far as I remember, I was either at the barracks maintaining
20 communications with the units within the zone of responsibility of the
21 brigade, because already then on the 11th I received information that
22 combat operations in Srebrenica area had started and very few people,
23 very few troops were actually within the zone of brigade responsibility.
24 And I was working on the intelligence support of our units located in the
25 zone of responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade. In other words, to be
1 precise, I was probably working, as usual, on gathering intelligence on
2 BH army units right across our defence lines.
3 Q. Very frequently during this trial we had opportunity to hear this
4 term "zone of responsibility." I wanted to ask you: Is this a military
5 term or the usual term that you use to denote the defence area of the
7 A. Military terminology implies zone of responsibility, and that is
8 a typically military term. The zone of responsibility has its left and
9 right points and its depth. Depending on whether the brigade is in
10 defence, it has a defence area. In this specific case, on the 11th, the
11 zone of responsibility and the area of defence of the brigade coincided,
12 with the proviso that one part of the units of the Zvornik Brigade
13 engaged in the Srebrenica operation practically went beyond their zone of
14 responsibility and beyond their defence area, which in military terms is
15 certainly allowed. It goes without saying that the command may send
16 certain parts of its brigade to take part in operations in various
17 territories of Republika Srpska.
18 Q. Can you remember where were you in the night between the 11th and
19 the 12th?
20 A. I went to sleep in apartment number 10/3, Brace Jugovica Street,
21 building B16, and I received a telephone call informing me about the fall
22 of Srebrenica there, at home. The fall of Srebrenica is not exactly a
23 military term, but it is certainly our military jargon.
24 Q. Can you tell us more precisely around what time it was and who
25 called you.
1 A. It was in the early-morning hours. It could have been 3.30 or
2 4.00 or 4.30 a.m. and it was soldier Milenko Panic who informed me,
3 so-called Premier.
4 Q. What did he tell you exactly on that occasion?
5 A. He asked me whether I was aware that Srebrenica had fallen. I
6 said I was not, and it seemed illogical to me that I was being asked that
7 question. And I said something to the effect, "You are supposed to know.
8 You are up there." And he did indeed confirm that he had received such
9 information, but he also warned me of one unusual circumstance: He said
10 he had received information that the Army of Republika Srpska had entered
11 Srebrenica, asking me at the same time whether I was aware or anybody
12 else was aware of what was going on with the BH army troops around
14 Since my answer was negative, he put his Motorola against the
15 receiver and I heard a terrible noise, a hum of -- in fact, a din of
16 multiple conversations, like at a football match, and I realised the
17 talking was among a huge number of people. It was in fact radio traffic
18 among various participants. Since we always listened to each other in
19 the course of gathering intelligence, just as we eavesdropped on the BH
20 army -- we knew that they eavesdropped on us just as frequently -- and we
21 did that so much and so often that we were by then able to recognise the
22 voices of certain participants and their call signs. And listening that
23 that din realised that there was a roll-call going on among various
24 commanders of the BH army in the area of Srebrenica.
25 Q. Thank you. After receiving that initial information, what steps
1 did you take?
2 A. Just like any soldier, I suppose; I put on my uniform immediately
3 and went to the command of the brigade to report to the Chief of Staff
4 and report to him my latest information and what were then my assumptions
5 as to what was going on. However, at the command of the brigade, the
6 Chief of Staff was already informed of the fall of Srebrenica --
7 Q. If I may interrupt you for a second. Can you tell us
8 approximately on the 12th, in the morning, when did you arrive at the
9 brigade command?
10 A. It's really very difficult to give you the hour now, but I was a
11 responsible soldier who took his job seriously, and if I received that
12 call around 4.00, 4.30, I must have been at the brigade at 5.00, 5.30,
13 because it took no more than half an hour from my home to the command.
14 Q. And when you say "Chief of Staff," you mean Dragan Obrenovic?
15 A. Yes. Yes.
16 I then shared with him my assumption that a large group of BH
17 army troops were probably setting off from Srebrenica to attempt to break
18 through our lines towards Tuzla, taking the Srebrenica-Tuzla direction
19 and Srebrenica-Kladanj. In my line of work, you tend to make assumptions
20 based on the previous information you had about previous movements of the
21 enemy side, because such movements had been taking place throughout the
22 war in that area. But to confirm your assumptions, to be able to put
23 them in an intelligence report you have to take into account a number of
24 sources and determine the degree of truth you wish to present to your
25 superior in the Drina Corps in the appropriate section.
1 Q. When you say "I supposed -- I assumed and informed the Chief of
2 Staff of my assumptions that it was a large group," what do you mean?
3 A. Already in that first report I think I put down the number of
4 1.000 men, and the Chief of Staff, as I remember, asked me whether I
5 thought perhaps that it was an exaggeration, that the number was too
6 large. But being aware of the situation in the zone of responsibility of
7 the brigade and the consequences of the weakened state of the brigade, in
8 view of the fact that many of the easily manoeuvred and best-trained
9 troops were already outside of the zone of responsibility of the brigade,
10 I consciously exaggerated the number, perhaps so that the Chief of Staff
11 could take appropriate steps to coordinate with the brigade commander who
12 was out in the field, to reinforce the Zvornik Brigade in its own area of
14 Q. Apart from the Chief of Staff, did you share this first
15 information about the movements with anyone else?
16 A. I think I sent this information to the intelligence section of
17 the Drina Corps.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] With the assistance of the
20 usher, I would like to show this witness the map that was used by the
21 Prosecution in interviewing Mr. Vukotic, and it would be useful for a
22 more detailed explanation of Mr. Vukotic's movements. If you allow me,
23 that's the centre of the map. I should like it placed on the ELMO. I
24 think the place on the map is highlighted where Mr. Vukotic was located.
25 It's in the centre of the map, and maybe we could zoom in on it on the
1 overhead projector.
2 The next sheet, please. Thank you. Thank you.
3 Q. Mr. Vukotic, after this first report and your conversation with
4 Obrenovic, what was the direction of your movement?
5 A. First of all, if I may ask kindly the Trial Chamber to bear in
6 mind the time that has elapsed, nine years from the day when I gave
7 statement to the Prosecution as opposed to two years ago. But I will try
8 to describe my movements.
9 My movement was motivated by the necessity to confirm my
10 assumptions and the initial information I had received. First of all,
11 you always try to envisage the possible consequences of your movements in
12 a particular area of defence and zone of responsibility. So after
13 reporting to the Chief of Staff and after sending this intelligence
14 report to the intelligence section of the Drina Corps, I think I
15 suggested to the Chief of Staff that we try to put together very quickly
16 a temporary scouting group from the troops that had remained to come out
17 into the field with me and try to confirm my assumptions.
18 So as far as I remember, on that first day I went together with a
19 group of soldiers to the area -- could we just shift the map a little
20 here to try to find Velja Glava. It's a mountain chain.
21 Q. If we could lower the overhead projector a little and move it to
22 the left.
23 A. A bit more.
24 Q. Mr. Vukotic, you have a pointer. Could you please use it to
25 indicate on the map that is on the ELMO so that Their Honours can see.
1 A. We have to go to the south part of the map, because this area is
2 towards the south.
3 Q. Mr. Vukotic, could you please show with the pointer on the map
4 that is on the ELMO.
5 A. The town of Kula is to the far right, but this is closer to the
6 Kamenica area. I think that the Velja Glava mountain range is where we
7 were. Why? First of all, because it's a very high elevation and it is
8 possible to see with the naked eye the entire Kamenica Valley, to have an
9 overview of it. And Velja Glava, which is very important, is a mountain
10 range which conditionally speaking is at a safe distance from the line of
11 defence of the Zvornik Brigade facing the units of the 2nd Corps of the
12 Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. My fears, which I expressed to the Chief
13 of Staff, related to the fact that the forces of the BH army on the
14 Srebrenica-Tuzla axis had an empty area in depth where there were no
15 units of the Zvornik Brigade, that there were quite a number of villages
16 which were inhabited. And of course I went to reassure myself, to see
17 whether this group was already breaking through and how far it had
19 However, when we went up there, we saw no traces or anything that
20 might indicate any movement by these forces and this led me to
21 conclude -- not to mention, something that I have to point out, something
22 that we have to bear in mind, the dynamics of these events, the radio
23 surveillance was still going on. New information was constantly
24 arriving. I was more and more convinced, I had more and more information
25 from my surveillance group indicating that the participants in the radio
1 communications which were very frequent were in the group that was
2 setting out to break through. My information indicated that this group
3 was most probably much larger than a thousand men and that's why I was
4 convinced that from Velja Glava, from this mountain range, we would be
5 able to observe this.
6 Q. Would you now look on the map.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. In the right-hand corner, upper right-hand corner you see an area
9 marked in red. Is this where you were approximately?
10 A. Yes, yes. This is Velja Glava. This is the Velja Glava mountain
11 range. And you can see in front of it there is a valley. You can see
12 the elevations marked here. And you can see the valley where we were
13 able to observe any possible movement. And then you can see the area of
14 Kamenica. All this was for the most part an area that was completely
15 empty of our units.
16 Should I take this map?
17 Q. If you could only use the pointer to indicate the area of Gornja
18 Kamenica that you are referring to. But please, on the map that is on
19 the ELMO, Mr. Vukotic.
20 A. Very well. On the whole area from Velja Glava, this entire area
21 from Velja Glava all the way here, which is the depth of the brigade,
22 including the mouth of the River Drinjaca, which I can't find here at the
23 moment; also, the communication from Drinjaca towards Konjevic Polje and
24 Milici, even Konjevic Polje itself. All this was an area where there
25 were no units of the Army of Republika Srpska, except that in this area
1 there were certain villages which were inhabited.
2 Q. Thank you. After you had failed to observe any members of the
3 Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, you returned to the brigade. Who did you
4 find there?
5 A. I think I returned to the brigade, but of course I was still
6 doing my job. I was still gathering information and looking for ways to
7 fully confirm and complete the intelligence information, wondering how to
8 get this information. I think that on that same day I received from the
9 Chief of Staff, Mr. Obrenovic, information to the effect that in the area
10 of the then, I think, 4th Battalion in Kajici - that was where its
11 command was - in the area of responsibility of the Bratunac Brigade, that
12 a prisoner had been taken and that he was to be interviewed.
13 I got into a vehicle - I don't know exactly who went with me -
14 and I went to the area of Kajici. And I think that there was a forward
15 command post in Jezestica. I went there, but I did not find the
16 battalion commander, because according to what the men who were there
17 told me, he was on the ground with his unit and there had already been an
18 exchange of fire between the group breaking through and the forces of --
19 I think it was the 4th Infantry Battalion at the time, which had been
20 attached from the Zvornik Brigade to the area of responsibility of the
21 Bratunac Brigade.
22 In answer to my question as to whether it was true that they had
23 a prisoner, I was told that this information was not correct, that they
24 had had a prisoner but that allegedly - at least according to what they
25 said - he had attempted to flee and that he was no longer alive. I have
1 to say that I saw neither the prisoner nor anything else. This was the
2 information I received.
3 I returned from there to the area of responsibility, but on my
4 way back through Konjevic Polje to the brigade command, I could hear
5 heavy gunfire in the area, where the Milici Brigade and Bratunac Brigade
6 met up and in the area of responsibility of our battalion, which had been
7 attached to the Bratunac Brigade.
8 Q. Travelling along this asphalt road in the direction of Konjevic
9 Polje and Drinjaca, did you observe any policemen or members of special
10 police units?
11 A. No, I didn't observe anything special, except that in the school
12 in Konjevic Polje, where an engineers unit was usually quartered which
13 was part of the Drina Corps, you could see some commotion. However, this
14 was logical because you could hear the fire very well. But I didn't
15 notice anything special. I didn't even notice any traffic or anyone
16 travelling along the road -- or rather, I didn't notice anything special
17 on the road. The traffic was quite normal. It could have been 11.00 or
18 12.00, noon, or maybe in the early afternoon, but there was nothing
19 unusual going on except for the gunfire which could be heard some way off
20 from the road. It was evidently the forces of the BH army and Republika
21 Srpska who were already firing on each other.
22 Q. When you got back to the barracks, who did you inform of the fact
23 that the prisoner you were supposed to interview had been killed in the
25 A. I informed the Chief of Staff.
1 Q. Was he in the command at the time?
2 A. I think he was. If he wasn't, he was nearby; he was somewhere in
3 the area of responsibility. I can't remember whether he was in his
4 office or somewhere in the compound, but I did inform him that I had been
5 unable to check our information.
6 Q. You said that information was coming in on a daily basis. In the
7 evening of the 12th, was there any new information about the size and
8 movements of the column?
9 A. The Chief of Staff and I were still checking the information from
10 the field at my suggestion, and I think that on that same day we sent a
11 group again to the Dzevanje or Jesenje area. These are villages from
12 which one can see the Drina River Valley and the area below Gludas. You
13 can see Glodi. You can see this on the map on the upper right-hand
14 corner. Because across the river there is a bridge there, and we knew
15 this from before because units often took that direction when breaking
16 through toward Tuzla.
17 That's why I again sent a so-called temporary reconnaissance
18 group. As far as I can remember, they were led by Jasikovac, by
19 Lieutenant Jasikovac, who took them up there to check this information.
20 I insisted with the brigade -- with the Chief of Staff, that is, that
21 they should keep a safe distance because all the information that was
22 coming in indicated that the number of members of the Army of BH was
23 enormous. They had come out from Srebrenica and were breaking through in
24 the direction of Tuzla and Kladanj.
25 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] I will ask the usher to assist
1 me in showing the witness the next document.
2 For purposes of identification, Your Honours, this is Exhibit
3 P452 and our identification number is D92/3. This is an intelligence
4 report which our witness compiled on that day, at least according to the
5 text and the signature.
6 I will ask that the English text be placed on the ELMO.
7 Q. Mr. Vukotic, do you recognise this text and do you recognise the
8 signature at the end of the text?
9 A. This is my signature.
10 Q. Is this your handwriting?
11 A. No. This was handwritten by my intelligence clerk, Mr. Milos
12 Petkovic. This is his handwriting. But I confirm the veracity of this
13 text. It is probably due to other things I had to do that I told him
14 what to write and I just signed it.
15 Q. Will you just tell us what the date is in the upper left-hand
17 A. The 12th of July, 1995. This is an intelligence report.
18 Q. Will you please read us the stamp at the end showing when this
19 report was sent to the command of the Drina Corps. If you can assist us,
20 when was this sent? And this is stated in the seal.
21 A. I think that according to what it says the report was sent off on
22 the 13th of July.
23 Q. What time?
24 A. 01.10 hours.
25 Q. So immediately after midnight, between the 12th and the 13th of
2 A. Yes. Yes.
3 Q. I would like to go through this document with you. According to
4 this report, to whom are you sending this intelligence information which
5 you received in the night between the 12th and the 13th?
6 A. The procedure was the following: Besides the oral report that I
7 submitted to the Chief of Staff, there always had to be a written report,
8 which is why this was written down. And this had to be given to the
9 encryption service and they forwarded it to the command of the Drina
10 Corps, the intelligence organ, as is stated here.
11 Q. You say at one point: "According to information received at 1900
12 hours you thought that the column was then in the area of Velja Glava and
13 was on its way to the Spreca River Valley." Is this what you were
14 telling us just a minute ago, the intelligence information you had?
15 A. Yes. Yes. You heard me talking about what I had done during the
16 day, but by the time this report was sent off, the information had been
17 checked because the temporary reconnaissance group led by Mr. Jasikovac,
18 in the area of Lisanj, had already observed a huge group of members of
19 the BH army which had just passed through Glodi and was on its way
20 through to the area of Velja Glava, just as is stated in this report.
21 But one should bear in mind the following: This enormous group
22 of men is a drawn-out column, so some were in one area and then there
23 were stragglers 2 or 3 kilometres behind them. Information that was
24 received later on indicated that this was a typical combat disposition.
25 So in military terms, this was a column that was respecting certain
1 military rules. It had its reconnaissance; it had its flanks; it had its
2 rear, so it cannot be viewed as the static category. If you mention
3 Velja Glava, it doesn't mean that at that point they were all at Velja
5 Q. Thank you. Allow me now just to comment on the sentence before
6 the last, where you make the conclusion: "I estimate that the defence
7 line from Baljkovica on the right is threatened." Is this the direction
8 in which the column actually moved in the following few days?
9 A. Yes. Yes. And it is in this region that the main thrust from
10 the rear of the Zvornik Brigade took place, and this is where the most
11 fierce fighting took place in this period.
12 Q. Thank you. Let us now talk about the night between the 12th and
13 the 13th. Can you tell us very briefly what your movements were on that
14 day, between the 13th and the 14th in the night.
15 A. I'm not sure now. I think that in the night between the 12th and
16 the 13th - I'm not completely sure; I think it was between the 12th and
17 the 13th - based on information which had already been checked and
18 verified, the Chief of Staff took units of different specialties
19 conditionally speaking, units from the rear, communications units, and
20 parts of engineers units and so on, and tried to put together or did put
21 together a temporary group to go to the Snagovo area, because to go to
22 the mountain range from which it was much safer to protect the rear of
23 our units, at the first line of defence, this was already too late
24 because parts of the units had already broken through and passed over
25 that mountain range. And then when we talk of the Karakaj-Caparde-
1 Sekovici communication, which might have been a stronghold, because
2 crossing that road meant a total delay in organising the defence of the
3 brigade area. And I think that I was there and that the Chief of Staff
4 was there. We went there late at night, at about 1.00, where there was a
5 tank, a self-propelled weapon, a Praga, but I'm not sure whether it was
6 between the 12th and the 13th or the 13th and the 14th, but I think it
7 was the 12th and the 13th.
8 Q. Could you please tell us how many soldiers or members of the
9 Zvornik Brigade units assembled in this way went to the position.
10 A. In terms of military strength, it was not very significant.
11 First of all, besides the tank crews or one of the self-propelled gun or
12 Praga crews, the rest were either logistics or engineers units members
13 who don't have specific experience in a typical military combat in the
14 field, and I think that according to the order of the Chief of Staff a
15 part came from the Kiseljak Battalion. They were, let's say, younger and
16 more experienced soldiers who at that time were not in the Srebrenica
17 sector, so they joined us in order to form a smaller group to attempt to
18 stop the column so that it would not come to the rear of our units.
19 Q. Those days - on the 12th, on the 13th - did you have an
20 opportunity to speak with or to see Vinko Pandurevic?
21 A. No.
22 Q. During those two days, on the 12th and the 13th, did you have
23 information that practically Obrenovic was conducting the defence of the
24 Zvornik Brigade area of responsibility?
25 A. In the normative sense, Vinko Pandurevic was still the commander,
1 but practically the person who issued orders to everybody in the area of
2 responsibility was the Chief of Staff, Dragan Obrenovic.
3 Q. Did you ever during those two days, on the 12th or the 13th, see
4 Dragan Jokic anywhere?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Thank you. So now we come to the among to the 13th. You spent
7 the night at Snagovo. What happened then, Mr. Vukotic?
8 A. Since the situation on the ground was much clearer now, certain
9 information was arriving from the local population, from the villagers
10 that -- of villages that I mentioned who were in the depth of the
11 brigade's area of responsibility. Various information was beginning to
12 come in about a long column and the combat disposition -- its combat
13 disposition, which was moving towards Tuzla and Kladanj. The situation
14 was much clearer, and because of that there was a new aspect now. I was
15 becoming concerned about the following - and I spoke about this with
16 Mr. Obrenovic - and that was that there was a possibility that the forces
17 of the B and H army go to Razvorni [phoen].
18 Q. How far were the forces away from Zvornik at that point?
19 A. A part of the column was practically not more than 1.5 kilometres
20 as the crow flies away. Again, I would like to say that this was a very
21 large group of people and that my intelligence assumption in which I was
22 speaking about 1.000 people, it turned out that I underestimated the
23 strength of this group. As it turned out there were actually 15.000 men
24 there. Again, I say such a large number of people in a column, in a
25 military sense, with their reconnaissance rear section, were deployed
1 over a large area of people from Mountain Udrc practically, which was
2 more in the area of responsibility of the Vlasenica, Miletici and Zvornik
3 Brigade, at a depth which -- and the front area which had already arrived
4 at the section of Maricici, practically below Snagovo, which was only 1
5 kilometre or 1.5 kilometres as the crow flies away.
6 I think that we could look at this picture. We could see that
7 the combat disposition was deployed over a large area. I assessed that
8 this could be quite dangerous for the town of Zvornik, so I proposed to
9 the Chief of Staff that he should urgently inform the command brigade --
10 the brigade command so that the manoeuvring forces would be returned as
11 soon as possible to the area of responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade.
12 Q. Where were you on the 13th in the morning and in the afternoon?
13 A. Mr. Obrenovic - after my assumptions and after the information
14 which I kept forwarding to him about what was going on - he sent me to
15 Kula, to the town of Kula. This is a place above the town of Zvornik.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: To the location of
17 Kula, which is a situation -- a location above Zvornik.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Where I was able to have good radio
19 communications and at the same time from that area we knew that we had to
20 concentrate our forces up there because that was the best position for a
21 possible defence in order to prevent them from entering the town of
23 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Does that mean that at that point there was a distance of 1.5 or
25 1 kilometre as the crow flies between the front of the column and the
1 town of Zvornik and that in between there were no serious military or
2 police structures from Zvornik?
3 A. At that point in time, in the morning, practically there was
4 nobody there. The town was living its normal lives. The lives to have
5 citizens were proceeding as usual, with the exception that the male
6 members of the population who were of military age, were deployed to
7 their military tasks. Practically there was nobody there, except for
8 parts of the police which need to be stationed -- except for the police,
9 which were stationed in the town of Zvornik.
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: Sorry, I was just hoping that we could take a
12 break, Mr. President.
13 And just to clarify. I believe he's speaking of the area of Kula
14 which is south of Zvornik, not to be confused with the town of Kula which
15 is north of Zvornik near Pilica. And since these will be important in
16 the future, I just wanted to clarify that.
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, maybe Mr. Stojanovic could ask some questions
18 to this effect after the break.
19 But frankly speaking, Mr. Stojanovic, I see little relevance of
20 the testimony of this witness, you know. The issue is that we want to
21 know the day-to-day practice of your client, Mr. Jokic, but not this
22 witness. If the testimony of this witness, of his daily work, has to do
23 something with your client, which we believe is the relevant, but up to
24 now I do not see that. And I hope after the break you could give the
25 witness some guidance in that direction.
1 Yes. We'll have a break, and we'll resume at 12.30.
2 --- Recess taken at 12.03 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 12.32 p.m.
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Stojanovic, before you start, would you
5 please tell me how long your direct examination will last for this
7 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. The way I
8 have organised my questions, I believe that we will probably finish the
9 examination-in-chief of this witness today. I spoke with Mr. Waespi and
10 Mr. Karnavas also during the break about the time they require, because
11 in our estimate we planned to complete the testimony of this witness in
12 two days. They said that they didn't need as much time as I did for my
13 examination-in-chief, so I believe that we will not have a problem with
14 the scheduling.
15 Also, allow me to apologise because I wished through this witness
16 to present a general context of the events in Zvornik over those few
17 days, and I would like to assure you that the future witnesses will not
18 dwell in such detail on these events. We would like to use the presence
19 of this witness, however, to make certain points about our case.
20 And thank you very much for your patience.
21 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much for the information. I think
22 this is your first witness and the Bench will give you some leeway, you
23 know, to ask some more questions. But still, we hope you could finish
24 your direct examination today.
25 You may proceed.
1 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 Q. Mr. Vukotic, I hope you had a rest during the break, and please
3 allow me to deal with this dilemma brought up by Mr. McCloskey.
4 In this case here we frequently mention the toponym Kula,
5 indicating the Kula school in Branjevo. Today you used the same toponym
6 to indicate the town of Kula. If you can help us, please, we will look
7 at the map. We have now focussed on the location of the town of Kula.
8 So could you please specify where you were on that date between the 13th
9 and the 14th.
10 I would also like to clarify that this map was given the number
11 D128/3 for purposes of identification.
12 Please go ahead, sir.
13 A. I understood your question, just like the Prosecution stated,
14 this is the toponym Kula Grad. It's a location above Zvornik, and it's
15 circled here on this map.
16 Q. Could you please take the pointer and indicate on your right
17 where this is. Could you please point not on your screen but on the map
19 A. I am now pointing to the town of Zvornik, and then I have moved
20 the pointer to the place where I was on the 13th, the location called
21 Kula Grad, which is in the immediate vicinity of Zvornik.
22 Q. Thank you very much. This is what I wanted you to help us with.
23 And we will keep to this part of the map.
24 On the evening of the 13th to the 14th, were there any clashes
25 with this incoming column? Was there any fire exchanged with the column?
1 A. As far as I recall, yes. The first firing encounter with the
2 incoming column occurred in the region of Djafin Kamen, the broader area
3 of Velja Glava where our temporary pioneers unit was located, which was
4 commanded by a military police officer, Aleksandar Kostic.
5 Q. Could you tell us approximately when this first contact took
6 place between members of the Zvornik Brigade and the incoming column.
7 A. I think this happened around 21 or 22 hundred hours on the 13th.
8 Since I had a radio connection with them during which Kostic informed me
9 about this exchange of fire, I assessed that this small temporary scout
10 group was in danger up there, and I suggested to the Chief of Staff via
11 radio -- I actually sought his permission to pull out this scout group
12 from that sector and this is what was actually done.
13 Q. You mentioned that you were in communication with the Chief of
14 Staff via radio.
15 A. Yes, that is correct.
16 Q. Since this is an important question for us, I would like you to
17 explain what radio communications you had with the Chief of Staff at the
18 time. How did this communication function?
19 A. I had a dual radio communication with the Chief of Staff. We
20 were in communication with short wave via Motorolas, and also I had
21 another device. It was an RUP radio device, so that I had a parallel
22 communication. The Motorola was mine, I had it, while the communication
23 via the RUP device was maintained via one soldier who was given to me by
24 the Chief of Staff, who was with me at all times and who conveyed
25 information to the Chief of Staff or I would directly take the device and
1 report on this other line of communication. Because experience showed
2 that short waves could be monitored very easily, whereas the RUP could
3 also be listened to, but it was a little more difficult to do so.
4 Q. To make it absolutely clear, where did you have the RUP-12? Was
5 that in the possession of a soldier who was accompanying you at all
7 A. I did not have a directly subordinated soldier, so it wasn't a
8 soldier who was subordinated to me. I think he was attached to a mix
9 artillery division which served this RUP and which hand to be next to me
10 on Kula Grad, because at the time on the 13th, already during day police
11 units began to group and some temporary military units also began to
12 group in order to protect the town, as I described in my testimony before
13 the break.
14 Q. So to understand that period from the 13th to the 14th, you were
15 at Kula Grad. You had a soldier who was attached to you, a
16 communications soldier who had an RUP-12 device with him.
17 A. That is correct.
18 Q. And you were in communication with the Chief of Staff but you
19 also had a Motorola using short waves through which you were in
20 communication with the Chief of Staff.
21 A. Yes, that is correct.
22 Q. On that day -- on those days, the 13th, 14th, 15th, did you have
23 any direct radio communication with the brigade and the duty officer at
24 the brigade?
25 A. No. In all the days that I spent in Kula Grad in that whole
1 period, I had radio communications directly with the Chief of Staff and
2 occasionally with the eavesdropping group that I mentioned, plus another
3 eavesdropping group at Gucevo, and that other group had different call
4 signs on different days in the radio network. I think they responded to
5 the sign of Drina and possibly also "Premier" was used by them as well.
6 Premier communicated from the point I mentioned earlier, and the point
7 I'm mentioning now. I could not make a mistake as to who was calling
8 from where, because I was very familiar with the modulation of the
10 Q. Would I be right in concluding that on the 14th you had
11 absolutely no direct communication with the duty officer at the brigade
13 A. Not only on the 14th. I didn't have any direct communication
14 with the duty operations officer or with the communications centre
15 stationed at the barracks at any point.
16 Q. Thank you. We heard Mr. Obrenovic testifying here, and we are
17 aware of his interview where he said that on that day he had had
18 communication with you but only one-way communication, meaning only
19 short-wave radio, not through the field radio RUP-12. Can you confirm
21 A. I am certain that I had two-way communication, both by short-wave
22 radio and the other kind of radio.
23 Q. So Obrenovic would not be right in saying that you only had short
24 wave radio communication?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Thank you. Let us try to clarify, in view of the exhibit that we
2 are going to see very soon. When do you use the short wave communication
3 and when do you opt for the RUP-12?
4 A. I usually use short wave communication when I am transmitting
5 information of a lower degree of confidentiality, and I always use it if
6 at that moment the Chief of Staff is in a position to hear me. There is
7 a possibility that he hears me frequently, but due to his other
8 obligations in the field he does not always respond. He obviously -- in
9 fact, it would be wrong to say "obviously," because I do not see
10 Mr. Obrenovic, I don't have visibility -- but most probably Obrenovic has
11 an operator of the RUP field radio with him. And when I don't have
12 confirmation from the Chief of Staff that my information has reached him,
13 I turn to the other field radio RUP and transmit the same information
15 Q. Based on that communication that you had with Obrenovic, were you
16 able to locate him precisely?
17 A. No. It would be preposterous to claim that you can locate
18 somebody based on radio communication, because in view of the point where
19 I was located you can communicate from that point also with a Motorola in
20 a range of 60 to 70 kilometres depending on the terrain, so you are
21 certainly unable to determine the location of the co-locutor based on the
22 radio communication.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Now, with the assistance of the
25 usher I would like to show the witness one intercept, marked for
1 identification 452 by the Prosecution, and our identification number is
2 D92/3. The intercept dates back to the 14th of July. The co-locutors
3 are Zivanovic and Jokic at 10.10 hours [sic].
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Waespi.
5 MR. WAESPI: I think there may be a mistake on numbers.
6 JUDGE LIU: Number, yes.
7 MR. WAESPI: I believe it's Prosecution Exhibit P227 and your
8 internal D exhibit D100/3.
9 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] You are right. Thank you,
10 Mr. Waespi. So our exhibit is 100/3, and it's Prosecution Exhibit D227.
11 And my colleague has just informed me that the time recorded in
12 the transcript is wrong. This intercept was marked as having taken place
13 at 0910 hours, not 1010. Just for the record. Thank you.
14 Q. Now, Mr. Vukotic, we have had occasion here to work with
15 intercepts including this one, wherein the BH operator located in the
16 territory of the 2nd Corps of the BH army identified Milenko Zivanovic
17 and Major Jokic. I will comment on a part of this intercept.
18 The participant recorded as Jokic is informing the corps
19 commander and says: "They were crushed up there on Velja Glava," meaning
20 the column, "and a huge group is moving towards the Drina according to
21 intelligence, towards Zljebac Mladjevac. The group is huge, absolutely
22 enormous. Terrifyingly huge."
23 Commander Zivanovic says, "How big is the group?"
24 And the participant identified as Jokic says, "It's huge. Ever
25 since I heard this information, I can't fucking believe it."
1 And the participant identified as Zivanovic asks, "Who told you
3 Participant Jokic answers, "Thousands of them. Our intelligence
4 officer sent us an info."
5 Question: "Which intelligence officer?"
6 Answer: "Dusko Vukotic."
7 Question: "Where are you calling from now?"
8 Answer: "From here. From --" and then there is a pause. "As a
9 duty officer."
10 Now, this comes -- here comes a part of the conversation where I
11 have a question. You told us a moment ago that you had no direct
12 communication with the duty operations officer; is that correct?
13 A. Correct. I did not.
14 Q. Does that mean that on the 14th in the morning you did not give
15 any information about the size of the column to the duty operations
17 A. Yes, that's what it means.
18 Q. In the first part of this answer, it says -- the person
19 identified as Jokic, "They are spread out from Velja Glava and they are
20 moving towards the Drina."
21 Did you have any operative intelligence that this large group was
22 spread out at Velja Glava or crushed?
23 A. I said a moment ago that there was a fire exchange between them
24 and the temporary scouts group, and it is logical and most probable that
25 this group attempting a breakthrough had no information as to where our
1 forces were waiting for them. And it's quite logical that in that
2 situation the column would be seized by panic and spread out. What you
3 just quoted seems to corroborate what I just said about the towns being
4 in jeopardy. Mladjevac and Zjlepce are elevations right next to the
5 road, the road that was currently in use. You could use it to travel
6 from Zvornik to Drinjaca, and Mladjevac is right next to Kula Grad, where
7 I was.
8 From this intercept we can draw the conclusion from Jokic's
9 words, where he says that "They got this information from the
10 intelligence officer," meaning me; however, from my location, my written
11 reports that were forwarded to the corps command were written in hand and
12 sent by me to the encoding officer, to the encoding centre, showing them
13 beforehand to the Chief of Staff so that the Chief of Staff could
14 coordinate work and operation in the field based on that information.
15 Q. That's precisely something I wanted to ask you about.
16 Who would then in the system of communication be the person who
17 could give this information to the duty operations officer?
18 A. The duty operations officer could possibly get this information
19 at a time when the Chief of Staff is absent by the soldier carrying it,
20 because the soldier who was carrying this piece of paper -- even before
21 taking it to the encoding centre to be forwarded up the chain of command
22 to the Drina Corps knows that the Chief of Staff needs it anyway for
23 operative work. And if the Chief of Staff happens to be absent at the
24 moment then the soldier could give it to the duty operations officer
25 first so that the duty operations officer could inform the Chief of Staff
1 and thus enable him to take appropriate steps in the further course of
3 Q. Does it mean that the Chief of Staff is the hub of communication
4 and coordination of all the actions and information within the zone of
5 responsibility of the brigade?
6 A. Absolutely so, because -- practically, it should be the commander
7 of the brigade. The brigade commander has intelligence and every other
8 responsibility in the zone of responsibility, if he is there. If he is
9 not in the zone of responsibility, what you just referred to in your
10 question would be the responsibility of the Chief of Staff.
11 Q. Thank you. We're talking about 9.00 on the 14th. Do you know
12 where the Chief of Staff was at that moment?
13 A. No. No. I did not know the whereabouts of any of the commanding
14 officers at that point, because - and I want to stress this again - I was
15 unable to determine the location of my commanding officers with whom I
16 had communication just based on our radio exchange.
17 Q. It is an indubitable fact that the duty operations officer was
18 aware of this information that you forwarded to the Chief of Staff.
19 A. At that moment I didn't know it, but we see now that he was.
20 Q. Could we infer from this that the Chief of Staff had conveyed
21 this information to the duty operations officer?
22 A. Look, the Chief of Staff did not need to, was not required to -
23 in principle or otherwise - to inform the duty officer. He could have
24 perhaps tasked the duty officer to work as a messenger and forward this
25 to the superior command. And I do not wish to denigrate the
1 responsibilities of the duty officer, but it's only natural that if he's
2 unable to communicate with the operative command he will convey the
3 information to the duty operations officer to be forwarded to the
4 superior command, because once you write the written intelligence report,
5 it doesn't mean that having travelled the entire chain of command through
6 proper procedure it will reach the recipient in time.
7 Q. Just for the record, let us clarify one thing: This information
8 about the movements of the column were in the hands of the Chief of
10 A. Since I was sending from Kula to him, it would be logical that
11 the information travelled to him.
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vukotic.
13 [Defence counsel confer]
14 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Allow me to take you back to your own movements. You said you
16 were in Kula Grad in the night between the 13th and the 14th.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber about the course of your
19 activities on the 14th of July, the movement of that column, and all that
20 was going on.
21 A. All my activities were essentially focussed on gathering
22 information and making estimates on the possible danger to the town and
23 the Zvornik Brigade, since there were no commanding officers which
24 according to establishment would be in charge of linking up units in this
25 area. And since I as Assistant Chief of Staff was already in Kula at the
1 time when police units had begun to arrive, at a time when parts of
2 certain combat units of the VRS from the Zvornik Brigade had started to
3 arrive, having been pulled out from certain defence areas of their own, I
4 was helping to brief them on the whereabouts of our units that were
5 supposed to defend the town of Zvornik and the road Karakaj-Caparde-
6 Sekovici, because I already had an idea based on the information I was
7 forwarding, including information from the Chief of Staff saying "Our
8 units are arriving. Show them where our men are so as to avoid friendly
9 fire." And then if a commander leading the police unit would come to see
10 me, I would tell him, "In this area of Marici [phoen] you should find a
11 unit from the VRS."
12 But my priority task, my foremost task was to monitor the
13 operation in the field of this military column that is the subject of our
14 conversation and to try to gather intelligence on the movements of the
15 BH army forces in front of our first-defence lines.
16 Q. Did you at any time learn about the activities of the 2nd Corps
17 of the Army of BH in the direction of the Zvornik defence lines and a
18 possible breakthrough through those lines?
19 A. I was convinced that there was communication between the command
20 of the 2nd Corps of the BH army and the members of the 28th Division and
21 that while the column was moving, there was communication. It's possible
22 that due to the circumstances I have spoken about, the fact that the
23 column was drawn out, there was no communication with some parts of the
24 column, and I am quite convinced that there was no communication with the
25 head of the column. But the fact that there was communication with parts
1 of the column was confirmed to me by members of the surveillance groups.
2 I was convinced that members of the 2nd Corps of the BH army were
3 intensifying their activities and the pressure on the line of defence of
4 the Zvornik Brigade. This led me to the conclusions that this was a
5 coordinated operation by the column breaking through and the BH army
6 forces in front of the area of responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade.
7 Our greatest fear was that in case there was an incursion by the forces
8 from the column into the town of Zvornik, total chaos would ensue, and
9 our forces would retreat from the line of defence because everybody would
10 go home to defend his family in the town without thinking about the area
11 of defence.
12 Q. Thank you. Did you at some point learn about a breakthrough by a
13 unit headed by Naser Oric into the area of defence of the Zvornik
15 A. Yes. I can't remember whether I submitted a written report on
16 this, but I am sure that the information reached the Chief of Staff from
17 me that Naser Oric with a part of the men was already in the depth of the
18 area of defence of our brigade; that is, that a reconnaissance sabotage
19 group had been infiltrated in the area of Baljkovica, more specifically
20 into the Potocani [Realtime transcript read in error: "Potocari"] area.
21 I cannot now be sure what time this was, but this was done at night.
22 There are always some indications to this effect. There was
23 increased artillery fire by the BH army on the Zvornik Brigade's area of
24 responsibility. In our experience, they had not previously fired on both
25 Zvornik and Kozluk, which are both far in the depth of the Zvornik
2 Q. Did you inform the Chief of Staff of this intelligence?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Can you tell us where and how you informed Obrenovic of this
6 A. I cannot recall now whether I personally saw the Chief of Staff
7 on the 14th. I think I did go down from Kula Grad to present the overall
8 situation to him and all the potential threats I've been talking about.
9 I am certain that I did get the information to him, whether orally or by
10 courier, although I'm inclined to believe that I saw him myself either in
11 the barracks or in the town or in the Snagovo area, which is most
12 probable, that I went all the way there in order to present all this
13 information to him. After this, I immediately returned to my post.
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Yes, Mr. Waespi.
15 MR. WAESPI: Just a point of clarification. Earlier the witness
16 talked about the Potocani area where Naser Oric supposedly was about, and
17 this is not Potocari as it's noted here. So the record is clear about
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I believe so. But the two words sounds, you
20 know, familiar.
21 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. For the sake of the
22 record, the witness said, "This is the area of Potocani," which is a
23 village that is quite far from the town of Potocari. Thank you for this
25 Q. Mr. Vukotic, would you tell me, please, when, at what time on the
1 14th of July this information could have reached the Chief of Staff.
2 A. The units were already coming into contact along the depth,
3 starting with Velja Glava, as I said. Then there was information that
4 there was contact in the area of the Bratunac Brigade, the Milici
5 Brigade, and so on, and there was also intensified artillery fire. I
6 think I received the information about the infiltration of Naser's group.
7 I'm not sure whether it was in the night of the 13th to the 14th or maybe
8 even the 14th to the 15th. The one thing I'm sure of is that this
9 information was correct.
10 And then I could have gone and reported in the morning hours,
11 because I know that the infiltration was actually carried out after
12 midnight, sometime early in the morning, 3.00 or 4.00 in the morning, so
13 that I could have only seen Mr. Obrenovic before noon. I leave open the
14 possibility that it might be some other time, but to the best of my
15 recollection it was before noon.
16 Q. Is it correct that you sent all your intelligence information to
17 the Chief of Staff as the focal point?
18 A. Yes. This was my duty.
19 Q. In the evening of the 14th and the afternoon, was there any
20 fighting? Were there any combat operations between the column and --
21 A. Yes. In the evening of the 14th, there was fierce fighting and
22 for the first time there was an open conflict between the greater part of
23 the column and the units of the Zvornik Brigade, the police units in the
24 Maricice area, which is just below Kula Grad, the town -- the point where
25 I was.
1 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter corrects herself.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that point, the column was no
3 longer concealed from the units of the army and police on the ground
4 because that was when the direct contact took place. And it was really
5 horrific. On both sides.
6 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. You mentioned the police a few times. Does this mean that at
8 that point in the Maricice area there were also police units?
9 A. Yes, in the Kula area, in the direction of Mladjevac, which I've
10 just mentioned. In this area, for the protection of Zvornik, this was
11 where the first encounter took place with the police units. The police
12 commander was captured by members of the head of the column of the 28th
14 Q. Mr. Vukotic, when you say "captured," you mean he was taken
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. As an intelligence officer, did you learn about his imprisonment,
18 and how did this come about?
19 A. I didn't see him being taken prisoner with my own eyes from my
20 vantage point, but I learned about it by means of radio surveillance.
21 And this is how it happened: The capture of policeman Zoran Jankovic
22 from the Doboj police force by a member of the BH army took place as
23 follows: Zoran Jankovic tried to contact his superior. As his superior
24 did not respond to his pleas, and he was saying, "Gavro, I've been taken
25 prisoner. I'll be flayed alive. Please respond." And his voice left
1 the impression of someone who had really been taken prisoner and was at
2 someone else's mercy.
3 As his superior did not respond, I responded using the signal of
4 his superior. Obviously the BH army soldier who had taken him prisoner
5 had taken his Motorola and he said, "Stop your fire. Otherwise, we will
6 skin him alive. We will slaughter him. We'll kill him." I can't quote
7 the words precisely.
8 And I said to him, "Please don't do anything to him. We'll do
9 our best to stop the fire."
10 And I informed the Chief of Staff of this, probably using the
11 other parallel line -- connection, and it was clear to everybody by then
12 that there had been a clash of forces but the Chief of Staff obviously
13 didn't know yet that the chief of police had been captured, the police
14 commander, and I told him this. I said, "I have an open line to the man
15 who is holding him. Let's try to negotiate about this," because the
16 conflict was already -- the clash was already so close to the rear of our
17 units that anyone with any military knowledge at all could see that there
18 would be a blood-bath and that this could not end with casualties on only
19 one side. Therefore, our assessment was that serious negotiations were
20 called for, that there had to be a cease-fire and that the column had to
22 Q. Let me interrupt you here for a moment. We are talking of the
23 afternoon of the 14th.
24 A. Yes. It was already growing dark.
25 Q. We have information that this is the period when Dragan Jokic was
1 the duty operations officer of the Zvornik Brigade. Did you know this?
2 A. Did I know who was the duty operations officer? No, I didn't.
3 And for my purposes, this was irrelevant. It was not my task to keep
4 track of this. Nobody informed me of this.
5 Q. We have information that in the area of the village of Orahovac
6 in the afternoon of the 14th execution of the Muslim prisoners brought to
7 the village of Orahovac started. Did you know anything about the arrival
8 of these prisoners?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Was it your task to look after these prisoners and to collect
11 information about them in the depth of the territory of the Zvornik
13 A. No. Throughout my testimony, in the circumstances I am telling
14 you about, I think it is quite evident that I was interested in the armed
15 column moving along the Srebrenica-Tuzla axis. They were my priority. I
16 had very little time to learn what was happening with the part of the
17 column that was attempting to break through along the Srebrenica-Kladanj
18 direction. I had very superficial information about this.
19 My whole attention was focussed on what was happening at the head
20 of the column and what was about to happen, what was happening in the
21 units of the 241st, 242nd, 245th, 246th Brigades of the Tuzla Corps
22 facing our unit.
23 Q. At that time, did you know anything about the operations taking
24 place in Orahovac?
25 A. Absolutely not.
1 Q. And this was the most fierce fighting that had taken place until
2 that point. That was on the 14th in the afternoon.
3 A. In my entire military career, this was the most fierce fighting
4 in my experience.
5 Q. How far was the location of these combat activities from the rear
6 of the brigade -- the Zvornik Brigade?
7 A. As the crow flies, it was not more than 3 or 3 and a half
8 kilometres. Not as the crow flies, but along the terrain, for the most.
9 Q. Was the Zvornik Brigade at the time facing the units of the
10 2nd Corps of the BH army?
11 A. The composition of the Zvornik Brigade was as follows: There was
12 a part of the units that I spoke about, the temporary units which were
13 turned towards the column with whom were a part of the police units and a
14 part of the military units were already in conflict with. Along the way
15 the stationary part, its trenches were facing the members of the
16 2nd Tuzla Corps.
17 Q. Thank you. We just wanted to clarify the military positions.
18 Let us go back to the evening of the 14th. What happened with
19 these captured -- with this captured police senior officer and was there
20 a cease-fire?
21 A. The entire drama I followed, and I had very frequent
22 communication with a member of the B and H army who was obviously holding
23 this person. He even openly said that he will bring us to our target.
24 This gave me hope that the police officer would survive. I had the
25 situation where he would give the Motorola to Zoran Jankovic very often
1 so that he could plead and he could request a cease-fire. But we had a
2 problem. I had the problem, I who was insisting via the Chief of Staff
3 for the fire to stop to all those to whom I could orally convey the
4 request for a halt in the fire. The leader of that column obviously had
5 the problem in the sense that it was already -- everything was in chaos
6 and it was hard for anybody including the Chief of Staff at some point to
7 halt the fire.
8 Something happened which I found out about later, during the
9 signing of the Dayton Peace Accords. I wanted to meet Zoran Jankovic, I
10 did meet him, and he told me the entire dramatic situation, because he
11 came out in 1996, and he told me about what had happened. A miracle had
12 occurred. At the point where the leader had lost patience and had placed
13 a knife on his throat, at that point the fire stopped. So that's how he
14 survived. We did manage to stop the fire. Then it got dark.
15 As soon as it got dark, it's difficult for the units on the
16 ground and the members of the column and for the members of the police
17 and the Zvornik military forces, which were facing the column, it was
18 difficult; due to the circumstances, the night doesn't make it possible
19 for the clashes to continue. It's more difficult to open fire. But I
20 could imagine how afraid both sides were in such circumstances.
21 Q. Mr. Vukotic, did the column manage to break through the first
22 lines of defence? Did it manage to sever the road, the Zvornik-Zapardje
23 road, and to go toward the units of the 2nd Corps of the BH army?
24 A. Now I know that this high court and this institution cannot allow
25 for assumptions, so at the moment I cannot answer that question, other
1 than speak about the information which I knew at the time, and that was
2 that the infiltrated group did manage to get into direct contact with the
3 group and that there was a coordinated action by the units from the
4 column and the units of the B and H army, belonging to the 2nd Corps,
5 with increased pressure on the lines and increased pressure at the rear
6 of the units so that already the next day, as you probably know yourself,
7 there were certain negotiations and so on. However, I'm convinced that
8 the line was broken through and that the agreement to open it was
9 actually formalised later.
10 Q. Did you communicate with Dragan Obrenovic in the night between
11 the 14th and the 15th via radio?
12 A. I most probably did, because I did have communication with him
13 throughout that period. And if anything important was happening on the
14 ground, I probably informed him about it.
15 Q. At any point did you find out that he personally was captured by
16 members of the B and H army?
17 A. No. Other than seeing by the participants that he was in that
18 Baljkovica region where all hell had broken loose. Other than that, I
19 didn't know any details.
20 Q. Thank you. At one point you said that on the 15th negotiations
21 began about opening the corridor for the passage of the column.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you take part in these negotiations on the 15th in any way?
24 A. I think a more precise answer would be that I participated in the
25 mediation, because I was not a superior officer at that rank and it
1 wasn't in accordance with my functional duty or my authorities. I was
2 not one who could make decisions. However, on the 15th, I think 15th in
3 the morning, I received information my listening group that Semso
4 Muminovic, a member of the B and H army from the 2nd Tuzla Corps - I
5 cannot remember his exact post at the time; I think that he was already
6 doing intelligence duties and I think that he was a commander of one of
7 the brigades. I can't remember which one any longer - he made a
8 roll-call and he was looking for someone from the Army of Republika
9 Srpska and from the Zvornik Brigade. I can't remember whether he wanted
10 to actually speak to Vinko Pandurevic, but I received information at a
11 certain frequency that he wanted to speak with someone, and I informed
12 the Chief of Staff about this. I said that my listening post, my
13 listening group, was picking up Mr. Muminovic's calls, and the Chief of
14 Staff suggested that I should reply, and this is what I did.
15 I responded to Mr. Muminovic's call, and we embarked on a
16 dialogue about what was going on with the column and so on and so forth.
17 He asked whether it was possible to reach an accord on opening the lines.
18 I told him that "I will convey this information to my superiors," and the
19 Chief of Staff then made a suggestion. He said that those conversations
20 should be conducted at a certain pace, that I should impose such a pace
21 of this conversation for as long as the main strength of the Zvornik
22 Brigade forces needed to return to the area of responsibility that was
24 Q. May I interrupt you for a second there. Can you tell us at this
25 point if you knew when did Commander Vinko Pandurevic return to the
1 Zvornik Brigade area of responsibility?
2 A. It's very difficult for me to say whether this happened on the
3 14th in the afternoon or on the 15th in the afternoon. But I think, if
4 the transcripts and the intercepts are speaking about this particular
5 conversation and if it took place on the 15th, I only know that on the
6 same day that I was in communication with Semso, that same afternoon I
7 could see the units returning from Kula Grad back to the area of
8 responsibility, because you could see the road leading back from
9 Srebrenica-Drinjaca-Divcici [phoen] to Zvornik very well from that point
10 where I was at, and I was at Kula.
11 Q. Does that mean that at the point in time when you set off or
12 began your communications with the other side, you could see Vinko
13 Pandurevic? Does that mean that Vinko Pandurevic and the units he had
14 taken to Srebrenica had not yet returned to the Zvornik area?
15 A. Yes. The negotiations between myself and Mr. Muminovic lasted
16 for quite a while, with breaks in between. We were creating an
17 environment in which we could speak. We needed to achieve a truce first,
18 and he gave word that he would do everything on his part to halt the
19 artillery barrage, which was actually constant on the part of the B and H
20 army. At the same time, I had to do my utmost to make sure that we
21 halted our fire.
22 I cannot state whether he was in a position to make decisions. I
23 know that I conveyed this information immediately to the Chief of Staff,
24 and then we would say, "Okay, let us now work on the truce," and then we
25 would get back to each other in 15 minutes' time. So in this way both of
1 us were trying to establish a normal environment in order to avoid what
2 was actually starting to happen out on the ground.
3 Q. What was your call sign at the time? How were you addressed in
4 this radio traffic?
5 A. My usual signal or code-name was "Vuk," wolf. However, in those
6 days, if the captured police officer called Gavro and Gavro did not
7 respond, then I would respond as Gavro and speak on his behalf. If Semso
8 Muminovic asked for the person and charge and no one responded, then I
9 would respond on behalf of that person and say I was the person in
11 At one point, since Semso realised that I was not the person in
12 charge and that I could not make any decisions, then I would say "Person
13 X" and so on. So I would use "Vuk, "person in charge," "Glavni,"
14 "Gavro." But I did not do it in any situation and most often I responded
15 as myself.
16 Q. Does that mean that in this intensive radio communication during
17 the intense combat operations on the 14th and the 15th you were
18 representing yourself -- or introducing yourself under other names as
20 A. Yes, that is true. I can specifically say that I responded as
21 wolf, "Vuk," as "X," or at the point when the police officer was
22 requesting to speak to Gavro, I would say "Gavro," but not in any other
23 circumstances. This happened maybe for three or four minutes, for very
24 briefly I was the person in charge because Semso asked for the person in
25 charge. And I would I would say, "I am in charge" in order to have the
1 opportunity to have a conversation with him.
2 I did not have any other call signs. Sometimes I would use the
3 call sign "Ruka," hand, because I had been wounded in the hand, so for my
4 soldiers from the listening group, because I also knew that others knew
5 me as "Vuk," I would then for that reason change the name because the
6 soldiers in the listening group would then tell that it was me. But
7 these are the several signs that I used.
8 Q. Does that mean that you falsely introduced yourselves at those
9 times, in order to play tricks on the other side?
10 A. Yes, that is correct.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 Allow me just to briefly deal with what has happened, because we
13 will have other testimony about the combat operations, about the night of
14 the 15th and the 16th and the 16th [as interpreted]. Could you please
15 tell us what was happening on that night of combat between the 15th and
16 the 16th. Was there a definite breakthrough? And what happened?
17 A. I cannot tell you now exactly what time it was. I cannot even
18 establish the exact date when it was opened and when it was closed,
19 because I no longer took part in that with the appearance of the Zvornik
20 Brigade units. And once I received information received by the commander
21 of the brigade, Mr. Pandurevic, from that point on, when he got the
22 information that I had Semso Muminovic on the line -- and I did not
23 communicate with him before that, because he wasn't in my line of sight
24 and I had no communication with him -- on that afternoon - I think it was
25 in the afternoon; maybe it was in the early evening - he called to this
1 RUP-12 device and said, "Yes, I heard that you have Muminovic on the
2 line." And then I passed that on to him. The frequency where
3 Mr. Muminovic was was passed on to him.
4 And from that point on their mutual agreement began about opening
5 the line, and from that point on I no longer participated in this
6 conversation. Of course, I could listen to it, but I didn't take part in
7 it. I cannot remember when it was opened and when it was closed;
8 however, I am still convinced that the line was already broken through
9 and that it was only the official accord or the agreement whereby it was
10 achieved that the line was opened from a certain point up to a certain
11 point. Luckily, it was a probably a major thing that this happened at
12 all, because I'm sure that with this action the number of casualties was
13 reduced on both sides.
14 Q. During those days from the 13th to the 16th and the 17th, with
15 the passage of the column, were captured members of the column appearing
16 and did you communicate with those captured persons in order to gather
17 intelligence data?
18 A. One single captured person from that column with whom I talked -
19 and I cannot remember the exact date when this took place, because with
20 the opening of the corridor, I think that already on the 15th or 16th or
21 the 17th, I think this was already on the 17th - that I had come down
22 from Kula and I went to the forward command post and that's when I saw
23 Pandurevic. I was still intensively working to try to pull out Zoran
24 Jankovic, and since I already had information from the ground about the
25 killings of our soldiers, about the -- also capture of our soldiers by
1 this column, and specifically trying to pull out the son of a certain
2 Dusan Gotovac. And in this sense, I am still in communication and even
3 on that 17th - I think this was in the presence of Vinko and Dragan
4 Obrenovic from the forward command post - we are in communication, it
5 seems to me, except for Semso we then talked also with Mr. Malkic who was
6 the commander of the 28th Division about the eventual release of Zoran
7 Jankovic. And there were conversations at the time about the prisoners
8 in the territory who at the time were already captured at Lisaca at a
9 sector of the Masevica Brigade and so on and so forth.
10 However, I'm coming back to your specific question. The only
11 captured person from the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina with whom I had
12 spoken in the barracks, I don't know whether this was on the 17th or the
13 18th, maybe it was even on the 16th, but I think this was on the 17th or
14 the 18th because by the 16th I practically -- no, not practically, I
15 actually didn't go down there. So yes, it is Nedzad Ahmetovic, a
16 communications person in the command of the 28th Division in Srebrenica.
17 He was the personal communications officer of Naser Oric.
18 Q. Thank you very much. We will come back to Nedzad Ahmetovic's
19 statement, and we have will try to clarify that. We will go into more
20 detail about your contacts with Nedzad Ahmetovic.
21 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] I would like to ask the usher
22 now to show the witness Exhibit P121. For purposes of identification,
23 this is Defence Exhibit 110. It's a collection of intercepts from Dekici
24 and Nezuci. We had the testimony here of a person who took part in the
25 listening-in of these conversations, and our witness today is also
1 mentioned in these intercepts.
2 Q. Mr. Vukotic, at one point today you said that you were aware of
3 the fact that just as you were listening to the conversations of the
4 B and H army, they were doing the same to you.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. I will now present to you a collection that the Prosecution has
7 tendered, a collection of intercepts from the area of the 2nd Corps of
8 the BH army, and I will ask you to briefly comment on those intercepts in
9 which your then code-name is mentioned.
10 Page ERN 0084-8949, on page 3 of the translation into English of
11 this conversation. I have also provided this in B/C/S. That is the 13th
12 of July, Thursday, Amazon 1 and Lovac 1: "Tell Vuk to call. The Chief
13 is on his way towards you, and Vuk went past Amazon towards the base --
14 towards Amazon, towards the base." Amazon 1 replies, "Did Vuk tell you
15 to go to the base?"
16 Can you assist us by telling us who the participants are here.
17 Who is Amazon 1 and who is Lovac or "hunter" 1?
18 A. "Amazon" was usually used for tank drivers. I would say that
19 this was an intercept that happened on the 13th in the morning when, let
20 me remind you, I was with Mr. Obrenovic in the Snagovo area, and this was
21 when I was leaving the area. I'm sure that "Amazon 1" is one of the tank
23 "Lovac 1" or "Hunter 1", I think this was the code name for
24 Mr. Obrenovic, but on the short-wave when conversing with me he usually
25 used the name "Avala." So this is probably an intercept from the radio
1 centre of the Zvornik Brigade.
2 Q. If it says "the Chief is on his way towards you" and "Vuk went
3 past Amazon towards the base," can you tell us in what direction they
4 were moving? Each one of these.
5 A. If "Amazon 1", if I went past Amazon from the area of Snagovo,
6 according to my task for that day, I went to Kula. "Amazon 1" was
7 obviously in the area of Snagovo and obviously -- or rather, it can be
8 concluded that the chief was supposed to go to that area, the area of
9 Snagovo. He was somewhere else, and he was on his way back to Snagovo.
10 Q. So he was on his way back to Snagovo?
11 A. Yes. Yes, there's logic in that. But it would be irresponsible
12 to base facts on this segment of conversation.
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Stojanovic, I think the time is up for this
14 morning's session, and I'm sorry that you did not finish your direct
15 examination, but I believe that tomorrow morning you won't take much of a
16 long time.
17 Well, Witness, I'm afraid that you have to stay in The Hague for
18 another day. As I did to other witnesses, that you are still under the
19 oath, so do not talk to anybody about your testimony and do not let
20 anybody talk to you about it. Do you understand?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Yes, we'll see you again tomorrow morning.
23 The hearing is adjourned for today.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.,
25 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 6th day of
1 July, 2004, at 9.00 a.m.