1 THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL
2 FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
3 IN THE TRIAL CHAMBER
4 Case No. IT-95-18-R61
5 Case No. IT-95-5-R61
7 Monday, 8th July 1996
11 JUDGE JORDA
12 (The Presiding Judge)
13 JUDGE ODIO BENITO
14 JUDGE RIAD
16 THE PROSECUTOR OF THE TRIBUNAL
18 RADOVAN KARADZIC
19 RATKO MLADIC
21 MR. ERIC OSTBERG, MR. MARK HARMON and MR. TERREE BOWERS appeared
22 on behalf of the Prosecution
23 (Open Session)
24 (10.00 a.m.)
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE [In translation]: Can everybody hear me? Counsel for
1 the Prosecution, can you hear me? The Registrar, can you hear me?
2 The public gallery, can you all hear me? The Court is in session and
3 we will complete by the closing arguments of the Prosecution. You
4 have the floor.
5 MR. BOWERS: Good morning, your Honours. We have some additional exhibits
6 to submit before the closing argument. First of all, at the Court's
7 request, we have compiled the transcripts from Rule 61 hearings and
8 the Tadic case, including various testimonies from the Tadic trial
9 itself, and the statements from Dr. James Gow, the military and
10 historical expert; called both in Rule 61 hearings and in the Tadic
12 We also have some correspondence to submit to the Court
13 regarding the issue of noncompliance with the warrants of arrests.
14 The exhibits from the Rule 61 and Tadic trial will be Exhibits 66
15 through 75. Exhibits 76 through 81 comprises correspondence, these
16 are faxes sent by President Antonio Cassese to President Milosevic
17 regarding various incidents when both Mladic and Karadzic were in the
18 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It shows the chronology of
19 non-response by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It also contains
20 many warnings that they need to comply with their obligations and
21 failure to comply would result in a certification to the Security
22 Council of failure to effect the arrests on Mladic and Karadzic. So
23 that correspondence is also being presented.
24 We would like to tender these to the Court.
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: The evidence has been accepted. Please take note,
1 Registrar, and add them to the Court records, thank you.
2 MR. BOWERS: Your Honours, that is the conclusion of our evidentiary
3 submissions. Thank you.
4 MR. HARMON: Thank you, your Honours. May it please the Court. Because
5 arrest warrants against Dr. Karadzic and Ratko Mladic have not been
6 executed and because those men remain fugitives from international
7 justice, this extraordinary procedural hearing was convened.
8 A Rule 61 hearing is not intended to be a trial in absentia.
9 It is a hearing to satisfy your Honours that there are reasonable
10 grounds for believing that both of the accused have committed any or
11 all of the crimes alleged in the respective indictments and, if
12 satisfied, to take steps necessary to secure the eventual appearance
13 of Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic before this Tribunal so that they
14 might stand trial for the monstrous crimes each is alleged to have
15 committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
16 It has often been repeated that a Rule 61 hearing is an
17 opportunity to give the victims voice. Perhaps, but because this is
18 not a trial, these voices can only be heard as pleas to this court and
19 to the world that Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic be immediately
20 arrested and brought to justice; that the victims can only be heard in
21 a procedural hearing is an insult to the thousands of victims who have
22 suffered so cruelly in this war.
23 This insult has now been compounded by the hollow and cynical
24 gesture of Dr. Karadzic sending his lawyers to The Hague to complain
25 about his arrest warrants and asking that they be allowed to
1 participate in this hearing while he hides in the Republika Srpska.
2 It is true, your Honours, that the victims want an opportunity to be
3 heard, but they want an opportunity after Dr. Karadzic and General
4 Mladic have been arrested and are sitting in this court in the
5 defendant's dock. Then and only then, your Honours, will the victims
6 truly have voice. Then and only then, your Honours, will the victims
7 truly have justice.
8 Before reviewing the evidence, I would like to emphasise that
9 my remarks today are directed at the individual criminal
10 responsibility of Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic alone and not at the
11 Serbian people. We have not indicted the Serbian people for these
12 crimes. Indeed, according to the testimony of Mayor Kupusovic,
13 victims of the siege of Sarajevo included 40,000 Bosnian Serbs.
14 The demonization of groups of people -- Muslims, Croats, Serbs
15 -- has contributed to the terrible carnage and destruction in the
16 former Yugoslavia. This phenomenon is a disease of the spirit which,
17 if unchecked, will sow the seeds of future strife and conflict in that
18 part of the world. We are repelled by notions of collective guilt,
19 and by our two indictments of Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic, we
20 accuse, in unequivocal terms, two individuals whom we allege are two
21 of the persons who instigated, planned and ordered the genocide and
22 the "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia and Herzegovina, crimes which have
23 shocked the conscience of the world.
24 As you have heard during these past seven days, war and
25 darkness descended upon Bosnia and Herzegovina, a culturally rich and
1 diverse land, and the toll on human lives has been enormous. As the
2 evidence in this hearing has demonstrated, much of the violence was
3 specifically targeted against Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, as
4 well as their cultural heritage. In municipality after municipality,
5 people were killed regardless of whether they were combatants or not.
6 Frequent targets of violence were women and children, the elderly and
7 even the infirm. Precious cultural sites, whether centuries old
8 mosques, schools and libraries, were systematically destroyed for no
9 other reason than to eradicate traces of cultural identity. The fury
10 and cruelty of many of these attacks was limited only by the
11 perpetrator's inability to imagine darker deeds.
12 The two men accused in these indictments were the most
13 powerful leaders in the Republika Srpska when these crimes were
14 committed and they remain so today.
15 The first of the accused is Dr. Radovan Karadzic. As you have
16 heard from our evidence, Dr. Karadzic was the President of the Serbian
17 Democratic Party, the Serbian Nationalist Party that played such a
18 prominent role in the events leading up to and during the war. Under
19 his leadership, the SDS was highly centralised and had, as its main
20 political goals, the complete equality of the Serbs in Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina, and remaining in a Federal Yugoslavia.
22 In the events leading up to the war, the SDS set up an
23 elaborate and efficient communication system and a shadow government
24 -- a state within a state. Once the war started, the SDS, with the
25 assistance of the JNA, seized power in the various municipalities
1 throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and established a Bosnian Serb
2 government that became known as the Republika Srpska.
3 Dr. Karadzic became the President of that government on May
4 12th 1992, and many of his close associates in the SDS assumed leading
5 roles in it as well. The same day he became President, the Bosnian
6 Serb constitution was amended to read that the President was the
7 Commander and Chief of the Army. Other legal instruments which were
8 promulgated shortly thereafter granted him power over the police.
9 These legal instruments are significant because, together with the
10 constitution, they gave Dr. Karadzic complete authority and control
11 over all the official Bosnian Serb forces in time of war.
12 Eight days after becoming President, he created a unified
13 command for the Bosnian Serb Army and police. This meant that
14 information about all aspects of the conflict flowed directly up and
15 down the chain of command. Throughout the war, Dr. Karadzic, as the
16 supreme Commander, has unabashedly backed the actions of his army and
17 his police.
18 Our evidence shows that both as the head of the SDS and as the
19 President of the Republika Srpska, Dr. Karadzic's power has been
20 pervasive. As he said in a February 12th 1996 interview, and I quote,
21 "I am absolutely fully involved. Everything concerning the Serb
22 Republic is in my hands".
23 This can be best illustrated by some of the evidence that we
24 presented during this hearing, including the testimony of Mayor
25 Kupusovic who said that Dr. Karadzic removed the head of the SDS party
1 in Sarajevo for endorsing publicly, along with other local political
2 leaders, the idea that Sarajevo would remain a multi-ethnic city. On
3 a larger scale, there has been testimony that Dr. Karadzic signed
4 numerous agreements, such as the cessation of hostilities agreement in
5 December 1994.
6 General Ratko Mladic is the second person accused in these
8 After the JNA "officially withdrew" from Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina on 19th May 1992, the BSA, Bosnian Serb Army, replaced it.
10 This transformation of the Yugoslav National Army into the Bosnian
11 Serb Army amounted to nothing more than changing the letterhead on
12 the stationery, and General Mladic, a career JNA officer, fit
13 comfortably at its helm. Upon learning that the JNA was going to
14 withdraw, he immediately started to establish his own command
15 structure and he personally selected the members of the main staff as
16 well as the Corps Commanders. He has effectively controlled the
17 Bosnian Serb Army throughout the war, although he has deferred to Dr.
18 Karadzic as the overall leader of the Republika Srpska.
19 During this public hearing, we have presented only a small
20 portion of our evidence against Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic; to
21 have presented it all during this hearing would have been imprudent
22 and would have only inured to the benefit of these fugitives from
23 justice, both of whom remain ensconced in their Balkan sanctuaries.
24 They deserve no such benefit.
25 I would now like to turn to some of the evidence that we have
1 presented in support of Part I of the indictment of July 25th 1995.
2 In a speech he delivered before the Assembly of Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina on 14th/15th October 1991 regarding moves toward
4 independence by the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr.
5 Karadzic predicted the outcome the SDS was setting in motion. He
6 said, "I beg you to take this seriously; this is not good what you are
7 doing. This is the same highway to hell and misery taken by Slovenia
8 and Croatia. Beware! You will drive Bosnia-Herzegovina to hell and
9 the Muslim people may vanish. In a war, Muslims are defenceless".
10 His predictions came to pass.
11 The Office of the Prosecutor has conducted focused
12 investigations in the municipalities of Prijedor, Bosanski Samac,
13 Brcko, Foca, Vlasenica and Srebrenica and these investigations have
14 confirmed a ruthless and determined policy of persecution, directed at
15 Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, on national, ethnic, political and
16 religious grounds and resulting in their total or almost total
17 elimination in many of the municipalities across the territory of what
18 is now the "Republika Srpska".
19 From 1992 to 1995, in what is now the "Republika Srpska", the
20 military and police forces under the direct command and control of the
21 accused engaged in a pattern of conduct that included the unlawful
22 confinement, killing, beating, torture, rape and deportation of
23 civilians. This pattern, euphemistically referred to as "ethnic
24 cleansing", was refined again and again in village after village, city
25 after city and municipality after municipality in Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina until it culminated in the hideous events that surrounded
2 the Bosnian Serb takeover of Srebrenica in July 1995.
3 Turning to an indispensable instrument of "ethnic cleansing"
4 described in the indictment, I would like to focus on the Bosnian-Serb
5 detention facilities, such as Omarska and Keraterm, camps which
6 stunned the world because they were horrific reminders of the worst
7 atrocities that occurred during the Second World War.
8 In late August 1992, representatives of the Thompson
9 Commission, a Commission established by the conference on security and
10 co-operation in Europe, travelled to the former Yugoslavia and
11 directly observed the conditions in detention facilities of the
12 parties to the conflict. Two of their significant conclusions were
13 that the majority of detainees, and I quote ,"were not taking part in
14 hostilities but were seen as enemies due to their ethnic origin", and
15 that the acknowledged leaders exercised effective control over
16 personnel running the detention camps.
17 Our exhaustive investigations into these camps have reach the
18 same conclusions and have resulted in certain counts contained in the
19 indictment that you are considering.
20 Our investigations have shown that these camps were
21 established and operated by the SDS, military and police personnel who
22 were under the direct control and authority of Dr. Karadzic and
23 General Mladic or both and that conditions in these camps, whether
24 located in Foca municipality in the east, the Brcko municipality in
25 the north, or the Prijedor municipality in the west, were abominable.
1 Food rations and hygienic conditions in the camps were grossly
2 inadequate. You may recall the film that we presented as Exhibit 29,
3 clip 3, showing the emaciated and malnourished detainees about whom
4 Dr. Karadzic said, and I quote, "They were a few very skinny guys who
5 will never look better. When I was 30, I too looked like them".
6 Torture and murder were commonplace in the Bosnian Serb camps and
7 women as well as young girls in them were frequently raped and
8 subjected to repeated and perverse forms of sexual assault. In short,
9 the acts committed in these camps were genocidal and were intended to
10 destroy, in whole or in part, the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat
11 detainees being held in them.
12 Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic were certainly well aware of
13 what was occurring in these camps. Their subordinates established and
14 ran the camps and many of Dr. Karadzic's closest associates, including
15 Velibor Ostojic and Petko Cancar, visited them as did senior SDS
16 officials in other areas.
17 What occurred in these camps, your Honours, was not, as Dr.
18 Karadzic said in February 1996, "Muslim propaganda", but what was
19 criminal conduct on an immense and systematic scale.
20 Of course, the detention facilities that I have been
21 discussing were not the only instruments of "ethnic cleansing". Our
22 indictment describes others, including the widespread and systematic
23 deportations of non-Serbs, the unlawful destruction of their homes and
24 businesses and the confiscation of their personal and real property by
25 personnel under the direction and control of Dr. Karadzic and General
1 Mladic. We have presented evidence to your Honours about these
2 portions of the indictment in our original submission at the time of
3 the confirmation hearing. Because of the time constraints of this
4 hearing, I will not detail that evidence and will rely on what is
5 contained in our original submission.
6 I believe that the evidence submitted to you clearly supports
7 the charges of genocide and crimes against humanity that are contained
8 in Part I of the indictment.
9 Now I would like to turn to the charges contained in Part II
10 of the indictment which allege that Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic
11 individually and in concert with others planned, ordered, instigated
12 or otherwise aided and abetted in a systematic campaign of deliberate
13 targeting of civilians by Bosnian Serb Army snipers or failed to take
14 reasonable and necessary steps to prevent such acts or punish the
15 perpetrators thereof.
16 This grisly campaign endured for about four years and claimed
17 the lives of hundreds of people, regardless of whether they were men
18 or women, infants or the elderly and regardless of whether they were
19 Sarajevans of Muslim, Serb or Croat descent.
20 Sarajevo sits in a bowl surrounded by high mountains. The
21 Bosnian Serb Army occupied these mountains and from these
22 promontories, as you have seen from our evidence, it was not difficult
23 to see into the besieged city. Bosnian Serb Army snipers, with their
24 highly specialised weapons equipped with powerful optical scopes, had
25 clear shots at their victims below who were quite obviously
2 This indictment contains a partial list of the dead and the
3 wounded, a list that on its face illustrates the cruelty and the
4 wantonness of this campaign and a list that needs to be read directly
5 to Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic when they, and not just their
6 lawyers, are in this courtroom, for they are the men whom we allege
7 ordered this slaughter of these innocents.
8 Let me read from that list. Killed, Elma Jakupovic, aged 2,
9 Elvedina Colic, aged 4, Nermina Omerovic, aged 11. Continuing with the
10 list of killed, Sada Pohara aged 19, Marko Stupar, aged 64. Turning
11 to the list of wounded: a boy, aged 2, a girl aged 8, a boy aged 5, a
12 boy aged 7, a female aged 71, a female aged 72, a female aged 73.
13 Dr. Karadzic treated Sarajevo and the lives
14 of its citizens like his personal plaything. You may recall the film that
15 we introduced into evidence showing Dr. Karadzic standing with the
16 Russian poet Limonov above the city like a Lord proudly surveying his
17 domain. His utter and complete disdain for the lives of the people of
18 Sarajevo was shown when he, like a proud father showing a son a new
19 toy, invited the poet Limonov to fire a high-powered sniper weapon
20 into the beseiged city and Limonov did so. Perhaps, your Honours, it
21 was one of Limonov's shots that killed one of the victims named in
22 this indictment.
23 This protracted sniping campaign terrorised every citizen of
24 that fair city and transformed mundane, daily tasks into life
25 threatening adventures. Taking a tram ride in Sarajevo or going out
1 to obtain food and water or merely stepping out on to one's porch for
2 a breath of fresh air was akin to playing dice with the grim reaper.
3 There were days that you lost the toss and simply did not return home.
4 Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic were fully aware that their
5 snipers were killing civilians. In Exhibit No. 65, Mr. Kofi Annan,
6 the Under Secretary General for peace-keeping operations of the United
7 Nations, states, and I quote, "Complaints regarding the actions of the
8 Bosnian Serb forces and adherents were frequently delivered, both
9 orally and in writing, to Dr. Karadzic by UNPF/UNPROFOR
10 representatives at the highest levels. Such communications included
11 complaints about ... sniping ... in Sarajevo".
12 There can be no doubt that both Dr. Karadzic, the Supreme
13 Commander, and General Mladic, the Commander of the Army, could have
14 stopped this killing whenever they wanted. As you have heard, Dr.
15 Karadzic and General Mladic signed numerous agreements relating to
16 Sarajevo, including cease-fire agreements and anti-sniping agreements.
17 After they were signed, sniping stopped as quickly as water from a
18 tap when its spigot is turned off. Both of the accused had the power
19 to turn off this spigot, but they chose to leave it on through most of
20 the siege.
21 We believe that the evidence we have presented to you is more
22 than sufficient to support the charges contained in this part of the
24 I will now turn to the changes contained in Part III of the
25 indictment, the taking of UN peacekeepers as hostage and their use as
1 human shields between 26th May 1995 and 19th June 1995.
2 The evidence in support of these charges is very
3 straightforward. Following NATO air strikes against Bosnian Serb
4 military sites on 25th and 26th May, Bosnian Serb Army personnel
5 detained 284 peacekeepers and used some of them as human shields in
6 order to prevent further air strikes.
7 Captain Patrick Rechner, a Canadian United Nations military
8 observer who was taken hostage and handcuffed to a lightening rod next
9 to an ammunition bunker by Bosnian Serb soldiers with the obvious
10 consent of Dr. Karadzic and members of his government, testified about
11 his experiences as a hostage and about his conversations with the vice
12 president of the Republika Srpska, Nikola Koljevic, related to these
13 blatant violations of international law.
14 He said that Koljevic readily acknowledged that hostage taking
15 was an approved policy of the government implemented to deter NATO air
16 strikes. He said it was akin to electric-convulsive therapy.
17 Our evidence shows that on two earlier occasions, in April
18 1994 and in November 1994, the Bosnian Serb Army took United Nations
19 military observers hostage. At the time Dr. Karadzic and General
20 Mladic ordered hostages taken and used as human shields, they were
21 fully aware that such conduct was a gross violation of international
23 This is clearly illustrated by Exhibit 65, the statement of
24 Under Secretary Kofi Annan, who states that Dr. Karadzic personally
25 represented the Bosnian Serbs in protracted negotiations with the
1 United Nations relating to the earlier April 1994 hostage taking
3 This was not a situation where Dr. Karadzic and General
4 Mladic were ignorant of their obligations under international law. It
5 was, like the other counts in the indictment, a case where they chose
6 simply to ignore their legal and moral obligations in order to achieve
7 their political and ideological goals.
8 We believe, your Honours, that we have presented sufficient
9 evidence to support these counts of the indictment.
10 I will now turn my attention to the second indictment that is
11 before you for your consideration, the indictment of 16th November
12 1995, that charges Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic with genocide,
13 crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war
14 for the events relating to the takeover of Srebrenica in July 1995.
15 The takeover of Srebrenica darkly mirrored all that had
16 preceded it. As Judge Riad so eloquently stated in his opinion
17 confirming this indictment, the evidence submitted to him described,
18 and I quote "scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human
20 We allege that Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic and the forces
21 under their direct control are responsible for creating those scenes.
22 After the war erupted in Eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina in
23 1992, forces under the control of Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic
24 attacked Muslim communities in and around Srebrenica, resulting in a
25 massive exodus of Muslim refugees to Srebrenica.
1 Thereafter, the Security Council of the United Nations adopted
2 resolution 819, in which it demanded that all parties to the conflict
3 in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, treat Srebrenica and its
4 surroundings as a "safe area" which should be free from any armed
5 attack or any other hostile act. Subsequent resolutions reaffirmed
6 resolution 819.
7 In implementing these resolutions, the United Nations assigned
8 a token United Nations force of peacekeepers -- a single Battalion --
9 inside the "safe area" of Srebrenica. Their mandate was to
10 demilitarise the safe area, to monitor compliance with the cease-fire
11 and to support the provision of humanitarian aid.
12 Although UN peacekeepers performed their duties admirably
13 under what were extremely difficult circumstances, the enclave was
14 never entirely demilitarised.
15 The actual Bosnian Serb invasion of Srebrenica began on July
16 6th 1995 but, in reality, the siege of the enclave started in April of
17 that same year when the Bosnian Serb Army did not allow supplies and
18 humanitarian aid into the enclave. Colonel Karremans referred to this
19 as "convoy terror". As a result of this blockade, basic necessities
20 which were required to sustain the civilian population were quickly
21 reduced to desperate levels.
22 The Bosnian Serb Army blockade had deleterious consequences
23 for the peacekeepers as well. When soldiers of the UN Battalion
24 completed their tours of duty and returned home to the Netherlands,
25 replacements for them were prevented from entering the enclave and
1 what started out as a largely symbolic force of 600 UN soldiers in
2 January 1995 was reduced to about 420 soldiers when the Bosnian Serb
3 attack on Srebrenica began.
4 Of these 420 soldiers, less than half of them were infantry
5 troops. The Dutch United Nations soldiers were equipped with light
6 weapons, an insufficient amount of workable anti-tank weaponry and had
7 only 16 per cent of their ammunition allotment at the time the attack
9 In truth and in fact, when the invasion started the Dutch
10 Battalion was undermanned, lightly armed, poorly supplied and
11 eventually not backed up by airpower in their and the Srebrenicians'
12 greatest hour of need. General Mladic knew this when he selected his
13 moment to destroy the enclave.
14 For his assault, General Mladic amassed a force of
15 approximately 3,000 heavily armed soldiers equipped with the best war
16 materiel and equipment in the Bosnian-Serb arsenal, including tanks,
17 multiple-rocket launchers, heavy artillery and mounted anti-aircraft
18 guns. The invasion of the enclave advanced quickly with General
19 Mladic's forces attacking and overrunning the UN observation posts
20 that ringed the enclave, thereby effectively blinding the UN
21 peacekeeping operation.
22 Bosnian Serb troops captured approximately 55 United Nations
23 peacekeepers, stole their weapons, their vehicles, their flak jackets
24 and their blue helmets and held them hostage, an illegal but
25 successful tactic General Mladic had perfected a month and a half
1 earlier. These 55 hostages, all infantrymen, represented about 25 per
2 cent of the available United Nations infantry strength in the enclave.
3 Bosnian Serb forces advanced quickly into the enclave creating
4 panic amongst the civilian population. They had good reason to fear
5 General Mladic for, as he said in a film clip that we introduced into
6 evidence, and I quote, "The time has come to take revenge on the Turks
7 in this region". Many civilians fled to the UN compound in
8 Srebrenica, but the Bosnian Serb Army shelled it, killing and wounding
9 many of the refugees. Panic ensued and thousands of civilians fled to
10 the UN compound in Potocari.
11 By 11th July, approximately 25,000 refugees, mostly women and
12 children and a small percentage of men, gathered in the sweltering
13 summer heat in and around the UN compound in Potocari. There was
14 insufficient food, water, medical and sanitary facilities for this
15 teeming mass of frightened refugees. The scene was one of utter panic
16 and indescribable despair. People died, babies were born, children
17 were separated and lost from their mothers and some people committed
19 Air strikes, which had been repeatedly called for by Colonel
20 Karremans, were late in coming and when they did, they were pinprick
21 strikes which were utterly insufficient to protect those within the
23 They succeeded only in enraging General Mladic and he
24 communicated with the Dutch UN base in Potocari and threatened to
25 bombard with his heavy artillery the refugees who were gathered around
1 the UN compound and threatened to kill the UN peacekeepers he was
2 holding hostage if the airstrikes continued. These were not idle
3 threats, given his earlier shelling of the refugees at the UN compound
4 in Srebrenica. There were no further airstrikes.
5 On the 11th of July, two other significant events occurred.
6 The first was the flight of approximately 15,000 men and boys in a
7 large column through the woods in the direction of Tuzla, and the
8 second was a set of two meetings held in Bratunac between General
9 Mladic and Colonel Karremans.
10 Colonel Karremans testified that he was summoned to Bratunac
11 for a meeting with Bosnian Serb Army representatives and there he met
12 General Mladic for the first time. Also present at that meeting was
13 General Zivanovic, the head of the Drina Corps, a Corps of the Bosnian
14 Serb Army that figured prominently in the invasion of the safe area
15 and in the atrocities that followed.
16 Colonel Karremans testified that during these two meetings
17 with General Mladic, General Mladic said, and I quote, "That the fate
18 of the Muslims lay in his hands". He also said that if the Muslims
19 surrendered their weapons, they would be treated as prisoners of war,
20 according to the Geneva Conventions; that they must "survive or
21 disappear"; and he again threatened to shell the UN compound and the
22 women and children around it if Bosnian soldiers should fire at his
23 troops. He also said that the UN was incapable of guaranteeing the
24 existence of the safe area.
25 The following morning, General Mladic and Colonel Karremans
1 met a third time in Bratunac. General Mladic repeated his previous
2 demands and told the Bosnian Muslim representatives who were present
3 that nobody would be hurt and that there was no reason to be afraid or
4 to panic because he always kept his word. Then, ominously, he said
5 that he wanted to see all men between the ages of 16 and 60. When
6 Colonel Karremans asked why, General Mladic said he wanted to track
7 down war criminals. Within hours of that meeting General Mladic and
8 the Bosnian-Serb Army arrived in Potocari. Throughout the 12th and
9 13th of July Muslim men were separated from their families and taken
10 to various locations in and around Potocari, out of the sight of UN
11 peacekeepers, where Bosnian Serb soldiers summarily executed them,
12 while General Mladic strutted in the area falsely reassuring the
13 refugees that nothing would happen be to them. It is hard to imagine a
14 more callous and calculated deception.
15 You have seen a film clip of General Mladic perpetrating this
16 ruse, a ruse, I might add, that was taking place within earshot of
17 where Bosnian Serb soldiers had already started their murderous binge.
18 Between the afternoon of 12th July and the early evening of
19 the following day approximately 25,000 refugees, mostly women and
20 children, were deported from Srebrenica. Most of the male refugees
21 were deported as well, but their fate was different. Their fate was
22 death. Their murderers were soldiers and police under the command and
23 control of Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic. Within three days of July
24 11th to July 13th the entire Muslim population of the enclave had
25 either fled, been deported or been killed. The pattern of ethnic
1 cleansing previously perfected by the forces of Dr. Karadzic and
2 General Mladic in the municipalities of Prijedor, Bosanski Samac,
3 Brcko, Foca and Vlasenica achieved morbid perfection in Srebrenica.
4 Now turning my attention to the thousands of men and boys who
5 had fled in the direction of Tuzla, a steel cordon of tanks,
6 anti-aircraft guns, amoured personnel carriers and soldiers lined up
7 every 20 metres awaited them along the Bratunac-Milici Road. About a
8 third of this column evaded or fought its way past the trap line,
9 while the others were not so fortunate. They were captured or
10 surrendered to the Bosnian Serb Army by the thousands. As you saw in
11 Exhibit No. 3, clip 2, a film that we presented to you, many were
12 lured from the woods by the entreaties of their fellow Muslims who had
13 been capture and who, at gunpoint, urged them to surrender. Others
14 who surrendered to the Bosnian-Serb Army were lured from the woods by
15 a false sense of security created by the presence Bosnian-Serb Army
16 soldiers dressed in stolen UN uniforms or driving stolen and clearly
17 marked UN vehicles. All who surrendered were clearly Hors de Combat
18 and all were clearly entitled to the protections of international
20 Those whom the Bosnian-Serb Army did not kill on the spot were
21 taken to various collections centres, such as the ones located in
22 Bratunac, Nova Kasaba, Kravica and Sandici. Both Mr. Ruez and Witness
23 A testified that General Mladic visited many of the sites where
24 thousands of unarmed Muslim men and boys were being held by the
25 Bosnian-Serb Army. His message was always the same: "Hello,
1 neighbours", followed by reassuring words that they would soon be
2 exchanged, words that ensured their pacification while they proceeded
3 ineluctably to their doom.
4 General Mladic and Dr. Karadzic have emphatically denied that
5 these massacres occurred and have repeatedly claimed that this is
6 nothing more than violent Muslim propaganda. These are bald-face lies
7 calculated to deceive the Serbian people and to deceive the world. As
8 General Mladic said to Colonel Karremans, "The fate of the Muslims lay
9 in his hands."
10 We have presented to you evidence as to their fate. We have
11 presented the remarkable account of Witness A, a man who survived to
12 bear witness about a mass execution which took over a thousand lives
13 and, but for the grace of God, would have taken his. Witness A
14 testified that he was amongst a group of Muslim prisoners who had been
15 separated from their wives and families in Potocari when General
16 Mladic approached to within 3 to 4 metres from him and introduced
17 himself by saying: "Good day to you, neighbour. Do you know who I am?
18 I am General Mladic." He then informed them that they were going to
19 be exchanged.
20 Witness A testified that he saw General Mladic five other
21 times over the course of the next two days, including at the large
22 school hall where he and countless victims were being detained by the
23 Bosnian-Serb Army. At that location General Mladic again appeared
24 and reassured them that they would be exchanged, and minutes later the
25 first trucks arrived to take the men to the killing fields. Witness A
1 was taken to this field and after a fusillade he fell to the ground
2 and feigned death. Whilst there he saw General Mladic conferring with
3 his subordinates, the executioners of Lazete. His identification of
4 General Mladic at this killing field was certain and unequivocal.
5 We have also presented the testimony of Drazen Erdermovic, a
6 member of the 10th Sabotage Detachment, a special Reconnaissance Unit
7 that was directly attached to General Mladic's main staff in Han
9 Mr. Erdemovic's unit entered the city of Srebrenica on 11th
10 July and met no resistance. Their orders were to direct civilians to
11 a nearby stadium and not to hurt anyone and the few elderly civilians
12 they encountered were directed to the stadium. However, when they
13 encountered an unarmed man who was of fighting age, Lieutenant
14 Pelemis, Mr. Erdermovic's Commanding Officer, ordered one of his men
15 to cut the victim's throat. After the victim was murdered, his body
16 was left in plain view where other civilians undoubtedly saw it. The
17 slaughter had begun.
18 Five days later on 16th July 1995 Mr. Erdemovic and members of
19 his unit were taken to a farm in nearby Pilica by a Lieutenant
20 Colonel, and two military policemen from the Drina Corps for a special
21 assignment. At the farm he and members of his unit were ordered to
22 execute bus loads of unarmed Muslim boys and men from Srebrenica, and
23 they and members of the Bratunac Brigade who later joined them did so,
24 killing approximately 1,200 men and boys who ranged in age from 17 to
25 65. Mr. Erdemovic said he spoke with one of the victims and was told
1 that the victims were brought to the farm believing that they were
2 being taken to a prisoner exchange.
3 The killings described by Mr. Erdemovic have been confirmed,
4 your Honours, by Exhibit 53 which is an aerial photograph taken the
5 day after the executions and showing the presence of countless bodies.
6 Mr. Erdemovic also testified that the same Lieutenant Colonel
7 from the Drina Corps who led them to the farm near Pilica returned
8 later in the day and ordered them to kill another 500 people from
9 Srebrenica who were in a hall in Pilica, but that he and certain
10 members of his unit refused to kill any longer. These executions,
11 however, were willingly carried out by Bosnian-Serb soldiers from
13 During this hearing we also introduced into evidence a film
14 showing the separation of men from women in Potocari, and showing men
15 surrendering along the Bratunac-Milici Road. Many of these men, all
16 of whom are seen alive in Bosnian Serb custody, have been identified
17 by Pasaga Mesic, the Police Chief from Tuzla who testified on Friday.
18 All but two of those who have been identified are missing.
19 We have presented the testimony of Mr. Ruez, the lead
20 investigator of the Srebrenica inquiry, who has detailed for you the
21 results of countless witness and survivor interviews and his
22 preliminary findings of various massacre and mass grave sites.
23 Preliminary field investigations of these sites, which have been
24 conducted by the Office of the Prosecutor, have resulted in the
25 discovery of bodies dressed in civilian clothes, skulls with bullet
1 holes in them and bodies with their hands tied behind their backs.
2 Can we have Exhibit 33 shown on the screen, your Honour?
3 Shown on the screen is Exhibit 33 which clearly shows hands that are
4 bound by what Mr. Ruez believed was possibly a shoe lace. These
5 preliminary findings at these sites, your Honours, confirm the
6 terrible deeds that are described in the indictment.
7 The genocidal acts described in the indictment before you were
8 planned in advance, efficiently organised and executed by the
9 Bosnian-Serb Army. After revelations of these massacres came to the
10 attention of the world, the Bosnian-Serb Army has been systematically
11 excavating sites where they buried thousands of their helpless victims
12 in order to conceal their heinous acts and in order to obstruct
14 In that regard, your Honours, we have presented you with some
15 of our evidence of this systematic cover-up. Exhibit 58, your
16 Honours, which is an aerial image taken at the execution site
17 described by Mr. Erdemovic, shows these graves sites being dug up.
18 Exhibit No. 44, your Honours, taken of grave sites near Tatar,
19 Bratunac taken on 30th October 1995, again show these bodies being
20 removed and the sites being tampered with.
21 My eloquent colleague, Mr. Ostberg, said in his opening
22 statement that he would not hesitate to include Srebrenica amongst the
23 names of Lidice, Katayn Forest, Oradour and Kragujevac. Truer words
24 have never been spoken.
25 We believe, your Honours, that we have presented in our
1 original submissions and during this hearing evidence that is more
2 than sufficient to show that there are reasonable grounds for
3 believing that Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic have committed
4 genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva
5 Conventions and violations of the laws or customs of war as set forth
6 in the two indictments which are before you.
7 Today both Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic remain fugitives
8 from international justice. As we approach the first anniversary of
9 these tragic massacres, massacres that annihilated a generation of
10 Srebenicians and left thousands of widows and orphans, the resulting
11 toll of human misery is not only felt today but will be felt for
12 generations to come. In the Balkans, a part of the world where
13 history is never forgotten, where the pain of centuries old battles is
14 still palpable, Dr. Karadzic's and General Mladic's perfidious and
15 cowardly deeds will long be remembered. What should not be remembered
16 as well is that the world had the ability to bring these two alleged
17 architects of genocide to justice and did nothing. It will haunt the
18 victims and it will shame us all. We are, therefore, respectfully
19 requesting this Honourable Court to issue international arrest
20 warrants for Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic.
21 Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic remain at liberty today, in no
22 small measure due to the failure of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
23 to arrest them and transfer them to The Hague. Because the Federal
24 Republic of Yugoslavia has given them succour and refuge, we are
25 respectively requesting that this Trial Chamber certify to the
1 President of the Tribunal that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has
2 failed to comply with its obligations under Article 29 of the Statute.
3 We recommend that the President of the Tribunal notify the Security
4 Council of this refusal to co-operate.
5 That concludes my remarks this morning, your Honours. Thank
6 you very much.
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, Mr. Harmon. So this concludes the full
8 presentation of the public charges brought against Dr. Karadzic and
9 Ratko Mladic, charges as outlined in the two indictments as confirmed
10 in July by Judge Jorda and in November 1995 by Judge Riad.
11 Trial Chamber One and the Tribunal is going to proceed with
12 its deliberations, and on 11th July the decision will be handed down,
13 that is on Thursday, 11th July.
14 (The hearing adjourned until Thursday, 11th July 1996)