1 Wednesday, 7 December 2005
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.32 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon, Madam Registrar. Could you call the
6 case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, good afternoon, Your Honours. This is the
8 Case Number IT-03-68, the Prosecutor versus Naser Oric.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam.
10 Mr. Oric, can you follow the proceedings in your own language?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours, ladies
12 and gentlemen. Yes, I can follow the proceedings in my own language.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. You may sit down.
14 Appearances for the Prosecution.
15 MR. WUBBEN: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Also good afternoon to
16 the Defence. My name is Jan Wubben, lead counsel for the Prosecution. I
17 am here together with co-counsel, Mr. Gramsci Di Fazio, Ms. Joanne
18 Richardson, and our case manager, Mrs. Donnica Henry-Frijlink.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you, and good afternoon to you and
20 your team.
21 Appearances for the Defence.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. My
23 name is Vasvija Vidovic, and together with Mr. John Jones I appear for
24 Mr. Naser Oric. We have with us our legal assistant, Ms. Adisa Mehic, and
25 our CaseMap manager, Mr. Geoff Roberts.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam, and good afternoon to you, too.
2 Any preliminaries before we --
3 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Before the witness comes in and proceeds with
5 his testimony, we have an oral decision on the matter related to the
6 scheduled or proposed interview by the OTP of Defence witness Lieutenant
7 Colonel Rex Dudley. This is an oral decision. Of course I have written
8 points, and we'll try to get through it as quickly as we can, so as not to
9 take much time from this witness's testimony.
10 The Trial Chamber is seized of the following matter. On the 30th
11 of November, 2005, the Defence filed an extremely urgent motion for an
12 order regarding an authorised prosecutorial contact with a witness in
13 light of information it had received from the Prosecution or from the lead
14 counsel for the Prosecution in this case that the Prosecution had
15 scheduled an interview with Lieutenant Colonel Rex Dudley, a Defence
17 On the same date, 30th November, the Trial Chamber issued its
18 order on extremely urgent Defence motion, ordering the Prosecution to
19 postpone its scheduled interview until such time as the matter could be
20 addressed in the next court -- during the next court sitting, the next
21 scheduled court sitting. On the 2nd of December, the Prosecution filed
22 its response to the Defence motion, and on December 6th it filed a
23 corrigendum to its response. On the 6th of December, 2005, the Defence
24 filed its reply to the Prosecution response. In a court sitting in a
25 sitting held yesterday, the 6th of December, both the Prosecution and the
1 Defence provided additional oral submissions with respect to certain
2 aspects of the Defence motion, the Prosecution response, and the other
3 issues that arose therefrom. On the 7th of December, that's today, the
4 Defence provided the Prosecution and the Trial Chamber with two
5 communications from the US government, one being a letter sent by fax to
6 them and the other being a copy of an email message in response to the
7 Defence request contained in the annex -- in Annexes A and B of the
8 Defence reply of the 6th of December, to which I made reference during the
9 debate yesterday.
10 The Trial Chamber, having discussed it amongst ourselves at
11 length, the issues involved, firmly believe, we firmly believe, that the
12 whole controversy between the parties rises as a result of a
13 misunderstanding by the Prosecution of our decision on the 29th September,
14 2005, in which or by which we granted the application of Rule 70 to the
15 proposed testimony of Lieutenant Colonel Rex Dudley. It appears to us
16 that the Prosecution maintains or maintained that the -- our September
17 decision authorised them, that is the OTP, to seek and obtain an interview
18 with the said witness. We wish to make it clear that when we handed down
19 our 29th September 2005 decision, we did not have before us as a Trial
20 Chamber any such request from the Prosecution, nor did we deal anywhere in
21 that decision with such a request. What is contained in that decision is
22 a reference to the position taken by the US government in relation to the
23 concerns shown and expressed by the Prosecution with regard to possible
24 questions to the witness relating to credibility and on other matters not
25 covered nor dealt with in the examination-in-chief.
1 The understanding of the decision could and should have been that
2 in a timely fashion the Prosecution should have communicated to the US
3 government the other areas they wish to cross-examine the witness upon,
4 with a view to obtaining clearance from that government, pursuant to Rule
5 70. Instead, on the 8th of November, 2005, that is approximately one
6 month before this witness was scheduled to start giving his evidence, the
7 Prosecution asked the United States government for a confirmation that the
8 authorisation given by the USG to the OTP to interview
9 Lieutenant Colonel Dudley a year earlier for "lead and background
10 information," was not valid. The Defence was not made privy to this
11 exchange of letters between the OTP and the USG. What followed was a
12 communication by lead counsel for the Prosecution in this case to the
13 Defence in the early evening of November 29, that the Prosecution would be
14 interviewing Lieutenant Colonel Rex Dudley the next day. This prompted
15 the Defence to file the extremely urgent motion that I mentioned to --
16 that I mentioned earlier. This was followed by this Chamber's order of
17 the 30th November, which requested the Prosecution to reschedule the
18 interview, to occur no earlier than yesterday, that is December 6th, as I
19 explained earlier.
20 The first point that we wish to make is that notwithstanding what
21 we have just stated in regard to the September 29 decision and what should
22 be the understanding of it, this does not in any way answer the question
23 on the alleged irregularity of the Prosecution's request and plan to
24 interview Lieutenant Dudley which depends on a completely separate and
25 distinct consideration, namely the question whether one party in a case
1 has a right to seek an interview with a proposed and declared witness of
2 the other party.
3 The Tribunal's Rules are silent on this matter, but over the years
4 which Tribunal has been in existence it has become undoubted that either
5 party has such a right. Needless to say, such right does not carry with
6 it a corresponding duty on the part of the prospective witness to submit
7 himself or herself to being so interviewed. The Tribunal's Rules are,
8 naturally, also silent on how this right is to be exercised. What this
9 Trial Chamber is, however, convinced of is that such a practice should be
10 resorted to in a way which it's not obstructive or perversive of justice
11 or the course of justice.
12 What was said in Stanisic by this Trial Chamber differently
13 presided and composed on the 6th of June of this year is very pertinent to
14 this issue. The Trial Chamber in that case said: "Normally it is
15 permissible for a party to interview and take statements from a witness or
16 prospective witness, whether or not that witness has been interviewed or
17 called as a witness by the other party. However, in seeking to interview
18 a witness, who to the Defence's knowledge is to be called by the
19 Prosecution, the Defence may well expose itself to the suggestion that it
20 has improperly interfered with the witness. In order to avoid such
21 allegations of such nature, it could be prudent for the Defence to discuss
22 its intentions to interview a witness or potential witness with the
23 Prosecution and to record the interview."
24 In my opinion, this would equally apply in the inverse situation,
25 that is when it is the OTP seeking to interview a Defence witness, as is
1 in this case. In the opinion of the Trial Chamber, the question as to
2 whether, in this case, the Prosecution should have informed the Defence,
3 and when it should have informed the Defence of its intention to interview
4 Lieutenant Colonel Dudley, has been superceded by the events and the Trial
5 Chamber sees no utility in dwelling on this matter. This leads to the
6 Trial Chamber -- the Trial Chamber to its first conclusion, namely that
7 independently of its September 29th, 2005, decision, the Prosecution had a
8 right to seek an interview with Lieutenant Dudley, a declared Defence
10 The other related question is whether there is anything in the
11 Rules or in the jurisprudence of this Tribunal which would restrict the
12 exercise of such right until after that the witness has been proofed by
13 the Defence. The Trial Chamber finds that there is nothing which would
14 support such a restriction, although in such a matter caution and
15 reasonableness are to be recommended so as not to introduce in the trial
16 environment an aura of distrust and mutual suspicions and accusations of
17 foul play. In the present case the coinciding of the proposed date of the
18 interview by the OTP of the witness with the proximity of his arrival to
19 The Hague to start giving evidence on the December 12th is related to the
20 date when the US government confirmed to the OTP the date when his
21 interview could take place, although it is equally true that the
22 Prosecution could have made their request at least a month earlier, their
23 request to the US government. The position, however, is that the Trial
24 Chamber cannot stop the Prosecution from interviewing this declared
25 Defence witness, even if this takes place before he is proofed -- before
1 his proofing by the Defence.
2 The next issue to be decided upon is whether once this is so the
3 Defence can insist to be present during the interview by the OTP of
4 Lieutenant Dudley. On this matter, the position that the Trial Chamber
5 takes is that it cannot in any way impose on the Prosecution the duty to
6 allow the Defence to be present during the interview of Lieutenant Dudley.
7 This remains so, even in the light of the neutral position taken by the
8 United States government on the matter and which the Trial Chamber has
9 been made aware of. There is, however, one overriding consideration in
10 this matter, namely that the interviewing and future testimony of
11 Lieutenant Colonel Dudley will be regulated by Rule 70 of this Tribunal,
12 which, in this case, could result with the Defence not being able to know
13 before it proofs the witness and before he starts his evidence of which
14 other areas he will be testifying upon cross-examination that were not
15 covered by the authorisation of the United States government to the
16 Defence, to which the September 29th, 2005, decision refers.
17 The Trial Chamber has a responsibility to conduct the proceedings
18 in the best manner possible, to avoid unnecessary delays and stoppages,
19 and in so doing the Trial Chamber firmly believes that in the situation in
20 which this controversy arises and finds itself, it is imperative that the
21 Prosecution undertakes to inform the Defence immediately of the additional
22 areas that the United States government has authorised them to
23 cross-examine the witness upon. The Trial Chamber makes it clear that it
24 understands that Rule 70 would cover details disclosed during the
25 interview, but this should not hinder, in any way, what is being provided
1 and ordered by the Trial Chamber.
2 Last but not least, the Trial Chamber makes it also clear -- also
3 makes it clear that the interviewing of Lieutenant Dudley by the OTP
4 should be scheduled so as not to interfere the scheduled proofing by the
5 Defence of the said witness. For this purpose the parties are requested
6 to cooperate between themselves. And that is our decision.
7 MR. JONES: Your Honour. There is a couple of matters. One is a
8 matter of clarification. I always understood that Lieutenant Dudley was
9 going to be interviewed by telephone when he was still in the States, not
10 when he was here. We have only two and a half days or something to proof
11 our witness. So if I am to understand from your judgement, your decision,
12 that in fact we're going to lose even more time of that precious time
13 because the Prosecution is going to be proofing our witness. That's one
14 matter which I would appreciate clarification on.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated]
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated]
18 This is a matter that, of course, we anticipated and which we
19 discussed in camera in my chamber earlier on, and to which of course we
20 will come as soon as we hear all the interventions.
21 The next point?
22 MR. JONES: Yes, well the other point is we seek certification of
23 Your Honour's decision under Rule 73(B), I would say just immediately
24 since this is urgent. Our ground would be that the decision is
25 eviscerated by the following error, that Your Honours have not taken into
1 consideration at all the fact which we raised in our reply that we're
2 going to have effectively an obstruction between us and our -- the witness
3 when we're proofing him, and that he will feel that he cannot divulge
4 matters which were discussed with him by the Prosecution. And we now, for
5 the first time I have to say, first time in the Defence case we're going
6 to not be able to have a complete relationship of trust and confidence
7 with one of our witnesses and Your Honours have not taken that into
8 consideration nor the impact on the rights of the accused. Therefore I
9 ask to appeal, for Your Honours to grant leave to appeal, and for a stay
10 of execution so that we can have an appeal before this goes ahead, this
12 Your Honour, I can't stress strongly enough, this is a very
13 important witness for us. He goes to counts -- all the counts of the
14 indictment, including Counts 1 and 2. If we find that because of
15 Your Honours' ruling we're not able to proof the witness in the way that
16 we deem that we have to in the interest of our client, then we will drop
17 that witness and we will lose an extremely important witness for the
18 Defence. And I only wish Your Honours had taken that into consideration,
19 the fact that this is going to have an extremely adverse impact on us. So
20 that's my application.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Jones.
22 MR. JONES: One other matter, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
24 MR. JONES: You mentioned that a full record should be kept of the
25 interview. I trust that that would be disclosed to us. If the
1 Prosecution tape-records the interview, that that would be disclosed to
2 us? Do I understand that?
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I think if you follow the transcript you will notice
4 that that is a recommendation if it is possible under Rule 70, but it is
5 not an order.
6 MR. JONES: If the United States government is happy with that
7 then presumably Your Honour --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know. I mean, you deal with that. I mean,
9 we will not go into that. I was very careful in the choice of words that
10 I made.
11 MR. JONES: Yes.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Wubben.
13 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, and I appreciate that because we are
14 not -- under no obligations to undertake such measures, and I see no
15 obligations or so from the Rules to do so. And in addition to that we
16 yesterday already stressed that we might not be able to organise it by
17 Thursday, and yesterday in addition at the latest moment I learned that
18 the witness will fly to Europe on Thursday, meaning that we can only try
19 to organise it on Friday. Perhaps it can only be on Saturday. So still
20 valid is the fall-back position, the submission that I made for an
21 adjournment or the scheduling of this witness whenever not being dropped
22 by the Defence, as such. And in that order -- and to support your Court,
23 I will update and notify the Court via the Senior Legal Officer of any
24 possibility to interview this witness in due time.
25 MR. JONES: Your Honour, may I --
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE AGIUS: So, yes, basically we have -- yes, Mr. Jones, you
3 wanted the floor.
4 MR. JONES: Yes. Well, it was just to react to this idea of
5 proofing the witness on Saturday. I really don't think it can be
6 envisaged that we start proofing this witness and we start exchanging
7 confidential, privileged information, then he trots down the road and is
8 interviewed by the Prosecution, then he comes back to us. Really,
9 Your Honour, I implore you to apply some reasonableness and common sense
10 to this. And I really think if the shoe --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Jones, don't worry.
12 MR. JONES: May I say, Your Honours, if the shoe were on the other
13 foot, if it were a question of the Defence requesting, and a month late
14 because we hadn't done it on time, to interview a Prosecution witness and
15 to take from their precious time, and I emphasise it is precious time for
16 proofing, we feel with this witness that the two or so days we have -
17 we're in court on Friday - is barely enough for us to be on top of this
18 witness. First to then donate four or five hours for the Prosecution to
19 proof is really not reasonable, Your Honour, for us.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I thank you, Mr. Jones, and we certainly
21 appreciate what you have suggested. And this is why I refer you to two
22 parts in our decision. One is that the interview by the Prosecution
23 should not interfere with your scheduled proofing. The Trial Chamber
24 would never dream of curtailing on your time -- the time you require to
25 proof this witness. That's number one. And secondly, what we mentioned
1 earlier on, it is our belief that had -- after the 29th September
2 decision, the Prosecution could have tabled its request to the US
3 government, either along the lines of what was discussed for the purpose
4 of that decision, in other words to find out, get authorisation, on other
5 areas to be covered by cross-examination; or if they chose to interview
6 this witness, something completely different, they could -- if had they
7 tabled that request with the US government a month before, we wouldn't
8 have found ourselves in this predicament.
9 So our position is this: We are granting certification. That's
10 number one. And number two, number two, in view of the fact that we --
11 the way we see it, there is no way this interview can be held now in a way
12 which would guarantee you a sufficient time to proof the witness as
13 scheduled. We are cancelling the -- next week's entire schedule.
14 MR. JONES: We have another witness next week.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you prepared to bring forward that and have that
16 witness testify before Lieutenant Colonel Dudley?
17 MR. JONES: I would have to check whether he's available. He's --
18 and I should say in January he's going to the other side of the world. He
19 has a new posting, so he's only available between now and Christmas.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: If he's available and you want to produce him on the
21 said dates, that is the 15th and the 16th or the 14th to the 16th, yes, of
22 course, we will hear -- I was working on the assumption that you did not
23 want to --
24 MR. JONES: The sequence issue.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: -- change the sequence.
1 MR. JONES: Can we revisit that and get back to you?
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly, certainly. But please let us know at
3 your earliest.
4 Yes, Mr. Wubben.
5 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, we will of course support any fulfilling
6 of the needs by the Defence to proof the witness. So it can be that it's
7 impossible for us to have the interview prior to the proofing, but if
8 given that impossibility we might review him after the proofing. And if
9 that interferes with any scheduling of the witness in trial and it will
10 be, then that will jeopardise either the trial or limit our possibility,
11 and that's also a new development when it comes to, indeed, your
12 consideration of the schedule of next week.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Wubben, everyone has to live with the
14 consequences of his own actions. This is, to a large extent,
15 self-inflicted. Had you written to the US government a month earlier, we
16 wouldn't have been faced with this eleventh-hour problem a couple of days
17 before this witness was supposed to come here and give evidence. This is
18 why I say everyone has to be reasonable and everyone is expected to live
19 with the consequences of his own actions.
20 Let's start with the witness. Madam Usher, can you please usher
21 him in.
22 Apart from the fact that we feel that the environment has been
23 poisoned, the whole environment has been poisoned, we take strong
24 objection to some of the words used yesterday during the intervention by
25 Mr. Jones in particular. We cannot allow the situation to become worse
1 because the proceedings will suffer, the trial will suffer. And we
2 intend, actually, to find time to bring you together round the table in my
3 chambers together with Judge Brydensholt and Judge Eser, and we try to put
4 some words which would try to bring us back to a healthy environment in
5 this trial, because I am afraid it's getting from bad to worse. And the
6 worst it gets, the more difficult it will be for us to bring this trial to
7 an end.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Please make yourself comfortable, Mr. Smajlovic.
11 Welcome back. I'm sorry we kept you --
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm sorry we kept you waiting for three-quarters of
14 an hour, but we were dealing with a procedural matter, not involving you
15 in any way, which we had to deal with and decide. So we will continue
16 with your testimony and we will proceed at the fastest rate possible.
17 Madam Vidovic will be continuing with her examination-in-chief, and please
18 try to follow my recommendation of yesterday to be brief in your answer.
19 And if you can answer a question by a mere yes or no, then please do so.
20 Thank you.
21 Madam Vidovic.
22 WITNESS: SUAD SMAJLOVIC [Resumed]
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 Examined by Ms. Vidovic: [Continued]
25 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Smajlovic.
1 A. Good afternoon.
2 Q. We will continue from where we left it off yesterday. Yesterday
3 you testified about intense attacks against Potocari, Likari, Djogazi,
4 Pecista, and so on in the period on and around the 8th or 9 October, 1992,
5 up until the 14th of October, 1992. And that's where we stopped. Is that
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. First of all I want to ask you the following: At the time these
9 events transpired, where were you?
10 A. I was in the area of Peciste, Djogazi, and Dugo Polje.
11 Q. Thank you. What were you doing in the area?
12 A. I went over there to help the villagers of Djogazi, Peciste, and
13 Dugo Polje.
14 Q. Why did you go over there to help? What was happening there?
15 A. At the time the area was under fierce artillery and infantry
16 attacks from all directions, especially from the direction of Bratunac and
17 Sase. The attacks increased in intensity all the time.
18 Q. Thank you. You told us you knew Mr. Naser Oric. Do you recall
19 whether he took any part in these events in this time period?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Tell the Trial Chamber where he was located at the time, if you
23 A. Yes, I recall very well. Naser Oric and his group from Potocari
24 were in Potocari and at Budak.
25 Q. How did you come to know this?
1 A. I know this because Potocari and Budak are quite close to the area
2 where I was, Dugo Polje, Djogazi, and Peciste.
3 Q. At the time, and I'm referring to the period between the 7th or
4 the 8th of October -- rather, let's say the 8th October, because you
5 weren't you sure about the dates yourself, up until the 14th of October,
6 1992, did you have occasion to meet with Naser Oric in the area?
7 A. Yes, on a daily basis. We would run to each other's assistance,
8 depending on which village came under attack.
9 Q. If someone were to claim that in the period between the 5th and --
10 5th and 15th of October, 1992, Naser Oric was present every day at a
11 certain institution in Srebrenica, to your knowledge would that be
13 A. No, that would not be correct.
14 Q. Do you recall -- in this particular period of time, when did you
15 return to Srebrenica?
16 A. I recall that it wasn't before the 14th. I remember that on that
17 day one of my fighters, Fikret Kajevic was seriously wounded. And we took
18 him from the area where we were towards Srebrenica. On our way, in
19 Potocari, I met Naser, who also set off towards Srebrenica. As we were on
20 our way, he helped us carry the wounded person, and we talked about the
21 situation in general, including certain groups that were in Srebrenica and
22 did not come to anybody's assistance in the general area. We were
23 particularly angry with Hakija Meholjic, who had a 150-strong group, and
24 still refused to help us because if the Serb forces entered Potocari that
25 would mean that they entered Srebrenica itself.
1 Q. During this particular conversation with you, did he tell you
2 whether he ever went to Srebrenica at the time at all?
3 A. No, he was unable to because at that time I saw him every day and
4 we did not have a single moment of respite from the intense attacks
5 against the area.
6 Q. You told us that on the 14th of October you took the wounded
7 person to Srebrenica. Did you return to the front line that very day or
9 A. Yes, I returned right away. I only took some time to change my
10 clothes and I immediately set off to return.
11 Q. On that day --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Judge Eser.
13 JUDGE ESER: Just to make it easier for us to follow, could you
14 please ask the witness whether he could show on the map the movements he
15 is describing, the places between which he is going back and forth.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. Could the witness, please, show the Trial Chamber the place on the
19 map, the places that you mentioned. I believe they were Potocari,
20 Djogazi, Pecista, and the other places that you mentioned.
21 A. [Marks]
22 Q. Thank you. Witness, if you have a ball-point pen there with you,
23 please use it to place your initials in the bottom right-hand corner,
24 indicating that you made the markings.
25 A. [Marks]
1 Q. Thank you, Witness?
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, does that suffice?
3 Thank you.
4 Q. Witness, our last question was whether you returned to the front
5 line immediately, and you said you did. Did you see Mr. Naser Oric that
6 day again?
7 A. Yes. As I was going through Potocari we came across each other
8 and I went toward the villages of Pecista and Djogazi, and they set off in
9 the direction of Budak.
10 Q. Thank you. I will move to a different topic now. Yesterday we
11 talked about the villages of Poloznik and Pirici. Do you know the area?
12 A. Yes, I am familiar with the villages.
13 Q. During the time period we are concerned with, that's to say
14 October and November 1992, were you aware of Muslim refugees hiding in the
15 woods of Loznica and Pirici, and my question concerns the start of the war
16 up until wintertime?
17 A. Yes, I was aware of that. I learnt that from the people who went
18 in search of food in those particular areas.
19 Q. Were you aware of the fact that these areas, and I mean Pirici,
20 Poloznik, and the surrounding woods where you said refugees hid, that
21 these very refugees were target of the attacks by Serb forces?
22 A. Yes, I knew that from the people who went over there.
23 Q. You mean you heard from them?
24 A. Yes, I heard from people who went in search of food.
25 Q. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber from which areas or Serb
1 villages the Muslim refugees in the woods and the -- Pirici and Poloznik
2 itself were attacked by Serb forces?
3 A. From Bela Crkva, Loznicka Rijeka, Kunjerac, Sase, and Andrici.
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I just want to draw
5 your attention to the transcript. I keep using in B/C/S the word "zbijeg"
6 [phoen] which means a group of thousands of refugees, and what was entered
7 into the transcript was merely "refugees" which does not really reflect
8 what witness and I have been discussing. That's why I would like the word
9 to be entered into the transcript.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you happy with that declaration? Does it
11 suffice, in other words, for your purposes or not, the fact that you have
12 brought this up?
13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
15 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could I have the usher's assistance
16 now in showing the witness D922, Defence exhibit. This is document by the
17 Bratunac Battalion command bearing the following number: 04337015,
18 addressed to the commander of the Birac Brigade. I will quote the
19 document. It's quite brief.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, it's not the --
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. The Birac Brigade,
23 And I quote: "Reply to your memo on the exact position of our
24 units. Loznicka Rijeka, Kunjerac, Pobrdje, Mahmutovici," and so on. I
25 will not be reading the names of the other villages, you have the document
1 before you.
2 Q. My question is as follows. The document, according to what you
3 know, does it accurately reflect the situation on the lines held by the
4 Serb forces in the general area of Sase?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Could you please take a look at a different document now.
7 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could the document be
8 given D763, please, D763. This is a document by the Bratunac garrison
9 command dated 11 October 1992.
10 Q. I will quote the document here, witness; I believe you have it
11 before you.
12 "To perform preparations on lifting the line Tomica Hill-Andrici,
13 the units which should be activated are Pobrdje company, Red Berets
14 platoon, and Sase and detachment. The responsible person for fulfilling
15 this task is the first-class captain Jovan Zivanovic. To perform blocking
16 of the line Kunjerac-Kostanovice-Andrici. The units which should be
17 activated are Mostanice company, Kostanovice first platoon, and Andrici
18 platoon. The responsible person for fulfilling of this task are Andjelko
19 Obrenovic and Sreten Petrovic. Perform preparations on lifting the line
20 Zagoni-Ladja-Vresinje. The units which should be activated are Repovac
21 platoon Hranca platoon, Seliste, police reserve unit, Slapasnica company
22 and Magasici platoon, together with Slapasnica platoon. The responsible
23 persons for fulfilling this task are Slobodan Ilic, Stanko Vasiljevic, and
24 the whole command."
25 And number 4: "Miloje Bozic is responsible for helping to perform
1 orders and to help the organisation of the Fakovici area. Perform these
2 tasks immediately."
3 My question is as follows: A number of units were mentioned here,
4 which according to this document were engaged in Sase, which is the
5 Pobrdje company, Red Berets platoon, Mostanice company, Kostanovice first
6 platoon, police reserve platoon, and so on. According to you -- your
7 knowledge, were these the units attacking the surrounding Muslim villages
8 or were those merely village guards from those villages?
9 A. Yes, those were the units attacking the surrounding villages, and
10 these same units attacked the area I was at in this period of time. As I
11 indicated earlier this was from the direction of Bratunac toward Potocari.
12 Q. Let us clarify this. When you say that they were attacking
13 neighbouring villages, do you mean Serb villages or Muslim villages?
14 A. Muslim villages. Pirici, Poloznik, Stozersko, Skenderovici, the
15 Muslim part of Sikiric Rijeka.
16 Q. Thank you. You said that they attacked the area where you were
17 located. How did they go about it?
18 A. First they started attacking with armoured mechanised units, then
19 with fierce artillery fire, which meant that strong infantry attacks were
20 soon to follow.
21 Q. Thank you. Based on what you observed and experienced, could
22 these units be considered village guards?
23 A. No, those were well-equipped and well-trained units which had all
24 sorts of weaponry and pieces.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please show the
2 witness D765, please. This is a document by the Bratunac garrison command
3 dated 13 November 1992. Daily report bearing the number 04336995. I will
4 quote the document.
5 "In the course of the day -- in the course of today, the attacks
6 at Pirici and Poloznik were carried out at 9.00, inflicting great losses
7 on the enemy.
8 "To this moment we have received reliable information about 20
9 killed enemy soldiers and extensive material damage. We will submit a
10 detailed report tomorrow because our operation is ongoing.
11 "Yesterday on 12 November 1992, three enemy soldiers were killed
12 in an ambush in Kamenica village (Kravica).
13 "The situation on our lines is normal.
14 "Captain Vaso Gujic."
15 Does this document confirm the situation as it was on the ground
16 in November 1992, that's to say that Poloznik and Pirici were under
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Where from?
20 A. From Bjelovac, Kunjerac, Loznicka Rijeka, and Sase.
21 Q. Thank you. I'll now ask you to take a look at two documents.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please give the
23 witness these two documents. One document is dated 17 November 1992,
24 bearing the number 04362980 and it's the Bratunac Brigade command
25 document. The other one is also from the same command, the following day,
1 18 November 1992. 04362983.
2 Q. Witness, please look first at the document dated 17 November 1992
3 number 04362980. I will quote from a portion of the document.
4 Item 1: "During the day" --
5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Bear with me, Your Honours.
6 Q. "During the night there were attempts by the enemy to pass through
7 our lines in search of food. Their intentions were foiled."
8 This is one document. Please take a look at the next document
9 dated 18 November 1992 bearing the number 04362983. I'll read item 1 of
10 the report for 18 November 1992, which says: "During the day the enemy
11 was seen moving looking for food. One enemy soldier was captured in
12 Voljavica village."
13 In connection with these two documents, I wish to ask you the
14 following: The situation, in terms of food, as far as you know in
15 November 1992 in the Srebrenica area, was it so severe that people even
16 crossed enemy lines in an attempt to find food?
17 A. Yes. The situation was extremely difficult. The remaining stock
18 of flour or whatever resources we had to produce flour were dwindling.
19 Q. Thank you, Witness. We'll come to that later.
20 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could these two
21 documents be assigned a Defence exhibit number, please.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you want them together, Mrs. --
23 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] No, we could treat them separately.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
25 What's the next number, please?
1 THE REGISTRAR: D970, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: So we have two documents being tendered. The first
3 one consists of two pages, one in B/C/S, one in English, ERN 04362980
4 [Realtime transcript read in error "04362890"]. This is being marked as
5 Defence Exhibit D970. The next document equally consists of two pages,
6 one in B/C/S, one in English, ERN 04362983. This is being given Defence
7 Exhibit Number D971.
8 MR. JONES: 2980 for the first one.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, 2980, yeah. Oh, I see. The transcript says
10 "2890." It is 2980. Thank you, Mr. Jones.
11 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Witness, at some point I'll go back to the issue of food but now I
13 want to turn to something different. Generally speaking, based on your
14 knowledge and experience, was the situation in Srebrenica and the
15 surrounding villages getting exacerbated or not in the second half of
16 November 1992, which was the subject of these two documents, that people
17 were crossing enemy lines in search of food?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. As far as the presence of the Serb army in the area is concerned,
20 was there a build-up of this presence in the period or not?
21 A. Yes. There was a build-up of the military presence, but we don't
22 know the reasons for it.
23 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness be handed a new
24 document, please. This is a document by the Drina Corps command dated 18
25 November 1992, addressed to the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska
1 entitled "formation of a manoeuvre unit," bearing the number 04292290
2 addressed to the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska.
3 Q. I will quote from a part of the document.
4 "The corps command has decided to form a brigade for exclusively
5 manoeuvre purposes. It will be staffed with volunteers from our
6 territory. We envisage that the commander be
7 Lieutenant Colonel Svetozar Andric, whose present position will be filled
8 by another commander. The following composition shall make the axis of
9 the brigade: The commander, the command, a reconnaissance company, one
10 infantry battalion, one tank company, one self-propelled artillery
11 battery. In order to establish this unit as soon as possible, we would
12 like to ask you to help in the following way: Secure a tank company, ten
13 tanks, and ten personnel carriers from the Eastern Bosnian Corps."
14 Witness, did you learn of the formation of such -- one such Serb
15 unit at the time or later?
16 A. Yes, I learned this while listening to the news over the radio,
17 because we had power -- we powered the radio by turning the pedals on a
18 bike, and we heard about the establishment of this manoeuvre unit in
19 Bratunac. Every day one could hear their reports from the battlefields
20 over the radio, where they were boasting and exaggerating the successes of
21 their units.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I just want to point
23 your attention to the fact that the witness used the term "transistor,"
24 whereas the term "radio" was entered into the transcript.
25 Q. Witness, did you listen to the information over the transistor or
1 the radio?
2 A. Over the transistor.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam Vidovic, for pointing that out.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: I have no objection. I merely suggest that a
5 clarification should be sought. I am not quite sure what sort of news
6 this is. "News" in English, of course, conveys information that's
7 convoyed through mainstream media and there is also news that you can get
8 from more, shall we say, exclusive sources, such as the Serb army itself.
9 It's not apparent from this little bit of evidence what precisely the
10 witness is speaking about and, in the context of this case, that could be
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, yes, I definitely agree with you, Mr. Di Fazio.
13 And Ms. Vidovic will deal with that.
14 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. Witness, when you said "I was listening to the news over the
16 transistor," what sort of news were these?
17 A. Serb news.
18 Q. Were these Serb media, radio station, or --
19 A. Yes. Radio.
20 Q. The -- so these were mass media?
21 A. Yes, these were Serb media.
22 Q. Does that clarify the matter?
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Di Fazio.
24 Madam Vidovic, Judge Eser has a question.
25 JUDGE ESER: Before we go on, I just wanted to ask: The news
1 which the witness got from the radio or the transistor, however you may
2 call it, how detailed was it? Did they bring all the details which you
3 have saw -- seen in this exhibit or was it more a general news that
4 something has been formed, without going into the details?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, the news were detailed. These
6 were special programmes aimed at their groups, units, and their formation.
7 These were programmes carrying information as to the composition and the
8 formation of units.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Judge Eser.
10 Madam Vidovic. We haven't given this document a number as yet.
11 When you are ready, tender it, please.
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you, Your Honour. Could
13 we please assign a number now.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam Vidovic. This document will
15 become Defence Exhibit D972. It consists of two pages, one in B/C/S, one
16 in English, ERN is 04292290.
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Did you personally know Svetozar Andric?
19 A. Yes, I knew him. Svetozar Andric was a professional soldier from
20 the JNA, and in 1991 and 1992 on several occasions he attended meetings in
21 Hotel Fontana. And I had that piece of information since I was a
23 Q. Did you notice that this document mentions that the newly formed
24 brigade will receive personnel on voluntary principle from our territory?
25 Were you able to double-check or verify that later? Did you have
1 any knowledge as to that?
2 A. Yes, I did. We confronted that unit in the Sase area as well as
3 in Bjelovac.
4 Q. When was that?
5 A. That was between the 12th and the 16th of December.
6 Q. When you say "the 12th," do you mean the 12th month of that year?
7 A. Yes, I mean December of 1992.
8 Q. Did you hear of the Bratunac Brigade being formed?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. How?
11 A. Via the Serb news, over the transistor.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher now please put D766
14 in front of the witness. It is a document dated the 12th of December [as
15 interpreted], 1992, report on the team visit of the Drina Corps, addressed
16 to the Bratunac Brigade command. This is D766.
17 Q. Witness, I wanted to quote but a portion of the document.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: [Previous translation continues] ... is pointing out
19 to me that, contrary to what appears on the transcript, the date is not
20 12th of December but 2nd of December, 1992 obviously.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have before me the
22 original in Bosnian and it states the 12th. I don't know what the English
23 version mentions. Now I see. The English translation features the 2nd of
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I mean, I don't want to argue this, of course, but
1 I'm not that sure that what appears before the first 2 in the third line,
2 left-hand corner top of the page in B/C/S is a 1. I'm not quite sure, but
3 anyway, I mean, I just wanted to alert you to the fact that in the English
4 text it -- that figure seems to be longer than the other one which appears
5 immediately after. It looks to me that it is a little bit longer. It's
6 not the same, but I don't know -- let's move -- let's move. Let's not --
7 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. The date in
8 itself is not important. This is what I thought was on the paper, but I
9 wanted to ask something else from the witness. I wanted to quote a
10 portion of the document around the middle of it. It states: "The
11 Bratunac Light Brigade was formed on the 14th November 1992 in accordance
12 with the envisaged establishment and was allotted its own operation. It
13 was formed out of TO units in the main detachment and local commune units.
14 The problems of its formation need to be analysed in greater detail."
15 Q. Hence my question: Did you have any knowledge -- did you acquire
16 any information during December that the Bratunac Brigade was actually
17 formed out of local population, from the Serb local communes?
18 A. Yes, because some of the soldiers that were killed I used to know.
19 I knew that they were from Sase and Loznicka Rijeka and Andrici.
20 Q. Thank you?
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I try not to dwell too
22 long on any given document because the testimony will take too long.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you for that, Ms. Vidovic. We appreciate
24 it. We'll have, incidentally, a break at quarter to 4.00.
25 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 Could we show another document to the witness, D928. This is a
2 Drina Corps command document dated the 24th of November, 1992, very
3 urgent. Decision for further operations. Addressed to Zvornik Light
4 Infantry Brigade. I wanted to quote a part of item 22 pertaining to the
5 Bratunac Brigade.
6 It states that: "The Bratunac Brigade should use the main body of
7 troops to launch an attack to break up enemy forces and reach the features
8 of Loznik, Zanik, Caus, Bijela Stijena, use the remaining forces to cut
9 the Srebrenica-Cerska road in coordination with part of the Birac Brigade,
10 the Milici Battalion, and then in coordination with the Birac and Zvornik
11 Brigades, liberate Pobudje, Hrnici and Konjevic Polje, thus creating
12 conditions to open the Vlasenica-Milici-Drinjaca road. Consolidate the
13 battalion as soon as possible and give it the task to penetrate as deep as
14 possible into the area of Srebrenica, using the territory of Serbian
15 villages and attack Srebrenica."
16 As regards this document as well as the previous one, or, rather,
17 the previous two you saw where we saw that the local Serb population was
18 mentioned, I wanted to ask you the following: Is it correct, is it true,
19 that the territory of Serb villages was used to carry out attacks against
20 Srebrenica as well as other Muslim villages?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did Loznicka Rijeka, Sikirica, Kunjerac, Kostanovice, Sase,
23 Andrici -- rather, were these locations used to launch attacks, to attack
24 the surrounding Muslim villages in November and December of 1992?
25 A. Yes. In particular, the villages of Poloznik, Pirici, Pribici,
1 Stozersko, and Skenderovici.
2 Q. Was artillery used from those areas to attack Srebrenica in that
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Having in mind those attacks and the degree of isolation of the
6 Muslim villages that you mentioned yesterday, during November and December
7 of 1992, was the situation becoming worse for the local Muslim population
8 in Srebrenica and the villages you mentioned, making it unbearable?
9 A. Yes, the situation became unbearable. There were daily artillery
10 and infantry attacks, ambushes were laid in the forests where people took
12 Q. What was the situation like concerning food in November and
13 December of 1992 when it comes to the Muslim population of Podrinje,
14 including the villages you mentioned? Perhaps we can now expand on what
15 you started explaining just a while ago.
16 A. It was unbearable. The stocks were dwindling, the last remaining
17 food we had disappeared, in particular in certain villages and now I have
18 in mind whatever we could use to make flour, what was left of the wheat
19 and corn, various roots of plants, as well as some apple, oats that was
20 previously used only to feed cattle. And you can just about imagine what
21 one such piece of bread would look like, making of ground oats and
22 everything I mentioned. It is almost like a plaster food.
23 Q. I presume that you knew that a humanitarian convoy entered
24 Srebrenica in December 1992?
25 A. I know about that, but that was much too little for tens of
1 thousands of refugees in the town itself as well as thousands of refugees
2 in the nearby forests.
3 Q. Did I hear you correctly when you said that that was but a drop in
4 the ocean for the local population?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Thank you. In your knowledge was the situation in Voljavica,
7 Zaluzje, Biljaca, Prisoje, and Vejzovce particularly grave in those
8 particular villages? And if so, why?
9 A. Yes, it was. Those villages and the refugees from those villages
10 were in an even graver situation. They used to have thousands of
11 inhabitants and only a portion of the inhabitants could be accommodated in
12 Srebrenica and its environs. The remainder of the population was to be
13 found in large groups in the wider area of Voljevica, Zaluzje, Pirici, and
14 there was total chaos, hunger, disease, and the shelling and infantry
15 attacks were constant. People died of minor wounds and lacerations. They
16 were virtually destroyed, both mentally and physically.
17 Q. The groups of refugees you mentioned in particular, were they
18 attacked during December 1992 from the Serb villages you mentioned
19 Bjelovac, Sase, and Zaluzje?
20 A. Yes, they were.
21 Q. Is Loznicka Rijeka a part of Bjelovac?
22 A. No. Loznicka Rijeka is attached to Bjelovac.
23 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could we now take a
25 JUDGE AGIUS: We'll have a 25-minute -- we'll have a 30-minute
1 break, starting from now. That means we'll reconvene at 4.15. Thank you.
2 --- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.
3 [The witness stands down]
4 --- On resuming at 4.20 p.m.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I understand either or both of you --
6 MR. JONES: I asked the witness be kept out. I don't know --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, you did the right thing if you need to address
8 the -- what is it about? Who is going first? Mr. Wubben?
9 MR. WUBBEN: Yes, Your Honour. Looking at the transcript of the
10 beginning of this session we have two very short questions. My first
11 question is your Trial Chamber, Your Honours, have granted certification
12 and the question, first question, is: Does that mean that Defence does
13 not have to file a motion ex -- 73(B)?
14 My second question is: By your grant of certification, does it
15 also mean that in the opinion of this Trial Chamber, the Prosecution
16 should not proceed on conducting an interview while this appeal is in
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
19 MR. JONES: Yes.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I would imagine you have got something to say
21 about that, too.
22 MR. JONES: Yes, well, I think it might save time if I raise my
23 matters because it may supercede the two questions asked by Mr. Wubben.
24 But just on the latter point, I think it's obvious that if the Prosecution
25 were to interview the witness in the meantime the whole thing would be
1 moot. No point in appealing. So that's -- to me is obvious. But in any
2 event this may all be superceded by the following, Your Honour. During
3 the -- during the sitting we were trying to contact the witness to see --
4 because he is travelling a long distance and what his plans are. And the
5 fact is he is very shortly, today, in a matter of hours embarking on a
6 plane for a ten-hour journey trip here. He's been planning for this trip
7 for an extremely long time, so is the United States government, and
8 particularly this witness. And the fact is, we want to keep good
9 relations with that witness. We want to good relations with the United
10 States government as well, and we really anticipate that if this poor man
11 has to cancel all his plans at the last minute and stay in the United
12 States and, you know, he has all sorts of other commitments, that we will
13 lose a huge amount of goodwill.
14 Secondly, as I mentioned before, Your Honour, the second witness
15 we planned next week we do indeed have a sequence planned. There is a way
16 his testimony fits in to the prior witness's testimony. We can't
17 reschedule him because he's going to Malaysia. So it would disrupt
18 everything. So in light of that, I wish to withdraw my application for
19 certification and so, as a consequence of that, and I'm not saying we --
20 we're in any way happy with it or we agree with it, but the consequence is
21 that -- that the Prosecution may go ahead and interview Lieutenant Dudley
22 but without, as Your Honour has said, interfering with our schedule, our
23 proofing schedule, and that schedule is a matter of public knowledge,
24 practically. We filed it with the Victims and Witnesses section days ago
25 and with the US government. And so it's clearly set on record. We're not
1 coming up with a new proofing schedule now. It comprises Friday
2 afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday. And, as Your Honour said, if the
3 Prosecution has any difficulty in having an interview with Lieutenant
4 Dudley outside that schedule, that's a matter for them. They should have
5 dealt with this months ago, and nonetheless they would have an opportunity
6 on Friday morning to interview him, provided also that we do have
7 immediate disclosure of the list of topics so that we can recognise with
8 the United States government, get permission to re-examine on those
9 topics. And I'm sure if the United States government's permission is
10 needed to disclose that list, I'm sure it will be forth coming.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Wubben, is there feedback from you or not?
12 MR. WUBBEN: Yes. So, Your Honours, I take it that the witness
13 will take the plane to Europe, as scheduled, tomorrow. We should be able
14 and to try to organise the interview by Friday. As the court session will
15 end at by a quarter to 2.00, I guess that is partly the beginning of the
16 afternoon. We will seek for the opportunity to try to schedule it until
17 the end of the proceeding on Friday.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: That is -- I don't think we are on the same
19 wavelength. I think he is leaving today and arriving tomorrow and there
20 is this six-hour -- we are depending on where he is coming from.
21 MR. JONES: He's travelling today --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Whether it is eastern --
23 MR. JONES: Yes, travelling today, arriving tomorrow. And our
24 proofing schedule, I thought I was very clear, is Friday afternoon, we
25 start interviewing him Friday afternoon. So it would be a question of
1 someone from the Prosecution team and there are five prosecuting attorneys
2 interviewing him in the morning, Friday morning. That's the only way it
3 can avoid interfering with our schedule, our proofing schedule.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: As far as we are concerned our requirement is just
5 one, Mr. Wubben. How you schedule and when you schedule this with the US
6 embassy here is none of our concern, except insofar as we required already
7 both of you to ensure that the scheduling of your interview would not
8 interfere with the scheduled proofing by the Defence, which now we know
9 has been fixed for Friday afternoon. So what you need to do is make sure
10 whoever will be dealing with that witness from the Prosecution side, I
11 don't know who that is, will be available for interviewing him before the
12 proofing by the Defence starts. So you have to arrange that with the US
13 government -- with the US embassy here.
14 MR. WUBBEN: So indirect -- my question was -- because I already
15 told the Trial Chamber that we will aim for Friday morning interview --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I hope so.
17 MR. WUBBEN: Indirectly --
18 JUDGE AGIUS: If it is possible tomorrow afternoon, but I don't
20 MR. WUBBEN: We have to organise that. Okay. Thank you,
21 Your Honour. But I also touched the fact that the morning session ends at
22 a quarter to 2.00, so that's partly the beginning of the morning, and I
23 wonder. So let me be very specific. If the Defence already start prior
24 to a quarter to 2.00, meaning prior to the end of the proceeding.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. I see your point.
1 What time are you starting? Do you know?
2 MR. JONES: I was trying to find my email to the US government and
3 to the VWS. Will you give me a moment, Your Honour?
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Of course.
5 Usher, please get the witness ready. Oh, he is out. I don't
6 think he is very happy with us, this witness having to wait sometimes
7 three-quarters of an hour, sometimes ...
8 MR. JONES: 2.00 till 4.00 on Friday. My apologies, 2.00 till
9 6.00 on Friday is what we've told the Victims and Witnesses Unit.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: We're talking of a quarter of an hour, so basically.
11 MR. WUBBEN: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm sure you will cooperate amongst -- between
13 yourselves on this.
14 MR. WUBBEN: We will.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you so much, both of you. Let's move
17 [The witness entered court]
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Thank you.
19 Madam Vidovic.
20 WITNESS: SUAD SMAJLOVIC [Resumed]
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 Examined by Ms. Vidovic: [Continued]
23 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I will try to put questions as
24 directly as possible as to gain time.
25 Q. Witness --
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yet I will try not to lead.
2 Q. Witness, did your group and yourself participate in the fighting
3 around Bjelovac around the 14th of December, 1992, until the 22nd of
4 December, 1992?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Were you present at any meeting when the Bjelovac action was
8 A. No.
9 Q. Did you receive an order by anyone to enter into combat?
10 A. No.
11 Q. You were the leader of a group, were you not?
12 A. Yes, I was.
13 Q. How come you went to the wider area of Bjelovac?
14 A. As I said a minute ago, the refugees from Voljavica and that area,
15 not all of them could be accommodated in houses, but rather they went --
16 they were outside in large groups. One such group of about 60 was in a
17 house of mine, and on several occasions they went out to look for food.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the transcript does not
19 reflect what the witness said. Now it seems clear --
20 Q. You said "60" refugees in your own house? You may continue.
21 A. Yes. Those witnesses [as interpreted] went out looking for food
22 into that area of Bjelovac, Biljaca, and Voljavica. On one such occasion
23 they told me that the situation there is very serious, unbearable.
24 Q. Witness, you said those refugees went looking for food?
25 A. Yes, the refugees went looking for food.
1 Q. Not witnesses went looking for food?
2 A. No.
3 Q. You said that the refugees said that the situation was very grave?
5 JUDGE AGIUS: [Previous translation continues] ... Let him go ahead
6 with the question and we'll correct it. It's an evident mistake. It
7 shouldn't be "witnesses went looking for food." Sometimes they do but ...
8 Please, Madam, please go ahead.
9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. You said that you received a message from someone that the
11 situation there was very serious. Could you tell us who gave you that
13 A. Yes. Midhat Salihovic told me that. His group was in that area.
14 Q. Where was his group?
15 A. His group was in the area of Luljaska [phoen], just above
16 Voljavica and Biljaca and he originated from there.
17 Q. Is that the area of the Srebrenica or Bratunac municipality?
18 A. It is the area of the Bratunac municipality.
19 Q. Was Midhat Salihovic a superior group leader to you in any regard?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Did you personally receive any task to go there and fight around
23 A. No.
24 Q. Whose decision was it then?
25 A. It was my personal decision.
1 Q. What did you want to achieve?
2 A. I wanted to help those people. They were starved, and I wanted to
3 change the situation. They were still out in the forest in large groups,
4 and the only thing they wanted was to go home.
5 Q. Were those people trying to find some food?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did you know a group leader by the name of Hajro or a fighter
8 called Hajro, pertaining your visit to Bjelovac?
9 A. No, I knew of no such a leader, of no one by the name of "Hajro."
10 Q. You mean there was no such a person, at least not a prominent
11 person in the area?
12 A. No.
13 Q. The people who went with you, did they do this voluntarily or did
14 you order it to them as a group leader?
15 A. No. They went voluntarily.
16 Q. Could you point out the area of Biljaca and Luljaska for the
18 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated]
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: We need to see exactly where he -- okay. All right.
22 Thank you.
23 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. You said that Midhat Salihovic asked for your assistance. When
25 did you set out precisely, if you can recall?
1 A. On the 14th of December, 1992.
2 Q. Did anyone lead you to that area?
3 A. Yes. We were led by a guy who was in my group as a refugee from
4 the area.
5 Q. Could you point it out on the map for the Chamber as to which
6 route you took to the area where you met with Midhat Salihovic?
7 A. Yes, I can.
8 Q. Could you tell us how you moved about, by foot, in some vehicles,
9 or did you use horses, and which localities did you go through?
10 A. I moved on foot through the forest across Vitovci [phoen], Azici,
11 in between Tri Kralja and Sase, towards Luljaska.
12 Q. And this is the red you marked on the map?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. First and foremost I wanted to ask you the following: How many
15 people did you set out with? How many were in your group?
16 A. There were around 20 people in my group, and the remainder of the
17 people were left behind to stay on the lines.
18 Q. With the exception of those 20, did you take any civilians with
20 A. No.
21 Q. Did you notify any civilians as to the fact that you were to go to
22 the area of Bjelovac?
23 A. No.
24 Q. No matter where you went, was it your custom to notify civilians?
25 A. No. We wanted to do it as secretly as possible so that our route
1 wouldn't be discovered.
2 Q. So that we wouldn't be discovered. Why is it? Why didn't you
3 want the civilians to come along?
4 A. For various reasons. The larger the group, the more noticeable it
5 is and moving about that territory a larger group would be easily detected
6 from the Serb positions, thus initiating shelling right away, the
7 consequence of which would be a great number of casualties among the
8 civilians as well as the fighters who were on the move.
9 Q. Thank you. On that day, the 14th of December, 1992, on your way
10 between Tri Kralja and Azici, did you come across a large group of
12 A. Yes. At a certain moment when I turned around I saw a mass of
13 people following us.
14 Q. What did you call them?
15 A. We called them "torbari," sort of carpet-baggers. It was a
16 special term we used. Those people would follow an armed group as soon as
17 they would notice it.
18 Q. What did you try to do on that occasion?
19 A. Together with five or six other men, I tried to ask them not to
20 follow, but as it was in vain I started shouting and a small group obeyed
21 but the rest remained in the forest or they left the road and later
22 started following us again.
23 Q. What did you do consequently?
24 A. I followed along that route between Tri Kralja and Sase towards
1 Q. I wanted to ask you this: What were you armed with?
2 A. We had a few semi-automatic rifles as well as automatic rifles, a
3 few hunting rifles, shotguns, a couple of makeshift guns, and two Zoljas
4 captured in previous combat.
5 Q. The semi-automatic and automatic rifles, how did you come to
6 possess that?
7 A. Most of it was seized by -- from the Serb forces.
8 Q. Did you wear any uniforms?
9 A. No. We wore civilian clothing.
10 Q. Generally speaking, did any in your group have uniforms?
11 A. No, we never had any.
12 Q. When you set out, did you wear bands around your upper arm or
13 around your head?
14 A. No, my group never wore ribbons.
15 Q. Could you explain for the Chamber why is it that your group never
16 wore ribbons?
17 A. Because the torbari assumed that they would notice somebody
18 carrying a ribbon or a band, they would put it on as well and they would
19 follow the fighters.
20 Q. Why were they doing that?
21 A. So as to move about more easily, because otherwise we would forbid
22 them to accompany us.
23 Q. Did the group of Midhat Salihovic wear uniforms?
24 A. No, they were wearing civilian clothing as well.
25 Q. When you reached the area of Kunjerac -- or rather, did you at a
1 certain point reach the area of Kunjerac?
2 A. Yes. I met with Midhat Salihovic and his group, and we came to
3 the area of Kunjerac.
4 Q. When you came there, what did you see in terms of weaponry,
5 equipment, if anything?
6 A. At the very beginning of the approach to the area of Kunjerac, we
7 realised that the entire area was mined. In between the houses and next
8 to the houses themselves, there were mortars of large calibre, that is
9 120-millimetre, as well as a POT [as interpreted] or an anti-aircraft gun
10 of 20-millimetre -- rather, 20/2.
11 Q. Could you tell the Chamber where those pieces were located in
13 A. Next to the houses themselves in Kunjerac.
14 Q. How do you know that?
15 A. When a mortar would discharge, one could see a flash from the
16 houses or, rather, next to the houses. And when they would open fire from
17 the anti-aircraft gun, every 10th or 12th bullet was a tracer bullet to
18 locate the target more easily.
19 Q. Hence you were able to observe that?
20 A. Yes. We observed that when they opened fire on the forest where
21 refugees were.
22 Q. When it comes to the houses in Kunjerac, did you see anything
24 A. Most of the openings on the houses were actually turned into
25 machine-gun nests. They used sandbags and other sort of material.
1 Q. How long were you at Kunjerac?
2 A. Fighting around Kunjerac lasted for two days.
3 Q. And you were there throughout the two days?
4 A. Yes, both days.
5 Q. During the two days, were there any sorties by planes?
6 A. Yes, there were two planes and they came on several occasions.
7 Q. Can you remember what the planes were doing? Were they dropping
8 bombs or were they just flying about?
9 A. One of the planes threw bombs on parts of Poljic and Poloznik and
10 the other one was dropping ammunition on Kunjerac.
11 Q. Did you observe whether the plane targeted other areas except for
12 Pirici, that's to say Loznicka Rijeka or other areas?
13 A. Yes, in the general area of Loznicka Rijeka, Pirici, it was active
14 in these areas.
15 Q. You said something that wasn't entered into the transcript. Did
16 you say that a plane was dropping ammunition?
17 A. Yes. There was a plane which dropped on several occasions several
18 crates of ammunition above Kunjerac.
19 Q. These ammunition drops, were they helpful to you in any way?
20 A. Yes. Since the houses in Kunjerac are placed on a -- quite a
21 steep slope, as the ammunition crates were dropped they landed on the
22 slope, rolling down towards us, which helped us in the course of combat.
23 Had it not been for the ammunition, we would not have been able to seize
25 Q. Lastly, can you tell the Trial Chamber how it was that you
1 succeeded in taking Kunjerac and at what -- at which point did this take
3 A. We succeeded in doing so when we torched two houses with a Zolja.
4 It was at that point that the Serbs withdrew in the direction of Sase.
5 Q. Why did you set these two houses on fire with Zoljas? Can you
6 tell the Trial Chamber.
7 A. Yes. It was from those houses that the fiercest resistance was
8 coming from. There was an anti-aircraft gun placed in one of the houses
9 which was constantly firing upon us.
10 Q. Were these the same houses that you said had machine-gun
11 emplacements in them?
12 A. Yes. Those were the houses that were well-fortified with sandbags
13 and where machine-gun nests were placed.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Again, no interruption. Perhaps I missed
17 something, but I can't see Kunjerac on this -- on D964 and I wonder if it
18 might -- I don't know if it's indicated, first of all, and if isn't, the
19 witness may be able to tell us where it is. It makes it a little easier
20 to follow this evidence.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I thank you, Mr. Di Fazio.
22 Perhaps the witness can deal with that easily I suppose?
23 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes. I was just about to ask the
24 witness to do that.
25 Q. Could you please tell the Trial Chamber what Kunjerac is and then
1 point it to us on the map if it's there; if not, just show its location.
2 A. Kunjerac is a hill above Bjelovac.
3 Q. Can you please point it on the map for the Trial Chamber?
4 A. [Marks]
5 Q. Thank you.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: For the record -- one moment, let me register that.
7 For the record, the witness indicates with a line to the right of Biljaca
8 the area which he claims to be Kunjerac.
9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Witness, can you please mark it with a "K," but before you do that
11 could I ask you the following: The Kunjerac hill, in your opinion, how
12 far apart is it from the centre of Bjelovac?
13 A. Do you mean as the crow flies or --
14 Q. As the crow flies, please.
15 A. Some 500 to 700 metres.
16 Q. Thank you. Is Kunjerac in fact part of Bjelovac, the locality of
18 A. Yes, it's right above Bjelovac.
19 Q. Is there any important facility at Kunjerac as far as you know?
20 A. There was a water reservoir there.
21 Q. Thank you. What you were able to observe at Kunjerac during the
22 fighting, could you observe who you were fighting against? Were those
23 village guards?
24 A. As we climbed up to Kunjerac, we found 72-, 120-, and
25 62-millimetre mortars there. I already indicated there was a
1 anti-aircraft gun, there were two machine-guns, several other
2 machine-guns, and a large quantity of side arms. There were anti-armoured
3 weapons, OSA, and the hand-held rocket launcher, 50-calibre.
4 Q. Were you fighting units there or were you fighting villagers who
5 were not in uniforms?
6 A. At Kunjerac we fought against several units.
7 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber which units these were?
8 A. As we were taking Kunjerac, we collected weapons and ammunition
9 from soldiers who perished. We also took their clothes and footwear. And
10 based on their IDs and the patches they wore on their sleeves, we were
11 able to conclude that several units had taken part in the clashes. One of
12 them was the Krajina Battalion, another was the Bratunac Brigade, Mungos's
13 unit, Kokara's unit, and the Red Berets, volunteers from
15 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could it have the usher's assistance
16 in showing the witness a new Defence exhibit. This is the list of
17 soldiers of the military post 2465/5 who were paid their travel allowance
18 and salaries for October 1992. The document bears the number 01319806.
19 Q. And, Witness, please could you turn to the last page of this
20 document where the following title is contained: Special-purpose unit
22 Please take a look at the list there and look at the person under
23 375, Milenko Prodanovic, did you know this person from before the war?
24 A. Yes, I did. He was a bus conductor for the Vihor company in
25 Bratunac, where in mid-1990, he, as a volunteer with another group of
1 Serbs from Bratunac, went to the front line in Croatia. From
2 conversations I had in the field as a police officer, I found out that he
3 had committed grave crimes against the Catholics over there. In May 1992
4 when the villages of Voljavica, Zaluzje, and others were -- the Muslim
5 villages were cleansed, he was there with his group and other local Serbs.
6 The people from the area were able to recognise him, and they afterwards
7 fled to Srebrenica and were at my place.
8 Q. Did he have a nickname of a sorts?
9 A. Yes, Mungos.
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could this document be
11 assigned a Defence exhibit number, please?
12 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated]
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for His Honour, please.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour, please.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. So this document which consists of three
16 pages in B/C/S and three pages in English with the following ERN numbers:
17 0 -- the first page is handwritten and it has the following ERN:
18 01319805. The second and the third are typed or printed pages, and they
19 have respectively the following ERNs: 01319806 and 01319816. The three
20 pages in English are corresponding translation of the B/C/S, and they show
21 the same ERN numbers. This document is being tendered and marked as
22 Defence Exhibit D973.
23 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. In the clashes that took place for Kunjerac, did there come a time
25 that you learnt about Mungos's presence there?
1 A. Yes. It was on the second day of fighting that the Serbs who were
2 at Kunjerac called Mungos by his name. And they said, "Mungos come out of
3 the forest. Kokara, why don't you approach them from the left flank."
4 They threatened that Mungos and Kokara would kill us all.
5 Q. Thank you. You were able to discern that from what individual
6 Serbs were yelling amongst each other?
7 A. Yes, because we were very close to their lines.
8 Q. Thank you?
9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I wish to also draw
10 upon Defence Exhibit D271, which is a video, which is the Serb radio
11 communication where the names of Kokara and Mungos are mentioned. We
12 already had occasion to listen to that. I don't wish to re-introduce it
13 here, I just wish to invoke it here again, together with a transcript.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, yes. Okay. Thank you. I don't think there is
15 a need to put it to the witness because he can listen or hear what we can.
16 Let's move ahead. Thank you.
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
18 Q. You've also indicated that you saw the patches that the Serb
19 soldiers wore on their sleeves. You mentioned a volunteers' unit from
20 Serbia. Which unit was that?
21 A. The Red Berets.
22 Q. Likewise, you mentioned people from a different part of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina. Is that right?
24 A. Yes, from Krajina, the Krajina Battalion.
25 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
1 D257 now. This is a record sheet for a dead fighter dated 29 September
2 1993. I will quote -- according to this record sheet, does the name of
3 the following persons: "Zeljko Knezevic, son of Vojislav, date and place
4 of birth, 30 December 1966. Pecenog Ilova, date and place of death, 16
5 December 1992, Kunjerac. How the death occurred, in combat. Unit:
6 Krajina Battalion."
7 Q. Does this document reflect accurately the situation in terms of
8 the participation of the Krajina Battalion in the fighting at Kunjerac on
9 the 16th December?
10 A. Yes.
11 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
12 Prosecution Exhibit P589. This is an article published in the Dnevni
13 telegraph on the 16th of December 1997. Bearing the number 0296320
14 entitled: "Top was not in the Red Berets."
15 Q. Do you agree with me that you've read the article?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. I will quote just a small part which is the -- Dejan Jevtic's
18 statement. He was commander of special units at the Eastern Bosnian
20 He says: "I personally commanded the actions around Visegrad,
21 Srebrenica, Bratunac, Gorazde, Cajnice, and Foca."
22 My question to you is as follows: To your knowledge is it true
23 that the Red Berets operated in the area of Srebrenica and Bratunac in the
24 course of 1992, including the fighting in the general area of Bjelovac
25 that you've just described?
1 A. Yes.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] We don't need the document anymore.
3 Thank you. I want to turn to a different topic now.
4 Q. You said that during the fighting there you were on the Kunjerac
5 hill, and I understood you to mean that the battle lasted two days. From
6 that vantage point were you able to see what was happening in Bjelovac?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Which area could be seen from your vantage point?
9 A. The area from Bjelovac to Loznicka Rijeka, but that means only a
10 part of Bjelovac.
11 Q. Were you able to observe Serb positions -- first of all, were
12 there any Serb positions in the area?
13 A. Yes, I was able to observe artillery positions.
14 Q. And how were you able to see the positions?
15 A. I had two hunting binoculars in my group, and we used them to
16 observe the area.
17 Q. You mentioned artillery pieces. Do you know which artillery
18 pieces were involved?
19 A. Yes. Yes, these were 105- and 155-millimetre Howitzers.
20 Q. Can you tell the Chamber where they were positioned?
21 A. The artillery positions were located in the valley below Bjelovac
22 toward the Drina River.
23 Q. Were you or were you not able to see any armoured vehicles?
24 A. Yes. There was a tank there which was dug-in with the tube or
25 barrel facing the villages of Pirici, Jovanovici. The tank was active on
1 several occasions.
2 Q. Were you able to see any APCs?
3 A. Yes, two APCs which went along the route Bjelovac to Loznicka
4 Rijeka. They moved to and fro, opening fire in the meantime.
5 Q. Thank you very much. I would like you to take a look at a Defence
6 exhibit now. This is a document by the Bratunac Brigade dated 29 July
7 1994, bearing the following number: 04364833. The title
8 being: "Information regarding tanks and armoured personnel carriers to be
9 delivered to the Drina Corps command."
10 Witness, do you have the document before you?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Do you see item 1 and the fact that it contains the tanks and APCs
13 that the Serb army had at the beginning of the war?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In item 2 it is stated as follows: "Since the start of the war
16 the following have been destroyed in combat: T-55 tank, one (Bjelovac);
17 armoured APCs, M-60, two (Zaluzje)."
18 Are you aware of the presence of these tanks and do you know how
19 they came to be destroyed?
20 A. A while ago I said that as I was visiting in the hospital --
21 Q. Witness, please, I would like you to be fully understood by the
22 Trial Chamber. It was in the final stages of the battle that you were
23 wounded, is it not?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. I just want to make sure that the Chamber can follow. When did
1 you learn about the existence of these tanks, about this fact?
2 A. I was in the hospital when I found this out from members of Zaka's
3 group who were from the area of Voljavica, and they came to visit me
4 there. They told me that as they were entering Bjelovac they came across
5 destroyed -- a destroyed tank and destroyed APCs which the Serbs had
6 destroyed as they had been withdrawing. They also told me that as they
7 entered Sase they came across a T-34 tank, which was disabled because the
8 primer was taken from the tank, disabling it.
9 Q. You mentioned Alic's group. Was it the group from Srebrenica or
10 from the area of Bratunac?
11 A. No, from the municipality of Bratunac, from Voljavica.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could this document be
14 assigned a number?
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Vidovic. This document, which consists of
16 two pages, one being a translation in English of the other, which is in
17 B/C/S, and has -- bears ERN number 04364833 is being tendered and marked
18 as Defence Exhibit D974.
19 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. The fighting you described, which took place between the 14th and
21 the 16th of December 1992, based on what you saw, did the fighting take
22 place in the centre of Bjelovac or elsewhere?
23 A. The fiercest battles took place at the entrance to Loznicka Rijeka
24 because it was there that the Serb army had its strongholds.
25 Q. Can you tell us where the Serb strongholds were located?
1 A. They were located in between and next to the houses in Loznicka
3 Q. When you say "strongholds," what do you mean by that?
4 A. Very strong military positions.
5 Q. Can you describe that for the Trial Chamber?
6 A. Yes, I can. These are positions which are well-equipped with
7 units, weaponry, and pieces, artillery pieces.
8 Q. You told us that these strongholds were in front of the houses
9 there and in between the houses. How were you able to know this?
10 A. I know this because I was told that by the people who came to
11 visit me in the hospital.
12 Q. Very well. You mentioned planes, saying that they flew over the
13 entire area. Were you under the impression or were you able to conclude
14 that they had specific targets which they were aiming after or were they
15 targeting undiscriminately?
16 A. They were targeting Loznicka Rijeka because they believed that
17 that was where our fighters were located and the general area of Loznicka
18 Rijeka toward Jovanovici. The bombardments resulted in the deaths of many
19 of our fighters and in the deaths of many Serb civilians who were in the
21 Q. Did I understand you correctly that it was through their fault?
22 A. Yes. It was through their own fault that they targeted those
23 people, just as they had erroneously dropped ammunition in our hands.
24 Q. In these fightings around Kunjerac and in the area of Bjelovac,
25 did -- were you able to see Naser Oric at any point?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Of these groups, who was with you at Kunjerac?
3 A. Midhat Salihovic.
4 Q. At some point you told us that you were wounded in the fighting at
5 Kunjerac. Can you briefly describe for the Trial Chamber the
6 circumstances under which you were wounded?
7 A. Yes. This took place on the 16th when the fighting was drawing to
8 a close, we noticed that there was a machine-gun emplacement in a barn.
9 As the fighting subsided, a large group of people ran out of the woods
10 there in the direction of the barn because they believed that there was
11 food there. I was only able to run out of my shelter to push the people
12 back from where they were going, and it was at that point that I felt this
13 blow on my head. I dropped down on the ground, and when I came to I
14 noticed that there were dozens of dead people lying around me. The person
15 manning the machine-gun managed to wound me and kill those other people.
16 Q. So you were basically wounded in an attempt to push the Muslim
17 civilians away from the area?
18 A. Yes. There were Muslim civilians there who came there with the
19 intention of finding food.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours again -- not an objection, but I
22 don't -- I think a clarification. A question was asked -- well, several
23 questions - about who was present with this witness in -- at Kunjerac.
24 And Madam Vidovic asked whether Mr. Oric was visible. The witness
25 said "no." Then she asked: "Of these groups," of these groups,
1 plural, "who was with you at Kunjerac?"
2 Perhaps I misunderstood the earlier evidence, but I don't recall
3 there being any evidence of other groups in the area than what this
4 witness has spoken. Of course, as you know, from the Prosecution's point
5 of view it's important to know which groups. And is the witness confining
6 himself purely and simply to the hill of Kunjerac, or were there other
7 groups in the wider area around Bjelovac? And that's left unclear, in my
8 submission, unless I missed something from earlier.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we can refer it straight to the witness.
10 Did -- Mr. Smajlovic, have you been able to follow what Mr. Di
11 Fazio has pointed out?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Can you clarify matters further? Can you give a
14 better, perhaps, description of what you have already stated, which would
15 explain to Mr. Di Fazio what is doubtful in his mind or is not clear in
16 his mind?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. At Kunjerac there was only
18 Midhat Salihovic's group as well as mine, but in the greater area, as I've
19 mentioned before, there were Zaka's men. His group was in Voljavica, and
20 they came to see me in the hospital. That is the greater area of that
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I think it's clear. I mean, that's how I understood
23 it in the first place, but anyway let's move forward, please, thank you.
24 You're satisfied, I take it, Mr. Di Fazio?
25 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, and if I missed it, I apologise.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, it happens. Everyone gets tired after a
2 certain -- I am feeling tired, myself, today.
3 Ms. Vidovic.
4 MR. JONES: Your Honour, sorry, just one matter which has come up
5 in the meantime concerning this witness who is to be here next week. As I
6 understand it the government in question was cancelling his travel. The
7 Victims and Witnesses Unit is trying to re-instate it. I think probably
8 we need an indication that he should travel, and I need to say that the US
9 government isn't -- has expressed its dissatisfaction or its unhappiness
10 with us, unfortunately, but we're endeavouring to explain the situation.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: It never rains but pours.
12 MR. JONES: Yes, then perhaps I should excuse myself from court
13 for ten minutes and perhaps I can --.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I -- certainly you have our permission for
16 MR. JONES: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: But I think you can convey to the US government our
18 conviction that you can be blamed for nothing.
19 MR. JONES: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Except maybe for raising the issue, but -- which you
21 had a right to do. But otherwise ...
22 MR. JONES: Yes, I'm obliged, Your Honour. Thank you.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, thank you.
24 Yes, let's move forward, please, Madam Vidovic.
25 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
1 Q. Witness, you said a minute ago that you were wounded and that you
2 were hospitalised and you were wounded as the fighting in Kunjerac was
3 subsiding. Isn't that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. I wanted to ask you the following: Did you discuss it with anyone
6 as to what was happening in Sase?
7 A. Yes. I spoke about it with Resid. I can't recall his last name,
8 but he is from the village of Dimnici just above Sase.
9 Q. For time constraints, could you please briefly tell us what he
10 told you. I know he must have said a greater deal -- a great deal about
11 the events, but could you tell us how he was wounded and something he said
12 about the civilians.
13 A. Since he was familiar with the terrain, he said that once he came
14 down to Sase he realised that there was a pharmacy with some medication
15 and medical equipment. He encircled the building with his group. He
16 wanted to protect the stock found there, so as to transfer it later to
17 Srebrenica. At the moment when they are carrying this out, a lot of
18 people, thinking that there was food in the building, simply stampeded
19 over him and his fighters. Although he fired warning shots, trying to
20 tell them that there was no food there, he was unable to do anything.
21 Lots of those civilians, baggers, entered, and they took away the
22 medication and medical equipment. In the event he broke his arm -- or
23 rather, the people who were pushing their way into the building broke his
24 arm, and he was in the hospital the same time I was.
25 Q. Thank you. Were you quite familiar with the area of Pirici,
1 Poloznik, and Zalazje?
2 A. Yes. As a policeman I patrolled the area.
3 Q. On the 18th of December, 1992, was it possible for a Mercedes
4 vehicle to drive from Poloznik to Bjelovac and then through Prisoje,
5 Biljec [phoen], Zalazje, finally reaching Srebrenica?
6 A. No, it is ridiculous. From Poloznik to Bjelovac there never was a
7 road. There was just a mountain path, and the farmers, the people used
8 ox-carts to bring in food. There was a bridge above Sase toward Zalazje,
9 but that one was destroyed by the Serbs.
10 Q. Just a moment. Could you tell the Chamber when the Serbs
11 destroyed the bridge?
12 A. After the 12th of July, 1992.
13 Q. All right. You wanted to expand?
14 A. Yes. There was a road above the settlement of Vidikovac at the
15 entrance of Srebrenica, but it was mined. So the Serbs themselves were
16 also unable to use it in 1995, but rather they used a tunnel from Sase to
17 reach Srebrenica.
18 Q. Is it correct that in that area between the 14th and the 22nd of
19 December, 1992, there was intensive fighting, including Sase, Kostanovice,
20 and Andrici?
21 A. Yes. During those days the fighting was fiercest. Lots of
22 wounded people were brought into the hospital in that period and in that
24 Q. If one was to claim that he or she used a Mercedes vehicle moving
25 through Poloznik, Bjelovac, Prisoje, Zalazje, would that be correct due to
1 the combat activities?
2 A. No. Because of the fighting as well as the fact that whatever
3 vehicle appeared on the road, Bjelovac, Prisoje, and Bjelaca [phoen], was
4 targeted from Serbia, from the Njemic feature. They could -- they used a
5 single grenade to kill a single civilian.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction. They used shells to
7 kill single civilians and they wouldn't waste time in destroying a
9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Did the Serbs in January --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters correction.
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Did the Muslims in January 1993 have certain successful operations
14 in the area of Podrinje?
15 A. Everything I said in the area of Kunjerac, Sase, Bjelovac, and
16 Glogova, as well as Kravica, they were successful there.
17 Q. I won't go into details about such events because some other
18 witnesses testified about that, but to ask you briefly. When it comes to
19 the 7th of January, 1993, is it correct that you were on your way to that
20 place and that you came to a certain point?
21 A. Yes. Ejub Golic asked for assistance; he sent a message to us.
22 Since I was seriously wounded and my wound was swollen, I managed to reach
23 Avdagina Njive. But I was weak, unable to move forward, and I was
24 returned by my fighters.
25 Q. Therefore you didn't participate in what ensued?
1 A. No.
2 Q. I will now move to the so-called Serb winter offensive. Did you
3 ever hear of the Serb winter offensive?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Is it correct that it was launched by mid-January 1993 in your
6 area? What do you know about that?
7 A. The refugees in the larger groups of -- in the area of Tokoljak
8 and close to the Drina saw that strong enemy forces, including armoured
9 and infantry units, crossed the Skelani bridge and via the hydro-electric
10 plant at Piracac [phoen]. Among the units there were well-equipped
11 special units as well as members of the civilian police. Those units came
12 from the Uzice and Valjevo Corps.
13 Q. Could you please take a look at another Defence document?
14 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask the usher to give
15 another document bearing the number 04275574 to the witness. I will quote
16 the relevant portion, that is item 2 of the document and item 3. The
17 document is dated the 26th of January, 1993, addressed -- or rather, sent
18 by the Uzice Corps command to the headquarters of the Army of Republika
19 Srpska, the Drina Corps command.
20 Item 2: "We shall keep a part of the forces of the previous
21 artillery support at the right bank of the Drina River and we will support
22 your forces from there, as planned and requested."
23 Item 3: "The Uzice Corps will continue with the activities aimed
24 at occupation of the most favourable facilities and positions."
25 The document bears the name of Commander Major General Dragoljub
2 Witness, would you agree with me that this document confirms the
3 information you said you received from the Muslim population of the
4 villages in the area.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. This document mentions that a part of the forces of the previous
7 artillery support will stay at the right bank of the Drina River as
8 support to your forces, as planned and requested. As far as you know, is
9 it correct that as of the beginning of May 1992 until Srebrenica fell, the
10 local Serb forces of Podrinje enjoyed artillery support from the right
11 bank of the Drina River, that is from Serbia?
12 A. Yes, and I cited an example concerning Bjelovac.
13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could we assign an
14 exhibit number to the documents please?
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, this document, Ms. Vidovic, which consists of
16 two pages with ERN 04273574 one in B/C/S, one in English, is being
17 tendered and marked as Defence Exhibit D975.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. You said that during December 1992 you were wounded to your head,
20 and I presume that for a certain time you did not participate in any
21 fighting. When did you start participating in combat again and why?
22 A. In the second half of January, that is the 20th of January, to be
23 more precise, because fierce attacks ensued against the entire area of
25 Q. During those attacks that you mentioned, and during the attacks
1 you said that came from the Army of Yugoslavia forces as well as the local
2 population, were all the places with local Muslim population attacked?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. The places that were attacked, did that group include the places
5 which the Muslims occupied during the brief successful interval in January
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did that include Bjelovac, Kravica, and its hamlets?
9 A. Yes.
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask the usher to show
11 two documents to the witness together, one being a Light Bratunac Brigade
12 document number 04359235 dated the 4th of February, 1993, and a Light
13 Infantry Brigade document number 04359220 dated the 7th of February, 1993,
14 both addressed to the special brigade command.
15 Q. Please take first the document bearing number 04359235 dated the
16 4th of February, 1993. I quote: "With its main forces the special
17 brigade shall extend the attack towards Kunjerac, while with its auxiliary
18 forces it shall coordinate with the 1st Infantry Battalion in carrying out
19 the mission."
20 Please look at the second document now bearing the number
22 And I quote: "On the 8th of February, 1993, the special brigade
23 with part of the forces of the 2nd Infantry Battalion shall have the task
24 of taking and seizing defensive position on Kunjerac. It shall be
25 supported by the brigade artillery group at the request of the commander
1 of the special brigade."
2 My question, hence, is the following: Is it correct that in -- at
3 that time, on the 4th and the 7th of January [as interpreted], the Muslims
4 were in the area of Bjelovac, Kunjerac, and Sase, that is Muslim
5 civilians, to be more precise?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Is it correct that that area was under artillery attacks by the
8 Serb forces, as stipulated in the documents?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. During those attacks was there any damage on various buildings,
11 houses, and all other facilities to be found in the area specified by the
12 documents, as a result of the artillery attacks also mentioned in the
14 A. Yes. They would raze everything to the ground, even if they would
15 encounter even the slightest of resistance. They fired indiscriminately.
16 They used tanks, guns, Howitzers, irrespective of whose house it was.
17 Q. Did they use the artillery to set houses on fire?
18 A. Yes. Using shells and incendiary ammunition, they would set
19 houses on fire, independently of the fact to whom a given house belonged
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could we assign two
22 exhibits to these documents?
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. So the first one will be the document which
24 bears ERN 04359235 consisting in one page in B/C/S and then an additional
25 page containing the English translation thereof. This document which is
1 dated 4th February 1993 is being marked as Defence Exhibit D976.
2 Incidentally while -- before I mark the second one in the transcript
3 earlier on instead of "February" we see "January." Perhaps if you find
4 the line -- it's line 17 of previous page, page 63. That should be 7th
5 of -- 4th and 7th of February, not of January.
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: The second document consists of one page with ERN
8 04359220 in the Serbian -- Serbo-Croat language dated 7th February 1993.
9 The other page is the English translation thereof, and this is being
10 tendered and marked as Defence Exhibit D977.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: I think there's a mistake in the English. It
14 says "September," it should be "February."
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I thank you for pointing that out,
16 Mr. Di Fazio. There is definitely a mistake there. It is 7th of February
17 and not 7th of September.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 Could we now --
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Although I find it a little strange that then this
21 document is dated the 7th of February and then it refers to an event which
22 took place on the 8th of February, the day after. But anyway, let's move
23 ahead and leave these to some other point in time.
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is a very
25 pertinent question, and I wish to clarify it. It states here that on the
1 7th of February the special brigade is tasked that during the 8th of
2 February was to seize. That was a task for the next day, the 8th of
3 February. We received these documents quite late from the Drina Corps
4 archives, and I was unable to go through all of the translations, but in
5 the Bosnian version it is quite clear that it contains a task for the next
7 JUDGE AGIUS: For the next day. Okay. Thank you for making that
8 clear, Ms. Vidovic, and we can move forward.
9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask the usher to show
10 two documents together to the witness. These are two new documents.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: We'll have a break at quarter to 6.00, Ms. Vidovic.
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. As soon as
13 I'm finished with these two documents, and I will be brief.
14 Q. Witness, this is a Bratunac Brigade document number 04359222 dated
15 the 7th of February, 1993, and a Bratunac Brigade document number 04359210
16 dated the 13th of February, 1993. The first addressed to the brigade
17 artillery group command.
18 Witness, please take a look at that document first with the number
19 04359222 dated the 7th of February addressed to the brigade artillery
20 group command. It states: "Keep the focus of artillery support on the
21 axis of operation of the Krajina Battalion on the Banjevici
22 village-Kravica axis.
23 "Readiness for action at 0700 hours."
24 Please take a look at the other document now, dated the 13th of
25 February, 1993, addressed to the Krajina Battalion command,
1 specifying: "From the line of advance to the right, Gornja Brana village,
2 trig point 574, to the left Andjici village, attack the enemy along the
3 Gornji Bacici village, Kravica village axis with the task: Shatter and
4 destroy the enemy on Kilavac hill and Sarampov hill on the attack axis and
5 come out on the Krusik village, Donji Bacici village line in coordinated
6 action with 2nd Infantry Battalion."
7 The next sentence: "Support by a brigade artillery group and
8 corps artillery group on request."
9 My question concerning both of these documents is the following:
10 To your knowledge did the Serbs in their attacks to regain the Serb
11 villages in the Kravica area, did they use the corps artillery group as
12 well as the brigade artillery group to attack the villages?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. To your knowledge, did their artillery cause damage on the houses
15 in the villages of Banjevici, Kravica, Gornji and Donji Bacici, Krusik,
16 and so on and so forth?
17 A. Yes. Various types of damage. And as I said, they destroyed
18 everything they could and wherever they encountered any sort of
19 resistance, irrespective of the fact whose the house was.
20 Q. How did you know that? Did you participate in those events?
21 A. No, not in that area, but the people from the groups that were
22 there told me. For example, from Midha's group, a guy called Musa was
23 wounded and transported to Srebrenica. I went to see him since I came to
24 their assistance before, and he told me that it was terrible there and
25 that no one can survive from the amount -- sheer amount of shells.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could we assign exhibit
3 numbers to these documents?
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. So the first one which consists of one page in
5 B/C/S and one page in English, being the translation of the previous,
6 bearing ERN 04359222 is being tendered and marked as Defence Exhibit D978.
7 Incidentally, with regard to this document, I'm just pointing this out to
8 you, Madam Vidovic, maybe you can make -- find out about this. This seems
9 to have -- it's dated the same as -- it has the same date as the previous
10 document D977, and although it is definitely a different document, it
11 bears the same reference number, that is 271/93. The second of these
12 documents which are -- this will be marked as Defence Exhibit D978.
13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes?
14 JUDGE AGIUS: D977 --
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE AGIUS: It seems to have the same reference number as D977.
17 Then we have a second document which is being marked as
18 document -- Defence document D979, it also consists of two pages, the
19 English being the translation of the Serbo-Croat one. It's dated 13th of
20 February, 1993, and it has ERN 04359210.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may offer a
22 clarification. These are the Drina Corps archives documents, and we've
23 encountered lots of cases such as this one. It is in a situation in which
24 the commander, being the same person here, issues several orders under the
25 same number at the same time, and you may encounter this yet. And it
1 doesn't happen only with the Serb armed forces, but in some other
2 documents as well.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I know. This is why I have --
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: This is why I have mentioned it, because in fact we
6 have encountered it in the past.
7 It's two minutes before we are due to break. Should we break now?
8 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes. This would be a good time for
9 a break, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. We'll have a break of 30 minutes,
11 resuming at quarter past 6.00. Thank you.
12 --- Recess taken at 5.44 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 6.17 p.m.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Is everything sorted out, Mr. Jones?
15 MR. JONES: Well, I don't want to jinx things by saying
16 definitely yes. Let's say "inch' Allah" he'll -- he'll be here as
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Because when I didn't see you return by the break, I
19 said, we have problems. All right.
20 Let's continue with this witness, please, Ms. Vidovic. How do you
21 think you're doing?
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, unfortunately we lost
23 quite a lot of time on this particular discussion. I'm not sure we're
24 making a lot of progress, but I'll do my best.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's go. Let's go ahead. Next
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Witness, you told us that you were not in the Kravica area during
4 these subsequent attacks in mid-February 1993. Can you tell us where you
5 were in the second half of January and the first half of February of 1993?
6 A. Yes, I can tell you. I was in the area of Peciste, Djogazi,
7 Likari, and Zanik.
8 Q. Thank you. Did you know Naser Oric's whereabouts at the time?
9 Did you see him?
10 A. Yes. He was in Potocari and along the Budak-Dugo Polje line.
11 Q. Did you see him there often?
12 A. Yes, every day.
13 Q. To your knowledge, did -- was Oric to be found in Srebrenica
14 itself in the first -- in the second half of January and the first half of
15 February of 1993 or was he, in fact, to be found at Potocari and the lines
16 that you mentioned?
17 A. He was in fact in Potocari along the Budak-Dugo Polje line.
18 Q. You were one of the leaders of the groups in Potocari at the time.
19 Were you aware of what was going on in the town of Srebrenica at the time?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Why?
22 A. Because there was -- we were faced with such fierce artillery and
23 infantry attacks that we did not have a moment to spare.
24 Q. Was Naser in the very same situation that you were?
25 A. Yes, at Dugo Polje and Budak.
1 Q. In your opinion was Naser able to follow what was happening in
2 Srebrenica from the lines that he was holding?
3 A. No, he was unable to.
4 Q. Why?
5 A. Because he was exposed to strong artillery attacks from the
6 direction of Bratunac and Sase.
7 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could the witness be
8 given a new document, please. This is a document by the command of the
9 Bratunac Brigade number 04363130 dated 25 February 1993, which is a
10 regular combat report addressed to the command of the Drina Corps. And I
11 will quote item 2 of the document, which says: "Our forces fortified the
12 lines reached and made preparations for the forthcoming operations. Since
13 1015 hours we have been firing our artillery in order to disturb and
14 neutralise the enemy in the following sectors: Kamenica village -
15 southern part, Srebrenica, Joseva, Gradac, Potocari, Pecista, Caus,
16 Halilovici, and Vladusici."
17 Do you remember the events around 25th February 1993.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Why?
20 A. Because this was the time of the fiercest attacks. First there
21 were artillery and air attacks followed by infantry attacks from the
22 direction of Bratunac.
23 Q. Does this document confirm this do you think?
24 A. Yes.
25 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could the document be
1 assigned an exhibit number?
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Vidovic, this document will become D980.
3 It has ERN 04 -- 04363130. Thank you.
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. It true or not that in this period around the 25th of February,
6 1993, many Muslims villages fell?
7 A. Yes, that's true.
8 Q. Please take a look at a different document now, which is a combat
9 report by -- or rather, a regular combat report by the Bratunac Brigade
10 command, bearing the following number: 04363132, dated 26th February 1993
11 addressed to the command of the Drina Corps. I will quote a portion
12 thereof which says: "Our forces."
13 And I will read the sentence starting in third line of item
14 2: "Pirici and Lemesac villages were attacked by a tank each. The
15 brigade artillery group fired at specific targets in Srebrenica, Potocari,
16 Kilavac, Sarampov, Siljkovici, and Halilovici, in order to disturb the
17 enemy and inflict losses on them."
18 A bit below lines are mentioned. And among other things it said
19 "the enemy forces are among the following line: Potocari, Budak,
21 Do you recall where you were on the 26th of February, 1993?
22 A. Yes, I do remember. I was in the area of Djogazi, to be precise
23 in the concrete manufacturing factory which was along the
24 Bratunac-Srebrenica road.
25 Q. What were you doing there? What was your business there?
1 A. I went over there to lend a hand to the fighters in Djogazi who
2 were expecting an imminent infantry attack, as they had just been exposed
3 to a strong artillery attack.
4 Q. Was there a tank active in the area firing upon you?
5 A. Yes, there was.
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could this document be
7 assigned a number, please?
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, this document will become Defence Exhibit D981.
9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Was there anyone else in your close proximity?
11 A. Yes. To my left, across -- from the road in the area of Dugo
12 Polje there was a group from Potocari, and among them was Naser.
13 Q. Why were they there, precisely?
14 A. I just indicated a moment ago they were there because of a very
15 strong artillery attack which always was premonitory of a strong infantry
16 attack and this was at the very entrance to Srebrenica.
17 Q. We are now discussing the 26th of February, 1993. Are you quite
18 certain that Naser Oric was in your immediate vicinity on that day?
19 A. Yes, I'm quite sure. I can confirm this -- not just I but another
20 hundred people who were there close to us.
21 Q. If someone were to claim that on the 26th of February, 1993, Naser
22 Oric was at an exchange involving some Serb prisoners in Vitez in -- close
23 to an area called Jezero, would that be true?
24 A. No, that would not be true for several reasons. The area where we
25 were is 40 kilometres away from the site where the exchange took place.
1 Secondly, the road from Potocari to Srebrenica was already under the
2 control of the Serb forces from Causa and Zvijezda. They held it under
3 very strong artillery fire.
4 Q. Are you in fact aware of this exchange which took place on the
5 26th of February, 1993?
6 A. Yes, I am.
7 Q. How did you come to know this? Can you tell that to the Trial
9 A. After demilitarisation I met with my friend Ramo Hljebara, who
10 told me that in February -- or rather, on this particular date he had
11 driven some Serb prisoners to Vitez.
12 Q. What did he tell you? Who were these people exchanged for?
13 A. These people were exchanged for our dead who were left behind in
14 the villages that fell along the axis.
15 Q. Did he tell you anything of his role in this particular event?
16 A. Yes. He was the driver of a truck -- or, rather, it was a TAM
18 Q. Did he tell you who effected the exchange?
19 A. He told me that he drove Hamdija Fejzic, the president of the
20 Executive Board of the War Presidency; Mirsad Dudic, who was also a member
21 of the Presidency, because his brother stayed behind on the Serb
22 territory; and Edhem, who was a cameraman there for the War Presidency,
23 and I believe he filmed it all.
24 Q. Edhem Vranjkovina therefore is the cameraman?
25 A. Yes, who was attached to the War Presidency.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Perhaps he can tell us where he picked
2 up these gentlemen from and also the persons that were exchanged, where
3 they were coming from.
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Were you able to hear from Ramo Hljebara more of the exchange, who
6 the persons exchanged were, and where the exchange took place?
7 A. No, he did not tell me that. He did not tell me what their names
8 were and how this came about; he just told me that he drove them over to
9 Vitez with the people I mentioned.
10 Q. Can I just ask you this: Is it true that Ramo Hljebara is still
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. If someone were to claim that the vehicle was driven by Zulfo
14 Tursunovic on this particular occasion, would that be true?
15 A. No, this man is half literate; secondly, he never possessed a
16 driver's license or a vehicle -- or drove a vehicle. I remember that
17 seeing him as a child, being at the head of a horse-drawn cart. That's
19 Q. I'll ask you something different now. The pressure put to bear by
20 the Serb forces on Srebrenica and Potocari, did it continue in -- through
21 to March 1993?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. In the course of March 1993, were you yourself in the vicinity of
24 Naser Oric?
25 A. Yes. That was the time when the battles were at their fiercest in
1 the vicinity of --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the name of the
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. We need you to repeat the name of the locality
5 because the interpreters didn't catch it.
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Which place was that?
8 A. The area of Pribicevac.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Do you remember anything that had to do with Naser Oric and was
12 related to the 15th of March, 1993?
13 A. Yes. On that day there were fierce tank attacks launched. At one
14 point a tank shell landed in our midst. I heard moans and I turned around
15 and saw Naser helping there. At that point, Suljo ran up to him, Suljo
16 Cakanovic [phoen], and tore his shoe apart and saw that his Achilles' heel
17 had a large gaping wound.
18 Q. You said that Naser was shouting and moaning?
19 A. Yes. He was shouting at the top of his head. Suljo was dressing
20 his wound, and Naser turned around all frightened asking whether his foot
21 was going to be cut off. Suljo, putting a serious face on, said: No, no,
22 there's no need for it to be cut off; it will fall off on its own.
23 Q. In other words, Naser Oric was wounded; he received a blow to the
24 Achilles' heel on the 15th of March, 1993?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. When did you see him next?
2 A. A couple of days later with one of my fighters. I went to see him
3 in Potocari -- I went to fetch him, rather. I mounted him on a horse.
4 His wound was in a terrible state.
5 Q. Did you take him to a meeting, do you remember?
6 A. Yes, it was a meeting with Morillon, and I believe the venue of
7 the meeting was at the post office.
8 Q. Was Naser able to move on his own or was he lame?
9 A. No. He was not able to stand on his feet. His foot was swollen
10 and his wound was oozing.
11 Q. If someone were to claim that Naser Oric drove a vehicle at this
12 point in time or in the period of the ten following days, would that have
13 been possible?
14 A. No, for two reasons, the first one being that his wound was in
15 terrible state; and the second, the fact that this particular stretch of
16 roadway that I mentioned earlier was under enemy control.
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I refer you to D220, Your Honours,
18 which has to do with Naser Oric's infliction of his wound, and this is a
19 document originating from the 28th Division.
20 Q. Witness, I have the following question for you now: You, the
21 Muslim people, including fighters, were you aware of an imminent tragedy
22 resulting from the Serbs possibly entering Srebrenica?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Was Oric aware of this?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Was this a source of concern to him?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. I will show you two documents dating from the period.
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will do my best to
5 proceed as fast as I can.
6 First of all, can the witness be shown a document bearing the
7 numbers -- rather, two documents bearing the following numbers 04267588
8 and 04267584. They both bear the same date, and the source is the command
9 of the Drina Corps.
10 Q. First of all, Witness, take a look at the document bearing the
11 number 04267588, dated 17 March 1993. I will quote the last paragraph
13 "On the 17th of March, 1993, therefore," the document says.
14 From the command of the Drina Corps: "I have decided to use part
15 of the forces to tighten the encirclement around Srebrenica and thus force
16 the Muslims to surrender and use the remaining forces to fortify the lines
17 reached, keep them at full combat readiness in order to prevent surprise,
18 and incursion of enemy forces along all axes, and at the same time fortify
19 the lines reached."
20 I will now quote from the other document. Please look at the last
21 page -- or rather, page 2 of the document. This is document dated 17
22 March 1993 signed by commander of the Drina Corps, Colonel Milenko
23 Zivanovic. This portion reads: "I decided the following: To conduct
24 combat activities with a part of forces towards Srebrenica in order to
25 force civilian population to surrender, break, and destroy armed
1 formations of the enemy in Srebrenica."
2 In connection with these documents, I wish to ask you the
3 following: Is it true that at the time on the 17th of March, 1993, the
4 Serbs were tightening the circle around Srebrenica in an attempt to force
5 the civilian Muslim population to surrender?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Based on your experience of the situation, did you have a feeling
8 that Srebrenica was imminently being exposed to a catastrophe that was to
9 follow in the next couple of days, that is after the 17th of March, 1993?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You told us that you were in contact with Oric. In this period
12 from the 17th of March to the 22nd of March, 1993, were you in touch with
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Was he aware of the situation and was he very much concerned and
16 did he do everything that was in his power to do, as far as you know?
17 A. Yes, he was aware of the situation. When I went over to see him
18 in Potocari, he was dejected, depressed, out of sorts, because he knew
19 that he was unable to be of any assistance. He was lying bed-ridden,
20 wounded. He appealed to us fighters and groups who were in the area to
21 assist them and to stay at their side as long as we could.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could these documents
23 be assigned a Defence exhibit number?
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. The first of these documents with ERN 04267588
25 to 589 is being tendered and marked as Defence Exhibit D982. The other
1 document with ERN 0467584 to 585 will become Defence Exhibit 983.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation].
3 Q. Please look at another document now. This is a document by the
4 Bratunac Brigade command dated 20 March 1993 which is a regular combat
5 report addressed to the command of the Drina Corps. And while the
6 document is being passed up, I will read a portion of it.
7 "During the day our forces -- during the day along the main
8 Bratunac-Potocari line, we conducted all preparations for an attack, but
9 due to the arrival of Morillon and his escort, we gave up these
11 This attack, which purportedly was planned to take place on the
12 21st of March, 1993, did it in fact take place on the 21st of March or
13 about that date, as far as you know?
14 A. Yes, on or about that date.
15 Q. Were you in the area at the time?
16 A. Yes, I was.
17 Q. Was Naser Oric in Potocari at the time?
18 A. Yes, he was in Potocari, wounded, in a house. He was unable to
20 Q. If someone were to claim that he was in Srebrenica on that day,
21 would that be correct to your knowledge?
22 A. No.
23 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can this document be assigned a
24 number, please?
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. This document with ERN 04363173 will become
1 Defence Exhibit D984.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to have a
3 video clip played now, which is part of Defence Exhibit D695, which is
4 clip number 2 on this particular CD. Your Honour, I'm interested in what
5 is being said and not in what we can see from the footage there. The
6 source is Radio Television Bosnia and Herzegovina, Radio Tuzla. And could
7 we please play the part from 00.01.32 to 00.02.19. I just want to say
8 that we have the English version of the transcripts, and could we please
9 listen to the transcript -- could we please distribute the transcript
10 before we play the tape.
11 [Videotape played]
12 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Just go safely and wisely and they
13 will mess you about in the woods particularly because the woods are
14 conifer woods and they are in those and not in the other ones.
15 "Yes, yes.
16 "Is that clear?
18 "Understood ...
19 "We shot at Pribicevac ...
20 "Right. Only shoot at live flesh, nothing else, only live flesh.
21 Go around those hills of theirs, they have no weapons, no efficient
22 weapons, they only have an odd Zolja, they have rifles, those simple ones.
23 Everything from 300 metres go from the hill, cut off the road, there is
24 neither water nor electricity on the hill.
25 "Without food or anything they must run away.
2 "Just go deep. Do not cut into them.
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Witness, have you recognised the voice?
6 A. Yes, that's the voice of Ratko Mladic.
7 Q. Do you have any reason to recognise the voice?
8 A. Yes, I do. The Bosnia-Herzegovina TV played footages of him
10 Q. And were you later on able to listen to his voice?
11 A. Yes. When I was a member of the security forces, I had occasion
12 to hear his voice.
13 Q. Do you remember the events which took place on the 17th of April,
15 A. Yes. That was the time of very fierce battles in the area of
17 Q. And why did you happen to be there?
18 A. That was our last resort, that's to say we had to save that area
19 in order to save Srebrenica from falling.
20 Q. From the venue of Pribicevac, were you able to observe Zeleni
21 Jadar or not?
22 A. Yes, we were able to observe Zeleni Jadar because Zeleni Jadar is
23 in a valley and Pribicevac is a hill.
24 Q. In the area of Zeleni Jadar, were there fighters trying to defend
25 the area?
1 A. Yes, but very few. For the most part there were large groups of
2 refugees there fleeing the Serb army. They were from the villages of
3 Osmaci, Osata, Kragljivoda, Karadzici, and other hamlets.
4 Q. In your estimate in the area of Zeleni Jadar, how many civilians
5 were there?
6 A. Thousands.
7 Q. Did you hear this person say "target the live flesh only"? What
8 is your understanding of that?
9 A. Yes, I was able to hear. And my interpretation of it is to shoot
10 at anything that moves, anything that is alive, so that it is destroyed.
11 Q. Did you know at the time that Ratko Mladic was in the area?
12 A. Yes, because he gave interviews. And I know the localities where
13 he gave those interviews, in particular Zeleni Jadar, when I [Realtime
14 transcript read in error "he"] went through the security agency material.
15 Q. Based on the events in Zeleni Jadar at the time, did you know that
16 the Serb command was close by?
17 A. Yes. It was literally 1 to 200 metres away from Zeleni Jadar,
18 looking from the area of Skelani and Podravanje.
19 Q. On the recording, Ratko Mladic says "target only live flesh. Go
20 around those villages of -- those hills of theirs. They have no weapons,
21 just an odd Zolja and simple rifles."
22 The information he conveyed, did it reflect the situation on the
23 ground as to how many weapons you had?
24 A. Yes. That was the situation we were.
25 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: Just a correction to the transcription. The
3 preceding page, it's disappearing slowly, line 22. The witness
4 said: "Yes, because he gave interviews. And I know the localities where
5 he gave those interviews, in particular Zeleni Jadar." And then it
6 says: "When he went through the security agency material."
7 I heard this witness say: "When I went through the security
8 agency material." This witness is saying "I went through it," not Mladic.
9 That's what I understood. That's what I heard.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: I don't think it really makes sense, unless my --
12 what I heard is correct.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I -- would you have a comment on what Mr. Di Fazio
14 has just stated, please, Witness? Who went through the security agency
15 material, you or someone else?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I personally went through the
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you -- I would
19 like to thank Mr. Di Fazio because the witness did not at any given moment
20 say that Mladic did that. He said that he learned that Mladic was in
21 Zeleni Jadar, having seen the interview, and not that he gave that
22 interview in Zeleni Jadar itself.
23 Q. Am I correct, Witness?
24 A. Yes.
25 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could we please assign
1 an exhibit number to the transcript because it hasn't been given one so
2 that it be D695.1, perhaps?
3 JUDGE AGIUS: The tape itself or the video itself is -- has not
4 yet been given a number yet, has it?
5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. It has been
6 tendered as D695.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: 695. And would you suggest that this be 695.1?
8 So this document which is part of the transcript of the video
9 would be D695.1. Thank you.
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Witness, I wanted to ask you something else. Did you ever meet
12 Philipp von Recklinghausen?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Who was he?
15 A. He was a photographer from Germany who came together with Senad
16 Alic to Srebrenica. He took a number of photographs concerning the
17 situation in Srebrenica, and later I learned that the Serbs took away the
18 film from him.
19 Q. Did you know Senad Alic personally, even prior to the war?
20 A. Yes, I did. We grew up together in Srebrenica.
21 Q. When did Senad Alic come? You said that Mr. Philipp came with
22 Senad Alic when was that?
23 A. At the end of February.
24 Q. What year?
25 A. 1993.
1 Q. Can you remember where they came from?
2 A. From Germany.
3 Q. From that point onwards, according to what you know, what was
4 Senad Alic doing?
5 A. From that moment onwards, Senad Alic worked for the War Presidency
6 as the liaison officer for the foreign journalists and UNPROFOR as well as
7 an interpreter.
8 Q. Did Senad Alic come together with Philip from Germany?
9 A. Yes, they came together.
10 Q. Why? What was he doing in Germany?
11 A. His parents lived in Germany. They had been living there since
12 before the war for a while, and when the aggression against
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina came about, he went to Germany.
14 Q. When he came to Srebrenica, did he wear a uniform and where did he
15 get it from?
16 A. Yes, he did, and he brought it with him.
17 Q. As concerns Senad Alic, in your knowledge did he belong to any
18 single armed group from Srebrenica?
19 A. No. As I said a while ago, he was a personal interpreter to
20 Fejzic and Amdic [as interpreted] with the War Presidency.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could we show a photograph to the
22 witness. The number is P460.
23 Q. Witness, did you receive the photograph?
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] A correction for the transcript, if
25 I may, Fejzic and Avdic.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Hajrudin.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation].
3 Q. Witness, please take a look at the photograph. Please take a look
4 at the photograph on the ELMO. Do you recognise anyone?
5 A. I recognise Naser Oric, Hajrudin Malagic, second to the right; and
6 Muharem, a.k.a. Suba, being the third person to the left.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, the third person from
8 the left.
9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Hajrudin Alagic [as interpreted] and Suba, were they in January in
11 1993 in the area of Srebrenica, according to what you know?
12 A. No. At the beginning of October, together with a group, they went
13 to Tuzla. They stayed there until the end of February, and then -- then
14 they came on board a UN helicopter.
15 Q. Do you know who took this photograph?
16 A. Yes, I do. It was Philipp.
17 Q. If someone were to claim that this photograph was taken on the 7th
18 of January, 1993, would that be correct?
19 A. No, it wouldn't. Malagic, Hajrudin, and Suba were at that time in
20 Tuzla. They came at the end of February, and this photograph could only
21 have been taken in early March of 1993.
22 Q. Thank you. Mr. Smajlovic, I wanted to ask you an unrelated
23 question, and it is concerning the fall of Srebrenica in 1995. Can you
24 tell the Chamber when you left Srebrenica?
25 A. In the first half of January of 1995.
1 Q. Did your wife remain behind in Srebrenica?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Can you tell the Chamber what was happening with your wife on the
4 day of the tragedy, that is the 11th of July, 1995?
5 A. On the 11th of July, 1995, my wife gave birth in the battery
6 factory. Since no one paid any attention to that, she found herself in a
7 critical state, together with the infant. A UN member from the Dutch
8 Battalion tried to help her so that she'd be put on a UN vehicle to catch
9 up with the bus convoys that had already left with other women and
10 children from the battery factory.
11 Q. How far did this Dutch soldier manage to get together with your
13 A. As far as the village of Kravica. To be more precise, in front of
14 the Oka, the agricultural cooperative. He was stopped by the military
15 police, ordering him to go back. At that moment, a man approached the
16 vehicle. He was cursing their mother and that he would kill both of them.
17 And he ordered them back immediately.
18 Q. Did she -- did your wife see any of the -- of her relatives in the
19 mass of people? Were there many people around Oka?
20 A. Yes, in front of the cooperative there were masses of civilians
21 bare to the waist, together with the soldiers -- Serb soldiers with their
22 weaponry aimed at them. And she recognised her brother, who had left for
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I wonder if I have the
25 time for another exhibit. It would take five minutes.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: No. We will have to stop here. We have been having
2 a very long day ourselves and everyone here. And I think also the moment
3 asks for an adjournment.
4 We'll continue tomorrow afternoon, 2.15. Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Just an inquiry, of course. Madam Vidovic may not
6 know the answer, but can she give any indication how much longer she will
8 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know, but I think she will be able to finish
9 tomorrow. Looking at the list of documents left, more or less, and the
10 rhythm that --
11 MR. DI FAZIO: That's what I thought.
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I will endeavour, Your Honour, but
13 this is an important witness for us. I'm doing my best to be as short as
14 possible. I hope I'll finish tomorrow, otherwise I don't know.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. We'll -- yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm sorry, Your Honours, it won't take a moment.
17 If that happens, if we take up -- if Madam Vidovic takes the lion's share
18 of tomorrow, then it's going to leave about a five-hour interval for me to
19 get home and prepare. I mean, obviously I've got a lot of material now to
20 work on and I will do that. But Thursday night, because we start in the
21 morning Friday morning, you understand --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Friday is the morning.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: -- and afternoons and nights are invaluable to me
24 for preparing preparation of cross-examination, that's halved on Thursday
25 night because we start on Friday morning.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know what to tell you --
2 MR. DI FAZIO: I don't --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't think it is possible because I tried to
4 shift --
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Your Honours --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: -- some of these sittings to the mornings --
7 MR. DI FAZIO: -- I'm not complaining.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: -- but it was not successful.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm not complaining about it. I'm not suggesting
10 anything. But I wonder if I -- if I prepare as much as I can tonight and
11 as much as I can on Thursday night, if I were to finish a little earlier
12 on Friday and only if it were not possible for us to finish with this
13 witness completely, completely, on Friday, would you be minded to give me
14 a little time to -- on Friday to complete the job on the Monday? That's
15 what I'm -- that's what I'm asking. I would only -- I would only seek
16 that if I was -- if I could assure you that there was no way that we could
17 finish this witness regardless, and I would not dream of --
18 JUDGE AGIUS: That would mean deciding now, not knowing how much
19 actually the Defence is going to require for --
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Can I just say leave it as is --
21 JUDGE AGIUS: You'll sit down together - listen - and try to
22 re-build what, in my opinion, may have been to a large extent destroyed.
23 Please try to sit down together and see --
24 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm sure Madam Vidovic is cooperative with us on
25 this regard, and just purely and simply a question of timing but that's
2 JUDGE AGIUS: But at the moment I can't -- I don't know how much
3 time they require --
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Your Honours --
5 JUDGE AGIUS: -- for --
6 MR. DI FAZIO: I'll leave the issue as it stands.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: We'll see.
8 Okay, thanks everybody. Again, we've overstayed by a few minutes.
9 We'll meet again tomorrow afternoon.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.05 p.m.,
11 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 8th day of
12 December, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.