1 Friday, 21 November 2003
2 [Appeal Proceedings]
3 [Open session]
4 [The appellant entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 10.03 a.m.
6 JUDGE MERON: Please be seated.
7 Madam Registrar, would you please call the case on the Appeals
8 Chamber's agenda.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Case number
10 IT-98-33-A, the Prosecutor versus Radislav Krstic.
11 JUDGE MERON: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
12 I would like to make sure that the interpreters are here and that
13 they can hear me.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MERON: I see the appellant is in the courtroom.
16 Mr. Krstic, can you hear me?
17 THE APPELLANT: [Interpretation] Yes.
18 JUDGE MERON: Defence and Prosecution, I take it that you can
19 hear me.
20 And I would now like, for the record, to ask for the appearances
21 of the parties. Could we first have the appearance for the Defence.
22 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours,
23 President of the Tribunal. Good morning. My name is Nenad Petrusic.
24 With me is Mr. Norman Sepenuk, and today during this hearing and in the
25 appeals proceedings we will have our colleague present, Ms. Sandra Djuric.
1 JUDGE MERON: Thank you very much.
2 Could we now, please, have the appearances for the Prosecution.
3 MR. FARRELL: Thank you. Good morning, Your Honours. Appearing
4 for the Prosecution is Norman Farrell, Ms. Camille Bibles, Mr. Dan Moylan,
5 and our case manager is Ms. Lourdes Galicia. Thank you.
6 JUDGE MERON: Thank you.
7 I would like now to explain how we are going to proceed during
8 this hearing. As the registrar announced, the case we are hearing today
9 is Prosecutor versus Radislav Krstic. General Krstic was indicted for
10 genocide, complicity to commit genocide, persecution, extermination,
11 murder, and forced transfer or deportation. The indictment concerned the
12 conduct of the accused between July and November 1995, following the
13 attack of the Bosnian Serb forces on the town of Srebrenica. At the time
14 of the attack, General Krstic was the deputy commander and soon thereafter
15 the commander of the Drina Corps, which was, as you know, one of the
16 constituent units of the army of Republika Srpska.
17 The judgement in this case was issued by Trial Chamber I on the
18 2nd of August, 2001. The Trial Chamber convicted Mr. Krstic of genocide
19 under Article 4 of the Tribunal's Statute; persecution for murders, cruel
20 and inhumane treatment, terrorising the civilian population, forcible
21 transfer and destruction of personal property of Bosnian Muslim civilians,
22 all offences under Article 5; and murder as a violence of the laws and
23 customs of war under Article 3. Both Mr. Krstic and the Prosecution
24 appealed against the judgement. I will say more about the convictions
25 entered by the Trial Chamber against Mr. Krstic and the grounds of both
1 appeals when we reconvene on Wednesday to hear the arguments on the
3 The purpose of today's proceedings, as the parties are aware, is,
4 first, to hear the testimony of the witnesses whose evidence has been
5 admitted on appeal, either as additional evidence pursuant to Rule 115 or
6 as rebuttal material to that evidence. The parties, if they so wish, will
7 be given the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses.
8 We will also hear the testimony of a witness who has been
9 summoned by the Appeals Chamber proprio motu under Rule 98. Finally, we
10 will hear the arguments of counsel for both the Prosecution and the
11 Defence regarding the weight and the credibility of the admitted evidence
12 and of the admitted rebuttal material.
13 Let me now summarise the evidence which has been admitted in this
14 appeal, and then I will outline in more detail the order in which we will
15 proceed with the testimonies of the witnesses and the arguments of the
17 First, in its decision of 5 August 2003, the Appeals Chamber
18 admitted into evidence under Rule 115 three documents and a witness
19 statement presented by the Defence. The three documents were tabs 1
20 through 3 of the Defence Rule 115 motion filed on 10 January 2003. The
21 witness statement was tab 5 of the same motion. I would like to remind
22 the parties that the witness whose evidence was admitted is a protected
23 witness; therefore, he will not be referred to by name. Rather, his
24 statement shall be referred to as "tab 5 evidence."
25 Next, in a decision of 19 November 2003, this past Wednesday, the
1 Appeals Chamber admitted nine documents presented by the Prosecution.
2 These documents were admitted as rebuttal material to the Defence evidence
3 I just described. These nine documents constitute Annexes 1 through 7 and
4 also 11 and 14 of the Prosecution's Notice and Filing of Rebuttal Evidence
5 of 3 October.
6 In this same decision, the Appeals Chamber also ruled admissible
7 as rebuttal material for the Prosecution the evidence given by two
8 witnesses, Mr. Momir Nikolic and Mr. Dragan Obrenovic, in the trial of
9 Prosecutor versus Blagojevic. These witnesses will give their evidence
10 during today's hearing.
11 Also in that decision, the Appeals Chamber ruled on the
12 Prosecution's argument that the evidence in tab 5, which as I already
13 described is the statement of the Defence witness we admitted on 5 August,
14 remains untested and is potentially not credible. The Defence had earlier
15 informed us that it will not be conducting a direct examination of this
16 witness. Given the Prosecution's argument that the veracity of tab 5
17 evidence may be questionable, the Chamber decided, pursuant to Rule 98,
18 that the witness shall be present during this hearing to be cross-examined
19 by the Prosecution so that the credibility of his evidence could be
20 tested. The Chamber has been informed, however, that the witness whose
21 statement constitutes tab 5 is currently in hospital, and so he will not
22 be present during today's hearing.
23 Also, on Wednesday, 19th of November, the Appeals Chamber
24 rendered a decision summoning proprio motu witness Miroslav Deronjic, whom
25 the Chamber wishes to question concerning the evidence emanating from the
1 sentencing hearing in the case of Prosecutor against Nikolic, because
2 Mr. Deronjic is called as the Appeals Chamber's witness pursuant to Rule
3 98, the Chamber will conduct the principal examination of the witness.
4 After the Chamber has questioned the witness, the Defence and the
5 Prosecution will be provided with an opportunity to pose questions to the
7 Finally, in a decision rendered yesterday, the 20th of November,
8 the Appeals Chamber granted a motion filed by the Defence and admitted a
9 different portion of the evidence given by Mr. Obrenovic during the
10 Blagojevic trial. Mr. Obrenovic will therefore testify concerning this
11 evidence as well.
12 So that is a summary of the evidence with which this hearing is
13 concerned. Let me now outline the precise order in which we will proceed.
14 This is the order given in our scheduling order of yesterday.
15 First, we will hear from witness Miroslav Deronjic. This witness
16 is appearing as the Chamber's witness. The main examination of the
17 witness will therefore be conducted by the Judges. After the Bench --
18 after the Bench concludes the questioning, I will give the floor to the
19 Prosecution. The Prosecution will have a maximum of 30 minutes to pose
20 questions to the witness. After that, I will give the floor to the
21 Defence. The Defence will likewise have a maximum of 30 minutes to pose
22 questions. I wish to remind counsel for both the Prosecution and the
23 Defence that they are not obliged to use all the time allocated. After
24 the Prosecution and the Defence finish questioning the witness, the
25 Chamber may pose additional questions. Mr. Deronjic's counsel will be
1 present during his testimony.
2 Next we will hear from witness Dragan Obrenovic. Mr. Obrenovic
3 will first appear as the Defence witness. Therefore, the Defence will
4 conduct the direct examination of the witness. Afterwards, the
5 Prosecution, if it wishes, will be able to cross-examine the witness. Of
6 course, the Judges may also pose questions to Mr. Obrenovic. If they wish
7 to do so, they will ask those questions after the direct examination and
8 the cross-examination are over.
9 Mr. Obrenovic will then testify as the Prosecution's witness.
10 The Prosecution will conduct the direct examination and the Defence will
11 then be permitted, if it wishes, to cross-examine. If the Chamber has
12 additional questions, it will pose them to Mr. Obrenovic after the
13 cross-examination. Mr. Obrenovic's counsel will be present during his
14 testimony, both as -- both as the Defence and as the Prosecution witness.
15 The next witness will be Mr. Momir Nikolic. He will be appearing
16 as the witness for the Prosecution, and so the Prosecution will conduct
17 the direct examination. The Defence will then be given the opportunity to
18 cross-examine Mr. Nikolic. The Chamber may likewise pose additional
19 questions, which will be done at the end of the cross-examination.
20 Mr. Nikolic's counsel will be present during his testimony.
21 I would like to remind counsel for both parties that if they wish
22 -- choose to conduct cross-examination, the scope of that examination must
23 be limited to the scope of the evidence the witness gave during his
25 As I already explained, the witness whose evidence was admitted
1 as tab 5 will not be appearing today.
2 After we have heard from all three witnesses, the counsel for
3 both parties will be given the opportunity to present arguments as to the
4 weight and credibility of the evidence admitted on appeal under Rule 115,
5 as well as of the admitted rebuttal material. Each side will be allocated
6 30 minutes of argument time. I would like the parties to be as precise as
7 possible in their arguments.
8 We will have a lunch break possibly at 11.45, and we will
9 reconvene at 1.15. After that, we will have two breaks of 20 or 30
10 minutes in the afternoon. We will take those breaks as necessary. I
11 believe we will be able to conclude the evidentiary portion of this appeal
12 today. If, however, we need more time, we will reconvene on Monday, 24th
13 of November.
14 I would like now to turn to Witness Deronjic, and I would like
15 now to call Witness Miroslav Deronjic.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE MERON: Good morning, Mr. Deronjic. Can you hear me? I
18 take it you can hear me.
19 Could you please read the solemn declaration given to you by the
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
22 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
23 WITNESS: MIROSLAV DERONJIC
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 JUDGE MERON: Thank you, witness. You may now be seated.
1 Questioned by the Court:
2 JUDGE MERON: Could you -- you can hear me, Mr. Deronjic? Could
3 you please tell the Court your full name and date of birth.
4 A. My name is Miroslav Deronjic. I was born on the 6th of June,
6 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. What was your address before coming to
7 The Hague?
8 A. Your Honours, I was residing in Bratunac. The address was
9 Gavrila Principa Street number 22.
10 JUDGE MERON: Thank you, Mr. Deronjic.
11 Mr. Deronjic, the Court has asked you here today to testify in
12 the appeal proceedings in the case of the Prosecutor against Radislav
13 Krstic. As it is the Court itself that has requested your attendance, you
14 will first be asked questions by the Judges. As I'm the Presiding Judge,
15 I will begin the questioning. Following the questions of other Judges,
16 you will then be asked questions by the Prosecution and, after that, by
17 the Defence for Mr. Krstic.
18 Specifically, we will be asking you questions so that you can tell
19 us what you know about what happened during the military operations in
20 Srebrenica during July 1995, the role of Mr. Karadzic, Mr. Mladic, and Mr.
21 Krstic. The witness should feel free to provide the Chamber with the
22 proper context for the information in which he - you, Mr. Deronjic - will
23 be questioned.
24 Mr. Deronjic, I understand that you have a lawyer representing
25 you in the courtroom; is that correct?
1 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. My
2 name is Slobodan Cvijetic. I am Defence counsel for the accused Miroslav
3 Deronjic, who will be heard in this case as a witness.
4 JUDGE MERON: Yes. Thank you.
5 Mr. Cvijetic, as is the usual practice, you may make
6 interventions concerning your client's rights but not in relation to the
7 factual basis of his testimony.
8 Mr. Deronjic, you, of course, have the right, as you know, to
9 remain silent. If you feel at any time that questions -- that questions
10 asked may require you to give information that may incriminate you, you
11 may -- you do not have to answer those questions. Thank you very much.
12 Before I commence the questioning, Mr. Deronjic, it is my
13 understanding that you have previously testified before this Tribunal in
14 the Nikolic sentencing procedures on the 28th of October, 2003 in open
15 session. Is that correct?
16 A. Your Excellency, that is correct.
17 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. And you confirm that you gave that
18 testimony under oath and that it represents the truth to the best of your
19 knowledge? Correct, Mr. Deronjic?
20 A. Yes, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. I therefore formally adopt your
22 testimony from those proceedings into the record for the purposes of this
24 I will now start with the examination, Mr. Deronjic.
25 Mr. Deronjic, what was your position at the beginning of July
2 A. Your Honour, at the beginning of July 1995, I had the position of
3 president of the Municipal Board of the SDS for Bratunac. I was also a
4 member of the Main Board of the SDS for Republika Srpska. Those were my
5 official positions at that point in time.
6 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. Would you tell the Court how far is
7 Bratunac from Srebrenica.
8 A. Bratunac is exactly 10 kilometres from Srebrenica. So the centre
9 of the town of Bratunac, from the centre of the town of Srebrenica, the
10 distance is exactly 10 kilometres.
11 JUDGE MERON: Could you -- thank you. Could you briefly tell the
12 Court what were your principal responsibilities as chairman of the
13 Executive Committee of the SDS party in Bratunac.
14 A. If you're referring to the total period of my involvement in the
15 1990s, then this had to do with questions related to the organisation of
16 the party and the organisation of the multi-party elections in Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina in 1990. After that, in 1995, I engaged in customary party
18 activity linked to the results of the elections and the establishment of
19 the municipal authorities in Bratunac municipality. Afterwards, with the
20 outbreak of the war in 1992, from the period of 20-something April until
21 mid-June, I was president of the Crisis Staff in Bratunac municipality.
22 It is common knowledge that the Serbian Democratic Party was not active in
23 1992, during the term of the first government of Republika Srpska, headed
24 by Mr. Djeric.
25 In the summer of 1992, the party renewed its activities, and I was
1 co-opted as a member of the Main Board because my predecessor,
2 Mr. Zekic, was killed and somebody from the area needed to represent the
3 area in the SDS Main Board. My activities were the customary activities
4 of a party at municipal level, so I covered party issues in that area.
5 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. Could you tell us about the meeting you
6 had with Mr. Karadzic on the 8th or 9th of July, 1995. What was
7 Mr. Karadzic's position at that time?
8 A. Your Honour, do you wish me to put that within the context of my
9 intention to leave on the 9th, or do you just wish me to explain that
10 particular meeting?
11 JUDGE MERON: I would like you to tell us what happened -- what
12 transpired in that meeting. But first, as an introduction to that, I
13 would like you to tell us what exactly was the position of Mr. Karadzic,
14 his official role.
15 A. At that point in time, Your Honour, Karadzic was the president of
16 Republika Srpska. That was his position at the time. I'm not quite sure
17 that he was also president of the SDS. I think that it was Mr. Buha who
18 was president of the party at that time, but I'm not 100 per cent sure.
19 So when I came to talk to him at Pale, he was the current president of
20 Republika Srpska.
21 JUDGE MERON: Was he also the Supreme Commander of the armed
22 forces of Republika Srpska?
23 A. Yes, Your Honour, that is correct.
24 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. Why did you go to meet him on that
25 date? And where did the meeting take place?
1 A. I shall try briefly to describe the motives for me going to Pale
2 on the 9th or the 8th of May. I'm not quite sure which of those dates is
4 For a brief time, at the beginning of military operations around
5 Srebrenica, I spent some time at the forward command post from which the
6 operations around Srebrenica were commanded, and that area is called
7 Pribicevac. I noted that the operation around Srebrenica went beyond
8 routine operations that had taken place earlier on around Srebrenica. I
9 realised that the scope of that operation went beyond any routine
10 activity. I knew most of the participants in that event, and the bulk of
11 the army in the area was constituted by the Bratunac Brigade. I know most
12 of those men, and I realised that it was highly risky for such serious
13 operations to be undertaken with men who, in my opinion, were not
14 sufficiently well trained for such operations. If necessary, I can
15 explain that in greater detail later on.
16 My intention in going to Pale was to caution the president by
17 saying if there were any serious intentions regarding Srebrenica, which
18 was the conclusion I had made, that it would be a good idea to involve in
19 such an operation another well-trained unit, and I had in mind at that
20 point the unit of the Special Police. It is well known that a minister --
21 that within the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Republika Srpska there was
22 a Special Police Brigade. I knew the command officers of that unit of
23 Special Police, and I knew personally Mr. Ljubisa Borovcanin, who was head
24 in the staff of that special police unit. For a while, Mr. Borovcanin
25 also performed the duty of chief of public security station in Bratunac.
1 So my intention was, firstly, to see what the military intentions were of
2 the activities around Srebrenica; and secondly, to suggest to President
3 Karadzic that a well-trained unit should be brought to the area, one that
4 would be capable of that type of an operation. Those were my reasons.
5 I went alone to Pale on the assumption that I would find
6 President Karadzic there. I expected him to be somewhere in the
7 Presidency building. At that time, operations along the Bratunac-Konjevic
8 Polje road were not taking place, so there was no danger or risk of taking
9 the trip. I arrived at Pale sometime in the afternoon; I can't remember
10 exactly at what time. I entered according to the normal procedure when
11 entering the Presidency building. I wanted to announce my presence and to
12 talk to Mr. Karadzic.
13 En route to the entrance of the president's building, I met
14 Mr. Karadzic, accompanied by Mr. Krajisnik - I'm talking about Momcilo
15 Krajisnik - and also in the company of Mr. Jovica Stanisic, of whom I knew
16 that at the time he held the highest position in the State Security
17 service of the Republic of Serbia. We met, and I described in detail to
18 the Prosecution the area to the left of the Presidency building, and
19 President Karadzic and the others - and I mean Krajisnik - they recognised
20 me. I had never seen Mr. Jovica Stanisic before personally, in real life.
21 Of course, I had seen him on the media before, and of course I recognised
23 I went up to the three of them, who were coming in my direction.
24 We exchanged greetings, and President Karadzic introduced me to Stanisic
25 in a way that I had the impression that that group had that day discussed
1 the question of Srebrenica. When introducing me, he said, "This is one of
2 our young men from the ground down there." This was an indication for me
3 that one of the topics they had discussed, among others probably, was the
4 question of Srebrenica.
5 The president at that point in time asked me why I had come,
6 after having introduced me and after we exchanged greetings, and I said
7 that if they had other things to do, I could wait, that it was not urgent,
8 and that I would take up very little of their time, I have just some
9 questions for him. And of course, he assumed that the questions had to do
10 with Srebrenica, where military activities were intensively ongoing. He
11 said, "If it is brief, we can do that here," though I had suggested that I
12 wait until they finish their meeting, because I gathered that the meeting
13 or conversation between them was over because they were leaving the
14 Presidency building and casually walking towards the yard behind the
15 Presidency building. So I assumed that the meeting was over. I thought
16 I'd wait until they saw off Mr. Stanisic, but President Karadzic suggested
17 that I ask him whatever I had to ask him right there, on the spot.
18 JUDGE MERON: Let me just interrupt you for a moment before we
19 return to Mr. Karadzic. You said a few seconds ago that -- you mentioned
20 the question whether there were serious intentions regarding Srebrenica.
21 If there were serious intentions, you wanted to explore this in Pale.
22 What do you mean by "serious intentions regarding Srebrenica," Mr.
24 A. Your Excellency, I gave an explanation in detail to the
25 Prosecution, to the effect that in that area, the area of Srebrenica, in
1 1994 and 1995, a series of such operations, military operations, took
2 place, in the sense of putting up barricades to stop the break-through of
3 Muslim forces into our territory, repair of certain positions, improvement
4 and fortification shifts of our defence lines. That, I would say, were
5 the -- the operations around Srebrenica.
6 However, when I went to Pribicevac in 1995, in the month of July,
7 after a while I came to the conclusion that this operation in Srebrenica
8 was going beyond routine activity and indicates a serious tendency to
9 enter Srebrenica on our part. That's what I meant, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. Now, could you -- could we return to
11 your meeting with Mr. Karadzic, and could you tell us, please, Witness,
12 what did Mr. Karadzic say regarding his intentions for Srebrenica.
13 A. We stepped aside for a moment, a few steps away from
14 Mr. Krajisnik and Mr. Jovica Stanisic, we stood a little to the side, and
15 we started talking about the current events around Srebrenica. I cannot,
16 of course, remember the exact words used in that introductory part. It
17 was the usual exchange of information. I must have told him that I had
18 just come straight from the ground and that I was interested in what was
19 going to happen around Srebrenica, and I remember telling him at one
20 point, "Mr. President, what are your military intentions for the area
21 around Srebrenica?" And at that moment, President Karadzic explained to
22 me that the plan regarding Srebrenica and the purpose of those military
23 operations could be described briefly as two options: The first option,
24 as he told me - and I cannot quote him precisely - but he said something
25 to this effect, "Military operations were to be used to change the actual
1 situation on the ground regarding the UN safe area, as agreed by the act
2 of proclamation of that area."
3 And, you know, Your Honour, that there existed maps that defined
4 this territory marked as the UN safe area under the act of its
6 We - and when I say "we" I mean the narrow and broader circle of
7 the Bosnian Serb leadership - expressed our dissatisfaction with the
8 actual situation on the ground, which did not coincide with the exact
9 borders of that area as envisaged by the act of its proclamation as UN
10 safe area.
11 So I understood that Plan A implies that by virtue of military
12 operations, these actual situation on the ground would be made to
13 correspond to what was envisaged by the act of proclamation of the UN safe
14 area, especially because a particular problem for the Serb side was the
15 southern part of this area. In this part, there was a communication line
16 between Skelani and Milici municipalities, and the only road, which was
17 that road, enabled the movement of the army. However, it was controlled
18 all the time by the forces of Bosnian Muslims. I understood that our
19 priority in that Plan A was to free that road and put it in the hands of
20 Bosnian Serbs, thus enabling communication and transportation in that area
21 in the southern part.
22 The Option B, as described to me by President Karadzic, was a
23 conditional plan. In which way conditional? As I understood, it was
24 supposed to enable the entry of the army in Srebrenica if possible. When
25 I say "the possibility," I mean possibility for the Bosnian Serb army.
1 That was the gist of our conversation, and I was happy to hear that in the
2 sense that I was able to understand what the intentions of our army were
3 regarding Srebrenica. On that occasion --
4 JUDGE MERON: Mr. Deronjic, could you tell us, what did
5 Mr. Karadzic -- did Mr. Karadzic refer in this conversation to the Western
6 Slavonia principle? And if so, what did he mean by that?
7 A. Your Excellency, I thought I would just explain this conversation
8 as it went, but I will answer your question. As we continued talking,
9 Mr. Karadzic asked me -- he said exactly, "What do you think should be
10 done with the population, with the Muslims who were living in Srebrenica?"
11 And he probably meant also both the troops and the civilians. I was
12 surprised by the question at the time, but I answered to the president
13 that I could not possibly imagine the outcome, the epilogue of an entry of
14 our army into Srebrenica. And I said I was not prepared to speculate,
15 because I did not even have the basic indicators that would enable me to
16 make an informed guess.
17 At that moment, I was not even aware whether our army would
18 really go in. I knew it had the intention of going in, if possible, but I
19 didn't know for sure. And I said to the president that at that moment I
20 was not prepared to speculate because I didn't know what course the events
21 would take. And the president then told me something that I remembered;
22 he uttered the sentence that included the words "the principle of Western
23 Slavonia," meaning a possible conduct in the case of entry into
25 I tried to explain to the president that we - and when I say "we"
1 I mean the leadership of Bosnian Serbs in the broader and the narrower
2 sense - had occasion many times to observe the events that took place in
3 Croatia, the well-known events, and I think it was the 1st of May when the
4 army attacked an area populated by Croatian Serbs, and that area is called
5 Western Slavonia. During that attack, in the unanimous opinion of the
6 then-Serbian leadership, columns of civilians were shelled as they were
7 leaving -- fleeing that area from the attack of Croatian forces. So I
8 understood that sentence to be alluding to those well-known events and the
9 possibility of a repetition of the same course of events as they took
10 place in Croatia.
11 JUDGE MERON: Did you understand this to be relevant both with
12 regard to combatants and civilians in Srebrenica?
13 A. I used these words then: I asked Mr. Karadzic, because I
14 understood his allusion to the recent events in Croatia, and I asked him,
15 "Does that include civilians too?" And he agreed with me that we cannot
16 plan everything that would happen, we cannot speculate, and he said, "We
17 will see, and if we have an opportunity, we will hear from each other."
18 These were not his exact words, but that was the gist of what he said.
19 JUDGE MERON: What do you think he meant when he said in that
20 conversation to you - and I quote - "Those people there must be killed"?
21 These were Mr. Karadzic's words.
22 A. Yes, that is correct. At one point he uttered the words, "You
23 need to kill them. You need to kill everyone you can." Those were his
24 words. Your Honour, to be quite honest, at that time I did not give much
25 thought to the sense of those words, because I had no command position
1 that would enable me to engage in such acts, but still I kept thinking
2 about those words. In a sense, since those words were in the context of
3 that reference to Western Slavonia, in my understanding, that meant that
4 fleeing people, including civilians, would be columns that need to be
5 attacked. As I understood, from Western Slavonia the army and civilians
6 fled together, and those columns, those fleeing columns, were attacked by
7 artillery. I do not know the details of those events in Western Slavonia,
8 but that was the essence.
9 So my conclusion was that those columns of fleeing people would
10 be attacked by all available weapons.
11 JUDGE MERON: and killed.
12 A. Yes, of course that seems to be the logical conclusion. That's
13 the word he used.
14 JUDGE MERON: Thank you, Mr. Deronjic. After that meeting, the
15 meeting in Pale which we have discussed, you were appointed to a new
16 position. What was that position?
17 A. On the 11th of July, Your Excellency, I was appointed civilian
18 commissioner for the Srebrenica municipality.
19 JUDGE MERON: And could you tell us something about the role or
20 function of that new position as Serb commissioner for Srebrenica.
21 A. Yes. I will try to explain what functions this position
23 That night, I asked the president, when I spoke to him on the
24 phone - because I had no prior knowledge that I would be directly involved
25 in any way in the events around Srebrenica - so I asked him on the phone
1 on the 11th, at night, to explain to me the purpose of that position to
2 which I was appointed by an enactment of the presidency of Republika
3 Srpska. And he told me that my primary task was to deal with civilians in
4 the Srebrenica area, because he knew -- he had information to the effect
5 that a great number of civilians had gathered in the area of Potocari
6 around the UNPROFOR base, that is, the base of the Dutch Battalion, which
7 was located within the UN safe area.
8 My other tasks, as he explained --
9 JUDGE MERON: Please go on.
10 A. My other tasks, as he explained in that telephone conversation on
11 the 11th in the evening, included the following: As soon as conditions
12 were ripe, after the evacuation of the Muslims, were to go into Srebrenica
13 to establish the first government structures, with the primary task of
14 protecting all types of properties, state, social, and all other property,
15 and to make sure that Serbs may return to this area, Serbs who had been
16 dislocated, and of course, to try to repair and restore the infrastructure
17 in and around Srebrenica.
18 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. So your conversation, your telephone
19 conversation with Mr. Karadzic about your new appointment as Serb
20 commissioner for Srebrenica, took place on the 11th of July. And I thank
21 you for this information. And could you tell me, please, tell the Court,
22 when did you speak to Mr. Karadzic again, after the 11th?
23 A. Your Excellency, do you want me to include telephone
24 conversations as well?
25 JUDGE MERON: Exactly. I do.
1 A. In the period that followed, I spoke to Mr. Karadzic, President
2 Karadzic, several times. I remember one conversation that took place on
3 the 12th, for instance, when after the well-known meeting in the Fontana
4 Hotel, I informed President Karadzic of the events that took place at that
5 meeting. I spoke to him from the office of the SDS party in Bratunac.
6 Another conversation of which I have a clear memory had to do
7 with developments regarding the captured Muslims and related to the 13th
8 of July. It could have taken place in the evening hours, I suppose,
9 sometime around 11.00 p.m. I --
10 JUDGE MERON: Excuse me. Are you referring to the captured
11 Muslims in Bratunac in this context, Mr. Deronjic?
12 A. Sorry, I meant the Muslims who were captured in Bratunac. They
13 were the focus of that conversation.
14 JUDGE MERON: [Previous translation continues] ...
15 A. So I had this conversation with President Karadzic from the
16 command post of the Bratunac Brigade. Since it was a very sensitive topic
17 and called for a more discreet way of communication, I decided to use
18 military communications from the command post of the Bratunac Brigade, and
19 I managed to get President Karadzic on the phone and I intended to inform
20 him that on the 13th July at noon, and again in the evening, a large
21 number of Muslim prisoners had arrived and some of them had been detained
22 in various facilities in Bratunac, including school buildings, stadiums,
23 and some were kept inside buses in the centre of the town. And when I
24 speak of Bratunac, I wish you to bear in mind that it is a very small
25 place that has only three streets. It's a very small town indeed.
1 That had created a very bad atmosphere in town. The very
2 presence of a couple of thousand captured Muslims represented a big
3 problem for that small town, because most men of military age were already
4 engaged on the front line and the risk of escape of those captives was
5 high, because they -- the security was very poor in the facilities where
6 they were kept.
7 Certain murders had already taken place. I had information as of
8 the 13th in the evening that certain -- that some murders had taken place
9 in the school building, and it was my intention to inform President
10 Karadzic of all these things, so I went to talk to him from the command
11 post on the 13th in the evening. And if you want me to, I can describe
12 that conversation.
13 JUDGE MERON: Please do.
14 A. I contacted President Karadzic, and most of our communication was
15 indirect. I explained already to the Prosecution that I don't know
16 exactly how this communication uses relays, but I know that there were
17 mediators who occasionally butted into our conversation. I would hear a
18 voice that says, "You can now speak to President Karadzic," and then I
19 would hear his instructions.
20 That conversation did not last long. I expressed my concern over
21 the situation in Bratunac and suggested to him that there were already
22 murders taking place. I cannot remember every sentence I said, but I said
23 that in view of the presence of international forces and representatives
24 of the press it was madness to allow such things to happen in the town of
25 Bratunac and the very detention of people in inadequate places was a
1 problem in itself that was obvious to anyone who had any interest in it.
2 President Karadzic told me briefly that a man would come - that's
3 exactly what he said - a man would come who would be carrying instructions
4 as to how to deal with these prisoners, and he uttered one sentence which
5 I remembered verbatim, and I must say that I conveyed this information
6 precisely even before I saw the text of that conversation given to me by
7 the Prosecution. That sentence was: "The goods must be in storehouses --
8 in warehouses by dawn and not there but elsewhere." That was the sentence
9 uttered by President Karadzic. He was trying to tell me in code the gist
10 of the instructions that would be brought by that man who was supposed to
11 come to Bratunac. And then when he finally asked me if I had understood,
12 I told him that I did; although, I wasn't quite sure I had well understood
13 what he meant by "elsewhere," although I had my ideas.
14 So after that conversation, I went back to my office.
15 JUDGE MERON: How did you understand those words "the goods must
16 be in storehouses -- in warehouses by dawn and not there but elsewhere"?
17 What at the time was your understanding, Witness?
18 A. Your Honour, my understanding of that message I have explained,
19 and that is what I told the gentleman who later appeared carrying
20 instructions. Thinking about what these words "elsewhere" meant, I
21 gathered the president wanted those men to leave Bratunac in the first
22 place; that was quite clear; that nothing should be done with the
23 prisoners in Bratunac, nothing at all. And this word "elsewhere" meant,
24 according to what I inferred - the president didn't say so - the only
25 logical place to put up so many people close to Bratunac was Bijeljina,
1 and there was a large prison there in the environs of Bijeljina. It was a
2 military prison which had a capacity, according to information I had - I
3 was never there - I heard it was a large prison and that there was
4 adequate space for putting up those people in the prison there. This
5 interpretation of Mr. Karadzic's sentence was what I conveyed to
6 Mr. Beara, who appeared in my office in the evening of the 13th.
7 JUDGE MERON: So was Mr. -- or Colonel Beara the emissary or the
8 person from President Karadzic? And if so, what exactly did Mr. Beara
9 tell you when he came to see you?
10 A. Mr. Beara was, in my opinion, an emissary of Mr. Karadzic's
11 because no one else on that day, the 13th or the 14th, appeared with any
12 kind of instructions regarding the treatment of the imprisoned Muslims, so
13 that is the conclusion I reached, though I cannot claim that it is
14 absolutely correct.
15 When Mr. Beara came to my office, never for a moment did he say
16 that he was coming directly from Karadzic. The only thing he did say was
17 that his orders were from the top, from above, from the top. I'm not sure
18 whether he said "from above" or "from the top," but basically both mean
19 the same. So I inferred that he was coming following orders and
20 instructions from Mr. Karadzic.
21 I had information that during the night a part of the prisoners
22 from Bratunac were being taken via Konjevic Polje to Zvornik; anyway, in
23 that direction, because that is the same direction Zvornik to Bijeljina.
24 So at that point in time, I didn't know exactly whether they were being
25 driven to Zvornik or Bijeljina. So my logical conclusion was that he had
1 come to continue this process of taking the Muslim prisoners from Bratunac
2 in the direction of Konjevic Polje and Bijeljina. However, during this
3 encounter I described the details - I think there's no need for me to
4 repeat it - but -- regarding the atmosphere in my office, because I have
5 to tell you, Your Honours, that I did not expect this gentleman, Beara, to
6 come necessarily to see me in my office, because President Karadzic didn't
7 say that he would come to see me. He just said a man would come with
8 instructions. But this possibility was not excluded so I did assume that
9 he might come to see me as well, and he did.
10 This was late in the evening. I cannot say exactly what time it
11 was, but I think it was after midnight. He was in a rather inebriated
12 condition, under the influence of alcohol. This was quite visible at
13 first glance. But not to such an extent that he had no control of his
14 behaviour, but he had obviously consumed quite a bit of alcohol. And this
15 is confirmed by other witnesses.
16 His behaviour in my office was a big surprise for me, because
17 after a few introductory remarks, congratulations, ceremonial greetings,
18 he insisted on a drink. So I went out and found some alcohol, we had a
19 drink. And then he said hat he was coming -- or actually, he started by
20 saying, "I have come in connection with these prisoners. All of them
21 should be killed here in Bratunac." I was surprised by the way in which
22 he said that. And, on the other hand, this was in contradiction with the
23 instructions, or at least my interpretation of the instructions, I had
24 received from President Karadzic by telephone.
25 I then decided to ask Mr. Simic, Ljubisav Simic, who was
1 president of the municipality in Bratunac, to go home, as he looked rather
2 tired and he needed sleep, and he was also a bit tipsy, and he agreed. I
3 took him out of the office and asked him to go home. I told him that the
4 next morning I was going to Pale, I had a scheduled meeting with Karadzic,
5 and that he should come to the office early in the morning because
6 there were many important things to do, that he should be there.
7 So I went back to the office and I said to Mr. Beara the exact
8 instructions I had received from President Karadzic, and I told him that
9 no killings or any kind of acts in relation to the prisoners could be done
10 in Bratunac and that the instructions I had from the president were that
11 those people should be taken to Batkovic. This word "Batkovic," I repeat,
12 was my own conclusion. It was not mentioned in the instructions I was
13 given by the president, but my conclusion was that that was the only place
14 where those captured prisoners could be put up.
15 After these comments of mine, Mr. Beara, in a rather surprised
16 tone, asked me or said to me, "Mr. Deronjic" - or president or whatever it
17 was he called me - "I have instructions from above" - that is what he said
18 then, from the top - "that those people should be killed in Bratunac." I
19 continued to insist and said that I would go to Pale in the morning and
20 that I had no such instructions, that I wouldn't allow any such things,
21 including killings that he mentioned, to take place in Bratunac.
22 The conversation ended after we exchanged a few more sentences
23 about this, and at one point I realised that he sort of said, "All right.
24 That is how I will act, or I'll check that." I had the impression that I
25 had convinced him, that I had persuaded him that no killings or any such
1 things could be done in Bratunac. He left my office, and I went home with
2 the intention of going early in the morning to Pale to talk to the
4 That would be briefly or maybe in some detail my description of my
5 conversation with President Karadzic on the 13th of July and my
6 conversation with the man who came with these instructions on the 13th or
7 the 14th early in the morning of July 1995.
8 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. So on the 14th of July, you went to
9 Pale to see the president. Did this meeting take place? And what
10 happened there, if it did?
11 A. Yes, Your Honour. In the morning of the 14th of July, after
12 staying in Bratunac briefly - I think it is important for me to tell you
13 about this - one of the men informed me early in the morning that
14 Mr. Beara had gone to a company in Bratunac called Ciglana, which
15 manufactured bricks, and that he wanted to do something there with the
16 detained Muslims. In view of the conversation we had had the previous
17 night, I came to the conclusion that he wanted to kill some people or
18 liquidate them there in Bratunac. I got in my car and headed towards that
19 factory, and I met Mr. Beara at -- on a small bridge on the way out of
20 Bratunac. It is a road going towards Ljubovija and Serbia. We quarrelled
21 there again briefly but fervently. I repeated that I was on my way to
22 Pale to see President Karadzic and that I insisted that nothing should be
23 done, including killings, in Bratunac. He very angrily said, "I wanted to
24 see whether they could be locked up there." There was a warehouse over
25 there, and this, I think, was a possibility. But I feared the worst. I
1 feared that those men might be killed in Bratunac, and I said again that
2 no locking up or anything else could be considered in Bratunac. He
3 angrily got in the car and said, "Okay," and we parted there on the
5 I waited for a brief time in Bratunac, and I saw that the whole
6 thing was over, in the sense that the buses were leaving towards Zvornik.
7 I went to Pale that day, I met with President Karadzic at his invitation,
8 in his office, and we spoke on the 14th of July. I will tell you with
9 precision what it was we spoke about.
10 The first topic we discussed was the question of the evacuation of
11 civilians from Potocari. I informed him in detail about the course of the
12 negotiations at the Fontana Hotel, which I had attended. I explained the
13 evacuation, including all the details that might have been of interest for
14 the president at the time, and my assumptions also, that about 20.000
15 civilians had been transported from Potocari during the 12th and the 13th
16 of July, as on the 13th of July I think the transportation of civilians
17 from Potocari was over. I explained the way in which this transportation
18 was carried out, and I told him that from the first transports, that is,
19 those that took place on the 12th of July - or at least, that was the
20 information I had - the men had been separated from those convoys and
21 detained. I didn't know the exact number. I don't even know the number
22 today. It wasn't such a large number, but I do know that they were held
23 in the prison in Bratunac, in the Public Security Station in Bratunac, and
24 also in the prison at the command, in the headquarters. And I passed on
25 this information to President Karadzic.
1 As for the transportation of civilians, that was roughly what we
2 discussed. I can't remember any other details. Perhaps we commented on
3 the behaviour of the UNPROFOR forces and things like that.
4 After that, we tackled the topic of the fate of the detainees. A
5 second very important topic was for me to brief him as to what had
6 happened to the captured Muslims in Bratunac. I quoted literally the
7 sentence that I was given by Mr. Beara as being his instructions. I said,
8 "Mr. President, Beara came to my office." I described briefly the
9 atmosphere in the office at the time, the customary business, and I said
10 that Mr. Beara literally told me the following: "I have instructions from
11 the top that these men should be killed in Bratunac." I stopped there and
12 waited for the president's reaction to this. The president said, "Those
13 soldiers are either fools or madmen," or something to that effect. I'm
14 not sure about the exact words, but the meaning of what he said was that
15 those soldiers were not normal, or something along those lines.
16 We continued the conversation, and I told him that I had
17 persuaded Mr. Beara and that the convoys were already leaving in the
18 direction of Zvornik and that those men were being taken in that
19 direction. I also told him that I had information that on the 13th
20 already some convoys were going towards Zvornik. Some buses had already
21 gone there. We also discussed these matters, and the meeting was quite a
22 lengthy one, but I think that the -- I have conveyed the gist of that
23 conversation. If you are interested in any particular details, I'll be
24 glad to convey them to you.
25 JUDGE MERON: [Microphone not activated]
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour, please.
2 JUDGE MERON: I'm sorry.
3 Could you tell me a little bit more about the reaction of the --
4 of President Karadzic to what you reported to him about your conversation
5 with Colonel Beara. In other words, did he say anything more about those
6 killings or executions?
7 A. Of course I informed the president, and I omitted to mention
8 that, about the incidents in connection with the detained or captured
9 Muslims that I was aware of up until that time, that is, the 14th in the
10 morning. A major incident or a major tragedy that occurred on the 13th in
11 the evening was the killing of a large number of Muslims in the
12 agricultural cooperative farm in Kravica. Muslims were held there, and I
13 received this information from the ground -- or the Muslims who had
14 surrendered. When I say "captured" I include those who voluntarily
15 surrendered. And an incident broke out between the army of Republika
16 Srpska, members of the police, the special police forces, and those
17 captured Muslims. A killing occurred of several Serb policemen - one,
18 actually - and several were wounded in this clash. And then the policemen
19 or soldiers, whoever was there - I don't know with precision - took their
20 revenge on those captured men, and according to information passed on to
21 me by Mr. Borovcanin, about 300 men were killed. I really do not wish to
22 speculate about these numbers, I am just saying that this was the
23 information conveyed to me by Mr. Borovcanin.
24 I passed on this same information to Mr. Karadzic, considering it
25 to be a major incident and event that he should be informed of. He
1 uttered a few sentences, saying that our forces had been provoked by the
2 attack against them and the killing of this policeman at the checkpoint.
3 I said that this could be considered retaliation, but of course it was a
4 terrible kind of revenge, because a large number of people were killed
5 because of that incident. We didn't comment at length about that event,
6 but he asked me whether I knew what had been done with the bodies of the
7 men killed. I couldn't tell him anything about that, because I had not
8 asked, when I was told about it, what had been done with the bodies.
9 I told him that I had information that during the 13th there had
10 been killings of smaller proportions, as I had been told, in the area of
11 Konjevic Polje, that small groups of captives or Muslim soldiers had been
12 killed in the area. I told him that I had passed along that route - of
13 course, he knew that because that was the only route I could have taken -
14 and that I had seen groups of detained Muslims along the length of that
15 route and a large group in Kasaba, a village towards Milici; in the
16 stadium a large group; and several smaller groups along the road that were
17 secured by the police and the army. I passed on all these reports to
18 President Karadzic. He did not comment at any length on these events.
19 What I have remembered as his reaction I have told you about. I assume
20 that he must have said a few more sentences, but I haven't memorised them.
21 JUDGE MERON: Thank you, Mr. Deronjic.
22 Finally, I would like to ask you about a meeting which you have
23 mentioned which took place at the Hotel Fontana a few days earlier, I
24 believe, on the 12th of July at 10.00 a.m. Is that correct? There was
25 such a meeting?
1 A. Your Honour, that is correct. This meeting did take place, and
2 what I said a moment ago was precisely related to that meeting that took
3 place in the Fontana Hotel on the 12th of July at noon, in Bratunac.
4 JUDGE MERON: Mladic and Krstic were present at that meeting; is
5 that correct?
6 A. Your Honour, I must say that in my first interview I failed to
7 mention Mr. Krstic because I had not noticed him. Later, from the
8 recordings that I saw, since there is a wealth of recordings of that
9 meeting, I saw that Mr. Krstic had been at that meeting. I know today
10 that he was at that meeting, and of course Mr. Mladic was there and he
11 even chaired the meeting.
12 JUDGE MERON: Do you remember what was discussed at that meeting?
13 A. Of course, Your Honour, I remember clearly the gist of those
14 discussions. I cannot quote exact words, but it was a conversation, it
15 was a discussion between the representatives of the Muslims who had come
16 to that meeting to present the position of Muslim civilians who were at
17 that time located in Potocari; the commanding officers of the Dutch
18 forces, who were there in the capacity of witnesses or perhaps security
19 for the Muslim representatives; and the command of the military forces of
20 Republika Srpska; and there were several of us civilians from the Bratunac
21 municipality, including president of the municipality, Mr. Simic;
22 president of the Executive Board, Mr. Davidovic; and myself. At that
23 time, I had already taken up my position of civilian commissioner for the
24 area of Srebrenica.
25 The course of that meeting was very interesting, curious in the
1 sense that it was some kind, as I later concluded, of smoke screen for the
2 public, because it was recorded by TV cameras to leave the impression --
3 to create the impression of a regular meeting, on which Mladic insisted
4 very much, and it later turned out that the meeting was not so important
5 after all, because most of the contacts with Muslims and most decisions
6 had been made outside that meeting that was held at noon on the 12th in
7 the Fontana Hotel.
8 I was questioned about this event, and I conveyed the gist of the
9 discussions at that meeting, where, among other things, Mladic offered to
10 the Muslim side that everybody who surrenders until the end of that day or
11 some particular hour on that day - I'm not sure any more - would be
12 allowed to leave the Srebrenica safe area. And Muslim representatives
13 also said a few words, presenting their position; whereas, I also availed
14 myself of the opportunity to explain what were my instructions from
15 President Karadzic regarding the treatment of civilians in Potocari.
16 And if you allow me, Your Honour, I would like to tell you now
17 what instructions I had regarding the treatment of those civilians.
18 JUDGE MERON: Please do.
19 A. On the 11th, in the evening, when I spoke to President Karadzic
20 on the phone, which conversation I've already described, I received
21 instructions in the form of three options that I was supposed to offer to
22 the Muslim side regarding their fate and the future. The first option
23 assumed that they would remain in that area, in fact that civilians could
24 go back to their homes; and the second option was for them to leave for
25 the territory controlled by their forces, using the shortest route, I
1 suppose; and the third option was rather odd, and I exchanged a few words
2 about it with the president, because it involved third countries, as
3 President Karadzic told me. I asked him, "What do you mean by 'third
4 countries', Mr. President?" And he said, "Well, I don't know exactly.
5 Maybe there are some third countries or there will be some third countries
6 who would be prepared to receive these people, these refugees." He told
7 me to convey these three options at that meeting, and I did so. I did so
8 briefly, and I wanted to add a few things.
9 I quoted one instruction from the president; namely, that if
10 among those civilians our intelligence officers, both military and
11 civilian, recognise anybody who they know to be guilty of crimes against
12 our civilians, they would be kept prisoner. Mladic interrupted me,
13 however, at that meeting, although I was going to go on, but he decided
14 otherwise and interrupted the meeting at that point. Although, before
15 that happened, the Muslims had expressed their concern and fear and their
16 desire to leave that area as soon as possible, insisting, of course, on
17 security and escort being provided by the international forces present in
18 that area; namely, the Dutch Battalion.
19 JUDGE MERON: Had you had any contacts that day -- additional
20 contacts with General Mladic?
21 A. Not on that day or in the following days did I see Mr. Mladic. I
22 don't believe I ever saw him again until I was arrested.
23 JUDGE MERON: On the 12th or thereabout, did you have any
24 contacts with General Krstic?
25 A. Your Excellency, there were no contacts either at the meeting or
1 afterwards between me and Mr. Krstic. I don't remember seeing him after
3 JUDGE MERON: So during that meeting, the role of General Krstic
4 was basically -- he was quiet? Did he say anything? Can you try to
5 remember. I'm speaking of the Fontana meeting.
6 A. Your Excellency, not that I noticed. And I am certain that
7 Mr. Krstic did not utter a word.
8 JUDGE MERON: Thank you very much. This completes my questioning
9 of the witness. And I thank you for your answers. And I will now ask my
10 fellow Judges if they would ask you -- want to ask you further questions.
11 [Appeals Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE MERON: Just a second. Let's first look at the timetable.
13 We can still continue. There's no problem.
14 So who goes first? May I ask my colleague Judge Shahabuddeen to
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Deronjic, I would ask you one question
17 about how you understood Mr. Karadzic's statement that the soldiers were
18 fools or something to that effect. How did you understand him?
19 A. Your Honour, at that moment when Mr. Karadzic told me that, there
20 were only two possible conclusions. I, of course, made no comments on
21 what the president said to my report, but there are only two ways of
22 understanding this: One is that he meant that the soldiers were crazy to
23 be doing something that he hadn't ordered; that is one possible logical
24 conclusion. Another one is that he meant that Mr. Beara was completely
25 indiscreet and acted completely inappropriately under the circumstances in
1 uttering those instructions. However, I have to admit that I did not give
2 it much thought then or analysed his words. However, I did think about it
3 later, and today, when you ask me this question, I must say that this
4 first conclusion should be rejected because on the 14th the president knew
5 about the intentions of the army, and even if he had not given them such
6 instructions, he was in a position to prevent them.
7 And as I told the Prosecution already, I believe his comment
8 referred to the indiscretion that Mr. Beara displayed in giving these
9 instructions at my office.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: One other question or a set of questions:
11 You held a position of importance. The President has referred to the
12 Hotel Fontana meeting at which you were present. Now, I think you said
13 that you conveyed the gist of your conversation with President Karadzic.
14 Did you regard it as important that the top levels of the army should be
15 functioning in harmony with the opinions held by President Karadzic?
16 A. Your Excellency, I was absolutely convinced that that was
17 important and that troops were under obligation to act on the instructions
18 of the president, who was at that time also Supreme Commander of the army
19 of Republika Srpska. And I omitted to say earlier that just before that
20 meeting on the 12th, I was invited by General Mladic to the Fontana Hotel
21 and we had a very unpleasant conversation discussing the same topic that
22 you mentioned. He used very vulgar words to describe the president and my
23 own position. And I understood what his position was, and I tried to
24 describe that atmosphere, that very bad atmosphere, in my interviews with
25 the Prosecution.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: When you said that you conveyed the gist of
2 your conversations with President Karadzic, would I be right in the
3 impression that the gist of the conversations would have included
4 President Karadzic's reference to the Slavonia principle?
5 A. No, Your Honour. The instructions I received related at that
6 time exclusively to the civilian population that was located in Potocari.
7 President Karadzic told me on the 11th that he had information that a
8 large number of civilian population from Srebrenica were in Potocari.
9 Instructions regarding the treatment of those people, which included a
10 large number of women and children, related to those three options that I
11 described, and that applied only to the civilians in Potocari.
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So in your understanding, President
13 Karadzic's reference to the Slavonia principle referred to what group of
15 A. Your Excellency, I will try to explain what I meant. It is, of
16 course, very complicated, because neither the president nor I, at the time
17 when he gave those instructions, alluding clearly to the events in
18 Croatia, knew precisely what could happen in Srebrenica. I suppose that
19 President Karadzic meant that one of the possible denouements was that
20 both the troops and the civilians would flee in the same direction and
21 those fleeing columns should be attacked, shelled. And the army, the
22 soldiers, really ran for Tuzla, in the intention of making a break-through
23 there; whereas, a large group of civilians went another way and remained
24 in the safe area of the UNPROFOR base. And I suppose that when the
25 president told me about the principle of conduct and the options I
1 mentioned, meant only the civilians in Potocari because no one had been
2 captured or had surrendered at that point in time.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: [Microphone not activated] One last
4 question: President Karadzic, in his conversation with you, spoke of
5 killing people. Did you mention that at all at the Hotel Fontana meeting?
6 A. No. I absolutely did not mention the possibility of killing, nor
7 had I conveyed President Karadzic's instruction to anyone before that.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You did not regard that element as having
9 any importance.
10 A. It cannot be qualified that way, that I did not consider it
11 important, but I thought that the president was not telling me in order to
12 convey it to somebody else but just so as to inform me of the possible
13 outcome. And in his orders that he gave as Supreme Commander, he issued
14 exact, precise instructions that would cater to all the possible epilogues
15 of the action. I did not think it necessary or fitting to convey such
16 information to anyone else.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, Witness.
18 JUDGE MERON: Witness, before giving the floor over to my other
19 distinguished colleagues, I'd like to return for a moment to your last
20 answer to my distinguished colleague Judge Shahabuddeen. I have -- I had
21 the impression from your description of the Fontana Hotel meeting that the
22 reason why there was no more specific reference to the killings or
23 executions, because the meeting was intended as a smoke screen because
24 Muslim representatives were present there. Was my understanding correct
25 of that?
1 A. Precisely that is the kind of conclusion I meant, and I think
2 your conclusion is quite correct. I just have to add one more sentence:
3 The presence of international forces, that is the UNPROFOR command, at the
4 meeting and the presence of the press could also be a reason for such
6 JUDGE MERON: Yes. Thank you.
7 I would like to move on now to Judge Pocar, vice-president, who
8 expressed interest in asking questions.
9 JUDGE POCAR: I thank you, President, but in light of the last
10 questions that have been put to the witness, I don't have any additional
11 question to ask.
12 JUDGE MERON: [Microphone not activated] Thank you very much.
13 Judge Guney. Judge Guney, you have the floor.
14 JUDGE GUNEY: [Interpretation] You have already indicated that
15 during your meeting with General Mladic at the Fontana Hotel you had an
16 exchange of views and you said that he was vulgar in his behaviour. Could
17 you please elaborate a little on that point.
18 A. Your Excellency, I was speaking of a meeting prior to this
19 official meeting at 10.00. We met upon the invitation of Mr. Mladic in
20 the Fontana in the morning prior to that meeting. I cannot tell you
21 exactly at what time, though I did say that I thought it could have been
22 between 7.00 and 8.00 in the morning. So this was in preparation of this
23 other meeting. And Mr. Mladic told me to come to the Fontana for us
24 probably to agree on the course of the meeting that had been scheduled for
25 that day at 10.00. As far as I can remember, there was breakfast being
1 served, and during that breakfast I found Mr. Simic, the president of the
2 municipality, there; as far as I can remember, also Mr. Vasic, head of the
3 public security; and several others. I introduced myself because I was
4 never sure to what extent Mladic knew me at all. I think he didn't really
5 distinguish me from others, because we didn't have much occasion to meet.
6 I told him what my position was, and his comments were rather vulgar in
7 response to that. He asked me something to the effect - of course, I
8 can't quote his words because this was eight years ago - he said,
9 "Gentlemen, you're walking around here in civilian clothes," because there
10 was no combat, there was no need for me to wear a uniform on that day.
11 Then he also said words to the effect that "Where is, President Karadzic?
12 Why didn't he enter Srebrenica with me? Here I am capturing Srebrenica,
13 and you civilians, just like that." Those were the kind of comments he
14 made, which I thought were quite unacceptable.
15 I continued the conversation with Mr. Mladic. I was rather
16 nervous. I said that I didn't want to polemicise with him about those
17 matters but that I had instructions from the president which I wanted to
18 present at the meeting. And then he spoke very -- in very crude terms.
19 He cursed the president, and he said, "Why didn't he come to enter
20 Srebrenica," to that effect. And I left that meeting very shortly
21 afterwards. I returned to my office, and I said I would come back at
23 And I tried, without having any permission from Mr. Mladic, who
24 chaired that meeting, to refer to the instructions I had been given by
25 President Karadzic. He cut me short very roughly. He said, "Sit down.
1 What have you got to talk about?" And that is how that meeting ended.
2 JUDGE MERON: I thank my distinguished colleague Judge Guney.
3 We will now -- in a moment, we will break until 1.15. And I
4 would like just to say a word about how we will continue thereafter.
5 First, there will be some questions from my distinguished
6 colleague Judge Schomburg. And after that, the witness, Mr. Deronjic,
7 will be examined first by the Prosecution and then by the Defence.
8 So we will now rise, and we will resume at 1.15. Thank you.
9 --- Luncheon recess taken at 11.49 a.m.
10 --- On resuming at 1.19 p.m.
11 JUDGE MERON: Please be seated.
12 We will now resume questioning of Mr. Miroslav Deronjic, our
13 witness today, and we are still at the stage of questions from the Bench.
14 I will now call on my distinguished colleague Judge Schomburg to
15 ask his questions.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Mr. Deronjic, can you please tell the Court, when did you become
18 actually president of the Crisis Staff in Bratunac?
19 A. Your Excellency, Your Honours, I became president of the Crisis
20 Staff of Bratunac municipality towards the end of April 1992.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When did you meet for the first time
22 Mr. Karadzic?
23 A. Your Excellency, I don't recollect the first meeting. The first
24 time I saw Karadzic was at a rally in Vlasenica in 1990, when there was a
25 promotional rally for the SDS. But on that occasion, I had no personal
1 contact with President Karadzic. In the period after that - and I'm
2 talking about 1990 - I did have some personal contacts with President
3 Karadzic linked to events that are well known, but mainly in connection
4 with the preparations that were held in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1990 and
5 the subsequent implementation of the election results.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you yourself participate in a meeting on
7 the 14th and 15th October 1991 of the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
8 A. On the 14th of October, in 1991, if that was the Assembly meeting
9 -- allow me a little time to try and remember. I did attend another
10 Assembly meeting, I think it was in December 1991, whereas, on the 14th
11 and 15th of October, I do not think I took part. But allow me to add that
12 in my capacity as president of the Municipal Board, I did attend a meeting
13 linked to the events that were reviewed at that Assembly, but during the
14 war nor in any period was I ever a deputy in the Assembly, a member of
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you -- you made reference to December 1991.
17 Is it the meeting of the 19th of December presided over by Radovan
18 Karadzic you're referring to?
19 A. Yes, that was the very meeting I had in mind.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could you please in context describe us the
21 development and the kind of relationship between you and Mr. Karadzic.
22 A. Your Excellency, I shall try to be very brief and explain. You
23 put it very well when you said "the development of the relationship"
24 between President Karadzic and myself. I think that is the real
25 expression because those relationship -- that relationship changed and
1 developed from 1990, when they were within the normal relationships you
2 would expect between the president of the party and the president of a
3 small local board. However, in 1990, they changed significantly, and I'll
4 explain why.
5 It is a well-known fact that in 1993, I was elected or, rather,
6 co-opted to the Main Board, when the party renewed its activities, having
7 been frozen for a year, and in the place of the late Goran Zekic, who used
8 to represent the area in the Main Board before. I had been a member of
9 the personnel commission of the SDS earlier on, and I don't remember any
10 meeting from the earlier period, because I was elected at the end of 1991
11 and shortly after that, the war prevented my active participation in the
12 work of that commission. Of course, in 1993, when the party renewed its
13 work, I did have occasion as a member of the Main Board to meet the state
14 and political leadership of Republika Srpska, and I would frequently, at
15 meetings of the personnel commission, see the president of the party and
16 the president of the republic, Radovan Karadzic, and these meetings
17 involved a smaller number of people, so we were able to review a number of
18 issues, even outside the agenda that was scheduled for such meetings.
19 Up until 1995, that relationship evolved to reach what would I --
20 what I would describe as a relationship of mutual respect between me and
21 the president.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would you go that far to call it a friendship?
23 A. Your Excellency, for my part, I can try and define it. I don't
24 dare to be so bold as to say that I was an intimate friend of President
25 Karadzic, because I hadn't known him before all these events. He had a
1 far larger number of friends and acquaintances from the earlier period who
2 were in the leadership of the party and the state. I could list many of
3 them. But my relationship with President Karadzic in 1995 was certainly
4 more than would be a customary -- a normal relationship between the
5 president of the party and the president of a Municipal Board.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Am I correct in assuming that whenever an
7 instruction was given to you by Mr. Karadzic you would follow this
8 instruction already since this meeting in 1991?
9 A. If those instructions referred to normal activities, of course I
10 carried them out. I do not remember any activity that I did not implement
11 that had to do with the activities of the party. That is what I'm
12 referring to primarily.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This brings me to the next question: How would
14 you describe the relationship between the civil leaders, civilian leaders,
15 and the military leaders? Were they on equal footing?
16 A. I didn't quite understand the interpretation. I beg your pardon.
17 The term used is a bit vague.
18 Equal; I see. I see.
19 I wouldn't be so bold as to say that they were relations of
20 equality, especially at lower levels, between the civilian bodies and the
21 army. There were quite a number of problems that burdened those
22 relations. As for my behaviour during the war, that I have described in
23 detail in my statement for the Prosecution, shows that those relationships
24 were frequently disrupted. I personally did my best not to contribute to
25 any disruption of those relations, but basically the military leadership,
1 both on the ground and at a higher level, would frequently turn a deaf ear
2 to certain demands of the civilian bodies. I couldn't list any details in
3 that connection because I'm not familiar with them, except those that
4 occurred at my local level.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Is it correct that since 1991 until 1995 - the
6 question in time we're discussing in this case, the time in question -
7 once again the question: You followed the instructions - and I am now
8 referring precisely to those instructions, where explained already in
9 December 1991 to the participants of that meeting attended by you, and
10 these instructions precisely identifying the steps to be taken within the
11 respective municipalities in order to establish Bosnian Serb control. Is
12 it correct?
13 A. That is correct, Your Honour, including, as I said - and which is
14 in the factual statements - certain measures that I implemented in the
15 joint Assembly in Bratunac. I did implement all the instructions linked
16 to that, and your conclusion is correct.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So coming back to the question of the general
18 -- of the relationship between civilian leaders and military leaders in
19 general. In your own guilty plea, you admitted that you yourself
20 coordinated and monitored the attack on Glogova in 1992.
21 A. That is correct, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So am I correct in assuming that military
23 forces would follow your instructions?
24 A. Your Excellency, there is a fundamental difference in the
25 organisation of the army of Republika Srpska in 1992 and the army which
1 was fully organised in 1995. I should like to mention that the event in
2 Glogova occurred on the 8th of May, when the only legitimate, legal armed
3 force in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, and therefore in Bosnia
4 as well, was the Yugoslav People's Army. We had a unit of Territorial
5 Defence in those days which was not linked up into a single whole, nor
6 were those activities of the TO coordinating or regulated properly. There
7 were just these municipal units of Territorial Defence and the army of
8 Republika Srpska, as far as I can recollect - and I think I am right - was
9 organised by a decision of the Presidency of the 15th of May or after that
10 date, after the withdrawal of the army of Yugoslavia from Bosnia and
11 Herzegovina by order of the Supreme Commander of the JNA at the time,
12 Mr. Kostic. It was then that the army of Republika Srpska was organised
13 differently. There were officers, personnel, and organisational units in
14 all the municipalities. Under those conditions, the civilian bodies, the
15 local bodies, did not have any particular assignments, nor was I involved
16 in them. So as of 1992, there was a separation between the functioning of
17 civilian and military bodies on the ground.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Maybe we have to come back later to this point.
19 You do not dispute that what you said the 30th of September, 2003 in a
20 hearing in this Tribunal, that you yourself authorised soldiers to bomb
21 the houses of Glogova and they were burned and effectively at least 65
22 Bosnian Muslims were murdered, and you met in Pale in May 1992,
23 immediately after these events, a number of persons in order to celebrate
24 this, amongst those Mr. Karadzic; is this correct?
25 A. I am not denying any of the facts that you have mentioned. Only
1 I wouldn't say that I ever admitted that on the 10th or 11th or 12th of
2 May, when I went to Pale, that we celebrated the event. I went upon the
3 -- upon an invitation to that meeting to brief the military and civilian
4 leadership of what was going on in Bratunac municipality, and I reported
5 on the events in Glogova, and it is true that I said that because of those
6 events I was applauded.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Who else was present in this meeting, besides
8 Mr. Karadzic?
9 A. Your Excellency, the meeting was also attended by Mr. Mladic and
10 Mr. Ostojic, who in those days was president of the Executive Board of the
11 SDS of Republika Srpska.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Is it correct when -- that when Serb forces
13 overtook a certain area on the map in Pale this area was designated by the
14 colour blue?
15 A. That is true, especially regarding what I saw, that is, the area
16 of Bratunac. So I confirmed that in my statement. But this was a comment
17 made by Mr. Ostojic. I didn't see whether at that particular meeting or
18 maybe later he coloured it in blue.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you later see the same map and what was the
20 -- in which colour could you -- if so, in which colour could you see the
21 Srebrenica area in 1995? Was this procedure continued?
22 A. I really am unable to recollect, nor did I ever again see the map
23 or Srebrenica or any other area being coloured in any particular colour.
24 I really don't remember that, and I claim that I didn't see it.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Well, when did you meet for the first time
1 Mr. Krstic?
2 A. Your Excellency, in my life I saw Mr. Krstic for the first time
3 at the beginning of July at Pribicevac, the advance command post, which is
4 geographically a plateau above Srebrenica. I cannot tell you the exact
5 date, but I think -- no, I'm not sure that it was in the beginning of
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So if I understand it correctly, before the
8 11th, 12th, 13th of July. Correct?
9 A. Correct. That was the beginning of July, and certainly before
10 the 11th and the 12th.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can you please explain to the Court in context
12 what was the content of your discussion or discussions you had between the
13 first meeting and the meetings in Hotel Fontana with Mr. Krstic.
14 A. Your Honours, I shall try to explain briefly. The area from
15 which there were commands for the military operation of Srebrenica, I left
16 that area at the beginning of July. The reason was very simple: Because
17 everyone was mobilised and I felt awkward being in town at the time, and I
18 said that I didn't have information of the significance of the military
19 operation over Srebrenica. When going to that command post, maybe the
20 first or the second day, when I arrived there, I noticed Mr. Krstic at
21 that position. Mr. Krstic was dealing with military matters, that is,
22 orders linked to the operation itself; that is how I understood his role.
23 In front of the command at that advance command post, there was a table in
24 the open air. I think, though I'm not a hundred per cent sure, that we
25 just greeted one another. Mr. Krstic, I assume, didn't know me. I
1 introduced myself. And I don't remember anything serious we may have
2 discussed. I simply realised that he was busy issuing orders about
3 Srebrenica, so I didn't wish to bother him there at the command post.
4 It's quite possible that we spent five or six minutes together, then I
5 moved away from that position.
6 The second time I saw him - and this is something that I omitted
7 to mention during my first statement - it was at the Fontana Hotel. Today
8 I know for certain that he was there. I didn't have any personal contact
9 or conversation with Mr. Krstic at that time, on that occasion. That is
10 all the time I ever spent with Mr. Krstic. I had never seen him before,
11 though I knew that he was one of the commanders in the Romanija area, but
12 we never had occasion to meet or see one another.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Coming back to questions already answered in
14 part by you on the basis of the questions put to you by my distinguished
15 colleagues, would the assessment be correct that the meeting in Hotel
16 Fontana was more or less a farce, taking into account that Muslims were
17 present, the international press was present, and it was absolutely no
18 possibility to give any kind of serious instruction or information to
19 anybody in the room?
20 A. Your Excellency, with the addition of a minor correction. The
21 meeting was not attended by representatives of the international press or
22 the media. Present at the meeting was a team of reporters of the Main
23 Staff of the army of Republika Srpska, and I knew one of those
24 journalists. The fact that the cameras were turned on and that this
25 gathering was being filmed speaks in favour of my thesis, and also, of
1 course, the presence of representatives of the international forces at the
2 meeting. The behaviour of Mr. Karadzic at the meeting, which was contrary
3 to what happened later on to the people from Srebrenica, speaks in support
4 of my thesis that the meeting was a farce. Let me add to this the
5 knowledge I gained later on, when I realised that Commander Mladic had had
6 previously meetings with representatives of the Muslims and that at those
7 meetings he had threatened the Muslim representatives. I learnt about
8 this when the Prosecution showed me the evidence during my testimony, and
9 this also supports my thesis.
10 At the meeting in Bratunac, he acted quite contrary to the way in
11 which he acted at the meetings that preceded that one and, of course,
12 contrary to the tragic epilogue of that meeting.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Am I correct in assuming that, as you told us
14 previously, one of the purposes why you attended this meeting was to
15 convey the gist of your discussions with Mr. Karadzic, with whom you had,
16 as we have elaborated now, a relatively good contact at said point in
18 A. Yes, that is quite correct.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And in which way did you convey this message
20 from Karadzic to the addressees?
21 A. Your Excellency, I was speaking about instructions with regard to
22 treatment of civilians who were at that point in time in Potocari or
23 heading towards it. I received those instructions by telephone, and
24 there are witnesses of this in the command of the Bratunac Brigade. And I
25 conveyed those instructions at the meeting. I didn't have time to convey
1 some of the explanations given by the president, but I think that I did
2 convey what was the gist of it and what was relevant for the meeting. I
3 said that, after that, Mladic interrupted me rather rudely and that is how
4 the meeting ended.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This morning you mentioned, transcript page 26,
6 line 18, and page 27, line 20, inter alia, that one of your goals was that
7 killings did not happen in your jurisdiction - put it this way - did not
8 happen in Bratunac. What did you do in order that this goal be realised
9 by the militarily responsible persons?
10 A. My contacts, Your Excellency, at that moment with military
11 authorities were zero, so I had no chance to directly contact any of the
12 competent commanding officers of the army of Republika Srpska who were
13 located on the ground. I had no communication with them.
14 According to the information that I had about incidents and major
15 events, such as, for instance, the event in Luka or the cooperative farm
16 in Kravica, rather, I informed President Karadzic, conveying all the
17 information I had about the events in Bratunac regarding also the crimes
18 of killings of people in the primary school and other places, depending on
19 what I knew at the time.
20 Regarding my ability to contact General Mladic, it was zero. I
21 had absolutely no way of contacting him at that time, because combat was
22 going on, an offensive was taking place, and the armed clashes between
23 Serb forces and Muslim forces who were trying to break through to Tuzla,
24 through Konjevic Polje, were ongoing. I went out to the command post
25 twice in those days, and I did not find anyone on any of those occasions.
1 I only found one lower-ranking officer, and I didn't even know that he was
2 an officer; his name was Milomir Stanojevic. I did not see any other
3 officer in the headquarters at that time.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You have nearly answered my final question, but
5 to put it nevertheless to you: Did you at any point in time after the
6 meeting in Hotel Fontana meet General Krstic or see him?
7 A. Your Excellency, never again after that meeting - and I mentioned
8 that I didn't even see him during the meeting - did I see Mr. Krstic
9 again. Soon after that meeting, I received information about the
10 movements of the army of Republika Srpska towards the next safe area in
11 that region, that is, Zepa or Gorazde, and from what I heard from other
12 people Mr. Krstic had left the area together with the troops, so I was not
13 even able to see him at that time. He never visited my office, and I
14 never saw him again.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Only one final clarification, because -- maybe
16 I misunderstood you this morning. Now you said, "I didn't even see him
17 during the meeting"; whereas, to the best of my recollection - but it may
18 be wrong - you told us this morning that you saw no reaction and you
19 didn't hear any word from Mr. Krstic. So how can you come to this
20 conclusion when you even didn't see him?
21 A. Your Excellency, I see that you have omitted one fact. I know
22 that Mr. Krstic was at that meeting, and I remember clearly who spoke at
23 the meeting. I would have noticed and I would have remembered if Krstic
24 had spoken. Since he did not take the floor - and the two things are not
25 mutually exclusive - I did not notice him at the time and he did not
1 speak. If you need any further clarification, I'm at your disposal. But
2 I know very well who spoke at that meeting. I did not notice him at the
3 time, and I certainly would have remembered if he had spoken.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. I have no further questions,
5 Mr. President.
6 JUDGE MERON: Thank you, Judge Schomburg.
7 I now call on the vice-president, Judge Pocar.
8 JUDGE POCAR: Thank you, Mr. President.
9 I would like to put a couple of additional questions to
10 Mr. Deronjic.
11 First, referring to the last question that has just been put by
12 Judge Schomburg, am I correct in understanding that on the 12th of July at
13 the Hotel Fontana two meetings took place; one informal meeting at
14 breakfast-time, between 7.00 and 8.00, and an official meeting at 10.00 to
15 noon or something approximately at that time?
16 A. Your Excellency, you are completely right in coming to that
17 conclusion. If you allow me just to say I was not sure about the time of
18 that first meeting. I expressed my doubts, even when I was giving my
19 interview. But the second meeting did begin at 10.00.
20 JUDGE POCAR: I thank you.
21 Now, as to the official meeting, you told us that you didn't
22 notice the presence of Mr. Krstic at the meeting, and you explained that
23 if he had taken the floor, you would have noticed him; is that correct?
24 Is it also correct that you learnt of the participation of Mr. Krstic to
25 that meeting from the recordings you were able to see later on? Is that
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts. Pages 148 to 153.
2 A. Your Excellency, both your conclusions are completely correct.
3 JUDGE POCAR: Then basically, what you know of the participation
4 of Mr. Krstic in that meeting is what you learnt later on from the
5 recordings, so it's exactly what anybody could know looking at the
6 recordings; is that correct?
7 A. I agree that you are completely right in noting this.
8 JUDGE POCAR: May I ask you if you have any additional
9 information from other sources of the participation of Mr. Krstic to that
11 A. Your Excellency, I have never been shown, nor have I seen at any
12 stage anything related to Mr. Krstic and his conduct at that meeting. Any
13 additional information I had about the movements of Mr. Krstic after that
14 meeting indicate that he continued to accompany the troops in the
15 performance of their assignments. I cannot claim that it is correct
16 information, but that is the information I had after the meeting.
17 JUDGE POCAR: Now, Mr. Deronjic, may I come to the meeting -- to
18 the informal meeting that took place in the morning. That meeting, you
19 said, was convened by Mr. Mladic in order to prepare the official meeting.
20 Is that correct?
21 A. Yes, that is correct.
22 JUDGE POCAR: Besides Mr. Mladic and yourself, you said that
23 Mr. Simic, Mr. Vasic, and several others participated in that informal
24 meeting. Can you be more precise as to the several others? How many,
25 approximately, and could you identify anyone among them?
1 A. Your Excellency, let me be precise. I remember Mr. Davidovic; he
2 was president of the Executive Board of Bratunac municipality, and I
3 noticed him at that meeting. And I said in my interview, if I'm not
4 mistaken, that there may have been other people present. I did not
5 identify the others. Most of the military commanders who were present in
6 Bratunac on the ground on the 11th and the 12th are complete strangers to
7 me. Maybe some of them attended that meeting, but I did not notice or
8 identify them.
9 JUDGE POCAR: Can you be more precise in answering my question
10 when I put to you the question as to approximately how many people were in
11 that meeting.
12 A. Your Excellency, I am certain about five people: Mr. Mladic,
13 Mr. Simic, Mr. Vasic, Mr. Davidovic, and myself. About these I am
15 JUDGE POCAR: So you cannot say how many people were in the room
16 at the moment. Approximately, I mean. Were there 20, 30, 10? What was
17 the size of the meeting?
18 A. I cannot say with any certainty. I cannot give you a precise
19 figure. I'm certain there were other people present. It was not an
20 official, formal meeting, the kind that has an agenda. It was a more
21 informal meeting. Waiters came and went, bringing refreshments, there
22 might have been security men. Mladic was there at one point. But out of
23 the relevant people, I really did not remark upon any of them.
24 JUDGE POCAR: Thank you. May I ask you whether you noticed
25 Mr. Krstic among the participants or not.
1 A. Your Excellency, I met Mr. Krstic in one of the previous days,
2 and I can claim that he was not at that meeting. I assert that.
3 JUDGE POCAR: I thank you. That's what I wanted to know. Thank
5 JUDGE MERON: [Microphone not activated]
6 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
7 MS. BIBLES: Thank you, Your Honour. I do have a couple of areas
8 that I would like to follow up on.
9 Questioned by Ms. Bibles:
10 Q. First I would like to draw your attention to the military action
11 itself of Western Slavonia. I believe you testified that the action
12 itself occurred in Croatia on the 1st of May. Was that in 1995?
13 A. Yes, if my memory serves me right, that operation took place in
15 Q. And your understanding of that operation was that the fleeing
16 column of Serbs included men, women, children, elderly, even livestock?
17 A. Excuse me. I never said that I knew for certain whether it
18 included livestock or not. I suppose that was impossible to know. What I
19 said was that the reference of the president to those events was clear to
20 me in the sense that there was one general shared opinion about the events
21 in Slavonia, meaning that the troops and the civilians were fleeing
22 together and were under attack by the Croatian army.
23 Q. In the time between the 1st of May, 1995 and the 8th or 9th of
24 July of 1995, did you hear President Karadzic talk about Western Slavonia?
25 A. I first heard from President Karadzic just before the events in
1 Western Slavonia. It was the topic at one of the meetings or informal
2 gatherings that discussed these events in the light of one initiative, and
3 that was the initiative of President Milosevic for the highway that
4 crosses that province to be deblocked to enable communication, including
5 by the army. President Karadzic expressed his opinion on that occasion,
6 and I heard him saying that by acting in that way, President Milosevic
7 actually enabled the offensive of Croatian forces against that area. And
8 in his view, as he said, it was tantamount to handing over Western
9 Slavonia into the hands of the Croatian army. That was the first thing I
10 heard about the events in Western Slavonia.
11 And then in the wake of the events in Western Slavonia, there was
12 a meeting - I don't remember exactly where and when - where again these
13 events were discussed and President Karadzic was furious about these
14 events, and his fury derived mainly from the fact that his worst
15 suspicions came true and that many Serbs fell victim, including a great
16 number of civilians.
17 Q. I'd like to next direct your attention to a question that was
18 asked by a member of the Bench with respect to the relationship of the
19 military and civilian aspects of the government and the Republika Srpska.
20 During the time period of January to May of 1995, did you know a General
22 A. In which period? Could you say again.
23 Q. In 1995, leading up to May of 1995.
24 A. Yes, Your Honour, I did know General Zivanovic. He was the
25 commander of the Drina Corps before being replaced by Mr. Krstic. He was
1 also, I believe, the first commander in that area covered by the Drina
3 Q. And, in fact, you were concerned about General Zivanovic, as you
4 believed him to be incompetent.
5 A. Yes, that is true. I was very unhappy with the conduct of
6 Mr. Zivanovic in the area that was of particular interest to me, and that
7 is the area covered by the Bratunac Brigade. I will only say that up to
8 that period which we are discussing, in the area of the Bratunac Brigade,
9 due to the well-known events around Srebrenica, there already had been
10 around 500 casualties, including civilian victims. For all these things,
11 I thought General Zivanovic was responsible because he was busy doing all
12 sorts of other things rather than dealing with his primary
13 responsibilities and duties.
14 And just a few more words, if you allow me. I insisted --
15 Q. Actually, I'd like to direct your attention to your concerns with
16 respect to Mr. Zivanovic and whether you -- you expressed those concerns
17 to President Karadzic.
18 A. Yes, on more than one occasion I expressed my concern to
19 President Karadzic, and in several informal and formal meetings of the
20 personnel committee, I insisted that General Zivanovic be replaced, if
22 Q. And in fact, in May -- you believe it was May of 1995, President
23 Karadzic pulled you aside after a meeting to tell you that your wish had
24 been granted.
25 A. Yes, that is correct. I said it could have been May, but I
1 really cannot give you the exact date. He took me aside after a meeting
2 and said that after several discussions with General Mladic, he had agreed
3 with him that General Zivanovic would be replaced after all.
4 Q. And in that same meeting where you were advised that General
5 Zivanovic would be replaced, did President Karadzic advise you of any
6 other information?
7 A. That, too, is correct. President Karadzic told me then for the
8 first time that some kind of military operation will take place in the
9 safe area; that means Srebrenica. That's all he said. And he added that
10 I should be discreet about it and not talk about it much, and if I
11 considered that any preparations were necessary, I should make them
12 because we should be ready for this action.
13 Q. I'd next like to just clarify some of what you've said with
14 respect to your relationship with the military. You were not in the
15 military chain of information, were you?
16 A. That is completely correct.
17 Q. And your role was that of a political leader in the Republika
19 A. That too is correct.
20 Q. Yet you were able to communicate with President Karadzic with
21 respect to military matters that he could then handle.
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. I'd now like to direct your attention to your meeting in Pale on
24 either the 8th or 9th of July. And first I want to ask you: Is there a
25 way that -- or how is it that you're able to give a date to that
1 particular meeting?
2 A. How was I able to give it or --
3 Q. Yes. Is there a relationship between the time of your meeting
4 and any other event that you can put those together with?
5 A. I understand your question now. There is another event with
6 which I associated this date. I am allowing for the possibility that I'm
7 mistaken about whether it is 8th or 9th, and let me tell you now it's also
8 possible that it could have been the 7th or the 10th. There is, as I
9 said, another event that helped me recollect this; namely, the fact that
10 Mr. Borovcanin arrived the next day in Bratunac and I remember that this
11 caused me to go to Pale. In any case, the lapse between two -- these two
12 events cannot be more than two days.
13 Q. I want to just clarify. Part of the reason that you went to Pale
14 was your concern about bringing Borovcanin.
15 A. I don't know whether this is an interpretation thing, but it was
16 not about concern. There was concern about the troops that were involved
17 in the operation around Srebrenica, and I wanted a well-trained unit to
18 come to Srebrenica, and regardless of what kind of military operation it
19 was, I wanted them to be involved. I had no further information about the
20 military details of it.
21 Q. And again, although you were a political leader, you were able to
22 take those concerns about the military operation to President Karadzic for
24 A. That is true. I was able at any moment to convey to him my
25 opinion, even about military matters, without going into how the president
1 would or would not act upon it.
2 Q. And in this case, this is another example of where your concern
3 resulted in a military action.
4 A. How my concern led to a military action? It resulted in the
5 arrival of Mr. Borovcanin.
6 Q. And now I'd like to focus specifically on the sequence of your
7 conversation with President Karadzic on the 8th or 9th of July. And
8 specifically, I would like you to focus on Mr. Karadzic's words, where --
9 where we look. The first topic of discussion was the issue of the purpose
10 of the military action on Srebrenica.
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. And the next area, then, was with respect to the military
13 enforcement or reinforcement that needed to be brought in if that action
14 was to be successful.
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. And then-President Karadzic asked you about what you - and I
17 believe you said that was meant in the plural sense - intended to do with
18 the civilians.
19 A. He used the word "population"; I assume he meant civilians.
20 Q. And your response to that was that it was impossible for you to
22 A. Yes, that is correct.
23 Q. What was his -- what were his direct words in response to that,
24 as best you can recall them?
25 A. To the best of my recollection, I have already repeated those
1 words. He said, "All those down there, you need to kill them." "Whatever
2 you get hold of," he added.
3 Q. And then he talked about the principle of Western Slavonia.
4 A. That is true too.
5 Q. I'd like to direct your attention now to the 12th of July. And
6 just one question about the conversation -- the informal conversation that
7 you had with General Mladic. You testified that he made vulgar comments
8 with respect to President Karadzic and yourself.
9 A. Yes, that is correct.
10 Q. Did he do anything after that that you perceived as an apology
11 for those comments?
12 A. No, absolutely nothing.
13 Q. Did he send you breakfast after that?
14 A. I did comment on the fact that in the office someone brought me
15 or offered breakfast, and I inferred that it must have come from him. I
16 apologise if I misunderstood. Now, if that is a gesture of apology, then
17 it is true that he did in a sense apologise, if he was behind it, if he
18 had sent the breakfast.
19 Q. And now, although you've discussed at length some of the aspects
20 of the meeting at the Hotel Fontana, I would like to talk about a
21 particular area that President Karadzic wanted you to cover in that
22 meeting, and that has to do with the men who may have been detained at
24 A. Yes, I did have instructions about that.
25 Q. In fact, he asked you whether there were any men in this group
1 detained at Potocari.
2 A. I wouldn't quite put it like that. He said roughly - I'm not
3 quoting him - but that there was a possibility that some people who may
4 have committed war crimes could be hidden among those people there.
5 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... men.
6 A. Yes, of course.
7 Q. And he directed you to insist that those people must be left
9 A. That is true. I will tell you exactly what he said, that "If our
10 civilian and military intelligence services have information about any of
11 those men who may be hiding there or be among that group, then that they
12 should be kept and that pursuant to the conventions governing war we were
13 entitled to that and that I should say that publicly.
14 Q. With respect to the overall meeting at -- at Hotel Fontana,
15 you've described that as a farce. Would -- I want to make sure that we're
16 characterising that correctly.
17 A. I have repeated that several times. That is my conviction.
18 Q. And in fact, there were no options for the people who were
19 detained there at Potocari, other than to be -- to leave.
20 A. That conclusion is your conclusion. I described the
21 circumstances under which all that happened. I said that I presented
22 three variants which I believe did not correspond to reality.
23 Q. You've previously -- or do you recall previously saying that the
24 basic reason -- there was actually no true intention for them to stay but
25 the whole thing was done for propaganda purposes, while the actual intent
1 was to get them to leave the area and to clear the area of Muslims?
2 A. I remember every sentence, and that is correct, and I said that
3 that was my conclusion and my opinion.
4 Q. With respect to the meeting -- or the arrival of Colonel Beara on
5 the night of the 13th of July, you've previously testified that he came in
6 and said that he had established contact with those captives and that they
7 should be killed.
8 A. I didn't quite understand. Which contact are you referring to?
9 Because he didn't tell me anything about having made contact with the
10 captives but that he had come with instructions regarding those captives.
11 MS. BIBLES: For the record purposes, I'm referring to the
12 Nikolic sentencing hearing, page 1548.
13 Q. Do you recall testifying in that hearing?
14 A. Of course.
15 Q. And you've testified -- I believe you've advised this Chamber
16 that your testimony there is correct.
17 A. It is truthful and correct.
18 Q. So if you testified in that hearing - and I'm quoting you - that
19 "He had established contact. He came in and said --" and I'm paraphrasing
20 that section, but this is direct -- "that he had established contact with
21 those captives and that they should be killed."
22 A. I may have said that. I do not consider that to be a relevant
23 fact at all, whether he had had contact with them or not. I don't see how
24 he could have had contact with them but that he had been assigned to take
25 care of those people, that was obvious.
1 Q. Let's go directly to the relevant portion of that. You would
2 agree that he came in and said that they should be killed.
3 A. That is absolutely true.
4 Q. And you were surprised that he was speaking so openly about such
5 a sensitive topic.
6 A. Yes, I said that too.
7 Q. In fact, you were so concerned about the topic that you wanted to
8 get your friend, Mr. Simic, out of that room and away from that
10 A. That is also true. I said that too.
11 [Prosecution counsel confer]
12 MS. BIBLES: Your Honours, I have no further questions. Thank
14 JUDGE MERON: Thank you, Ms. Bibles.
15 It's now 2.25, and I think that before going to the Defence, to
16 give the floor to the Defence to ask questions of our witness, it might be
17 convenient to have a short break now, say for 20 minutes.
18 At quarter to 3.00 we will resume.
19 --- Recess taken at 2.26 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 2.49 p.m.
21 JUDGE MERON: Please be seated.
22 Would the Defence wish to put questions to the witness?
23 Mr. Petrusic.
24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President, for
25 giving me the floor. The Defence will have several questions for
1 Mr. Deronjic, taking into consideration the time allotted to us.
2 Questioned by Mr. Petrusic:
3 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Deronjic, good afternoon. My name is Nenad
4 Petrusic, and I represent General Krstic in this case.
5 A. Good afternoon, Mr. Petrusic.
6 Q. The overall impression that the Defence is able to gain on the
7 basis of your testimony today, and also knowing that since 1987 -- or
8 rather, 1988, up until today, 2003, you had talks and interviews on a
9 number of occasions with the Prosecutor, the overall impression is that
10 you are extremely -- an extremely well-informed man regarding events in
11 that area and the particular period I'm interested in, that is 1995, and
12 the events in Srebrenica before its fall and after its fall in 1995. Am I
14 A. Sir, you said 1988, but I assume you meant 1998.
15 Q. Yes. Thank you for your correction. In any event, I'm talking
16 of the period from 1998 to the present.
17 A. That is true. I did have contacts with representatives of the
18 OTP of this honoured Tribunal. And as I have informed the Prosecution, I
19 was familiar with the events in Srebrenica. I didn't leave out any single
20 detail. I think that I covered all my own activities and all my
21 knowledge. To what extent that is -- that means that I'm extremely well
22 informed, I don't know. There are things that I don't know in every
23 detail, but I did convey all I knew.
24 Q. For all those meetings, you prepared yourself, you spoke to
25 people, you refreshed your memory about all the events of the period.
1 Would that be a correct statement?
2 A. To a high degree, your statement is true. I would just say that
3 I did refresh my memory in various stages of those interviews, but I would
4 say that I had very little, if any, direct contact with the participants
5 in those events. I knew I would have occasion to state what I knew, and I
6 didn't wish in any way to involve others in what was happening here.
7 Q. Regarding your knowledge about the activities of General Krstic
8 in that period, you were responding -- you have already answered questions
9 by Their Honours, the Judges of this Chamber. I would like to know
10 whether later on, through any investigations - if one can call them that -
11 on your own, did you learn anything indirectly or did you gain any hearsay
12 evidence about the participation of General Krstic in the crimes, to use a
13 legal term, that occurred following the fall of Srebrenica?
14 A. Mr. Petrusic, during the years following those events, to the
15 extent it was possible, I did collect quite a bit of information about
16 those events. I never came across any fact relating to General Krstic's
17 involvement in what you correctly described as a crime that occurred
18 following the fall of Srebrenica.
19 Q. Mr. Deronjic, let me now briefly turn to another topic, and that
20 is the meeting at the Fontana Hotel on the 12th of July, 1995, starting at
21 1000 hours. You went to that meeting with instructions from the
22 then-President Karadzic, which you had received in the evening by
23 telephone, the previous evening, to convey one of three possible options:
24 The first was for the civilian population to stay; the second, for it to
25 leave; and thirdly, to go to third countries. The order of these options
1 is not important for my question. My question is: Was as a consequence
2 of that meeting the implementation of one of these three options? In
3 other words, were the civilians from Potocari transported, deported,
4 forcibly transferred, whichever legal term we will use will be determined
5 by this Chamber but my question is: Was one of these three options
6 observed and implemented?
7 A. Yes, one of these three options was implemented, as you have
8 described them.
9 Q. Mr. Deronjic, with the permission of the Chamber and on condition
10 the Prosecution has no objection, I should like to ask you a question, as
11 in your interviews and in your testimony in the Nikolic case, and also
12 today you presented quite a number of your own conclusions. I would like
13 to ask you: What is your impression? Why did General Krstic not speak at
14 that meeting, so that you never even noticed him there?
15 MS. BIBLES: Objection, Your Honours. I believe that Mr.
16 Deronjic has testified that he didn't know General Krstic, except for one
17 time, and that is strong speculation on his part in answer to this
19 JUDGE MERON: Counsel, I'm wondering whether the witness can
20 really contribute more to the question on which he has been asked so many
21 questions by the Judges.
22 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I will abide by your suggestion,
23 Mr. President.
24 Q. Mr. Deronjic, on the 13th in the evening, Colonel Beara arrived
25 with clear instructions from the top that those people should be killed.
1 That is what you stated. That is not in dispute, is it?
2 A. No, that is true.
3 Q. In the transcript of the hearing in the Nikolic case, in which
4 you testified, on page 1563, in answer to a question from the Prosecution
5 whether Beara said anything to you which would indicate that he was the
6 man that Karadzic had referred to, your answer was as follows: "I was not
7 in a position to make that conclusion, or, rather, I was not able to
8 establish a direct link, because President Karadzic's instruction were
9 that the prisoners should be sent in the direction of Zvornik or
10 Bijeljina, as I understood him. He started saying that the prisoners
11 would be killed here. To be quite sure, at one point in time, he said, 'I
12 have orders from the top.' I don't know who he meant. He didn't mention
13 any names, but I think that the instruction could have come either from
14 the Main Staff or from Mr. Karadzic." Is that correct, Mr. Deronjic?
15 A. That is right, Mr. Petrusic. That is what I stated, and that is
17 Q. In the same transcript, Mr. Deronjic, page 1569, in response to
18 the Prosecutor's question, you answer: "If Karadzic had conveyed this
19 order to Beara, then those intentions are quite clear to me, because he
20 referred to the killing of those people. He had no instructions
21 whatsoever that would go to show that Karadzic" - that's what you said -
22 "no instructions whatsoever that would go to show that Karadzic gave such
23 an order to Beara." Is this correct, Mr. Deronjic?
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. Mr. Deronjic, I would now like to go back to that meeting of the
1 8th or the 9th of July at Pale that you had with the then-President
2 Karadzic, where he told you what he told you about the application of the
3 principles of Western Slavonia.
4 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] If I may ask the usher to prepare
5 the exhibit from the case of Prosecutor against General Krstic, 432 from
6 the trial stage -- from the pre-trial stage, that is, and to put it on the
7 ELMO and give Mr. Deronjic the B/C/S version of this exhibit.
8 Q. Mr. Deronjic, you will receive the Serbian text of this exhibit.
9 MS. BIBLES: Excuse me, could we ask for the exhibit number,
10 please, so that we can identify it.
11 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] That is Exhibit OTP 432. That is
12 an order.
13 [Appeals Chamber and legal officer confer]
14 JUDGE MERON: Yes. We see the exhibit now.
15 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, if you allow me, I
16 will continue with my questions.
17 JUDGE MERON: Please.
18 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Deronjic, in the last paragraph of this order, it says: "In
20 accordance with the order of the president of Republika Srpska, an order
21 has been issued to all combat units involved in combat operations around
22 Srebrenica to provide maximum protection and safety to all UNPROFOR
23 members and the civilian Muslim population. Order your subordinated units
24 to refrain from destroying civilian targets unless they are forced to do
25 so due to strong enemy resistance. Forbid the torching of residential
1 buildings and treat the civilian population and prisoners of war in
2 conformity with the Geneva Conventions of the 12th of August, 1949."
3 Mr. Deronjic, this order that relays the order of President
4 Karadzic, was issued at 2350 hours on the 9th of July, 1995. Bearing in
5 mind this last paragraph, does it mean that -- in fact, can we infer that
6 at this time President Karadzic gave up on the principles of Western
7 Slavonia, as you understood them, in the morning hours of that same day,
8 be it the 8th or the 9th of July?
9 A. Yes, Mr. Petrusic, I suppose that that inference can be made and
10 that we can understand that events have taken a different course and the
11 president issued orders accordingly.
12 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the Defence has
13 concluded its examination of Mr. Deronjic. Thank you.
14 [Appeals Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE MERON: I would like to thank the counsel of the Defence,
16 and I believe that we can now excuse the witness.
17 MS. BIBLES: Your Honours, we would like to raise an issue with
18 respect to that last line of questioning. And specifically -- obviously
19 there are concerns about this witness answering questions as to President
20 Karadzic's frame of mind with respect to a document that he's just been
21 shown and has apparently no other knowledge of. Your Honours, we believe
22 that that whole answer, frankly, should be stricken from the record.
23 [Appeals Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE MERON: Ms. Bibles, I would like to reserve our ruling on
25 that. I will consult the Bench --
1 MS. BIBLES: Thank you.
2 JUDGE MERON: I take it, however, that you don't have comments
3 about the physical state of that particular document as a -- an exhibit
4 previously admitted?
5 MR. FARRELL: Sorry. I'll just answer that question. The
6 document was previously admitted at trial, so of course the Prosecution
7 has no objection to the document itself. The objection, of course,
8 relates to the fact that this witness is in no position to refer to the
9 state of the mind of an authorship of a document which he's never seen
10 before on the basis of something shown to him for the first time today.
11 Thank you.
12 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. We will return to that topic after the
14 We would now -- we would now call our next -- the next witness,
15 who is Mr. Dragan --
16 First, let me thank you and excuse you from further proceedings.
17 You are now free to leave.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 MR. FARRELL: Mr. President -- Mr. President, excuse me. If I
20 may just -- if I may just address the Bench for one moment in between the
22 I'll wait until the witness leaves.
23 [The witness withdrew]
24 JUDGE MERON: Mr. Farrell.
25 MR. FARRELL: Thank you. I just wanted to inform you that
1 Ms. Bibles was here for the purpose of the questions of Mr. Deronjic and
2 wanted to seek your leave that Ms. Bibles could leave and once again ask
3 -- inform you that Mr. McCloskey is with the Prosecution, as he was
4 involved with the next two witnesses, and ask your leave that he be
5 permitted to sit at the table.
6 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. And I would like to thank Ms. Bibles
7 for her contribution to our work, and wish her a pleasant afternoon.
8 MR. FARRELL: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE MERON: Okay. We'll now call the next witness, who is
10 Mr. Dragan Obrenovic.
11 [Appeals Chamber and legal officer confer]
12 JUDGE MERON: Could I have, please, the attention of the counsel.
13 Before the next witness comes. I have consulted my colleagues on the
14 Bench, and we do not believe that we should strike out of record the
15 question asked by the counsel for the Defence regarding that particular
17 Having said so, I would like to assure both parties that the
18 Judges, as they always do, very carefully consider what kind of weight to
19 attach both to the transcript itself and to the question asked by the
20 Defence about that. So this -- the exchange between the counsel and
21 Mr. Deronjic will not be struck off the record.
22 [The witness entered court]
23 JUDGE MERON: We will now swear in the new witness,
24 Mr. Obrenovic.
25 Mr. Obrenovic, can you hear me? Can you hear me?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE MERON: You can -- before we ask you to read the solemn
3 declaration, I understand that you have a lawyer representing you in the
4 courtroom. And I would ask Mr. Dusan Slijepcevic to identify himself.
5 You can hear me?
6 MR. SLIJEPCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
7 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. Mr. Slijepcevic, let me again
8 emphasise, in accordance with our usual practice, that you may make
9 interventions concerning your client's rights but not in relation to the
10 factual basis of his testimony.
11 And I would now ask Mr. Obrenovic, the witness, to please read
12 the solemn declaration given you by the usher. Please read it.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
15 and nothing but the truth.
16 WITNESS: DRAGAN OBRENOVIC
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. You may now be seated.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 JUDGE MERON: Mr. Obrenovic, you will now be asked questions by
21 the Defence, and after that you may be asked questions by the Prosecution.
22 And I would invite the counsel for the Defence, please, to
23 proceed. And I see Mr. Sepenuk is now standing.
24 MR. SEPENUK: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE MERON: Thank you, Mr. Sepenuk. Please continue.
1 Examined by Mr. Sepenuk:
2 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Obrenovic. I'm Norman Sepenuk, and along
3 with my colleague, Nenad Petrusic, we represent General Krstic. I know
4 that you recently testified in the case involving Colonel Blagojevic and
5 Major Jokic. Is that correct, sir?
6 A. Correct, sir.
7 Q. You testified for a number of days in October, as I understand
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Mr. Obrenovic, if all of the questions asked you at that trial
11 were now asked of you again here, would your answer be the same?
12 A. Yes.
13 MR. SEPENUK: That's all I have, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MERON: I thank you, Counsel. I presume that the prior
15 testimony will be regarded as part of our record.
16 MR. SEPENUK: Yes, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE MERON: And you do not wish to conduct any further
19 MR. SEPENUK: That's correct, Your Honour. All of the testimony
20 is -- has now been admitted into evidence. Mr. Farrell is urging the
21 relevance of certain of the evidence. We are urging the relevance of
22 other evidence. And I think it will become clear during the argument --
23 the specifics of our argument with respect to each item of testimony.
24 JUDGE MERON: Thank you very much, Mr. Sepenuk.
25 So I will now turn to the Prosecution. I understand that from
1 your written submissions that you do not wish to conduct a
2 cross-examination. Am I right on that?
3 MR. FARRELL: Yes, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE MERON: So I believe that Mr. Obrenovic can now be --
5 unless my colleagues would like to ask questions.
6 MR. FARRELL: Your Honour --
7 [Appeals Chamber and legal officer confer]
8 JUDGE MERON: Excuse me?
9 MR. FARRELL: Just if I can just clarify one matter. My
10 understanding of the order originally was that the Defence would tender
11 the witness for one purpose and the Prosecution would then tender him for
12 another. In light of the fact that Mr. Sepenuk so kindly took care of all
13 of it at one time and asked him if all his testimony was correct and if he
14 adopted all of it, I don't see any need to proceed any further. And I
15 thank you for that.
16 JUDGE MERON: So the parts in which you were interested are
17 already now part of the record; and therefore, there's no need for further
18 proceedings on this.
19 MR. FARRELL: That's correct. And I just ask that they be
20 admitted under Rule 89(F), pursuant to the Milosevic decision. I have
21 copies of the complete transcripts that the Prosecution wishes to rely on,
22 which I can tender with the registrar at any point in time for
23 Mr. Obrenovic, so they'll be officially part of this record. They're the
24 transcripts that we referred to in our motion for additional evidence.
25 Thank you.
1 JUDGE MERON: Is there any --
2 MR. SEPENUK: Just one thing further, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE MERON: Yes, Mr. Sepenuk.
4 MR. SEPENUK: We would like to do the same thing. Unfortunately,
5 when we submitted our motion, our Rule 115 motion, we had an unofficial
6 part of the transcript. And we'd like, with Your Honour's permission, to
7 just submit the official transcript to the registrar at the appropriate
9 JUDGE MERON: But we are talking about exactly the same thing.
10 MR. SEPENUK: Yes. Yes.
11 JUDGE MERON: I see no problem with that.
12 Is there any problem with excusing Mr. Obrenovic?
13 MR. FARRELL: No. Thank you, Your Honour.
14 MR. SEPENUK: No, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MERON: Okay. Mr. Obrenovic, thank you very much for your
16 help, and you are now excused.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. You are free to leave.
19 [The witness withdrew]
20 [Appeals Chamber and legal officer confer]
21 [The witness entered court]
22 JUDGE MERON: You are, I take it, Mr. Momir Nikolic? Can you
23 hear me?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can hear you, Your Honours. I am
25 Momir Nikolic.
1 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. I understand that your counsel is
2 present. May I ask Mr. Stefan Kirsch, please, to identify himself.
3 MR. KIRSCH: Good afternoon, Your Excellency. Good afternoon,
4 Your Honours. My name is Stefan Kirsch, I'm co-counsel for Mr. Nikolic,
5 and together with me is Ms. Vesna Anic, my interpreter.
6 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. And thank you for coming. Mr. Kirsch,
7 you know that our usual practice is that you may make interventions
8 concerning your client's rights but not in relation to the factual basis
9 of his testimony.
10 Mr. Nikolic, may I ask you now to please read the solemn
11 declaration given to you by the usher.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I speak the
13 truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
14 WITNESS: MOMIR NIKOLIC
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. You may now be seated.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 JUDGE MERON: Now, as we know, Mr. Momir Nikolic is appearing
19 here as a witness in the rebuttal for the Prosecution. And I will now
20 invite the Prosecution to proceed.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, and good afternoon, Mr. President,
22 Your Honours, Counsel, General Krstic.
23 Questioned by Mr. McCloskey:
24 Q. Mr. Nikolic, do you recall testifying for several days in the
25 trial of Mr. Blagojevic and Mr. Jokic?
1 A. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor, I remember testifying for eight days in one
2 of these courtrooms.
3 Q. And do you also remember at your sentencing hearing making
4 clarifications on brief portions of that testimony at the trial?
5 A. Yes, I do remember that hearing. I mentioned my testimony, and
6 at that hearing, among other things, I clarified to the Trial Chamber two
7 issues, which I considered needed clarification. Of course, I can mention
8 the two matters, if that is of interest to you.
9 Q. It shouldn't be in detail at this stage; however, it may be. And
10 I just have another question or two for you: If you were asked
11 fundamentally the same questions that you were asked at trial, would your
12 answers here today be -- be the same? And of course, taking into account
13 the clarification that you'd made at your sentencing hearing.
14 A. In principle, yes, Mr. Prosecutor. The questions that I answered
15 in the course of my testimony and the additional points of clarification
16 would be my answer or the -- my complete answer to the two questions put
17 to me. And, of course, on that occasion - and I wish to say that again
18 now - that in order to clarify one of those matters, I offered documents
19 to the Trial Chamber, a group of documents, which I still have in my
20 possession and which I am offering now, which may serve to corroborate my
22 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Nikolic.
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: I have nothing further, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE MERON: So I take it that the testimony -- trial testimony
25 of Mr. Nikolic has been adopted for the purposes of the record before this
2 I take it that you have no further questions.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: That's correct, Mr. President.
4 JUDGE MERON: Thank you, Mr. McCloskey.
5 Turning to the counsel for the Defence. It is my understanding,
6 from your written submissions, that you do not wish to conduct an
8 MR. SEPENUK: That's correct, Your Honour.
9 I just have one comment, though. Mr. Nikolic is, at the end of
10 his testimony, mentioning that he has a number of documents that he'd like
11 to submit but which apparently have not been submitted. I wasn't quite
12 clear about that. I wonder if the Prosecutor might be able to enlighten
14 JUDGE MERON: Mr. Farrell, I'm not quite sure that this -- we
15 should go into this question, but if you would like very briefly to
17 MR. FARRELL: The Prosecution position is I can indicate to the
18 Court what this matter relates to, but in the Prosecution's position it is
19 not relevant to the issues to which we are admitting his testimony or for
20 which he is testifying today.
21 MR. SEPENUK: That's good enough for me, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. Thank you. So in the circumstances, I
23 would like simply to thank Mr. Nikolic for his testimony. You may now
24 leave the witness stand.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 [The witness withdrew]
2 [Appeals Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE MERON: I would like to consult the interpreters on our
4 further proceedings. If the interpreters are tired, we would now have a
5 break. If they are not tired, we would continue with the arguments --
6 oral arguments on the weight and -- of the evidence admitted by both
7 parties. And so I am in the hands of the interpreters.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Your Honour, the interpreters could do with a
9 short break.
10 JUDGE MERON: [Previous translation continues] ...
11 Sorry. I did not hear the last answer.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Your Honours, the interpreters would need a
13 short break.
14 JUDGE MERON: So it will be.
15 We will meet at 4.00.
16 --- Recess taken at 3.35 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 4.06 p.m.
18 JUDGE MERON: Please be seated.
19 Do I understand that the counsel for the Defence would like to
20 make a motion?
21 MR. SEPENUK: Yes, Your Honour, that's correct.
22 JUDGE MERON: Please proceed.
23 MR. SEPENUK: It has to do with the testimony of the
24 Prosecution's military expert, Mr. Butler. And just by way of very brief
25 background, the Prosecutor's Office had filed, very recently -- on
1 November 18th, it filed a motion under Rule 68 to admit evidence of
2 Mr. Butler, since Mr. Butler has again testified -- has testified recently
3 in the Blagojevic and Jokic trials on this question of what does the
4 meaning "up there," what is the meaning of the expression "up there"?
5 Does it mean the battle area, or does it mean the around Branjevo Farm and
6 Pilica Dom where the executions took place. And as Your Honours know, Mr.
7 Obrenovic has now stated that "up there" meant the combat zone, where the
8 combat was going on with the Bosnian Muslim column. And the lateness of
9 arrival meant the troops from the Bratunac Brigade arrived there late, not
10 at the execution site. Mr. Butler now agrees that that is a reasonable
11 conclusion from the evidence.
12 Now, I think it's fair to say that the Prosecution is not
13 conceding the entire point. They're still going to claim, I believe that,
14 General Krstic did send troops from the Bratunac Brigade to aid in the
15 execution. We very vigorously contest that. But at least on this one
16 aspect of the case, I think it's fair to say that the Prosecution now
17 agrees that what Mr. Blagojevic testified to was a reasonable inference
18 from the record and Mr. Butler agrees with that. So for that purpose,
19 Your Honour, we're moving the introduction of Mr. Butler's testimony under
20 Rule 115. With the Court's permission, we'd like to do the same thing
21 either on Wednesday or Thursday - it will take a minute or so - simply ask
22 Mr. Butler the same questions we asked Mr. Obrenovic and Mr. Nikolic, and
23 I take it that this is a procedure at least that the Prosecution agrees
25 JUDGE MERON: Thank you, Mr. Sepenuk. We have heard your oral
1 motion for admission into our case of the testimony of Mr. Butler from the
2 Blagojevic -- Prosecutor against Blagojevic case.
3 And I now turn to Mr. Farrell to confirm that in fact you are
4 agreeable to that.
5 MR. FARRELL: Yes, Your Honour. Mr. President, Mr. Sepenuk has
6 spoken to me about this. We have discussed it. My understanding is that
7 the two annexes, Annex A and B, that were filed as the additional evidence
8 on November 18th, that we have no objection to those two annexes being
9 presented as his testimony from the Blagojevic case and that he will come
10 to confirm them in a similar fashion as we've seen today. Thank you.
11 JUDGE MERON: Thank you, Mr. Farrell.
12 So speaking on behalf of the Chamber, we grant this motion. And
13 I would like you, Mr. Sepenuk, at the very beginning of our hearings on
14 the merits on Wednesday morning to introduce this testimony as accepted
15 into our record.
16 MR. SEPENUK: Thank you.
17 JUDGE MERON: Now, we are now turning to the last stage of our
18 deliberations today, namely the oral arguments. And we will invite the
19 counsel for both parties to present their oral arguments on the weight and
20 on the credibility of the admitted evidence and of the rebuttal material.
21 Now, first, I will give the floor to the counsel for the Defence
22 and then to the counsel for the Prosecution.
23 I remind the parties that each of them has 30 minutes of argument
24 each. And counsel of the Defence, I would like to draw your attention to
25 the following: If we -- you wish to reserve any portion of the 30 minutes
1 allotted to you for a reply, please plan it accordingly and let me know.
2 MR. SEPENUK: [Microphone not activated] I'd like to reserve 10
3 minutes, Your Honour.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
5 MR. SEPENUK: By the way -- excuse me, Your Honour. I had a
6 podium here. I don't know where -- oh, I think the Prosecution thought
7 they were going to speak first, so they took my podium. I don't know --
8 it's not totally necessary for me to have it, but if it's available --
9 JUDGE MERON: I -- I see. So no more war crimes here of plunder
10 of podiums.
11 Okay, Mr. Sepenuk.
12 MR. SEPENUK: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MERON: Twenty minutes now and then the Prosecution and
14 then you have ten more minutes. It's ten past 4.00, so you can go until
16 MR. SEPENUK: I'd like to start, Your Honours, with the Deronjic
17 testimony. The Trial Chamber, in 360 of its opinion, stated that it was
18 apparent that the Prosecution built its case on the theory that the plan
19 to execute the Bosnian Muslim men of Srebrenica was devised in the evening
20 hours of 11 July and the early morning hours of 12 July 1995. And I
21 respectfully suggest that nothing that has taken place here today should
22 alter that finding of the Trial Chamber. Genocide is too important and
23 serious a matter to be left to the kind of testimony that the government
24 is relying on vis-a-vis Mr. Deronjic. A single conversation on July 8th
25 or 9th with President Karadzic, according to Mr. Deronjic, about "all of
1 them must be killed," the government is trying to translate and convert
2 into a genocidal plan to kill the Bosnian Muslims as a group. That simply
3 should not be.
4 That was a single conversation. It was tentative. It was
5 optional. It depended upon what happened, if indeed there was going to be
6 a takeover of Srebrenica, and a comparison was made to Western Slavonia.
7 I'm not an expert on the Western Slavonian situation, but as I understand
8 it, it had to do with the fleeing of civilians and troops together,
9 fleeing from Western Slavonia, and under those circumstances it was
10 thought legitimate. Indeed, it is not legitimate, but it was thought
11 legitimate that perhaps there could be shelling and killing.
12 But it was a single conversation, and the fact of the matter is
13 nothing ever happened, because the very next day, on July 9th, 1995, we
14 have this letter from General Tolimir, which specifically refers to the
15 president of the Republika Srpska, President Karadzic, giving orders to
16 refrain from destroying civilian targets, ban the torching of residential
17 buildings, treat the civilian population and war prisoners in accordance
18 with the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949.
19 So it's obvious, as Mr. Deronjic said, the government didn't like
20 his answer, so they objected to it, but that he did indeed, the next day,
21 change his mind. And there was nothing to controvert what this letter
22 reveals: It was a single conversation, it was tentative, it was optional.
23 And it should really be given little if any weight, I respectfully
24 suggest, by Your Honours.
25 After that we get to --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel slow down, please.
2 MR. SEPENUK: -- and of course, President Karadzic gives -- excuse
3 me -- gives three options to Mr. Deronjic to let -- let the people go or
4 they can stay, or they can go to a third country if they like.
5 Now, that may indeed have been a smoke screen. Initially, when I
6 saw the -- the testimony from Mr. Deronjic many, many months ago, which we
7 claim was not turned over to us, in violation of Rule 68 - and
8 incidentally, Your Honour did turn down our request under Rule 68 -- under
9 Rule 115 to admit that evidence - it was our belief that this was not a
10 smoke screen, that this was genuine, and we had already told Your Honours
11 we were not going to proceed with our forcible transfer argument because
12 we respect the Delalic appeal rationale and the other appellant Chamber
13 holding that just because you disagree with the Trial Chamber and just
14 because there's a bunch of other evidence to the contrary, you know,
15 that's -- that's it. And we say that with reluctance, because we did feel
16 there was a large body of evidence supporting a voluntary transfer. We're
17 not making that argument, and we're particularly not making that argument
18 now in view the fact that Mr. Deronjic has now gone back on his earlier
19 testimony. He now says it was a smoke screen. And I -- I will accept
20 that. It was a smoke screen because the prisoners were going to be
21 transferred. It was obvious that General Mladic particularly had created
22 a situation where the -- where the civilians had to go. And that was what
23 the smoke screen was all about. It wasn't a smoke screen on killings.
24 There's no suggestion in this record that it was a smoke screen to cover
25 up killings, because as the July 9th letter states, there were to be no
1 killings. The killing plan, if we can call it that, wasn't devised, as
2 the Trial Chamber said, until the night of the July 11th or the latest,
3 July 12th, when it was discovered that there were men being separated from
4 the group at Potocari and then, of course, the Bosnian Muslim column of
5 men escaping toward Tuzla.
6 And again, the facts speak for themselves. The civilians were
7 never harmed. The civilians were transported in safety, incidentally
8 under orders from General Krstic, not a hair on their head should be
9 harmed. And of course, it goes without saying that General Krstic never
10 had any part in these proceedings. He was an invisible person.
11 Mr. Deronjic didn't even remember that he was at the meeting until he saw
12 that -- he saw the tape.
13 Then we get to the night of July 13th -- to the day -- to July
14 13th, and we have the visit from Mr. Beara. Now, again, Mr. Beara had to
15 have come from General Mladic, not President Karadzic. And we've
16 summarised all of our argument on that point in -- in what's already been
17 presented to the Court in -- in our response to the Prosecution's
18 submission. I don't think I should take the time to read it, but we've
19 already said, and Mr. Petrusic established with Mr. Deronjic, that he
20 didn't have any information which would demonstrate that Karadzic gave the
21 orders to Mr. Beara, and it's obvious to us that Colonel Beara was on a
22 mission of the Main Staff, and it was unrelated to the conversation
23 between Deronjic and Karadzic on 8 or 9 July. The orders came -- the top,
24 meaning they came from the top; that means General Mladic, not President
25 Karadzic. Because if President Karadzic had made this order to Beara, he
1 would have just followed it. He would have followed it. As it was,
2 Deronjic said, "No, no, you cannot kill these prisoners in Bratunac," and
3 then Beara folded up his tent and went away. More indication - I think
4 conclusive indication - that it was General Mladic and not President
5 Karadzic who were giving the orders.
6 I'd like to turn to the Obrenovic testimony that was admitted
7 under Rule 115. I've already given a preview of it. This was -- this was
8 one of the most important parts of our case. We firmly believe that
9 General Krstic never gave any orders for members of the Bratunac Brigade
10 to go to Branjevo Farm or Pilica Dom to assist in those executions. We
11 feel very strongly about that, and we feel that the government's evidence
12 has now fallen with Obrenovic's testimony and Butler's testimony. This is
13 a major subject, and I want to be careful about my time. Mr. Petrusic, I
14 think, is going to be spending a very large amount of time on this point,
15 because this is the only direct evidence in the case which shows General
16 Krstic's knowledge of a killing plan. I underline that. The only direct
17 evidence in this case that shows General Krstic's direct knowledge of a
18 killing plan is that 15 July 1995 conversation he had with Colonel Beara.
19 And we're saying he said, to get Beara off his back, forgive my language,
20 "Fuck it, I'll see what I can do." The fact of the matter is he never did
21 anything. And the Obrenovic testimony and the Butler testimony is going
22 to establish just that.
23 Exhibits 1, 2, and 3, they show essentially that the capture --
24 I'm talking about tabs 1, 2, and 3, Your Honours. It shows that the
25 capture and the execution was a Main Staff MUP operation. It says, "We
1 are not --" Mr. Vasic says in one of the letters, "We're not getting any
2 help from the VRS. We're doing this alone. We're doing the annihilation
3 of the men and we're doing the capturing by ourselves. We're not getting
4 any help on this." Mind you, this is 13 July 1995 at a time when General
5 Krstic, as the Trial Chamber recognised, was heavily involved in Zepa. He
6 was there. He was appointed the commander of the Zepa operation the
7 evening of July 11th. As Mr. Obrenovic said, in the
8 testimony that has now been admitted, he called General Krstic on 15 July
9 to tell him about the Bosnian Muslim column. General -- Mr. Obrenovic
10 said - and it's in one of our submissions - "General Krstic didn't seem to
11 know what was going on. He had no idea what was happening here." In any
12 event, these Exhibits 1, 2, and 3 prove that, and we expect to argue that
13 later next -- next week at the oral argument.
5 MR. SEPENUK: But that particular witness, I think that Your
6 Honours, under the circumstances, are justified to giving his statement
7 rather minimal weight. The point of his statement was to show
8 particularly that members of the military police were subordinate to the
9 Main Staff security organs, and many times acted without the knowledge of
10 Drina Corps personnel, including upper level Drina Corps personnel and
11 including even up to General Krstic.
12 We believe that at the very least, with Mr. Obrenovic's testimony
13 now, at the very least it's been established that it was discretionary for
14 members of the security organs to -- whether or not to notify a particular
15 Drina Corps commander as to what was happening. That instruction, I
16 believe, should not be -- by the way, the one remaining evidentiary matter
17 in this case is the -- is that instruction of 1994 from General Mladic.
18 And I'm not sure the Court has ever ruled on its admissibility. But
19 without General Radinovic, you've now excluded General Radinovic from
20 testifying, without General Radinovic, that instruction would not be very
21 meaningful. So without his testimony and without the instruction, I think
22 the -- our position has been watered down, but at the very least it's --
23 it's established by the evidence that the -- it was discretionary on the
24 part of the security forces whether or not to notify the Main Staff. And
25 our submission is that on the -- on some -- certain very crucial aspects
1 of the case, General Krstic was never notified. And we're going to
2 discuss that in some detail next week.
3 Thank you, Your Honour. And again, I -- I apologise for my
4 omission before.
5 JUDGE MERON: Thank you.
6 I will now invite Mr. Farrell for his --
7 MR. FARRELL: Thank you. If I may, Your Honour, I'd like to
8 introduce Mr. Moylan, who's a member of the appeals section and who has
9 not had the opportunity to appear before you today but who will be making
10 submissions on behalf of the Prosecution. Thank you.
11 JUDGE MERON: Mr. Moylan, I would welcome you here and invite you
12 to make your presentation.
13 MR. MOYLAN: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE MERON: You have until five minutes before 5.00.
15 MR. MOYLAN: Thank you.
16 Mr. President and members of the Bench, I'd like to begin by just
17 briefly outlining the submissions that I'm going to make. I'm going to
18 divide the submissions into three parts essentially. The first portion,
19 I'm going to deal with a number of outstanding issues very briefly and the
20 Prosecution's position on those issues in anticipation for the final phase
21 of argument. These are issues that will specifically relate to weight and
22 credibility of certain pieces of evidence. Then I will address the
23 remaining evidence, first dealing with Mr. Deronjic, and then turning to
24 the other evidence of both the rebuttal evidence from the Prosecution and
25 the additional evidence from the Defence.
1 So if I may, starting with the areas that remain outstanding
2 areas of dispute between the parties, the principal areas of dispute. The
3 Prosecution position, beginning with the tab 5 evidence, has been stated
4 before on the record. And I would just restate that briefly, that the
5 Prosecution's position is that untested witness statements should not form
6 part of the record for purposes of returning a verdict, a matter as
7 serious as that, particularly when they have not been subjected to the
8 procedural safeguards of Rule 92 bis. And the Prosecution obviously noted
9 that the tab 5 witness was not in court and therefore was not able to be
10 subjected to cross-examination and submits that his material should be
11 given de minimis, if any, weight on that basis.
12 Furthermore, the Prosecution would just briefly refer the Chamber
13 to its submissions regarding the tab 5 witness. In the Prosecution
14 response to Defence motion of support Rule 115, dated 15 August 2003, in
15 which we set out further detailed submissions on the reliability and
16 credibility of that witness.
17 The second area that I'd like to address that remains of some
18 contention is the evidence that the Defence has sought to rely on for
19 Mr. Obrenovic regarding the interpretation of a particular intercept that
20 the Trial Chamber referred to in its judgement. And specifically the
21 intercept that I'm referring to is quoted at paragraph 401 of the
22 judgement. And just very briefly on the subject matter, it concerns a
23 conversation between the Drina Corps security chief and a member of the --
24 a member of the -- excuse me, the Drina Corps operations officer at the
25 Drina Corps command. And it's regarding -- as it's utilised in the trial
1 judgement, it concerns reporting to Krstic -- or an attempt to report to
2 General Krstic regarding certain activities.
3 The Prosecution position on that, very briefly, is that the -- Mr.
4 Obrenovic's interpretation of the intercept, as he's provided recently in
5 court, is a reasonable interpretation. The Prosecution accepts that, and
6 that it could have been a factor -- it could have resulted in the Trial
7 Chamber giving a portion of the intercept a different interpretation but
8 that, in light of the trial judgement as a whole, that it would not have
9 been a decisive factor in reaching the verdict on any -- any particular
10 factual finding. And with that said, I will defer to my colleagues next
11 week, who are going to elaborate on that issue at some greater length.
12 The next issue that I'll briefly address is the rebuttal
13 document, Annex 7 from the Prosecution, which the disputed issue concerns
14 the authenticity of the signature of that document. It is a Drina Corps
15 -- it appears to be a Drina Corps daily combat report to the Main Staff
16 dated the 13th of July, in which the Drina Corps is reporting certain
17 activities that are occurring in its zone of responsibility having to do,
18 among other things, with the search of the terrain, to try to capture
19 Muslim prisoners, and also related ambush activities.
20 The Prosecution would first note Mr. Obrenovic's testimony in
21 this regard, which it filed recently in its supplemental to the
22 Prosecution motion regarding the admissibility of this document that I'm
23 discussing, the Drina Corps daily combat report. This is Registry page
24 number A5006. And briefly, Mr. Obrenovic provides what we submit is very
25 substantial evidence to corroborate and give the document indicia of
1 reliability, which should allow the Chamber to consider it with some
3 The first point that Mr. Obrenovic mentions in his testimony on
4 this document, he's shown a copy of it in court and asked to comment on
5 it, and he indicated that the background for these type of reports is that
6 the constituent brigades of the Drina Corps would prepare information
7 regarding what's happening in their zone of responsibility and they would
8 then forward that to the Drina Corps, which would in turn prepare its own
9 daily combat report and forward that to the Main Staff. Obrenovic further
10 said that based on his knowledge of what was happening in the terrain at
11 the time, where he was personally deployed, that the order -- or the
12 combat report as it was formulated and he read it appeared to be an
13 accurate reflection of what actually was happening to his understanding,
14 which he was in a -- a very good position to know what was happening
15 because he was deployed in the field at that time.
16 And furthermore, he commented, based on his experience with
17 General Krstic as a subordinate, that the signature on the document looked
18 to him like General Krstic's signature.
19 The Prosecution would also note an exhibit that was tendered
20 during the trial. The exhibit number is 463, and it is an order which is
21 acknowledged to have been signed by General Krstic and sent to its
22 selected units subordinate to it regarding search activities. And the
23 reason we bring this up, Your Honours, is because when you review - and I
24 won't go into the details - but when you review the Prosecution Exhibit
25 463 --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please slow down a little for the
2 interpreters, please.
3 MR. MOYLAN: -- annex, what you'll see is that the -- what you'll
4 see is that the subject matter concerned in each document is practically
5 identical. In other words, there are search activities being conducted
6 around Srebrenica involving forces of two particular units, and they're
7 mentioned in both reports, so they concern overlapping subject matter.
8 They're both issued on the 13th of July, and they would provide further
9 indicia of reliability for the challenged document.
10 The Prosecution just briefly notes that there has been no
11 challenge raised by the Defence to Mr. Nikolic's testimony, and we would
12 further note that as to both Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Obrenovic, the evidence
13 that they provided on the propositions for which the Prosecution submitted
14 their evidence is particularly compelling in light of the positions that
15 they held during the operation. Mr. Nikolic, it will be remembered, is
16 the Bratunac Brigade assistant commander for security and intelligence.
17 He's provided information about the parallel chain of command which the
18 Defence has raised as an issue, and he has in essence said as to the
19 parallel chain of command that it didn't exist, to his knowledge. He was
20 in direct command of the commanding officer, the commander of the Bratunac
21 Brigade, and he furthermore stated that as to the issue of reporting, that
22 while there could be in very limited circumstances sealed correspondence
23 between the Bratunac Brigade security organ and its senior security organ
24 in the Drina Corps, that this was an extremely rare occurrence, and to his
25 knowledge, from approximately July to November of 1995, it never occurred.
1 Furthermore, Mr. Nikolic has provided extremely compelling
2 evidence regarding events on the 12th of July, outside of the Fontana
3 meeting, which we've discussed earlier today. And in particular,
4 Mr. Nikolic was providing security outside the meeting while General
5 Krstic, General Mladic, Mr. Deronjic, and other members of the military
6 and civilian leadership were inside meeting with the Muslim and the
7 DutchBat authorities.
8 As Mr. Nikolic is outside of that same meeting, outside the
9 hotel, he has a conversation with two -- with two senior officers in the
10 Drina Corps and subordinates of General Krstic who advise Mr. Nikolic of
11 the plan to separate the men in Potocari and then carry out the executions
12 of those men.
13 Mr. Obrenovic has provided very similar information regarding his
14 activities in the Zvornik Brigade a short time later. Mr. Obrenovic is
15 the acting commander of the Zvornik Brigade, and again is in a -- a
16 perfect position to know how the functioning of the security organs and
17 the other issues that are raised by the Defence, such as the military
18 police, how these areas would function. His testimony is as -- is very
19 briefly summarised as follows: Mr. Obrenovic has said in the Nikolic
20 trial, which has now been incorporated here, that on the 13th of July his
21 security chief came to him as he was serving as acting commander of the
22 Zvornik Brigade and advised him that he had -- that the security chief had
23 been informed of a plan to execute the Muslim prisoners and that they
24 would be transported to Zvornik to be executed. Mr. Obrenovic at that
25 point responded that, "We can't undertake such an operation without the
1 support of our -- first of all, our brigade commander, but also without
2 reporting to the Drina Corps," which would be General Krstic and the Drina
3 Corps command. And the response from the security chief is quite telling,
4 because he said, "There's no need to report. The orders came from Mladic
5 and our commander knows and everybody knows." So at that point in time,
6 Mr. Obrenovic undertook to assist in the operation by providing support in
7 various ways.
8 There again, we would submit that as to the issue of the parallel
9 chain of command, which the Defence has raised in a number of their pieces
10 of evidence, including the tab 5 evidence and the reports, tabs 1 through
11 3, on all of that evidence we would submit that you should give great
12 weight to the testimony of key players from the Zvornik Brigade and, in
13 fact, the only security officer whose testimony is in these proceedings,
14 Momir Nikolic, who have essentially said that the parallel chain of
15 command was non-existent for purposes of the Srebrenica operation.
16 Your Honour, the Defence has also raised in the tab 5 evidence
17 the issue of the military police control. I won't go into that in any
18 length because of the submissions that we've made as to the quality of
19 that evidence, but I would simply refer the Chamber to our prior
20 submissions, which it's -- it's in the Prosecution's further notice of
21 rebuttal evidence. Here again, both Mr. Nikolic and, much more
22 importantly, Mr. Obrenovic have provided very telling evidence as to the
23 control of the military police units and have made it quite clear that the
24 brigade commanders, or in this case Mr. Obrenovic as the acting commander,
25 had the ability to control the military police and deploy them as they saw
1 fit. And in fact, in the Zvornik Brigade area, when the security chief
2 wanted to determine what to do about the prisoners and wanted to request
3 assistance which would involve the military police, he didn't take them,
4 he actually asked Obrenovic as the acting brigade commander if he could --
5 if Obrenovic would deploy those -- some of those units to him, and
6 Obrenovic undertook to do that. So there again we would say that as
7 things actually applied in the Srebrenica operation, it's quite clear from
8 the evidence of both Mr. Obrenovic and Mr. Nikolic, who were in a very
9 good position to know, that this -- that the military police were squarely
10 under the brigade command.
11 The next issue -- the next factual proposition which is raised in
12 the Defence evidence is the activities of the MUP, the Ministry of the
13 Interior -- the Ministry of the Interior forces. These forces, it will be
14 remembered, are deployed along the central -- the road where a lot of the
15 Muslim forces were captured as they were trying to flee the Srebrenica
16 enclave. And Mr. Vasic should be noted at this time was the head of the
17 municipal police for Zvornik. His reports, the Defence has put forward,
18 as they've alluded to today, for the proposition that the MUP was carrying
19 out operations and activities on their own but -- well, directly from
20 Mladic and the VRS Main Staff but without the involvement or knowledge of
21 the Drina Corps.
22 And Your Honour, here again we would refer to a number of
23 propositions in both the judgement, which very amply recounts the evidence
24 at trial, and specifically noting in paragraphs 283 to 289 the Trial
25 Chamber recited the evidence and reached the finding that while the Court
1 wasn't able to find a command relationship between the MUP and the Drina
2 Corps that certainly the evidence that the Court had before it convinced
3 it that there was close cooperation and coordination between the MUP and
4 Drina Corps units. And we would add to that the rebuttal evidence from
5 Mr. Obrenovic in particular on this issue.
6 Mr. Obrenovic has recounted a series of contacts that he had,
7 beginning on the 12th of July, as the first prisoner started to be taken
8 as they were fleeing and crossing the road, which -- the central road
9 where the MUP was deployed. He's described a series of contacts that he
10 had with the MUP throughout the entire subsequent operation. I won't go
11 through that, in the interest of time, but I would again refer the Court
12 to the Prosecution's further notice regarding its rebuttal evidence, filed
13 on the 20th of October, 2003.
14 With that said, Your Honours, I will now turn to the evidence of
15 Mr. Deronjic, which the -- which the appellant's counsel has provided
16 submissions on. The appellant is quite correct to say that Mr. Deronjic's
17 evidence does not directly implicate General Krstic. It's -- it's quite
18 clear that he had some very limited contact at the forward command post of
19 the Drina Corps and then had another contact, though they didn't even
20 exchange words, at the Fontana meeting.
21 The nature of the Prosecution's theory as to this evidence,
22 though, is of a different nature. In particular, the Prosecution has
23 expressed the view in its submission of Mr. Deronjic's evidence that the
24 evidence can be used as a lens, if you will, to view the subsequent
25 conduct and activities and events that take place throughout the
1 operation. And in that sense, they can be of assistance to the Chamber in
2 looking at the events as they unfolded to see how they make sense. And in
3 particular, the -- the Prosecution would submit that when the evidence is
4 used in this way, what becomes more clear than it was before is that there
5 was an overall strategic purpose, depending on how events unfolded in the
6 Srebrenica enclave, and that the purpose was a purpose to commit genocide
7 but there was not necessarily an operational plan that could be formulated
8 at that early stage, because it was unknown, as you heard Mr. Deronjic
9 tell us, it was unknown exactly what the responses would be of the
10 civilians within the community.
11 But the purpose included, as it -- as it clearly included from
12 the factual record, a series of things which are quite telling, in light
13 of the evidence. The military operations, according to the Trial Chamber,
14 were designed to create a humanitarian crisis within the enclave.
15 Furthermore, on the 10th and 11th and continuing to the 12th of July -
16 this is actually before and then after the takeover of Srebrenica - there
17 was indiscriminate shelling of the Muslim population in the enclave,
18 including while the Muslim civilians were actually making the trip from
19 the Srebrenica town to Potocari.
20 There are indications in the trial record as to a lack of
21 provision of adequate food, water, and medical assistance for refugees.
22 It was not provided for in the plan. And furthermore, the -- the trial
23 record is replete with evidence of a spreading wave of mistreatment and
24 killings, and escalating throughout the operation. Of course, we know how
25 the operation culminated, and it's quite ironic, in our submission, to
1 have the appellant cite two pieces of isolated evidence, the document from
2 General Tolimir, and then furthermore the statement of General Krstic not
3 to harm a hair on the refugees' heads in light of the overall
4 circumstances. And that -- that is the nature of this evidence, is that
5 it -- it needs to be applied in the context of the overall events.
6 I think it -- it would be of assistance to briefly set out some
7 of the points that help to provide that context, in order to understand
8 how the comments help to show a purpose that was applied consistently
9 throughout the operation and was limited only by the kind of factors that
10 Mr. Deronjic talked about, like the involvement of the UNPROFOR forces and
11 the international media attention, which constrained the initial purpose
12 that the Prosecution would submit existed and actually had to -- the
13 operational plans had to be changed in order to suit the circumstances.
14 First of all, starting with the initial circumstances of the
15 position of President Karadzic. You've heard he was the Supreme Commander
16 of the armed forces. That includes both the military and the MUP forces.
17 In reference to the Western Slavonia principle, it's -- it's quite
18 interesting that that principle was invoked in the sense that it involved
19 the shelling of civilian -- a mixed civilian and military column of Serbs
20 living in Western Slavonia. We see something quite like that, actually,
21 in the town of Srebrenica being heavily shelled on the 10th and 11th of
22 July, and then the Muslim column, which was largely comprised of
23 civilians, making their way to Potocari and being shelled again rather
25 The further circumstances that I would briefly note as to the
1 military takeover: General Krstic was a principal participant in the
2 planning of Krivaja 1995 in terms of the military operations as they
3 unfolded. That was why he was at the forward command post, as you heard
4 Mr. Deronjic mention. And the Court found this, that he was principally
5 involved in the planning. When President Karadzic issued the order to
6 take the Srebrenica enclave, the order was issued specifically to General
7 Krstic because of his close involvement in the operation, and all of this
8 happened within a few days, literally two to three days, of the
9 conversation that was being conducted between Mr. Deronjic and President
10 Karadzic. The close time connection would reinforce the view that the
11 comments as they were uttered at that time were at a time when the enclave
12 was nearly ready to fall, and the Serbs were engaged in the shelling of
13 the enclave at that stage and then the events unfolded from there.
14 The further circumstances as to the operational planning in
15 Bratunac, the -- the appellant has mentioned the Trial Chamber's findings
16 that operational plans to forcibly transfer and -- to transfer, I'll say,
17 and to carry out mass executions were formulated between the 11th and the
18 12th. That's actually quite consistent with the evidence from President
19 -- from Mr. Deronjic regarding President Karadzic in the sense that, as I
20 said before, at the stage that the comments were uttered there couldn't
21 necessarily be an operational plan because there were too many variables
22 and Mr. Deronjic in fact even referred to that when he replied to
23 President Karadzic as to, "I can't speculate as to what will happen with
24 the civilian population."
25 Again, referring to some of the circumstances in Bratunac
1 surrounding the Fontana meeting, I've already referred to Major Nikolic,
2 who, on the morning of the 12th, at the time that we've heard of the
3 meeting in today's evidence, the operational plan to separate and execute
4 the men was clearly in existence at that point in time. And the Court
5 also found that the operational plan to transfer the women and children
6 and -- and the elderly and boys was also -- was also formed by that time.
7 You heard Mr. Deronjic talk about - and it's developed in the
8 trial judgement already - but the night before that, the 11th of July,
9 which was the takeover of Srebrenica, General Mladic had issued an
10 ultimatum that the Muslim population in Potocari could survive or
11 disappear. The senior officials in Bratunac at the time of the Fontana
12 meeting included such people as Generals Mladic and Krstic, various Main
13 Staff officers, General Zivanovic, the Drina Corps commander at that
14 moment in time, soon to be replaced in the Prosecution's case, theory,
15 Mr. Deronjic, and then also senior MUP officials.
16 The nature of the operation was clearly one that incorporated and
17 involved a massive amount of resources and personnel, and so the tasks
18 were being divided up among the VRS, the -- the different elements of the
19 VRS, the Main Staff, the Drina Corps, the subordinate brigades, and the
20 MUP as well, with Deronjic also playing some role in terms of the planning
22 The Drina Corps subordinates of General Krstic, at the -- at the
23 time are also noted in the trial judgement, but they include some of the
24 persons that I've mentioned already; the security and intelligence officer
25 for the Drina Corps who advised Major Nikolic of the plan to execute the
2 And I'll just briefly mention the implementation as it unfolded
3 in the subsequent days. The Trial Chamber was able to find, based on the
4 evidence that was before it, that as of the 13th of July, based on a
5 succession of events, including a mass execution which occurred in the MUP
6 area of responsibility, that General Krstic and the Drina Corps must have
7 known by that point that the killing operation was unfolded. And
8 furthermore, it's quite telling, in the Prosecution's submission, that
9 Colonel Beara, who's been the subject of testimony today, also shares a
10 linkage to General Krstic two days later, on the 15th of July, when they
11 have an intercept which is accepted by the Trial Chamber as concerning
12 mass executions.
13 So Your Honour -- Your Honours, just briefly, the nature of the
14 case is one that involves so many parts and so many pieces that
15 Mr. Deronjic's evidence is not by any means sufficient on its own to link
16 to General Krstic, and the Prosecution wouldn't submit that, but the
17 overall inferences that develop when you review the trial judgement and
18 the Prosecution's rebuttal evidence, we submit, establishes a compelling
19 case that the operational plan to take Srebrenica and then to devise mass
20 execution plan and forcible transfer plan, were actually being guided, if
21 you will, by a larger strategic plan, which is established at least as of
22 the time of the conversation that Karadzic has.
23 And the last thing that I will say is the nature of the contact
24 at the -- at the SDS office that Mr. Deronjic has with Colonel Beara on
25 the night of the 13th bears some scrutiny. Mr. Deronjic himself talked
1 about these events in fairly clear terms today, but the contact that he
2 had with President Karadzic was only a few hours before Colonel Beara
3 walked into his office, and the nature of their conversation was, "We have
4 massive problems in Bratunac with the prisoners who are creating a
5 security problem, and we need to do something about it," and that was the
6 insistence that Mr. Deronjic spoke about when he talked to President
7 Karadzic. And President Karadzic said, "Somebody will come and somebody
8 will come with instructions and will take care of the prisoners." And
9 within a few hours somebody did arrive, and in fact nobody else arrived,
10 and the next day, when President Karadzic and Mr. Deronjic talked about
11 it, the question was the interpretation of his comment that "These
12 soldiers are fools." And Mr. Deronjic discussed the two options that
13 occurred to him in terms of how to interpret that comment and provided
14 what the Prosecution would submit is a reasonable interpretation of those
15 words, that President Karadzic in a position to influence and effect, as
16 the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, what would occur with the
17 prisoners in the ensuing days took no steps to -- that is better known to
18 stop that process. And to Mr. Deronjic sitting in the meeting, that's the
19 conclusion that he was able to draw later reflecting on it.
20 So the Prosecution submits that there is a strong inference that
21 President Karadzic was the one who was ultimately responsible for Colonel
22 Beara's arrival and that perhaps it operated through the VRS Main Staff.
23 Your Honour, with that, I would be able to conclude. Thank you.
24 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. Thank you.
25 And I will now ask counsel for the Defence to take the remaining
1 ten minutes that he has --
2 MR. SEPENUK: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE MERON: -- to complete his oral argument.
4 MR. SEPENUK: I'll be brief. I don't think I'll take the ten
6 It's interesting that at this stage of the proceedings, after a
7 trial, after the admission of additional evidence, the Prosecution still
8 uses a term that was used by the Trial Chamber repeatedly, that General
9 Krstic "must have known." And on page 31, I believe, or 30, 31, 32 of our
10 brief, we set forth the comments of the Trial Chamber on their various
11 factual findings. General Krstic must have known. He could only have
12 known. He could only surmise. And it's the point we're trying to make
13 and the point we expect to make in some detail next week is that under --
14 certainly under the Delalic appeal rationale, where a case is based upon,
15 as the Trial Chamber said in this case, layer upon layer of circumstantial
16 evidence and where you're seeking to infer intent, the Court must look at
17 the only reasonable conclusion to be derived from the evidence. It must
18 be the only reasonable conclusion. If there is a conclusion consistent
19 with innocence, the Court should have adopted that conclusion. And
20 nowhere is that more graphically illustrated by this -- the last point the
21 Prosecutor made, with respect to the visit of Colonel Beara.
22 We have already offered in our written submissions evidence to
23 show that the order from the top did not come from President Karadzic; it
24 came from General Mladic. That is certainly a reasonable conclusion in
25 the evidence. But the Prosecutor, looking at it through its own - I say
1 very respectfully - murky lens, the Prosecutor says that the Deronjic
2 testimony provides a lens to look through in terms of gauging future
3 events. It's a very distorted lens, it's a very murky lens, and I think
4 that it should be given little, if any, weight by the Court.
5 And then our general submission is that the Court should look at
6 the -- should adopt, and indeed must adopt, the Delalic appeal rationale.
7 And as we expect to get into much greater detail next week, the -- the
8 inference that we're going to ask the Court to find is that certainly
9 General Krstic did not have genocidal intent and General Krstic did not
10 have the intent to murder or to exterminate. The forcible transfer issue
11 is out of the case. I might as well say that now. Because of the Court's
12 ruling on the Deronjic evidence and because of subsequent developments
13 relating to Deronjic, we're not going to be arguing the forcible transfer
14 portion of the case. But what we will be arguing is a lack of any joint
15 criminal enterprise intent and a fortiori no criminal intent whatever on
16 the part of General Krstic to commit genocide nor has the Prosecution
17 shown beyond a reasonable doubt that General Krstic had the intent to
18 commit -- had the intent to formulate a murder plan or to aid and assist
19 the murder plan.
20 Again, and I'll end this with: The only direct evidence in the
21 case of his knowledge of a killing plan was the July 15th, 1995
22 conversation with Colonel Beara. And we think the evidence shows that he
23 did not follow through on it, that troops from the Bratunac Brigade never
24 came to assist in executions, that -- that General Krstic never had any
25 kind of genocidal or any other intent to kill the Bosnian Muslim men, and
1 he never aided and assisted that operation.
2 Thank you, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE MERON: Thank you, Mr. Sepenuk, for your argument in
4 response. With your comments, we have concluded our agenda for today.
5 I would like to thank the counsel for the parties for their
6 contributions. As you know, we will reconvene to hear the merits of the
7 appeal at 9.30 a.m. on Wednesday, the 26th of November, and we will start
8 with the 115 motion, which we have granted and which I hope will only take
9 two or three minutes so we can proceed to the hearing on the merits.
10 So again, thank you. And we will now rise.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.58 p.m.
12 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 26th day of
13 November, 2003, at 9.30 a.m.